Three Weekend Inspirations for Five Senses

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Read | Can Art Change the World?

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Photographer and social commentary artist JR has been called the “French Banksy“. His expansive work, which he calls Pervasive Art, covers entire buildings, roofs, and even city blocks to bring wide social and cultural issues under an artistic magnifying glass. His dynamic portraits typically feature locals or well-known public figures. They hone in on delicate features like smiling eyes, gap-toothed smiles, and smiling wrinkles.

JR has brought his artwork to communities that have been ravaged by war and poverty but are still surviving and working together to build a vibrant community. Often forced to battle local government and surreptitiously create his work, he has completed projects in Cuba, Berlin, Istanbul, Cartagena, and Shanghai.

JR’s work is inherently political, even divisive, but his purpose are pure. He wants to create a better world for people and isn’t afraid to shake things up to do it. You can learn more about the passion and goals that fuel his work by watching his TedTalk here.

 

Listen | Seefu Lilac

Last month, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s released a 9-song EP on their Bancamp page with little notice and no fanfare. Although this is the first bit of new music put out by the electronic experimental group in over three years, its obvious the band hasn’t lost its touch. Nostalgic without being overdone, Seefu Lilac turns classic synth sounds into a fantastic ever-morphing sound trip without any real beginning or end between strains of thought – kind of like a completely aimless but totally satisfying summer roadtrip.

The EP stubbornly refuses to be back in stock on the band’s webpage but you can stream it here.

Watch | Hamiltrump

While the upcoming elections seem to be a continually growing reason for concern and a sobering reflection on the intelligence of our society, at some point you have to throw your hands up, scream in resignation and follow the age old advice of you gotta either laugh or you’re gonna cry. With that,  we present you with this gem of comedic relief: Hamiltrump.

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3 Inspiring Instagram Accounts to Follow Right Now

WATTS | Curator

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Curated by Jordan “Watts” Watson, this edgy account focuses on emerging artists, graphic designers, and photographers. In addition to doing your Interweb trolling for you, Watson also manages rapper Theophilus London and has collaborated with Karl Lagerfield and Cara Delevingne.

Instagram Handle: @love.watts

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InJung Oh | Artist

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Chicago based artist InJung Oh bases her pieces on cultural clashes she’s encountered as a Chinese-American woman. Her recent work, the Thousand Wish Project, is an interactive portion of an overarching piece called Vollossum. The Thousand Wish Project encourages participants to explore their own methods of self-discovery and expression in an effort to create a united, free voice.

Instagram handle: @injungoh

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Jess Hu | Dancer & Art Director

The best part about watching (stalking) Jess Hu is the amount of pure fun that bursts through her work. The hip hop dancer and choreographer has performed shows all over the country for a wide range of events. She’s participated in everything from Opening Ceremony pop-ups to nationally ranked break dancing events, including being one of the top dancers listed in this years Reign Supreme competition. Keep an eye on Hu – we have a feeling this is just the start of her incredibly talented work.

Instagram handle: @jess2sick

 

Le Enfant Terrible | Jean Cocteau’s Radical Reality in Quotes

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 “When I write, I disturb. When I show a film, I disturb. When I exhibit my painting, I disturb, and I disturb if I don’t. I have a knack for disturbing.”
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“I’m not willing just to be tolerated. That wounds my love of love and of liberty.”
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“A man’s truest self realizations might require him, above all, to learn to close his eyes: to let himself be taken unawares, to follow his dark angel, to risk his illegal instincts.”
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“It is excruciating to be an unbeliever with a spirit that is deeply religious… Poetry is a religion without hope.”
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“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”

Just A Prick | Rogue Pokes’s Mystical Stick and Poke Tattoos

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My first (and sadly only) tattoo by J.P. was done a couple of summers ago in a barn in upstate New York. A group of us had escaped the heat of the city and decided to spend Fourth of July weekend in the Catskills; J.P. was a friend of a friend and had been invited up from Philadelphia.

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The first thing you notice about J.P. are his eyes. They are electric blue and radiate the intensity channeled into each unique piece. He’s an avid listener, an enthusiastic talker, and a gracious tattooist. At the time, he had only begun teaching himself to stick and poke a year prior but already had notebooks full of incredible designs – woodland creatures, western sunsets and cacti, minute UFO landings, and abstract swirls. He offered to give everyone tattoos that weekend and without hesitation we obliged him.

