A handy 'Coin drop into an electric windmill' tutorial

It may only be April but if you want to look super cool at the office holiday party this December it is time to get to work! Read the rest

Randomly-generated doctor handwriting

Paavo Toivanen wrote code that generates uncannily human, but utterly meaningless and illegible writing. Toivanen's thoughts on generative art are worth reading.
Generative art should ideally retain two disparate levels of perception: the material and visual qualities of a piece of art, and then a creation story or script and the intellectual journey that led to the end result.

The creation story is what's missing in most generative art, especially when it's presented as a representation of nature. Read the rest

A lovely leather pencil roll

Organize your pens and pencils rather than poke holes in your pockets! Read the rest

The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History

Superman always left me cold. Virtually omnipotent, unerringly virtuous, and slightly boring, Superman is capable of rescuing kittens from trees, leaping over buildings with a single bound, and routinely saving the entire planet from certain cataclysm. He always wins. Sure, he was sort of killed once, he's been naughty on occasion (usually due to some form of Kryptonite or an alternate reality), and he certainly has a fascist streak in the current movies, but his most recent controversy is whether he's wearing the red trunks or not. Yawn.

I was always fascinated by the C-squad heroes, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time group just below Aquaman and Elongated Man in name recognition. Red Tornado, the 1940's heroine who fought crime while wearing a bucket on her head, utilizing only her fists and wit. Mr. Terrific, the Golden Age 'Man of 1000 Talents', who rarely used any of them. Phantom Stranger, a mage with omnipotent powers who was merely a narrator in his own book, generally only appearing in the first and last panels. And then there's The Legion Of Superheroes, whose members included Bouncing Boy, who had the ability to inflate himself and bounce around, Ferro Lad, who could turn himself to solid iron, and Matter Eater Lad, who could eat anything, which inspired the indie rock group Guided By Voices to write a song about him. Don't even get me started on the League Of Substitute Heroes, the minor leaguers with questionable abilities not quite up to snuff to join the Legion.

The League Of Regrettable Superheroes examines the careers of a few of the comic book history's least likely heroes. Read the rest

A beautifully illustrated edition of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen

The Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Snow Queen, is a quick and enjoyable read, made all the more so with printmaker Sanna Annukka’s gorgeous illustrations. You’ll likely recognize the textile designer’s aesthetic from Marimekko and, not surprisingly, many of her illustrations make full use of her bold, geometric patterns through the characters’ dress. Her landscapes look like fabrics, too. A panel that shows a wintry countryside looks like it could be a weaving and I wish I could buy another, a garden in full bloom, by the bolt.

The story itself is not what I had expected. In many ways, the titular character is a minor player. The heroine is a young girl, Gerda, who journeys bravely and earnestly, escaping numerous villains by virtue of her devotion to her young friend and playmate, Kay, who has been lured away by the Snow Queen. Kay first fell victim to the heart-numbing trickery of the devil himself, who had accidentally broken an evil mirror crafted to reflect and amplify only the most wicked and ugly things in the world. When the mirror breaks, pieces “smaller than a grain of sand” are sent flying around the word, one of which sticks in Kay’s eye, and another which pierces and chills his heart. As the Snow Queen further freezes Kay’s heart with a kiss, Gerda braves witches, haunts, thieves, and icy winds to save her friend.

Maybe it’s because I’m a mom who is worn out on Frozen, the Disney smash hit (which refuses to die, despite every parent’s best efforts) that was loosely based on the fairy tale, but I wish that the movie more closely echoed the actual story. Read the rest

Kickstarting improvements to Maria Del Camino, a "flying" El Camino with a drilled-out portrait of Metropolis's Maria

My friend and Burning Man campmate Bruce Tomb built the greatest art car I've ever seen: Maria Del Camino, made from the body of a '59 El Camino perforated by thousands of hand-drilled holes, which form a pointillist portrait of Maria, the robot from Metropolis, on the hood; connected via a hydraulic arm to the tanklike body of an industrial grader. Read the rest

A curated catalogue of artists Shag's creativity over the past three decades

Whenever I’m drinking rum, which is fairly often, I imagine myself living in a Shag painting. Josh Agle, better known as Shag is a pop art master. His paintings are highly sought after, and for good reason. The brightly colored scenes of Shriners, swingers, tiki, and the surreal is always evocative and entertaining. I’m lucky enough to have a few prints of his, and dream of one day having my whole house filled with Shag art. This book is the most comprehensive collection I’ve seen, including details about his past, his process, and how his art has changed over the years.

