Archives for category: Environmental

Autumn is finally upon us, and time for all things pumpkin spice (don’t get us started), as well as corn mazes and such. Which got us thinking… have you ever seen rice paddy art? Originating in Japan, rice paddy art is achieved when people plant rice of various types and colors to create giant pictures in a paddy field. Inakadate, a Japanese village in the prefecture of Aomori is thought to be the birthplace of this fascinating art form that dates back not thousands of years, but to the early 1990s. As a way to revitalize their village, officials of Inakadate decided to cleverly capitalize on a natural resource of 2,000+ years as a way to boost tourism and celebrate their culture. Since then stunning aerial masterpieces have been created year after year, gaining Inakadate recognition not only through local tourism but also through astounded onlookers by way of the internet (much like yourself). Media company Great Big Story, with their uncanny ability to tell stories, recently produced a beautifully shot piece profiling Inakadate, which garnered their stunning landscape and ingenuity further attention.

Via greatbigstory.com and vill.inakadate.lg.jp

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Australian photographer James Popsys has some serious skills behind both the lens and his MacBook Pro, but his work is anything but serious. Popsys is not one to indulge in self-importance or highbrow projects but rather focuses on manipulating scenes from everyday life into playful, sometimes ironic works. That’s not to say his approach is not conceptual or smart… Popsys just can’t help but inject his subversive sense of humor into his surreal photographs. In these globally solemn and often humorless times, Popsys’s work is refreshing. Keep it coming.

Via jamespopsys.com

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We’ve looked at double exposure photography many times before (here and here and here), but we’ve never seen analog work quite like this arresting series, Jarred & Displaced, by Finnish photographer Christoffer Relander. We often marvel at artists who choose more traditional or “old school” methods of art making, which is the case with Relander’s striking photos here. Rather than capturing his photos digitally, then quickly bringing them into Photoshop for manipulation, Relander takes to the dark room to work his magic. While each composite is brilliant by its own merits, Relander’s process somehow makes his work that much more precious. As if pouring his heart into these very personal photographs was not enough, Relander also collaborated with fellow Finnish photographer and filmmaker Anders Lönnfeldt on a simply exquisite short film about this project, which is a true work of art in and of itself. In his own words, Relander discusses this mysteriously beautiful ongoing project: “For over a year now I’ve been collecting landscapes in jars using analog double exposures—in this project I have realized a childish dream. I play with the idea of being an ambitious collector; conserving my environments into a large personal collection. Most landscapes are from where I grew up, in the countryside in the south of Finland, where my roots still lie. Separation anxiety to my childhood is simply what absorbed me into this project.”

Via christofferrelander.com

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Tourism marketing is not something that we think of as terribly design-y. We just assume the process involves input from many people and interests, and therefor gets boiled way down from the designer’s original vision. But in the case of a Smoky Mountain Tourism campaign from several years back by Tennessee-based designer/creative director Shayne Ivy, that vision seems to have won out for the most part. We love Ivy’s style here, which lends itself really well to the concept and is beautifully executed. It’s even a bit reminiscent of other multiple exposure work (here and here), and most notably that by the great Olly Moss (here), which is certainly the highest compliment. It appears that Smoky Mountain Tourism has since shelved this campaign, but a resurrection may be in order… Ivy’s double exposure silhouette concept and treatments are far superior in our mind.

Via Behance

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Graffiti by its very nature changes the appearance of the surface on which it is displayed. But what happens when the “graffiti” itself continually changes as well? Delhi, India-based graffiti artist Daku (which literally means “bandit” or “dacoit” in Hindi… clearly a reference to the outlaw nature of graffiti art itself) explores this concept with his absolutely brilliant piece Time Changes Everything. Technically more public art than graffiti, Daku worked with St+art India Foundation, a non-profit organization that works on art projects in public spaces with accessibility of art as the main goal. Daku’s innovative work is basically a typographic sundial, where thoughtfully chosen words associated with change over the passage of time cast a shadow on a building’s facade by way of sunlight. From conception to execution, we are absolutely taken with this project. Mystery surrounding Daku’s actual identity may be part of his allure, but his overwhelming talent is crystal clear.

