Category Archives: Inspiration

Poster Art

This summer I’ve started getting involved with an awesome gallery called The People’s Art of Portland. It’s made up of 4 spaces at the top of Pioneer Place run by these guys who curate a lot of different shows and installations without as much hassle, restrictions and b.s. that most galleries make you deal with. Plus there’s always a fridge full of beer. Actually I don’t really know how it works, I just show up on Saturdays, but Chris Haberman, Jason Brown and Heidi Wirz seem pretty on top of things.

Besides displaying local artists, emerging artists and group shows, each month they showcase two different national level poster artists as their blockbusters. Having been there for two months worth of shows, I’ve learned about the work of 4 poster artists which are all amazing: Emek, Guy Burwell, Uncle Charlie and Furturtle. Here are some examples of their work:

Emek

Guy Burwell

Uncle Charlie

Furturtle

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10 Google Art Logos

Dennis Hwang is the graphic designer who makes the google logos but as a webmaster the logo-creating is actually only 10% of his job. The other 90% is mastering the web I guess. It probably explains in this article. He also said that the artist birthday logos are his favorite to do. Here are a few examples:

Van Gogh

Warhol

Pollock

Escher

Jeff Koons

Dali

Magritte

Miro

da Vinci

Michelangelo

These are all pretty awesome but I think I like the Pollock one the best, just because of how hard it is to read the word Google in it.

 

 

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Salvador Dali’s Guide to Making Art

"Melancholy, Atomic, Uranic Idyll" 1945

Sorry to anyone who noticed the no posts the past couple weeks (mom), but you can’t say you weren’t warned about the laziness!

“50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship”

The late 40’s were an interesting turning point in Salvador Dali’s career. The trauma of the atomic bomb caused him be interested in both more scientific and more spiritual themes, and in 1948 he wrote a book called “50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship,” a guide on how to be as great as Salvador Dali. Wanting to be as great as Salvador Dali, I bought the book.

Dali has always been one of my favorite artists. I think it’s because of how well he creatively manipulates symbols. Symbols are neat because they speak directly to the unconscious. They make up the language of visual art but need to be constantly re-imagined to be unique, something I could only hope to one day be as successful as Dali at.

Dali’s Atomic Mysticism:

In the first half of his career Dali focused on the symbolism of Freud’s emerging psychoanalytic theories. There was a lot of sex and excrement. I mean, he did plenty of other stuff too, but one of his main themes was unconscious thoughts and desires.

"The Lugubrious Game" 1929. Seriously, check out the guy at bottom right:

Dali was traumatized after the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima in 1945. His focus turned to the field of nuclear physics which he combined with a new interest in Christianity and what he saw as the ideal of renaissance painting.

"Dematerialization Near the Nose of Nero" 1947. Something about atoms, maybe? I mean, it says "atom" right in there.

Dali started a new spiritual era in his art that influenced everything he made from then on. His “Mystical Manifesto” explains the change during this time:

Many of the scenes I have painted in this period express the immense fear that took hold of me when I heard of the explosion of the bomb. I used my paranoiac-critical method to analyze the world. I want to perceive and understand the hidden powers and laws of things, in order to have them in my power. A brilliant inspiration shows me that I have an unusual weapon at my disposal to help me penetrate to the core of reality: mysticism… I, Dali, shall use my work to demonstrate the unity of the universe, by showing the spirituality of all substance.

"The Temptation of St. Anthony" 1946. One of my favorite paintings by anyone. Possibly THE favorite ever. I'll have to think about it.

