School supplies and sculpture by Lars Fisk

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art gallery exhibitions, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Products we'd like to see, Sculpture

It’s that time of year, late summer, and you probably need to get your kids some school supplies for back-to-school. I’m sure #2 pencils are probably on the list for most kids, but take a look at this customized #2 pencil by artist Lars Fisk … (scroll down below the picture for more info)

artist Lars Fisk and his pencil ball
Photo by Matthew Johnson originally published in The New York Times

Lars Fisk is a sculptor who turns familiar objects into plump spherical versions of themselves. He caught our attention a few years ago, with his round VW Bus, a round street, a round school bus, a round John Deere tractor, a round red barn, and a round UPS truck. He’s going to have an exhibition of new work this fall at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea, titled “Mr. Softee” and opening September 8th … we’ll have to make sure to go visit!

Artsology on EdTech 4 Beginners

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Arts Education

EdTech 4 Beginners is a blog written by Neil Jarrett featuring ideas and teaching resources related to educational technology. Jarrett is a Y6 teacher and maths coordinator at an international school in Bangkok, Thailand. Artsology received a featured post today, and we wanted to share it with you here.

Our thanks to Neil for sharing Artsology with his audience, and we hope you’ll check out his site and Facebook page too.

Neil Jarrett and #edtech4beginnerse

Davy Crockett and Space Age Bicycles

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Products we'd like to see

Check out this futuristic bicycle by Benjamin G. Bowden called the “Spacelander Bicycle,” seen here at the Brooklyn Museum. The original prototype was designed in 1946 and later manufactured in 1960. It has been said that the curving lines and “amoeba-like voids” represent a design based on organic materials rather than machine-made forms, giving it a very unique look for the mid 20th century. But what’s up with the raccoon tails on the handle bars? Bowden didn’t have them on his original bikes; the museum explains that “the fur is merely for decoration! It was actually added by the Museum after the bicycle was collected,” and was inspired by the fact that many kids in the 1950s would put animal tails on their handlebars. Generally, these were raccoon tails inspired by the hat that Davy Crocket wore.

This bike design wasn’t very popular when it came out, and at $89.50, was considered especially expensive at the time. Only approximately 500 of these bikes were ever sold, making it a pretty rare find.

Spacelander bicycle design by Benjamin G. Bowden

A moving graffiti show on the Hudson River railroad

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Graffiti, Photo of the day, The Arts Adventurer

I had an unusual weekend of travels, with a trip to Nyack, NY on Saturday, and a day trip to Newburgh, NY on Sunday. This is the 2nd time I’ve been to Newburgh (the first time was back in 2012), and both times I saw graffiti-covered trains running along the rail line that hugs the west side of the Hudson River. For more on this, check out our coverage on our sister site, The Arts Adventurer, which includes some history about this particular railroad, as well as some details on a visit to a Newburgh motorcycle museum.

CSX freight train covered with graffiti, seen in Newburgh NY

Quick trip and a little art in Nyack, New York

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Murals, Photo of the day

I had to drive up to Nyack, New York today on an errand, and had a little bit of time to explore before returning home. I had lunch at the Temptations Cafe on Main Street, and as I made my way into the restaurant, I noticed they had an open-air patio out back, which was surrounded by mural-covered brick walls. I didn’t find out the artist’s name, and it was hard to get a clear view of the murals in such a tight space, but I kind of like the way these lightbulbs are almost big-enough to get a distorted view of the mural through the glass of each bulb.

Scroll down to the 2nd picture to see another blast of color in the Temptations Cafe’s patio …

view of a mural in the Tempations Cafe in Nyack, New York

painted brick wall at Temptations Cafe in Nyack

More on World Photo Day

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Photo of the day, Photography

You may have seen our last post about today being World Photo Day … there’s also a website that promotes World Photo Day, which you can see here. They invite you to share one picture of your own for this occasion, and we decided to take them up on the offer.

You can see what we submitted by clicking that last link above, but we had a couple other shots from the same day, taken in Newport News, VA, that we really like, so we’ll post a couple of them here. You can also see World Photo Day’s 2016 Collection as it unfolds by checking this link … it gets updated every time someone uploads a submission to their collection.

sunset over James River
Multiple reflections of a sunset over the James River in Newport News, VA
View of the James River in Newport News, VA
View of the American flag and a long straight-edged cloud over the James River in Newport News, VA

Today is World Photo Day

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Photography

Today, August 19th, is “World Photo Day,” celebrating 177 years of photography. More specifically, here’s the history: the date behind World Photo Day originates from the invention of the daguerreotype, a photographic processes developed by Joseph Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre in 1837. On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of Sciences announced the daguerreotype process. Daguerre did not patent and profit from his invention in the usual way. Instead, it was arranged that the French government would acquire the rights in exchange for a lifetime pension. The government would then present the daguerreotype process “free to the world” as a gift, which it did on this day in 1839.

In honor of Louis Daguerre and photography, we have some examples of some of his earliest daguerreotypes below.

daguerreotype by Louis Daguerre
“Still life with plaster casts,” made by Daguerre in 1837, the earliest reliably dated daguerreotype
first daguerreotype taken showing people
The earliest reliably dated photograph of people, taken by Daguerre one spring morning in 1838 from the window of the Diorama, where he lived and worked.

New game: Art History Portrait Mix and Match Game

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art games, Art History

We’ve got a new game, the “Art History Portrait Mix and Match Game,” in which you can adjust 4 different parts of 5 different portraits to come up with your own new faces. The game starts with a view of a Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait, but as you click (or tap on mobile devices) on different parts of the face – the forehead, the eyes, the nose and mouth, or the neck – you’ll see each section rotate through the five different portraits: Kahlo’s Self Portrait, Henri Matisse’s portrait of his wife, a Vincent Van Gogh Self Portrait, a Pablo Picasso Self Portrait, and a portrait of Chairman Mao by Andy Warhol.

There’s no real objective other than to have fun mixing-and-matching the parts to come up with new faces! Here’s two of our own … click on the image below or the link above to play now!

4 portraits by Famous Artists

The cottage industry of Frida Inc.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Historical Figures in Art, Products we'd like to see

I saw these Frida Kahlo potpourri bags in an antiques store in Aurora, NY, and my first thought was that these don’t look like antiques. But my next thought was that this is just another example of how there has long been a cottage industry of Frida Kahlo products out there, many of which I’m sure are not exactly sanctioned by the estate of Frida Kahlo. Scroll down for a view of some of the Frida products we found in other places …

Potpourri bags featuring the likeness of Frida Kahlo found in Aurora New York

Clockwise from top left (below), we have a cartoon Frida t-shirt; Frida leggings for the fashionably artsy crowd; a Frida journal with the cover caption of “I am just as strange as you.” How about that for inspiration? Continuing in a clockwise direction, we also have Frida Kahlo Sticky Notes, and … last but not least … the Frida “Good Vibes Only” watch. Maybe this is a revisionist approach to Frida Kahlo, considering that her life didn’t seem to have an overwhelming amount of “good vibes,” between suffering lifelong health problems, a husband who cheated on her, anxiety attacks, and an overuse of morphine. I like how the watch also depicts her wearing jeans and with a tattoo on her left bicep … that’s clearly an updated image makeover!

Frida Kahlo gifts and clothing