Category Archives: 2-D

Artists Bring the Streets To Life with 3D Art

2D street art, such as graffiti and stencil art, is nothing new. For decades street artists have been transforming cold concrete streets and allies into feasts for the eyes. But a brand new army of artists is bringing streets to life with 3D art that dazzles the eye and stirs the imagination.

To a child, 3D street art can easily be misconstrued as having been created magically. While there is a supernatural feel to such art, it is mere human artists, not magicians, who create the magnificent displays.

If you have not seen 3D street art, you are missing out on something special. Allow this article to take you from the roads of Tehran, Iran’s capital, to the buildings of Miami, Florida, and experience the magic of 3D art for yourself.

Street Art Makes the Common, Extraordinary

When an artist fashions 3D art, he or she expands on a 2D art display, extending the creation beyond the perimeters of the 2 dimensional world. 3D art literally reaches out to touch you, and begs to be touched and experienced in return.

Here are some locations where the streets have been graced with 3D art:

Tehran, Iran Artist Medhi Ghadyanloo has transformed Tehran with his brilliant artwork. In the CNN index, “What’s the secret behind these eye-popping street art illusions,” it says, “Ghadyanloo has painted over 100 murals across the Iranian capital, giving unsuspecting drivers good reason to do a double take, as the fantasy blends in with the real.”

Paris, France – A once-plain underpass in Paris has been rendered exquisite by a hovering anamorphic image created by TSF, a French art crew. The crewmembers used paint and a chopped-down tree to create the artistic effects they wanted.

Miami, Florida – One of the most moving displays of 3D street art is titled No Art for Poor Kids, and can be found near the Jose De Diego Middle School in Miami. Artist MTO created a statue of a child standing with his face toward a building, wearing what appears to be a dunce cap. This is both ironic and significant because, as explained on the CNN website, it “highlights the plight of [the] middle school, on the edge of Miami’s Wynwood gallery district, where this year’s Art Basel parties kicked off. There, on the doorstep of the glitziest art-buying festival, a tight budget means there’s no money to hire an art teacher and the 600 students are denied access to art.”

3D Street Art Fosters Change

The 3D art display near the Jose De Diego Middle School proves that 3D street art can be both controversial and transformational. It is in-your-face and refuses to be ignored. It’s safe to say that this genre of art has the potential to change culture as we know it.

Check out more astounding displays of 3D street art here.

Is there a 3D street art display in your locale? If so, how have people responded to it? Do you think such a display would enrich your community?

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Street Art Affects Major Cities Across the World

The Graffiti Artist and Street Vendor

Can Trash Become Artistic Treasure?

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Tips for Improving your Landscape Drawing Skills

Whatever your level of skill, these tips will help guide you in developing habits that will grow your abilities to draw and paint landscape scenery with just a couple of weeks of consistent practice.

Implement these for 15 or 20 minutes a day and the improvements will be greatly evident.

Tip No. 1 – Quick Impression Drawings

Get out of the house! Go to the zoo, the museum, a park, an apartment building complex, somewhere other than where you typically draw. Focus on drawing moving things. Drawing objects in motion will help you develop the flow. Every experienced artist can tell you about the flow. Your speed of drawing will increase by practicing these quick impression sketches, but will also help you to develop your perspective drawing skills and build up a repertoire of animals, objects, and people that you can readily access from your mental toolbox.

Tip No. 2 – Blind Drawing

This method is mentioned in all major drawing instruction books and often goes unnoticed or ignored by most artists. This method (also known as “blind contour drawing”) requires that the artist follow its subject with his/her eyes and not focus on the paper they are drawing on. This technique is a great way to keep your drawings vivid and has been dubbed the ultimate anti-stiffening tool in a professional artists bag of tricks.

Tip No. 3 Forget the eraser!

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles Davis

Every line you draw is a representation of your own handwrite. This is the unique signature of your artistic expression. Do you really want to erase that? Practice making every line work for you.

Tip No. 4 Take measurements!

One of the largest sources of complaints of growing artists is that their proportions are off. You don’t need to get fancy here. Use your pencil or other small stick, extend your arm as far as it will go (in order to ensure accuracy for each measurement), and note with your eyes how much of the length of your stick that particular object runs. Drawing roofs, chimneys, beaches, trees, animals, and many other things become much easier to make proportionate when you implement this small technique.

Tip No. 5 – Draw negative space

When you see a bale of hay, a fishing net, or long strands of hair, are you trying to individually draw the lines in the net, the fence, or the hair? Try implementing this technique and draw the negative space and see what objects it works best on. It’s a nifty trick that, when mastered, provides a faster, easier, and better looking drawing of more intricate items.

