Landskating: Giant Chinese Landscapes Drawn with Roller Blades

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landskating creative drawing process

Modified inline skates holding pots of black pigment allow this artist to create her huge works (up to 40 feet or more) while rolling around the room, with results that look remarkably like smaller-scale works of hand-drawn calligraphy.

landskating art landscape making

giant calligraphy style drawing

A student at the California College of art, Tian Haisu has dubbed her approach Landskating. She notes that her “whole body is involved” in this unusual process, filling her creations with a unique kind of “power, speed and rhythm.”

landskating artist sketches

giant landskating art work

Her works feature landscapes, plants and architecture, all created by pressing down on giant unrolled sheets of paper deployed after she has sketched out and thought through these larger compositions on small sheets.

giant mountain scene

As with any artistic approach, it took the artist time to learn the medium, executing with her feet rather than her hands in a way that both liberates the creative process but also involves complexities and stylistic impacts that are not always easy to predict or control.


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Playing with Perspective in Paris: New Optical Illusion Art

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[ By Steph in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

varini optical illusion 1

Two-dimensional shapes seem to hover weightlessly in space like a projection, but step slightly to your right or left and the whole image falls apart, becoming a chaotic assemblage of lines painted onto various surfaces in a room. Swiss painter Felice Varini has been transforming public spaces with his single-vantage-point illusions since 1978, and now he’s brought them to the Grande halle de la Villette in Paris’ Parc de lab Villette.

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Varian invites us to look at the spaces around us in a new way, taking a closer look at the physicality of the world we have constructed around us through his somewhat disorienting optical illusions.

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The spaces themselves are Varian’s true media, more so than the paint. Even when certain shapes and motifs are repeated, the result is different every time. “My work evolves in relation to spaces that I am in contact with,” he says.

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The installations will be up through September 13th, 2015, and guided tours are available.


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Griddy Cities: Aerial Cyberpunk Cityscapes Shot from 7,500 Feet

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aerial new york city

Flying over New York City, San Francisco and Las Vegas, this photographer has managed to both capture the essence of each city he shoots from the night sky above while also turning these places into surrealistic, faux-futuristic versions of themselves.

aerial new york

aerial vegas tilt shift

Using a full-body harness to hang out of helicopters, adventurous artist Vincent Laforet went to great lengths and high altitudes (in some cases nearly 10,000 feet) to take pictures of each setting (NYC and LV shown above, SF shown with making-of video below).

aerial downtown sf city

Special permission needed to be obtained to use flight paths normally reserved for passing planes. Tilt-shift techniques make the scale more comprehensible and help highlight areas of focus in each shot. What is truly remarkable, though, is how each set both reflects the photographer’s personal style but also very much embodies the character of each distinct location.

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3D NYC Timelapse: 500 Years of History in 1 WTC Elevator Ride

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historical nyc elevator tour

Riding to the top observation deck of 1 World Trade Center opening next month, visitors will be treated to a dizzying view of the city below, but not the one they might expect – instead of looking out windows, they will see their surroundings on lifelike screens, enveloping them in a time-lapse view of New York City’s historic evolution. All of this is packed into a trip that lasts less than sixty seconds (video below).

Inevitably included in this fast-paced vertical ride through history is a view of one of the former Twin Towers, which appears then vanishes off to the right, reflecting its real-world existence and absence. This inclusion was contentious but hopefully will be seen by the public as a tribute to the fallen towers.

wtc motion projector system

A circular display on one panel scrolls up through the years rather than heights, highlighting the fast passage of time. The show was designed and produced by the Hettema Group and Blur Studio in conjunction with architects of Montroy Andersen DeMarco.

wtc projection screen history

The New York Times sets the scene: “Nine 75-inch, high-definition monitors are arrayed in each cab behind windowlike mullions to convey the impression that one is in a glass-walled elevator. At first, one feels enclosed in bedrock. The year is 1500 and the elevator is 55 feet below ground. As it rises, time advances. The cab seems to head skyward from an offshore marsh, a reminder that the trade center site was originally underwater.”

nyc wtc observation tower

The experience is as historically complete as it is educational and immersive: “A peaceful riverfront settlement is then seen, just before the Europeans arrive. Soon enough, the still verdant island is dotted with the steep, crow-stepped gables of New Amsterdam, as windmill vanes poke up over the treetops.”

1 wtc outside image

“Height records are made and broken by a succession of tallest towers: the Park Row Building, the Singer Building, the Woolworth Building and the original trade center. Then, the steel framework of the new 1 World Trade Center seems to assemble itself around the cab before visitors once again find themselves within an enclosed space — this time, an elevator shaft.”


