How to draw Islamic geometric patterns

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Over at the Root Simple website, Mr. Homegrown wrote about the fun he's been having learning how to draw Islamic geometric patterns from this book by Eric Broug.

It’s a book of step by step drawing instructions. All you need is a ruler, compass, pencil and pen. While the geometry behind theses patterns is enormously sophisticated, actually drawing out the shapes is surprisingly easy and relaxing. It’s also a fun and painless lesson in geometry, especially for those of us not inclined towards math..

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Incredible miniature recreations of iconic photos

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Swiss artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger recreated iconic photos from history in miniature, from cardboard, cotton wool, and other craft supplies. Above, "Making of AS11-40-5878 by Edwin Aldrin, 1969, 2014."

"Making of Nessie by Marmaduke Wetherell, 1934, 2013":

"Making of Concorde by Toshihko Sato, 2000, 2013":

"Making of Tiananmen by Stuart Franklin, 1989, 2013":

"War and fleece: DIY recreations of iconic photographs – in pictures" (The Guardian, thanks Plastic Ants!)

Previously:

• "Hoax photos of real events" Read the rest

Mean Girls Club – satirical social commentary or just flat out bonkers?

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Mean Girls Club by Ryan Heshka Nobrow Press 2016, 24 pages, 6.8 x 9.1 x 0.1 inches $6 Buy a copy on Amazon

If your understanding of what a Mean Girls Club consists of is defined by the 2004 Lindsay Lohan film, then Ryan Heshka’s new release from Nobrow Press (as part of their wonderful 17 x 23 series) is going to blow your mind. In Mean Girls Club, Pinky, Sweets, Blackie, McQualude, Wendy, and Wanda aren’t the popular girls in an Illinois high school, rather they are a gang of sociopaths who revel in murder, mayhem, pill popping, and depraved dereliction. Heshka’s 1950s bombshells start their day with ceremonial insect venom transfusions, snake worship, a pill buffet, and a fish slap fight, then go on to wreck havoc in a hospital, movie theater, boutiques, and the streets, only to finish off by jacking a lingerie truck, kidnapping patients and nurses along the way.

In a nod to the pulps and pin-ups of the past and rendered in fluorescent pinks and inky blacks, Heskha upends the conventional idea of the B-movie Vixen by adding a layer of such over-the-top brutality and vehemence that it transcends the possible, bringing the trope into the post-ironic age where we have lost the ability to discern what we are meant to take seriously.

Is Mean Girls Club to be read as satirical social commentary? Is it just flat out bonkers? Or is it a combination of both? Read the rest

The amazing illustrated chart of Prince's hairstyles

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Several years ago, Gary Card created a chart illustrating Prince's hairstyles from 1978 to 2013. After Prince's death, Dazed interviewed Card about the project, originally produced for Beat magazine.

Prince tweeted it and it went viral, it was one the most exciting moments of my life, knowing I’d impressed my hero. It came out with little fan fair when it was first printed, it was just some cute tribute by some weird obsessive nerd. I put a gif together of all the changing hair styles and put on Instagram, a couple of months later I was watching some nonsense on TV, when suddenly my phone starts going nuts with notifications, under one of the comments someone wrote, ‘Dude, Prince just tweeted your poster’ and that was it, it was retweeted around the world about ten times a second for two days, it was thrilling to watch. Of all of my achievements in my career, that was my proudest.

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Charles Gatewood, photographer of fringe culture, RIP

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Charles Gatewood, a pioneering photographer of the underground for nearly 50 years, died today from injuries sustained in a fall from his third-floor balcony. He was 74.

From documenting the Beats and the dark alleys of 1970s Mardi Gras to extreme body modification practitioners and sexual fetishists, Charles lived his life as a curious, open-minded photographic anthropologist at the fringes of culture.

I first encountered Charles's work in the 1980s through the groundbreaking RE/Search book Modern Primitives and a grainy VHS dub of the documentary "Dances Sacred and Profane" about his quest for individuals "breaking the bounds of convention." We first met in 1993 and I always looked forward to the terrific stories of his travels through the interzones that he happily shared with me. Charles was warm, generous, witty, and very grounded. I feel fortunate that hanging in my home is his marvelous portrait of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin gazing into their dreamachine, an image that inspires me every day.

Charles's photography provided a glimpse of the sometimes shocking, always fascinating, and strangely seductive scenes that are waiting for us if we just know where to look. He relentlessly challenged us to open our eyes and minds. I'll miss him.

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Sketch-simplifying neural network lets artists leap from pencil to ink

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The authors of a new "sketch simplification" program hope to make neural networks more useful to artists frustrated by the choppy results of existing automated line tools.

Apps such as Adobe Creative Suite provide functions to turn pencil drawings into vectors, but the sketches have to be tight and the resulting "inks" often need a lot of cleanup. Though other researchers and developers have applied neural network to the job, Edgar Simo-Serra writes that their model gets more meaningful and human results.

Our model is based on a fully convolutional neural network. We input the model a rough sketch image and obtain as an output a clean simplified sketch. This is done by processing the image with convolutional layers, which can be seen as banks of filters that are run on the input. While the input is a grayscale image, our model internally uses a much larger representation. We build the model upon three different types of convolutions: down-convolution, halves the resolution by using a stride of two; flat-convolutional, processes the image without changing the resolution; and up-convolution, doubles the resolution by using a stride of one half. This allows our model to initially compress the image into a smaller representation, process the small image, and finally expand it into the simplified clean output image that can easily be vectorized.

