Friday, December 11, 2009

⌈ Stanley's Shining Style ⌋

Contextually, art is a rather ambiguous all-encompassing mode of expression that includes paintings, sculpture, literature, music and even film. However, categorizing the concept into such subcategories may potentially be a bit of an over refinement for the arbitrary term.

Coincidentally, much of the same could be said about Stanley Kubrick and his line of work. As a film director, Kubrick has left a lasting impression in the history of cinema for his avant-garde characterizations and innovative visual style. To convey such intrinsic interpretations of his medium, Kubrick articulated his films with a series of images and sounds that combine to elicit some sort of emotional response from viewers. Typically, the meaning of film is conveyed to an audience through the words of a reviewer by mode of the internet, a newspaper, a magazine or even a book. However, just as a novel has a meaning unique to each independent reader, so does each one of his films respectively.

Specifically, Kubrick’s films are characterized by a preoccupation with moral and social issues, coupled with a sense of technical artistry. In fact, his works will forever remain culturally, historically and aesthetically important because they stimulate the subconscious with a form of communication that is more profound than traditional methods of verbal exchange. One of the features that best expresses Stanley Kubrick's radical design nature is his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining.

I tried to create a visual experience, one that bypasses verbalized pigeonho
ling and directly penetrates the subconscious with an emotional and philosophical content...I intended the film to be an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does...You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film.(Kubrick)

Often exercised in conjunction with a particular character’s viewpoint – or in place thereof – is Stanley Kubrick’s robust movement of the camera to vividly exemplify the state of being his characters depict without the need of text or dialogue. His precision with centering and carefully counterbalancing the video shots in his films dictate the relationships his characters share with the environments they inhabit.

For example, in his 1980 film, Kubrick utilizes the spatial properties of the Overlook Hotel to psychologically fabricate a correlation between Danny and the hotel as he rides his tricycle through the seemingly labyrinth-like hallways.

While Danny navigates the winding architecture of the hotel, the viewer is virtually hypnotized by the rhythmic flow of his trajectory. The camera follows Danny at a velocity incomparable to that of his tricycle, generating long tracking shots. The angle of the camera in pursuit is low and distant making the walls that surround him more monstrous and enveloping. As Danny approaches the arch of each doorway, it seems as though the hotel is consuming him as an extraneous being and is immersing him in the environment as he simultaneously vanishes at a distant point. In addition, the sounds of Danny’s tricycle gliding over the rug and echoing floor boards further perpetuate the emotions triggered by the camera’s movement. The culmination of these elements pulls at the heart strings of the viewer as they adopt a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort for Danny as his innocence and naivety are exploited. The falsified peace of the whole scenario is contingent with the viewer’s disposition as they watch feeling as frail as they imagine Danny to be.

During another occurrence, Kubrick once again illustrates how Danny’s youthful weaknesses and insecurities can serve as a catalyst for disturbing the audience. Through a minimalist’s approach, Kubrick omits any real contextual dialogue and simply has his character repeat “red rum” over and over continuously while his mother vulnerably sleeps adjacently. The juxtaposition of these two circumstances alone is puzzling enough. However, the perplexities of the scene are elevated to new heights when viewers discover that “red rum” spelled backwards is “murder,” causing audiences to identify with the shock and terror of Danny’s mother. Despite Kubrick’s nominal approach to soliciting these uninhibited feelings, one must envy his artistic tact of deriving such a grand response from such a conspicuous effort.

The affiliation between character and environment is even more prevalent in the ending sequence when Jack gives chase to Danny through the hedge maze just outside the Overlook Hotel. The geometric intricacies of the maze itself are symbolically parallel to Jack’s spiraling sanity while the limp that disrupts his perseverance alludes to the crumbling well being of his physical and mental states. Again, the viewer becomes saturated with a sense of entrapment as Jack migrates through the maze on his sinister quest. The raw perspective Kubrick instills prevents audiences from blinking as they sit dreading a predictable yet uncertain future. He once again manipulates mind and emotion through variations in camera movement and perspective, unsettling viewers through mere expression.

Ultimately, the chase comes to a regrettable end involving Jacks frozen demise. This single moment is important because it signifies the aggregation of character, environment and audience viewer – causing all momentum to cease. In turn, all of the heightened emotion that once amplified the synergy of sight and sound becomes stale and resolved.

"I would not think of quarreling with your interpretation nor offering any other, as I have found it always the best policy to allow the film to speak for itself."

Through masterfully misunderstood techniques, Stanley Kubrick has subsequently indoctrinated generations of viewers with his physically and mentally disembodying film craft. Though the definition of art is subjective, few can contest Stanley Kubrick’s unique and experimental art form.

[1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warm And Toasty, Right Out Of The Printer

Othmar Mühlebach, a German design student, has designed this clever adaptation of the desktop printer. The variation being that it prints toast instead of paper.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hyperrealism Is Frighteningly Too Real!

