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kottke.org posts about art

Lovely Precise Watercolor Paintings of Hotel Rooms

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 23, 2022

Architect Kei Endo creates really lovely watercolor paintings of hotel rooms that she’s stayed in — you can find her work on Instagram and her website. The paintings include floor plans of the rooms, exterior and interior views, illustrations of the food, and even precise renderings of the bath products. I love these so much.

watercolor painting of a hotel room by Kei Endo

watercolor painting of a hotel room by Kei Endo

watercolor painting of a hotel room by Kei Endo

watercolor painting of a hotel room by Kei Endo

You can check out her painting process on Instagram (for instance) and YouTube. (via spoon & tamago)

Sweeper’s Clock

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 21, 2022

As part of his Real Time series of new clock designs, Maarten Baas created the Sweeper’s Clock, a timepiece where the time is indicated by hands made of trash that is swept around the face by a pair of cleaners sweeping for 12 hours.

I got this from Colossal, who also highlight Baas’s Schiphol Clock and Analog Digital Clock.

Pixel Birds (and Other Animals)

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 18, 2022

pixel illustrations of a few dozen different birds

Pixel artist Syosa (Twitter) has been drawing all sorts of pixel animals, including mammals, birds, and dogs.

pixel illustrations of a few dozen different animals

I also liked their pixelized explainers, like this one on food poisoning.

pixel illustrations explaining food poisoning, with Japanese text

(via present & correct)

Surrealist Makeup

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 16, 2022

elaborate face makeup that makes it look like there's a slice of pie cut out of a woman's head

elaborate face makeup that makes it look like a woman has several eyes

elaborate face makeup that makes it look like a woman's face is made of blocks

elaborate face makeup that makes it look like there's a hole in the middle of a woman's face

Mimi Choi is a makeup artist who specializes in creating visual illusions — you can check out her work on her website or on Instagram. If you click into her individual posts on Instagram (like this one or this one), you can see how she does each look and also get freaked out when she starts blinking her real eyes and opening her hidden mouth and such. So cool!

See also Alexa Meade’s Living Paintings.

Minimalist Wordle Grid Art

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 10, 2022

The Twitter account 5x6 Art is posting extremely abstract versions of notable artworks using the constraint of fitting them into Wordle’s familiar 5x6 pixel grid.

Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Banksy's Girl with Balloon rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Gentileschi's Judith Beheading Holofernes rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son rendered in a 5x6 pixel grid

Obviously when you’re reducing artworks down to only 30 pixels of information, some of these are going to work better than others (e.g. Rothko and Mondrian). Still, some of the more detailed ones are just recognizable if you squint.

Karaoke Torii Made of Speakers

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 09, 2022

a traditional Japanese torii gate made out of speakers

a traditional Japanese torii gate made out of speakers

For the Kobe Biennale held in Kobe, Japan in 2016, sculptor Benoît Maubrey created a traditional Japanese torii gate out of speakers and a bunch of inputs (Bluetooth, line-in, even an 8-track). Using microphones or their phones, passersby could connect to the torii to play music or sounds, talk to each other over the mics, or sing karaoke. The structure was later relocated to Kamiyama. Maubrey has made several similar artworks; here’s what he says about his work:

Artistically I use loudspeakers much in the same way that a sculptor uses clay or wood: as a modern medium to create monumental artworks with the added attraction that they can make the air vibrate (“sound”) around them and create a public “hotspot”.

The audio part of my sculptures is also site-specific and flexible: in all my work the sound level is controllable and the interactivity is regulated via a mixing board (a bell tower or pendulum clock also make sound).

Participation: according to the sculpture site and purpose my sculptures can be equipped with a microphone (self expression), Bluetooth receivers (individuals can play their own tunes music), telephone answering machines (people can call and express themselves Live), radio receivers (for low-level cosmic white noise that sound like whispering pines), and “audio” twitter that allows people to send phonic messages. In some cases the whole system can be used as a PA system for announcements, concerts, open mike sessions, and DJ events.

