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Kirsten Lepore’s New Stop-Motion Animation Has A Handcrafted Feel That Has Been Long Lost In Animation


Move Mountain from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.

Move Mountain is the latest stop-motion animation by Kirsten Lepore, a Los Angeles based director and animator. We’ve featured films by her before, and Lepore’s newest work does not disappoint. She describes the short film as “A girl journeys through a vibrant, pulsing, macrocosmic landscape, but a precipitous incident compels her to venture up a mountain in an attempt to save herself.” The story itself is a surreal tale, and at one point oscillates between dreams and reality. It also shows us that  at any given time, we are at the mercy of our environment.

The film is Lepore’s Master’s thesis from California Institute of the Arts and took her two and half years to produce. The use of handcrafted characters and fully modeled sets is really impressive. With the current trend being slick-looking techniques, it’s nice to see evidence of the hand in this film. (Watch the behind the scenes video after the jump.)

In addition to Lepore’s own character designs, she’s enlisted the help of animator friends, including the likes of Julia Pott, Lizzy Klein, Ethan Clarke, and more. They make one of my favorite scenes in the film, which is an unexpected but welcome surprise.

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Iconic Album Covers Zoomed Out To Reveal What Happens Outside The Frame

Aptitude - Design

Aptitude - Design

Aptitude - Design Aptitude - Design

Aptitude, a digital agency based in Bedfordshire, U.K., pays cheeky homage to the (lost?) art of the album cover. They’ve picked an array of such album covers, some more tongue-in-cheek than others, and played around with the design by showing what’s been left out. On their site, you can scroll over each photo and “zoom out” to view the imagined bits from the cutting floor.

“Album cover art used to be meticulously created to portray some kind of message that the band or artist was trying to convey,” Aptitude says. In a way, that sums up their mission with this project as they set out to turn that message on its head. Their designs also function as a retrospective as they add a time traveler’s souvenirs into the mix: Justin Bieber’s My World pans out to reveal his untimely arrest; Bubbles glares balefully from a jail cell on the outskirts of Off the Wall.

Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Born in the U.S.A. zooms out to show the rock star approaching food truck serving — what else — burgers. In the foreground is a stereotypically hefty American. A bit on the nose? Maybe, but all in good fun.

“We all have a favourite album,” the agency says. “One that means something to us more than others.” (via Demilked)

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It’s Raining Knives Printed With Photos Of Garbage

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Artist Wen Fang has a way turning an eye toward the often overlooked.  In a way, some of her work memorializes the unfortunately common.  This first installation – a room filled with hanging knives printed with images of garbage – is titled Rain and illustrates this well.  She explains the personal story and Chinese idiom behind the installation:

“One day I was on a public bus, heading to a suburban enclave not far from my home on the outskirts of Beijing. The road was lined on both sides by filthy, stagnant drainage ditches. The disgusting smell of the water wafted into the bus, immediately wiping out the hunger I was feeling a moment before. The water was blue-grey, and looked quite thick. The surface was covered in floating instant noodle packages, popsicle sticks, rotting vegetables and other garbage that couldn’t be sold as scrap.  Suddenly I saw a stray dog at the edge of the ditch, trying to drink the water. Several times he would approach the water with his snout, only to be repulsed by the powerful stench. In the end, I guess he was just too thirsty, and he hesitantly stuck his snout in the water, taking a few gulps. It sent pangs through my heart.  Lots of migrants live by the drainage ditches. Their kids run around like wild dogs, and are just about as dirty. About half of their toys were picked up along the side of this road. None of the adults control their actions, as these migrant workers are too busy trying to eke out a living, and the old people just sit there by the side of the road.  The Chinese refer to these situations as knives raining down from the heavens…that is to say; this is the worst it can get…I don’t know if this is the worst possible situation, but these knives often cut right into my heart. That’s why I make them, so that everyone can see these knives.  Economic development is a sound idea, but how much money does it take to be truly wealthy? I spent my childhood playing in the wilderness around here, while these kids are spending their childhoods playing on the trash heaps. I really wish these kids could grow up in gardens, just as we promised. But what I really don’t know is, when we finally have enough money, whether or not the garden will be anything more than a bunch of sharp knives.…”

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Mister Finch’s Upcycled Fairy Tale Objects

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Mister Finch - Sculpture

Artist Mister Finch is a seamster, dollmaker, and reclaimer of lost souls. He works in discarded trinkets and found objects, cobbling them together into sculptures and models from a strange and much more wondrous place. “Scraps of thread, fabric and paper are stitched and pulled into fairytale creatures looking for new owners and worlds to inhabit,” the splashpage to his webpage proclaims. “They hide in the woods, behind masks, some have died along the way and are buried under spoon lockets.”

For inspiration, Mister Finch turns to nature and his native British folklore. “British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make,” he says. “Shape shifting witches, moon gazing hares and a smartly dressed devil ready to invite you to stray from the path.” The fantastical touch of myth and fairy tale can be seen in the inviting curl of pristine pastel toadstools and creatures that are half fox, half human.

