A beautiful blue meditative garden space has popped up in Rio de Janeiro. The Zen inspired design project is hoped to provide a tranquil and peaceful place among an otherwise bustling and busy city environment. The commissioning body, Oi Futuro (Hello Future), presented the landscaped architecture earlier this year. With shades of blue intended to match those of the surrounding sky natural landscape, a modern touch has been applied to the meaning of Zen. Structures and well spaced trees leave an open planned archaeology but with features to draw the eye. Daniel Arsham, the garden's creator, has sculpted and created many items over his career. Explore photographs of the garden on Fubiz, and visit Daniel's website to explore the jungle of artwork.
More city scenes are shown in a series of photographs by Clarissa Bonet, who snaps “psychological” scenes of Chicago city landscapes. Her work is rich in lines and perspective, and uses people as transitional moments within the more permanent structures. Her series “City Space” uses framing and shading to capture subtle drama and eternal presence at the same time.
Another way to capture the great city outdoors is to use the colours and shapes seen from further out. By taking the macrocosm of a scene from a distance, and finding a unique range of tones with the lighting and angle, we can capture something magical and enthralling. The collection of photographs by Charles Emerson shows just this, as vibrant colours and beautiful man-made designs are captured in fascinating ways.
Sites like Youtube, Soundcloud, and Mixcloud have enabled internet users to listen to nearly anything they like. Along with services like Spotify or Groove, it's possible to have the entire music catalogue at your fingertips. This is a great thing, and for those of us with a permanent internet connection and possibly a bit of spare money to subscribe to a digital service, it's enough. It's important to respect the artist's wishes and if the music is meant for sale, either because the record company invested cash in the production and touring of the music, or because the artist themselves invested their own capital in the product, we have to pay for it or accept the use of advertising. This works well, but there are people who don't have internet all the time, or those who can't afford to pay for premium products or streaming services.
There are a lot of places and artists who are happy to give out creative commons and otherwise non-commercial music. Often artists like to have their work out there and in as many living rooms as possible, and giving it out for free can ensure a wide audience. Sometimes artists will release some commercial and some free music, in order to get as much out there and as much in return as possible. Also many fans enjoy supporting their favourite artists and will happily donate what they can in return for continuation of the project. The internet has changed the way artists and fans interact and support each other.
Bandcamp is a mixture of free and paid music, it's possible to find some brilliant name your own price material that allows us to pay nothing for a copy, or a small to large amount depending on what we have available. Artists use this platform to upload their music, and sell it or give it away. Bandcamp take a slice from the money for the service of providing a platform, and artists can make a living from selling digital media from there.
To get to the totally free music, we can look a bit further afield. Here are three great free music resources.
Batenim (an anagram of ambient) are an Italian based netlabel that specialises in ambient music. Everything on this label is in creative commons so it is free for anyone to download and listen to on a burned CD or from a device.
Ektoplasm are a similar site, with a much wider range of music from the psytrance electronica scene. Their albums span from techno to forest, from glitch to psybient, and everywhere in between.
Unlike the previous two, Altus is a site dedicated to one artist. Ambient masterpieces are the signature hallmark of this creator of sound, and each album is listed in order with a few word here and there. He recommends that rather than downloading everything at once and never appreciating it, it's best to start with the most recent album, enjoy it, then move on to the next.
Design is a global phenomenon, from misty and dark beginnings with placing one stone upon another, attaching this object to that, humans have slowly encouraged and inspired each other to design and create even more things from what we already have. Shapes, techniques, patterns, and motivations all help to adjust the focal point of our designs, with those which most suitably match their purpose propagating.
Like evolution of nature, from one slight variation spurs a whole list of further evolutionary steps until completely a new species comes into being. As human society progresses, the things we need in order to make the most out of our life in comparison to our neighbour and for our own sense of belonging increase also. Design comes first, first impressions have always counted and they will continue to do so. Practicality also makes an important factor, it may look good but if it doesn't work well then it's not good any more.
Well functioning and good looking objects persevere and breed new ones as they change and are adapted. Competition also causes manufacturers and designers to continually match what others do, with like for like or better abilities and services. We know that we get our ideas from things we've seen before, and unless we use focussed imagination it's very difficult to think of something absolutely unique and with purpose, so it goes to show that what people have designed before us directly feeds into what others design next. Rather than completely reinventing something, we tend to reinvent bits of it, components and methods can alter which over time translate into large changes.
So it makes sense then to have a great resource for designers to draw on, so that their ideas and objectives are met with the best and most diverse creative vocabulary as possible. We can always go and visit a museum and spend time engaging with the works and exhibits, absorbing them on our feet somewhere or other, or we can do it from home. It's now very easy to browse, but it is difficult to find real quality among all the junk. Well, never fear, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum has uploaded a huge collection of 3000 years worth of human design and innovation.
The archive digitalised images cover all kinds of areas in the design world, from cars, clothes, buildings, posters, and antiques This digitisation involves a process that creates representations of the 2D or 3D objects in a database, using barcodes to link pictures to the relevant information. This technique has allowed a quick and efficient uploading process where over 90% of the museum's collection is now digital and online. The archives are grouped in great ways, and its possible to search through, browse particulars, or just select from random and enjoy a visit to the online gallery. Have a look now!
