Category Archives: Fine Arts

February 21, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

Meet the 2018 Olympic Artists in Residence

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Every two years, the world stops and rather than focusing on negativity, comes together to appreciate talent (albeit very temporarily). All across the globe, people are focused on figure skating and swimming and running and gymnastics and curling, rooting for their own country’s athletes while admiring everyone. From 1912 to …

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Every two years, the world stops and rather than focusing on negativity, comes together to appreciate talent (albeit very temporarily). All across the globe, people are focused on figure skating and swimming and running and gymnastics and curling, rooting for their own country’s athletes while admiring everyone. From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics weren’t just for athletes. They were also for artists. All art competitions had to fit within the theme of sports, but medals were still awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture.

French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic games, was a big proponent of Olympic art. He wanted to, “reunite in the bonds of legitimate wedlock a long-divorced couple — Muscle and Mind.” Although he did not succeed in achieving this goal for the first modern games (Athens 1896), medals were awarded for artistic disciplines in Stockholm in 1912. The art competitions ended in 1949 because most of the entrants were professional artists, as professionals were not allowed to compete at the time. This year, there will be a group of Olympic Athletes who are also artists. Although they will not be competing for medals, four former athletes are officially Olympic Artists in Residence.

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Alexi Pappas © Sarah Attar

Alexi Pappas is a Greek-American distance runner and is still currently a professional athlete. She competed in the 2016 Olympic Games. Pappas is also a filmmaker and will be working on a series of short films with her fiance and creative partner Jeremy Teicher.

“It’s important to me as an athlete to tell a story that is cinematic and fictional but could have really happened and does reflect the true experience there,” Ms. Pappas said. “It feels like my background as an athlete and a filmmaker are coming together at this intersection.”  – Alexei Pappas

Roald Bradstock, “The Olympic Picasso,” is a British javelin thrower who competed in hand-painted outfits during the 2008 Olympic trials. He competed in the 1984 and 1988 games. During this Olympics, he will work with Jean-Blaise Evéquoz, a professional painter and former Swiss Fencer who participated in the 1976 Olympics, and Lanny Barnes, an American biathlete (Olympic competitor in 2006, 2010, and 2014) who became a professional artist in 2000. They will oversee the painting of 16 pieces by current Olympians. There will be one for each of the 15 Olympic events and one wild card. Bradstock will set up a blank Canvas in the Olympic Village and give Athletes paint and creative freedom.

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Roald Bradstock ©BBC
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Jean-Blaise Evéquoz
© Thierry Sermier Photography
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Lanny Barnes © Key Nietfeld
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Lanny Barnes Drawing

February 19, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

Virtualizing the Vienna Secessionists

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When Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists formed the Vienna Secessionists in 1897, one of their generation’s most influential, but short-lived art movements, they didn’t expect to see their hand-crafted masterpieces projected on such a large digital scale. French company, Culturespace, announced this colossal celebration of the the Austrian art …

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When Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists formed the Vienna Secessionists in 1897, one of their generation’s most influential, but short-lived art movements, they didn’t expect to see their hand-crafted masterpieces projected on such a large digital scale. French company, Culturespace, announced this colossal celebration of the the Austrian art movement and how it can be juxtaposed with technology, in their upcoming exhibit Atelier des Lumieres.

Over 120 projections, covering a total surface area of 3,300 m2, will immerse visitors in vibrant color and melodies of ornamentation, signature to the Secessionist style. Held in two segments of their space, they illuminate the walls with the work of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and new emerging artists. Culturespace advocates for accessible to art and culture and pushing our notions of modern art:

“that is why digital technology is so important in twenty-first-century exhibitions. used for creative purposes, it has become a formidable vector for dissemination, and is capable of creating links between eras, add dynamism to artistic practices, amplify emotions, and reach the largest possible audience.”

You can learn more about this awe-inspiring exhibit on their website.

“Workshop of Lights” / “Atelier des Lumieres”

38/40 rue Saint Maur 75 011 Paris

Opening April 13th


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Images © 2018 Culturespace

February 13, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

Say Hello to the Obamas

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Last month, we all patiently waited for the unveiling of the President and the First Lady’s portrait representing their time spent in the White House. The word is out and the selected artists, Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley did not disappoint. Yesterday, their portraits were shown to the globe. Artist Amy Sherald, below, shares …

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Last month, we all patiently waited for the unveiling of the President and the First Lady’s portrait representing their time spent in the White House. The word is out and the selected artists, Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley did not disappoint.

Yesterday, their portraits were shown to the globe. Artist Amy Sherald, below, shares her words and excitement about the project concluding with her work, forever to be displayed on the walls of the most important building in America.