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Fast forward two years later and what began as a fun pastime at parties has quickly morphed into a full-time gig which has takes J.P. all over the country. His pieces are often inspired by folklore and mysticism and are extraordinarily detailed. Working solely with needle and ink, J.P. hand pokes each delicate tattoo; permanently ascribing people’s passions, memories, and goals onto their bodies. Each piece becomes an art piece – as intricate and individual as the story behind the tattoo.

Recently, he’s partnered with his similarly ink inspired girlfriend, Victoria, and the two have been opening flash pop-ups in parlors in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. You can check out more of J.P.’s work on his Instagram and email him to talk about custom work.

On The Grind | 4 Apps to Boost Your Creativity

Flowstate ($9.99)

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Described by developers Caleb Slain and Blaine Cronn as “the most dangerous app”, Flowstate operates on a simple concept. After logging in, you select a time slot of 5, 15, or 30 minutes and attempt to write – uninterrupted – for the allotted time. If at any point you stop typing, the text begins to fade and will disappear altogether in a cruel 7 seconds unless you begin again.

The point of the app is to break down psychological barriers in writing. Slain explained in an interview with The Verge, “It never stops being a little bit scary because you’re afraid of the capacity of what can come out you. That’s why the blank page is intimidating. The fact is if you press a button, you might figure that out.”

The thought and intention behind Flowstate is evident throughout the entire app – from the clean, minimalist design to the choice of name. Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first coined the concept “flow”, using the phrase to describe a highly focused mental state that once tapped into provides sustainable happiness and contentment in work, play, and life.

Flowstate challenges users to unplug from our modern lifestyle of digital distraction and constant multi-tasking by forcing us to focus solely on the process of getting words onto the page. It’s a must-have for any prospective writer or creative.

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Artsy (FREE)

Artsy’s mission is to put “the art world in your pocket” and provide users with over 300,000 pieces of historic and modern art, from both established and emerging artists. Artsy also has exclusive partnerships with galleries around the world that allows users to get a sneak peak at upcoming exhibitions and art fairs.

The design feels like a cleaner, more grown-up version of Pinterest. You can view shows by location, bid for work online, and discover pieces by searching for a specific artist or browsing through different subject matter, medium, and style categories.

 While Artsy caters to a more knowledgeable art buyer, it’s still accessible for a more casual audience. The design is breezy and intuitive; the app also features interesting articles about emerging artists, unique pieces and shows, and trends in the industry. It’s the perfect tool to gain a better understanding of a world that often seems out of reach for the amateur art appreciator.

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Glitché ($0.99)

The tools Glitché provides to animate, edit, and visually manipulate both images and videos won’t make you a brilliant graphic designer, but they’ll definitely make you feel like one.

Glitché goes beyond simple filters and color edits and lets you distort images, add animation features, and transform photographs into 3D designs. While there is a slight learning curve, especially for a digital novice (ahem), the app is rewarding because it cracks through the mold. Instead of the picture-perfect social media image, Glitché challenges users to “break” photographs and create something fun, new, and innovative.

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Biophilia ($12.99)

Biophilia is the brain-child of Icelandic musician Björk and was the first app to be included in a permanent MOMA exhibit. The app invites the user to dive into the artist’s famous fusion of imagery, music, nature and technology. In addition to gaining access to music she composed exclusively for the app, users are navigated through a complex 3D galaxy and experience ten different interactive displays, all named after celestial events.

The purpose of the app is to fuse together completely different experiences – 2D and 3D, visual and auditory, education and entertainment. By tapping on individual stars, you unlock essays written by Björk explaining the inspiration behind pieces, abstract animations, and additional karaoke-style songs.

Biophilia is experimental, addictive, and mesmerizing. Moreover, any app that may bestow a bit of the divine spark that is Björk makes the investment well worth it.

Doors of Perception | Quotes about Books from Kafka, Huxley, and Sagan

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“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief.”

– Franz Kafka

 

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“The proper study of mankind is books.”

– Aldous Huxley

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“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

– Carl Sagan

A New Kind of Captain America | Misha Tyutyunik

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Although painter and muralist Misha Tyutyunik is originally from the Ukraine, his work is all-American. His wild and colorful replications of iconic works of pop art bring new life to the pieces while playfully hinting at a Warhol-esque sense of irony.