The source code hasn't been made available, but Simo-Serra's other works and collaborations are equally fascinating and already downloadable. Read the rest

Prolific and talented D&D map-drawer

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Dyson Logos's G+ account is an endlessly scrolling inventory of hand-drawn D&D maps, each one cooler than the last. Read the rest

Fantastical new print from Daniel Martin Diaz and Pressure Printing

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Daniel Martin Diaz teamed up with the fine artisans at Pressure Printing to create this stunning new limited edition print, titled Eternal Universe. It's printed on 29″ × 37 ½″ paper, hand-stained, and signed and numbered in a limited edition of 25. Far fucking out.

More about the printing process on the Pressure Printing blog.

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Support Eames Demetrios's parallel universe art/story/geography project!

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For more than a decade, BB pal Eames Demetrios (grandson of Charles and Ray Eames) has developed Kcymaerxthaere, a fantastically strange collection of parallel universe stories physically tied to real world sites that link the alternate reality with our own. The actual installations are at 121 sites in 25 countries so far. "It’s like a novel with every page in a different place," Eames says. Now, he and his collaborators are creating a limited edition book compiling the stories of the physical markers and historic sites of Kcymaerxthaere. Eames has launched an Indiegogo campaign to translate the stories into myriad languages and distribute those translations to libraries and schools in the communities those host Kcymaerxthaere installations!

Kcymaerxthaere: The Story So Far (Indiegogo)

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Buy Salvador Dalí's unpublished notebook

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One of Salvador Dalí's unpublished notebooks is up for auction at Sotheby's in Paris. Part of a fantastic array of Dada and Surrealist items for sale by the Bibliothèque R. & B. L. From CNN:

Among what has been deciphered is a page of writing devoted to "cadavres exquis", the address of filmmaker and friend of Surrealists Rene Clair and the name of Corti, a depository of the Surrealists' publications.

The book, currently owned by Bibliotheque R. & B. L., is believed to date from 1930-1935 and Sotheby's estimates it will sell for between $45,000-$56,000 (€40,000-50,000) in an auction in partnership with Binoche and Giquello.

Auction: Bibliothèque R. & B. L. Dada-Surréalisme

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The story of Traceroute, about a Leitnerd's quest

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Johannes Grenzfurthner talks about Traceroute: On the Road with a Leitnerd(*)
(*) Leitnerd is a wordplay referring to the German term Leitkultur.

Digital Dance (1982) was a trippy computer-animated blot of pixels

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Ed Tannenbaum animated Digital Dance in 1982. The post-disco music is by Might Dog (anyone know anything about it?), the dancer is Pons Maar, and Jim Wiseman shot the footage. Once again, I'm struck by how much glitch aesthetics are about creating memories, not deconstructing technology. Read the rest

Inside Industrial Light & Magic's virtual reality lab

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Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:

"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”

For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.

"THE SUPERGROUP REMAKING STAR WARS AND JURASSIC WORLD IN VR" (Bloomberg Businessweek) Read the rest

Convincing machine-generated Shakespearean sonnets on-demand

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Tristan Miller and Dave Morice created a website that produces highly-authentic Shakespearean sonnets. The trick: rather than randomly-generated Markov gobbledygook that evokes the flavor while crudely hitting the meter, each generated sonnet reuses whole lines from the body of Shakespeare's poetic work. The results are more convincing, at the cost of more commonplace repetition.

Writes Miller: "unlike some other poetry generators, this one ensures that the poems have the correct rhythm, rhyme scheme, and grammar. Dave first published the method for generating the poems back in 1991, but this is the first time it's been implemented on the Web." Read the rest

Incredible hand-stitched scenes from Dune

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Sarah Sumeray's mum made these incredible hand-stitched scenes from Dune novels; Andy Baio adds that they're covers by legendary SF artist Bruce Pennington

The originals:

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LUCY is a magical drawing tool based on the classic camera lucida

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The LUCY is a drawing tool I wish I had in art school. The device has been around for 500 years and though it uses no electricity, it's able to project images from your environment onto your drawing pad. The LUCY will make you feel like you have special abilities by letting you look at two things at once – and have them converge in the same spot for you to draw on top of.

Essentially, the LUCY is an improved, simplified version of a camera lucida – below is a sketch and an explanation of how it works.

First - the object you want to draw sits anywhere in your environment with the LUCY angled toward it. The image of the object passes through a one-way mirror and reflects into a second mirror and then back again onto the first mirror.

When you look through the top of the device, you see not only straight through to the paper you’re drawing on, but you’ll also see the reflection of the object you want to draw.

The brighter the environment around the object, the brighter the object will be on the paper. Then it’s up to you to trace what you see.

Here’s a video that shows the LUCY in action.

By helping you quickly block in shapes for layout and proportion, your final drawings will naturally be improved - how many times have you sketched only to find your subject's body parts cut off because you miscalculated your starting position?   Read the rest

Artist installs rooms beneath Milan's sewer entrances

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Biancoshock, an artist in Milan, created these "Borderlife" installations that appear to be underground rooms beneath the city's sewer-entrances, as a way of calling attention to homelessness, especially in Bucharest, where 600 people are living in the sewer tunnels. Read the rest

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