This is a huge step in art and Black history.  Despite the usual depictions of the President, American President’s portraits have been just as dried up as the French Royal Academy back in the 19th-century. For years, artists, despite its beauty, have stuck to the same old formula in their, linearly application of paint, muted hyper-realistic colors, and soul-less expressions when painting presidents’ portraits. Now in this new portrait, you see two quite different depictions of two powerful figures, them both displaying their contrasting identities visually.

Here is a video from Time to watch the unveiling.

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President Barack Obama

February 7, 2018

POSTED BY

Rafael Esquer

CATEGORY

‘Perception,’ The Peace Project Painted Across 50 Buildings by eL Seed

Art inspires, intrigues, confronts, comforts, sparks, and speaks. Today’s post presents a monumental art piece that started a meaningful conversation between a political artist, a ghettoized community—where the intervention happened—, and the society at large. The place? Cairo, Egypt. The artist? eL Seed. The French/Tunisian artist became interested in the …

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Art inspires, intrigues, confronts, comforts, sparks, and speaks.

Today’s post presents a monumental art piece that started a meaningful conversation between a political artist, a ghettoized community—where the intervention happened—, and the society at large. The place? Cairo, Egypt. The artist? eL Seed.

The French/Tunisian artist became interested in the Arabic language in his teens as he found a deeper passion for his Tunisian roots. Ever since his work focused on language and the environment. He selects a phrase, quote, or a piece of poetry that has a significant relationship to a specific place. His compositions are entirely made of Arabic calligraphy with graffiti. It is at this fascinating juxtaposition of language and place where his art comes to life.

The project I’m showing today is called ‘Perception,’ an anamorphic piece that covers almost 50 buildings and it’s only visible from a certain point of the Muqattam Mountain. ‘Perception’ brings light to the Coptic community of Zaraeeb whose main source of income is the collection of trash. In fact, for decades they have developed ‘the most efficient and highly profitable recycling system on a global level.’ Yet, society sees the community as dirty, marginalized and segregated.

To highlight the positive aspects of the Coptic community of Zaraeeb, eL Seed selected a poetic sentence by Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a Coptic Bishop from the 3rd century. Set in striking Arabic calligraphy the final piece says:

‘Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.’

I first became aware of eL Seed after watching his inspiring TED talk. I invite you to see it for yourself; I’m sure you too will agree that Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.

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All images © 2018 eL Seed

February 1, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

The Power of Art: A Mile of Peace in Lebanon

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The installation from above© Firas Chehabeddine Photography In an area of northern Lebanon called Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon, a series of 82 rooftops stretching almost a mile are painted bright green. From the ground, you wouldn’t even know it was there. But from above, it sends a …

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The installation from above
© Firas Chehabeddine Photography

In an area of northern Lebanon called Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon, a series of 82 rooftops stretching almost a mile are painted bright green. From the ground, you wouldn’t even know it was there. But from above, it sends a powerful message. Salam– Arabic for Peace. The twin brothers and artists who created it, Omar and Mohamed Kabbani, hope it will change the way Lebanon is perceived.

“Whenever they talk about the Middle East or Lebanon, all they think about is extremism and terrorism. By painting a big word, salam, we want to show people that we’re creative and positive things coming out from the Middle East. I think we made our goal happen.”

-Omar Kabbani

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Omar Mohamed Kabbani
© Firas Chehabeddine Photography

The specific location of the installation is significant. The area had previously been home to two fighting militias fighting between two areas. Some of the buildings that were painted were ridden with bullet holes and some were uninhabitable. The painters that the Kabbani twins recruited were ex-militiamen or ex-fighter, 62 of them in total. Kabbani says that “basically they dropped their guns and they started helping us with painting their own rooftops.” The paint is not merely an artistic statement, it serves a practical purpose. In is anti-leakage and anti-UV, so it cools the houses and keeps residents dry.

“When we used to go up to scout, they used to tell us, yeah, I used to sit here and point my sniper rifle… Like, people who lived violence and lived, like, war started going up to their rooftop without the fear of being shot… It was very challenging for us. And it was challenging for them. We stayed there for three weeks. Every day, we go up. And you can hear their stories. And you know, like, they are in rock bottom, complete poverty. So whenever someone gives them, like – I don’t know – a small amount of money, they would go and hold the gun and start shooting.” – Omar Kabbani

Omar and Mohamed Kabbani started Ashekman Studio in 2004. They have a degree in Graphic Design and studied Arabic Calligraphy. The studio specializes in Arabic graffiti, calligraffiti, and typography.

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© Firas Chehabeddine Photography
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© Firas Chehabeddine Photography
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© Firas Chehabeddine Photography

January 28, 2018

POSTED BY

Chengyu Liu

CATEGORY

The 100 Years of Swiss Design in Mexico City is Awesome!

