Some “tree huggers” may view paper art (here and here and here) as a gratuitous use of precious paper. But Spanish paper artist Malena Valcárcel may just have found a way to please art lovers and environmentalists alike. Valcárcel “upcycles” discarded or recycled books into quite beautiful sculptures. She is astoundingly self-taught, and her work is intricate and delicate in a way that serves the fine print of her chosen medium (printed matter) really well. She even utilizes lighting in some of her pieces, which adds an entirely new magical dimension. In her own words, “My main inspirations come from nature and everyday life, and I often return to certain ideas again and again. Flowers, trees, butterflies, houses, clouds … without forgetting the sea, really fascinate me. Turning books into sculptures, cutting and shaping paper into different shapes or abstract forms never ceases to amaze me, and when the work is finished, just contemplating it brings a smile to my face. Making things has always been incredibly important to me and it is often an amazing release to get it out of my system. It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work…the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm.” Charming, indeed.
Via Behance and Etsy
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
There is tremendous beauty in nature, and even some not visible to the naked eye. Take grains of sand, for instance. Much like snowflakes, no two grains are alike. But Hawaii-based Dr. Gary Greenberg reveals a beautiful, colorful tapestry of tiny shells, coral fragments and weathered crystals through his magnified photographs. Greenberg, a former photographer and filmmaker who later earned his Ph.D. in biomedical research, invented and developed high-definition, three-dimensional light microscopes that make this sort of photography possible. His impressive sampling for this photographic series features grains from beaches around the world, which he magnifies up to 300 times to expose “hidden and unexpected aspects of nature.” In his own words, Greenberg explains that his mission is to “reveal the secret beauty of the microscopic landscape that makes up our everyday world.” And that “art is a doorway through which we can more deeply embrace nature.”
More extreme close-ups here and here.