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
In an effort to come full circle in recognizing the very polarizing Common Core testing in New York over the past two weeks, we bring you another “math meets art” post. This time it’s the work of Venezuelan architect and illustrator Rafael Araujo, and his very technical approach to capturing the mathematical brilliance of nature. With simple drafting tools (pencil, ruler, compass, protractor), Araujo takes much pleasure and pride being unplugged from technology while exploring three dimensionality (yes, without the aid of a computer), which can take up to 100 hours to create a single complex composition. We cannot wrap our brains around how one would even begin to approach this, so needless to say, we are in complete awe of Araujo. As are the thousands of backers who contributed to his Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of his work, which began several months ago with a goal just over $20,000. Araujo has since raised over a quarter of a million dollars to date, with the help of Sydney, Australia-based husband and wife team Melinda and Andres Restrepo. The Restrepos were so taken with Araujo’s work online, they approached him about creating a book. Capitalizing on the growing popularity of “adult coloring books” (c’mon, not X-rated, but those touting supposed “stress relieving” patterns), the project to publish the Golden Ratio Coloring Book is forging ahead. When you look at the sampling of Araujo’s work below, just keep in mind that they are all done by hand. Simply breathtaking.
Hyper-realistic drawing and painting is an incredible skill that really gives us pause. Especially in the age of high resolution cameras on just about everyone’s phone, and the proliferation of Photoshop-aided art. We sort of take realistic and surrealistic views for granted, but when we look at super-realistic art done by hand, like the work of Australian artist Joel Rea, we ponder the extraordinary artistic dexterity involved. Rea’s breathtaking work clearly draws much inspiration from nature, particularly the ocean. And for anyone who has tried, depicting water realistically is no small feat. Never mind clouds, sand and the human form. Rea’s masterful paintings are not only visually precise, but also do a fantastic job of conveying emotion, whether it be a sense of fear, hope or liberation. These contemporary surrealist works have some real substance, and we look forward to what the future holds for this phenomenal young artist.