Gargoyles, Our Stone-Cold City Protectors

gargoyles

Lions, dragons and beasts, oh my! Gargoyles inspire as much fascination today as they did in their medieval beginnings. They leer and stare from above, coming to life when it rains, vomiting, spitting and even defecating on unsuspecting passersby below. Since their beginnings on French medieval cathedrals, gargoyles first captured a place in our collective imagination as embodiments of evil, chaos and superstition. Over time, however, gargoyles changed from primarily fear-inducing creatures to include more playful, whimsical, ironic, mischievous and humorous elements. Gargoyles debuted on Gothic cathedrals in France in the 12th century and proliferated in the 13th century and beyond. Though there were precedents for sculpted waterspouts in the animal-shaped faces of ancient Etruscan and Greek fountainheads, it was the soaring architecture of the Gothic cathedrals and the gargoyles’ projection from the walls and buttresses, combined with their fearsome expressions, that intensified their terrifying appearance. As sculpted drainpipes, gargoyles        …read more

6 Creators Combating Domestic Violence with Art

domestic violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to speak out against violence and support victims. These 6 artists are boosting the signal. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 35% of women worldwide have been physically and/or sexually assaulted in their lifetime; 30% of women have experienced violence by an intimate partner. Domestic violence doesn’t just affect women, though. One in four men in the United States have been physically abused, with one in seven experiencing severe abuse, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Domestic violence should be eradicated, but it continues to occur in every country around the world. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to speak out against this societal problem and show support for victims, and a great device for doing so is art. Here are six artists raising awareness of domestic violence and working to combat it with creative endeavors. 1. “Promise”        …read more

All the Dinosaurs You Love Were Created by Artists

dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are imaginary. Hear me out… When people ask me why I love dinosaurs (and they always ask), I usually end up saying, “Well, dinosaurs are imaginary.” It’s a statement that leads to some raised eyebrows, but what I mean is not that dinosaurs never existed in the real world. Of course they did. It’s just that, in the present, dinosaurs exist largely in our imaginations, and the images we have of them are always subject to change. New scientific data, and fresh interpretations of old data, can lead to massive shifts in our understanding of the past. I love dinosaurs precisely for that reason, not in spite of it. I adore hearing people say things like “Well, now all the dinosaurs have feathers!” because of course now dinosaurs don’t have anything at all. It’s a perfect illustration of the fact that our understanding of the past is anything but        …read more

Creating Consciousness: Artists, AI and Playing with Fire

consciousness

For centuries, artists have warned about the dangers of creating consciousness. From Greek mythology to ‘Frankenstein’ to ‘Westworld,’ here are some of their cautionary tales. There was once a lonely and isolated sculptor by the name of Pygmalion. He knew no women and had no wife. His entire life had been dedicated to his art, and the only beauty he knew was what he created through stone: lifelike figures of beautiful women. One day he formed perfection: a sculpture of a female of unparalleled beauty. The artist was overwhelmed and soon fell madly in love with his creation, giving her the name Galatea. Every day and night he admired her and prayed to the goddess Aphrodite to give Galatea life so that they might be married. Hearing his desperate prayers, the goddess descended from Mount Olympus, determined to judge this great beauty herself. Of course, when Aphrodite finally saw Galatea, she too was        …read more

Welcome to Professor Poster’s School of Rock and Roll Posters

rock and roll posters

Vintage rock and roll posters have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Take a closer look at the ingenious, mesmerizing, mysterious art form. In the mid-1960s the world, America and, more specifically, San Francisco were undergoing a renaissance of culture, music and art. The Summer of Love unofficially began on a day in January 1967, with a call to arms in Golden Gate Park known as a “Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In.” Not a call to bear arms, but rather a raising of arms in unity where the actions of the thousands who attended, and the millions who would learn of it, would change the course of history. A teenager named Rusty Goldman had seen a poster advertising the event and was in the crowd that day. Now with 50 years in the rearview mirror, Rusty Goldman is considered a historian and archivist of rock and roll        …read more

