Posts tagged with "My Modern Met"

Artist pays tribute to musicians we’ve lost with colorful light paintings of skeleton bands

May 20, 2022

Artist Darren Pearson of Dariustwin—a Southern California-based light painting and media company—is pioneering the art form known as light painting. He uses a long-exposure photography technique where the camera’s shutter is left open to capture the light trails made by an LED light “painting” in the air, like a brush on a canvas, reports My Modern Met.

These photos can only be created at night or in a darkened room and are unique in the sense that the captured images as we see them only ever exist in the camera. Not even the artist gets to see the image until he or she finishes painting and decide to close the shutter.

One of Pearson’s recent series, called Ghost Bands, depicts neon skeleton musicians in various poses—some playing instruments, some clapping or dancing, in vast landscapes against the backdrop of a starry night sky. The series was inspired by music and by the passing of so many influential musicians over the past decade.

“In a way, this was a mourning process as well as a light painting challenge,” Pearson says. “Music is a huge part of my life and I wanted to pay homage to it.”

Location is extremely important to the paintings—common settings include the wide open spaces of desert, stretches of beach, and clearings in wooded areas.

“Locations give my light characters a home to live within the image,” Pearson tells My Modern Met. “It serves the overall vibe and can let the characters interact with their surroundings.”

Although light painting requires a camera, it has more in common with traditional painting than digital photography, when it comes to creating the piece. Since the camera picks up each light streak, one wayward line could ruin the intended effect.

“I like to think, ‘one try, do or die,’ every time I create an image,” Pearson explains, “because it’s the antithesis of nothing matters. Everything matters when light painting!”

For the skeleton paintings, he uses his own body as a reference for the placement and proportions of the characters. And when he knows he’s made a mistake, Pearson stops the exposure and tries again from the beginning. Typically, each light painting takes between one to six minutes, depending on the characters and complexity of the scene—but, as the artist tells us, “the process takes as long as it needs to.”

He takes two photos for every composite final image—one for the painting and another for the background, bearing in mind where the stars look best. After taking the photos, he combines them in Photoshop to create the final image

For Pearson, the most exciting and fulfilling part of the process is seeing what is captured in the back of the camera screen after closing the shutter. “It is this moment when I see whether or not I’ve captured an image worth sharing. It’s a special feeling that I chase every time I go out on a light painting mission.”

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Restored footage takes us to San Francisco just before the 1906 earthquake

May 6, 2022

At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, just as San Francisco, California, was beginning to wake, an earthquake lasting less than a minute shook the city to its core. The tremors ignited fire after fire around the city, which burned for three days. The disaster killed an estimated 3,000 people and left half of the city’s 400,000 residents homeless as buildings toppled and burned.

However—just four days earlier, on April 14, 1906—moving picture photographers the Miles Brothers shot footage of the city as it would never be seen again, capturing the transportation, fashions, and bustling atmosphere of San Francisco, reports My Modern Met.

Titled A Trip Down Market Street, the film is a point-of-view-style video shot from the front of a cable car. The 116-year-old footage takes viewers eastward down Market Street, beginning at 8th Street and heading towards the cable car turnaround at the Ferry Building.

Recently, video restorer NASS remastered the footage, and the result feels like a trip back in a time (which we now can see on YouTube).

Watching the enhanced footage feels like riding at the bow of the cable car, giving a front row seat to the rather chaotic traffic criss-crossing the street, hearing the clip-clop of horses’ hooves, and waving to enthusiastic children at the turnaround.

The restoration process included boosting the original 15 FPS to 60, upgrading the image resolution to HD, and improving the sharpness and brightness of the picture. While the AI-generated colorization and added sound design are for ambiance and are not necessarily historically accurate, they still give viewers a sense of what it would have been like to ride a cable car down Market Street in 1906.

The original footage is stored at the Prelinger Archives in San Francisco. What you see online is a scan of 35mm material, shot by Harry J. Miles hand-cranking the Bell & Howell camera placed on the front of the streetcar.

The negative was taken by train to the Miles’ New York office on April 17, 1907, while the brothers were en route to New York. When they heard the news of the earthquake, they sent the negative on ahead and returned to San Francisco, where they discovered their studios had been destroyed in the fires.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Exquisite embroideries on transparent fabric transport you to the forest floor

April 7, 2022

Artist Sew Beautiful brings the beauty of the outdoors home through her embroidery. Using colorful thread and a lot of the French knot stitch, the UK-based creative depicts nature scenes featuring tall timber full of leaves as well as bountiful fields of blooms, reports My Modern Met.

 Contained in circular hoops, each frame offers a picture-window view into a lovely landscape. Indeed, if you love nature, Sew Beautiful’s pieces provide a welcome visual escape.

 Some of Sew Beautiful’s most striking pieces feature the use of organza, a transparent fabric that can make stitches look as though they’re floating. This is exemplified through pieces in which we’re looking up at the treetops from a grounded point of view.

 The inspiration for these types of works came from being outdoors. “I love to embroider nature, trees, flowers, and animals, especially capturing breathtaking scenery,” Sew Beautiful tells My Modern Met.

 “Living in the English countryside, I am surrounded by nature. During one of my nature walks, I found myself looking up at the trees and how the sun shone through. I knew I needed to capture this on an organza hoop to mirror my vision.”

 Sew Beautiful sells her work on Etsy.

 Research contact: @mymodernmet

It’s a small world after all: Tiny figurines occupy miniature worlds built with everyday objects

March 29, 2022

Seemingly ordinary household objects have become props for miniature worlds in the art of Tatsuya Tanaka. In fact, since 2011, the Japanese artist has been crafting immersive small-scale scenes—one for each day on the calendar, reports My Modern Met.

