How gorgeous are these back-lit dioramas by Denver-based couple Hari & Deepti? The artists starting experimenting with papercut light boxes in 2010, illustrating fanciful scenes and stories using hand painted watercolor paper. As time went on, they stopped coloring their paper, instead using LED lights affixed to the back of the box to color and illuminate the intricately cut and layered white paper. The light adds depth to the narrative and creates such a striking contrast between the layers of the paper design. love love love.
These quirky and creative illustrations by Javier Perez totally made my morning. He takes everyday objects and illustrates them using simple line drawings, resulting in these whimsical little scenes that he photographs and puts on Instagram. I think it is such a clever way to think about the objects we see and use in our everyday lives. Genius and totally inspiring.
You can find much more on his Instagram account. Fair warning though, it is very addictive.
Have you had the chance to check out the year long collaboration between illustrator Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova titled "The Reconstructionists"? The project can be summed up by the site's byline "A year long celebration of remarkable women who have changed how we see the world". Each blog entry celebrates one woman with a beautiful illustration that includes a quote by the subject, and a short well written synopsis of that woman's life and contribution to society. The subjects range from artists, writers and scientists to unsung heroes. Every Monday in 2013 they post about a different woman, and I have started really looking forward to it at the beginning of every week. I included some of my favorite illustrations below, but I highly recommend taking some time, browsing through the entries, and reading the intelligent and edifying bios.
While there are so many artists that impress me, I have to say the pieces by Canadian artist Myraim Dion truly inspire and amaze me. She creates these beautiful lace-like pieces by hand-cutting newspapers with an X-Acto knife. Newspaper as a medium is so thin, that I am amazed by how she can create such small, intricate patterns without tearing the paper. I love how she utilizes different patterns and textures, and that she keeps the paper's name to provide context for the piece. Beyond that however, her treatment of the images imbedded in the paper is pretty brilliant - she leaves enough of the image intact to give context, but allows it to remain somewhat abstract by taking away the paper's commentary on the subject matter. Honestly, I could go on and on about how much I love these pieces, but I will stop and let you take a look for yourself. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Has anyone else seen this video illustrating the transformation and the expected final form of the Sagrada Familia? The cathedral, located in Barcelona, was designed by Antoni Gaudi and started in 1882. Since his death 87 years ago, numerous architects have been charged with its completion. When I was in Barcelona in 2010 with my Dad, I got to visit the cathedral (as well as other houses and works by Gaudi - I became slightly obsessed and fell more than a little bit in love with his work). Almost needless to say, it was such a surreal and overwhelming experience. Even at that point, the Cathedral was so beautiful, and the attention he paid to every little detail was mind-blowing. So, when I saw this video projecting its completion in 2026, I got pretty excited. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and then, but generally, I think I may have just found an excuse to visit Barcelona again in 2026 (assuming I haven't made my way over before then!).
I hope you enjoy the short video as much as I did!
The artist Karin Waskiewicz creates her pieces by layering acrylic paint on a wooden panel, allowing the layers to dry and then chipping or carving away at the layers. The result is these beautiful and intricate three-dimensional pieces that almost look topographical. There is also a certain element of chance in these pieces. While she chooses the colors to include, she can't predict ahead of time how each piece will come together as the effect of the work changes as each different layer is revealed. When I first saw these pieces without reading their description, I couldn't figure out how she achieved this effect, and then after reading about them, it was one of those, "Wow, that is brilliant" moments. I love how textured and detailed they are, and just the idea of chipping through and revealing different layers is really appealing. Layering is something I have been experimenting with more in my own work, so these really hit home for me. What do you think?
I have been finding myself coming back to the Nimbus Photography series by Dutch artist Berndnault Smilde recently. Smilde creates clouds indoors using a smoke machine. In order to create the clouds, Smilde says that "It has to be cold, damp, and really wet, so I'm moisturizing the air as much as possible." He tells the BBC that "The moisture will stick to the smoke, making it much heavier." The cloud holds its shape just long enough to be photographed before it dissipates. Smilde notes that there really isn't a way to predict the shape a cloud will take, so they create the clouds hundreds of times, then choose one to be the final piece.
These have such a surreal quality for me. I love the all of the contrast in these pieces: such as the white of the cloud vs the color of the room; the hard and even sometimes ornate quality of the architecture versus the soft billowiness of the clouds; and placing an object we associate with the natural world and expect to see outside within a man made structure.
Smilde was also recently commissioned to do a series with Harper's Bazaar where he created clouds for a photo shoot featuring famous designers. I particularly liked what Karl Lagerfeld and Albert Elvaz had to say about clouds and fashion. You can see their photos and their quotes below.
Do you have a favorite from the images below?
I have really been enjoying the intricacies of miniature sculptures made out of old mechanical parts; be it typewriter pieces, parts of old watches, small lightbulbs or other found objects. The following examples manage to transform the mechanical parts that comprise each piece from cold and sterile objects, to whimsical and playful works of art. Additionally, it is also always great when you see an artist using recycled or found source material.
Below are three of my recent favorites.
Jeremy Mayer's swallows are made of old typewriter parts and are assembled without glue or soldering. Each piece is assembled using parts that are native to the typewriter and that's it. As icing on the cake, his design even allows for the wings to partially retract. These pieces look so strong to me, it feels as though they can really fly.
These little mechanical insects are made by the artist Justin Gershenson-Gates using recycled watch parts, light bulbs and other found objects. Each piece is made by hand, and the resulting whimsical assemblies are so interesting. They almost look like they belong in a pixar movie.
Sue Beatrice of All Natural Arts creates steampunk watch part sculptures made out of repurposed antique time pieces and other recycled watch parts. As seen below, she assembles the parts into sculptures of animals, humans, and even mythical creatures, such as the sea monster which can be seen below. I am a little obsessed with these pieces. The way they are assembled, so you can see all the moving parts, it really seems as though they could come to life and even serve as some sort of talisman.