The Hidden Secret in a Famous Painting

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 08, 2022

The set design of The Andy Griffith Show is perhaps an odd place to start when talking about 19th century French painter Jean-François Millet, but this video hits its stride when Salvador Dali enters the picture. After viewing, you can read more about Millet’s painting The Angelus.

Russian Bear Steps on Ukrainian Lego

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 07, 2022

illustration of a giant red Russian bear about to step on a small Ukrainian flag made of Lego bricks

An absolutely fantastic poster by Polish illustrator Paweł Jońca of a giant red Russian bear about to step on a small Ukrainian flag made of Lego bricks. A printable digital download of this poster is available “by paying ANY amount” with all proceeds going to humanitarian aid for Ukraine (specifically to Polska Akcja Humanitarna).

Ridgelines in Relief

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 07, 2022

relief drawing of a ridgeline

relief drawing of a rounded ridgeline

Love these swirling, swooping relief landscapes from Korean artist Lee Hyun-Joung. (via colossal)

The Colorful Work of Ukrainian Artist Maria Prymachenko

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 02, 2022

painting of a peace dove by Maria Prymachenko

Maria Prymachenko is one of Ukraine’s best-known artists. Known for her colorful, expressive, and “primitive” style, Prymachenko won a gold medal for her work at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris and Pablo Picasso is said to have remarked “I bow down before the artistic miracle of this brilliant Ukrainian” after seeing her work. Prymachenko’s paintings featured animals (both real & fantastical), everyday Ukrainian people, food & agriculture, and themes of war & peace.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine announced that the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum had been burned in the Russian invasion and that 25 works by Prymachenko had been lost. Luckily, according to the Ukrainian Institute, local residents were able to save the paintings.

You can find more of Prymachenko’s work below and at WikiArt.

painting of people, flowers, birds, and the sun by Maria Prymachenko

painting of a woman and sunflowers by Maria Prymachenko

painting of a multi-headed blue beast by Maria Prymachenko

painting of a pink beast with two snakes coming out of its mouth by Maria Prymachenko

painting of a flowery boar in the forest by Maria Prymachenko

painting of some women in an ox cart by Maria Prymachenko

Very Abstract Pixel Art

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 28, 2022

abstract pixel art of people, food, and objects

From former Nintendo art director Takashi Maeda, a collection of very abstract pixel art that’s free to download and use. (via @presentcorrect)

Colorful Wavy Portraits by Foster Sakyiamah

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 23, 2022

portrait of a woman in yellow

portrait of two dancers in pink

portrait of a woman in red

These striking portraits are by Ghanaian artist Foster Sakyiamah. You can check out more of his work on Instagram.

Haematopoiesis

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 31, 2022

a colorful pattern by Rubén Álvarez

a colorful pattern by Rubén Álvarez

a colorful pattern by Rubén Álvarez

a colorful pattern by Rubén Álvarez

a colorful pattern by Rubén Álvarez

During the course of battling salivary gland tumors over many years, photographer and artist Rubén Álvarez discovered hematopoiesis (the process by which blood cells & blood plasma are formed in the body) as a possible treatment option. The treatment didn’t end up being applicable to his situation, but the process became the inspiration for a very personal project called Haematopoiesis.

This project was inspired by my very personal experiences so I discovered the Hematopoiesis process, while I was looking for treatments for more than 15 pleomorphic adenomas that were located around my head and neck. I went through several surgeries to remove them and reconstruct my facial nerve, as well as almost thirty radiotherapy sessions to prevent these adenomas to appear again.

Álvarez used paint, ferrofluid, and magnets to produce his interpretation of the actual hematopoiesis process. (via moss & fog)

The Marcel Duchamp Research Portal

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 27, 2022

Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp

a portable chess set designed by Marcel Duchamp

Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp

A partnership of three institutions — the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Association Marcel Duchamp, and the Centre Pompidou — has just launched the Marcel Duchamp Research Portal, which houses almost 50,000 images and 13,000 documents related to the life and work of Marcel Duchamp.