The ongoing project—aptly called Miniature Calendar—features playful, stage-like scenes made up of food, office supplies, and other items. They are inhabited by diminutive, hand-painted figurines.

An ordinary dish sponge, for instance, becomes a frothy bubble bath; while a bookcase transforms into a busy escalator and carefully stacked cookies look like a TV and couch.

And even though these objects do not completely morph into what they’re supposed to be, that is part of the project’s charm. The fact that we know these tiny figurines are using hairpins as skateboards and scooters is why it’s so amusing to look at.

While most of Tatsuya’s art focuses on one or two figures, sometimes he challenges himself to create full-fledged environments with many characters interacting with their surroundings. An old-fashioned computer keyboard is repurposed as a park with blossoming cherry trees in the background. Similarly, a bunch of grapes carefully arranged becomes a tree-lined street fit for a carriage ride. Of course, none of these clever scenes would come alive without the addition of Tatsuya’s tiny figures, which add instant whimsy to every story.

Follow Tatsuya’s on Instagram to see a new miniature landscape each day.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

LEGO Volodymyr Zelensky raised funds to support Ukraine

March 22, 2022

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, organizations around the world have been stepping up to raise funds to help the embattled country. Chicago-based Citizen Brick, which makes custom LEGO minifigs, is doing its part in a unique and creative way: On Instagram in early March, the company announced a special President Volodymyr Zelensky minifig and, separately, little Molotov cocktails, with all proceeds going to support Ukraine, reports My Modern Met.

While the original minifigs posted no longer are available and were apparently pulled from Instagram because of the Molotov cocktails, the custom LEGO pieces were a hit and sold out.

“As you may have noticed, the minifigs sold out almost immediately,” wrote Citizen Brick. “We made as many as possible in a frantic 24 hrs [sic], with the CB crew coming in on their day off to print.”

The retailer raised $16,540 that was donated to Direct Relief. This organization is working to send much-needed medical supplies to Ukraine. The fundraising effort was such a success that Citizen Brick decided to print another round of minifigs heralding President Zelenskyy. Their goal was to raise $100,000 and in less than 24 hours, it appears that they’ve met their goal, as the custom LEGO is once again sold out.

If you were hoping to get your hands on one, stay tuned to the Citizen Brick Instagram to see if they’ll be issuing a new run or making other minifigs in support of Ukraine. For their part, the official LEGO company is also standing with Ukraine. They have announced a donation of $16.5 million to emergency relief efforts geared toward children and families. In addition, they have stopped shipments of LEGO products to Russia.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Infrared photos capture breathtaking views of France in cotton-candy pink hues

February 9, 2022

Infrared photographer Paolo Pettigiani transformed a recent road trip across France into a three-week photographic adventure. From Provence to Normandy, to the Palace of Versailles, Pettigiani invites viewers to experience France in a way that’s new and fresh.

The work is an expansion of his Infraland project, which has been ongoing since 2015, reports My Modern Met.

For Infraland, the Italian photographer uses a converted full-spectrum camera to capture the unseen electromagnetic radiation of infrared light. From New York to the Italian Dolomites, he has continued to wow fans with the cotton-candy hues of these photos.

And his infrared images of France are no exception, as viewed on the website of My Modern Met. Standouts include a heart-shaped tree in Provence, which appears bright re;, and the iconic cliffs of Normandy.

Places like Normandy, which are so instantly recognizable, take on a new dimension under the infrared lens. Similarly, the historic gardens of Versailles are transformed with pink shrubs and icy blue water.

Pettigiani also captured Mont-Saint-Michel (above), a medieval island just off the coast of Normandy. In his photos, the Gothic abbey soars into the air like a pink cake topper on a birthday cake.

Pettigiani ended his time in Brittany, France’s most northwestern region. “The coast is very beautiful, with a perfect mix of white sandy beaches suitable for swimming, attractive rocky coves and pools to explore, and dramatic cliffs and rock formations to enjoy,” he writes. And indeed, his infrared photography plays out this description, with slightly different colors giving a dramatic feel to the environment.

This fresh take on a classic road trip is just another reason why Pettigiani’s ongoing project is so successful. We can’t wait to see where he goes next.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

He rocks! ‘Land artist’ leaves incredible mosaics made entirely of pebbles all around Thailand

November 5, 2021

Using the natural landscape as his canvas, British artist Justin Bateman creates impermanent artwork from found pebbles and stones. The artist now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he leaves detailed pebble portraits on beaches, in forests, by railways, and up mountains, reports My Modern Met.

Each natural-colored stone acts as an individual paint stroke or mark that’s integral to the overall image. On Instagram Bateman plainly says, “Pebbles are my Pixels.”

From famous faces to iconic works of art, each piece captures the character of its subject in a restricted color palette of stony hues. By using found pebbles, Bateman never truly plans his portraits in advance. Rather, he lets the stones themselves dictate the composition of the artwork.

“Art should always be unrestricted, yet in its limits I find freedom,” he says. “The beauty of this process is that I don’t have any idea how a piece will look at the outset.”

Many of Bateman’s pebble portraits take several days to complete, but the artist doesn’t become attached to the work he creates. He’s inspired by spiritual practices of Tibetan monks, who create highly detailed mandalas from sand and then destroy them. This practice is a reminder of the impermanence of life, which is a theme Bateman explores, too.

For him, the most satisfying part of his work is knowing that nature will eventually reclaim the materials he uses. He says, “My work is impermanent, I leave only footprints.”

Although each mosaic will eventually disappear, Bateman takes photos of his work as a digital reminder. And lucky for us, this allows us to admire the impressive details of his work. Each pebble portrait looks almost like a sepia-toned or grayscale photograph, complete with warm shadows and pale highlights rendered in stones. It’s incredible how much depth and detail Bateman can achieve with pebbles alone.


Research contact: @mymodernmet