Category Archives: op-art

Blue Trees in Seattle

Which one of these blue trees doesn’t belong? The residents of Seattle have been wondering just that. Those who visit Seattle’s Westlake Park this summer are sure to witness a unique change of scenery.

Australian artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos is responsible for transforming the usually brown bark on these trees bright blue. No, she didn’t climb these trees and paint them blue. The blue coloring comes from biologically safe pigmented water.

As simple as the process may seem, its end result is quite complex. In fact, the park is other worldly. Anyone who witnesses these blue Seattle trees is sure to feel as if they have entered a strange new world. It’s a fairyland where one’s imagination can run free.

Another amazing aspect of this art project is that the blue trees will revert back to their natural color. The pigment will fade over time. The trees were turned blue on April 2, 2012. It is expected that they will remain blue for several months.  Visitors to this Seattle Park can see these blue trees for themselves throughout the entire summer season.

According to Dimopoulos, “Color is a powerful stimulant, and means of altering perception and defining space and time.”  Blue is definitely not the color that we associate with trees.  The striking color contrast forces one to consider what must be out of place and what has changed in the world. 

How does one relate to this type of change?  The phrase; stop and smell the roses comes to mind.  Maybe it is time to stop and experience how we relate to the natural world.  Thanks to Dimopoulos and her creative artistic expression, art has once again encouraged individuals to appreciate the art that nature provides us every day.  She has definitely put a new spin on the natural art we tend to believe will never change.

We all can agree with Dimopoulos that color is a powerful tool of perception.

Do these unordinary blue trees spark any emotions in you?  What do they cause you to consider?  Does the color blue make a different kind of statement than yellow or purple trees would?

Do you want to know more about Dimopoulos and her project?  To read more about the blue trees in Seattle’s Westlake Park visit the website provided below.

Images and story available at: http://weburbanist.com/2012/04/03/blue-trees-surreal-spectacle-coming-to-seattle-parks/

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Custom Art Made from Your DNA

What do you believe is the epitome of custom art? Are you surprised that we answer this question by pointing a finger at you?

It’s true. You are completely unique. But are you wondering what this has to do with art?

DNA11 is a company that uses genetic science to create custom DNA artwork.

This means you can purchase custom DNA art; artwork designed around your DNA fingerprint.

How Does it Work?

If you are interested in purchasing one of these pieces, your first step is to visit the DNA11 website (http://www.dna11.com/about.asp).

The company website will give you detailed information about the portrait making process. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect after you contact DNA11.

What You can Expect

DNA11 will send you at kit which includes a mouth swab and a DNA collection card. After you have collected your DNA you will ship it back to the company.

From there, your DNA sample will be taken to the lab and technicians will isolate eight DNA sequences that are unique to all individuals. What they end up with is a DNA imprint. This imprint is then stained and photographed.

The photograph becomes the foundation of the artwork. A designer will add color to the imprint photograph until it is deemed a worthy piece artwork. Finally, your custom picture will be copied onto a canvas.

If DNA artwork doesn’t sound like something you are interested in, DNA11 offers other options. You can also have your fingerprint transformed into a piece of custom art, as well as your lips. Information about these processes can also be found on the company website under Kiss Portraits and Fingerprint Portraits.

If they still haven’t grabbed your attention, DNA11 now also offers DNA ancestry portraits. These portraits encode you genetic lineage and turn it into a one-of-a-kind family portrait.

If you want to know more about DNA art and the company DNA11, founded by Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed, visit the website below and watch a video presentation created by the company founders.

http://money.cnn.com/video/smallbusiness/2012/04/16/sbiz-dna11-canvaspop.cnnmoney/?source=cnn_bin

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When Ink Art and Underwater Photography Collide

Two seemingly different concentrations of art have been making waves in their recent mash up with artist and photographer Mark Mawson. While not a tremendous amount of information is available about the technique and execution of this brilliant, color-soaked approach, we can speculate on some of the aspects of this thrilling new style.

Water

http://www.paranoias.org/2011/12/aqueous-fluoreau-by-mark-mawson/http://www.paranoias.org/2011/12/aqueous-fluoreau-by-mark-mawson/Water is a funny thing. When we are submerged, it is the one known natural element that resists the pull of gravity by working with the natural buoyancy in our bodies to alleviate some of our weight. Nearly everyone experiences these effects while swimming or taking a bath.

Another peculiar trait is how it spreads and disperses other liquids or particles that have been introduced into it. Think of when you put cream in your coffee, or when you add dye to water to make Easter eggs. The effect is immediate and really quite interesting.

As seen in the picture above, a second liquid-like material introduced into still water creates a shadowing, swirling veil of almost air-like quality that slowly ripples and radiates outward; akin to the slow leak of a pin-pulled smoke bomb.

Ink

http://www.paranoias.org/2011/12/aqueous-fluoreau-by-mark-mawson/

What photographer Mark Mawson manages to capture is thrilling and new in several ways; not only in its gorgeous eye-popping presentation, but also in its incredibly temporary state of existence as well as its unique, un-typified use of ink.

While the featured picture is an amazing and brilliant example of Mawson’s technique, it is certainly not the only approach to this style of art. As you look further into some of the images he’s captured, you’ll notice the endless possibilities for positioning, lighting, and background.

Some pieces are seen with a subtle back drop of flurrying colors (perhaps immersed in the water sooner to capture their translucency), cascading down over a more vivid splotch of color floating in the foreground, constantly shape shifting to create new and interesting views of our underwater art gallery.

To see more of Mark’s work, check out http://www.paranoias.org/2011/12/aqueous-fluoreau-by-mark-mawson/  and see the waves he’s creating by making, well, waves.

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Bauhaus Art School

Are you impressed to learn about the invention of Op-Art?

The modern art style, best associated with the art and theory of Josef Albers, influenced an artistic evolution throughout the 20th century, and continues to impact the 21st century as well.

But did you know that this trendy new art form started in Germany in the early 1900’s? Even more, it was created and taught at a school that was also a forerunner for architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.

The famous school of art, called Bauhaus, existed in three different parts of Germany between the years of 1919 and 1933. This seems like a short period of time to have such a strong influence on the world. However, the principal thoughts and practices that encouraged artists at Bauhaus traveled with them and spread throughout the world when many of the practicing students and teachers had to emigrate during Nazi control.

The Bauhaus art school was known as a “House of Construction” or a “School of Building.” Even though studies in architecture were not implemented until later, the school built its values on the idea that creating a “total” work of art incorporates multiple elements of art.

A good example of this is optical art’s use of three types of elements: optical illusions, canvas painting, and color. Perhaps it was this concept of completeness that catapulted the Bauhaus style into success, becoming one of the most influential styles in modern art, design and architecture.

Another thought that contributed to the success of Bauhaus was the founding philosophical principle of constructivism. This term originated in Russia and commonly associated with the idea that art could contribute to a better society. With major political and economic shifts happening all over the world, especially in Europe, people learned they could express themselves and propel a positive message with art. Even though there was a negative atmosphere in the world during the time of World War I and leading up to World War II, individual artists knew that art had the power to carry the significant message of peace.

In a war-torn society, Bauhaus school had much to teach. Here are some common art forms that excelled and were mastered by artists at the school between 1919 and 1933:

  • Woodworking
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Work with Metal
  • Ceramics
  • Weaving
  • Printing and typography
  • Theater
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Architecture
Bauhaus art school existed at a poignant time in history. It’s location in the world and foundational European thought are two of the many reasons why it is still a reputable resource for art history today. The other reasons are artists, styles and creations that were consistently produced by the school. These are the pieces that influence modern art today, and will continue to do so evermore.

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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