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Ephemeral Architecture: 27 Paper Buildings & Pavilions

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[ By Steph in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

paper architecture siliakus 1

A study in opposites, paper architecture renders what is normally solid and durable in delicate, temporary form, whether recreating intricate silhouettes of miniature cities or building full-scale pavilions, tunnels and other installations. Spires, translucent windows, infinite staircases and undulating ceilings come to life in these 27 works of paper cut sculpture.

Irori Pavilion by Kengo Kuma
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paper pavilion irori kuma

Best known for innovative timber structures, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma applies his signature blend of traditional joinery and modern shapes to a new material for Milan Design Week 2015. Kumar collaborated with Kitchenhouse to create ‘Irori,’ a paper pavilion arching over a contemporary kitchen space. Envisioned as a white cocoon, the structure is made of vulcanized paper, which has more strength than regular paper but maintains its softness.

Paper Miniatures of Modernist Architecture by Zupagrafika

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Polish design collective Zupagrafika creates paper cut-outs of modernist buildings found in the city of Poznan and Warsaw as well as London’s divisive concrete Brutalist architecture. Rendered in minute detail down to the graffiti that was found on the buildings at the time of study, the cutouts come in flat form so you can put them together yourself and create little cities. Individual cut-outs are under 5 Euros each.

Intricate 3D Paper Architecture by Ingrid Siliakus

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Master paper artist Ingrid Siliakus creates fantasy cities replete with mirror-image towers, arches, spires, stacks upon stacks of skyscrapers and stairs that go nowhere in particular. The Amsterdam-based artist creates an incredible 20-30 prototypes before completing each piece, adding one layer after another of cut and folded paper to the finished product until she deems it done.

Stockholm Pavilion by Kustaa Saksi and Gert Wingårdh

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Built for the 2013 Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, the Stockholm Pavilion by artist Kustaa Saksi and architect Gert Wingårdh is made up of 11,000 illustrated sheets of paper. From the sides, the installation looks like it’s solid white, but step under it and look up to see the colorful patterns emerge.

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Dumpster Divine: 12 Flashy Trashy Artistic Dumpsters

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[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Dumpster Art 1
Dumpsters may be grungy, grotty, gross-smelling garbage holders but these ubiquitous urban trash bins positively bloom just by adding a little art.

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Our lead image comes courtesy of Flickr user Biafra Inc., and at first glance one wonders whether the dumpster is really that tiny or the photographer is utilizing some keen perspective manipulation. Wonder no longer: the dumpster actually IS tiny and you can even buy one (though not THIS one, it’s sold out) for your desktop at Dumpsty.com.

Grin Bin & Bear It

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Dumpsters like the one above located in East Los Angeles take a lot of abuse both from the trash contractors who empty them and casual taggers who can’t resist their big blank accessible sides. Some of the best dumpster art, therefore, works with the ambient conditions resulting in a gritty, visceral visual impression.

X Marks The Spot

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Dumpster Art 3a

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In April of 2011, urban artist X publicly thanked Andy Warhol for, well, being Andy Warhol. X‘s graphic homages appeared on the sides of high buildings, electrical boxes, dumpsters and more. You’re welcome.

Austin City Limit

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Just what is the most common dumpster base color, anyway? Some manufacturers go for dark blue, others opt for the above shade of dull gray-green perhaps because it’s one of the most blah hues imaginable. That kind of thinking can backfire, however, should an enterprising graffiti artist choose a contrasting shade for his/her art. Flickr user Dan Machold (danmachold) discovered a perfect example just off Speedway in Austin, TX.

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Touching Art: Raised Prints of Famous Paintings for the Blind

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blind display art design

Enabling the visually impaired to quite literally put their hands on priceless artworks, this unique exhibition allows blind people to experience works like the Mona Lisa for the first time. An initial collection of six such works is on display through June at a gallery in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Paintings For Vision-Impaired People At The Prado Museum

visually impaired art touch

The innovative printing studio behind these complex displays, Estudios Durero, starts with high-resolution photographs of original works then reworks them, adding texture and volume in an advanced relief printing process.

blind layered painting works

Over the course of 40 hours, special inks are layered on top of flat surfaces. The resulting pieces are then chemically treated to that raise sections of the reprinted paintings. In a final stage, the colors are layered on top of this 3D hybrid to make them look like the originals.

blind raised textured paintings

Each piece is different, requiring a nuanced and calculated approach to crafting individually appropriate solutions that reflect elements of artistic intent and style in this new feel-oriented format.

blind user art experience

Braille text and audio guides accompany each piece, walking visitors through a multimedia experience culminating in the touching of each work (photos by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez).


