Category: Art

Trace What You See: The NeoLucida is the First Portable Camera Lucida to be Manufactured in Nearly a Century

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Years before the first photographic print and two centuries before Google Glass, was the Camera Lucida, a clever optical device designed by Sir William Hyde Wollaston that utilized a prism to project an image onto a piece of paper so you can trace it, a method that would transform life-drawing for nearly a century. Have you ever used one or seen for sale? Likely not. Your best chance would be scouring Ebay where antique Camera Lucidas sell for upwards of $300. Enter university professors Pablo Garcia (previously) from the Art Institute of Chicago and Golan Levin from Carnegie Mellon who have teamed up to design the NeoLucida, the first portable camera lucida in nearly a century.

So what’s the point? In the age of Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and Instagram who needs to sit down and draw what’s in front of them? The duo explains via Kickstarter:

We both have a lot of students who’ve come to believe that being able to draw photo-realistically is the most important thing. We both love realistic drawing, but not necessarily the way it’s usually taught—which often ignores the tightly-intertwined relationship between drawing and imaging technologies. In particular, art students are encouraged to draw photo-realistically, in the manner of the Old Masters, but without the proper tools for doing so. So we’re producing the NeoLucida as a provocation, not as a business, to help get this discussion started. We hope the NeoLucida will prompt new questions about the relationship of art and technology—and potentially even disrupt business-as-usual in the classroom. Most importantly, we genuinely believe that using a camera lucida will profoundly change how people see, how they draw, and how they think about art.

Lastly, is there really a demand for a simple $30 drawing device based on a little prism? The Kickstarter received pledges for almost 100 of them while I wrote this post. So there’s that.

Update: The Neo Lucida is now available in the Colossal Shop.

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Harmless Weapons Made of Plants by Sonia Rentsch

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In her Harm Less series artist Sonia Rentsch defuses the powers of modern weaponry by constructing guns, grenades and bullets completely from organic objects. The shape and form of each piece are really convincing, yet I also enjoy the obviousness of each plant chosen to resemble various gun parts. If you’re reminded of Sarah Illenberger’s work, you’ll be happy to know Rentsch has had the opportunity to work with Illenberger in Berlin. Take a deep dive into her extensive portfolio of work over on her website. (via not shaking the grass)

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The Street Art and Paintings of Wes21

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Swiss artist Remo Lienhard (aka Wes21) has an imagination to kill for. His acrylic and spray paint works are explosively detailed and often depict a sort of dystopian fusion of people and the natural world. Though despite the grittiness and abundance of detail found in each of his works it’s clear he also possesses a keen sense of humor. Lienhard belongs to a collective of graffiti artists and illustrators called Schwarzmaler where you can find much more of his street art and other works. Also don’t miss him over on Facebook. (via street art utopia which has a killer roundup of street art this month)

Update: Wes21 is represented by SOON where you can learn more about his work.

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Here & There: Horizonless Projections of Manhattan

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Here & There are a fascinating set of prints from London-based design firm BERG that depict speculative projections of Manhattan by completely removing the horizon and skewing the entire urban landscape upward. These particular views are of uptown from 3rd and 7th street, and downtown from 3rd and 35th street. Last year the prints found their way into MOMA’s permanent collection, and have just been reprinted using offset litho on 170 gsm paper from sustainable sources. Pick ‘em up now, shipping starts tomorrow.

Update: Because people are asking, these were designed a year or two before Inception. Just sayin’.

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A Rainbow of Shoes and Legs for Breuninger by John Breed

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Netherlands-based artist John Breed installed this whimsical leg rainbow in conjunction with German shoe salon Breuninger last year. The piece involved 145 multicolored shoes and legs that were eventually placed near the salon. See more on his website. (via show slow)

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Things Come Apart, 50 Disassembled Objects in 21,959 Individual Parts by Todd McLellan

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Bicycle, 1980s; Raleigh; Component count: 893. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Bicycle, 1980s; Raleigh; Component count: 893. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Chainsaw, 1990s; Homelite; Component count: 286. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Laptop Computer, 2006; Apple; Component count: 639. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Children’s Wagon, 2011; Schwinn; Component count: 296. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Smartphone, 2007; BlackBerry; Component count: 120. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Smartphone, 2007; BlackBerry; Component count: 120. Photo reproduced with the permission of Thames & Hudson.

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Swiss Army Knife, 2000s; Victorinox; Component count: 38.

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I’ll never forget the excitement I felt the first time I disassembled a telephone. I was eight years old, on our back porch with just an old screwdriver and a pair of pliers, but seeing what was inside this everyday object was a discovery akin to unearthing a dinosaur. The sudden knowledge that the speaker part was magnetic and contained a mile of thin copper wiring was practically miraculous. When the day was over, I was surrounded by pieces of am/fm radio, an old handheld video game, and a toy car, none of which would ever be assembled again, but that really wasn’t the point. Master disassembler Todd McLellan remarks on a similar childhood discovery in his latest book, Things Come Apart from Thames & Hudson, but for him, it wasn’t fleeting like it was with me. It was the beginning of his life-long career in documenting the technological methods of modern mass production in reverse.

In Things Come Apart, McLellan exposes the inner working of 50 objects and 21,959 individual components as he reflects on the permanence of vintage machines built several decades ago—sturdy gadgets meant to be broken and repaired—versus today’s manufacturing trend of limited use followed by quick obsolescence. Captured in his photography are myriad parts laid flat and organized by function, creating recontextualized images of wagons, chainsaws, computers, and phones. He also shoots high-speed photos of carefully orchestrated drops where pieces are shot in midair as they come crashing down, creating impressive visual explosions. Also appearing in the book is his pièce de résistance: a Zenith CH 650 aircraft photographed as individual components.

The book is officially published tomorrow, but you can order it now on Amazon and Thames & Hudson. All images copyright Todd McLellan courtesy of the publisher.

Update: If you’re in Chicago, McLellan currently has an exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry through May 19th.

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Raw Data: A Hand-Drawn Animation with Ink, Gouache, White-out and Coffee

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Behold the latest work from animator Jake Fried (previously) who works with layer after layer of ink, gouache, white-out and coffee to create deeply textured and truly psychedelic animated shorts. Fried lives and works in Boston where he is primarily known for his painting, but has recently begun focusing on these experimental animations he refers to has “moving paintings,” many more of which you can see on his website.

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