Category Archives: photography

Art that Sells Broadway

Segmation - Art that Sells BroadwayThe versatility of art is not easy to define. Art is an umbrella term that encompasses different mediums, genres and styles. Each medium of art is attractive on its own, but when several types of art come together, a fresh, deep, enriched level of art is born. For instance, this is the case when music, dance, storytelling and graphic design collide. You may be wondering where these diverse art mediums intersect. On Broadway, of course.

Erick Pipenburg (@erikpiepenburg) has one of the most interesting jobs in America; he is the senior theatre editor at the New York Times. Recently his job has taken him away from Broadway stages and into the studios of graphic designers and photographers who create promotional posters for hit shows.

Behind the Poster” is a category on the New York Times blog, Artsbeat. In this genre of his professional art medium, writing, Pipenburg interviews the talented visual artists who are on the front lines of theatre show productions. He has gone behind the curtains of shows like “The Visit,” starring Chita Rivera; “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” starring Neil Patrick Harris; and a new play, “Stage Kiss,” which is promoted by an abstract poster that is made up of lipstick kisses on paper. Each time, Pipenburg’s interview reveals a story that goes beyond the script and into the lives of all the artist who create and promote the play.

To better grasp what Pipenburg does, read the response from freelance illustrator Julie Furer Knutson, who created the poster for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” playing in Seattle, Washington:

“I wanted this to scream ’60s. That blue is very of that era. When I was a kid we had a couch that color. It seems everybody had that couch back then. I guess it was Danish-designed and had that very plain but textural fabric to it. The characters keep drinking to hide what’s going on in their lives. They are outward with their rage, but they are hiding behind the alcohol. I thought white for the title really exposes things.”

Here is the New York Times article that contains this poster review and five others: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/31/arts/posters-the-fine-art-of-selling-theater.html.

Erick Pipenburg is revealing another element of art that goes into creating shows that grace Broadway stages each night. He is showcasing the tapestry of art mediums, styles, and genres that go into producing show-stopping productions. In a way, he is identifying the many parts of a fulfilling, multi-dimensional work of art.

Art is often made up of several pieces. No art program knows this better than Segmation. Paint-by-number has been allowing people to become artists for years. Now, Segmation is making paint-by-number a digital phenomenon, too. By putting together the pieces of artful imaging, you can be an artist. Have you tried SegPlay PC or SegPlay Mobile yet? Click here to learn more about the software that can transform you into an artist: http://segmation.com/. Piece by piece, you can, like Erick Pipenburg, expose a beautiful picture.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Paper Quilling – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Can Elephant Art Save the Species?

What Is True About The Color Blue?

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An Interview with James Ostrer

What do French fries, licorice and cream cheese have in common? For many of us, all three foods make it into our diets every now and again. However, it is rare to think of these items together. In fact, it takes an inventive mind, and extreme circumstances, to imagine a combination of these opposing foods. However, photographer James Ostrer creates fine art by combining these diet death traps.

In his critically acclaimed art exhibit, Wotsit All About, Ostrer uses odd but generally acceptable junk food combinations to bring grotesque monsters to life.  Showing at the Gazelli Art House in London from July 31 to November 9, Wotsit All About puts various junk foods on display in interesting ways.

The underlying message of Ostrer’s most recent art exhibit is rather clear: our relationship with junk food is horrifying. This reality is, for lack of a better word, sugarcoated by fanciful advertising and winsome marketing practices. However, Ostrer’s photographs reveal a truth that the billion-dollar junk food industry doesn’t want us to know: junk food is not safe. It is addictive and has the power to transform an individual into an unrecognizable being, either emotionally or physically.

Wotsit All About is unique in many ways, but for James Ostrer, it seems to fall in-line with the out-of-the box art he is known for. In prior years, Ostrer has taken his family to a morgue, gone to a brothel, been photographed by prostitutes, collected mattresses from the street and buried himself in “vast quantities of food,” all in the name of art.

If you only know his junk food monsters, you don’t know James Ostrer. In a brief interview, Segmation got to know the English photographer a little better. Through his transparency, insight and unique intelligence, we are beginning to see his artwork, and art in general, in new ways.

  1. You just finished a solo show at the Gazelli Art House. If you could summarize the past four months in three words, what would they be?

Totally Fudging* Awesome

*Except, Ostrer, in the midst of his war on junk food, did not use the word “Fudging.”

  1. Let’s travel back in time. If I were to ask six-year-old James, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” what would he say?

I really don’t remember considering the future in that way until at least the age of sixteen which even by then when asked I would get really anxious and just say I don’t know. So in reality at six years old I think I would have been freaked out and just wanted to see my mum and have a snuggle.

