New Animal and Insect Assemblages Made from Repurposed Objects by Edouard Martinet 

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Butterfly. 25″ x 14″ x 22″ H. Legs: bike brake parts, pieces of windshield wipers, bike chains. Abdomen: old acetylene light tank. Thorax: car suspension part, small spoon parts, cream chargers. Head: headlights, bike parts. Butterfly trunk: clock springs. Hair: pieces of a typewriter daisy wheel. Antennae: brake cables, drawer knobs.

martinet-2Butterfly, detail.

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Butterfly, detail.

martinet-4Rhinoceros beetle. 13″ x 11″ x 6″ H. Legs: bike brake parts, bike derailleur chain, bike chain ring. Head and horn: small bike brake, pieces of a typewriter daisy wheel. Antennae: small bike parts. Thorax: shoe tree, bike Luxor headlight. Abdomen: motorbike light, shell-shaped drawer handles.

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Rhinoceros beetle, detail.

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Three-spined stickleback. 34″ x 5″ x 13″ H. Body: moped fenders and chain guards. Bones: tablespoons. Gills: car door parts. Fins: cake tins, fish slices, compasses. Tail: motorbike silencer, fish slices. Eyes: flashlights. Head: Solex front fenders.

martinet-7Moth. 31″ x 16″ x 7″ H. Wings: moped chain guards (rusted and patinated). Abdomen: motorbike headlights. Thorax: very old car headlamp. Legs: large upholstery tacks, car boot hinges, pieces of windshield wipers, bike brake parts, chain guards. Head: old rear position lamps, bike parts, pieces of a daisy wheel. Butterfly trunk: clock springs. Antennae: aluminium heating resistor.

martinet-8Moth, detail.

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Wasp. 11″ x 6″ x 16″ H. Abdomen: steel tips for boots, bike headlights. Thorax and head: steel tips and bells from bikes and typewriters. Eyes: vintage watch case. Antennae: spectacles arms. Legs: bike brakes, bike chain, spoon handles. Wings: glass.

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Red ant. 25″ x 16″ x 9″ H. Thorax and head: sauce spoons, car parts. Eyes: marbles. Abdomen: bike or motorbike headlights. Antennae: small bike chains. Legs: cream chargers, brake parts, chains, alarm clock feet, spoon handles.

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Dragonfly. 37″ x 49″ x 15″ H. Abdomen: patinated copper/brass bicycle pump, car horn part, parts of old acetylene bike lights (at the ends). Thorax: two motorbike rear lights, shell-shaped drawer handles, big upholstery tacks. Head: car or lorry old stop lights, parts of acetylene bike lights, parts of a daisy wheel for typewriter (hair from the mouth). Legs: tubes, bike cable guide, wing nuts, wire. Wings: umbrella ribs, wire, wire netting for hen coops.

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Dragonfly, detail.

When looking at these perfectly assembled sculptures by French artist Edouard Martinet (previously) it’s difficult to believe the raw materials he used ever existed in another form. Yet every head, thorax, leg, wing, and eye from these assorted creatures was once part of a car, bicycle, typewriter, or other found object. Reading through his material lists it becomes clear how completely thorough and judicious Martinet is in selecting the perfect objects to realize his vision, truly a master of his craft. Via Sladmore Contemporary:

His degree of virtuosity is unique: he does not solder or weld parts. His sculptures are screwed together. This gives his forms an extra level of visual richness – but not in a way that merely conveys the dry precision of, say, a watchmaker. There is an X-Factor here, a graceful wit, a re-imagining of the obvious in which a beautifully finished object glows not with perfection, but with character, with new life. Martinet takes about a month to make a sculpture and will often work on two or three pieces at the same time. It took him just four weeks to make his first sculpture and 17 years for his most recent completion!

If you want to see these new pieces up close, Martinet opens a new exhibition at Sladmore Contemporary in London, November 27 through January 31, 2014. You can see several additional new works on his website.

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The Hubble Telescope Photographs Messier 15, One of the Densest Clusters of Stars Ever Discovered 

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This recently released photograph from the Hubble Telescope captures the spectacular glory of Messier 15 located about 35,000 light-years away. It might be hard to believe, but if you were to look up in the sky and locate the constellation Pegasus, this entire cluster of stars is located inside of it. It is one of the densest clusters of stars ever discovered. Via the ESA:

Both very hot blue stars and cooler golden stars can be seen swarming together in the image, becoming more concentrated towards the cluster’s bright centre. Messier 15 is one of the densest globular clusters known, with most of its mass concentrated at its core. As well as stars, Messier 15 was the first cluster known to host a planetary nebula, and it has been found to have a rare type of black hole at its centre.

