One of the most common feelings I get when watching an artist working is “oh, that looks easy.” After all, the materials and method are all right in front of you: paint or ink, a paint brush or pen, and a hand that moves deftly across a canvas. What goes completely unseen of course are the years upon years of practice, the trials and failures, and the possession of innate talent. A great example of this are these Japanese dragon paintings that are rendered almost completely with a single stroke of paint.
According to Japanese culture blog Iromegane, the paintings are called Hitofude Ryuu (Dragon with one stroke), and the ones shown here originate from a small studio called Kousyuuya in Nikko, Japan. The studio has seen four generations of master painters who have been creating these stylized dragons for decades.
The process involves carefully painting an ornate dragon head with various flourishes, and then finishing the piece using a giant sumi brush in a carefully orchestrated stroke. The process has much in common with both ink wash painting and calligraphy, and similar to letterforms, the images are often repeated. From the videos you can see certain designs are reused in different colors or with added details. All the videos here start at the fun part where the torso is painted, but you can rewind them a bit to see the creation of the entire painting. (via Cineraria, Iromegane)
Art and Craft is a new feature documentary about art forger Mark Landis (previously) who is arguably one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, having tricked over 60 museums in 20 states into believing his masterfully created replicas are authentic artworks. The catch: so far, it appears Landis, who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, has yet to commit a crime. While he’s caused headaches, confusion, and multi-year investigations, he has never sought to benefit or profit from his forgeries in any way. Instead, he enjoys the performative act of pretending to be a philanthropist who makes donations of obscure artwork to art institutions, many of which unknowingly exhibited the fakes, allowing Landis the secret thrill of seeing his work on display.
Photographer and filmmaker Milton Tan was given unprecedented access to Singapore Changi Airport in order to film his latest timelapse of planes taking off and landing at night. In an unusual reversal, airport officials saw one of Tan’s earlier films, and immediately invited him to shoot at Changi from several restricted areas. He was at times positioned so close that you can occasionally see his tripod shake from the thrust of the jet engines.
My favorite aspect is that even when the airport appears to be busiest (Changi Airport has a takeoff or landing every minute), the airplanes only appear as abstract orbs and streaks of light moving through the sky. You can see a bit more about how it was made over on PetaPixel, and on Tan’s blog.
Australian artist Andy Thomas creates what he describes as “audio life forms,” specifically 3D animations that respond to audio input. For these latest pieces he used archival bird recordings from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (in addition to one of his own recordings) to create these new digital sound sculptures that animate in different ways in reaction to the songs of each bird. Thomas uses more software tools than we could reasonably share here, but you can learn a bit more over on his website.
Artist Thomas Leveritt recently setup a special UV motion camera in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the intent of filming random passersby. Ultraviolet rays have the ability to expose not-yet-visible changes to human skin, namely freckles, that turn even the most unblemished faces into dark explosions of dots. Leveritt installed a monitor above the camera so people could instantly see the results, and then to heighten the effect, supplied them sunscreen in a vivid demonstration of why you should probably never again step outside without it. (via Laughing Squid, Co.Create)
With a neverending procession of distressing events in the news lately, you might be in need for a substantial dose of something absurdly happy. If so, this new music video for Cameroonian singer-songwriter Irma will surely fit the bill. The video was created by French design house SuperBien and directed by Xavier Maingon and Marc-Antoine Hélard who opted to shoot the entire piece on a single soundstage with the use of 7 digital projectors. The shoot must have been a Herculean effort on behalf of the kids who had to rock it out for 20-25 takes before getting the final version. The song is “Save Me” off her 2014 album Faces. (via Motionworks, Booooooom, and Jeff is right, this wins the award for most-fun-being-had-in-a-video)
Animator Ben Ridgway creates abstract animations that explore organic and metaphysical imagery, relating to aspects of life and interconnectedness. His latest film, Cosmic Flower Unfolding, recently won several awards and has been touring film festivals around the world since late last year. He shares about his work via his website:
My abstract animations investigate the metaphysical features of reality. They are designed to stimulate archetypal associations and invite the viewer to make personal connections to the visual and auditory experience without any reliance on narrative or spoken language. [...] My work is abstract by nature and uses non narrative film making techniques. The undercurrents of my work point to themes centered around time, cycles, the concept of infinity, and the similarities between artificial and natural systems. In a world where technology and artificial systems are becoming more prevalent, my films are a reminder that they are both a product of nature.