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“I am not an angel," I asserted; "and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
The world has seen the age of realism in all its stark nature with the onset of the movement in the 19th Century. Clawing away at the twee and fancy, realism made it clear that art was to represent truth. Truth is cold and bitter at times, which alerted artists to some morbid and dark subject matter such as Hard Times by Sir Hubert von Herkomer (pictured). Initially, to move away from flamboyant imagery, artists took to the shadows and lines in a new way. The form gradually evolved from showing the darker side of existence to simply complimenting reality with accurate mirror-like painting.
Perhaps by learning how to replicate reality to such high quality was seen as a true artistic homage to nature and form. The expert touch required to create realistic looking art is undeniable, and not all have the ability. Those that do have the natural skill can sharpen it until they are painting such realistic images that it can be seen as a form of worship to the truth.
Fashions come and go, and although realism made real headway during the early 20th century with popular artists becoming internationally acclaimed for the works, times moved on and other forms of art began to make themselves heard. The famous people of the day were commissioning their portraits with the brand name artists, which had an effect of over glamorising the form. Perhaps as photography improved and became accessible to more people, the desire for realistic art also became diluted.
It has seen a new wave of interest however, with the internet rewarding artists with exceptional quality. It can be shown that realistic art is always well received by art loving communities, and the skills are celebrated in forums and websites. This has made a new wave of realism begin to crest in the art world, and this year's Edinburgh Art Festival reflected this with a large array of realism on display.
Plying open the vaults to discover what history has to say about realism has revealed a few swept under the carpet secrets. Propaganda of the time relied heavily on realistic images depicting the political ideal. Social realism from the Soviet Union and Nazi Aryan iconography can all be shown to categorise in this form. This clearly raises questions about the influence that super real art can have. Does the expert skill command a level of authority simply by the nature of its required ability level? It's unsure how much was fashion and how much was political theory, if only we could be a fly on the wall in those meetings where such things were agreed upon.
Society and people magazine Open Culture has reported on a wonderful site created by enthusiasts of Japanese Woodblock Printing. This fascinating art form has traditions that extend back for centuries, and in particular, the branch known as ukiyo e has reached levels of international interest.
The site is available for researchers who speak English or Japanese, and contains around a quarter of a million images of unique and catalogue art works. The researchers who built the site are experienced in the field and have travelled to museums, archives, libraries, and institutions all around the world to collate and create this resource. With the internet allowing anyone to access the collection, the site can rightfully boast millions of views.
This is an important resource for artists, designers, historians, and people who want to learn more about the Japanese culture. The images of course depict Japanese people and scenes in varying detail, and are represented in traditional ways. The fascinating script written in Japanese on the art works give a further sense of the culture.
Khan Academy engineer and programmer John Resig has created the resource to reconcile the movement of this art form. The scholarly implications of this encyclopaedia of images are vast, and not just in their given specialism. People can draw on the ideas represented for all kinds of creative and non creative projects. This generous and painstaking effort to obtain and list all these images truly deserves our respect and some time to browse, and absorb something a bit different.
Take a look at ukiyo-e.org
A century old effort to escape from Western materialism, the “Salon de la Rose + Croix” was formed in 1892 with an intent to inspire and rekindle old flames from a more simple age. Founded by Joséphin Péladan, a French writer, the art exhibition had showcased works from various like-minded creators. It is claimed that the formation of this collective and its subsequent exhibitions inspired the formation of the avant-garde Symbolist art movement.
Originally, the art shows depicted mythological creatures and stories from folklore. Untying the knots of the modern era, and aerating the roots of Western culture was perhaps thought to dig past the shallow soil and find the core of what it means to be from this part of the world. It was short lived however, and the popularity of the Rose + Croix movement all but disappeared. The pilot light has been quietly burning, waiting for popular culture to press the fire button.
It seems that the button has been pressed, as the New York Guggenheim Museum has decided to relight this fire and put it to good use once more. Vivian Greene, curator of 19th and 20th century art at the museum, has chosen a selection of forty images which best demonstrate the passion and intent of the original Salons.
The exhibition “Mystical Symbolism | Salon de la Rose +Croix in Paris, 1892-1897” contains three portraits of the originator, each depicting Péladan as a king or regal figure. Perhaps a wave of hypocrisy could be sensed in the ambition of the writer, as the intent was to do away with the trimmings of materialism. Unless, perhaps the depiction of a man in grand splendour, but a simple robe and wreath of leaves showed us how we can feel good about ourselves without any extras.
There was originally a no portraiture rule, set by Péladan himself in an effort to cancel out the populism of personality which began to shine from the collection of artists. By attributing credit to the works and not their creators, it was hoped to dull this egoistic glow. So it does ask the question why he allowed himself to be portrayed, among otherwise mythical and fantastic scenes. The exhibition runs until October 4th.
There are many ways to use needles, and perhaps in the hands of a street artist, one may assume it has something to do with drugs. But you'd be wrong, this artist in particular is not diabetic, nor are they into body piercing, they use the needles as painting tools! The effects are wonderful, with lace like lines and a delicate spread of colour being the signature of this style. The ability to deliver tiny amounts of paint in exactly the right place is just the job for a short sticky sharp thing like a syringe. The artist was spotted in Baguio City, in the Philippines. It's a new way of using something from the everyday for something else to get a novel effect, and it seems to be catching on. Have a look at this syringe Jesus, painted by another Filipino, Kimberly Joy Magbanua.
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