Artist Mike Stilkey uses the covers of books reclaimed from library trash heaps as a canvas for his whimsical paintings. He works with a mix of ink, colored pencil, paint and lacquer to create each artwork that can vary from anthropomorphic animals playing instruments to portraits of men and women inspired by Weimar-era German expressionism. Elements of his playful and at times emotionally exaggerated style have been compared to Edward Gorey and Egon Schiele.
The Los Angeles-based artist credits an immersion in skateboard culture during much of his youth as the beginning of his artistic career, as he simultaneously became exposed to graffiti and street art, though he received no formal training. His work has since been exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally in galleries, museums, and libraries.
First: watch the shaky video, it’s all spoilers here on out.
On first view of this clip by Benjamin Dalsgaard Hughes, I was convinced the skewed perspective of the painting was some kind of digital trick on an HD display, somewhat similar to the dancing shadows we saw a few months ago. But then, the sudden disorienting reveal. What! This particular optical illusion is what’s known as reverse perspective painting, where objects (usually rooms) are painted on a physically skewed surface resulting in images that appear in reverse when viewed head on.
The painting above is by Brian Williams and is currently on view as part of a show on 3D art that just opened at The Gallery Ice in Windsor. Perhaps the most well-known artist working with forced perspective is Patrick Hughes. Here he is discussing his own work at Flowers Gallery a few years ago. Love the bit at the end where the entire crowd is squatting up and down to view the painting.
From onion peels to kiwi seeds or even bits of chocolate, it seems any canvas is sufficient for Turkish artist Hasan Kale (previously) as long as it meets the requirement of being incredibly tiny. Hasan delights in the challenge of depicting landscapes of his native Istanbul in the most infinitesimal of brush strokes, a feat that requires the use of a magnifying glass to appreciate the details of each piece. While the longevity of each object he paints is questionable, the steadiness of his hand is impressive to witness. See much more over on Facebook. (via Illusion)
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.
Philadelphia artist Kim Alsbrooks recreates historial oil portraits on flattened beers cans and fast food containers. Titled “My White Trash Family” the series was conceived while Alsbrook was living in the south and found herself grappling with prevailing ideas of class. She shares via a statement about the project:
The White Trash Series was developed while living in the South out of frustration with some of the prevailing ideologies, in particular, class distinction. This ideology seems to be based on a combination of myth, biased history and a bizarre sentimentality about old wars and social structures. With the juxtaposition of the portraits from museums, once painted on ivory, now on flattened trash like beer cans and fast food containers, the artist sets out to even the playing field, challenging the perception of the social elite in today’s society.
Filmmaker Jesse Brass recently caught up with Alsbrook to interview her for his Making Art series. Watch it above.
Our friends over at the Sketchbook Project recently launched their latest global art endeavor, the Pen Pal Painting Exchange. Based on criteria you provide, the project pairs you with a like-minded artist and you’re both provided with a pre-gessoed 4″ x 4″ canvas, a custom canvas bag, and loose guidelines. After finishing the artwork, the paintings are then swapped in the mail. The first theme, “flight,” proved wildly successful, and the next theme, “classic,” is up for registration through September 1st.
When looking at Swiss painter Conrad Jon Godly’s mountainous paintings, it takes a moment to truly appreciate the incredible skill behind what seems to be such an effortless application of paint. Up close the landscapes appear to be a thick, almost random mix of blue, white and black, the result oils mixed with turpentine to create a thick impasto that Godly often leaves dripping from the canvas. Take a few steps back (or just squint your eyes a bit) and miraculously you might as well be looking at a photograph of the Swiss Alps. It’s a visual trick that the artist has perfected in both small and large-scale paintings over the last few years.
Godly studied as a painter at the Basel School of Art from 1982 until 1986, but then worked as a professional photographer for 18 years. He only returned to painting in 2007 and it would seem his photographic work has had a subtle influence on his abstract painting. The artist most recently had exhibitions at Gallery Luciano Fasciati and Tony Wuethrich Gallery in Switzerland, and you can see many more paintings on his website. (via OEN, A Wash of Black)