The Ambassador’s skull
You know that famous anamorphic painting The Ambassadors?
I was messing about with it in Flash and it’s very easy to show the distorted skull morphing into the image you’re supposed to see from an angle. Have a look see.
Images of the day
I might have uttered similar mutterings before; people always talk about blogs in terms of the quality of writing and other such piffle that we won’t bother ourselves with today. A lot of my favourite blogs contain few words, and lot’s of other cool media, mostly photos and images but often videos and bits and pieces. I see some great images every day. Here’s a few great ones that popped in to my feed reader just in the last day or so. And funnily enough, not one of them is from the many great photoblogs I’m subscribed to.
Laura Byrne / Joe Coleman
Laura Byrne / Joe Coleman
I went out and about last year during one of those culture nights. I just looked it up and the next one is in preparation for next month. See http://www.culturenight.ie/. last year, I ended up at a small exhibition by John O’Reilly and I’ve have keeping up with his blog ever since. Check it out: http://jorgallery.wordpress.com/.
I love his work. Recognisably local, very urban, and done in a style that works really well for the subject matter. I think he has a bit of a graffiti background. Great stuff. I just wish I could afford to buy paintings!
I don’t know why so many people paint all the twee parts of Dublin. I can’t stand that stuff. Well I’m sure there are more that don’t paint that kind of stuff but it sure fills Merrion Square every week. Gimme some urban! Innit!? Oi oi.
With some rare free time to kill, I went to see this on a whim. Really wish I’d hung around the IFI another twenty minutes to see Dogtooth. But I’d already been hanging around a bit and I like anything to do with painting so I went to see Nightwatching, based around Rembrandt’s masterpiece.
I sure knew the name Peter Greenaway but couldn’t exactly place it. Then from the very first scene I realised it had to be the same guy who made The Cook, The Thief, The Wife and His lover (which I loved). Both are very theatrical, very well staged, broad panoramas, and slightly otherwordly.
Similar to the only other movie I’ve seen based around a painting, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, many of the scenes are like moving paintings. Tables adorned with fruit and shimmering crystal, and poised gentle folk laden in shadowed velvet. Very effective cinema in itself and it could have been great. But I can’t remember the last time I was so bored in a cinema. I couldn’t wait for it to end. After a lifetime, though it may have been an hour, a story began to appear and I realised why I was so bored, before the story it seemed like one random scene after another. But it didn’t get much better. I couldn’t care less when someone died, even though the music told me I really should care.
Riddle me this. If most of the cast, who are based on people from Amsterdam, speak with strong English accents, then why did one of the women have a very strong Dutch accent? What the hell does that mean? Is she über dutch? Confusingly inconsistent. And Martin Freeman was as good as could be. But his accent was so regional he might as well have been back in Slough wearing his office suit. It made some scenes appear like comedy sketches, albeit very well lit ones with great set design. Odd casting, or directing, or something.
I’d usually mull over the credits respectfully, but the second THE END appeared I was outta there, trying to get past people who were mulling over the credits respectfully and annoyed at my interference. Was very surprised I was the only one in such a rush to get away from it all. Lazy cliches to follow but I really found it to be terribly boring self-indulgence; a pale imitation of Greenway’s better work.
Hold your Horses!
Nice video by Hold your Horses! recreating some classic paintings. Can you spot them all? The two paintings I don’t recognize are in the screengrabs below the video. Any takers?
Mapped building projections
Lot’s of very cool videos of projections mapped onto buildings doing the rounds in the last few months. If you’ve not seen any yet, here are some of my favourites.
The Missus had her 40th a couple of weeks ago and I had a bit of fun designing and printing a few things for the party. Got a bit carried away actually, it was almost like a branded event in the end. I did invitations, a kid’s t-shirt, a window decal, stickers and a bib! Mostly via cafepress.