By all appearances, the materials of his art have been truly transformed from their former life in this world, becoming something magical along the way. Of his choice to recycle, Mister finch says: “It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work… the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm. A story sewn in, woven in.” (via This Is Colossal)

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How Conservators Repaired The 10 Million Dollar Punched Monet Painting

Monet repair - Art news

The painting after it was punched in 2012

Monet repair - Art news

Stabilizing the painting

Monet repair - Art news

Material testing

Monet repair - Art news

Securing the paint layer

In June 2012, a man named Andrew Shannon walked calmly into the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, and after approaching Monet’s Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat (1874), he put his fist through it. To Shannon, the act of vandalism was a way to “get back at the state” — by punching a famous, 141-year-old painting, appraised (before the damage) at $10 million (Source). In court, he claimed he had fainted and fallen onto painting; video surveillance later revealed the act was deliberate. Recently, in December 2014, Shannon was sentenced to 5 years.

Since that day in 2012, conservators at the National Gallery have been hard at work trying to restore the painting to its former, beautiful, impressionist state — as Monet intended it. The damage was severe; the painting was split open in the middle, the torn pieces twisting outwards. The first step was to collect the tiny fragments that were on the painting’s surface and the ground nearby. Fragments that were found were then collected and classified under a microscope, as the conservators tried to figure out where they fitted into the painting. 7% of the fragments, however, were too small to be identified; these were sent to a lab and tested with a chemical staining dye, to figure out what types of materials Monet used.

The actual repair process was a long and delicate one. First, the painting was placed onto a padded cushion, and the front was covered with a conservation-grade tissue that was adhered to the surface of the painting using water-based, animal glue to stabilize it while it was being fixed. The actual “surgery” proceeded like this:

“With the aid of a high-powered microscope and appropriately small tools, the tear edges were carefully aligned thread-by-thread. Re-joining of the realigned, broken canvas fibres involved applying a specially formulated adhesive to achieve a strong but reversible bond between the thread ends. This adhesive material has been used and developed by painting conservators in Germany over the past 40 years.

Examples shown here include small steel surgical tools for working on tiny areas using a microscope; mini hot spatula for applying controlled and localised heat to the painting; warming plate and glass containers for keeping adhesive at a consistent temperature. Hydrated collagen adhesive was made in-studio.” (Source)

After delicately suturing the canvas back together, the conservators then went through and pieced the fragments back in. Gesso and watercolor were used to retouch the areas where there were still missing fragments. To make sure the painting is preserved for the future, the conservators built a climate box “to reduce exposure of the painting to environmental fluctuations” (Source). The box includes a humidity buffer as another preventative measure.

It was a long and delicate process, but despite the extent of the trauma, the repair was a success. Check out the National Gallery’s website for a longer description of the restoration project. More pictures of the process after the jump. (Via Gizmodo).

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Striking Cross Stitch Tattoos By Eva Krbdk

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If you have a soft spot for cross stitch and tattoos, the work of this artist could well be your new favorite thing. Turkish tattoo artist Eva Krbdk is carving a new niche out for herself in the world of body art. She inks up cute, simple and striking designs for clients who are looking for something a bit different.

Krbdk tattoos anything from Marilyn Monroe, to Darth Vader, to roses, foxes and popular sayings. She of course, isn’t only limited to cross stitch designs – there are tons of other tattoos on her Instagram account, including great watercolors and pixelated work. She has a great eye for color, geometry and simplicity. Not relying heavily on black, or outlines to create definition, she utilizes spacing and natural contrast to create her distinctive markings. (Via Bored Panda)

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To call Clark Goolsby a multi-media artist almost seems like an understatement. Indeed, the sheer volume of materials and techniques he expertly employs is staggering, often combining spray paint, acrylics, pencil, wood, foam, plastic, string, and even audio into one finished product – but even that far from represents the impressive span of Goolsby’s “multi-ness.” He seamlessly transitions between different styles, from abstracted, multifaceted geometric forms to realistically rendered objects, crisp lines to more impressionistic strokes and drippings. As if that wasn’t enough, Goolsby tackles a seemingly endless mix of iconography, juxtaposing rainbows and antlers, inverted crosses and trophies, pyramids and statuesque faces. Oh, and by the way, it’s all in technicolor.

The result is just as overwhelming as you might imagine, and that’s exactly the point. Goolsby’s work parallels the milieu of stimuli we are constantly barraged with every day of our lives – a combination, he suggests, which poses a persistent, sometimes surprising threat to our survival. Goolsby’s most recent solo exhibition, Strange/Love at POVevolving Gallery in Los Angeles, focuses on “how we maintain optimism in a world that is so full of potentially life ending situations.” At the center of this exhibition, an 18 foot long skeletal form made of wood and foam entitled “Dead Man” lies horizontally, suspended from the ceiling by hundreds of neon-colored threads. Goolsby’s work reminds us that, even if we are all essentially dead men grasping onto life by the threads, at least those threads are bright, illustrating a sense of playful joie de vivre which urges us to live larger than life, finding beauty in the unrelenting stream of chaos while we still can.

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