Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't look back in anger

A fitting song for today, given the Oasis blow-up. Undoubtedly, their 1995 album (What's the story) Morning glory is a landmark of the nineties. On their second album, the ripping rockers of their successful debut album (Definitely maybe) are replaced by great rock ballads, which gave them hit after hit in the charts. Don't look back in anger is actually the fourth hit single from that album, issued after the runaway success of Wonderwall. Oasis had saved the best for last, they have never sounded better than in this Beatles sound-a-like ballad, with its soaring chorus - even the lyrics echo Lennon: "So I start the revolution from my bed".
Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time)

YouTube

The End of a Taos Day

More fractal art by nomm de photo - a very intriguing result, with amazing colours and shapes. Reminds me of draped curtains.

All rights retained by the creator.

Flickr

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Abandoned

Whether the subject is a car, a plane, a building or a complete city, there is something strangely fascinating about abandoned man-made creations - and they make excellent photography subjects as well. The site Artifical owl is dedicated to this subject, with excellent pictures and background sories. I selected this beautiful sea plane (a Catalina) that has been decaying between the sea and the desert of Saudi Arabia for almost 50 years.

link

Black widow

A beautiful and mysterious portrait that I faved a few weeks ago. It is by fellow Flickrite scylla2008. Like the first commenter said, very dramatic, as if it were a scene from a movie. Excellent - and great title to boot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

X-ray art by Nick Veasy

Do not try this at home! But it must be said that the special art of Nick Veasy, who combines X-ray photography, normal pictures and drawings, leads to interesting artistic results. I found him by stumble upon here. More on Veasy in his linked site.

All rights retained by the artist.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Translucent butterfly

Sometimes you come across really great images on the web, but without information attached to them. I decided to start a new subject for these, titled A is for anonymous. I will include the link where I found the shot, and anybody who can provide more information on these pictures, please leave a comment or mail me. In general, I am not a big fan of flower or insect macro's, but this is an absolute stunner. I have never seen anything like it. The web site I got it from (via stumble upon) is not particularly helpful, so anyone who can identify the creator, please do so.

link

Tonon One for two chair

Never mind the weird name - the One for two chair designed by the Italian company Tonon is a treat for the eyes, and (one presumes) the posterior. As aptly stated on the site, it folds in on itself like a fortune cookie. An intriguing and beautiful design.

web site

Copenhagen colours

A picture I faved about a month ago, but did not get around to posting here yet. It is by fellow Flickrite Hanjosan, a beautiful colourful shot taken in Copenhagen. I love the contrast between the marble columns and the coloured drapings, and of course the single girl emerging from the columns is the icing on the cake, transforming a great scene into a superior one.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Blow up the planet

The debut album by Nanjing's Rose Theatre is one of the weirdest albums I have heard in years. In the press release, the band state that they were heavily influenced by prog metal pioneers Dream Theatre, which is even reflected in the band's name. And yes, there are compositions lasting over 10 minutes on this album, with the expected metal riffs - but these riffs are interspersed with traditional Chinese instruments played in new age style, most notably the erhu played exceptionally well by their bass player Zhao Ling Hong. The overall effect is confusing to our Western ears, but apparently they are making quite an impact in China. Weird.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Rose theatre.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album. The random quote that came up was by Nancy White: If we can connect in some tiny way with a human that doesn't agree with us, then maybe we won't blow up the planet.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Abstraction in red tones, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Arial Bold 30 Red and BN Fontboy 75 Yellow, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amsterdam Angel

Ten years ago, August 1999, I took my (then) girl friend - later my wife - to Europe to meet the family. For her it was the first trip outside Asia, and just as overwhelming as Asia was for me. When we came back to Singapore, this was one of the first paintings in which she used the inspiration of her Europe experience.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Ghosts

One of the most beautiful singles of all time - and one of the most beautiful covers as well. Japan's Ghost was a surprise UK top 10 in the early eighties, and marked the swan song of the band. It made way for a solo career of lead singer David Sylvian, who also takes the lime light on the cover art for the single, as well as for the corresponding album Tin drum, which featured earlier in the beautiful album covers series. More about Japan on the linked wikipedia page.

Toilet paper rolls art by Junior Jacquet

Artists can make beautiful creations with various media, but from toilet paper rolls? Enter Junior Jacquet, whose oeuvre consists of paper based sculptures, including these fascinating three dimensional portraits made from the most lowly of paper rolls imaginable. More on him and his art in the linked (French) web site.

link

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Le Coquelicot

Let's inject a bit of colour into the blog. One of my favourite artists from the French Fauvist expressionist movement is the Dutchman Kees van Dongen (1877-1968). Especially his portraits, such as the one depicted above, are excellent pieces of art. He once remarked of his popularity as a portraitist with high society women: "The essential thing is to elongate the women and especially to make them slim. After that it just remains to enlarge their jewels. They are ravished." More on van Dongen in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Black is beautiful

Another recent favourite of mine that did not get much reaction - but a clear candidate for one of my best shots of the year. I came across this subject in an Antwerp fashion store. Whilst my wife was looking at the clothes, I was peeking behind one of the interior walls to stumble upon this perfect scene. The vignetting, a rare feature in my pictures, was done to get rid of a too white spot in the top right corner.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 7.2 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, Picnik

