The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is famous for hosting celebrities, politicians and other notable figures over the last century, but perhaps no visitor was more significant than writer Stephen King, whose stay at the 140-room neo-Georgian hotel inspired him to write The Shining. While the movie adaptation wasn’t filmed at the Stanley, that hasn’t stopped the hotel from embracing their share of fame in association with the legendary book and 1980 horror film.
Now the Stanley plans to build a 61,500 square foot hedge maze, similar to the backdrop of the heart-pounding final moments in Kubrick’s adaptation. The maze will be built from 1,600 to 2,000 Alpine Currant hedge bushes, and the design will come from a (free) public contest. Anyone is invited to submit plans for the maze, they even have templates and detailed instructions about how to create your design. Submissions are open until January 31st, 2015. (via Neatorama)
One of the most gratifying aspects of watching stop-motion films is the knowledge that every bit of motion seen on screen is created by human hands, frame by frame, millimeter by millimeter. While an animator might tell you it takes an entire day just to film a 3-second sequence, it’s still difficult to imagine how much physical labor is involved to accomplish it. Lucky for us, the animators behind Laika’s Boxtrolls snuck in a short post-credits timelapse that reveals a brief glimpse of what happens behind the scenes to make two characters come to life.
I first saw Boxtrolls in the theater last September with my son, and this single scene caused a more vocal response from the audience than any other moment in the entire movie. People were literally gasping, myself included. Over the holidays, Focus Features finally made it available online through their YouTube channel.
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.
It has long been suspected that some of the old masters may have relied on optical devices such as the camera lucida to help with scale and proportion in their paintings, leading to more lifelike interpretations of landscapes and portraits. Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor and computer graphics specialist, became obsessed with one such painter: Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, who created such realistic paintings that they seemed to have more in common with photography than paint. Could Vermeer have created a system for replicating scenes in front of him using lenses and mirrors?
Jenison embarked on an experiment to recreate one of Vermeer’s most famous paintings, The Music Lesson. It’s an obsession that would consume five years of his life involving the actual construction of the entire room seen in the painting down to the most minute details, the (re)invention of a 17-century optical technology using period-appropriate tools and materials, and then seven months spent painting.
The entire endeavor was filmed and turned into a documentary titled Tim’s Vermeer, the trailer of which you can see above. The film began its theatrical run in January, but just became available as a Blu-ray combo pack and digital download today. Jenison also wrote a detailed article about the entire step-by-step process that was published yesterday on Boing Boing.
Just announced today, The Sand Storm is a short film directed by New York filmmaker Jason Wishnow that was shot completely under the radar in China, starring none other than dissident artist Ai Weiwei in his acting debut. How such an audacious and risky endeavor came into being is pretty mind-blowing given the heavy amount of surveillance surrounding the artist. The movie takes place in a dystopian future where Ai Weiwei plays the role of a smuggler in a world without water.
The existence of The Sand Storm was kept heavily under wraps while shooting in Beijing. Ai Weiwei has been closely watched by the government since his 2011 imprisonment and authorities still have yet to return his passport. While the short film has already been shot beginning to end, the filmmakers are raising a bit of money on Kickstarter to finish the movie and recoup some costs as crowdfunding beforehand was too risky. Had this been announced yesterday I would have assumed it was a hoax.
Update: At the moment it appears the Kickstarter has been halted due to a dispute.
Watching any film by Wes Anderson it’s impossible to ignore the director’s obsessive visual aesthetic. From his harmonizing use of color to impeccably constructed sets, every minute detail is considered and designed. Korean filmmaker Kogonada just released this supercut of one particular Anderson hallmark: the use of perfectly centered shots. Kogonada has become well-known for his videos that isolate the visual tools of directors including pieces on Kubrick, Malick, and Tarantino. (via Coudal)
Painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer and kite maker Tyrus Wong was born in China in 1910 and emigrated to the United States with his father at the age of 9. As a child his teachers noticed he possessed exceptional artistic skills which would land him a scholarship at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. By 1930 he was working in Hollywood for Warner Bros. and from 1938 to 1941 he became a “Disney inspirational sketch artist” where his lush pastel drawings of forests and deer would serve as inspiration for the movie Bambi where he served as lead artist on the film. Wong retired in 1968 and began a second career of making kites which he would fly on the Santa Monica Pier. He is now 103 years old.
Update: It’s also been brought to my attention that the Walt Disney Family Foundation in San Francisco actually just held a retrospective exhibition for Wong called Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong. If you’re interested, the catalog for that exhibition is available here. (thnx, Kelly!)