See Advertising Replaced by Classical Paintings

I have a fascination with alternate realities.  The idea of a world nearly identical to our own, with just a few crucial differences is something that I’ve spent way too many hours thinking about.  Unfortunately, I’m not able to actually go to any of them, but this one imagined by Etienne Lavie would definitely be worth a visit.

Lavie has created a series of photographs from Paris and Milan in which all of the ads are replaced with classical paintings.  Imagine walking down the street and instead of being assaulted by ubiquitous advertising, you could admire art from the old masters wherever you looked.

This isn’t something Lavie is taking too seriously, even giving the series the joking title of “OMG, who stole my ads?”, but there is something very exciting about this idea.  The public display of humankind’s greatest artistic achievements gives the impression of a society aiming to regularly inspire its inhabitants.  I imagine you’d also hear classical music as you walked down these streets.  It would be a society concerned not with selling, but with improving.  It’s worth thinking about.

‘Stripped’ Poster by Bill Watterson

I became aware of this a few weeks ago, but for some reason I didn’t think to write about it until now.

About a year ago, I posted the trailer for the new comic strip documentary film, Stripped.  I also mentioned that it would contain the first ever audio interview with Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, which was enough to get any comics fan interested.  Well now it turns out that not only did he graciously lend his time to be interviewed, he also drew the poster for the film!

This is a big deal because Bill Watterson basically retired after ending Calvin & Hobbes in 1995.  This is his first public cartoon in NINETEEN YEARS.  Seeing new art from Watterson really takes me back to those strips from the 90’s.  It’s a great gift from a great talent.  Can’t wait for the finished film.

Another Year, Another Great Mad Men Poster

The (first half of the) final season of Mad Men begins in April, and the new promo poster appropriately represents the end of the 60’s.

But the people behind the show didn’t get just anyone to design this poster.  Much like for the season 6 poster, they got a legendary artist from the period of the show: Milton Glaser.  If you don’t know him by name, you most definitely know his work.  Here are a few other things he designed:

That’s pretty effin’ cool.

Architectural Watercolors by Maja Wronska

How do you create breathtaking architectural paintings?  Being an architect helps.  The structure and detail of Polish artist Maja Wronska’s watercolors can clearly be attributed to this, but the vivid color and ethereal feeling she brings to each of them requires something more.

All of her cityscapes (including the Magic Kingdom!) are gorgeous, but it’s this one, entitled “Winter in Paris”, that I can’t stop looking at.  This is the work of a gifted illustrator whose passion reaches far beyond mathematical perspective.

See more of these at Behance, and pick up some very reasonably priced prints at Society6.

‘The Black Hole’ Poster by Kilian Eng

Wow. What an amazing poster by Kilian Eng.  Such epic scope, and an incredible level of detail.  It’s been years since I’ve seen Disney’s The Black Hole, but I’m pretty sure this is way more exciting than the movie itself.

The poster is part of the Disney tribute show, Nothing’s Impossible, running from March 7th through the 11th at the Mondo Gallery.

I really need to get down to Austin one of these days.

3D Paintings

Are they sculptures? Or are they paintings?  Well, I guess they’re both.

Japanese artist Shintaro Ohata came up with the brilliant idea of placing 3D sculptures in front of 2D paintings, and presenting them as a single work.  Their most distinct feature is Shintaro’s ability to capture the feeling of light, particularly in making the 3D portion look like it’s being lighted by the 2D portion.  But there’s no light there.  Just a masterful use of color!

Then we have these wonderful hand-sculpted clay illustrations by Irma Gruenholz.  Rather than free standing works of art in a gallery, these are specifically meant for carefully crafted photographs.

Each one is lovingly sculpted from modelling clay, then placed in just the right lighting to be photographed.  Gruenholz’s work appears in books and advertising, which means it actually is serving the purpose of illustrations.  I love the warmth and charm she brings to each one.