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I recently went on a trip to Mexico City and visited an exhibition at Museo De Arte Moderno called “100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design.” Under the curatorship of Francisco Torres Muñiz and, it is a part of the Swiss Design Mexico 2017 Program. Based on the exhibition at Museum für …

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I recently went on a trip to Mexico City and visited an exhibition at Museo De Arte Moderno called “100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design.”

Under the curatorship of Francisco Torres Muñiz and, it is a part of the Swiss Design Mexico 2017 Program. Based on the exhibition at Museum für Gestaltung in Zürich back in 2014, it shows 250 projects in eight different thematics, such as graphic design, furniture design, fashion design, and technology.

My favorite segments of the exhibit were its graphic design and furniture design. It showed four of the most famous typefaces in the world that Swiss-based designers created: Helvetica, Avenir, Frutiger and Univers, and how they were used. It was very nice to see them together and compare the different personalities between them. And of course, Swiss posters did not miss their graphic design principles.

The furniture was very cool, too. You will be impressed by those elegant and interesting shapes. Many of the items that we use every day were designed about 30 years ago by Swiss designers, but still look modern.
If you are into Swiss design too, don’t miss this exhibition!

PASEO DE LA REFORMA Y GANDHI S/N
Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, 11560 Miguel Hidalgo
CDMX, Mexico
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Pic from Museeo De Arte Moderno and Chengyu.

January 25, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

Embroidery Elevated

Amy 2017 © Victoria Villasana Victoria Villasana, a Mexican textile artist, has worked on projects ranging from street art to installations to portraits. Her works often depict strong women, and her use of embroidery is whimsical and a thoughtful social statement. “Working with fabric makes me feel connected with an …

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Amy 2017 © Victoria Villasana

Victoria Villasana, a Mexican textile artist, has worked on projects ranging from street art to installations to portraits. Her works often depict strong women, and her use of embroidery is whimsical and a thoughtful social statement.

“Working with fabric makes me feel connected with an inner rebellious femininity. Embroidery is undervalued as just a ‘woman’s craft’ – but it’s something that reminds us of all those amazing women in our lives that nurture us.”

The uncut yarn is representative of acceptance and imperfection. Her works explore culture and human connections. Villasana lived in London for over a decade, where she created incredible street art. Now, she lives and works in Mexico.

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Woman’s Right’s Street Art © Victoria Villasana 2018

“Today, I feel we are lacking from good leaders, my art is an invitation to remember these ‘visionaries’ musicians, writers, activists etc. I would like to keep the message of these visionaries in our minds and hearts, we need to believe in our own power to change things, I believe we need to empathize with other communities/cultures, this is the only way we can help one another to move forward. It’s not about YOU and THEM it’s about US. No one is winning when one community is losing.”

Her works, to me, are incredibly powerful. The vibrant explosion of colors and orderly patterns she creates with yarn should seem disjointed from the black and white images, but instead, they belong. The yarn and the photographs enhance one another and bring the images even more to life. Villasana art isn’t just beautiful. It has a distinct personality that is exciting and intriguing.

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© Victoria Villasana 2018
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The artist at work © Victoria Villasana
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The Wonderful Nina Simone © Victoria Villasana
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© Victoria Villasana

January 22, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

We Tried Google Arts and Culture’s New Face-match Filter, Here’s Who We Matched With

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Google’s Arts and Culture app is nothing new, yet recently went viral after the release of their new face-matching filter. This new filter is not just your typical face-match, its one that matches you with a face from Google Arts and Culture’s vast collections of art. You may look like …

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Google’s Arts and Culture app is nothing new, yet recently went viral after the release of their new face-matching filter. This new filter is not just your typical face-match, its one that matches you with a face from Google Arts and Culture’s vast collections of art. You may look like Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa or find a new artist to admire.

How knows who you may look like? So why not give it a try?

Over here at Alfalfa Studio, we decided to give it a try for ourselves. We are huge fans of Google’s initiative to make learning more about the world’s ever expansive collection of art and culture more accessible than art history was in the past.

I must say, it took a couple of attempts to get a match. At first, we stood out in the frigid cold to hoping that natural light would give us better results. But what we found after trial and error, that smiling makes a significant difference in your final results.

We had so much fun comparing our sensible and ridiculous doppelgängers from Arts and Culture’s boundless collection of artworks. Below are our matches that we enjoyed the most. Have you tried the new app? Send us yours in our comments section below.

Don’t have the app? Download their app to get your match.

