Image within an image … but how was it done?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Optical Illusions, Photography

I saw this art work at the 2016 Spring/Break Art Show, and unfortunately didn’t see the artist’s name listed anywhere. At first glance, it’s a simple idea – the artist created the art work with the photographs inside the window frame, and then inserted that piece into the same view, and photographed it again. Simple, right? I don’t think so … scroll down for more.

art work showing an image within its own image

If the artist took the photos and made the first piece, by the time the artist came back to photograph it again, things would have changed. But look closely at the clouds in the frame within the landscape – the clouds are in the exact same location as the clouds in this frame hanging in front of us.

The only thing I can think of is that the artist used 5 of the same panels for both versions of the frame, but then when photographing it the 2nd time, inserted the new panel in the bottom center. But that would require the light and shadows on the ground to be the exact same location as the first time, where there is no frame on the ground (in the frame in this picture). How likely is that?

Am I missing something here? How do you think this picture/art work was created? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Graffiti-style team names for NCAA Final Four

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Sports, Graffiti

As I was watching the NCAA Final Four tonight, I noticed that CBS Sports had some short animated clips that promoted the teams with cartoon style players mixed with a graffiti style for the team names. I’ve never seen CBS Sports or the NCAA use graffiti to promote a major sporting event, so I tried to find some background info on the artist and these animations, but I couldn’t find a thing.

But I did like the illustrations, so I grabbed some screen shots to share here. If CBS had them for the first game between Gonzaga and South Carolina, then I regret that I missed seeing the illustrations (I did see the game), but I did catch these screen shots as seen below from the second game between North Carolina and Oregon.

graffiti style illustration for North Carolina Tar Heels in the Final Four

graffiti style illustration for Oregon Ducks in the Final Four

Surrealist photography by Erik Johansson

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Artist Spotlight, Photography

I saw this image titled “The Architect” and wanted to share it here. The artist’s name is Erik Johansson, and he’s a “surrealist photographer” photographer from Sweden based in Prague, Czech Republic and Sweden. According to his website, “Erik doesn’t capture moments, he captures ideas.” With the help of his camera and Photoshop, the goal is to make his imagined ideas look as realistic as possible.

“The Architect” is subtitled: “The dicipline of paradoxal geometry, imagine the unimaginable,” and the image was made in 2015.

Surrealist photography by Erik Johansson

Here’s two more that I really like: below left, “Vertical Turn,” 2009; and below right, “End of Line,” 2012. The artist explains: “I get inspiration from all things around me. Anything from things I see in my daily life to other artist’s work and music. I think it’s a lot about looking at the world from a different perspective.” You can see more of his work via the link above, or check out his shop here – he has a book and individual prints available as well.

images by surrealist photographer Erik Johansson

John Langley Howard repurposed for current political art

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Finding visual references, Making an art history comparison, Political Art

I saw this street art poster (below left) in New York City back in November, and the message of “immigrants work, immigrants vote” was clearly related to the presidential election. But the image stuck in my mind, because I knew I had seen it somewhere before … and then I remembered, it’s from one of the murals at Coit Tower in San Francisco, a detail of which can be seen below right.

immigrants work, immigrants vote street art poster NYC

The original mural detail is by artist John Langley Howard, and the full mural is known as “California Industrial Scenes” and is pictured below. It was meant to be political at the time it was unveiled in 1934, just as the image has been repurposed for political purposes now. The label next to this mural reads: “In this mural, industry is physically portrayed, and with a powerful social and political message emerges from the mixture of visual images: demonstrating workers, the homeless, a strip mining operation, and Shasta Dam, to name a few.” So it would seem that whomever made the street art poster we saw in NYC had an art history background or did some research, as this was a pretty good image to choose for this particular message.

Californial Industrial Scenes by John Langley Howard

Cezanne et Moi, the film

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Movies, Videos

I saw a movie ad in the Sunday Times with the headline: “A ravishing historical biopic!” It showed two men walking across a field, with the film title “Cezanne et Moi.” The movie details the lifelong friendship between the painter Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola, one of France’s most successful novelists. I ripped out the ad as a reminder, thinking this might be something I’d like to see, but then I found the trailer:

I’m sorry, but “ravishing” doesn’t exactly seem to describe the “action” taking place in this trailer. One reviewer who did see the film writes: “We learn virtually nothing about the work that made them famous. Few of Cézanne’s paintings are even shown, and the film, despite its title, is in no way told from Zola’s eloquent perspective.” So what exactly is going on here? It seems like a lot of talking, although another reviewer wrote that the exchanges between Cézanne and Zola included “a repetitious airing of grievances, with practically every encounter devolving into a heated exchange or bitter shouting match.” Hmm, perhaps I’ll pass on this one.

