The North American Winners of the Polartec APEX Awards, the Future of Outerwear Design (Sponsored) 

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While Polartec pushes the boundaries of fabric science, they rely on the inspiration of designers and developers to realize the beautiful shapes their fabrics can truly become. For nearly 20 years, the Polartec APEX Awards has recognized this collaboration by honoring the design teams who utilize Polartec fabrics to push boundaries and usher in the future of outerwear design.

To announce the 2016 winners, Polartec enlisted the help of specially designed android mannequins and the photography of Chris Hornbecker. Together with a team of veteran character and special effect artists, fabricators, digital artists, and stylists, Hornbecker’s energetic and emotional photography transforms mortal models into futuristic figures. Shot in and around Portland, Oregon, including the campus of Lewis & Clark College and Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, the images highlight the forward-looking nature of the Apex Award-winning garments as they exist within native outdoor and urban settings.

This year’s seven North American Apex Award Winners:

   — Reebok – Polartec Alpha Lightweight Warmth Jacket, designed by Ashlie Malouin
   — Nike – Aerolayer Men’s Golf Vest, designed by James Drew, Scott Hutsenpiller, Abby Swancutt
   — Louis Garneau – Cove Hybrid Jacket & Rocket Skirt, Designed by Patrick Cote & Virginie Locat
   — DragonWear – Elements Flak Jacket, designed by Rosalie Lovett & Emelia Black
   — Altra – Lone Peak Neoshell 3.0 Mid, designed by Steven Shorten
   — Molosser – Aegis All-Weather Dog Jacket, designed by Larry Cockrell & Larry Herman
   — Reigning Champ – Ripstop Insulated Bomber Jacket, designed by Tung Vo

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Polartec is the modern descendent of a century-old New England mill. From knits, wool and upholstery, to supplying military uniforms since World War I, Polartec earned its outdoor cred as the inventor of the original synthetic fleece that brought together function and fashion in the 1980s. Today, Polartec is the inventor of performance fabrics that breathe, regulate temperature, resist fire, and can even originate from upcycled plastic bottles.

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Learn more about the Polartec Apex Awards, and this year’s winners, at apex.polartec.com.

This post was sponsored by Polartec.

Nature-Based Animations Projected on São Miguel Island by VJ Suave 

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Artists Ygor Marotta and Ceci Soloaga of VJ Suave (previously) were recently invited to participate in the Walk&Talk art residency on São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal. The duo transformed their projected street art animations to happily dance across the trees, cliffs, and shores of the the island including the Lagoa das Empadadas, Porto da Ribeirinha, Cachoeira do Cabrito and Lagoa das Sete Cidades. Using long exposure, VJ Suave captured their interventions with nature, creating the videos and GIFs seen here.

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Porcelain Vessels Pummeled in Unfortunate Accidents by Laurent Craste 

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Montreal-based artist Laurent Craste (previously) has a penchant for decorative objects, exploring their meaning by more or less beating up the porcelain sculptures. Craste intervenes with history, morphing the staid and decorative nature of each vase or dish into a moment of comical misfortune. These accidents that are not necessarily happy ones, but ones that involve knives, bats, and nails penetrating each piece.

“I regard the inventory of original models from the main 18th and 19th century European porcelain manufacturers and use these models as a basis for research on the status of the collectibles, by subjecting them to a practice of deconstruction and violent alteration of their formal structures, or by contaminating their traditional decorations through a subversive process of subject substitution,” said Craste in his artist statement.

Some of Craste’s work was recently featured by Back Gallery Project at the Seattle Art Fair from August 4-7. You can see more damaged vessels on his website. (via Fubiz)

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Crystalline Worlds Suspended in Space Painted by Nicole Gustafsson 

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Floating around mysterious galaxies lie Nicole Gustafsson's futuristic ecosystems, angular planets that contain crystals, luminescent waterfalls, and alien plant life. These worlds, sometimes lit by two or more moons, contain the same pastel shades found in 80s sci fi and video games, yet depict visuals unlike any our own solar system has seen. Gustafsson paints her otherworldly illustrations using Acryla Gouache, applying each one directly to wood panel.

The works included are from two series of Gustafsson’s titled “Celestial Spaces” and “Fantastic Spaces,” each of which was inspired by her interest in space and mineral studies. You can purchase postcards and prints of these celestial paintings on her Etsy shop Nimasprout, and read more about her process on her blog. (via The Creators Project)

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Time-lapse Pairs Blooming Flowers with Crawling Insects 

Umwelt is a short film by Japanese artist Yoshiyuki Katayama that depicts an elegant series of flowers blooming in slow motion. Unlike other time-lapse videos we’ve seen in this genre, each flower is accompanied by an insect or spider that crawls across each flower at the precise moment it blooms. The timing is incredible considering the insects stay in view while the flower comes to life, there must be some sort of clever editing? Katayama also created a small website that gives a bit of information about each insect and flowering pairing. A vertically oriented version of Umwelt recently won 3rd prize at the 2nd Vertical Film Festival in Australia.

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Giant Starling Mural in Berlin by Collin van der Sluijs and Super A 

Netherlands-based artists Super A (previously) and Collin van der Sluijs (previously) teamed up earlier this year to paint this phenomenal mural titled Starling on the side of a residential building in Berlin. The 137-foot-tall mural piece depicts a large bird whose ornate chest is comprised of a dense patchwork of glistening jewels and plants. Starling was created at the invitation of Urban Nation as part of the One Wall Mural Project. All photos by Nika Kramer. (via StreetArtNews, BerlijnBlog.nl, Urban Nation)

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