Growing up in the Texas hill country, I lived next door to an astronomy buff from the the Austin Astronomical Society named Larry Forrest. Every couple of months Larry would have a thing called a star party and all these other astronomy people would show up with giant pickup trucks hauling telescopes mounted on trailers. Sometimes the group would start drinking as the sun went down and by the time the first stars started twinkling they had a pretty good buzz going. It was a loud, drunken astronomy night, and it was amazing.

On a few occasions I had the opportunity to stay up late and head over to Larry’s place and climb inside this huge observatory he’d built that housed the largest telescope I’ve ever had the chance of looking through. I remember seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time, and seeing details of the moon so vivid it felt like I could touch it. There are few things that put life in perspective as astronomy can. It was a precious early gift and the sole reason you see occasional posts like these here on Colossal. Unfortunately I learned that Larry died last year, and seeing this image reminded of my first peek inside his telescope, and the near instant realization of how vast the universe really is. Shine on Larry. (via Astronomy Picture of the Day)

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Auto Aerobics by Chris LaBrooy 

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I’m really enjoying this series of stretched and interlinked classic cars by UK-based illustrator Chris Labrooy. Labrooy graduated from the RCA with an MA in design products and has since been using various 3D tools to explore the intersection of typography, architecture, product design and visual art. His has exhibited at the design museum in London and his work appears in numerous illustration and design publications. You can see more in his portfolio and over on Debut Art. (via Devid Sketchbook, Laughing Squid)

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Polish Concert Pianist Builds a ‘Viola Organista’ Based on a 500-Year-Old Leonardo Da Vinci Sketch 

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Viola Organista built by Slawomir Zubrzycki

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Codex Atlanticus by Leonardo Da Vinci, (page 93r)

Buried in the pages of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous 15th century notebooks, amongst the sketches of flying machines, parachutes, diving suits, and armored tanks, was a curious idea for a musical instrument that merged the harpsichord and cello. The Italian Renaissance polymath referred to it as the viola organista. The general idea for the instrument was to correlate keyboard fingerwork with the sustained sound of a stringed instrument, but among the dozens of ideas pursued by the gifted artist and inventor, this was one he never explored further. Nearly 100 years would pass before an organist in Nuremberg would build the first functional bowed keyboard instrument, and many others would try throughout history to realize Da Vinci’s vision with various levels of success.

Now, after an estimated 5,000 hours of work over three years and nearly $10,000 invested in the project, Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki has unveiled his own version of the viola organista. Not only is the new instrument gorgeous, it’s fully functional and Zubrzycki demonstrated it in public for the first time at the 5th International Royal Krakow Piano Festival a few weeks ago. Above is a video of that performance where you can hear how beautiful the strange instrument sounds. Via the Hindustan Times:

The flat bed of its interior is lined with golden spruce. Sixty-one gleaming steel strings run across it, similar to the inside of a baby grand. Each one is connected to the keyboard complete with smaller black keys for sharp and flat notes. But unlike a piano, it has no hammered dulcimers.Instead, there are four spinning wheels wrapped in horse tail hair, like violin bows. To turn them, Zubrzycki pumps a peddle below the keyboard connected to a crankshaft.

As he tinkles the keys, they press the strings down onto the wheels emitting rich, sonorous tones reminiscent of a cello, an organ and even an accordion. The effect is a sound that da Vinci dreamt of, but never heard; there are no historical records suggesting he or anyone else of his time built the instrument he designed.

Here’s an additional interview with Zubrzycki, where you can see the instrument up close (click the “CC” icon for English captions):

You can learn more about Zubrzycki and the history of the viola organista over at the History Blog.

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Sculptor Zheng Chunhui Spent 4 Years Carving the World’s Longest Wooden Sculpture 

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Photo by Lv Ming

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Photo by Lv Ming

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Photo by Lv Ming

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Photo by Lv Ming

Chinese artist Zheng Chunhui recently unveiled this exceptionally large wooden sculpture that measures some 40 feet (12.286) meters long. Four years in the making, the tree carving is based on a famous painting called “Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” which is a historical holiday reserved to celebrate past ancestors that falls on the 104th day after the winter solstice. On November 14th the Guinness World Records arrived in Fuzhou, Fujian Province where the piece is currently on display to declare it the longest continuous wooden sculpture in the world. You can see many more photos over on China News. (via Shanghaist)

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