The Tale of how
Stunning animation by the Black Heart Gang, almost looks like a Bosch or Brueghel painting brought to life. The making of is well worth a look too. It’s only one part of a three part series, you can buy the whole package as a book / dvd.
I always manage to make use of the sketchbook at least once on the summer hols.
Sometimes a painting just makes me go WOW.
I love really messy splashy stuff with a touch of realism. More at The Black Rat Press .
The other half watching the footie
There’s this theory in robotics called the Uncanny Valley. It’s now well acknowledged in computer graphics too. It’s when a human character looks and moves almost realistically lifelike yet not quite perfect. And this somethings-not-quite-right can be a bit jarring to watch. So in 3D animation, unless you can depict a human in flawless reality, you shouldn’t even bother. Take a step back.
Pixar know this. They can do perfectly realistic landscapes, seascapes, objects, hair etc – but they keep their distance from lifelike humans and instead have fun with caricatures. Many feature length movies have completely flopped because they dared to walk the valley, like Final Fantasy.
Now meet Emily.
The first question is has she climbed out of the valley. And the second one is, what’s the point? Why not use real actors? Unless you’re talking about actual in-game playing. That could be pretty amazing but I reckon it’d be fad you’d tire of quickly. Of course this technology will most likely be used for some weird-assed porn.
It’s a bit like photorealistic paintings? What’s the point? I still wow at the technical ability of photorealistic paintings but they’re a bit pointless really.
I do enjoy a good dose of twisted hypereality though. Like that Spanish guy who does it all in biros. Juan Franciscoasas, and of course Ron Mueck’s sculptures fucking rock. And there’s a huge photorealistic painting of an old woman in some gallery in Washington DC that I love – it’s made from nothing but thumbprints (and can *not* be found after twenty frigging minutes with Inspector Google).
But when it comes to straight up painting, give me Kandinsky’s bubbles, De Chirico’s dummies, a fractured nude descending a staircase, or Bacon’s twisted torsos any day of the week. Hell even hit me with some Rothko. And what do you mean you could paint that!? Well you didn’t! And more to the point, you couldn’t. Unless he picked out the colours and mixed them for you but you never even considered that monumental part of the process, did you dipwad!?
Way to go on a tangent AND state the obvious.
The little pink elephant
My second attempt at some claymation…
Arrived home on Friday to find that junior had beent treated to some plasticine. And as ever I had more fun with his toys than he did…
Had a quick go at some clay animation too. Always wanted to have a go at that. Dying to get a bit of time to give it a proper go though…
The Praying Mantis
New Graffiti animation from Blu
Blu has released a new stop-motion graffiti animation. Each frame of this would stand up as decent graffiti. Yet its also an animation. Which is fairly amazing. I originally posted about Blu on my Graffiti 2.0 post and there’s some footage from the first one mixed in to this much bigger piece:
Speaking of graffiti, apparantly this wounded Celtic Tiger is somewhere around Dublin. Anyone see it?
We’ve had a video camera for years. Six or seven years. I only got around to getting a firewire card last year. Then a few months ago I got a firewire cable and then this week I got the correct firewire cable. Organised or what?! So straight to business when I got it – I wanted to test it straight away and the clip below was the first tape I grabbed from the pile.
It’s the game, SuperFlyGuy, that four of us made in college a couple of years ago for the end of year exhibition. You could fly around the city we built, using gloves that had a sensor inside (Wii had a spy in our camp!). So you could just fly around by doing Superman motions. If you look closely, you can see a few dublin-inspired buildings. Irishstu, did some sterling work on it, including the spaceship and the monorail/trains.
Still drawing willys
Yeay my first published graphic work (well first time in a book anyway). Much bigger news of course is that the first copies of the book have arrived. Congrats again to the Missus. Booyakasha!
I reckon my images would have been a fair bit different had I not read Tufte’s classic Visual Display of Quantitative Information last year.Very worthwhile read.