As a sculptor, Ron Mueck is credited as one of the most startling hyperrealists. This art movement, developed since the 2000's, stylizes in making paintings or sculptures that are photorealistic.

Trick Photography Sleeveface Style

Simple enough. Music fans of all genres have immersed themselves in the cover art of their favorite artists without the need or use of photoshop. It's an amusing trick with endless possibilities.

Illusionary Graffiti

Graffiti is often associated with chaotic vandalism. However, John Pugh embraces graffiti as an art form to create the most visually deceiving public murals.


Not only is Osang Gwon a photographer, but he is also a sculptor...of photographs. To make his life-size contemporary pieces, Gwon takes hundreds of photos of his subjects, then pastes them together to form replicas that distort reality.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Renewed - Reused - Recycled

Instead of dragging these cans to the curb, Sandy Sanderson has recycled them himself to create some of the most technically detailed model cars.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rubik's Warhol

Imitation is often the greatest form of flattery. However, Josh Chalom's Warhol replicas speak for themselves. Using only rubik's cubes, Chalom recreates some of the most recognizable pieces of art in the world.

Space Saving Scoop

Many cooking aficionados often bicker about not having enough space in their kitchens. Fortunately, William Kang has designed this stylish measuring scoop which is sure to render those stackable measuring cups useless.

Not A Hallucination

Then world is riddled with some rather farfetched art techniques, however Cliff Maynard takes his creativity to new heights (proverbially speaking). Using only joint and blunt remnants, or roaches, Maynard makes some of the most infatuating, and reasonably smelly, mosaic prints.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dead Technology

Though cassettes are now antiquities in the 21st century, Brian Dettmer has found a new way to give them purpose. By fashioning the cultural medium, he has created some cutting edge contemporary art.

Letting Our Imagination Fly

Though Magnus Muhr considers himself to be a serious photographer, he occasionally deviates from the norm and creates some comically profound photographs. Specifically, on a recent project, he toyed around with some dead flies and created something reminiscent of an old time flea circus.

Smokin' Good Art

This isn't a trick involving smoke and mirrors. Well, perhaps just smoke. Mehmet Ozgur has a non-traditional medium of craftily manipulating smoke to create some of the most stunning images.

Face Paint Illusions...otherwise known as "the stuff nightmares are made of"

As obscure as it may seem, James Kuhn has made a hobby out of painting his face. This performance artist started the project with intentions of painting something new on his face everyday for one year, but soon after reaching the 365 day goal he decided to keep pursuing the project. He is now close to reaching 1,000 different looks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So Simple, So Temporary

The materials are minimal, but the creations are extraordinary. Using only sand and water, some talented beach goers have created the most fascinating pieces of art.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Venetian Inspired Typeface

Andrew Byrom is a graphic designer with with some rather experimental inspirations. After playing around with some venetian blinds, he was inspired to create a typeface based on the mobility of the window coverings.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's A Small World After All...

These small worlds are the manipulated creation of photographer Alexandre Duret-Lutz. Though this technique of manipulation is rather elementary, one can still comment on the impressive approach he took to isolate such notable monuments.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Headcase

Though Halloween is anxiously anticipated by kids each year, every so often there are adults like Eric Testroete who trump the generic costumes children buy in stores. Utilizing his skills as a 3D artist, Eric has created a costume of himself --- though he has done it in one of the most ingenious ways.

Stamps Worth More Than Your Pocket Change

Many artists claim that blood, sweat and tears goes into the quality of their work. However, Yao Shaowu can proudly tag "saliva" onto that list. This is because he creates his pieces of art with postage stamps.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Crazy Camera Concept

The fact that it is only a concept must be off-putting to photographers whose mouths can't help but water at the sight of this Nova DSLR camera. Erin Fong designed this camera so photographers would have more versatility while in the field or in the studio.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eggcellent Designs ~ Tired Joke

You no longer have to wait for the Easter bunny to have your pick of stylish eggs. EggStasy Creations is a company that takes jumbo sized ostrich eggs and crafts them into practical objects like lamp shades, or simply etches designs onto their surface for a creative artistic look.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Fun Thing About Design Is...

A theory has been proposed circulating around the idea of "fun." That is to say that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. This theory though, is crafted through a design catalyst. Thefuntheory[dot]com has taken this idea and developed a contest around it to see who can design the "funnest" concept in order to change people's behavior for the better.

Illustration & Modern Adaptation

It comes as no surprise that with emerging advances in design and technology, designers will tend to slip away from old practices. This is not the case for Matt Stanton. As an avid illustrator, he has adapted his skills and revived old techniques to impact the future of design in his own way. Currently, he has been working on customizable shoe designs for anyone who seeks his services.

