Category: Art

Deconstructed Bird and Insect Wing Patterns by Eleanor Lutz 

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Artist and designer Eleanor Lutz has a special knack for science illustration. On her blog, Tabletop Whale, she recently shared this great series of admittedly non-scientific charts that deconstruct the wing patterns of birds and insects. After spreading across the web like wildfire the last few days she quickly turned it into a print available through Artsider. (via Kottke)

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Medieval Book Historian Erik Kwakkel Discovers and Catalogs 800-Year-Old Doodles in Some of the World’s Oldest Books 

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Doodle by bored medieval school boy. A 15th-century doodle in the lower margin of a manuscript containing Juvenal’s Satires, a popular classical text used to teach young children about morals. Photo: Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 368.

For the past few years, medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel has been poring over some of the world’s oldest books and manuscripts at Leiden University, The Netherlands, as part of his ongoing research on pen trials. Pen trials are small sketches, doodles, and practice strokes a medieval scribe would make while testing the ink flow of a pen or quill. They usually involve funny faces, letter strokes, random lines, or geometric shapes and generally appear in the back of the book where a few blank pages could be found. Kwakkel shares via email:

From a book historical perspective pen trials are interesting because a scribe tends to write them in his native hand. Sometimes, when they moved to a different writing culture (another country or religious house) they adapted their writing style accordingly when copying real text—books. The trials, however, are done in the style of the region they were trained in, meaning the individuals give some information about themselves away.

In some sense, these sketches are like fingerprints or signatures, little clues that reveal a bit about these long forgotten scribes who copied texts but who had no real opportunity to express themselves while working. Including additional sketches or even initials in these books was often forbidden.

While many of Kwakkel’s discoveries are standard pen trials, other doodles he finds relate to a human concept as universal as topics discussed in these 13th and 14th century books such as love, morals, or religion. Specifically: boredom. It seems the tedium of reading through a philosophy textbook or law manuscript dates back to the very invention of books. Some of these scribbles were even made hundreds of years after a book’s publication, suggesting no margin is sacred when monotony is concerned.

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Medieval smiley face. Conches, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 7 (main text 13th century, doodle 14th or 15th century).

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Doodle discovered in a 13th-century law manuscript (Amiens BM 347).

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Students with pointy noses. Leiden, University Library, MS BPL 6 C (13th century).

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Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, BPL MS 111 I, 14th-century doodle.

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Leiden UB VLQ 92

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Medieval scribes tested their pens by writing short sentences and drawing doodles. The pen trials above are from Oxford, Bodleian Library, Lat. misc. c. 66 (15th century).

Lucky for us, Kwakkel has left a trail of ancient doodle discoveries all across the web on his Twitter account, his Tumblr, and on his recently established blog medievalbooks. His obsession with margin minutiae has lead to two scholarly publications and also caught the interest of NPR’s ‘How to Do Everything‘ who interviewed him last week. All images courtesy Erik Kwakkel, respective of noted libraries.

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Digital Artist Giuseppe Randazzo Creates Elaborate Arrays of 3D-Printed Stones 

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Stone Field 00 / exp00 – simple attractor exponential field. Digital rendering.

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Stone Field 05 / three attractors field. Digital rendering.

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Stone Field 04 / field based on vert dist from horizontal axis. Digital rendering.

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StoneFields 02 / polar 2d Perlin field. 3D-printed sculpture.

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Stone Field 00 / exp00 – simple attractor exponential field. 3D-printed sculpture.

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Stone Field 07 /simple 1d linear polar field. 3D-printed sculpture.

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Stone Field 07 /simple 1d linear polar field. 3D-printed sculpture, detail.

Back in 2009, Italian designer Giuseppe Randazzo of Novastructura released a series of generative digital “sculptures” that depicted carefully organized pebbles and rocks on a flat plane. Titled Stone Fields, the works were inspired in part by similar land art pieces by English sculptor Richard Long. As the images spread around the web (pre-dating this publication entirely) many people were somewhat disheartened to learn the images were created with software instead of tweezers, a testament to Randazzo’s C++ programming skills used to create a custom application that rendered 3D files based on a number of parameters.