Here’s some amazingly creative street art from Joshua Allen Harris. He makes shapes out of plastic bags and ties them to air vents above the subway. Watch what happens to this plastic dog when a train goes by underneath. (There is no sound)
Via the wonderful Wooster Collective.
Pottering through butterflies
I found myself with a day off midweek that I didn’t really need in the end, but I took it anyway. It just seemed too complicated to unbook it! So I got to potter around town. I can never decide what to do with precious moments like that (if you don’t have children, you won’t be able to relish just how precious they are – those moments, not the rug rats).
I remembered an announcement that the Dublin Improv Movement were looking for secret agents to turn up with some travel money and that sounded like a great adventure. But when I checked it was Thursday morning (anyone know what happened there?). Very dissapointed I resumed my pottering. Walking along Grafton street, I tried to figure out why people gave money to a woman who did nothing but paint herself gold. But at least the Spanish Goatboy with the wooden mouth wasn’t around, that thing gives me the creep. I don’t know if it’s rooted in some Spanish folklore or what – but it should never have been allowed off the Ramblas. Please don’t feed it silver. He might just go away forever.
The sun was shining, so a I bought a book and went to Stephen’s Green. That’s what has me halfway through a gazullion different books and to the end of none. A woman and her mother sat on the bench beside me to feed a Twix to the pigeons. One of them surprised me by perching on my shoe! I asked her to get off…and stop creating diabetic monster-pigeons.
I had a hankering to see some Art but Kilmainham was too far without car. I pottered around the Original Print gallery and then onto the Temple Bar Gallery. Niamh O’Malley’s a situation, a situation, and a story was on show. I tripped over the first A situation, didn’t know what to make of the Second but liked A Story. The first piece (A situation) doesn’t work in the sunlight, it’s a clouded image with coloured slides projected onto it. I’m sure it was great on the opening night but they need to black out the windows or move it into one of the back rooms. A story is a simple but elegantly executed allegory of butterflies and time.
From one butterfly to another, I went to see The diving bell and the Butterfly (Butterflies have to be the most common metaphors in art). It’s a wonderful film, but unlike some reviews would have you believe, I did not leap from the IFI imbibed with the zest for life. I just fancied some soup. (Cafe Café Irie spoiled the run of things by not having any butterfly soup but their replacement was still yum). I found the camerawork in The Diving Bell as fascinating as the story though. They seemed to use the same kind of tilt-shift method that can be used to make fake-model photos. Like the ones I did here. In the The Diving Bell, the effect you get is a realisticly claustrophobic first-person view.
I accidentally typed castrophobic there at first. I think Freud is trying to tell me something. The family jewels will be well-guarded this weekend.
Less because I think my 100th post is a huge milestone and more to do with the fact that I like making images. And this is as good an excuse as any. I’m not sure why it’s made entirely of insects. Slightly inspired by some great typography.
I like making images. Was thinking of doing an image-a-week kinda thing. Here’s a good excuse for some image-making. I saw this idea on (the gorgeously designed) Sabrinadent.com recently but Grandad sent out an open invitation to join in. The idea is that you go to three different random link generators to get your band title, album title and album photo, then go makey makey.
Here’s the three random links:
- Go here. The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
- Go here. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
- Go here. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
I got very lucky landing on that great photo and the title fits in by chance but the album title makes no sense whatsover!
I seem to get a lot of people coming here from www.irishblogs.ie/categories/wallpaper/ looking for wallpaper and I’ve just got one measly post tagged with wallpaper, so I’ve done up a few more tiled wallpaper images…
And here are some drawings, photos and photoshoppery that could be used as wallpaper:
Fake model photos
Had a bit of Photoshop fun making holiday snaps look like model towns. Here’s two of the better ones:
A riverside in Stockholm looks like a Guinea pig is about to arrive on a boat.
There are some great one’s on the
Tilt-shift miniature fakes Flickr group.
Here’s a video featuring the original Tilt-Shift photographic technique.