Dali’s Secrets of Mystical Craftsmanship:

And now that I have read his book, and am therefore also a genius, let me share some of his secrets:

  • The painter must study architecture and avoid music. “Architecture will be for you a very superior ‘frozen music,’ since it addresses itself not to the ear but to the noblest organ, the eye.”
  • “Your studio must be situated close to the spot where you were born, and as, if you are to be a good painter, this spot must have an admirable natural setting.”
  • “When you are painting always think of something else.”
  • It’s not possible to paint everything that exists in the universe. The painter is limited to “only a few of them with fanatical constancy. The painter is above all one who likes this and who does not like that. This is known as ‘having taste.'”
  • On a scale of 0-20… Genius: Raphael-20 Dali-19 Mondrian-0. Craftsmanship: Raphael-19 Dali-12 Mondrian-0. Originality: Raphael-20 Dali-17 Mondrian-1/2.
  • “The two most beautiful and useful colors that exist are black and white, and the true nobility of the art of every colorist depends on the knowledge of how to utilize these as the basis of your pictorial work.”
  • A painter’s slumber takes practice. When napping one must lay holding a heavy brush upright and above a ceramic plate, so that when the brush drops out of your hands you wake up. A few moments of sleep is all you need to feel revived and any more will harm your work.
  • Create a telescope out of two magnifying glasses and a sea urchin skeleton through which you’ll view the painting to decide if it’s done or not. And because sea urchin skeletons are “very like the skeleton of heaven” you should always keep one somewhere in your studio to “constantly remind you of the celestial regions which the sensuality of your oils and your media might so easily cause you to forget.” It’s actually tripping me out a little that I’m reading about Dali’s urchin obsession today, since I just finished a painting of a sea urchin a few days ago (and gave it a cosmic title!) But I guess that shouldn’t surprise me now that I’m a mystical craftsman.
  • “The last secret of this book is that before all else it is absolutely necessary that at the moment when you sit down before your easel to paint your picture, your “painter’s hand” be guided by an angel.”

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Tiny Architecture

A tour of the Cube from Mike Page on Vimeo.

Lately I’ve been looking up tiny, environmentally-friendly eco houses. While I do think everyone ideally should live more efficiently, I should mention that I’m a pretty wasteful person. I drive two blocks to the store, I buy food that has 3 layers of packaging around it, and I think the most I can say is that I save water by being too lazy to shower or do laundry. Yes, I’m gross, but at least I’m doing something! Anyway, after living in a studio apartment I think living in a tiny, energy-efficient house is something I could possibly do since all I really need is a place to store food and internet.

But the important thing is that they look cool, and some of these designs get pretty creative with their tiny-ness.

The Hobbit House:

My favorites from this neat slideshow:

There’s this crazy thing you can buy:

An ecopod is another type of prefab home for sale:

And shipping container homes are a thing too:

Click here for more information!

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New York City Field Trip: Art Fairs

In 2008 I visited New York City for the first time, going with my mom to two of the annual art fairs, Red Dot and Pulse. When I was little my parents used to bring me to different art fairs in Oregon which were usually held outdoors with tents set up for each artist there to sell work. The New York City fairs were different by being indoors, for one, and in being more of a showcase on a national scale for artists and the galleries representing them. It was definitely a learning experience for me.

The first fair we visited was the smaller of the two, Red Dot, and was held in what seemed like basically a hotel with each little room holding a different gallery from around the country, showing works from their artists. These photos were unfortunately taken before I learned how to include an entire painting in a frame:

This was probably my favorite piece at that fair. They’re very lighthearted and unique, and to me look like thought bubbles. There were a couple other panels not pictured.

This pattern is made entirely by layers of spaghetti. I also spelled spaghetti right on my first try!

I change my mind. This is the best one.

The Pulse fair was more what I guess you would call “contemporary” art, and more fun as an audience because it was so showy. Individual pieces and artists were highlighted as opposed to Red Dot where the focus was the galleries. One thing that stands out to me about the kind of art there is that there was a lot done with neon lighting. A lot. I didn’t think it was that interesting, but there were tons of other great installations, sculptures, performances and paintings:

More work using light.

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This oil painting was one of my favorites because of how lush and detailed the scene is, looking both contemporary and very classic at the same time which made it stand out.

