In this brief video, artist Garip Ay creates an interpretation of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ painting using a paper marbling technique—or more specifically the Turkish method called ebru. Marbling involves the careful process of floating colors on the surface of water or a slightly more viscous solution called size, before transferring the design or pattern to a special sheet of paper in a dramatic flourish. If you liked this, here’s another video from the 1970s that demonstrates even more elaborate marbling techniques. (via Metafilter)
Swedish photographer Erik Johansson had a vision for a digital photograph of a lake shattering like a mirror, an image he wanted to produce as accurately as possible. To achieve this effect for Impact, Johansson bought 17 square meters of mirrors, found a boat and a model, and posed all three in a stone pit until he got the best shot for the final image. Several months of planning, shooting, and editing later and he has an entire video that documents the tasks that lie far beyond the many hours he spent in Photoshop.
For this personal project Johansson shot on a Hasselblad H5D-40, edited on a Eizo CG318-4k monitor with Adobe Photoshop, and filmed the entire process with a 4k GoPro. You can see more of Johansson’s behind-the-scenes videos and finished images on his Instagram and Youtube channel. (via Colossal Submissions)
Designer Alexandre Chapelin of LA Table designed this intriguing series of three tables he refers to as Lagoon Tables. Each table is formed from a carved travertine base to which he adheres a special resin that forms volumes of water that appear to slice through each piece. The tables are undoubtedly influenced by Chapelin’s immediate surroundings on the small Caribbean island of Saint Martin where his studio is based. You can see more of his work here. (via Colossal Submissions)
Chinese artist Zheng Lu has long been fascinated by the properties of water, from its amorphous shape when flying through the air to the quality of light that glints across its surface. Lu also grew up in a literary family where the art of Chinese calligraphy played a meaningful role in his upbringing. In his large-scale stainless steel sculptures, the artist merges the two unrelated interests to create gravity-defying waves of calligraphy that twist and splash dramatically through the air.
To make each artwork Lu begins with with a plaster base to which he gradually adheres thousands of laser-cut Chinese characters. The final pieces can sit either freestanding on a pedestal or installed as numerous suspended parts that are linked in space to fill an entire gallery.
One of Lu’s largest sculptures from his water series is currently on view at Sundram Tagore Gallery in New York through October 10th, and you can see more of his work on Artsy and at Fabien Fryns Fine Art.
Across India an entire category of architecture is slowly crumbling into obscurity, and you’ve probably never even heard it. Such was the case 30 years ago when Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman made her first trip to the country and discovered the impressive structures called stepwells. Like gates to the underworld, the massive subterranean temples were designed as a primary way to access the water table in regions where the climate vacillates between swelteringly dry during most months, with a few weeks of torrential monsoons in the spring.
Thousands of stepwells were built in India starting around the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. where they first appeared as rudimentary trenches but slowly evolved into much more elaborate feats of engineering and art. By the 11th century some stepwells were commissioned by wealthy or powerful philanthropists (almost a fourth of whom were female) as monumental tributes that would last for eternity. Lautman shares with Arch Daily about the ingenious construction of the giant wells that plunge into the ground up to 10 stories deep:
Construction of stepwells involved not just the sinking of a typical deep cylinder from which water could be hauled, but the careful placement of an adjacent, stone-lined “trench” that, once a long staircase and side ledges were embedded, allowed access to the ever-fluctuating water level which flowed through an opening in the well cylinder. In dry seasons, every step—which could number over a hundred—had to be negotiated to reach the bottom story. But during rainy seasons, a parallel function kicked in and the trench transformed into a large cistern, filling to capacity and submerging the steps sometimes to the surface. This ingenious system for water preservation continued for a millennium.
Because of an increasing drop in India’s water table due to unregulated pumping, most of the wells have long since dried up and are now almost completely neglected. While some stepwells near areas of heavy tourism are well maintained, most are used as garbage dumping grounds and are overgrown with wildlife or caved in completely. Many have fallen completely off the map.
Inspired by an urgency to document the wells before they disappear, Lautman has traveled to India numerous times in the last few years and taken upon herself to locate 120 structures across 7 states. She’s currently seeking a publisher to help bring her discoveries and photographs to a larger audience, and also offers stepwell lectures to architects and universities. If you’re interested, get in touch.
You can read a more comprehensive account of stepwells by Lautman on Arch Daily.
Glass artist Ben Young (previously here and here) just shared a glimpse of his latest sculptural works made from layers of cut laminate window panes. The bodies of water depicted in Young’s work are usually cut into cross-sections akin to textbook illustrations, creating translucent geometric islands that can appear both monolithic or chamsic.
“I hope viewers might imagine the work as something ‘living’ that creates the illusion of space, movement, depth and sense of spatial being,” Young says. “I like to play with the irony between the glass being a solid material and how I can form such natural and organic shapes.” The self-taught artist, furniture maker, and surfer has explored the properties of cut glass for over a decade at his Sydney studio. Here’s a bit more about his processes via Kirra Galleries:
Each of Young’s sculptural works are hand drawn, hand cut and handcrafted from clear sheet float glass made for windows, then laminated layer upon layer to create the final form. He constructs models, draws templates, makes custom jigs and then cuts the layers with a glazier’s hand-tool. The complexity comes from the planning phase, where he says “I do a lot of thinking before I even start to draw or cut.” He then sketches the concept by hand and creates a plan using traditional technical drawing techniques: “I work with 2D shapes and have to figure out how to translate that into a 3D finished piece. Sometimes my starting point changes dramatically as I have to find a way to layer the glass to create certain shapes.” The texture and colour of the glass varies in every piece according to its thickness and arrangement.