Art

A Subversive Village of Urban Miniatures Covered in Graffiti and Tiny Murals

November 23, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Antony H Haylock, 2019. Images courtesy of Emily Paxton

Photographer Emily Paxton and artist Pam Glew of PaxtonGlew have curated an exhibition of tiny houses, stores, and train cars that is unlike your typical model village. Instead of pristine new buildings, each model is hand-painted with graffiti and colorful murals. Together the miniatures form a well-worn city from the collective imagination of over 40 urban contemporary artists from around the world.

Titled Urban Miniatures, the pop-up opened on November 23, 2019 as a part of the Artists Open Houses Christmas Festival in Brighton, England. The roster of artists tapped to contribute include train-writers, muralists, designers, and painters, most of whom typically work at a much larger scale. From an optical illusion mural painted on a mini hotel by Peeta (previously), to architectural jewelry by Tiny Scenic, the scale of each piece in the exhibition forces the viewer to look more closely and appreciate the details. That level of intimacy is not always possible when a piece is ten stories tall or speeding down a track.

For those able to visit Brighton, Urban Miniatures is scheduled to run through December 22, 2019. The curators are also offering miniature-themed workshops for those who visit the gallery space. Limited edition prints, models, and other art gifts are also available via their online store. For more information, follow @paxtonglew on Instagram.

DONK, 2019

Peeta, 2019

Ange Bell, 2019

Remi Rough, 2019

Tiny Scenic, 2019

Tiny Scenic, 2019

Eelus, 2019

Mark McClure, 2019

Shuby, 2019

 

 



Design Photography

Journalist Rachel Lopez Documents the Delightfully Diverse Patterns on the Ceilings of Mumbai Taxis

November 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Rachel Lopez has a thing with… taxi ceilings. Instead of joining the 200,000+ Instagram posts hashtagged #ihavethisthingwithfloors, the lifelong Mumbai resident flips her phone’s camera into selfie mode. Lopez documents the vast array of eccentric plastic patterns covering the ceilings of her hailed rides, many of them taken in her frequent trips around the city as a journalist with the Hindustan Times.

Mumbai is home to about 58,000 metered taxis, and each one seems to feature a totally different interior aesthetic. Though many of the cars themselves are the same model, drivers often line the ceiling with colorful patterned plastic or vinyl to protect the easily-stained felt fabric. She prefers the traditional taxis to the newer influx of startup ride shares, despite the unpredictability of independent operators, who may decline a trip depending on the destination. Since April 2017, Lopez has been collecting consistently framed photos to track the diversity of designs she encounters.

“I live for the day a driver shows interest in my collection. Most of them, when I compliment them, merely grunt in acknowledgement,” Lopez tells Colossal. “They’re determinedly uninterested, for some reason. But a few of them will indulgently smile and get on with the ride. In Mumbai, if you’re a solo woman commuter, the driver is much more interested in whether you’re married, Indian politics, and how much money a journalist makes.”

As she continues her to add to her simple yet infinite collection, Lopez has enjoyed connecting with others. She displayed one hundred of her photos this February at Kala Ghoda Festival, which is Asia’s largest street festival for the arts. “I was keen to show on the street, not in a sanitized gallery, so everyday crowds could appreciate them,” says Lopez. “The response was overwhelming! The sheer diversity and number of designs are a surprise even to lifelong Mumbai residents (even I’m shocked that I still find new ones two years into the project). It’s one of the most gratifying outcomes of the series—being able to share with my beloved city the pictures I’d been quietly taking.”

Ride along with Lopez by following her on Instagram, and check out more customized rides in our article about the Mumbai-based TaxiFabric company. (via Kottke)

 

 



Art Craft

Innumerable Hand-Stitched Beads Form Narrative Vodou Flags by Myrlande Constant

November 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Beadwork artist Myrlande Constant has spent nearly three decades honing the craft of her intricate flag tableaux. Often spanning six or seven feet, the large-scale flags feature religious, historical, and mythological scenes, surrounded by a beaded “frame” of abstract patterns or symbolic objects. Constant hails from from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she continues to live and work. The artist learned the art form her mother, who was a factory worker at a local wedding dress manufacturer that created beaded garments. Apparently, several other women who were employed at the factory also created artwork in the Vodou flag tradition outside of work hours.

