A Separate Reality: New Paintings of Dystopian Worlds by Alex Andreev

Trying to categorize or summarize the genre of Alex Andreev’s (previously) digital paintings is nearly impossible. Part science fiction, part dystopian future, the scenes are equally disturbing and beautiful, his characters inhabiting a world Andreev tells me is deeply influenced by Soviet-era literature, music and movies. Based in St. Petersburg, Russia he works primarily with Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint and relies only on a small selection of brushes and colors to create each illustration, meaning there are no special effects or 3d-rendering of anything. Andreev recently published an art book, A Separate Reality, which is available through Blurb.com.

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Where the Internet Lives: The First-Ever Glimpse Inside Google’s Data Centers

So it really is a series of tubes. For the first time ever Google has posted dozens of rare photographs inside and around its data centers revealing the absurd level of organization, energy and design that goes into powering some of the largest, most powerful systems plugged into the internet. My absolute favorite aspect is the color-coordinated design of their infrastructure as it correlates to the Google logo. What wonderful attention to detail. See many more photos of their eight data centers and Street View imagery of their Lenoir, NC data center at Where the Internet Lives. All photos by Connie Zhou.

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3D Illusion Drawings by Ramon Bruin

Freelance artist Ramon Bruin has been working on some fun 3D illusion drawings, here are three of my favorites. You can see a bit more of his work over on Facebook, and if you liked this also check out the work of Nagai Hideyuki. (via my darkened eyes)

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Light Studies: Experimental Light Photos by Kim Pimmel

San Francisco-based UI designer and photographer Kim Pimmel creates extraordinary long exposure light photographs using a huge variety of common objects and technologies. Although the photos appear digitally rendered they actually merge simple things like ping pong balls, old turntables, and simple pendulums with LEDs, Arduino microcomputers, servos and other lighting mechanisms such as iPhone screens to make the photos you see here. His light studies set on Flickr is well worth your time and he also made a wild video using some of the same techniques. (via ruines humaines)

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A Stop-Motion Crochet ‘Quadropus’ Turns the City Blue

This latest music video for Wax Tailor featuring Aloe Blacc was shot by the crew over at Australian firm Oh Yeah Wow (previously) who spent over three months carefully moving a crocheted, four-legged octopus (a quadropus!) by hand using stop-motion. The end result is technically incredible despite a somewhat gloomy ending, the team’s ability to create the illusion of being underwater using just a few sparse props is commendable in and of it itself. See more making of photos here. Directed by Darcy Prendergast and Seamus Spilsbury.

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The Waterfall Swing

From the kabillions of likes on YouTube and Tumblr this project has apparently circumnavigated the internet already, but for some reason it’s been entirely off the Colossal radar. A collaborative installation between Mike O’Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte, the Waterfall Swing is an intelligent swingset made from mechanical waterjets (solenoids) that create a falling plane of water in the path of the swinger. However just as the rider reaches the rainfall the water parts briefly ensuring nary a drop dampens their swinging. The swing was unveiled at the 2011 World Maker Faire, and you can find additional videos and specifications to build your own here, and for more intelligent rainfall goodness checkout the Rain Room. Photos above courtesy Paul Sobota.

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One Man, 1,200 Hours, and Over 100 Pencils: City Band, A Monumental Drawing by Chris LaPorte

Two weeks ago I was fortunate to spend a few days in Grand Rapids, Michigan at ArtPrize 2012, a sprawling international art fair featuring over 1,500 installations by more than 1,700 artists in venues throughout the city including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, as well as countless art galleries, cafes, sidewalks, and even smack dab in the middle of a river. The entire affair centers around popular vote that determines ten winners (a maximum award of $200,000) as well as several juried awards. You can see the 2012 winners here. It was a great trip and I saw more art three days than I’ve seen in person in the past year.

One of the most outstanding artworks I encountered in Grand Rapids was this gargantuan drawing on exhibit at the GRAM by artist Chris LaPorte who attended the New York Academy of Art and now lives and works in Michigan. By day he works as a caricature artist, having drawn some 85,000 portraits over the last 18 years, but he also spends significant hours in his studio where he labors over gargantuan life-size pencil drawings, one of which actually won the top ArtPrize honor back in 2010. This latest work, City Band, began when LaPorte discovered an 80-year-old photograph of his grandfather’s high school marching band while rummaging through his mother’s basement. The photograph is somewhat blurry and damaged with age, but he decided to use the piece as inspiration for a drawing that now spans 13 x 26 feet and was drawn with over 100 2H pencils spanning roughly 1,200 hours of drawing time.

It’s important to note that City Band is not a photo-realistic interpretation of an old photograph, a suggestion that’s often made by other who describe LaPorte’s work. The ratio of photo to drawing is 1/540 meaning that the quality of the original image was so poor in relation to the scale of the canvas that the vast majority of details came from the artist’s head as he worked. In that sense the drawing becomes a sort of historical fiction, where LaPorte added myriad details, stories, and patterns all of which center around a theme regarding the unrelenting passing of time, a sort of visual rhythm that pulses through the entire piece.

I urge you to watch the video above by filmmaker Mary Matthews to learn more about the artwork and you can see many more photos over on his recently updated website.

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