Tree Root System Drawings

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 24, 2022

drawing of a plant's root system

drawing of a plant's root system

drawing of a plant's root system

drawing of a plant's root system

The Wageningen University & Research houses a collection of almost 1200 drawings of the root systems of trees, grasses, crops, shrubs, weeds, flowers, and other plants. These drawings were done of plants in Europe, mostly in Austria, over a period of 40 years and are a wonderful combination of scientifically valuable and aesthetically pleasing.

Great Art Cities Explained: Paris

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 21, 2022

Great Art Explained is one of my recent favorite YouTube channels (see The Mona Lisa, Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, Michelangelo’s David, and Starry Night, all fascinating) and host James Payne, along with Joanne Shurvell, are now doing a related series on Great Art Cities Explained. They tackled London first and have moved onto Paris, where they feature three of the city’s lesser known museums that were originally art studios: those of Eugène Delacroix, Suzanne Valadon, and Constantin Brancusi.

Hyperrealistic Paintings of Rich Vegetation

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 20, 2022

hyperrealistic painting of grasses and leaves

hyperrealistic painting of grasses and leaves

hyperrealistic painting of grasses and leaves

Why am I showing you these photos of lush, grassy, leafy plants? Because they are actually meticulously constructed hyperrealistic paintings of lush, grassy, leafy plants by Serbian artists Jelena and Aleksandar Paunkovic. The couple have been inspired by their verdant surroundings (I mean, just look at this) to produce these paintings:

From the big city we moved our studio near the mountain Kosmaj where we started with the production of paintings. We throw plastic bags out of everyday life and instead of them we made our canvas bags that still serve us today. We establish our own small garden, and started producing our natural non-hybrid food. We started composting organic food residues which we will use later as a soil that is rich in ingredients that will help other plants during growth. We meet new people and come to incredible information and knowledge. There will be more about that and other topics on our blog. When we harvested our first fruits after two months, there was no end to our happiness. For a moment we went back to our childhood, we remembered growing up, beautiful moments, and we had the privilege of feeling like a kids again.

With the pleasure of contact with plants, we discovered that we love hiking, but not for the reason of conquering the peaks, they are free and there is nothing to conquer. They can teach us that what we see there should be respected. All the paintings we create are created on those places. Each tour on new mountain, or visiting new environment, becomes material that will later serve us in the studio as a sketch for a new painting. We have found a way to bring the nature to a home or gallery and hang it on the wall to serve as a reminder that we need to think more about how our modern lifestyle affects the environment.

You can follow their progress on Instagram or order prints of their work. (via colossal)

Can’t Help Myself

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 19, 2022

In an artwork commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum called Can’t Help Myself, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu designed a robotic arm that is designed to keep a blood-colored liquid from straying too far away.

Placed behind clear acrylic walls, their robot has one specific duty, to contain a viscous, deep-red liquid within a predetermined area. When the sensors detect that the fluid has strayed too far, the arm frenetically shovels it back into place, leaving smudges on the ground and splashes on the surrounding walls.

Sounds a bit like everyone trying to do everything these days. This artwork has been popular on TikTok because people are empathizing that the machine is slowing down.

“It looks frustrated with itself, like it really wants to be finally done,” one comment with over 350,000 likes reads. “It looks so tired and unmotivated,” another said.

The Postage Stamp Pictures of Paul Edlin

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 19, 2022

a colorful abstract scene created with fragments of postage stamps

a colorful abstract scene created with fragments of postage stamps

Artist Paul Edlin used tiny fragments of postage stamps to create these beautiful abstract collages. Here’s closeup of the top image where you can see the fragments more clearly:

closeup of a colorful abstract scene created with fragments of postage stamps

(thx, philip)

Tiny Bubbles Quilt

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 14, 2022

a quilt with a circular pattern

Oh I love the look of this quilt made by Marla Varner of Penny Lane Quilts. Here’s a closer look:

closeup of a quilt with a circular pattern

The colors and pattern are just perfect. You can check out several of her other large quilts on her website or on Instagram. (via austin kleon)

US Quarter Featuring Maya Angelou Starts Circulating

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 11, 2022

US quarter featuring Maya Angelou on the reverse side

The US Mint has started shipping a quarter featuring poet & activist Maya Angelou on it.