Fast forward to 2014, and technology has finally caught up with Randazzo’s original vision. The designer recently teamed up with Shapeways to create physical prototypes of the Stone Fields project. He shares about the process:

Starting from 2009 project “Stone Fields”, some 3dmodels were produced from the original meshes. The conversion was rather difficult, the initial models weren’t created with 3dprinting in mind. The handling of millions of triangles and the check for errors required a complex process. Each model is 25cm x 25cm wide and was produced by Shapeways in polyamide (white strong & flexible). Subsequently they were painted with airbrush. […] The minute details of the original meshes were by far too tiny to be printed, however despite the small scale, these prototypes give an idea of the complexity of the gradients of artificial stones.

Watch the video above to see the sculptures up close, and you can see a few more photos over on Randazzo’s project site. If you liked this, also check out Lee Griggs.

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New Anatomical Collages by Travis Bedel 

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Collage artist Travis Bedel (previously) continues to make intriguing collages with imagery acquired from field guides, textbooks, and vintage etchings. Bedel, who works under the moniker Bedelgeuese, makes both physical and digital collages that form a wild amalgamation of botanical, zoological, and anatomical imagery. For the sake of context it’s important to note that Bedel’s work follows in the same vein as Argentinian art director and designer Juan Gatti who translated his love for gardening and the human form into similar collage work over the last few decades. Almost all of Bedel’s pieces are available as prints.

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Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, a New Book about the Dark Side of LEGO by Mike Doyle 

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Ryan Rubino

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Tobias Buckdahn

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Ekow Nimako

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Chris McVeigh

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Jordan Robert Schwartz, Sean and Steph Mayo, Chris Maddison

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Brian Kescenovitz

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Ekow Nimako, Tyler Halliwell

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LEGO artist and author Mike Doyle (previously) just announced a macabre sequel to his wildly popular 2013 book, Beautiful LEGO, titled Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark. The new book examines the darker, disturbing side of brick building with 325 pages of LEGO creations organized into chapters like Creepy Crawlers, Evil Attunement, Dark Towers, Indulgences, Pits of Fire, and Riot Girls. In total, the book contains the collected work of 140 LEGO enthusiasts from around the world. It’s currently available for pre-order.

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Mixed Media Aquarium Sculptures by Mariele Neudecker Mimic Paintings and Photographs 

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Things Can Change in a Day, 2001. Mixed media incl. water, acrylic medium, salt, fibreglass. 68 x 56 x 57cm. Photo by Alex Ramsay.

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Things Can Change in a Day, 2001. Mixed media incl. water, acrylic medium, salt, fibreglass. 68 x 56 x 57cm. Photo by Alex Ramsay.

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Things Can Change in a Day, 2001. Mixed media incl. water, acrylic medium, salt, fibreglass. 68 x 56 x 57cm

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I Don’t Know How I Resisted the Urge to Run, 1998. Mixed media incl. water, acrylic medium, salt, fibreglass/ 75 x 90 x 61cm

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Stolen Sunsets, 1996

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Ship, 1998. Glass tank, water, food dye, salt, fibre-glass, model ship. 64.5cm x 70.5cm x 177cm

In a fascinating blend of chemistry and sculpture, artist Mariele Neudecker builds three dimensional images contained within large aquariums, an ongoing series she refers to as “Tank Works.” Starting with source materials that include romantic paintings and photographs, Neudecker creates environments that attempt to interpret the 2D imagery in three dimensional space. The representational pieces are contained entirely within glass tanks filled to the brim with water that also contain fiberglass mountains, model ships, and other sculptural objects. She also adds chemicals that provide an element of atmosphere while also forming a sort of contained climate that changes gradually over the course of days, weeks, and months.

While primarily a sculptor Neudecker also works with film, video, and installation, much more of which you can see on her website. She discuss her tank works a bit more in this 2009 interview with CAFKATV.

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