I could, and probably will, spend hours paging through this book, enjoying each one of his paintings, prints, and merch. That’s one thing I love about Shag, is that there always seems to be something new to find in his paintings. It’s also really interesting to see how his work has evolved over the years. From his early days creating album covers, to his most recent utopic scenes, you can really see how his style and tone has changed.

This is a must have for any mid-century obsessive, tiki deviant, or pop art lover. Display it proudly on your coffee table or liquor shelf.

SHAG: The Collected Works by Josh Agle AMMO Books 2017, 192 pages, 9.0 x 0.8 x 12.2 inches, Hardcover $26 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

"Mindreading" robots and tech-art insanity in San Francisco this Friday-Sunday

This Friday through Sunday in San Francisco, my extreme maker pals Kal Spelletich (Survival Research Labs, Seemen) and Mitch Altman (Noisebridge, TV-B-Gone) invite you to what's sure to be a mind-bending experience of neuro-robotic weirdness and art at The Lab. From the description of the installation:
Split-Brain Robotics: Harvesting Brain Data for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment

An interactive audience participatory performance with two custom built 16’ tall robots, each identical, each controlled by the left and right side brainwaves of audience participants.

A hacked and customized brainwave monitor reads audience participants' right side and left side brainwaves to make the two robots move, collaborate, interact, fight, and even "kiss". Their live streaming brain data runs the two robots! Volunteers’ (your!) thoughts are brought to life through robotic actions.

When they do “correctly” interact, symbolic and metaphoric events will happen, activating, lasers, lights, fog, robotic eye views projections, sounds, chaos.

Split-Brain Robotics: Harvesting Brain Data for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment Read the rest

Quiz: Was this painting made by a human artist or ape?

Which of the paintings above is by a respected abstract painter who is human and which was painted by a non-human ape in the Congo?

The answer is in the comments.

Take the full quiz here: "An artist or an ape?"

(via @pickover) Read the rest

Penis seat on Mexico City subway

A seat on the Mexico City subway has a protruding molded torso and cock. Part art project and part PSA, it's supposedly there to highlight the sexual harassment experienced by female passengers. It has proven controversial, reports the BBC.

Underneath a video of the stunt, which has been seen more than 700,000 times in the past 10 days, some viewers praised the idea, while others called it "sexist" and unfair to men.

Not quite sure how a penis everyone is forced to look at and may inadvertently sit on helps the cause, but, man, that video. Read the rest

Check out this trippy stop-motion papercraft music video

This video for "Explosions in the Sky" by the Ecstatics perfectly captures the trippy electronica vibe by using thousands of papercraft sculptures in stop motion. Read the rest

Watch MC Escher make art in this short documentary

M.C. Escher: Adventures in Perception (1971) is a 20-minute Dutch documentary about the artist and includes scenes of him working in his studio. From Open Culture:

Obsessed with perspective, geometry, and pattern (Escher described tessellation as “a real mania to which I have become addicted”), his images have, by the count of mathematician and Escher scholar Doris Schattschneider, led so far to eleven separate strands of mathematical and scientific research.

The twenty-minute Adventures in Perception, originally commissioned by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offers in its first half a meditation on the mesmerizing, often impossible world Escher had created with his art to date. Its second half captures Escher in the last years of his life, still at work in his Laren, North Holland studio. It even shows him printing one of the three titular serpents, threaded through a set of elaborately interlocking circles, of his very last print Snakes. He never actually finished Snakes, whose patterns would have continued on to the effect of infinity, and even says here of his officially complete works that none succeed, “because it’s the dream I tried for that can’t be realized.”

(via Neatorama)

Read the rest

Site turns any image into an animated waving flag

Flag Waver accepts uploaded images or URLs and turns them into an on-screen waving flag. There are advanced options for wind and hoisting! Sadly, you cannot export or save animations. Read the rest

Gorgeous collection of public domain illustrations of space

Over a decade ago, we tipped readers to the astronomy illustrations of Trouvelot. now the New York Public Library has a large collection of his work available online. Read the rest

Hypnotic video of dropping liquids into an aquarium

Photographer Brian Tomlinson creates beautiful stills of liquids dropped into an aquarium. Some of the results are below: Read the rest

Fantastic avant-garde and counterculture posters for sale

The intrepid counterculture archivists/publishers of Boo-Hooray have posted their "Top 100 Posters" for sale. What a stunning collection of avant-garde art and design. It makes me yearn for the downtown scenes of the prior century.

Read the rest

Gimmicky technological conceptualism returns with a vengeance

Wow! An edible drone with extruded vegetable spars that can be flown into famine-affected areas! Reworded press release posts popped up everywhere last week with this image attached. Ian Bogost wasn't buying it. Read the rest

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