Archives for posts with tag: nature

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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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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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

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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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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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Minimalism is often just the right treatment for getting to the essence of a visual identity (previous examples here and here and here). And that is precisely the case with Minneapolis-based designer/art director Tony Buckland’s project, Birds of Minnesota. You don’t have to be into ornithology or bird watching to appreciate this work, there’s an aesthetic appeal that stands on its own. Buckland’s objective is to “edit the defining characteristics of each bird down to the absolute minimum without losing the essence of the bird.” And he achieves that brilliantly. An ever-growing collection of prints available here.

Via birdsofminnesota.com

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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.

Via rafael-araujo.com

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