A writer, poet, performer, social activist, and teacher, Angelou rose to international prominence as an author after the publication of her groundbreaking autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Angelou’s published works of verse, non-fiction, and fiction include more than 30 bestselling titles. Her remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism, and social activism.

The front of the Angelou quarter features a portrait of George Washington (a slaveowner, I feel it is important to note) that is different from the usual image on regular quarters. The new image was sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser in 1931:

In 1931, Congress held a competition to design a coin to honor the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. The original competition called for the obverse of the coin to feature a portrait of George Washington, based on the famed life-mask bust by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The reverse was to feature a design that was to be “national” in nature.

Laura Gardin Fraser submitted a design that features a right-facing portrait of George Washington on the obverse, while the reverse shows an eagle with wings spread wide. In a 1932 letter to recommend Fraser’s design, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) wrote to (then) Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon:

“This bust is regarded by artists who have studied it as the most authentic likeness of Washington. Such was the skill of the artist in making this life-mask that it embodies those high qualities of the man’s character which have given him a place among the great of the world…Simplicity, directness, and nobility characterize it. The design has style and elegance…The Commission believes that this design would present to the people of this country the Washington whom they revere.”

While her design was popular, it was not chosen. Instead, Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the left-facing John Flannigan design, which has appeared on the quarter’s obverse since 1932.

the obverse side (with George Washington) of a US quarter featuring Maya Angelou on the reverse side

The Angelou quarter is the first in a series of quarters featuring notable American women:

Beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2025, the Mint will issue five quarters in each of these years. The ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse group of individuals honored through this program reflects a wide range of accomplishments and fields, including suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts. The additional honorees in 2022 are physicist and first woman astronaut Dr. Sally Ride; Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation and an activist for Native American and women’s rights; Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood, who achieved international success despite racism and discrimination.

The Angelou quarter will start circulating later this month and early next month — look for it in your change soon!

Fashion for Hostile Architecture

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 11, 2022

a woman sitting against a slanted wall

four people dressed in blue track suits

a woman lying on a bench

Artist Sarah Ross’s project Archisuits draws attention to architecture in LA that is specifically designed to prohibit people from sitting on it. Each suit is produced to fit into a specific hostile architectural element so that the wearer can sit or lie comfortably on it.

Cracked Eggshells, Carefully Arranged

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 07, 2022

cracked eggshells carefully arranged

I am in deep like with this image of neatly arranged eggshells by Kristen Meyer. And her saltine arrangement is still extremely satisfying. You can check out more of her work on her website and at Instagram. Ok wait, I really like this one too:

torn book pages carefully arranged

(via colossal)

Surreal Psychedelic Headshots

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 04, 2022

a painting of a man with a landscape for a face

a painting of a woman with a landscape for a face

a painting of a man with a landscape for a face

a painting of a woman with a landscape for a face

Among Brazilian artist Rafael Silveira’s surrealist work are these portraits of people with landscape faces. I loved what he said about them in brief remarks to Colossal:

From inside, we are a strange mix of dreams, thoughts, feelings, and human meat. I think these portraits are not persons but moods.

(via colossal)

Dreamy & Surreal Imagery by KangHee Kim

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 23, 2021

clouds appear to come out of the top of a gas station canopy

a transparent road sign says 'Hope 1/2 Mile'

clouds in the middle of a lamp

a cloud nestles in a tre branch above a cliff face

Loving these fanciful and playful manipulated photos by KangHee Kim, which can be found on her Instagram or her series Street Errands.

