Daniel Heidkamp’s Beautiful, Peaceful Paintings of Central Park

Daniel Heidkamp

Artist Daniel Heidkamp currently has a new solo show on at White Columns in New York and I just love the colors in his work. A native of New York, Heidkamp’s exhibition consists of recent oil paintings that depict the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as seen from the grounds of Central Park. Bursting with brightly colored foliage and trees, Heidkamp’s work really captures the beauty of the area.

Daniel Heidkamp

The majority of the work was painted on location and Heidkamp’s work gets the energy of these scenes just right. “When painting en plein air I feel the atmosphere on my skin” Heidkamp says, “[...] there is an adrenaline feeling that happens while working ‘live’ and that energy can translate directly into the painting”.

Daniel Heidkamp

While many of his contemporaries may explore far-less traditional methods of art-making, I feel there’s something special in Heidkamp’s interrogation and exploration of representational painting. Following in the footprints of people like Hopper, Hockney, and Doig; Heidkamp’s focus on ordinary and everyday scenes is as engaging as it is compelling.

Daniel Heidkamp

His exhibition in New York’s White Columns show runs until July 25th. More work and further exhibition dates can be viewed on his website.

Philip Kennedy

July 10, 2014 / By

David Hedberg’s TV Works Only When You Smile

Smile TV by David Hedberg

It’s Art School degree show season and so I’m making the most of it by visiting as many shows as I can muster. The other week I hit up London’s prestigious Royal College of Art to take a look at what their students have been up to and I was really impressed by the talent on display. My personal favorite was the work of David Herdberg; a graduate of the college’s Information Experience Design course.

Smile TV by David Hedberg

For his major project David designed a TV which, on first impressions, looked fairly innocuous. Sure, the reception was poor but the wooden legs looked nice and they worked well with the white plastic casing. It wasn’t until I sat down in front of the set that I noticed a small label which read “SMILE TO WATCH”. Being the typically obedient gallery-goer that I am I kindly followed these instructions and forced the muscles of my face to form the requested smile. Suddenly the signal quickly shot into clarity. My face – still proudly wearing its solicited expression – was repaid with a montage of surreal clips played out on the screen. As I continued to watch my face began to relax back to its typical scowl and as my faux-cheery demeanor faded, so too did the television’s reception.

For David, the work examines how our society has the ability to access endless amounts of content. He notes that in the past a TV’s reception relied on an antenna to work; this TV plays with that idea, creating a set which must rely on the receptive nature of the viewer to function. “By expressing that we like something, we have very much become antennas ourselves – transmitting the content on to somebody else” he says. By combining a set from the last-decade with modern facial recognition technology (i.e. magic), the piece asks us to re-consider how we engage with content and how we access it. It’s a fantastic idea and David’s execution is simply top-notch!

You can see more from David Hedberg on his website.

Philip Kennedy

July 9, 2014 / By

Hurray for Drawing! – Beautiful Sketches by Gérard Michel

Gerard Michel

Gerard Michel

I’m a big fan of sketching. It’s not something that I’m particularly good at, but I do enjoy the process of it and and it’s something I keep telling myself I should do more often. I like the sitting, studying and translating the world into lines and I love the challenge of trying to capture the essence of a place with nothing more than a series of well considered gestures with a pencil. It was through my love of drawing that I discovered the work of Gérard Michel.

Gerard Michel

Gérard is an architect from Belgium who also teaches courses in sketching and drawing at the school of architecture in his hometown of Liége. A fan of urban sketching, much of his works focus on architecture and he says that every one of his pieces is drawn freehand and on-site. With a Flickr account consisting of nearly five thousand drawings, that’s pretty impressive stuff!

Gerard Michel

Last year he released a book of his sketches of Liége which I hear you can find in the bookshops of Beligium. I can’t think of a better souvenir to come home with from a trip abroad! Frequently Gérard’s work can be found on the Urban Sketcher’s blog where you’ll also find many more budding artists and sketchers. A video of Gérard in action can be found here, while more images can be viewed on his Flickr account.

Gerard Michel

Philip Kennedy

July 7, 2014 / By

Google’s Street Art Project is a Step in the Right Direction for Graffiti

Google-streetart-1

Google’s Paris-based Cultural Institute has recently launched a database called the Street Art Project. This initiative features street art from across the globe, much of which no longer exists. Working alongside various cultural organizations worldwide, and putting to use their very own Street View, the Cultural Institute and subsequent Street Art Project is making these public works increasingly more public, democratizing art, and chronicling it’s contemporary impact for the future. It’s one of those projects that makes Google hard not to love.

