Russian pensioner Olga Kostina has a very cool art project going on. She is in the process of covering her houses on the Siberian taiga with plastic bottle caps, nailing them to the wooden walls one by one. The themes range from cute pixel animals to traditional Russian macrame motifs, which is a textile knotting technique. The images are the courtesy of REUTERS / Ilya Naymushin. Via Odditycentral.
British artist and eco-futurist Richard Sowa is working on what he believes one day will become an independent nation drifting on the oceans. His island is located in the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and Consists of thousands of plastic bottles, covered with mangroves and tropical vegetation. He also built a house on the island.
This short movie by Dutch animators Studio Smack shows the enormous amount of branded images we encounter just by spending five minutes in a big city. Normally however, we are so visually overstimulated that we subconsciously filter out most of it. Hundertwasser, one of my favourite artists, sums it up quite well in this famous quote: “Visual pollution is more poisonous than any other pollution because it kills the soul”.
Being born in 1986, I feel privileged to have grown up during the still primitive phase of the computer age, long before touch screens, crisp graphics and social media entered the scene. To me the pixelated computer images from my childhood have a strange beauty to them which can never be rivalled by today’s crystal clear ipad graphics. I guess it’s related with the limitations of the format, the low screen resolution and the limited colour palette. The limitations create a restricted stylistic framework, much like in traditional woodcut, silkscreen printing and stencil graffiti. It seems to me that the chances of succeeding in making something beautiful increases with the restrictions, perhaps making you less likely ending up in some stylistic blind alley.
Pixel artist Jim Sachs is an artist who stuck to his restricted medium even when the times changed – He still makes old school pixel art in the iPad era. A former American Air Force pilot, he got involved with the fledgeling computer and gaming industry in the early eighties. He started writing games for the Commodore 64, then got involved in the development of the Amiga (Commodore’s legendary gaming computer). His computer art from the late eighties and early nineties must be among the greatest achievements within the realm of pixel art. My first encounter with his amazing artwork was on my neighbour’s Amiga sometime in the early nineties, in the form of a desktop background called “Amiga Lagoon” (seen below).
Images from amiga.lychesis.net
The Japanese Tradition of turning manhole covers into funky artpieces must be the world’s longest lasting and most extensive street art project. The colorful customization of the covers started in the nineteen eighties, when Japanese authorities issued a standard measure and shape for manhole covers. This new measure ignited strong resistance among Japanese local communities, which in turn led to a compromise giving every municipality full freedom over the artwork depicted on the manhole covers. Below are a selection of images from the Japanese manhole covers group pool on Flickr. Click the images below to go to the respective owners’ Flickr page.
Today’s sleek and soulless computer animations have a long and quirky history behind them. Steve Rutt and Bill Etra were two of the pioneers of computer animation, and revolutionized the field with their video synthesizer from 1972. In the somewhat surrealistic video below, Bill Etra himself explains some of the features of their synthesizer: