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We have long commented on the convergence of history and art. They are intrinsically intertwined, reliant on one another in many ways. So when an artist turns the documentation and storytelling aspect of said junction on its head, we surely take notice. For his series The American Revolution Revolution, Denver-based artist Shawn Huckins masterfully juxtaposes early American portraiture with social media jargon. Thoughtfully conceptualized and brilliantly executed, Huckins’s incredible work succeeds on so many levels. And it’s also important to note that these are physical paintings, should Huckins’s artistic ability ever come into question. Huckins is a superb American artist who is clearly inspired by American Neo-Classical painters, as well as more contemporary Pop artists. In his own words, Huckins explains the series: “The American Revolution was conceived through an exchange of a few well-formed ideas communicated in person and by handwritten letters. Imagine what George & Co. could have done with the Internet. Or not. Technology influences how much we know and what we believe, as well as how quickly and intelligently we convey our ideas. But does how we communicate govern the value of what we communicate? The physical act of typing very fast on small devices has undeniably impacted spelling, grammar, and punctuation, encouraging a degree of illiteracy that has become the new social norm. As goes our grammatical literacy, do our social and cultural literacies follow?”

Via shawnhuckins.com

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A lot has happened in the world since we last visited the quirky and thought-provoking work of Atlanta-based BBDO Creative Director Stephen McMennamy. Yet his steadfast #ComboPhotos project continues to churn out clever mashups and engage people around the globe. In fact, as cited in our previous post (here) back in September 2015, he had almost 50K Instagram followers… well, his following has ballooned to 226K and growing. And for good reason. His compositions, which are all comprised of original, thoughtfully captured photography (rather than stock images) are simple and fun. Their brilliance is in their subtlety, and also the purposeful absence of Photoshop blending tools. McMennamy’s work makes us do a double-take, which is a sure measure of something special in our minds. His work is as impressive as ever… can’t wait to check back in another 16 months to see what McMennamy has conjured up.

Via Instagram

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On the heels of (no pun intended) the wildly popular Humans of New York series by Brandon Stanton, photographer Stacey Baker takes a slightly different approach, but in a similar vein. Baker, associate photo editor at The New York Times Magazine, takes to the streets and photographs women’s legs from the waist down. The collection as a whole, of meticulously composed shots, documents a dizzying diversity of figures and fashions, with these swift street encounters with perfect strangers. Baker has documented this series on social media, amassing almost 80,000 Instagram followers along the way. Her recently published book, NY Legs, is available for purchase (here).

Via Instragram and lensculture.com

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When you think of 3D renderings, you immediately imagine some complex computer algorithm that miraculously adds a new dimension to something otherwise flat. With that notion in mind, the work of self-taught Serbian artist Nikola Čuljić will floor you. Not only is Čuljić an adept artist, mastering light and shadow with little more than colored pencils, markers and pastels, but he also has a computer-like mind for depth and dimension. Čuljić’s work is basically an optical illusion that confuses the viewer’s brain into thinking his drawings are somehow emerging from a flat paper surface, coming to life before one’s very eyes. Čuljić has smartly taken to social media with his unique work, racking up over 13K Facebook likes, nearly 16K Instagram followers and literally hundreds of thousands of YouTube views. Take a look for yourself… prepare to be amazed.

Via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

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Barcelona design firm Hey Studio has a thing for pop culture and illustration. They married these two loves into a fruitful serial project (others here and here and here) that has boosted their social media presence to over 50K Instagram followers. Though the project, called EveryHey, seems to have since ceased, Hey Studio posted over 400 minimalist illustrations of a very wide variety of pop culture figures, from Prince to Parker Lewis, to Baywatch babes to Beyoncé. We love Hey Studio’s bold, colorful style, and their smart choice of details to make each illustration just recognizable. This is a very small sampling, so be sure to check out the entire collection online or in their EveryHey book (available here).

Via Instagram

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Chalking has been growing in popularity for years, in part due to the increased visibility of incredible artists like Dana Tanamachi (here) and others (here and here). There seems to be a mini movement in Japan right now involving blackboards and chalk (more here). As the saying goes, “everything old is new again”, blackboards, which are now being replaced with whiteboards, possess a sort of novelty these days. Hirotaka Hamasaki, aka Hamacream, is a Japanese art teacher with incredible skills and thousands of Instagram followers. His ability to recreate intricate familiar works of art (on a chalkboard, no less) is just stunning. Though the impermanence of this medium is a bit unnerving to us (we’d want to preserve these works for a long time), they are no less brilliantly executed for having been created with chalk. Truly inspiring.

