Tag Archives | Art

The evolution of Cupid

Via MPR News

For generations, Cupid has been a symbol of Valentine’s Day. But that chubby, winged toddler brandishing a bow and arrow started out as someone much different.

1 Today we know him as Cupid. But the iconic purveyor of love actually began as the Greek god Eros. He is depicted here on a plate created around 330 B.C. Red-Figure Plate with Eros, attributed to the Ascoli Satriano Painter
2 There are contradictory tales about the origin of Eros. In some versions, he is known as the child of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. In others, he’s one of the primeval Greek gods, created asexually. Cupid and Psyche / Antonio Canova
3 In ancient art, Eros was depicted as a young adult male and the embodiment of sexual power. Medieval Christian myths viewed him as a seductive “demon of fornication.” Cupid and Psyche / Francois-Edouard Picot
4 Eros always sported wings.
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Self-taught artist El Gato Chimney rises from the street as a modern day Faust

"My Black Heart" 2014 100 x 71cm Watercolor and pencil on cotton paper

El Gato Chimney “My Black Heart” 2014 100 x 71cm Watercolor and pencil on cotton paper

El Gato Chimney is a 34-year-old self-taught former street artist who lives in Milan, Italy. Local lore has it that while he was a street artist, the devil visited him and offered him success. El Gato will himself not comment, however his work has since been featured in many prominent magazines and galleries throughout the world.

His first US exhibition open March 5 at the bewitched Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn NY.

Disinfo interviewed the artist a few days ago with the assistance of curator and scholar Michela D’Acquisto who is co-curating the exhibition “El Gato Chimney: DE RERUM NATURA”  (“El Gato Chimney: On the Nature of Things”)…

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How Technicolor Changed Storytelling

Via Adrienne LaFrance at The Atlantic:

In the dawn of the age of cinema, adding color to black-and-white films was something like “putting lip rouge on Venus de Milo.” That is to say, it had the potential for disastrous, garish results. And that’s how the legendary director Albert Parker referred to the process of colorizing motion pictures in 1926, according to The New York Times that year.

Parker’s lipstick-on-the-Venus de Milo line wasn’t originally his—it was the same comparison famously used by silent film star Mary Pickford to lament the rise of talkies. As with sound, adding color to motion pictures represented a revolutionary shift in onscreen storytelling—and not everyone was convinced that change was worthwhile. Even those who were excited about color filmmaking felt trepidation.

“The color must never dominate the narrative,” Parker told the Times. “We have tried to get a sort of satin gloss on the scenes and have consistently avoided striving for prismatic effects… We realize that color is violent and for that reason we restrained it.”

Today, we’re accustomed to seeing color choices set the tone for a scene, a film—even an entire body of work.

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William Blake and the Fossilization of the Imagination

William Blake by Thomas Phillips.jpg

William Blake by Thomas Phillips

For all you Blakians, an essay on William Blake from Katherine Oostman at Medium:

William Blake was born in 1757, smack dab in the thick of the Industrial Revolution, and he was not happy about it. While the picture to the left implies a sense even-temparment stereotyped to the 18th century gentleman, with his mind, Blake was storming the streets of London, leading a war against apathy.

You might say he was a bit of a hippie.

The idea that the world’s metaphor had become a machine instead of a plant worried him. As a poet, an artist, his first duty was to the purity of society’s mind and soul, and London was thick with literal and metaphorical smog.

Ironically, Romantics such as Blake were not off in their fears; we see them manifested in today’s cultural makeup.

In his work, Blake blatantly addresses the chronic apathy weighing down London’s society.

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Celluloid and Simulation


Via Cary Hill at Moviepilot

The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
— Marshall McLuhan

A friend recently remarked to me that it felt increasingly more like his childhood was being repackaged and sold back to him. We were discussing the recent rash of movies, toys, and TV shows based on things from our childhood: GI Joe, Transformers, etc. New Hollywood franchises (including merchandise) are being launched from shows we watched 30 years ago, targeting our generation and our children. Nostalgia is now big business.

So I wondered: If the majority of Hollywood’s efforts are being put to resurrecting original content from decades ago in an attempt to exploit nostalgia, what happens when all new films and toys are based on prior existing material?

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The loneliness of the long-distance drone pilot

Aaron Sankin via The Kernel:

Bruce Black had been preparing for this moment for most of his life.

Growing up, he always wanted to be a pilot. After graduating from New Mexico State University in 1984 with a degree in geology, Black was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He spent years as an instructor pilot before quitting to join the FBI, where he specialized in chasing down white-collar criminals, but the pull of military was too strong. He eventually found himself in the air above Afghanistan.

Black flew constantly. Once, in the spring of 2007, Black’s job was to serve as another set of eyes high above a firefight happening on the ground. An Army convoy had been patrolling near a site of a previous strike and gotten ambushed by Taliban fighters while returning to base. Black was acting as a crucial communications relay, sending life-and-death updates back and forth from the men and women on the ground to the Pentagon and a network of support staff located around the world through the military’s version of the Internet.

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The Drone Film Festival

Drones continue to be a thing in 2015, as evidenced by the launch of the Drone Film Festival in New York next month. Omnicom’s Media Pulse picks up on it:

It’s official: the next frontier in art is… drones. Between recently relaxed regulations and the proliferation of sub-$150 camera drones, the Next Big Thing in consumer electronics, post CES, is set to become the Next Big Thing among art’s elite, too. So much so, in fact, the first ever Drone Film Festival is set to debut in (where else?) New York City in March of this year.

Founded by director Randy Scott Slavin, the festival came about mid-2014 when one of Slavin’s own drone films went viral. Says Slavin, “I looked around and realized that there were not only no drone categories in bigger festivals, but there were no exclusive drone festivals.” One of Slavin’s inspirations, in fact, was a drone film called Pritty Sweet, directed by the legendary Spike Jonze.

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Rollerball Amerika 2015

rollerballdvdVia Philip A. Farruggio – World News Trust:

You must see or revisit Norman Jewison’s 1975 film Rollerball, starring James Caan as superstar player Jonathan E.

In it, we see a world no longer made up of countries, but of corporations that control every bit of life for the people. There are no longer wars, just a complacent populace who “go along to get along.”

A very select few are chosen by the corporations to become executives, giving them elite status. It seems everyone loves the violent sport Rollerball, which is like our current NFL football on steroids.

Jonathan E. is their Michael Jordan or Lebron James superplayer who is revered worldwide, even by the fans of opposing teams. He has everything a man could wish to have: a fine sprawling ranch, with servants and horses, and gorgeous female companions chosen for him by the Energy corporation that rules Houston and the surrounding areas.

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Animal Sex: How Octopuses Do It

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 1.13.13 PM

Joseph Castro Via Live Science:

Often considered the smartest invertebrates (animals without backbones) on the planet, octopuses can use tools, unscrew jar lids and tightly control their body color to match their surroundings. They use this sharp intelligence especially in situations of survival — including when they are trying to avoid getting eaten by their hungry mates.

Octopuses come in all shapes and sizes and inhabit diverse regions of the ocean. There are about 100 different species of octopuses in the genus Octopus, and at least another 150 species in other genera, said Jennifer Mather, a cephalopod expert at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. Scientists have witnessed the mating behavior of only about a dozen species, she added.

The marine animals have very short lives, generally lasting only a few years long and sometimes as short as 6 months. They spend their youth alone, eating and growing before reaching sexual maturity.

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