The Many Faces of Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí, Salvador Dali

“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” On Salvador Dalí’s birthday, May 11, we remember the surrealist painter’s equally surreal life. In 1924 French poet André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto, in which he explained an emergent post–World War I movement in art and poetry called surrealism. The goal of surrealist art was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality,” which was often achieved by contrasting the mundane and the fantastic. French poets may have created surrealism, but Spanish artist Salvador Dalí perfected it. Born May 11, 1904, Dalí was an intelligent but easily distracted child. He later said, “At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” Dalí was a natural with a paintbrush whose talents were evident early on. At the        …read more

Dave Pollot Brings Pop Culture to Old Thrift Store Paintings

Dave Pollot creative expressions

Dave Pollot populates thrift store paintings with pop culture icons. Mario, Bowser and other MarioKart characters careen through a pastoral forest. A Gremlin looks out from an otherwise staid collection of fruit bowls and flower vases. X-Men’s Magneto scans a picturesque beach with a metal detector. Welcome to the art landscape of Dave Pollot, who creatively places pop culture icons into thrift store art scenes. The New York artist’s favorite films and TV shows slip into his paintings and murals, from Star Wars to Batman to Ghostbusters to Deadpool. What makes his pieces stand out is how seamlessly these cultural stars find their way into background artwork that you wouldn’t glancest at twice. Pollot embraces that ho-hum thrift store look as the ideal setting to let movie and TV characters display a different shade to their personalities. For example, the creepy girl from The Ring isn’t slinking out of a        …read more

Artist’s Hyperrealistic Repaints Turn Celebrities into Lifelike Dolls

lifelike dolls

With a little paint and a lot of love, Instagram’s @Cyguy83 designs incredibly lifelike dolls. Cyrus Bronock’s day starts just like anyone’s might: He rises early, brews some coffee, gets dressed, gives his still-sleeping husband a quick kiss on the forehead — Kamden is a college professor — and then it’s off to work. But here’s where his day diverges from the average nine-to-fiver’s. Bronock, known to his fans as Cyguy83, is a repaint artist who specializes in lifelike dolls. Specifically, he takes prefab 11.5-inch fashion and character dolls, strips off their assembly-line paint, then lovingly re-creates them into astonishingly accurate one-of-a-kind representations of celebrity actors and musicians in some of their most iconic incarnations. Bronock starts work in his second-floor studio just as the sun is coming up. “I wake up super early because I’m usually excited about the doll I’m creating at the moment,” he told Crixeo. The        …read more

The Little-Known Works of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss

Beyond ‘The Cat in the Hat,’ Dr. Seuss created political cartoons, films and even a couple of books for grown-ups. On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Twenty-seven years later, under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, he released his very first book, The Pocket Book of Boners. The book, which is very much not what you’re likely thinking it is, collected “boners” — a now-outdated term for silly errors, found in classroom papers. It sold 1.34 million copies by 1945. In 1937, after dozens of rejections from publishers, Dr. Seuss made his first contribution to children’s literature: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Within two years, he’d released two more children’s books and begun a hugely successful relationship with Random House that would last the rest of his life. In 1939 he released a book for an adult audience, a humorous spin on        …read more

Dinara Kasko Designs Eye-Popping Pastry Art with 3D Printed Molds

3D printed molds

A baking hobbyist with a background in architecture, Kasko became a dedicated pastry artist using the technology of 3D printed molds to wow admirers around the world. In 2011 Dinara Kasko graduated from Kharkov Architecture University and began what would become a three-year stint as a designer and visualizer working remotely from home. By day, she was either sitting at her computer creating ethereal models or working as a photographer part-time; by night, she was baking cakes in her apartment’s modest kitchen. There she experimented with traditional French recipes, from mousses and sponge cakes to jellies and fruits — and, of course, all kinds of chocolate. It was her hobby, an excuse to work with her hands, and a way to be creative away from her desk. She even considered enrolling in a professional culinary school to study patisserie full-time, but upon discovering that she was expecting her first child,        …read more