Otherworldly Single Malt Scotch

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2021

patterns at the bottom of a whiskey glass that look like an alien planet

patterns at the bottom of a whiskey glass that look like an alien planet

patterns at the bottom of a whiskey glass that look like an alien planet

patterns at the bottom of a whiskey glass that look like an alien planet

For his series Vanishing Spirits: The Dried Remains of Single Malt Scotch, photographer Ernie Buttons photographed the creatively lit bottoms of glasses emptied of their single malt Scotch whisky. The results look like alien worlds.

These remind me a lot of Christopher Jonassen’s frying pan worlds and Nadine Schlieper’s & Robert Pufleb’s photos of pancakes that look like moons. (via moss & fog)

Colorful Gradient Sculpture

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2021

sculpture with a colorful gradient glaze

sculpture with a colorful gradient glaze

sculpture with a colorful gradient glaze

Courtesy of her distinctive glazing technique — which she uses to “express feelings of transcendental experiences” — Angel Oloshove’s sculpture shares a colorful, gradient aesthetic with contemporary digital media (including this here website). More on her Instagram.

Al Hirschfeld’s Drawings of Steven Sondheim’s Musicals

posted by Tim Carmody   Dec 09, 2021

Al Hirschfeld's caricature of a moment from Steven Sondheim's play Into the Woods

Writing for the New York Times, theater critic emeritus Ben Brantley praises caricaturist Al Hirschfeld’s depictions of the late Steven Sondheim’s work:

These seemingly simple pen strokes — and the ellipsis of the white space, which your own, happily collaborative mind fills in — are anything but static. They tremble with energy, tension and, above all, character, as it is conjured in real time on a stage.

Hirschfeld always said he would rather be called a “characterist” than a caricaturist. His illustrations of Sondheim, the most complex character portraitist in the Broadway songbook, make you understand why. Caricatures are a shorthand for the physical traits that make stars distinctive: Angela Lansbury’s immense Tweety Bird eyes, for example, or Bernadette Peters’s Cupid’s bow mouth.

Hirschfeld nails such elements of physiognomy. He also endows them with the exciting emotional temperature that heats up every Sondheim song. The Lansbury he draws as the corrupt mayor Cora Hoover Hooper of “Anyone Can Whistle” (1964) and as the cannibal pie-maker Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” are recognizably the same woman.

I particularly like the great energy swirling all around the lead characters in Hirschfeld’s take on “West Side Story”:

Hirschfeld's caricature of a moment in West Side Story

The Courtroom Sketch Artist

posted by Tim Carmody   Dec 07, 2021

ghislaine-maxwell-court-sketch.jpeg

Choire Sicha’s interview with Jane Rosenberg, the courtroom sketch artist currently working on the Ghislaine Maxwell trial in New York, is delightful.

Do you and other courtroom artists ever fight?
Oh, sure. You don’t want to hear all that.

All I want to hear is that!
Oh, no, no. I’m not starting. I get along professionally with most artists. There are some who are just really a problem. It’s not normal, what I put up with from the other ones. I used to have a story every day — they cursed me out! They knocked my pastels over! They’re sly as a fox, they do it when no one’s around, but all the court officers know who they are. They’re not in this trial.

Jeez. It’s much nicer among the reporters!
We compete, also! There’s issues of competition for certain clients. Some of us have our set clients, and there’s stealing going on, all kinds of backstabbing going on. It’s not all roses. I’m okay with who’s here, and we do what we have to do.

(Rosenberg has been drawing defendants since 1980.)

Goofy 18th-Century Self-Portraits by Joseph Ducreux

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 29, 2021

self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux

self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux

self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux

self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux

self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux

self-portrait by Joseph Ducreux

Joseph Ducreux was a French painter active in the latter part of the 18th century — he was a portraitist in the court of Louis XVI and continued his career after the French Revolution. But Ducreux is increasingly remembered for his series of self-portraits that were surprisingly informal for the age in which they were painted. To contemporary eyes, they almost seem to have been painted for use in memes, a purpose for which they certainly have been used.