  1. Your artwork is, for lack of a better word, unique. What triggers your out-of-the-box concepts? 

All of my work is based on a desire to find or understand my own concept and experience of happiness. My art practice is like being booked into a self-help course that doesn’t have any structure, timeline or preconceived ideologies of what will help me while relying wholly on my desire for positive change. The concepts that I work around are in direct response to what I am trying to unpick about my negative self.

  1. In your interview with Tony Gallagher, you mention “The Journey” required a “huge amount of research around human behaviour.” In your opinion, how does research enrich art?

I think it totally depends as it can be as detrimental as it enriches…..Obviously historical context and referencing can be very valid and often almost everything about a piece of work…. but as interesting as I can sometimes find this kind of work I can equally find it clinical and boring. I find the visceral relationship between the emotions of an artist and the thing they have made the thing I truly love in art…..so when I see a great piece of outsider art where there has been no influence or contamination from outside influence/research it can blow my mind away like nothing else….

  1. In the same interview you mention that you use art as a way of expelling your “deepest demons.” According to Aestheticamagazine.com, “Wotsit All About” was your response to a sugar addiction that resulted from, among other things, well-calculated marketing. We know all sorts of people struggle with addictions; many of them have artistic temperaments. What advice would you give the artist who wants to use art as a tool for addiction recovery?

My emphasis would be on the fact that it is a great tool but with all the many complexities and extremes to addiction you need a whole tool box full of things that help to work your way through.

I would also suggest regularly taking rain checks with your process of making art to challenge whether u are simply just excusing yourself to have a continued engagement with something you have a problem with. A clear example of this could be where people use self-harm as a form of artistic expression. I am not saying this kind of work isn’t valid but as an artist (especially at the beginning) you are often every member of your business so unlike if you were working for a company you don’t have a boss or human resources department keeping an eye on you so you need to do this yourself….

  1. What is your favorite color?

The few seconds of black in a cinema just before a film starts.

View more of James Ostrer’s work by visiting his website: http://jamesostrer.com/home.html.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and food:

James Ostrer’s Junk Food Art

Coloring Each Season with Healthy Food

Food Never Looked So Good

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An Artist’s Story of Taking Risks and Staying Determined

Like many artists, Alexis Lawson found herself at a fork in the road. One path boasted little brush, bright lighting, and a trail that went as far as the eye could see. This was the path of education; after finishing her schooling, she would become a teacher with a salary, pension, and set vacation days. The other path was barely visible, covered with thick foliage and debris. She couldn’t see where it led beyond a couple steps. This was the path of professional photography.

Alexis took the path less traveled. Shortly after her daughter was born, about five years ago, she decided to avoid the safe route and go out on a limb. She became a professional photographer.

Since making this decision, the artist’s path has taken Alexis on a journey of discovery. As she progressed in her career, she experienced many changes. For instance, Alexis’s photography career started with taking pictures of children and families. Today, Alexis specializes in couture female portraiture.

The Palm Beach based photographer was turned onto glamour photography by Sue Bryce, the portrait photographer behind the Olay Best Beautiful Stories. To follow in Bryce’s footsteps, Alexis signed up for mentorships and workshops with photographers who specialized in shooting “glamour shots.” Alexis admits that photographing women as if they were Vogue cover models “hit home” with her. It was this feeling and her admiration for women—who, like her, managed careers, homes, and families—that prompted her to shine a light on their inner and outer beauty.

After realizing this, Alexis stepped out onto another limb. She turned the back room of her home into a photography studio. Even though there was no guarantee people would come into this space or solicit her services, she took the chance and made a massive renovation.

With a studio in place, Alexis knew it was up to her to bring in women to photograph. She began pounding the pavement, working 50 hours a week to network and market her unique services. All the while, Alexis knew that what she told the women she photographed applied to her, too. “Be true to yourself and stick to it,” she would say.

Like many artists, Alexis had talent. But beyond talent, she worked hard to make her dreams come true. The evolution of her career involved taking risks, working hard, and overcoming obstacles. As she took time to navigate the rocky terrain of the path she chose, she remained focused on the most important thing: being true to the artist inside her.

Today, Alexis Lawson can be found in Palm Beach, shooting couture photographs from her in-home studio. Visit Alexis’s website to see an extensive display of her photography: http://www.alexislawsoncreative.com/.

If you want to be a professional artist, you can. Take the path less travel. Step out onto a limb and work hard to make your dreams reality. And take Alexis’s advice: Be true to yourself and stick to it.

James Ostrer’s Junk Food Art

 
Obesity is considered a major health crisis in the United States and many other countries. According to the Food Research and Action Center, “Obesity rates have more than doubled” since the 1970s. It has also been reported that two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese.

While media pundits and nutritional scientists speculate the cause of obesity, one source of the problem seems apparent: junk food.