So grab your pad and pencil and practice, practice, practice! After all, this is the one surefire way to improve!

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The Op-Art of Josef Albers

Josef Albers, photograph by Arnold Newman, 1948. © Arnold Newman

In a recent post, a popular art form of the 20th century was introduced. Op-Art puts thought provoking optical illusions onto a flat canvas. During the early 1900’s, the art form flourished with the creative use of lines and patterns. At the start, artists used black and white paint or ink to create captivating images; color was incorporated later. One artist and theorist at the forefront of this art style, who also pioneered the technique of adding color, was a man by the name Josef Albers.

German-born American artist, Josef Albers studied at the Bauhaus school for arts and crafts in Germany. The school existed at the time of Nazi dominance in Germany and, subsequently, closed in 1933. After spending decade at Bauhaus as an art instructor, Alber’s emigrated to the United States, where he continued his career as an artist and teacher.

After spending some time in the United States, Albers accepted a position at teaching at Yale University. It was there that Josef Albers was able to advance the graphic art program before retiring from teaching in 1958.

In the early years of his retirement, as a fellow at Yale, Albers received funding to exhibit and lecture on the art form he had done so much to advance. By this time, Albers had catapulted many artists into successful careers. The list of notable students includes Richard Anuszkiewicz and Eva Hesse. Both artists are considered major forces in the Op-Art movement that swept the world during the 1960’s and 70’s.

Aside from his artwork and teaching, Josef Albers added another form of art to his long list of talents: In 1963, his book, Interaction of Color detailed the theory behind colorful op-art. This writing built upon a foundational thought of Albers — that colors have an internal and deceptive logic all-their-own.

Albers continued to paint and write until he died in 1976. However, the impression he left on the world of art, especially as an abstract painter and theorist, continues to live and influence abstract art today. Even though much of his work is well known and recognizable, it continues to thrive because of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. To this day, the organization supports exhibitions featuring the work of Josef Albers and his wife Anni, who was a textile artist.

The contribution Josef Albers made to the world of art is undeniable. He was successful at merging traditional European art with modern American art, to create an abstract style all his own. While his roots were grounded in the type of constructivist thinking that allowed Bauhaus school of arts and crafts to flourish, his experiences in America allowed him freedom to explore patterns and colors that are now the signature of optical art.

Op-art and graphic art continue to advance while consistently affirming Josef Albers influence. The world renowned teacher, artist, and color theorist is very much alive in the work of abstract artists today. Whether it is through his written words, paintings, or students who survived him, Albers will influence young artists for years to come.

No words can conclude a story about the life of this great man, except, perhaps his own. Alber’s was quoted as saying, “Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature. I prefer to see with closed eyes.” Others are happy to have their eyes opened by the influential life and art of Josef Albers. May his legacy and art been seen for years to come.

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Optical Illusions Create Art and Provoke Thought

Art is subjective. Individuals find themselves attracted to a certain artist, style, or theme when looking for art to inspire positive thought and decor. Upon finding the piece they consider, “just right,” one may seek to understand more about the particular picture or genre of art. However, they contrive their thoughts from a combination of what they already know, research, and see with their own two eyes.

In the early 1900’s this thought process was used to develop a new kind of art — completely subjective in form. It received the title, “op-art,” or optical art. This fresh form of art, not seen before the 20th century, used paint to create an interaction between a lively illusion and a picture plane, which is the flat canvas. Much of the art first produced in this genre (and some of the better known pieces) use only black and white paint or ink. As the art form expanded throughout the century, other elements of color and design were added.

This genre quickly evolved but remained true to its core: op-art is a perceptual experience that derives from manipulating typical visual functions. By painting an illusion onto a flat canvas there is a juxtaposition between what the eye expects to see and what it actually takes in. This is known as the figure-ground relationship.

Such a relationship exists because of edge assessment. For instance, when the boarderlines of one shape can be applied to both the outside of the shape and inside of another, an illusion is created. When placing this illusion on a flat, two-dimensional material, like a canvas, a human’s eye is especially baffled and the individual is likely to see the painting from more than one perspective.

But not all optical illusions are works of art. When an artist strives to deliberately challenge an observer’s eye with this figure-ground relationship, op-art is the goal in mind. In fact, the foundational elements of creating an artistic illusion are simple lines and patterns. With the use of color, op-art expanded because it used certain colors to change how the retina perceived an overall image.

This did not happen until the mid 1900’s, even though many artists trained in the op-art technique showed interest in applying color to their contrasting figure-ground paintings much earlier. Artists like Josef Albers, Bridget Riley, and  Julian Stanczak were eager to implement this element. Some time after color was introduced to op-art, photographers also became determined to produce op-art, in black and white, and in color photographs.

