Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

28 JANUARY, 2011

David Carter’s Pop-Up Books for Children of All Ages

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Given my spot for all things pop-up and unrelenting belief in lifelong childhood, I absolutely adore David Carter’s wonderful series of pop-up books for children of all ages.

One Red Dot is a graphically ambitous gem that invites you to find one red dot hidden in each of 18 paper sculptures.

One Red Dot pop-up book

One Red Dot pop-up book

Blue 2 pairs Carter’s tenderly architectural paper sculptures fragmented text stringing together words in alphabetical order, asking the reader to look for a hidden “Blue-2″ on each of nine stunning spreads. Though arguably far too abstract for the recommended 4-8 age range, with vocabulary that might make even an MBA stumble, the book is so aesthetically mesmerizing that it sparks a visceral, intuitive understanding of the words.

Blue 2 pop-up book

600 Black Spots is another brilliant scavenger hunt of a pop-up, spanning across 20 gloriously engineered, endlessly entertaining pages to hide — and invite you to seek — 600 black dots.

600 Black Spots pop-up book

Yellow Square takes Carter’s signature paper sculptures to a new level by incorporating unusual, unexpected found materials like yarn, netting, and beautiful translucent waxy paper. A yellow square is hidden on each marvelously engineered page, tucked between stunning illustrations in primary colors that invite you to probe and interact, inevitably extracting a well-deserved “wow.”

White Noise is Carter’s latest gem, concluding his phenomenal series with an interactive pop-up book that plays with multiple senses: Touching, seeing and, now, hearing. Vibrant and poetic as ever, his beautifully engineered paper creations are accompanied by subtle yet rich sound effects produced as you touch the sculptural marvels — an absolute sensory treat, whether you’re 4 or 104.

White Noise pop-up book

White Noise pop-up book

Playful and poetic, Carter’s books are a three-dimensional manifesto for perpetual curiosity and the eternal child within.

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27 JANUARY, 2011

PICKED: Color Story Parallels, Past vs. Present

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Street style photography has evolved from being a hobby for the style conscious to source for inspirational personal style. We recently featured a documentary on Scott Schuman, better known as The Satorialist, who is partially responsible for today’s surge of street style photography.

Originally inspired by Shuman’s work, Color Comparisons is a series of image pairs that draw comparisons between the art world and street style photography, presenting fashion photography alongside vintage ads or classic art with the same color stories. The results are pretty incredible.

Explore the Color Comparisons archive for more color story doppelgängers across the space-time continuum.

Shenee Howard is a writer, designer and creative tactician based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also an avid story and pop curator. The 90s are her favorite. She founded design/strategy firm You’ll Look Great and is in the process of launching the storytelling blog eight thirty seven. She also spends way too much time sharing links on Twitter.

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26 JANUARY, 2011

The Black Book of Colors

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Today must be the day for tickling the outer limits of our senses. From the synesthetic explorations of sound through color earlier today, we take the creative mind-bending a step further: Experiencing color through the lack of color. The Black Book of Colors, from author Menena Cottin and illustrator Rosana Faria, is a remarkable book of simple, elegant illustrations of natural objects — from strawberries to rain to bird feathers — depicted not through color and shading but through embossed lines, inviting the viewer to experience them tactilely rather than visually.

The book is designed as an empathy tool that allows a sighted person to step inside the world of the blind, who experience the world through their fingers rather than their eyes.

Though intended for children, The Black Book of Colors is an absolute treat for adults — not merely as a feat of aesthetic elegance, but also as a beautiful philosophical metaphor for all those things in our lives that both are and aren’t, like the nature of reality or solitude or some great love we can touch with the tender tips of our fingers but never fully grasp.

Thanks, Kirstin

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Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





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26 JANUARY, 2011

Synesthesia Spotlight: 3 Visualizations of Music

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What Vivaldi has to do with motion graphics, John Coltrane and skyscrapers of color.

Synesthesia is a rare neurological condition that leads stimulation in one sensory pathway to trigger an experience in another. Basically, a short-circuiting in the brain that enables such strange phenomena like perceiving letters and numbers as inherently colored (color-graphemic synesthesia) or hearing sounds in response to visual motion. More than 60 types of synesthesia have been identified, with one of the most common being the cross-sensory experience of color and sound — “hearing” color or “seeing” music.

These neurological eccentricities, however, can often be a source of tremendous artistic inspiration. Today, we look at three mesmerizing near-synesthetic ways of experiencing sound and color.

MICHAL LEVY

Israeli artist and jazz musician Michal Levy (who also happens to be a dear friend) is an actual synesthetic: When she listens to music, she sees shapes and colors as different tones, pitches, frequencies, harmonies, and other elements of the melody unfold. Her fantastic animated film, Giant Steps, captures this unique experience, visualizing the iconic John Coltrane masterpiece as Michal sees it in her mind’s synesthetic eye.

Michal’s latest film, One, is yet another vibrant journey into sonic color. Her creative process is quite extraordinary, like peering into a mind that functions on an entirely different sensory plane.

LET YOURSELF FEEL

Let Yourself Feel is a mesmerizing animation by Argentinian motion graphics designer Esteban Diácono, visualizing “Slowly” by composer Ólafur Arnalds in spellbinding colorful smoke.

MUSIC ANIMATION MACHINE

Since 1985, composer, inventor and software engineer Stephen Malinowski has been bringing an intuitive, visceral understanding to classical music’s greatest masterpieces. His Music Animation Machine, which we have featured previously, distills some of the most complex compositions in music history into digestible, beautiful visualizations.

Music moves, and can be understood just by listening. But a conventional musical score stands still, and can be understood only after years of training. The Music Animation Machine bridges this gap, with a score that moves — and can be understood just by watching.” ~ Stephen Malinowski

Malinowski has made the MIDI player available as downloadable freeware (alas, no Mac version) to encourge people to create their own visualizations. There’s even a free visual harmonizer for iPad — a wonderful educational tool exploring the relationship between pitches.

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