Humans love junk food. And many of us are addicted to it (which some claim is the food industry’s goal.) When considering this truth, it is safe to say that junk food has changed the face of our culture.

One artist, photographer James Ostrer decided to explore this phenomenon with his latest series, entitled, “Wotsit All About?”

If you called the series horrific, he might not mind. Using junk food, he produced some of the most disturbing images you can imagine. Monsters.

Coping With Junk

At an early age, James Ostrer’s parents divorced. It was a troubling time for him and his parents did what they could to lift their child’s spirits. His father, in particular, thought Happy Meal’s would work. Therefore, whenever Ostrer’s father picked him up for the week, he started things off with a trip to McDonald’s.

Unfortunately, instead of lifting Ostrer’s mood, this tradition brought on a bad habit. Ostrer began turning to junk food as a way to cope with stress. As he got older, Ostrer noticed his health was in decline. This got him thinking about how his relationship with junk food negatively impacted his life. He also began to reflect on how junk food impacts the world. That was when inspiration struck.

Happy Meal Monsters

The result was a series of portraits that showcased grotesque monsters made entirely of junk foods like candy, burgers, and chocolate. Ostrer used junk food as material to completely cover his models from head to toe. After eight hours in the “makeup” chair, each monster emerged looking horrifying and disturbing. This was Ostrer’s goal. The photographer successfully made the point that our relationship with junk food is indeed horrifying, grotesque, and disturbing.

Ostrer also titles his photographs to enrich his message. Each one contains the letters, “EF,” followed by a number. “EF” stands for “emotional fossil.” This structure mirrors what is called “E numbers.” The Food Standards Agency’s code for what are considered safe additives. The reviews are strict but somehow, fast food restaurants keep managing to receive passing grades.

Ostrer’s monsters have their own E numbers, indicating that they are “safe.” But Ostrer second guesses their labels by asking, “Are these monsters safe?”

Is Junk Food Safe?

Health is a global issue and junk food is too, especially in America. More often than not, what seems harmless turns out to be destructive. James Ostrer’s work reflects this fact with a bit of a twisted view. Ostrer tells us these junk food monsters are on the loose, but instead of running from them, we invite them into our bodies every day.

By viewing Ostrer’s photographs, we are invited into his perspective; a perspective that he hopes will alter the trends of junk food.

Read more Segmation blog posts about food art:

Food Never Looked So Good

Coloring Each Season with Healthy Food

Thanksgiving Scenes Influences Art

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An Art Project For Human Kind

An Art Project For Human KindArt mimics its creator.

The art project Humanae has a strong identity and global reach, just like its creator. The woman behind the art has a colorful lineage and resilient sense of self.

Angelica Dass is a photographer who set out on a mission to expose the myriad of identities, cultures and skin tones that exist throughout the world. The Humanae project involves her taking a portrait of an individual and extracting an “11 by 11 pixel sample” of the person’s face. She matches the exact shade to Pantone’s elaborate color system. Then, she edits the picture so that this shade becomes the portrait’s backdrop.

When Dass aligns the pictures, she shines a light on what people often forget: no two people are exactly alike. With over 2,000 photographs, Humanae is revealing that two people might share a cultural heritage but are different in many other ways.

Nobody knows this better than the creator, herself. Angelica Dass is number 7522 C on the Pantone color scale. She is Brazilian by blood but her biography sheds light on the texture that weaves this artist together. “[Dass is] the granddaughter of ‘black’ and ‘native’ Brazilians,” an article in the Latin Post reads, “and the daughter of a ‘black’ father raised by ‘white’ adoptive parents.”

It is easy to imagine how such a checkered past raised a few questions in the mind of a young Dass. Her questions propelled her to seek answers in art. Through the Humanae Project, she is “recording and cataloging all possible human skin tones.”

What started as a final project for her Masters degree in Art of Photography has now turned into a global adventure. She is eager to photograph as many people as possible. But this is not necessarily of her personal volition; the project has taken on a mission of its own.

An Art Project For Human Kind 2“Humanae has influenced areas, materials, attitudes, knowledge, human meaning, expression, and communication outside of my control,” she tells Latin Post. The purpose of the project has pursued a greater calling than Dass ever intended. The growing collection of 2,000 photographs represents a sense of equality.

The people who are photograph come from all walks of life. Not only are they from different parts of the world, they are of different socioeconomic circumstances and education levels. They speak different languages and have contrasting social norms, too. But these differences are not what appear on camera. The differences viewers see go far deeper, exposing the individual.

With individuality front and center, humanity seems to exist only because of differences. Or, as the creator of Humanae would say, her project is as “global as humanity.”

