Todd Baxter’s Stylishly Retro Sci-Fi Utopias

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Multimedia artist Todd Baxter has created a retro futuristic image series inspired by narratives of science fiction utopia. Long fascinated with the technology and physics of the Space Race era, with “Project Astoria: Test 01,” Baxter tells a story that revolves around the experiences of children growing up in a an Earth-like world that has recently been colonized. Baxter’s wife, Aubrey Videtto, is writing the story that the two created together. They hope to collaborate with other artists for the project, including a graphic novelist and musician, to further execute their concepts and designs.  Of this project, Baxter writes, “With Project Astoria, I wanted to play with that childlike hopefulness — that anticipation of humans finally mastering our existence and our technology. Especially as we were reaching such new and magical realities as landing on the moon, the late 60s was the perfect period, in my mind, to add in this alternate history where we all get together and say, ‘Hey! We could go colonize this other Earth-like place and really do it right this time. It could be perfect. Utopia!’ Of course, it doesn’t go perfectly, which is good. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make for a very fun story.”

Baxter’s process is quite involved, but it starts with him pulling out sketches for ideas he’s had. He then browses the images on his computer for environment and landscape images he’s shot, and begins to weave together these environments with Photoshop. Baxter then plans the next elements based on these general compositions, producing photo shoots of his subjects that he continues to compose and retouch with Videtto until each image is fully realized. The result is a playful narrative with an almost kitschy aesthetic, evocative of the likes of Wes Anderson. (via behance and bleek magazine)

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Geeky Engagement Rings For Your Sci-Fi Loving Special Someone

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If traditional engagement rings aren’t really your thing, Pittsburg based jewelry designer Paul Michael Bierker has some unique designs that might just float your boat. As the jeweler to science fiction buffs everywhere, he creates custom-made pieces inspired by everything from the Star Wars franchise to Marvel comic books. Bierker has built for himself quite the fan base of young, eager clients, and he is proud to have worked with several US troops over seas in Afghanistan towards creating one-of-a-kind engagement bands.

Popular designs include an R2D2 -inspired engagement ring and a band featuring a diamond encrusted TARDIS from popular television show Doctor Who. Though evocative of these pop culture treasures, Bierker’s collection maintains an elegant subtlety. Rings modeled after the TIE fighter or the X-wing shed the unwieldy bulk of the star ships in favor of clean, sophisticated lines. The X-wing ring becomes a delicate ornament, its bands stylishly crisscrossing in the center the finger. Bierker’s tender references to geek culture meld effortlessly with the maturity of his craftsmanship, appealing both to playful and refined clients.

Bierker occupies a groundbreaking space in a one of our countries biggest industries, subverting elitist limitations on what and what does not constitute an engagement ring. This symbol of lifelong commitment should be as individual and the couple who wears it, and amid the mass of conformity, it’s nice to see something new. As we move into the adult responsibilities of marriage, we hope to carry with us each of our childhood pleasures, and Bierker’s original work certainly reminds us that marriage should be as much of an adventure as a trip into space. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)

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Alec Huxley’s Cinematically Surreal Sci-Fi Narratives

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San Francisco based artist Alec Huxley‘s large and cinematic sci-fi paintings are filled with noir-influenced contrast. Both bleak and bright, his paintings largely take place in urban or desert landscapes of the American West Coast and are representative of both science fiction and surrealist inspired narratives that often include animal figures. Huxley’s use of light throughout his compositions lend his work a realism that is rather haunting, and reminds me of something you’d find in an apocalyptic comic book narrative. His solo exhibition, “Astronomical Menagerie,” is described below and currently on view at the Minna Gallery in San Francisco until October 26th:

“At the witching hour, fashionable figures in space helmets rendezvous with wild beasts in the empty streets of San Francisco. As animals are central to our perception of humanity, relationships of power and domination juxtapose with naked reminders of human frailty. Confident in our ingenuity, we float about cities at the apex of species. Absent our imagination and material protections, we stand vulnerable beside creatures functioning solely to survive.” (via exhibition-ism)

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Ken Garduno

Los Angeles-based artist Ken Garduno studied illustration at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, graduating in 2006. Since then, he has been hard at work as a freelance illustrator and gallery artist. His paintings and illustrations are one part psychedelic, one part the occult, a pinch of old-timey goodness, and flavored to taste with science fiction. The end product? Delicious.

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Duda Lanna

A native of Porto Alegre, Brazil, artist Duda Lanna creates colorful paintings and illustrations of often mind-bending detail. The artist claims inspirations both within the realm of visual arts and separate from them, including science fiction and psychedelic rock of the ’70s. These diverse inspirations definitely show in his many works in ink and acrylic. Their vibrant color palette and bold graphic patterns will take you on a trip, that is for sure. Folks, hold on to your eyeballs.

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