[Stanton Shoes Unlimited]

Reinventing The Wheel

Do you recall the literal (and proverbial) "ups-and-downs" that came with learning how to ride a bike? The excitement, the fear, the bruises, and of course the falls. Well learning how to bicycle just became easier for first timers. Gyrobike, a small company from San Francisco, has rendered the need for training wheels obsolete. They have developed a product they call the Gyrowheel, which senses unbalanced biking and re-centers the bike underneath the rider’s weight at the point when tipping starts to occur. Now first time riders are able to experience a faster, safer, and easier way to learn to ride a bike.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Burton Goes From Film To Fashion

Keeping true to his cinematic style, Tim Burton has transcended the screen and landed on the runway. However, Burton does not actually have any formal training in fashion design. Instead, he has composed some of the most visually stunning looks by piecing together individual elements taken from high end fashion. Essentially, Burton is manufacturing his own creations by redesigning design itself.

Desktop > Laptop > Netbook > Rolltop?

This device concept is years ahead of its time. Designed by Orkin, the Rolltop is an all-in-one gadget that transforms to function as a 13-inch notebook, and a 17-inch multi-touch tablet or monitor. What makes the Rolltop so innovative is its ability to roll up into an ultra-portable compact cylinder. This is possible with the emerging OLED technology.

Liu Hidden In Plain View

Inspired by the changing hues of certain animals, Liu Bolin creates puzzling pieces of art by exploiting the principles of camouflage. In each photograph, Bolin situates himself in such a way that he becomes "lost" within the frame of the image. Though some are more convincing than others, he has effectively succeeded in blending in with his surroundings.

PhotoSketch: The Web 3.0 Rapture & Graphic Design Apocalypse

Get ready for a career change. Tao Chen's PhotoSketch just may eliminate the availability of graphic design jobs in the market. Essentially, the PhotoSketch operates as follows: the software takes any rough sketch (with the shape of each element labeled with its name), finds images corresponding to each drawn element, judges which are a best suited to match the rough shapes, and then seamlessly merges all the components into a single image. Cutting corners never looked so easy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Honda's Automated Unicycle

Not since the Segway has personal mobility been revolutionized. That is, until Honda revealed its experimental U3-X device. The compact gadget fits between the rider's legs and provides free movement in any human direction through basic leaning and shifting of body weight.


So what about this photo is shopped, exactly? Essentially everything because it isn't really a photograph. This image is actually a digital painting created by Bert Monroy. The scene was entirely recreated from scratch using only Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and took Monroy nearly one year complete.

Other details:

• The image size is 40 inches by 120 inches.
• The flattened file weighs in at 1.7 Gigabytes.
• It took eleven months (close to 2,000 hours) to create.
• The painting is comprised of close to fifty individual Photoshop files.
• Over 500 alpha channels were used for various effects.
• Over 250,000 paths make up the multitude of shapes throughout the scene.
• Taking a cumulative total of all the files, the overall image contains over 15,000 layers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Epileptic Video Art

Eric Wareheim is not an unfamiliar name to television viewers. However, many have no idea that he is also a talented video artist. Like Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham, Eric has been approached by numerous musical artists to produce music videos. Due to his unique visual style, Eric's videos are often simultaneously disturbing and entrancing.

Flying Lotus - "Parisian Goldfish"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sea Creatures Get New Life With Fresh Air

Often resembling arthropods and crustaceans, Jason Hackenwerth's balloon sculptures are more complex than a cheap party trick. Using ordinary balloons, he twists and ties several layers of balloons to form these temporary pieces of art that are dazzling and occasionally interactive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Liquid Construction

The newest addition to the Chicago skyline is the Aqua tower. Designed by Loewenberg Architects and Studio/Gang/Architects, this piece of construction is unusually complicated. To achieve the ripple effect, each floor plate was uniquely constructed meaning that each unit is different from the next. The most interesting feature is that Aqua truly resembles waves while cast against the clear blue sky.

Disposable Art

Cheeming Boey is not your typical artist. But then again, what self-respecting artist would admit to such a claim. Unlike traditional artisans who favor more conventional canvases and mediums, Boey creates his masterpieces with nothing more than a Sharpie and a Styrofoam cup. The idea seems so simple, but the results are more stunning than one would imagine. Now that latte will feel like a bargain at $5.45.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cloud Crashing

True to its name, "Cloud" is a sofa concept that not only looks the part, but also makes you feel like you are weightless. Designed by D.K. & Wei, the sofa is magnetically supported by the lower base causing the upper cloudy cushion to float free on its own.

Sound-Proof Chair?

Though designed for visual rather than aural purposes, Rethink's Foam Chair screams innovation. The chair was designed by Anna Gukov and Amanda Huynh (Emily Carr Industrial Design) using sound insulation foam that is good enough to top your mattress.