Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

15 APRIL, 2011

The Ancient Book of Myth and War

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What Roman warriors have to do with Pixar and medieval Middle-Eastern legends.

Nearly two years ago, we featured The Ancient Book of Séx and Science — the racy and whimsical side-project of four Pixar animators, which went on to become the most popular book in Brain Pickings history. But it was actually a follow-up to an earlier project by the same team, at the time out-of-print and near-impossible to get online, less a few exorbitantly priced four-figure collector’s copies. Now, The Ancient Book of Myth and War has magically reappeared on Amazon, where we were able to snag a copy for under $75. Needless to say, the book is an absolute gem worth every penny — a collection of stunning experiments in shape and color exploring the strange and wonderful world of mythology and legend throughout the history of the world. (As Amazon reviewer J. Brodsky eloquently puts it, “The only point to be made here, is that you simply must do yourself a favor and buy this art gallery they call a book.”)

The four animators — Scott Morse, Nate Wragg, Lou Romano, and Don Shank — manage to capture the essence of legends from around the world and across time with a rare blend of irreverence and cross-cultural curiosity, sweeping you into a journey into the soul of heroic mythology.

Playful and poetic, The Ancient Book of Myth and War is an absolute treat for art aficionados and mythology lovers alike, blending history and design with the kind of visual eloquence Pixar has grown legendary for.

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15 APRIL, 2011

Jonathan Harris: The Storytelling of Life

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We love artist Jonathan Harris, who previously delighted us with the We Feel Fine project, World Building in a Crazy World, I Want You To Want Me, and The Whale Hunt. When he turned 30, he decided to start taking one photo every day and posting it to his site before going to sleep — a seemingly simple, private project that soon turned into a fascinating exploration followed by thousands of people around the world. Our friends from m ss ng p eces — you remember them, right? — are back with another lovely documentary, capturing the project and the vivid, earnest curiosity with which Harris approaches the world.

I wanted to find a way to be more in the moment, to be more in every day; to understand time more and to understand my life more, to have more memories — all of these things. Basically, to live more richly, as a human life, not just as a work life.” ~ Jonathan Harris

No matter what you do in your life, what you create, what career you have, whether you have a family or kids, or make a lot of money… your greatest creation is always going to be your life’s story. Because it’s like this container that holds all of those other things. That was something I was really interested in with this project, thinking about life itself as a creation, as a story that you’re writing.” ~ Jonathan Harris

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13 APRIL, 2011

Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things

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If Pixar films have taught us one thing about the world, it’s that everyday objects live extraordinary secret lives while we aren’t looking. That’s exactly what photographer-turned-artist Terry Border, who left commercial photography for the world of storytelling, explores with wit and whimsy in Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things — a collection of micro-sculptures using everyday objects and thin wire to create anthropomorphic, charmingly emotive beings and scenes.

I get ideas for photographs when everyday objects remind me of something else. Then I try to think about how I can show others the connection I made. The next step – I try really hard to take it one step further- add humor, emotion of some kind, maybe an “aha” moment. For example, with ‘Mail Order Bride,’I came up with the characters, but the little chair against the door really makes that shot for most people.” ~ Terry Border

Though the photos themselves are a delight, what makes the project most charming are Border’s clever captions. For a sneak peek, look no further than his excellent Gel Conference talk, which captures the humor and imagination with which Border approaches his work:

Playful and poetic, Bent Objects will make you smile and nod knowingly as the most mundane of objects bring to life all-too-human moments.

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