Flickr

Michael Lee-Chin Crystal Ontario

The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal is a recent addition to the traditional Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind and Bregman + Hamann Architects, the structure is a deconstructivist crystalline-form clad in 25 percent glass and 75 percent aluminium. Rather predictably, reactions to its stunning shapes were mixed, ranging from hellish to monumental. Based on the photographs, I think it is a masterpiece. More on this building can be found in the wikipedia link below.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Literal videos

A funny interlude - high quality covers of well-known songs in which the lyrics have been changed to match the action in the video. I particularly like their take on one of my favourite songs, Under the bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hilarious.

link

You seek Yoda?

Sometimes you come across really great images on the web, but without information attached to them. I decided to start a new subject for these, titled A is for anonymous. I will include the link where I found the shot, and anybody who can provide more information on these pictures, please leave a comment or mail me. This particular one actually comes from my hard disk, and I have no clue where I found it. But it is a remarkable piece of origami.

EDIT: Found it on this web site, just a few hours after posting. The origami was designed by Fumiaki Kawahata and folded by Phillip West from Lokta sandpaper paper back coated to tissue paper.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ernst Haas

The Austrian photographer Ernst Haas (1921-1986) became famous for his innovations in colour photography, experiments in abstract light and form. He had many shoots for Life Magazine and was responsible for 12 years of Marlboro cigarette advertisements. The above shot from Venice is an excellent example of his style - like an impressionist painting. More on Haas in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Now

The second of two very different time-themed photographs that I faved this weekend. This one is by my Flickr friend aftab. Subdued and subtle - and yet so powerful. In his own words: If you wait long enough, your dream might come true. If you wait too long, you may miss out on all opportunities. Time heals scars. It may make them uglier too. What is the right time then?Almost always, it is NOW, because, time waits for none. So true.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Is time linear?

The first of two very different time-themed photographs that I faved this weekend. This one is by my Flickr friend Philipp Klinger. Brilliant line play, shot in the brand new Guillemins train Station in Liege, Belgium, designed by the famous spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Befunky cartoonizer

The most interesting on-line fun with photographs site I have discovered so far: the cartoonizer section of Befunky. Simple and straightforward: upload, click, save, and your shot has been transformed to a high quality professional looking cartoon. An example, based on my photograph Sure tastes yammy, is shown above.

link

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Schmidt, the tarnished Austrian

Even more than Richard Strauss, Nazi sympathies have managed to tarnish the reputation of Austrian composer Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) forever, one of the reasons why his works are rarely performed. Granted, it was partially his own fault (although it appears it was more naivity than real sympathy that made him welcome the national socialist overlords), but his fall from grace is unwarranted. He was an accomplished composer, espcially in the symphonic oeuvre, building upon the legacy of Schubert and Bruckner, with a hint of modern influences - still, late romanticism would be the most suitable description of his style. His best works are his four symphonies and the opera Notre Dame. The symphonies span a large part of his active years (1896-1933) and all of them are well worth hearing. The fourth is probably his most performed work, but it is not available yet on Naxos. Never mind, because the first symphony, which was released recently on Naxos, serves as an excellent introduction to his oeuvre. Astonishingly mature for a 22 year old, this 45 minutes four movement work evokes Bruckner, Brahms and Reger, whilst firmly making a claim as the first work of a great symphonist. Excellent performance by the Malmo Symphony Orchestra under Sinaisky and exemplary recording. The remaining tracks are interesting as well: three instrumental excerpts from the first act of his acclaimed opera Notre Dame. Warmly recommended.

Amazon

Woodstock

At the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the legendary festival. The band around Ian Matthews is only remembered nowadays for their only hit, a cover of Joni Mitchell's great ballad Woodstock, which was a #1 in the UK and a top 20 in the USA. The song gives a perfect impression of the peace and nature loving Woodstock generation and the finishing lines are amongst the most impressive - if naive - ever penned: "By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong and everywhere there was song and celebration. And I dreamed I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky, and they were turning into butterflies above our nation. We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden".
Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time)

YouTube

The vintage poster blog

If you enjoy the Vintage Posters series in my blog, then The Vintage Poster Blog is an absolute must. Blogster "Posterette" not only posts gorgeous posters from different decades, but also gives educated and often humorous comments on them. Take the above example, an art nouveau perfume adverisement by the master Mucha, which inspired her to speculate what exactly is happening here. Highly recommended.

link

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Staircase in red and white

Another one of those fascinating architectural abstractions that my Flickr friend yushimoto_02 [christian] excels in. Shot inside a Munich office centre, this has all the qualities of an abstract cubist painting.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Night of the demon

A fascinating piece of amateur video art found on YouTube. The 1957 movie Night of the demon (called Curse of the demon in the US) inspired Kate Bush in the writing of her songs Hounds of Love and The Red Shoes, as well as her short film, The Line, The Cross & The Curve. This video takes footage from the movie, interweaved with footage of Kate performing her music. A treat.

YouTube