 

The Google Cultural Institute, founded in 2011, is composed of a staff around 30 engineers. It’s a project that’s documenting the physical and bringing it to the web for the public to access. They want users to be able to view the Art Projects, Historical Moments, and World Wonders that have shaped our world, from the comfort of your home. As of now, they’ve already helped create online archives for historic figures, such as Nelson Mandela, or used Street View to provide renderings of World Heritage sites. But what really grabs my attention is the focus they’re placing on graffiti—handling it with the respect and admiration that is traditionally associated with works found in museums or on gallery walls.

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“I’m not treating street art as anything different from what I would do with the Impressionist collection I’m getting on Art Project,” said Amit Sood, director of the Cultural Institute. The Street Art Project is sister to the Art Project, another Cultural Institute initiative that has provided technical support to more than 460 museums and helped in bringing their collections to the web for all to see.

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The Street Art Project is searchable by artists, city, genre and other categories. Not only does it consist of current art viewable in the public, but it also documents much of which that doesn’t exist anymore. Of the 30 institutions that have furnished the platform with images is the Museum of the City of New York; the Dallas Contemporary; Living Walls: The City Speaks in Atlanta; and the Museum of Street Art in France.

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On one side, Google is helping bring street art to a more respectable level. On the other, it’s perpetuating what street art already encompasses, that is public art in the public space. The New York Times encapsulates this in stating, “Google is formalizing what street art fans around the world already do: take pictures of city walls and distribute them on social media.” It’s an effort to make art more available to viewers, a public domain gone more public, and it’s fascinating to see it happen thanks to the developments of technology and the culture-bridging, border-crossing abilities of the internet.

 

Shepard Fairey stated that, “I’ve always used my street art to democratize art, so it would be philosophically inconsistent for me to protest art democratization through Google.” Street art often comes with a bad rep, where people have a hard time distinguishing it from vandalism.

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Lois Stavsky, who runs Street Art NYC says that most artists like the idea of of enabling more people to view their work. Especially the Street Art Project’s potential to preserve work. Take 5Pointz for example, the famous NYC graffiti landmark that was whitewashed last year. Working alongside the Cultural Institute, Stavsky sorted through hundreds of 5Pointz photos to uploaded several to Google’s new platform—making a location available to thousands that otherwise would’ve never had the opportunity to see.

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As is expected from a company like Google, the platform itself is designed to utilize the web’s functions and perform smoothly. It’s intuitive and features a bunch of interesting features, from documentaries to dipping into street view to have a look at building’s interiors. Perhaps the most innovative feature is a special camera they used to document certain pieces (such as VHILS who’s famous for sculpting work into walls), allowing users to zoom in and take a closer look in stunning clarity.

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Nick Partyka

June 26, 2014 / By

Amazing Sculptures Made From Recycled Plactic by Aurora Robson

Aurora Robson - Installatio

New York-based Canadian artist Aurora Robson makes some amazing sculptures and installations. Described as a “subtle yet determined environmental activist”, her work is made from everyday waste such as junk mail and discarded plastic bottles. Her resulting creations look like strange alien-beings or bizarre creatures from the deep. I love them!

Aurora Robson - Sculpture

Behind her organic forms lies some incredibly intricate work. Often lit by solar-powered LEDs; her sculptures are immense – taking over entire galleries and filling rooms with bizarre forms and shapes. At the core of what she does is a hope to raise awareness about plastic waste.

Aurora Robson - Sculpture

You can find out more about her practice in the video below or visit her website for more images and examples of her work.

Philip Kennedy

June 17, 2014 / By

Ai Weiwei Returns with TASCHEN Monograph and Brooklyn Exhibition

Weiwei-BookMuseum- 1

2014 brings forth two reminders that Ai Weiwei hasn’t disappeared… Yet. Working in collaboration with esteemed publishers, TASCHEN, Weiwei has put together the first comprehensive monograph of his life’s work. The release is a testament to Ai’s legacy as an artist and activist. When you’re done browsing the book, you can see his work in person at the Brooklyn Museum, which is host to Ai Weiwei: According to What? that marks the last leg of the artist’s wildly successful show.

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Nick Partyka

June 9, 2014 / By

Mike Ellis Illustrates Tiny Rooms in a Tiny House

Mike Ellis - Room For Rent

This is a great little project from Canadian illustrator Mike Ellis. Entitled Room For Rent, the work was part of an experimental installation show in Toronto and consists of a large three-dimensional miniature house filled with illustrated bedrooms. The house allows viewers to peer inside and scoop out the rooms. According to Mike, the piece uses multicolored LEDs which make the illustrations “come to life” – exposing things that may not be seen under normal circumstances.

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Philip Kennedy

June 2, 2014 / By

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