Art Travel and places

Sidewalk mosaic

The city adorned a path leading up to a local community center with a series of mosaics. I took a walk out there this morning, and took photos of them.

One of the concrete panels is blank, which is a little odd. Hopefully that will also be filled at some point.

Art Books Creative expression People

A peek inside Alex Ross’ studio (and his collection)

I’m a huge fan of Alex Ross’ work, especially for DC Comics. I have a couple graphic novels that he did the artwork for, and they’re some of my favourite books.

CBS This Morning’s Anthony Mason visited Ross in his studio, and spoke to him about his career painting superheroes. Ross’ “toy” collection, alone, is worth watching this video for.

I especially like how he paints Superman. He manages to blend this raw power you’d expect from the Man of Steel with a deep humanity.

Art Photography

Light catchers

One of my wife‘s DIY projects was to take some old, coloured beads glass stones and create these light catchers. I finally got around to hanging it up over our balcony. They’re very pretty when they catch the light.

Postscript: Gina pointed out to me that I failed to mention the most important aspect of her creation. She made it using old Nespresso pods which she flattened to create the disks that the glass stones (not beads) are affixed to.

Art Photography Travel and places

City benches

I discovered an eclectic collection of city benches this last weekend.

It happened when I went for a walk over the weekend to a local library to drop off some overdue books. I took my camera with me and returned with both the library books (there was a problem with the drop-off option) and an album of photographs from the walk.

The benches are mostly in a park along a busy road although the most interesting one was outside the library building itself.

I love this bench. It seems to have been designed to allow two people to sit facing each other while reclining. Great for some conversation or keeping to yourself while sharing a space.

The paint on some of the wooden benches looked somewhat faded and weathered. The resulting look appeals to me.

This next one is particularly striking, for some reason.

Weathered flowers

Some benches seem to have a voice that hints at an unspoken story, like this one:

There is a story here …

I enjoy walking around my city with my camera. It’s proving to be a great way to explore the city and its nuances. You can view my complete album from that solo photowalk on Flickr.

Art Science and nature

The beautiful complexity of the human brain

Self Reflected image of the brain in violet by Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards

One of the many gems I found in Jason Kottke’s blog is his post about the beautiful complexity of the human brain. He pointed to a study titled “Self Reflected” by Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards that reveals our brains’ intricate and amazing structure using an incredible visualisation technology:

Self Reflected offers an unprecedented insight of the brain into itself, revealing through a technique called reflective microetching the enormous scope of beautiful and delicately balanced neural choreographies designed to reflect what is occurring in our own minds as we observe this work of art. Self Reflected was created to remind us that the most marvelous machine in the known universe is at the core of our being and is the root of our shared humanity.

Kottke pointed out that these images are not actual scans but are “artistic representations of neural pathways and other structures in the brain”. Still, they are mesmerising to look at.


Art Mindsets People Writing

Obscurity and why artists make art

Maria Popova’s post “The Great Arab-American Painter, Poet, and Philosopher Kahlil Gibran on Why Artists Make Art” includes this quote from Gibran about the birthplace of “art and artists”.

I would open my heart and carry it in my hand so that others may know also; for there is no deeper desire than the desire of being revealed. We all want that little light in us to be taken from under the bushel. The first poet must have suffered much when the cave-dwellers laughed at his mad words. He would have given his bow and arrows and lion skin, everything he possessed, just to have his fellow-men know the delight and the passion which the sunset had created in his soul. And yet, is it not this mystic pain — the pain of not being known — that gives birth to art and artists?

On the one hand, I can’t help but read this as saying that art is born out of a need to be seen and acknowledged, a kind of exhibitionism. I suppose that makes sense. I don’t claim to be an artist of any significance but I do often feel a need for my work to be seen (even as I accept that, for the most part, it won’t).

On a related note, Popova’s post reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s advice to “make good art“. He arrives at this advice from a slightly different direction but I suspect he wouldn’t disagree too much with Gibran’s thoughts.

Source: The Great Arab-American Painter, Poet, and Philosopher Kahlil Gibran on Why Artists Make Art – Brain Pickings

Image credit: fré sonneveld

Art Design Photography Travel and places

The girl on a wall

Every workday morning, for about a year, I saw this girl on a wall as I exited the Tel Aviv Central train station in Ramat Gan.

I found her captivating and kept promising myself that I would take photos of her for my collection. I never did it and then my previous employer relocated to Tel Aviv and an earlier train station.

As you may know, I have since left imonomy and I have joined InboundJunction which is based in Ramat Gan, one road away from imonomy’s old offices. I’ve been carrying my camera to work and when I have gone out to lunch so I decided to take those photos I’d been planning to take when I was last in Ramat Gan.

I took a walk down to the street corner facing the mural and shot a few photos. I was hoping to capture a pedestrian passing it. I only noticed when I arrived there that the pavement doesn’t run past the mural to connect with the pavement higher up the road so pedestrians cross the road before they reach the mural.

Either way, I’m glad I finally took a few photos of the girl on a wall.

The mural seems to be the work of an Israeli artist who goes by the name Pilpeled. The work is characterised by fairly dark illustrations.

I don’t know much about HP Lovecraft but when I imagine what Lovecraft’s worlds may be like, I imagine something pretty close to Pilpeled’s designs. Just comparing the mural of the girl to Pilpeled’s other work, she seems pretty tame although just as captivating.

Art Events and Life Photography

Google is preserving our heritage in gigapixels

Preserving our heritage digitally is really important to me so the news that the Google Cultural Institute is using its Art Camera to make it easier to preserve the world’s art in extremely high definition really appeals to me.

The Art Camera is no ordinary DSLR. The images are gigapixel images (gigapixel = 1 billion pixels, DSLRs tend to be in the tens of millions of pixels) and the camera is robotic:

The Art Camera is a robotic camera, custom-built to create gigapixel images faster and more easily. A robotic system steers the camera automatically from detail to detail, taking hundreds of high resolution close-ups of the painting. To make sure the focus is right on each brush stroke, it’s equipped with a laser and a sonar that—much like a bat—uses high frequency sound to measure the distance of the artwork. Once each detail is captured, our software takes the thousands of close-up shots and, like a jigsaw, stitches the pieces together into one single image.

You can view images from the Art Camera on the Google Cultural Institute’s website in a specific album. I’m sure all this feeds into Google’s goal of organizing the world’s information but that doesn’t matter. Remember what ISIS did to Palmyra? Even if you take radicals out of the picture, material things wear over time and we have a rich cultural heritage that we should preserve for future generations and this is a great way to do it.

I have stacks of old slide photos of my family when I was a child that I’d love to have digitised. These are photos I haven’t seen for decades and will give my children more insight into my childhood and into my parents (especially my late father who they never met). I also make multiple backups of my RAW and processed photos, locally and in the cloud.

We had maybe a dozen or two images and documents from grandparents and great-grandparents when we were young. Our children will have huge volumes of data and media available to them. Well, if they want it and assuming some cataclysmic event doesn’t send humanity back to the Middle Ages.

Other great examples of local organisations working to preserve our heritage include –

The more we can digitise and preserve, the more our descendants will be able to learn about us and our history. This applies to our shared heritage as well as our personal and family heritages. You simply can’t fully understand who you are and where you are going without understanding where you came from.

Image credit: Google Cultural Institute (screenshot)