Rafael

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Rafael matched with “Jaspar de Charles van Nieuwenhoven” by Sir Anthony van Dyck, 1599/1641

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Chuy

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Chuy matched with “Ma’an” by Ali Al Jabri, 1979

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Celeste

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I matched with “Alma Sewing” by Frances Criss, 1935

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Chengyu

 

 

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Chengyu matched with “Portrait of a Lady in Pink” by Fang Junbi, 1926

google_arts_culture_portrait_lady_pink

 

Heewon

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Heewon matched with the “Artist’s Daughter Alice” by William Merritt Chase, 1899

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January 15, 2018

POSTED BY

Chengyu Liu

CATEGORY

Don’t Miss Anthony McCall’s Exhibition in New York

Anthony McCall, New York-based artist, was born in Britain in 1946. He is famous for his ‘solid-light’ installations, a series that he began in 1973 with the film Line Describing a Cone. The series is a volumetric form composed of projected light evolving in three-dimensional space. His artworks are about discovering …

Anthony McCall. Installation view at Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2009). Photo: Giulio Buono. Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne; Martine Aboucaya, Paris.

Anthony McCall, New York-based artist, was born in Britain in 1946. He is famous for his ‘solid-light’ installations, a series that he began in 1973 with the film Line Describing a Cone. The series is a volumetric form composed of projected light evolving in three-dimensional space. His artworks are about discovering light projection.

The epic vertical and horizontal installations will fill Pioneer Works’ monumental main hall, which will be completely blacked out and immersed in a haze. The artworks required over thirty feet of clearance from floor to ceiling, and very few New York venues can accommodate these six-colossal works.

If you are interested in modern art and light, you should really go and see the exhibit. This amazing exhibit is at Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, through January 12- March 11th. Go visit before it ends!

Anthony McCall. “You and I Horizontal” (2006). Installation view at Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, France (2006). Solid light installation. 50-minute cycle in six parts. Computer, computer script, video projector, haze machine. Dimensions variable. Photograph: Blaise Adilon. Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.

Photograph: Blaise Adilon.

January 10, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

How Skillshare is Affecting the Design Community

I am a work in progress. Although I feel comfortable with creating interesting images on my own time and for work, I always feel as though I have more to improve on. For people like me, we turn to online learning platforms to improve our skills. For some reason recently, Skillshare …

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I am a work in progress. Although I feel comfortable with creating interesting images on my own time and for work, I always feel as though I have more to improve on. For people like me, we turn to online learning platforms to improve our skills.

For some reason recently, Skillshare has become the unofficial hub of celebrity designers. It’s not new for Skillshare to have prominent leaders in their field guiding the online community. In the past, creatives like Jessica Hische and John Maeda have hosted classes in their respected specialties. Now since those pivotal designers of our lifetime like Paula Scher and Chipp Kidd have joined in, what does that mean for the design community?

Who wouldn’t want to learn how to create a logo from the designers that inspired us and created today’s most recognizable pieces of design?

And who wouldn’t want a skip years of paying off college loan debt when you have something close to the college that costs far less than your parent’s or friends’ education.

It’s a quiet change, but it’s happening.

What is Skillshare and How can you access it?

Skillshare is an online video tutorial hub that offers classes on any topic that you could think of. From design to cooking, Skillshare has a wide range of options for classes to help you improve your skills. Regardless of the what class you take, many of the classes available are project driven, enabling you to spend your time on learning and building your creativity, community and your portfolio. You not only can learn how to illustrate, design, or code better, classes that are available can teach you how to use important programs that professionals use. Some of these programs include Adobe Creative Suite to the Cinema 4D.

You can access Skillshare by subscribing to their service. Prices start between USD $7 to $10, depending on the scheduled payment plan you choose. They have monthly or yearly payment plans.

What is the origin of this new trend?

Founded in 2010 and launched in 2012, Skillshare has made many changes to improve the state of accessible learning online. Meant to bridge the gap between professionals and novices, it has done just that. Although tutorial videos aren’t anything new, receiving tutorials from those you trust and admire are a much rarer case.

But do they offer good classes?

In all honesty, the effectiveness of a class depends on person’s needs and skill level. Some classes feel like a demonstration rather than the usual lesson that you and I are used to. Other classes, depending on the instructor, are project-based classes meant to do two things, build your portfolio and learn a new skill.

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What does this mean for designers? And schools that focus on design?

In a world where specialty schools like Parsons School of Design can cost up to 30,000 a year, learning design online is a reasonable consideration. People used to (and still) spend thousands of dollars on exclusive guidance from their heroes. Now since Skillshare has creatives that are more famous than your typical design professor, many may have to reconsider the payout of attending an expensive school.

Luckily, this will expand the importance and knowledge of design. There will more individuals expressing themselves with the proper skills to design.

The Takeaway

If you haven’t noticed, I am really excited to see the design community expanding into different horizons because of platforms like Skillshare. Those who don’t have the means to attend the high-end schools can now have access to developing their skills from trustworthy teachers.