The Vibrant Art of Indigenous People Tells a Story of Survival

indigenous people

Indigenous people reclaim their cultural identities through art. A voice is invaluable, and being able to tell one’s story is the key to cultural survival. However, in the case of America’s first people — or indigenous people, a rather simplistic term used to identify over 500 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. — their stories have been censored by the powers that be. Yet a volatile history hasn’t stopped indigenous people from creating a thriving contemporary arts scene. Their stories are worth sharing. A Brief History of Indigenous People in the U.S. In the book Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism, Stephen Fadden and Stephen Wall suggest the relationship between the U.S. government and indigenous people can be broken down into three eras: Formative, Allotment and Reorganization. During the Formative Era (1776-1810), indigenous people fought to maintain sovereignty of their homeland. As the U.S. government grew, its efforts to dominate the land        …read more

Nick Seluk’s ‘The Awkward Yeti’ Is Uniquely Weird (Like All of Us)

The Awkward Yeti

Cartoonist Nick Seluk brings our internal conversations to life with his web comic empire, ‘The Awkward Yeti.’ “Lars might be a little awkward, but that’s what makes him Lars.” That’s how Nick Seluk explains to me the origin story of The Awkward Yeti, a web comic that began as a self-published children’s book in 2012. Lars was moody, anxious and, of course, awkward. “I wanted to introduce very young kids to the idea that not everyone thinks and acts the same way, whether it simply be introversion or even autism spectrum disorders,” Seluk says in an interview from his Detroit home. What grew from that seed has now become a worldwide phenomenon of yeti-like proportions: He’s authored four books collecting his comics. His Facebook page has attracted more than 2.2 million likes. His Instagram feed has reached over a million followers. The Awkward Yeti website is now home to spinoff        …read more

George Peaslee Invites Us into the 3D Canvas of Virtual Reality

virtual reality

By re-creating Impressionist masterpieces, the sculptor helped introduce the world to the unlimited possibilities of art in virtual reality. An animator and sculptor turned virtual reality (VR) artist, George Peaslee gained recognition with his re-creations of famous paintings including Georges Seurat’s Sunday at La Grande Jatte and Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. In these pieces, he used two Impressionist masterpieces, one perhaps the most recognizable painting in the world, to showcase the amazing possibilities of virtual reality. The problem is that viewing the 3D models in Sketchfab or watching the videos of Peaslee creating in VR doesn’t do the works justice. Nothing you see on your computer screen can. Because the VR X factor, as Peaslee calls it, is the complete immersion into the worlds he creates, and for that you need to invest in a HTC Vive ($599.00) or an Oculus Rift ($399.00). (More on that later.) Selected to        …read more

Poetic Kinetics Transforms the View with Giant Hovering Sculptures

Poetic Kinetics

They’ll tell you to go big or go home. At Poetic Kinetics, they opt for enormous. If you’ve never been to Pershing Square in Los Angeles, you can run a quick Google search on the park and learn, first, that it was dedicated as a public space in 1866; second, that it’s run by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks; and third, that it merits headlines like “How Los Angeles Got a Pershing Square Everyone Hates.” That last bit is courtesy of Curbed Los Angeles in an account of the park’s jarring original design scheme. The writer cites the LA Times in a perfect explanation of what went wrong with Pershing Square: “The square’s dramatic architecture is so harsh in its efforts to discourage the homeless and drug dealers that other people feel uncomfortable there too.” The irony is that the park ended up deterring everyone except the        …read more

4 Stained Glass Artists Transforming Spaces with Light

stained glass

These creators design inspiring, constantly changing atmospheres with stained glass and natural light. There’s something about glass, especially stained glass, that has captured the attention and appreciation of people for centuries, from the Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe, to the James Carpenter–designed dome in the new transportation complex in downtown New York City. Glass’s transparency is the most obvious reason, its ability to color, reflect and refract light, but it’s what the light does to the space, and to people in the space, that makes it enduring. As stained glass master Narcissus Quagliata has said, “The medium is so powerful because the light goes straight to the soul.” The use of stained glass in Western architecture began as a way to add light and imagery to religious buildings in medieval Europe. From 1100 to 1500 CE, artists illustrated biblical stories in windows along the halls of church buildings and large        …read more