Perry Bible Fellowship
Christ, that’s definitely the earliest I’ve bought a “that’ll-be-a-good-christmas-present-for-someone-better-buy-two!”.
Take some glowsticks, set a long exposure time on your camera, then start
painting the air and what have you got…. Light Graffiti!
Picasweb photoset from Donegal
A Light Graffiti Flickr Set
Various photos on Linkinn
The Blue Peter Light Graffiti Kit.
First two videos are by Blu. Amazing stuff.
More pictures and videos at
The third one is at the side of a railtrack in Germany and the last is
Mark Ronson’s fantastic remix of Radiohead’s Just done by the
The Motion Group/Abbey Road Video Services.
The logical progression of fingering Wash Me on a dirty car.
Three Dimensional Graffiti?
Ok this is pushing it. Not it’s exactly graffiti and I might as well start talking about stencilling and
Banksy but everyone and their dog knows about all that. Anyway I love
Mark Jenkin’s street art
and would love to have the time and the nerve to try something similar. If you like this, keep an eye on
It’s just good old 2D graffiti but as someone else put it, it’s like an illustrator got bored of working indoors.
The Persistence of Memory
A few years ago I got sick of having a terrible memory. I’ve since nailed it down to a slightly bizarre portion of bad memory in that I can’t for the life of me remember proper nouns; pubs, shops, roads, restaurants, people etc. However, like most people I’m better with faces, much better though, I could see a bloke walk by in the street and remember that he was two people ahead of me, in a queue in a chipper, in Dun Laoighre, eight years ago.
So apart from my otherwise terrible memory, I have a pretty good visual memory and when I came across a book called Master Your Memory by Tony Buzan, I scanned the back cover and saw that it had a system to improve your memory through your visual memory. So you can remember long numbers as images in a story for example. But it didn’t really make any sense without it’s precursor Use your memory. So I bought that and spent every morning on the bus to work practicing the techniques in both. And they are fairly amazing techniques. Definitely a step above your average self help book.
The first thing I memorised, just for practise, was Pi to 500 decimal places.
The second half of Master Your Memory contains lists of trivia to memorize so
I went to work on them.
- All the countries of the world – including their capitals and currency
- The periodic table – including atomic number, atomic weights etc
- 100 most frequently used words in Spanish
- 100 Painters – including a famous work, its location, the artist’s lifespan, nationality and school of art
For the list of painters, I tracked down all the paintings on the web to make it a bit easier, and then discovered that the a lot of the data isn’t that well researched on any of the lists. When I reviewed the book on Amazon, I slated the content (while praising the system) for not researching any of the material properly even in it’s later editions. And Tony Buzan is definitely not short on pennies.
So, after quite a bit of waffle, the main point of this post is that list of paintings – if you’re looking for all the paintings in this list like I did, or just want to have a look through 100 famous paintings, here’s my list of 100 Artists, thoroughly researched, and backed up by a few books I’ve read over the years. And more importantly, there’s an image to go with each painting. There were a few cases where I couldn’t find the famous work that Tony Buzan chose, the fact that they were so hard to find was testamant in itself that they weren’t the most relevant works. In a couple of other cases I chose a different painting anyway just because it seemed much more relevant – but in most cases, I stuck to the original list as much as possible – apart from correcting all the mistakes, which were mostly dates and locations of paintings.
By the way, after years of this ‘Brain Training’ I still have a terrible memory! It didn’t do a thing to improve my day to day memory. Arsebags! Still an amusing way to pass the time at the bus stop though as you have to keep going through these lists in your head. Specially if you have a head like a sieve, like I do.
- My top 10 Irish Movies
- The Blathering
- Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease
- Top 10 books of 2012
- The truth about tattoo removal
- CABBAGE CONTROLS – some thoughts on Prometheus casting
- Power’s Short story
- Books of the (last) year
- Pruning your feeds
- That other time I went to the States…
- Quincy M.E. and Cameron Diaz doing the La Bamba
- Different folks, different strokes
- Family cinema design