Tag Archives: art

Saturday, 10th Mar 2012

Plastic Beachcombing

Richard and Judith Lang have been combing their local beach for plastic for years and make beautiful works of art with it. Much linkage on Laughing Squid.

I found a couple of lovely documentaries which show them to be lovely people and not at all preachy and condemning. The evil, says Richard, is single use plastic, not plastic in and of itself.

Needless to say this work hits a number of my buttons. I particularly like how they concentrate on the same beach, returning to it again and again and never straying. It’s a piece about a specific place and how that place relates to the whole world through the detritus of civilisation. It’s fantastic.

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Friday, 9th Mar 2012

John Carter in the nude, as Burroughs intended

There’s a big budget movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter popping up in the cinemas, which is all well and nice, but Heidi MacDonald has uncovered a much more entertaining version by far. A comic strip done by James Killian Spratt which is loyal to the nudity and violence of ERB’s books. He says:

Since I was drawing initially for my own amusement, with no thought of publishing, I pulled all the normal stops and drew the way I imagined the classic story to be written. The characters are highly underclad, yet oblivious to it; it’s their normal way, and they don’t see much naughty or titillating about it. The men are men and the women are women and blood is red and scary. I set out to be honest with the nudity and violence, and the devil take Pollyanna, she needs to grow up anyway.

It’s a fantastic piece of art-for-art’s-sake, hidden away from view and even now only hosted on some shonky hinternet site. As Heidi says, it really needs to be rescued from obscurity and published in a handsome edition. In some ways it’s up there with Fletcher Hanks, only without the bleak insanity.

Came via Dylan Horrocks who mentioned The First Kingdom which I then very nearly bought some issues of on eBay before stopping myself and thinking “what am I doing?” Seventies underground fantasy comics are seductive but no, one really shouldn’t.

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Sunday, 26th Feb 2012

Japanese Fart Scrolls

Fart jokes were always funny.

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Monday, 20th Feb 2012

Sleeping under Digbeth

This painting, Born with Every Bright Morning by Chris Murtagh, is a delight for anyone familiar with the streets of Digbeth, Birmingham.

Click through for more details.

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Saturday, 18th Feb 2012

Penelope Umbrico’s 36 Copyrighted Suns

I love this for many reasons, mostly because I wish I’d thought of it. Fantastic stuff.

via Waxy

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Monday, 13th Feb 2012

Literary police sketches

The Composites is an art experiment that takes physical descriptions of characters from literature and feeds them into police sketch software. Above is Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon:

Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The V motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down—from high flat temples—in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond Satan.

Fascinating stuff on a number of levels, most relevant to me being the intersection of artistic intention and computer algorithm. I wonder what living authors would make of this?

There’s an in-depth interview with the artist Brian Joseph Davis at The Atlantic.

via Kottke

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Saturday, 11th Feb 2012

Etsuko Ichikawa’s Pyrographs

Etsuko Ichikawa takes molten glass and swirls it around on paper. The end results are beautiful, like the finest of brushstrokes rendered in carbon, and the process itself is entrancing. This is a lovely film by Alistair Banks Griffin.

via Clusterflock

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Paul Mison’s Lorem Ipsum glitch

A white 500 pixel square JPEG with its colour data replaced by “lorem ipsum” in a hex editor“. Paul talks more about his methodology.

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The Art of Google Books

This hits so many of my buttons it’s untrue. As you probably know, Google have undertaken a program of digitising libraries full of books. Those which are out of copyright are available to search through online. As with any massive undertaking, and this one is really massive, there will be errors. And some of those errors will be really interesting.

The Art of Google Books is similar in many ways to John Rafman‘s 9-eyes and other experiments in searching Google Street View for that which can be considered “art”. I’d go so far as to say it’s similar to panning for gold – ploughing through endless pages of perfectly scanned books looking for that unique error, that glitch in the sand, the place where the mechanised system produced something wrong or different to the norm and the algorithm let it through.

There are currently 54 pages of Google Book Art to browse through. Here’s a small selection that caught my eye.


Torn page, partially digitized in color.


Links (added by Google) through tape


Distorted Text


Black-and-white printed plate of the Aurora Borealis, photographed in color with rippling neon effect.

via Bruce Sterling, I think

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Tuesday, 7th Feb 2012

St Vincent, after Mueck

Rather enjoyed this video for St Vincent‘s Cheerleader even though it’s a complete appropriation of Ron Mueck‘s work. I guess it just adds enough not to be an annoying ripoff. Nice tune too.

via Clusterflock

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