Archive for Cool Artists

An Exercise in Delicate Beauty and Video Games

opening image

This past year, two guys named Dan Pearce and Jack de Quidt, who have formed The Tall Trees, released a game called Castles in the Sky. It’s so simple that I hardly want to describe it, because I would hate for you to think it is plain. It’s really the opposite; simple, but lovely and special. It’s like an 8-bit haiku.

The play is simple, with the game lasting about fifteen minutes from start to finish. In between the leaping and steering tasks are the lines of a poem about finding the uncomplicated joys in life and lost balloons and going to sleep at night. I considered reproducing the poem here for you to read, but it might diminish some of the enjoyment of the game.

fireflies

I don’t get paid to write posts for people or endorse products, but I really like this one. For roughly the cost of a cup of coffee (or less, depending on how you drink it), you can download it here. For me, it was definitely worth fifteen minutes and a buck and a half.

castle cloud

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Lindsey Stirling

Violinist/dancer/real-life-cartoon character Lindsey Stirling has just completed a lengthy and successful tour, and is now preparing for a re-release of her debut album. Good for her; being on a talent show may have given her a good start and publicity, but competition tv really doesn’t seem like a worthy venue for a creative performer who can make it big in her own right.

You can check out her website by clicking here.

You Can’t Stop Me from Loving You

The world lost a brilliant talent when Richie Havens passed.

My friend wrote a short eulogy for him which I share here:

In honor of Richie Havens’ life, I say Bravo. You crossed the lines against injustices and opened many eyes to them. Your music has a soul of its own and definitely worked towards bettering the world. You will remain in this fan’s mind and heart. Again I say Bravo.

richie quote

Katsuyo Aoki: Over the Top in Rococo Porcelain

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I don’t know if she considers herself rococo, but that is a word that comes to my mind when I look at the sculptures of Katsuyo Aoki (and it was a descriptive term used for her in Hi Fructose, which may be subconsciously influencing me). Having such an affinity for excessive details, I like all of her intricate designs, but I can’t seem to look away from the ornate skulls in her Predictive Dream series. So delicate and lacy, and simultaneously melting and gruesome. Too beautiful to be really disturbing.

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I retrieved most of these images from her website, and you can see them all by clicking here. The image at the top of the post is scanned from Hi Fructose.

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Perspective and Cleverness and Shigeo Fukuda

underground piano

I have long been an admirer of Japanese artist Shigeo Fukuda. Honestly, I don’t know why it has taken me this long to post about him- his underground piano has always been a favorite sculpture of mine. I have often fantasized about creating a similar work, but never been successful (although I can make a pretty mean shadow puppet of a moose).

As you can see from the pictures, his sculptures are often jumbles of something unintelligible, like a pile of nails or silverware or even trash, which look like nothing unless you view them from just the right perspective. A certain angle, a shadow, a mirrored reflection, and pow, it becomes not only recognizable, but a complex work of art.

geisha shadow

fish words

eliptical dice

couple trash sculpture

ship shadow

piano violin sculpture

motorcycle shadow

Although I’m mostly enamored with the sculptured works, he has created some fun and equally sneaky graphic art too. I thought it warrented an inclusion- here are Musical Hair and the Mona Lisa:

musical hair

mona lisa

The Self Portraits of Anne Arden McDonald

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about her yet, and if I have I would rather discuss her again then not. Here are some self portraits of Anne Arden Mcdonald. She is a sculpter, photographer, and general maker of wonderfulness.

I first discovered her through (of all things) an Etsy listing for a cast silver ring.

You can get one of them by clicking here. I was about to reword her description of it, but I found the same words on her website:

When I was evicted from my loft, I would close my eyes at night and draw pictures of little houses, and when I opened my eyes, the drawings were always surprising (you can see them here). It was as if they were tiny prayers for a home. This ring is an homage to that time—

I was honestly moved at the time by the simplicity of the design and the charm of the piece of jewelry, not to mention the backstory about her difficulties, that I looked up her website and went through all of her other posted artwork. Beautiful, haunting, but not in a gratuitously dark way.

I love the way she hunts down dilapidated buildings and poses alone in them. So very expressive, and so clever. When I look at one for a few minutes I think… this is my favorite.

As I type this, I can’t thinking that I’ve talked about her before, but I’m too interested in lovin’ on this stuff and too lazy to go check and see if I have already said all this or not. The other thing I’m currently too lazy to do (and too interested in the subject to do) is double-check her website and see if she is cool with people lifting her images and reblogging her. So, Anne, if you didn’t want me to do this, I’m sorry- I hope you’ll forgive me since your work is so lovely.

Ten Reasons to be Happy Right Now

1. This Density Column

Initially read about it on the Berry’s morning coffee post, but you can see how to make one of your own by clicking here. It is cool and it made me happy.

