other miscellaneous art
What a beautiful way to start the new year with this series by famous Dutch painter Jan van Huysum called “Twelve Months of Flowers”
Jan van Huysum (1682 – 1749) was a still life painter, who gained a long-lasting international fame with his exuberant floral arrangements and technical virtuosity (kept in secret even from his family). His profuse bouquets were organized with sweeping rhythms that draw the eye in circular patterns throughout the composition. He was born and lived his whole life in Amsterdam, but insisting on working out the details of his paintings he spent every summer in Haarlem, already a major horticultural center in his day, to study the state of flowers in bloom and demise.
Poetic title and beautiful black and white images; I guess however you would never imagine what they refer to. The highly aesthetic project “Return of the Ashes” actually is … a social campaign.
In 2014 the Forestry department of Thailand looked at their statistics and what they found was quite shocking: since 1985 the country suffered over 75.000 wildfires! They caused massive destruction over 34.000* acres per year and this is an equivalent of approximately 34.000.000 trees!
In the latest years wildfire has been a serious global problem destroying wood areas in extremely large scale. Especially in hot tropical climates, like this of Thailand, it is also a quite frequent accident. The main concern however was that 90% of them were caused by human and only 10% were natural. In addition to this disturbing issue, there has been another one in regards to their suppression – a shortage of firefighters and inadequate equipment.
Something had to be done urgently to increase public awareness about the threat of the wildfire in Thailand’s forests. The department turned for a partnership to the local company HHK Intertrade (a leader of imported goods on stationary and art supplies of world class brands) which in turn collaborated with the Swiss manufacturer of high quality writing and drawing instruments Caran D’Ache and the advertising company Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok, Thailand. The task was to draw the attention of the people to the escalating situation, to educate as well to engage them, and also to collect profit for new equipment for the firefighters to combat wildfires more effectively.
They came with a great idea on two levels.
The first target was to gather money through the selling of beautifully designed and packaged artisanal product by Caran D’ Ache. Using selected pieces of burning trees, barks, branches and leaves as a symbol of rebirth after the destruction, they produced limited edition sets of 6 charcoal pencils each. They were sold in the brand’s shops and online, and the funds were then donated to the firefighting department to increase the number of firefighters and supplying them with better equipment.
On the other hand, the team of Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok held an exhibition to raise public awareness by demonstrating the negative impacts of the increasing wildfires – upon the global climate, water resources, wildlife, soil quality and etc. With minimalist approach in the black and white palette they created stunning posters and installations to portray the problem, and exposing all facts and figures in form of visual data to engage deeply the people.
Did it have a positive outcome? According to the companies’ statement within two weeks all charcoal sets were sold out and the exhibition was visited by 200.000 people. Moreover, the exhibition became one of top 4 talks that people discussed about in Thailand for months. The most valuable result however was that the campaign provoked the government sector to be more rigorous in monitoring the incidents and held many training seminars for people in the forest areas to know how to control the incidents.
Click on the image below to see a short video about the campaign.
*there is a significant discrepancy in these numbers in different sources starting from 34.000 acres up to 59.000 acres, but I used these presented on the official site of the campaign.
Robert John Thornton (1768–1837) was an English physician with a great interest to natural history. Lucky enough, he inherited a considerable fortune which allowed him to devote his life to his passion – the botany. Thornton invested his money in producing his dream – a magnificent book of illustrations of the Linnean sysem of classification
He collaborated with artists like Peter Henderson, Philip Reinagle, Abraham Pether and Sydenham Edwards and insisted that they should set the plants in the full splendour of their natural habitat.
The initial plan was to publish seventy beautiful coloured illustrations with text but unfortunately it turned out too expensive and the profits insufficient to cover them. Finally only thirty-three coloured plates, engraved in aquatint, stipple and line were produced but yet enough to be considered as one of the most gorgeous fine flower-book prized by collectors worldwide.
I found this interesting project started by a group of Italian graphic designers in 2013 called Giovedì Poster. Each week they gathered and while listening music, chose a word on a random basis like for example ‘medal’, ‘roses’, ‘?????’, ‘storm’, ‘basket’ and so on, and this became the week theme. The project was opened for all designers and everybody could submit his idea but sadly it seems that they no longer maintain it. Nevertheless, visit the site to explore their visions and enjoy their works.
The images above are selected from the week theme ‘word 13 – sardine’ but there are more on the site.
What an inspirational site! With more than 10.000 illustrated music sheets! This is a private collection and the pieces are mostly from the periods Art Nouveau and Art Deco. A lot to of works to enjoy in Images Musicales if you love these art movements.
Who is E.D. (monogram) I chose? Nobody can say yet. The name of the illustrator is unknown and only his initials are legible. There are more of his works here.
It is really worth it to visit the site and browse the reach library.
