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This is NOT a Frog.

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Italian self-taught artist Johannes Stötter takes camouflage and body paint to a whole new level. What you see above looks like a beautiful photograph of a colorful frog on a verdant leaf. However, it is actually five people meticulously painted and positioned by Stötter to look exactly like the frog. read on

Walk on Water

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We’ve missed our chance, but for 16 days—from June 18 through July 3—conceptual artist Christo gave everyone a chance to walk on water.

With “Floating Piers,” the Bulgarian-American artist fulfilled a decades long dream. Originally conceived in 1970 with his partner Jeanne-Claude, Christo brought the idea to fruition on Lake Iseo in Italy, about an hour and a half northeast of Milan. read on

Illustrating The Cloud

photo from Google

photo from Google

Few people realize that every photo they share, every search they do, every set of directions queried, or word they ask to have translated, are part of billions of requests sent to ‘the cloud’ every day. All this information flows through physical locations, called data centers. These buildings typically aren’t much to look at—giant, highly secure, industrial looking, windowless buildings. Most folks know little about these structures or the people who make so much of our digital lives possible.

To change that, Google created the Data Center Mural Project. It is a partnership with artists from around the globe to imagine and craft super-sized murals on the exterior of the buildings that illustrate the “magic” happening inside every day. So far, murals have been completed on data centers in Mayes County, Oklahoma and St. Ghislain, Belgium. Two more are in the works in Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The thoughtful, custom artwork give these otherwise boring buildings a life of their own, highlighting in a fun, colorful, modern manner, what all is going on in the cloud 365/24/7.

 

Knit One, Play Two

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When you think of a playground, wood, metal, molded plastic, and rubber come to mind. Not knitting. But Japanese fiber artist Toshiko Horiuchi-MacAdam changed that perception.

MacAdam is considered one of Japan’s leading fiber artists, using knitting and crochet as the chosen mediums for much of her work. She now specializes in “creating large, interactive textile environments that function both as imaginative and vibrant explorations of color and form, at the same time as providing thrilling play environments.”  read on

Loving Vincent

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” – Vincent van Gogh

Loving Vincent is an upcoming biopic about the life and death of Vincent van Gogh. The story is told via 120 of his greatest paintings and by the characters in them. Based on over 800 letters the painter wrote, “interviews” with the characters closest to Vincent take the movie goer on a journey to meet the people and see the events during the time leading up to his unexpected death at 37 years old.

What is most incredible about Loving Vincent is that it will be the world’s first feature-length painted animation. Every frame in the movie is an oil painting on canvas. Special workstations were created, allowing thirty-plus painters to complete the 80-minute film in two years. The painters hand painted 56,800 frames (remember it takes 12 frames per ONE second of film) inspired by the style and the hand of van Gogh.

For a quick look at how the film is made, check out: https://youtu.be/A5jZTHRd5hM

The film is planned for release at some point this year. No release date has been set yet, but it will be worth seeing when it is.

Solid Shapes and Brilliant Colors

Ellsworth Kelly in his studio, 2012. Photo by Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Ellsworth Kelly in his studio, 2012.
Photo by Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

One of America’s great 20th-century abstract artists, Ellsworth Kelly, passed away on December 27th. Influenced by bird watching, his service as a designer in the Army, an extended period living in France, Byzantine mosaics, Asian art, Picasso and Matisse, Kelly forged his own path in the contemporary art world. His master works seem to be profoundly simple explorations of color, shape and size, but they are forms he distilled from everyday life. read on

Flower House

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Sadly, about a third of the homes in Detroit, Michigan have been abandoned due to foreclosures. It’s a sad way to see a neighborhood go, especially ones once filled with gorgeous, giant, older homes and vibrant communities of people.

But rebirth can happen, even if it’s just temporary. read on

Emory Douglas and The Art of a Party

“My art is about enlightening and informing people about issues. … We were creating the culture—the culture of resistance, the culture of defiance, the culture of self-determination.”

So are the words of Emory Douglas, who served as the Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party disbanded in the 1980s.

As the art director, designer, and main illustrator for The Black Panther newspaper, Douglas created images that became iconic in representing black American struggles during the 1960s and 1970s. Using inexpensive and easily available means of commercial art production—such as mimeographs, photostats, prefabricated press types and screen tones, along with offset printing for the newspaper—he turned his artwork into a powerful visual messages for the Party.

Picked up by The Atlantic for their curated showcase of short films, New York City-based commercial production company, Dress Code was commissioned by the AIGA to create a short documentary on Douglas, his career, and the impact of his art on the civil rights movement.

Now retired and in his 60s, Douglas continues to work as a graphic artist lending his talent to social and political issues. ‘“It’s an ongoing process, always changing and evolving, like life. We have to overcome the obstacles and rise up to the challenges,” says Douglas of what he has learned from a lifetime in graphic arts. Asked what he wants to do next, Douglas replies, “To continue to inform and educate through my work. It’s an ongoing adventure.”’

Never Too Old for Making Art

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Scottish lass Grace Brett is putting her life-long artistic talents to good use, brightening entire communities. The 104 year-old great-grandmother—also most likely Scotland’s oldest street artist—and other women have formed a team of “guerrilla knitters.” They have decorated local landmarks, buildings and parks with crochet and knitted art. read on

Justice, Peace and Education for All!

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When you think of Pakistan, female superheroes don’t immediately come to mind (unless you count Malala Yousafzai, whom I would definitely count as one). However, at an animation studio in Islamabad, one has been created and is taking parts of the world by storm.

The clever ideas and work of Unicorn Black bring Jiya—otherwise known as The Burka Avenger—to life. A mild-mannered teacher by day and a fierce keeper of the peace by night, she uses books as her weapons and fights for causes unique to her region of the world such as  polio eradication, literacy, anti-radicalization efforts . Jiya does all this while wearing a stylized black burka that is her super hero costume. In many ways, she reflects the concerns of Pakistan as a whole. Jiya is at once progressive and devout, representing a balance many in Pakistan long for on a national scale.

This fall, the fourth season of “Burka Avenger” will air, this time in five languages across the region. This ground-breaking TV series has received accolades from around the world and is helping to disseminate the message of female empowerment to a new generation of girls in a region that has historically oppressed them.

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