Via st-artindia.org and Instagram (daku156 and startindia)

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Painting rocks is a favorite pastime of many, but Michigan artist/illustrator/designer/author/educator Aaron Zenz has taken it to a whole other level. In preparation for what is now known as the “most-attended public art event on the planet”, ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan (happening right now), Zenz and his six children collected and painted over 1,000 rocks over the course of a year. Zenz describes the project in his own words: “I painted them 7 solid base colors, representing myself and my six children. I invited these family members to fill the rocks with any kind of faces they wanted. All the rocks were painted in matching pairs. I took half of the rocks, 500, and arranged them outside the Children’s Museum in a sprawling display, creating a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and patterns. I took the other matching 500 rocks and hid them all over Grand Rapids in random locations. As your family enjoys the day at ArtPrize, keep your eyes open! You will notice details of GR streets like never before. How many of the 500 hidden rocks can you spot? Who in your party has the quickest eyes? When you spot one, leave it where it is and snap a photo. View and share photo discoveries on social media with the hashtag #RockAroundGR to get the complete community building experience.” What a fantastic undertaking on so many levels. With all the often somber headlines lately, this home-grown, positive interactive art experience is certainly a welcome highlight. We only wish it was closer! Think of it as a Stone Age Pokémon GO.

Via artprize.org

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We feel one of our fundamental responsibilities as designers is to employ our creative resources to help communicate and disseminate messages for public good, when possible. The right visuals can be powerful and in this instance, also quite beautiful. Commissioned by German environmental advocacy group Robin Wood, ad agency Grabarz & Partner collaborated with some clearly talented folks from Berlin to Bangkok to create this compelling series of advertisements illustrating the destruction of nature and wildlife around the world. Anchored by a clever concept, the execution here is spot-on. With the use of double exposure (other examples here and here), these compelling ads feature an animal and its natural habitat threatened by destruction. We love the composition and endless details of each piece. Just excellent all around.

Via Behance

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When we stumbled upon the work of Florida-based painter Matthew Cornell, we were really taken with his uncanny ability to paint water so realistically. But as we delved deeper into Cornell’s body of work, particularly his series entitled Pilgrimage, we realized there was much more to this talented artist. Sure, he has tremendous skill for painting in a realistic fashion, but there’s an emotional connection that one rarely captures in hyperrealism (some examples here and here and here). There’s something ethereal about Cornell’s work that transcends simply replicating a scene so well that it could be mistaken for a photograph. Perhaps it’s his own connection that comes shining through, but Cornell has a way of conveying real emotion with the notable absence of people. And we imagine this connection is even greater when viewing his extraordinary work in person. Don’t miss the trailer below to a solo exhibition last year.

Via matthewcornell.com

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Sure, we’ve seen paper cut art before (here and here and here), and we’re very fond of it, by the way. But we’ve never seen anything quite like this. London-based artist/photographer Rich McCor (otherwise known as @paperboyo) brilliantly pairs his paper cut skills with his keen eye for photography. And the results are clever, playful and unexpected. McCor’s carefully crafted silhouettes are brought to life against sometimes familiar and iconic backdrops. While his work may seem simple in concept, there’s no doubt in our minds that these smart compositions require much more skill than one may think. Needless to say, we are thoroughly impressed and inspired. And his growing base of 175,000 Instagram followers would surely agree.

Via Instagram

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With summer almost upon us, we long for some beach days in the not-so-distant future. Which brings us to the awe-inspiring work of Australian seascape and ocean photographer Warren Keelan. If you’ve ever tried to capture photos of ocean waves, you know it’s no easy feat… much more difficult than it looks, with Mother Nature’s ever-changing variables, like motion and light, just to name two. But when done well, such images can be some of the most enthralling sights you’ll ever see. Keelan clearly has a gift, and seems at one with the mighty ocean, taking viewers on a journey and truly capturing the essence of the power and beauty of the sea. In his own words: “I’ve always had a fascination with nature, especially the ocean and its ever changing forms, and I am compelled to capture and share what I feel are special and unique moments in the sea. I love the raw, unpredictable nature of water in motion and the way sunlight brings it all to life, from both above and below the surface. For me, the challenge is creating an image that hopefully tells a story or leaves an impression on the viewer.” Keelan’s breathtaking work leaves an impression, no doubt about that.

Via warrenkeelan.com and Instagram

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