Fantastic psychedelic video for Kraftwerk's Autobahn (1979)

In 1979, Roger Mainwood, just out of the Royal College of Art, created this wonderfully trippy animation for Kraftwerk's "Autobahn." It was a commission from the band's record company but Kraftwerk had no input on the film, and Mainwood says he's unsure if they even saw it. The fan site KraftwerkOnline tracked down Mainwood and interviewed him about the film:

I've never actually had to explain in words exactly what it was all about. There was a lot of what you might call "psychedelic pop" imagery around at the time that to be honest never had a great deal of actual "meaning" to it at all, and I guess I was tapping into that. Thinking back to my thought processes at that time, I remember wanting to specifically not have conventional cars in the film. I wanted a sense of a repetitive journey, and alienation, which I took to be what the music was about,............hence the solitary futuristic figure, protected by large goggles, moving through and trying to connect with the journey he is taking. The automobile "monsters" are deliberately threatening ( I have never been a big fan of cars or motorways ! ) and when our "hero" tries to make human contact (with different coloured clones of himself) he can never do it. In the end he realises he is making the repetitive and circular journey alone but strides forward purposefully at the end as he did in the beginning . All of which sounds rather pretentious..........but I was a young thing in those days !

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Timelapse of portraits made by stacking crayons

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Christian Faur makes art by stacking crayons. Each crayon is a photo. Here are more examples of his work. Read the rest

Grotesque portraits of people with Play-Doh deformities

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Portugese artist Tomba Lobos sculpts bizarre facial deformities out of Play-Doh and then uses Photoshop to apply them to his subjects.

"I would like to think this project as a low budget tribute to old school Special Effects wich can be seen, for instance, on Cronenberg's movies like Videodrome and Chris Cunningham's music videos like Rubber Johnny," Lobos writes.

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Charcoal sketching is more fun

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My kids and I like to sketch together on the weekends. My older daughter and I also frequently go to a weekly figure drawing session here in LA. For me, using charcoal sticks is more fun than pencils or pens, because it's faster and I can work on shading.

The Royal & Langnickel Small Tin Charcoal Drawing Art Set ($6 on Amazon) has a good selection of different kinds of charcoal for drawing. My daughters are starting to like charcoal, too, so I bought sets for them. If you enjoy charcoal drawing, you should also get a white stick for highlights.

Here are a couple of my sketches:

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Arts commissioner enraged over Mark Ryden's 'anti-Christian' work in Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

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Our pals at the excellent art magazine Hi-Fructose partnered with MOCA, which curated what appears to be an incredible pop surrealism retrospective opening next week at the Virginia Museum of contemporary Art. Last week, one of the commissioners on the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission saw a painting by renowned artist Mark Ryden and flipped out. From WAVY:

“Look at this, she’s got a saw in her hand cutting off a piece of ham with the words on the ham ‘Corpus Christi.’ That is Latin for body of Christ, and the hand is dropping down and eaten by rats.” Loyola says. He also pointed out that the girl is wearing a first communion dress with a crucifix around her neck, and a figure of Jesus on a bottle of wine. Also there’s a rabbit pouring a teapot with blood is coming out.

“This is very anti-Christian and anti-Catholic. I was shocked to see this,” he says...

“She is holding the severed head, and blood is spraying up and showering her in blood. Is this what we are subsidizing at MOCA?” Loyola asks...

(MOCA executive director Debi Gray responded,) “Art is intended to be controversial. Too some degree it’s intended to spark dialog, and I am delighted it has fulfilled our mission."

Loyola countered, “I’m responding to her false claim. Obviously she feels she can do what she wants with taxpayer money. Not on my watch.”

Loyola is concerned that Ryden, in his work, pokes fun of religion.

“I am really not poking fun at religion.

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Before anime, Japanese paper theater entertained 1-million kids a day

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater by Eric P. Nash Abrams ComicArts 2009, 304 pages, 8.6 x 9.2 x 1.1 inches $29 Buy a copy on Amazon

Manga Kamishibai tells and shows the fascinating history of Japanese paper theater, a lost storytelling form and the link between Edo-era Japanese ukiyo-e prints and modern day manga and television. I say “and shows” because this art form combined the spoken word with compelling visuals in uniquely Japanese storytelling performances and this book is rich with many wonderful reproductions of the hand-painted artwork.

Picture this: In devastated post-WWII Tokyo, a man stops his bicycle on a street corner. On the back of his bike is mounted a large, sixty-pound wooden box. The man flips a few panels around to reveal a stage-like picture frame. He noisily clacks together two wooden sticks, hiyogoshi, to call the neighborhood children. As they gather to see and hear the free show, the man sells them home-made penny candies, including a not-too-sweet taffy that’s pulled and stretched using a chopstick (like today’s movie business, the real money is in the profitable concessions!). The paying customers get a front row seat to the performance. The man slides a sequence of large, colorful panels in the frame “screen” as he tells adventure stories, quizzes the audience, and weaves tales of suspense, all with character voices and sound effects. As the story ends on a dramatic, to-be-continued cliff-hanger, the man packs up his two-wheel theater and pedals away ... Read the rest

Stunningly beautiful photos of old timey computers

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Take a look at these beautiful images of computers at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park by photographer Docubyte and production studio Ink.

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Gallery show of forks stolen from rich people, sealed to preserve crumbs & saliva

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Australian artist Van Thanh Rudd, nephew of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, spent 15 years stealing forks that had been used by the rich and powerful, vacuum sealing them to preserve leftover morsels, saliva and DNA, and now he tours them as a gallery show called "Rich Forks." Read the rest

A Fairy Friend: storybook illustrated by a Disney animation legend

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Claire Keene is a legendary Disney animation artist whose work has appeared in Frozen and Tangled; she provides such lively illustrations for children's author Sue Fliess's poem A Fairy Friend that readers are transported to an enchanted world where play and imagination can take you out of this world.

What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy

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Earlier today I posted the news that Megumi Igarashi (pen name Rokudenashiko) was found guilty of obscenity for distributing a digital file containing a 3D scan of her vulva. Today also marks the publication of her graphic novel memoir, What is Obscenity?, a beautiful little book (with a cover design by Chip Kidd) that uses comics, color photos, and current events to tell Rokudenashiko's story of how she creates pussy-themed art that has the power to frighten government officials into arresting and censoring her.

A graphic memoir of a good-for-nothing Japanese artist who has been jailed twice for so-called acts of obscenity and the distribution of pornographic materials yet continues to champion the art of pussy. In a society where one can be censored, pixelated, and punished, Rokudenashiko asks what makes pussy so problematic?

Rokudenashiko (“good-for-nothing girl”) is a Japanese artist. She is known for her series of decorated vulva moulds, or "Decoman," a portmanteau of decorated and manko, slang for vagina. Distributing a 3D scan of her genitalia to crowdfunding supporters led to her arrest for alleged violation of Japanese obscenity laws.

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“Pussy boat” artist found guilty of obscenity in Japan

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Japanese manga artist, Megumi Igarashi, who makes whimsical sculptures from molds of her vulva, was fond guilty of obscenity in Tokyo District Court. She was fined 400,000 yen ($3,670) fine.

Megumi Igarashi, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – or good-for-nothing girl – was arrested in July 2014 after she distributed data that enabled recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina.

The 44-year-old was fined 400,000 yen (£2,575), half the penalty demanded by prosecutors, at the Tokyo district court on Monday after she was convicted of distributing “obscene” images. She was cleared of another charge of displaying similar material.

Igarashi distributed the data to help raise funds to create a kayak inspired by her genitalia she called “pussy boat.”

The judge, Mihoko Tanabe, said that the data, though “flat and inorganic”, realistically portrayed the shape of a vagina and could “sexually arouse viewers”, according to Kyodo News.

Remember, in Japan: Penis sculpture good. Vulva sculpture bad.

Image: Guilhem Vellut/Flickr

Previously: Artist arrested for distributing 3D file of her genitals Read the rest

Why old statues have tiny penises

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There's an obvious answer to the smallness of statues' penises: the manners and religious prudishness of classical elites. But the issue is more about differing standards of beauty and modern mens' penis anxiety, writes Ellen Oredsson. Which is to say that smaller penises were once regarded as ideal, and many real penises aren't any bigger than the ones on the statues.

...small penises were more culturally valued is that large penises were associated with very specific characteristics: foolishness, lust and ugliness. There are actually quite a few ancient Greek sculptures that have enormous penises. Here’s one:

Small dicks are, then, associated with reason and logic. The argument gets strained when applied to the western renaissance, where imitation and idealism intersect more sharply with religious sentiment. Read the rest

Galactic Warfighters: recreating photos of US soldiers in battle using Star Wars action figures

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Matthew Callahan's Galactic Warfighters series poses Star Wars action figures in scenes that recreate war journalism from US operations, captioned with AP-style slugs that conjure up the human cost of the battles hidden by the inscrutable armor of the Empire. Read the rest

Slumps: adorable art of your favorite characters all slumped over

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Matt Ritchie makes "slumps" — whimsical artwork of popular characters slumped over as if falling asleep or theatrically dejected by their latest mishap.

Up top are the heroes of Star Wars, who have perhaps just learned that Disney has no plans to remaster the original theatrical release. Here's the Justice League, reading reviews of the movies they appear in. Read the rest

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

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