Paris-based illustrator Vincent Mahé was tasked by the French weekly Télérama to create a short illustrated story of the life of the great architect Le Corbusier as a part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of his death, and he has done a remarkable work. In four double pages spread, he has succeeded to capture the prolific career of one of the pioneers of the modern architecture spanning six decades (from his first professional start in 1904 until his death in 1965).
The artist obviously is fascinated by the architecture and it shows from his next work called ‘750 years in Paris’, which was just published in a book. As he describes this project, it is “a literary graphic novel unlike anything else on the racks, 750 Years tells the story of our time, focusing on one single building in France as it sees its way through the upheavals of history. Beginning in the 13th century and making its way towards today… Generations have lived here before us, they’ve walked on this very same pavement, they’ve been under that same sky… If you could stand still for 750 years, what could you learn about the world?” The book is currently available to purchase through Nobrow Press
You never know where exactly the creativity is hiding inside you.
The American artist Janet Echelman is just such an example. Nowadays she is famous with her beautiful, aerial, fluidly moving sculptures and installations that give new essence of urban spaces. But it took her about 10 years to find her artistic voice and everything started in 1997 with lost paints…
Born in 1965, after graduating college, she moved to Hong Kong in 1987 to study Chinese calligraphy and brush-painting. Followed a stay in Bali, then a return to the United States, and then again – back to Asia, embarking on a Fulbright lectureship in India. There was also an arrangement with Fulbright that she had to give exhibitions around the country, but not everything went according to the plan. When she shipped her paints to the fisher village Mahabalipuram, they never arrived. The deadline for the show approached, so she had to think up something quickly … And she found it – no painting but a sculpture. Though she has never studied sculpture, engineering or architecture, she decided to create a big, volumetric sculpture and yet gently floating in the air.
However what material to use for this purpose? Bronze casting was too heavy and expensive for making large forms. One day, walking on the beach, she saw fishermen bundling their nets into mounds on the sand and suddenly realized the potential of such a material. And that’s how her first sculpture was made. It’s a self-portrait titled “Wide Hips”, created with the help of the local fishermen. It was hoisted on poles and she was so mesmerized by the beauty and delicacy of the changing patterns that decided to give a try to another one.
Since then, 18 years later, from ‘simple’ sculptures, her works have grown to huge installations woven in big cities all over the world combining a high-end technology with art. Echelman collaborates with aeronautical, mechanical and software engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects and fabricators. The fishnet, she used for her first work, merged to more complex materials like atomized water particles or Spectra fiber.
Her goal is not just to create an object to look at to but also to get lost in it and as she said in her TED talk ‘Taking Imagination Seriously’: “My artistic horizons continue to grow”.
Visit the official site to see all artist’s works with a detailed explanations about their construction, location on the map and video of the set up – http://www.echelman.com/
Hans Op de Beeck is a multi-disciplinary artist from Belgium. His film ‘Staging Silence (2)’ is an amazing journey through many public places the artist has experienced. As he explains In his site it is “based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in (his) memory … memory images are disproportionate mixtures of concrete information and fantasies, and in this film they materialize before the spectator’s eyes through anonymous tinkering and improvising hands. Arms and hands appear and disappear at random, manipulating banal objects, scale representations and artificial lighting into alienating yet recognizable locations. These places are no more or less than animated decors for possible stories, evocative visual propositions to the spectator”.
The film is beautifully accompanied by a music composed especially for it by Scanner (UK), who was inspired by the images in its creation.
The theme might be a cliché but it will always be one of the most relevant since the existence of mankind.
Curious to explore universal subjects, the Chinese born, Berlin-based graphic designer Yang Liu after the success of her previous book East Meets West has now depicted in the same minimalist style her new project ‘Man meets Woman’. Again keeping to the minimum the visual impact so the essence of the context could stand out, she uses two vibrant colours for the background – green for men and magenta for women, and black or white silhouettes. That’s it; simple and straightforward approach for such a complex issue
Like it or not, but there are differences between sexes we can’t ignore. Some are so difficult to comprehend that have led to a lot of misunderstandings and confusions. You know like those “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. Two so close and yet totally diverse planets. These differences however are set by nature. We can’t go against them. We can only try having them in mind while getting nervous when the opposite sex reacts ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’. And Yang Liu presents them in quite a funny way – ‘best weapon’, ‘man/woman flu’, ‘he needs & buys/she needs & buys’, ‘single focus/multitasking’, ‘luggage’ …
She hasn’t omitted to illustrate also the other set of differences. Those that reveal the sad truth – the outdated traditional perceptions and prejudice about gender models that continue to influence many aspects of our modern life. We still live in an unequal world where our behavior is constrained by unofficial rules of the social and professional structures. Although funny at first sight, these problematic gender stereotypes show that there is still a long way to go to the mutual understanding and forbearance.
The book of Yang Liu is exactly how she imagined it – “I would like it to be the sort of book where you can laugh at yourself and be entertained, but also take it on board and exercise a little more tolerance when interacting with others”