Read more Segmation blog posts about creative photography:

Food Never Looked So Good

When Ink Art and Underwater Photography Collide

Photography: Black and White or in Living Colors

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Food Never Looked So Good

Food Never Looked So GoodIn America, numerous grocery stores line a single street and entire television networks are dedicated to cooking shows. Alarm about nutrition labels and fad diets constantly have the spotlight of public attention. As a nation, Americans are obsessed with food.

This preoccupation allows little time to actually think about what is inside food. We seem to care less about the look, feel, taste and emotion that is associated with food than we do about the nutrition label. Even cultures that coalesce around foods they love to create, like Italians, may not fully grasp the entirety of what is inside their meals.

However, with the help of a culinary creative director and professional photographer, we are beginning to see what truly exists in every bite.

The Truth Behind ‘Cut Food’

Beth Galton and Charlotte Omnés are the masterminds behind a series of photos titled, “Cut Food.” To fully grasp the concept of this series, take the title seriously. This compilation of artwork involves food that is cut down the middle, giving viewers an inside look at the symmetry that lies in the middle of every bite.

In an NPR article, Maria Godoy recaps some of the most popular photographs. She writes, “… ‘Cut Food’ is a photo series that literally cleaves into edibles — hot dogs, ice cream, fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy — to reveal gorgeous geometric patterns tucked within.”

Many of their photographs have gone viral and are shared throughout the world. The foods they split and capture are common; most can be found in the grocer’s freezer. In fact, these pictures may even spark cravings.

Photographing Food

While photographing some food items seem harder to capture than others, Beth and Charlotte claim there is “little trickery” involved. This statement can be validated by the fact that these images, to be honest, are not entirely unique.

The ladies have put a spin on one of John Dominis’ pieces. In 1966, the late artist worked with beef rolls to discover and display the art that lay inside.

More recently, a research lab in Washington state published a six-volume resource book titled, “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.” Researchers used cutaway shots that were said to be “jaw-dropping.” Unfortunately, the price tag was jaw-dropping too. The book first retailed at $625.

On the other hand, the viral images of “Cut Food” can make the jaw-drop and mouth water at the same time.

A Universal Love of Food

The images Beth and Charlotte capture travel throughout the world. The artists’ marvel at the attention they get from people abroad. In a short video that follows the creative process behind “Cut Food” art, they say that the “universality [of their project] is amazing to watch.”

Their art is amazing for many reasons, but universality isn’t the first reason that comes to mind. After all, every people group, culture, tribe and tongue has to eat. Food is all around us. And more often than not, we love it.

Cut Food from Beth Galton Studio on Vimeo.

Read more Segmation blog posts about food art:

A New Art Form that Involves your Favorite Beverages

Simple, Creative Super Bowl Snack Ideas

The Color Red and its Many Meanings

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Red and Green are an Unlikely Pair

Green vs. red - Auroral views are a study in contrastsEntering the holiday season, festive color combinations will soon be everywhere. Pine trees should be adorned with red ribbon and missile toe will layer green leaves upon berries. But in nature, the colors green and red are rarely seen together. This is not because of any earth-wide grudge that exists between the colored pair. The atmosphere seems to want it this way.

Solar Storms and Auroral Contrasts

Earlier this year, a solar storm hovered over the planet. People in regions far north of the equator were able to experience a magnificent sky, bold with color. Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, occur when a number of factors line up.

It is common to see auroras feature green waves breaking throughout the sky. This year, however, in New Zealand, one man photographed a red aurora.

Red is said to be a rare shade for aurora lights. Tony Phillips of SpaceWeather.com says, “Red auroras occur some 300 to 500 kilometers above Earth’s surface and are not yet fully understood.” There are some reasons why researchers believe the red aurora is so rare. Philips indicates is may be because, “…red lights may be linked to a large influx of electrons. When low-energy electrons recombine with oxygen ions in the upper atmosphere, red photons are emitted.”

Another reason why red auroras are rare is because it is hard to predict when this natural phenomenon will occur.

Minoru Yoneto photographed the red aurora in New Zealand on Oct. 2, 2013, but most of the time auroras reflect shades of green and sometimes purple.

Travel North to see Auroras

The solar storm that took place in early October could be seen from many parts of the world, including “as far south as Kansas, Ohio and Oklahoma.” Most of the time, seeing Northern Lights requires a person be situated in a northern climate.

An article by CNN states that, “The best chance to see the Northern Lights will be somewhere between 66 to 69 degrees north – a sliver of the world that includes northern Alaska and Canada and bits of Greenland, northern Scandinavia and northern Russia.”

Those who want to see green and red collide may have to travel even further north – this color combination is said to be most prevalent in the North Pole.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art and Atmosphere:

Light Creates Space, Color, and Perception

Extracting Art from Science

Plexiglass + Light = Awe Inspiring Art

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