Not Vital and Alex Katz in the reflection

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Contemporary Art, Optical Illusions, Sculpture

I saw this piece by Not Vital, below left, at the 2017 Armory Show. The title of the piece is “Head (Dong Xu),” 2014, and it’s a stainless steel sculpture with PVD coaqting measuring approximately 69 x 59 x 48 inches. The surface is so-perfectly polished and smooth, it’s like a mirror, as you can see in the reflection below right, which captures three people sitting in front of an Alex Katz painting across the way.

It would seem that keeping this piece perfectly polished “is vital,” so to speak … one fingerprint would ruin the effect, don’t you think? I have to admit that I’m not too familiar with Not Vital’s work, but the first thing that I learned surprised me: “Not Vital” is his real name – he’s a Swiss artist, and he was named after his father and grandfather. I’d like to learn more about him, as his paintings and his buildings look nothing like this sculpture, so he’s clearly well-rounded with his artistic ideas.

sculpture by Not Vital reflecting a painting by Alex Katz

Rockstar Games probably didn’t expect us to catch this

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Finding visual references, Video Games

I suppose I qualify as a full-time art geek when I can play the video game “Grand Theft Auto V” and I ignore the mission in order to check out the art. To be honest, I haven’t played the game much in order to accurately describe where I was (but was told this is “Michael’s house”), but in this one particular house I decided to walk around and check out the paintings on the walls.

Most of the paintings in this house were generic landscapes, but in this spot there was an unusual painting that stood out – this one below right. Scroll down for my take on this …

paintings in Grand Theft Auto V

My first thought was that it had a Mexican vibe, maybe something inspired by Diego Rivera – a detail from his painting “Sugar Cane” is below left. But the women also reminded me vaguely of Gauguin’s paintings, two samples of which are also shown below center and right. I don’t know, maybe I’m reaching here, but the painting above right is definitely quite different from every other painting in the house.

paintings by Diego Rivera and Paul Gauguin

One of the rooms contains a Warhol imitation … you can see this pink and gold portrait on the wall has a very similar style to Andy Warhol’s portrait of Liza Minelli, as seen in the inset, bottom right.

Andy Warhol style portrait in Grand Theft Auto V

But when I say in the post title that “Rockstar Games probably didn’t expect us to catch this,” what I’m referring to is the duplicate paintings hanging in different locations in the same house. I’m sure Rockstar, the company behind Grand Theft Auto, isn’t expecting the kids playing this game to pay much attention to the art, so rather than bother making every single painting different, why not just re-use a couple of them?

The first one I noticed was this portrait of a woman. As you can see below, she’s in one room, hanging between two sconces and over a side table with ceramic urns and a vase of flowers. But the exact same painting is also in another room, again between the same two sconces, but this time hanging over a white sofa. It’s hard to forget a large portrait like that, especially when you see it twice.

painting shows up twice in Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto

Next we’ve got a pair of landscape paintings – look at the left and right paintings of this trio in the bedroom – the one on the left shows some pine trees and a big boulder; the one on the far right shows a grouping of 5 tall trees. But when you come out of the bedroom and go downstairs, why there’s the pine trees and boulder on the right and the 5 tall trees on the left – bingo!

paintings duplicated in Grand Theft Auto V

Oh well, I’m sure almost no one playing the game really cares … it doesn’t bother me either, but I found it kind of amusing to discover. Rockstar, if you’re paying attention, I would be happy to offer my services for future games to create virtual art and guarantee that you don’t have any duplicates! Give me a call!

International experience: artist Zoya Taylor

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Artist Spotlight

I saw these two paintings by Zoya Taylor at the Clio Art Fair a few weeks ago; below left is “The Magical Tree,” and below right is “The Corner.” I was curious to learn more about this artist, and found out this interesting fact regarding her international background: she is a self-taught Jamaican-Canadian artist who grew up in Germany, Jamaica and Canada and now lives in Norway. She has exhibited extensively in the USA, Norway, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Jamaica, and has participated in the Florence Biennale in Italy. Have we left any countries out? That’s a pretty remarkable experience!

paintings by Zoya Taylor

Zoya Taylor describes her work this way: “I do not paint portraits but rather the odd and marginal characters which fill the ‘spaces in between.’ They communicate the different facets of humanity. My cast is the cast of misfits; they are immigrants found between cultures, continents, languages and disciplines.”

To learn more about Zoya Taylor, check out her website here.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Murder, Myth and Modernism

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Architecture, Artist Spotlight, Videos

I’m doing a little research for a new game that I’m developing for Artsology about Frank Lloyd Wright, and came across this trailer for a documentary on the famous architect. Titled “Frank Lloyd Wright: Murder, Myth & Modernism,” it certainly ramps up the drama and intrigue. You should watch the video in its entirety, but it ends with this teaser: “He barely mentions the most horrifying event of his life, an act of appalling brutality that cast a shadow over his career for decades, and almost destroyed him …” and then it fades to black.

C’mon, talk about a forced cliffhanger! Of course I want to know more, but did it really have to be such an abrupt finish? See for yourself …