Via Instagram and Twitter

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It’s no secret that we’re fascinated by “365 projects” and the dedication they reveal (previous posts here and here and here). Done well, these daily doses of artistry not only help develop a robust portfolio, but also serve as an exercise in on-demand creativity… a must in the field of graphic design, as we know all too well. And Nebraska-based designer/illustrator Ian Simmons tackled his serial project expertly. We are in awe of not only the diversity of his work, but the sheer quality of his typography. Clearly a movie buff at heart, Simmons masterfully depicted a wide variety of film quotes through illustration and typography, for 365 days straight (actually, 366)! Yes, an entire year. Just incredible. This is just a sampling of a few of our favorites, but be sure to check out his Instagram for the complete collection. He even sells select prints (here).

Via Instagram

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Transforming everyday objects into art holds a special place for us. It harkens back to childhood thoughts, when our minds wandered while staring out the car window at cloud formations that looked like other things. Or when we’d doodle with no purpose other than to document our own whimsical musings. These days, artists apply conceptual thinking to this cherished pastime, and the results are often special and surprising (here and here and here). Included among those artists is German-born, Australian-based Domenic Bahmann (aka Domfriday). What started as a personal exercise in creative thinking has since populated his Instagram page, which piques the interest of almost 60K followers. And, in turn, has even led to retail opportunities due to popular demand (here and here). In his own words, Bahmann explains: “In 2013 I started my own creative challenge called ‘Stop, Think, Make’. I had to come up with a new image or illustration at least once a week. Since then I try to see the world in the way I used to when I was a child. Staying playful and curious isn’t always easy in our busy modern world.”

Via Instagram

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Nostalgia is a prominent theme in art and design… simply a reflection of the human experience and human nature in general. We’ve seen it take many forms time and time again. Our latest find is a “bit” unexpected (no pun intended). Taking larger-than-life personas of rap and hip-hop artists, and minimizing them into pixelated 8-bit graphics may seem counterintuitive in this age of lifelike 3D avatars and such. But curiously enough, it works. This ever-growing collection of 8-bit characters is the brainchild of young UK artist A.Mulli (aka Adam Mulligan). A.Mulli’s low-res portraits pay homage to vintage arcade games like Street Fighter and Donkey Kong, imagining current hip-hop artists and rappers and other famous figures through the lens of a 1980s arcade character. Below are a few of our favorites. Keep ‘em coming, A.Mulli!

Via Instagram

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California-based artist and teacher Russell Powell gives new meaning to the term “hand painted.” Inspiring his young students and tens of thousands of Instagram followers, Powell has mastered the art of hand stamping, which is way more difficult than it sounds. We’re not talking elementary finger painting… Powell operates on a much higher artistic level. In short, he expertly paints (usually a portrait) on the palm of his hand, but does so rather quickly so it doesn’t dry. Then transfers it to paper or some other surface for preservation. It really is brilliant, and executed masterfully by Powell. Saying nothing of his stellar painting skills, conceptually it just works so well. The inevitable prints of his fingers and palm become an integral part of his work, making every single piece truly unique. One word: badass.

Via Instagram

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#handstamp #create #rihanna #lion #wings #pangaeanstudios #wherethesidewalkchalkends music by #eminem #rihanna @badgalriri

A post shared by Russell Powell (@pangaeanstudios) on

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🙏🏼 #handstamp #create #facepaint #mlk #pangaeanstudios #wherethesidewalkchalkends #u2

A post shared by Russell Powell (@pangaeanstudios) on

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This one got away from me.. #handstamp #create #adele #pangaeanstudios #wherethesidewalkchalkends @adele

A post shared by Russell Powell (@pangaeanstudios) on

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#handstamp #facepaint #create #michaeljackson #pangaeanstudios #wherethesidewalkchalkends

A post shared by Russell Powell (@pangaeanstudios) on

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#handstamp #facepaint #bodypaint #create #audreyhepburn #pangaeanstudios #wherethesidewalkchalkends

A post shared by Russell Powell (@pangaeanstudios) on

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