As part of her MA work at the Design Academy Eindhoven, artist and graphic designer Echo Yang created a series titled Autonomous Machines where common analog devices like tin windup toys, a Walkman, an alarm clock and other machines were connected to writing and painting instruments. As each machine was set loose on a canvas its specialized motions were translated into brush strokes, paint blobs, and pencil marks resulting in self-generated artworks somewhat reminiscent of spirographs. While conceptual artists have long been recording the actions of machines, plants, wind and other moving objects to generate artwork, Yang’s painting wind-up chicken toy stands out as a superbly executed idea. It would be great to see a whole series of those. You can see many more painting vacuum cleaners, hand mixers and electric razors on her website. (via MOCO LOCO)
In this latest clip from Fernando Livschitz of Black Sheep Films we watch as tin windup toys overtake the streets of Buenos Aires, living amongst its inhabitants as if it was an everyday occurrence. Livschitz is known for his short films that blend live action footage with aspects of absurdity, most notably his New York and Buenos Aires theme parks. Music by the very fine Canned Heat circa 1972.
Using dismembered plastic parts from old dolls and other toys, artist Freya Jobbins assembles these exceedingly strange portraits of people and pop culture icons. Chances are when viewing these you fall firmly into one of two camps: the highly amused or the highly disturbed. Regardless, it’s hard to deny the incredible amount of labor that goes into each piece, from the exploration of form and the use of color to make each anatomical amalgamation.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in West Sydney, Jobbins is influenced in part by Guiseppe Archimboldo’s fruit and vegetable paintings as well as Ron Mueck’s oversized humans. I first encountered Jobbins’ work close-up at the Toy Cycle exhibition in Tel Aviv back in December courtesy of Kinetis, and despite the mild case of heebie-jeebies it was impossible to look away as I tried to figure out how each piece came together.
Artist Brett Kern creates detailed ceramic objects that at first appear almost indistinguishable from inexpensive inflatable toys. Kern mimics the tell-tale wrinkles and forms of air-filled toys like dinosaurs, astronauts, balloons, and even whoopie cushions—all made from clay. You can see more work in his gallery, and he has several pieces available in his Etsy shop. (via Laughing Squid)
Temari balls are a form of folk art that originated in China and were introduced to Japan in the 7th century. The carefully hand-embroidered balls often made from the thread of old kimonos were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day as special gift. According to Wikipedia the balls would sometimes contain secret handwritten wish for the child, or else contained some kind of noise-making object like a bell.
Flickr user NanaAkua photographed this amazing collection of geometric spheres created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s. She has since created hundreds of them, nearly 500 of which you can see right here. (via DDN Japan)
Is it a toy? A tool? It’s both, and it’s amazing. Polar is a modular pen and stylus made of 12 neodymium magnets that can be disassembled for all kinds of quirky and functional purposes. The pen is the brainchild of Andrew Gardner over at Indiedesign and is one of many great projects to appear since Kickerstarter expanded into Canada only two weeks ago. Polar will come in both silver and 24k gold models, in multiple colors, and has an add-on of chrome-plated steel ball bearings to create additional magnetized objects. Pick one up over on Kickstarter.
Designed by Yonder Biology (“The DNA Art Company”), the Dino Pet is a dinosaur-shaped habitat for a species of bioluminescent marine algae that photosynthesizes during the day and glows at night. “Dino” is actually a sort of a play on words, as the actual organisms contained inside the toy model are called Dinoflagellata and are known for their ability to glow when physically agitated (ie. shaken). The pet lives for 1-3 months and can potentially live indefinitely if the algae is supplied with the proper food. The Dino Pet is currently funding on Kickstarter, get your own for a pledge of $40. (via PSFK)