Breathing Masterpieces: The Pageant of the Masters

Pageant of the Masters

Here’s what it’s like to take ‘The Grand Tour’ through the Festival of Arts’ Pageant of the Masters, where paintings come to life before your eyes. For 85 years, the Festival of Arts (FOA) in Laguna Beach, California, has been captivating guests with its welcoming atmosphere, talented artists, and their unique creations. What started in 1932 as a way for artists to raise spirits during the Great Depression and hopefully sell a little art to those who came to see the Olympic Games in Los Angeles has become a much-anticipated summer tradition. Growing from an estimated 2,200 visitors the first year to approximately 250,000 guests annually, the FOA has shown that excellence in art and entertainment can bring a community together to be uplifted by the spirit of artistic expression. In 1933 during the second annual FOA, some of the artists decided to stage a publicity stunt that would garner        …read more

Hiding Near You: Geeky Hooker’s Pop Culture Crochet Critters

crochet

Get your hands on Geeky Hooker’s crochet characters from comics, movies, TV, classic art and literature and more. Critters are hiding, waiting to be found at Comic-Con. They’re not the kind you’d hire a pest control company to get rid of. They’re crochet creations — characters from your favorite comics, TV shows, movies and more — seeking adoption. The mastermind behind these critters, as she’s so lovingly dubbed them, is Cindy Wang, aka Geeky Hooker. Wang has been hiding critters at Comic-Con since 2011, which just happens to be the same year she learned to crochet, a hobby that started out of boredom. Six years later, this Geeky Hooker has made a name for herself as the talent behind the creative and oh-so-fun crochet critters of Comic-Con. Starting from Scratch The collection of critters Wang has produced is lengthy. To name just some, there are characters from Star Wars, Game of Thrones,        …read more

8 Artists’ and Writers’ Retreats to Inspire Your Creative Soul

writer's retreat, writers' retreat

Need to get away to create? Keep this list of artists’ and writers’ retreats on hand. Sometimes artists and writers need to escape to a magical world where they can bask in quiet inspiration. And, yes, these places do exist. You can choose from artists’ and writers’ retreats in the hills of Ireland, the forests of California or perched in a village in Southern France. Some offer studios, nourishment and living space at no charge. They simply want artists to have the space and time to create. Check out these eight artists’ and writers’ retreats where you can replenish your creative soul. 1. Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat Location: Diary country, an hour west of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Founded: 2000 Ideal for: Visual artists, writers, composers and musicians who have at least two years of professional experience. Details: Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat has two properties: the House and the Church, and these are 10        …read more

How to Create Space for Art without Being a Starving Artist

starving artist

I was the classic starving artist, but I walked away from my childhood dream. That was just the beginning of my artistic journey. At the age of 19, I packed up all my belongings and left my sleepy Midwestern suburb for New York City and art school. Six months later I would find myself back home, broke and distraught, exhausted by both my choice of education and the city. However, I returned home with only a slight shift in focus: I was still every bit the classic starving artist. “So maybe New York isn’t for me,” I thought, “but I’m still an artist. I’m still a painter.” I reasoned that no degree or certificate could help me achieve my real goal, the life of an accomplished studio artist. So I would find a cheaper city, someplace I could actually feel at home, and there I would toil away, teaching myself        …read more

Temple Grandin’s Advice to Artists with Autism

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, a leading autism expert, lends insight to artists on the spectrum. Many articles have detailed Temple Grandin’s astounding accomplishments. There’s even a movie depicting the amazing innovations she’s made in the cattle industry, creating more humane conditions around the United States. As a woman with autism, she found a way to tell cowboys to get on the ground and see from the eyes of a cow. She even helped McDonald’s reach new ethical standards, pushing other mass-meat producers to do the same. Grandin has spent her life turning challenges into opportunities. Although she didn’t speak until the age of three, she eventually mastered methods to forge her own path to success. One such method involved putting herself into a cattle squeeze on her aunt’s ranch. She’d watched rambunctious cows relax as the machine gently hugged them. This led her to develop a squeeze machine for humans. Claire Danes as Temple        …read more