Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

19 AUGUST, 2011

Mod Odyssey: How The Beatles Revolutionized Animation in 1968

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From Homer to John Lennon, or what the “psychedelic 60s” can teach us about creativity in animation.

Animated music videos are about as common today as photos of cats on the internet and, tragically often, not that much more original. But there was a time when they were a pinnacle of creative innovation, breaking entirely new ground. Earlier this year, we looked at the work of 5 early animation pioneers who changed the course of animated storytelling, and today we turn to the intersection of film and music with Mod Odyssey, a fascinating featurette on the making of The Beatles’ groundbreaking 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine. More than a decade before Pixar, the film was not only a technical feat of animation execution but also a seminal work in bringing more attention to animation as a serious art form, both for audiences and for creators.

For the first time in screen history, extremely real and enormously famous people were going to be animated into a feature film.”

‘Yellow Submarine’ breaks new ground in the art of animation. Just as Swift and Carroll changed the history of literature, as Chagall and Picasso brought new life to art, The Beatles are revitalizing the art of animation. It’s a truly mod world, where medium and message meld — the new art of the psychedelic 60s.”

For more on animating Lennon, don’t forget the excellent and timeless I Met The Walrus, recorded the year after Yellow Submarine and animated 39 years later.

via Dangerous Minds

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18 AUGUST, 2011

Walls Notebook: Unleash Your Inner Graffiti Artist

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Marking your urban territory without fear of handcuffs, or how to partake in graffiti culture sans spray can.

Earlier this week, we explored 7 essential books on street art. If you’re ever fostered fantasies of spraying down a center-city building a tag of your own but never gotten past ogling the spray cans at Home Depot, then there’s a middle-ground oasis for you. Enter Walls Notebook, a charming activity book (and a fine addition to our favorite coloring books for grown-ups) that invites you, armed with a Sharpie, to unleash your inner graffiti artist on irresistibly inviting blank-slate urban walls from around NYC. It’s part Stencil 101, part Trespass, part playful new way of making street art more than a spectator sport.

The brainchild of NYC-based photographer and designer Sherwood Forlee, Walls Notebook is an absolute treat, reminiscent of Kerri Smith’s fantastic activity books for grown-ups.

via Quipsologies; images via the.

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17 AUGUST, 2011

Portraits of Cultural Icons by 80 of the World’s Top Illustrators

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What Stephen Hawking’s eyebrows have to do with Amy Winehouse and the artist as a storyteller.

Hardly does the responsibility of art get more intricate than in portraiture, with its expectation of capturing a person’s entire character and history with a few strokes of the proverbial brush. We’ve recently looked at Platon’s powerful portraits of political leaders and Noma Bar’s brilliant negative-space illustrated portraits of cultural icons. Today, we turn to Illustration Now! Portraits — a stunning new showcase of illustrated portraits by over 80 of the world’s most exciting artists, culled from Taschen‘s previously published Illustration Now! volumes, in addition to exclusive and unpublished work. The lavish 400-page tome spans a remarkable range of media, from ink and watercolor to collage to digital illustration, and covers a wide spectrum of styles, from the minimalist to the hyperrealistic to the grotesque and beyond.

What makes the project particularly interesting is that it’s essentially a visual meditation on the changing role of portraiture in an age where the barrier of entry for photography is at an all-time low and photographic portraits are technically accessible to just about anyone, making yesteryear’s gold standard of photographic accuracy no longer the merit metric for what makes a good portrait. Instead, a new creative meritocracy has emerged, pushing artists to differentiate themselves through unique styles, techniques and points of view in how they capture their subjects.

Miles Davis by Jorge Arevalo

Elijah Wood by Jorge Arevalo

Amy Winehouse by Jorje Arevalo

Rihanna by Pablo Lobato

Albert Einstein by Pablo Lobato

Stephen Hawking by Havoch Piven

Keith Richards by Havoch Piven

Borat by Havoch Piven

Precious by Tavis Coburn

Avatar by Tavis Coburn

Frida Kahlo by Montse Bernal

The anthology is also a study in the evolution of our culture’s narrative on faces and ideals. As editor Julius Wiedemann points out,

Editors and advertisers once demanded that illustrators idealize the face and figure, thus codifying an aesthetic of universal beauty. In Western society, that meant white, ethnically cleansed portraits of pretty or handsome models. Today portraits come in the proverbial all shapes and sizes, styles and mannerisms, colors and hues. They seem to be more honest and arguably today’s illustration is more in our face.”

Visually stunning and creatively stimulating, Illustration Now! Portraits is a coffeetable museum of our era’s expectations regarding faces, both of the artist’s role as a storyteller and of our collective response to the icons and personalities portrayed.

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