Op-art photography became popular in the 1970’s. However, this form of digital manipulation (that became easier with technological developments) lacked the foundational elements most important to op-art: Lines and patterns. For quite some time there was not enough subject matter for photographers to produce artistic illusions; lines and patterns were much easier to paint than capture.

This simplicity is what makes op-art a stroke of genius. It cannot be overlooked that the founders of this art, German artists who studied constructivist philosophy, believed thought provoking art could positively influence society. At the school of Bauhaus, where op-art first originated, great thinkers like Josef Albers developed a new way of seeing the world; by looking on both sides of the same line.

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From Sand Castles to Sand Sculptures

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Many of us have fond memories of building sand castles at the beach when we were children; overturning buckets of sand to create towers, digging out moats, and sticking seashells into the damp castle walls. Even though we weren’t consciously aware of it at the time, building sandcastles was a fun, hands-on way to express our creativity and let our imaginations run wild.

Building sand castles is not just for kids anymore! In the 1970s, the art of “sand sculpting” was born on the beaches of California, pioneered by visionaries who took the concept of sand castles several steps further by creating elaborate, detailed, breathtaking monuments out of sand. Animals, architecture and pop culture icons are common subjects for sand sculpture art, although the sky’s the limit. Sand sculptors have depicted everything from African wildlife to Greek gods and goddesses to scaled versions of the Taj Mahal.

Creating complex sand sculptures requires both technical skill and knowledge. In order to stay in place properly, the sand must be a certain consistency and contain a certain degree of moisture. Once the foundation is ready, it takes talent, time and energy to sculpt 3-D images into the sand without the sand falling to pieces. It’s no wonder that the best sand sculptors are actually professionals who get paid to create these magnificent works of art using all-natural materials.

Sand sculptures are a popular attraction on some of the world’s best beaches, from Canada to Florida to Australia. Next time you’re at the beach, why not see what you can create out of sand!

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3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real li

The main goal of art marketing is to get your art out there. The more people that know about you and your work, the better. Blogging is an excellent – and free – way to put you and your art in front of a wider audience. In this article we’ll take a look at how artists like you can benefit from keeping a blog.

What is a blog?

“Blog” is short for weblog – a word that was first coined in 1997 when the general public was still getting its feet wet with the Internet. At first, blogs were merely online diaries – personal accounts of people’s daily lives. As the Internet has matured, blogs have turned into so much more. Blogs are now powerful marketing tools that are used by corporations and individuals alike to promote their businesses.

How can blogging be used as an effective art marketing tool?

  1. Blogs provide exposure. The search engines love frequent-updated blogs. Each update you post gives you another chance to be found on the Internet – by a gallery owner, a potential collector, or anyone who might be of benefit to you and your business in some form.
  2. Blogs provide insight. When you blog about your art, you can write about everything from your inspirations to your struggles and everything in between. Blogs give gallery owners and potential collectors insight into your working process, which shows them that you are a serious artist.
  3. Blogs facilitate connections. People who buy artwork online are more willing to purchase art from someone with whom they feel a connection. Blogging allows you to connect with your fans and collectors on a personal level – showing them that you are a real, live, trustworthy human being, as opposed to an impersonal collection of pixels on the screen.

These are just some of the many ways that artists can benefit from blogging.

One final note: remember that a blog is better as a supplement to your website, and not a substitute. While some artist blogs double as an online gallery and a blog, it is generally better to keep the two separate, so that it is easier for your site visitors to navigate from your new content in your blog to your static content on your website (such as your gallery).

Ready to set up your art blog? You can start a blog for free through WordPress or Blogger. Have fun!

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Painting from Real Life vs. Painting from a Photograph

Which is better: painting from real life, or painting from a photograph?

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real life, they can work from their photographs.

In many ways, this has made representational painting easier for artists. They no longer have to wait until weather and lighting conditions are just right for outdoor painting, and sitters no longer need to spend precious hours posing for a portrait. While many artists now embrace the use of reference photos as aids to creating paintings, others still prefer to work in the style of the old masters. Which way is better?

One drawback to painting from photographs is that the resulting artwork may appear “flat”, because the objects, scene, or person depicted in the painting was first translated into 2-D form via the camera. When an artist works from real life, she has to use her artistic skills to transform the 3-D view before her into 2-D form on her canvas. When working from a photograph, an artist may become too reliant on depicting the actual 2-D photo, as opposed to depicting the 3-D scene that the photograph itself depicts.

Even so, the use of reference photos has largely aided artists in their working process, although each artist has his or her own preference between working from photos or working from real life.

So artists, when it comes to working from real life vs. working from a photograph, which do you prefer, and why?

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