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Art

Insect Illustrations Inspired by Looney Tunes Characters and Horror Movie Icons

June 22, 2019

Andrew LaSane

UK-based illustrator Richard Wilkinson (previously) imagines new insect species inspired by familiar faces from popular culture. Two of his more recent series cover both ends of a fantastical spectrum, with bugs designed after horror movie villains and children’s cartoon characters.

For his horror icons Family: Timorpersonae collection, Wilkinson pays homage to classic slashers and newer terrors including Jason Voorhees, Pennywise the Clown, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the demon Valak. For each insect’s zoological nomenclature, Wilkinson creates a Latin phrase that serves as a description of the character or their respective film. For example, his Freddy Krueger “A Nightmare on Elm Street” piece is titled Insomnium ulmusvicus: insomnium from the Latin insomnis (sleep), ulmus (street), and vicus (elm).

For his Family: Insanusmelodiae series, Wilkinson incorporated the faces of iconic Looney Tunes characters into the bodies of beetles and bugs who inherited unfortunate but funny traits from their cartoon counterparts. “Their distinctive characteristics include loud and often odd vocalizations and the very distinctive fast and erratic movements,” the artist wrote in a statement. He added that the “most peculiar aspect of the Insanusmelodiae’s behaviour is their clumsiness. They often meet their end under a falling stone or twig, or after falling from a long drop. Their wings, also vestigial, can produce enough uplift to keep them in the air for a moment or two before they fall.”

To see more of Wilkinson’s buggy mashups, fly on over to his Instagram page.

 

 



Art Design

Send-Ups of Pop Culture and Capitalism Hidden in Retail Stores by Obvious Plant

April 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The next time you’re in a grocery store, pharmacy, or toy department and spot a subtly unusual item, it might an Obvious Plant. Jeff Wysaski, the man behind the meme, has been creating and depositing strange flyers, placards, and packaged products in conventional retail outlets for several years. His creations are often a send-up of a popular pop culture phenomenon like Sesame Street or The Avengers, and feature chuckle-inducing copy, alternately quippy and filled with intentional typos. From a lonely Bert to Barely Any Ketchup (made by “Hardly Foods”), Obvious Plant items have become increasingly elaborate over the years, and Wysanski makes some of his designs available for purchase in an online store.

You can follow along with Obvious Plant’s quirky interventions on Instagram. If these are up your alley, also check out Chindōgu, a concept and subsequent community of designers of useless products, first popularized in 1990’s Japan by Kenji Kawakami.

 

 



Design

R2-D2 Appears to Sit on a German Hillside Thanks to a University Observatory’s Star Wars-Inspired Makeover

April 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Sci-fi superfan Hubert Zitt has given the Zweibrücken Observatory of the Natural Science Association a pop culture-inspired makeover. The paint job, completed in fall 2018, replicates R2-D2’s signature blue and white markings on the already perfectly droid-shaped building. The observatory has become a destination for Star Wars fans who trek up the hill—sometimes in costume—to pay homage and take a photo with the larger than life R2-D2. Zitt, a sci-fi enthusiast, is known for his writing and lecturing on Star Trek in addition to his 20 year professorship in computer science and engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Zweibrücken. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Art

Popular Cartoons and Mascots Unwind to Reveal Realistic Depictions of Their Human and Animal Inspirations

November 7, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Dutch artist Stefan Thelen, a.k.a. Super A (previously here and here) removes the fantasy from classic pop culture characters like Batman and Mickey Mouse to reveal more realistic interpretations of their cartoon constructs. An owl peers out between the gaps of its cartoon self in a painting of a scene from Sleeping Beauty, while a white cat with piercing orange eyes pokes its paw out of a spiraled depiction of Hello Kitty.

The new works, which are part of Thelen’s ongoing series titled Trapped, are currently on view at the Brand Library & Arts Center for his solo exhibition Domestication curated by Thinkspace Projects. You can see more of his mash-ups of pop culture figures and their human and animal inspirations on his website and Instagram. (via Arrested Motion)

 

 



Amazing Dance Music

Dancing in Movies: A Foot-Tapping Montage of Cinema Scenes

June 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Despite the incredibly vast array of mood and subject matter of films throughout the ages, dancing is a universal dramatic device used to create moments of levity, romance, and drama. Casper Langbak of CLS videos created a delightful super-edit of nearly 300 dance scenes in movies ranging from La La Land to Schindler’s List. You can see a full list of the clips here. Langbak has a large catalogue of cinematic collections and tributes, like Meet the Hero, on YouTube.

 

 



Art Design

A Project to Immortalize David Bowie in Traditional Woodblock Prints

June 7, 2018

Johnny Waldman

David Bowie, who passed away in 2016, had a very special connection – some may even call it a “love affair” – with Japan. He originally developed his affinity after taking an interest in Kabuki and was heavily influenced by the exaggerated gestures, costumes and make-up. He later went on to work with fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto on many iconic costumes, as well as with musicians like Tomoyasu Hotei and the filmmaker Nagisa Oshima. In a sense, the love affair has come full circle and now a project has been announced to immortalize David Bowie in the form of ukiyo-e woodblock prints that depict Bowie in elements of kabuki.

Two unique prints were announced last month from Ukiyo-e Project, an organization that creates contemporary Ukiyo-e based on elements of pop culture. Each of the prints are inspired by iconic photo shoots of Bowie, which have been translated to woodblock print by ukiyo-e artist Masumi Ishikawa.

One of these is inspired by Brian Duffy’s photograph of a bare-chested Bowie with a red lightning bolt scrawled across his face the cover of “Aladdin Sane” (1973). For the ukiyo-e print, the artist imagines Bowie as Kidomaru, a fictitious snake charmer from the Kamakura period.

The second print was inspired by Terry O’Neill’s “Diamond Dogs” promotional photograph (1974) in which Bowie is posing with a large barking dog. For this ukiyo-e print the artist imagines Bowie as Takezawa Toji, a magician and entertainer who was often depicted by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

The prints will be on display, and available for sale (priced at 100,000 yen) at the Marc Jacobs-owned BOOKMARC in Omotesando from June 23 – July 1, 2018. The final prints will be displayed alongside photos of David Bowie, as well as other materials that show the process of creating the woodblock prints. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

left: David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, Eyes Open, 1973© Courtesy of the Duffy Archive | right: Terry O’Neill – David Bowie Diamond Dogs, 1974 © Courtesy Mouche Gallery

 

 



Art

Swarovski Crystal Sculptures by Daniel Jacob Immortalize Popsicles, Sneakers, and Other Pop Culture Icons

May 22, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Daniel Jacob began making art in Chicago in the early 1990s, channeling his ideas into sculptures and works on paper. After spending most of his career in business, he has returned to his love of art. His current practice experiments with crystals and stones to create pop culture-inspired sculptures of dripping popsicles, Air Jordan sneakers, animals, and elements of city infrastructure, like sewer grates.

Each of Jacob’s works begin as three-dimensional scans which are then sculpted into cast resin and finally topped by hand with hundreds of thousands of multi-colored Swarovski crystals. A few of Jacob’s sculptures are currently on view at the recently opened Nonfinito Gallery in New York through May 31, 2018. You can see more of the artist’s work on his website and Instagram.