This woman was having inkless tattoos of derogatory words done all over her body, placing paper with blood impressions of the tattooed words on the wall behind her as the performance went on. It was one of my first experiences with real-life performance art.

  Clearly the best.

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14 Sweet Sci-Fi Covers

I love cheesy science fiction cover illustrations.  Sure, they probably don’t all count as “good” art, whatever that is, but the more ridiculous they look the more I like them.  Sci-fi and fantasy stories are weird by nature which makes for interesting visual interpretations that can end up being awesome or terrible, but entertaining either way.

I’m a big fan of sci-fi landscapes, and even without looking alien this is a neat surreal image.

I like how the city is almost like circuitry.

Yep.

The color palette of light green, light blue, yellow and purple has a very classic sci-fi look.

Heh, Moorcock.

I’m a sucker for shiny dandelions.

This is the cover for the book I just finished (and recommend!) My coworker Kim said that it looks like some kind of orgy, so there’s that.

I think this would work really well as a painting by itself. It’s like Dali meets Miro.

You might be thinking this one isn’t so much a sci-fi  illustration as an M. C. Escher print, but Escher’s awesome so screw you, it goes on the list. (This book is also the inspiration for the title of the painting project I’m working on, Flatland, which itself is partly inspired by old sci-fi illustrations. )

Blgggrraaarrraaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!

Another light green, light blue, yellow and purple color scheme. I like its creepiness.

This is a little different because it’s abstract, but I think it does a great job of creating an other-worldy look.

This is just weird.

From Adam Savage’s little known days as a model.

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Transforming the Planet!

"Sprial Jetty" by Robert Smithson

I thought my post titles should be a little more dramatic. This is about land art.

Land art comes in many varieties from large outdoor “earthworks” that manipulate entire environments to smaller, nature-based sculptures that could be seen in a forest or gallery. There are some artists that focus on the aesthetics of the landscape and some that focus on concepts in nature and environmentalism.

One of the original large-scale land artists is Robert Smithson, who coined the term earthworks for his type of art. His most famous work is “Spiral Jetty,” a spiraling jetty. Here are some more examples of earthworks:

"Water Strider" by Michael Heizer

"Scissors" by Vik Muniz

This next one actually follows the fibonacci sequence, which is pretty cool:

"Ice" by Jim Denevan

And to show that this kind of art is nothing new, a couple examples of ancient earthworks:

Giraffe petroglyphs in the Sahara desert by ancient Africans. 2,000 - 8,000 years old

The Nazca Lines of Peru by aliens, probably. At least 1,500 years old

I like the epic nature of all these works, and it would be really fun to come across one in real life.

Andy Goldsworthy’s work is a little more low-key than Smithson’s, but it’s by far some of my favorite art of any genre. He uses only what he finds in nature, including freezing icicles together and using thorns to hold leaves in place.

by Andy Goldsworthy

by Andy Goldsworthy

by Andy Goldsworthy

Some land art is meant to celebrate nature and some disregards environmental impact entirely, but “ecological artists” create pieces meant to directly help the environment or else create awareness.

Here’s a beautiful man-made hill by the artist Agnes Denes, which was built in an environmentally degraded area to provide more habitat:

"Time Capsul" by Agnes Denes

Conceptual artist Mel Chin started the Revival Field, which is a garden enclosure on a toxic waste site that uses certain plants that clean up heavy metals. It’s art, science, and legitimately beneficial to the world which is all kinds of awesome.

"Revival Field" by Mel Chin

Another solely conceptual (as in, not pretty) land art piece is by Betty Beaumont called Ocean Landmark. There aren’t any pictures of it because it’s sunk in murky water 40 miles off the New York coast on the continental shelf. It’s made of 17,000 coal fly-ash blocks which is processed coal waste, a potential pollutant, and provides the skeleton for a brand new ecosystem that’s still growing and thriving. In her own words:

“I processed 500 tons of an industrial waste product, laid it on the floor of the Atlantic and created a flourishing environment no one can see.”

Badass.


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