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Fantastic Cities: 48-Page Urban Coloring Book Made for Adults

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

fantastic aerial view

Coloring books are no longer just for kids, as this one designed for adult colorists illustrates in beautiful black and white. Showing urban scenes both real and imagined, these fictional, actual and hybrid views could take hours each for enthusiasts to fill in, and, psychologists argue, may even profit mental health benefits beyond the fun of simply reliving a childhood activity.

fantastic citiesss

fantastic cities book

Canadian artist Steve McDonald, the man behind Fantastic Cities, is known for works of a similar style, but these have historically been found in galleries and collections: “small on-site studies that are usually done with pencil/chalk on colored paper and large format studio work which is usually done with pencil & charcoal/chalk with acrylic washes on paper. Steve has also gained a lot of attention for his highly detailed ‘ bird’s eye view ‘ renderings of villages, cities and rural scenes as well as his compositions of machinery and his popular flying vehicle series.”

fantastic landscape

fantastic filled in color

In this book, Steve selected scenes from major cities like New York and San Francisco, providing aerial drawings of real places but also stylized works based on the architectural and urban character of other cities, all with extreme levels of detail that leave readers with much to color.

fantastic cities urban cityscape

There may even be psychological benefits to coloring: “by engaging multiple parts of the brain, coloring allows us to focus on the lines, movements, and colors in front of us, use our imaginations and be creative, and de-stress.” More about the book: “This unique coloring book features immersive aerial views of real cities from around the world alongside gorgeously illustrated, Inception-like architectural mandalas. Available July 7th from Chronicle Books.”

fantastic cities books

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Nor is this an isolated piece – according to the New York Times, “major publishers are seizing on the trend. This year, Little, Brown will release four illustrated coloring books for adults, all subtitled ‘Color Your Way to Calm.’ The books, ‘Splendid Cities’ by the British artists Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick and three titles by the French illustrator Zoé de Las Cases, feature detailed cityscapes with famous landmarks, cafes and street life. Promotional materials for the books emphasize the health benefits of ‘mindful coloring,’ noting that the activity “has been shown to be a stress reliever for adults.”


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Scaffolding Skyscraper: Very Public Urban Artist-in-Residence

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[ By Steph in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

scaffolding skyscraper 1

The scaffolding used by a street artist to complete large murals becomes a tiny, less-than-private home away from home in a literal sense with ’24/7,’ an installation at the Memorie Urbane Street Art Festival in Gaeta, Italy. Playing on the concept of an artist-in-residence, the project by Milan-based Fra.Biancoshock highlights the stark difference in the working environments of street artists versus studio artists, and makes a statement on the living conditions of artists in general.

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Street artists work in public by necessity, every stage of their work on display for passersby. Privacy isn’t really an option when you’re painting urban surfaces. Some artists spend so much time on scaffolding, it can start to feel like a second home.

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Fra.Biancoshock decided to run with that idea and create his own four-story residence including a small studio, dining area, bedroom and rooftop terrace within just a few square meters.

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livable billboard

Open to the elements and to prying eyes, this temporary artist residence makes the livable billboard created by the paper company Scribe in Mexico City look luxurious by comparison. That project offered an elevated living space for artists mounted to the back of the billboard they were painting as an ad for the company.


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Street Re-View: Hacking Google with Theatrical Performances

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[ By Steph in Art & Photography & Video. ]

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Mons, Belgium might just be the most interesting and artistic-looking city on the entirety of Google Street View, full of seemingly spontaneous dramatic scenes like chaotic clouds of floating white feathers, painters turning sidewalk crossings neon pink, and basketballs falling out of trees like fruit. The theatrical performances are timed to coincide with the arrival of Google’s camera-equipped van when it comes along to map out the area.

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Mons Street Review, spearheaded by artists Ludovic Nobileau and Antonia Taddei, is an initiative put on by the city as part of its agenda as a European culture capital. The scenes are curated by citizens, who transform the streets into urban theater sets and pose as the camera passes.

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The artists encouraged people to come up with their own ideas, create their own roles and costumes, and arrange props however they like. About 900 people participated on 42 streets, essentially hijacking Google’s service to promote themselves and their city.

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The aim is to present Mons the way the people see it, as a living place of culture and history rather than a series of static street view images. Says Nobileau, “It should be up to people, rather than Google, to represent cities.”


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