Constant was recently commissioned to create a new work, one of her largest to date, for Faena Hotel in Miami, Florida. It will be displayed, along with several of her other flags, during Faena Festival, a free series of events and installation running December 2 – 8, 2019, alongside Miami Art Week. Learn more about Constant’s work in a Huffington Post article by Wesleyan University.

The artist with one of her flags

 

 



Design History

A Miniature Magazine Penned by Teenage Charlotte Brontë is (Finally) Acquired by the Famous Author’s Namesake Museum

November 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

It’s often said that even the most successful people start small. What they probably don’t mean, though, is that to become an author equal to the timeless stature of Charlotte Brontë, you should pen a miniature magazine first. Yet Brontë did just that: in 1830, at age fourteen, she hand-wrote six issues of a petite periodical, one of which recently came up at auction for $777,000. The Young Men’s Magazine was a matchbook-sized series including stories and even advertisements of Brontë’s devising.

The Brontë Society placed the winning bid to acquire Brontë’s magazine, wresting it back from the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, a now-shuttered for-profit (and fraud-ridden) venture that nabbed it in 2011. Learn more about the history and significance of The Young Men’s Magazine in the video below, which features Ann Dinsdale, the curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England.

 

 



Illustration Photography

Phone Buddies Lurk and Ooze Out of Screens in Embellished Photos by Andrew Rae and Ruskin Kyle

November 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Dripping blobs of oily black, cosmic haze, and octopus tentacles emerge from the screens of smartphone users on the streets of London. Illustrator Andrew Rae teamed up with street photographer Ruskin Kyle to add some visual flair to people immersed in their electronic devices. Some of the protagonists are simply standing on the street using their phones, while other have paired their device usage with competing activities like dog-walking and ramen-eating.

“I always go for a walk on Hampstead Heath in the mornings for inspiration and I found myself nearly bumping into people on their phones,” Rae tells Colossal. Because many people in the area also are out with their dogs, “it started me thinking about the phones as if they are little pets or creatures that they are carrying in their hands.”

Rae shares that the idea percolated over time, and in conversation with his photographer friend, the pair realized the potential in the concept. Initially, Rae tried to completely replace the phones with illustrations, but he then decided to incorporate the physical technology as the source, or a part of, of the imagined creatures. In developing each character, Rae worked from some tried-and-true shapes and concepts from his larger illustration practice, and let each one develop organically.

To keep up with new embellishments of tech-absorbed passersby, follow Andrew Rae on Instagram and see more of Ruskin Kyle’s street photography on the platform as well. Just don’t bump into a stranger while you scroll through! (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Photography Science

‘Sea-Thru’ Allows Scientists to Accurately Recalibrate the True Colors of Sea Life

November 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Two researchers at the University of Haifa have developed Sea-Thru, an algorithmic method for color-correcting underwater images. The tool allows scientists—and laypeople—to understand and contextualize the “true” colors of aquatic phenomena like fish, coral, and anemones. Sea-Thru was developed by Derya Akkaynak and Tali Treibitz and is a more accurate re-reading of colors, rather than editing tones artificially in Photoshop.

In the paper’s abstract, the duo explain that the way colors come through underwater is not uniform (which is why the aforementioned Photoshop doctoring isn’t accurate). Rather, the distance from the lens and the reflectivity of the captured object determines how its colors appear. So, the way sand appears is differently modulated by the water than, say the scales on a fish passing above the sand. Sea-Thru uses an algorithm to accurately and efficiently adjust images taken underwater.

See the algorithm in action in the video below from Scientific American, and read Akkaynak and Treibitz’s full paper here. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 

 



Design

A Set of Six Uniquely Textured Toys Engages Children in Processing Their Emotions

November 20, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A set of six figurines made from wood and silicone are designed to help children process difficult memories and emotions. Created Israeli designer Yaara Nusboim, the “Alma” dolls correlate to different feelings: fear, pain, emptiness, love, anger and safety. The unique textures and colors of fuschia spikes, turquoise shards, and pink petals prompt children to engage with the dolls in different ways.

Nusboim envisions the dolls being used as part of play therapy, wherein a therapist can observe their young patient’s behaviors and choices with the toys to help unpack underlying psychological or emotional concerns. “Playing with a toy provides a safe psychological distance from the child’s private problems and allows them to experience thoughts and emotions in a way that’s suitable for their development,” the designer explained to Dezeen.

Take a peek into the design process in the video below, and explore more of Nusboim’s socially conscious designs on her website. (via Dezeen)