Eerie, hypnotic, and faithfully depicting the dismal reality that is 2020, a new short film by Lydia Cambron envisions her recent quarantine experience under the frame of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 2020: An Isolation Odyssey, the New York City-based designer recreates the 1968 version’s iconic ending as a way to “(poke) fun at the navel-gazing saga of life alone and indoors,” she writes in a statement.
Positioned vertically, the characters’ movements are synchronized perfectly, but while the original film’s Keir Dullea wades through the ornate home in an astronaut suit, Cambron sports a face mask and latex gloves. The reenactment is situated in the designer’s one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, and while it maintains the domestic qualities of the original, it also features contemporary updates, like a MacBook sitting on the table rather than a lavish meal. She even parallels the minutes-long credits precisely.
Cambron notes that the contemporary version considers a similarly disorienting life. “Multitasking while #wfh, conjuring guilt or longing with unused exercise equipment, your entire being reduced to a measure of time—these scenes all illustrate the absurd comedy of trying to maintain control during this unprecedented and unpredictable time,” she explains.
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Generally, the adaptation pipeline begins with books and ends in film, but Charlotte-based designer and illustrator Matt Stevens has turned that process around. For an ongoing project that’s simply titled Good Movies as Old Books, Stevens reimagines contemporary movies as vintage paperbacks and cloth-bound texts, covering Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, Jordan Peele’s Us, and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, one of the illustrator’s favorite editions. “A movie I love, the idea came quickly and easily, and it really captures something about the film and the jazz-era style,” he says.
The project has culminated in a series of prints and a forthcoming book, which Stevens recently launched as part of a Kickstarter campaign. “From my ever-growing and changing master list, once I hit 100 entries, I will have a list of about 40 that I wasn’t able to include,” he says. “Maybe a volume 2?” Keep up with all of Stevens’s new releases on Instagram. (via Plain Magazine)
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How would you biologically classify a hippogriff? Austin-based illustrator Chet Phillips is offering his own taxonomic studies for some of pop culture’s most iconic characters as part of his Unnatural History series. Through vintage-style illustrations, the artist renders a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz, Krampus, and The Lion King‘s animated duo Timon and Pumba complete with their identifying information.
You can browse the entire Unnatural History collection and pick up your own print on Etsy. Phillips also shares much of his work that’s based in contemporary culture on Behance and Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)
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Sydney-based artist Mechelle Bounpraseuth crafts life-sized ceramics that explore her identity as a first-generation daughter of Laotian refugees. Her small and glossy ceramic artwork, which ranges from drink cans to widely known sauces, explores her connection with her past and how branded ingredients are rooted in culinary culture and rituals.
Bounpraseuth was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, and despite many fond memories of her family and childhood, her religion discouraged her from pursuing artistic pursuits. She left the religion in her 20s and got married, realizing that her dream of becoming an artist was possible and that she didn’t have to succumb to the person her religion had wanted her to be.
Her creativity initially began from drawing and creating zines, before Bounpraseuth enrolled in a ceramics course and began crafting functional objects. Noticing her talent for the medium, her tutor encouraged her to pursue work with more artistic flair. She began to expand on her drawings of household objects by recreating them in clay and glossy bright colors.
One of Bounpraseuth’s ceramics is a Heinz Ketchup bottle, a condiment found in many family fridges and cupboards throughout the world. For the artist, the sauce represents the memory of her family eating pho together, a ritual in which they would come together and make the recipe from scratch with a dollop of ketchup. These sculptural forms are meaningful symbols to Bounpraseuth as the pho was a labor of love and would take her family all day to make.
Through the creation of these domestic objects from her past, Bounpraseuth uses her artwork as a way to reflect upon and process her childhood memories and as a way to navigate her old and new identities. These pieces illustrate how some values remain passed down from generations, like Bounparseuth’s reference to her family’s shared domesticity, while some core aspects of family, like religion, are not always.
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Maine-based artist, illustrator, and pop culture cartographer Andrew DeGraff creates detailed maps that outline the movements of major characters in iconic movies. Made by hand using gouache and ink on paper, each of DeGraff’s maps are meticulously planned and can take up to 1,000 hours to complete.
DeGraff has been working as an illustrator for 15 years. He began his “Cinemaps” series in 2011 and has since published a book that includes art inspired by Back to the Future, King Kong, The Shining, Pulp Fiction, and other classic movies. Speaking to Colossal about his process, DeGraff said that it doesn’t matter if the film is a favorite that he has seen several times, or if it is one that he is less familiar with—the approach is the same. While carefully watching the movie a few more times, he deconstructs each scene and character journey (which are color-coded in the maps) to create a flowchart. “Then I start building my reference file from film stills, behind the scenes shots of the sets, location shots, Google Earth—even LEGO recreations if [they’re] helpful,” he explains. He then creates a blocking sketch before going in with pencils and paint.
“The smallest ones are 50–80 hours, and the largest go up to 600–1,000 hrs,” DeGraff said. “It’s often tedious but meditative work and I’ve come to love it. And I get to listen to a lot of audiobooks and music while I work since I don’t have to fully concentrate while I spend a day painting 800 trees or something.” To see more of DeGraff’s attention to detail in painted trees and movie landmarks, follow him on Instagram.
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The sprawling team behind the equally sprawling megalopolis of art called Meow Wolf (previously) have banded together to create a feature-length documentary explaining how its “House of Eternal Return” came to be. The 88-minute film, titled Origin Story, was directed by Morgan Capps and Jilann Spitzmiller and written by Capps and Spitzmiller along with Christina Procter. It follows the seven founding members along with hundreds of volunteers through the decade-long journey of exploring, creating, and building Meow Wolf. The film includes footage from the nascent days of Meow Wolf’s artists working together, and also dives into the future plans of the group.
Built out of an old bowling alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the support of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, Meow Wolf opened to the public in 2016 filled with works by 150 artists spread out over 20,000 square feet. The immersive art experience has quickly become a cultural touchpoint, as it’s welcomed over one million visitors in the last three years, and is in the process of expanding to two new locations, in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meow Wolf’s original location has expanded as well, with several new rooms and sequences added in 2018. Cakeland, by Scott Hove (previously) explores notions of heaven and hell, and lightness and darkness, in his two-part installation which engages his signature “cake” creations. (You can watch a 5 minute video that takes you behind the scenes and inside Hove’s head here.)
Justin Di Ianni also built a new portal called Timeworm. “The space is a representation of our idea of the fifth dimension,” Meow Wolf shared. “For those out of the know, the fifth dimension is one in which all time and space occur in the same instant. This means that there is no visible movement, rather all movement appears as a singular line through space. Imagine all of your life’s journeys being viewed as a single line on a global map; that’s dimension five.”
The film will be released on November 29, 2018 at 600 theaters around the country. You can take a look here to see if it’s playing nearby, and follow along with Meow Wolf’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
Update: You can now rent or purchase a digital copy of the full documentary online.
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
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