Tyutyunik is also a well-known street artist in the New York and Philadelphia scene and has worked with The Brooklyn Arts Council, The South Bronx Economic Development Association, Big Boi Records and other organizations to provide live artwork during events.

Despite the expansiveness and fame surrounding his work, everything about Tyutyunik’s pieces is both approachable and authentic. His passion, vibrancy and humor crash through even paint stoke into the audience’s perspective. They are exuberant and unapologetic. Tyutyunik’s paintings skillfully examine popular culture; they create a satire without reducing the subject to mere parody.

Tyutyunik’s bold, colorful work demands your attention – so perk up and check him out. This is only a small sample, more can be found on his website here.

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Modern Wonders | 5 Art Galleries Worth a Roadtrip

Renwick Gallery | Washington, D.C.

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After an extensive two-year renovation, Renwick Gallery has reopened its doors with an incredible new exhibit called WONDER. Located across from the White House, the historic gallery was originally opened in 1874 and was the first building in America constructed specifically to be an art gallery.

The sheer size and scope of the installations are enough to impress but more than that, the exhibit was built to not only draw visitors to the art but to pull them into the history of the building as well. Nicholas Bell, the museum’s curator, wanted to ensure that each of the nine interactive pieces were designed to specifically highlight and enhance the architectural features of the Renwick Gallery. “We wanted people to be very conscious that they are in a museum,” he said in an interview with Garden and Gun Magazine.

Find out the dates and more information for the WONDER exhibit here.

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Heidelberg Project | Detroit, MI

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In the past few years, the city of Detroit has been undergoing a resurgence, especially in the small but vibrant arts community. The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor community project that stands as one of the fixtures in the city’s burgeoning art scene. It was begun by Tyree Guyton in 1986 as a way to bring awareness to the poor conditions of the crumbling, crime-ridden neighborhood. Today, the outdoor projects features several blocks of brightly painted houses and odd, comical installations made from trash and recycled materials.

The space is a little disarming. It clearly and boldly displays the struggles of the city, the rampant poverty, and the difficulty of rebuilding a city in the midst of crime and decay. However, there’s no mistaking the communal spirit and defiant cheerfulness that the Heidelberg Project represents. Its clear to locals and visitors alike – this city has a community that loves it and is willing to build it up again.

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The Graffiti and Street Art Museum | Houston, T.X.

While this museum hasn’t opened yet, doors are expected to open midway through 2016. Houston based graffiti artist, Gonzo247, announced his plans to open a space late last year. In addition to housing pieces of art, the museum will serve as a venue for pop-ups, on-site lectures, and classes as well.

“We’ve finally gotten to the point where street-art is accepted but the full history of it still hasn’t been told,” Gonzo247 said, “We want to bring the world to Houston.” If you can’t wait for the museum to open, check out the documentary “Stick ‘Em Up!”, which looks at establishment and growth of the Houston street art scene through the eyes of its most prominent founders.

Museum of Bad Art | Boston, M.A.

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The Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA as its more commonly referred to, takes pride in its goal “to bring the worst of art to the widest of audiences”. During a visit, you can peruse their wide array of collections with everything from portraiture to landscapes (in which hills bear a remarkable resemblance to scoops of ice cream) to the more erotic (the “In the Nood” collection is particularly inspiring).

The museum was originally founded in 1993 and has since been recognized by TravelNerd as one of the Top 10 Weirdest Museums. Definitely worth a visit.

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de Young Museum | San Francisco, C.A.

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Located in the beautiful Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum is one of the most architecturally intriguing museums around. The museum features an incredible collection of Teotihuacan and Peruvian pottery, sub-Saharan tribal art, and thousands of American paintings and sculptures. However, one of the main draws of de Young has less to do with the art it houses and more with the building itself.

The museum features a large angular tower, called Harnon Tower, that was built with ball-bearing sliding plates to allow up to three feet of movement to withstand the area’s common earthquakes. Visitors can ride an elevator to the top floor of Harnon Tower and enjoy an incredible view of the surrounding gardens, San Francisco skyline, and the Bay. Make sure to get there early – the observation area closes one hour prior to the museum.