2. This Squeaking Baby Alligator

Squeaking baby alligator. Need I say anymore?

3. This Paper Travel Coffee Cup

My friend found them in the Target dollar aisle, which could be a happy point all by itself.

4. These Shoe and Handbag Cupcakes

I saw them on this post at a blog called Gillyflower Jewelry. This lady makes adorable stuff.

5. This Totallylookslike.com Dalai Lama/Happy Llama picture

I don’t care how many times I see this. It always makes me laugh a little.

6. This Snoopy Wallpaper

From here.

7. This Guy Doing a Magic Trick Dressed Up in a Dragon Suit

8. These Ducklings in This Coffee Cup

9. This Song by Regina Spektor

or pretty much any song by Regina Spektor, cuz she so awesome.

10. This Snorg Tees Shirt

yAY fOr snORgTeEs, because after all, it’s all about funny t-shirts in the end.

Hat Thief Animals: Jon Klassen Has Performed the Impossible


Something I previously thought impossible was the successful sequel to a popular and clever children’s book. If you give a mouse a cookie, Brother, you are in for a chain of improbable probable events that are gonna wear you out and ultimately end up costing you a second cookie. You may want to do it anyway, because the process is so charming, but unfortunately your neighborhood has more than just mice in it. There are also wandering pigs, moose, dogs and a host of other furry creatures just waiting to come and mooch your snacks. You can read all about them in the long list of adorable but, excuse my saying so, very played, list of “If You Give a Whatever a Whatever” books. I can’t blame the author for cashing in on the success and making the public so happy.

People love those books, so have at ’em! Just don’t let the Pigeon drive the bus, okay? Cuz he’s gonna be back too, with a whole lot of other wishes to deny, and he’ll be bringing Pinkalicious and the red-pajama-missing-momma-votes-Obama-dance-a-rama-llama llama and a crowd of other friends who are still cute, but I have to admit are a little overexposed.

Enter Jon Klassen.

I’d been planning on buying his hilarious minimalistic story, “I Want My Hat Back” for a while now, and when I went to find it on the shelf at the bookstore today, I was met by a sight that made my heart sink a tiny bit. It was this:

his follow up book, “This is Not My Hat.” I didn’t get my hopes up too high when I saw it, but I liked the cover illustration and pulled it off the shelf anyway. It took me about thirty seconds to read the whole thing (just like his first book), and it was thirty seconds well spent. Not only can I say with relief that it bears none of the sell-out syndrome often earmarking such follow up books, but I even found it to be better than the first. The storyline is humorous, slightly moralistic without being preachy, and the pictures are flawless. Best of all, it’s got the feel of the first book without just being a second round of the same thing.

Without any unnecessary details, he crafts the perfect visual accompaniment to what would seem like a very basic plot, creating the dimension of a delicious omniscient observer’s perspective. It’s simple enough for a child to follow, but fun enough for a grown up to enjoy.

I want to share my favorite images from his books, but they would kind of be spoilers if I did. I’ll just say that the squinting made me laugh. Also, I like the crab.

Enchanted Crumbling Plaster

Discovering a brilliant artist with an original medium is one of my great delights in life. I should have a category for cool artists. As I am typing this, I do not have such a category, but I probably will by the end of this evening. Maybe a widget featuring some amazing person who had a fresh idea and made dazzling artwork out of it. I dunno. (Downloadable flash cards! That’s it!)

If you’ve never heard of Vhils (real name is Alexandre Farto), he is a Portuguese artist with an impressive portfolio. I first read about him in the current issue of Hi-Fructose magazine, and as soon as I saw the article I knew I would have to post him. These pictures from his website are portraits he carved into different exterior walls. Just look at them for a moment and take in the detail. Breathtaking, brilliant, inspiring… I know gushing smacks of lazy writing, but isn’t this impressive?

These portraits have the still-life aura of a marble statue, except for the vibrant intelligence in ‎the eyes. While the chiseled rubble looks ancient, almost broken-down-section-of-town feeling, ‎those are anything but dead faces. There’s an exquisite balance in the contrast. Breathing, ‎thinking people, looking out over a pile of debris.‎

I think I wanna cut a face in the side of my garage now.

Michael Albert

These images were created by pop artist Michael Albert. He is totally awesome.
Click here to see more of his brilliant collages.

I found a puzzle of his Map of The United States at Barnes and almost looked right past it. I happen to like the look of words collaged on paper, but I didn’t think they were saying anything in particular. Then it hit me…

Click on the image to enlarge it, and then once you realize what you’re looking at go over to his website and buy the poster.

Here are a few more of my personal favorites from his site:

Pi- there was a puzzle for this too.

The Empire State Building

The Gettysburg Address

The New Colossus

He compiled a cool autobiographical collage book for children (and grown ups) that is worth checking out.

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