This one is my favorite. I love how Irma did the little orbs of light around the lamp and in the bowl.

You can see more from Shintaro at Yukari-Art, and more from Irma on Behance, Facebook, and

The Adventures of the Holy Ghost

Recently, I saw a book cover that caught my eye.  It was fun and well-drawn, so I looked at it (judging a book by its cover) and saw it had been illustrated by one John Hendrix.  This prompted me to seek him out online, and lo and behold, I find this amazing comic The Adventures of the Holy Ghost, which Hendrix apparently draws in his sketch book in his spare time.

On the site, Hendrix describes the comic as “semi-blasphemous”, so I’m guessing it’s at least partially tongue-in-cheek (it really was hard to tell until I went back and read the earlier ones), but it would be great even if it wasn’t.

I love the whole look of it.  The cartoony ghost design, the different logos Hendrix draws for each strip, even the squirrels’ yellow speech balloons.  It employs subtle humor that makes you think, which is the best kind, and not something you’ll find in a typical comic strip today.

One would think a subject this sensitive might offend religious types, but I actually think this is great entertainment for believers and non-believers alike.  If you know anything about Christianity, there’s a lot to enjoy here.

It seems like Hendrix produces a strip roughly once a month.  I wish it were more frequent, but that probably means he’s busy with lots of paid illustration work.  And that’s a good thing, too.


We Go to the Gallery: Fun with Modern Art

Launched at London’s Cob Gallery earlier this month, Miriam Elia’s We Go to the Gallery is both a spoof on Ladybird children’s books of the 1960s and a hilarious take on the world of modern art.

Characters Peter, Jane, and Mummy (mid-century stereotypes of traditional British family life) visit what Elia describes as “a really nihilistic modern art exhibition” and learn about fun things like sex, death, and the (non)existence of God.  The art in the book emulates pretty dead-on the work of illustrators Harry Wingfield and Martin Aitchison, who provided the art for many of the original Ladybird books.  We Go to the Gallery even follows the model of including key words at the bottom of each page to help children become familiar with new concepts, further underlining the dark humor behind them.

What I love best about this is that it manages to make fun of modern art while at the same time acknowledging its place in society.  There’s no denying the importance of art and how it reflects us as we move through the ages, but… yeah, sometimes it takes itself a little too seriously.  In that respect, I would consider this book a piece of modern art in and of itself (and I guess I’m not the only one, considering it premiered at a London art gallery).  Also, it makes me laugh.

Elia raised £5,000 on Kickstarter to self-publish the book, and I kind of hope it brings her enough success to publish more.

Source: The Independent

Artist Spotlight: Zara Picken

The internet is a great place to discover new artists, and I find more and more each day.  Most recently, I happened upon this wonderful illustration by Zara Picken, showing how Mary Poppins might get around London without her umbrella.

Based in northern England, Picken combines digital and handmade elements in a retro-modern style, resulting in delightful images that convey ideas clearly and concisely.  This illustration that accompanies an article entitled The Final Cut, about a woman concerned about her husband wanting a vasectomy, is one example of how brilliant her designs can be.

Picken has won numerous awards, and has an extensive portfolio of work created for editorial, publishing, advertising, and more.  Head over to her website and her blog to see more.

Yuko Shimizu Reminds Us Not Everything About Winter is Bad

I live in Southern California, so I’m one of the lucky few US citizens not currently suffering the effects of the polar vortex.  Not so lucky is New York-based artist Yuko Shimizu, who has made the most of things by compiling her past cold-weather-themed work to remind us that winter can be beautiful.  Just so long as we’re only looking at it.

Winter Wonderland” showcases Shimizu’s whimsical depictions of snow and winter, evoking a feeling of traditional Japanese art combined with unique charm and emotion.  Whether you’re somewhere where you miss seeing snow, or you’re sick of it and ready for winter to end, these pictures might make your day a little brighter.

View the rest of the collection here.

Source: Juxtapoz