Posts by Skip Hursh

Instant Face Maker, a Fun Art-Making Tutorial by FaceHeads

Instant Face Maker by FaceHeads

Instant Face Maker by FaceHeads

This short film/instructional video by Russian art collective FaceHeads is a simple, clever exercise in spontaneous art-making. Narrated by an anthropomorphized chunk of cardboard, Instant Face Maker details how to create a myriad of accidental characters by marking a page full of erratic lines and superimposing a set of eyes on top.

I love the way this short embraces the intuitive and accidental side of creativity. By reducing the parameters, the participants have to use their imaginations to assign meaning to the random shapes on the page. It’s surprisingly easy to do once the only context is a pair of eyes and its immediate surroundings. The human brain loves to find order in chaos. You can find more work by FaceHeads here.

Nostalgia and Abstraction by Illustrator Dan Stafford

Dan Stafford

British illustrator Dan Stafford creates some really vibrant and fresh graphic images combining digital vector shapes and soft, airbrushed figures. I love the combination of those two elements in his work, especially the pieces featuring abstracted, trippy renditions of Kermit the Frog, Scrooby Doo, and Ren & Stimpy. They’re the perfect rendition of Nostalgia incorporated into a contemporary image-making sensibility. Dan has a great body of work on his site which you can check out here.

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Music Videos from Black Moth Super Rainbow’s ‘Cobra Juicy’

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Windshield Smasher

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Hairspray Heart

Analog-synth weirdos Black Moth Super Rainbow make some pretty strange videos to accompany their brand of warbly, vocoderized psychedelic music. With the release of their 2012 album Cobra Juicy, the first two videos from the album express that weirdness in very different ways.

Lead single Windshield Smasher starts with a familiar tale of an argument over a GPS malfunction that quickly leads into a frighteningly surreal confrontation with a crowd of latex-orange-skull-masked hoodlums assaulting the protagonists by giving them haircuts and force-feeding them birthday cake. I love the juxtaposition of uneasiness and lightheartedness in this video. The visceral reaction to the seeming danger makes the cake and haircuts even weirder to watch.

The second video, Hairspray Heart,¬†starring Dustin Runnels (a.k.a. Goldust, of pro wrestling fame), reads less like a linear story and more like a hallucinatory transmission from something like an imagined public access television station. I feel like this video is like a confused, nostalgic dream of a kid from the 90s who’s been watching too much pro wrestling. You might want to watch some cat videos after this.

Essays on Reality by Greg Barth

Greg Barth

Greg Barth

Greg Barth

These short animated pieces by Swiss artist/director Greg Barth are a brilliant exploration of clever, minimalist 3D aesthetics all done without the use of CGI. There are camera tricks and green screen elements, but all of the sets and objects were physically filmed. Barth uses these scenes to tell an abstract, surreal tale with some heavy conceptual framework including commentary on American consumerism and the Arab Spring. This sobering subject matter contrasts surprisingly well with the clean, dimensional imagery and adds to its surreal effect. I particularly enjoy the final piece of chapter 2 with gravity-defying cans dressed in world flags. I still can’t quite figure out how it was shot. Barth is an accomplished designer/director working in the commercial realm as well; you can browse some of his other work and read more about the process behind Essays on Reality on his site.

Nudes 2: A Live Drawing Marathon and Exhibition

Nudes 2: A Live Drawing Marathon and Exhibition

Nudes 2: A Live Drawing Marathon and Exhibition

Nudes 2: A Live Drawing Marathon and Exhibition

Mike Perry is back with a second installment of the live drawing event and exhibition “Nudes”. Last year he and Josh Cochran put out an open call for nude models for a marathon drawing session leading up to a one-night exhibition of all the work. This time, the roster of artists has increased to eight, including Deanne Cheuk, Jon Han, Lisa Hanawalt, Santtu Mustonen, Leif Parsons, and Niky Roehreke, along with Perry and Cochran. This is a unique spin on a classic subject familiar to most everyone who has ever taken a figure drawing class in art school, but with a more abstract approach indicative of each artist’s individual approach and aesthetic. I’m excited to see the range of interpretations this lineup is sure to produce. The drawing sessions are this Friday and Saturday, January 25th and 26th, with the exhibition following Saturday night at Kinfolk Studios in Brooklyn, NY. The call for models is still open, so if you’ve ever wanted to be a nude model for a group of amazing artists, now is your chance! Sign-up info can be found here.

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

This charming little animated spot by Yum Yum London is short but full of detail. This multidisciplinary London studio has a distinct sensibility for character design that works just as well in its toys as in its warm, stylized 3D worlds. This story of ketchup conundrum is filled with expressive extras that give each character a surprising amount of personality in the short timeframe. I love the zoned-out guy behind the counter staring at the hot dog rotisserie and the girl taking video on her phone of the aftermath of the ketchup blast before the camera even gets back to it. Yum Yum has some great collectable toys, including the hot dog guy, for sale on their site here.

‘Taste the Future’ by LUMBRE

'Taste the Future' by LUMBRE

'Taste the Future' by LUMBRE

'Taste the Future' by LUMBRE

'Taste the Future' by LUMBRE

I keep coming across impressive motion graphic work from various studios in Argentina. Buenos Aires-based animation and design studio LUMBRE recently did this spot for Pause Fest, a celebration of digital creativity held in Melbourne, Australia. Given the loose theme of “Future”, LUMBRE created an imaginative rendition of what the future of food might look like. That is, if the future was inhabited by models eating some striped pills and going on a flavor trip full of culinary eye candy and eating each other’s whipped cream hairdos. The beginning of the spot also features an impressively detailed architectural imagining of industrialized food production before the flavor tripping begins. Check out some behind-the-scenes shots and more of LUMBRE’s work here.

Clay Hickson’s Sunday Thoughts

Clay Hickson

Clay Hickson

Clay Hickson

Clay Hickson

Clay Hickson

Illustrator Clay Hickson seems to have a thing for both still lifes and food, especially in combination. Hickson gives the still life a turn for the surreal and a heavy dose of geometry and patterning that takes a cue from 1980s design/architecture collective the Memphis Group, but with a contemporary graphic spin that is reminiscent of the hand-drawn psychedelic desert vibes of Steven Harrington‘s work. Sunday Thoughts is a series of illustrations updated weekly alongside Hickson’s prolific body of work, which you can find here.

Yago Hortal’s Vibrant Abstractions

Yago Hortal abstract paintings

Yago Hortal abstract paintings

Yago Hortal abstract paintings

Yago Hortal abstract paintings

Spanish artist Yago Hortal makes some of the most interesting works in pure abstraction that I’ve seen. His thick, dimensional brushstrokes of fluorescent acrylic paint create images that appear to jump off the canvas–and sometimes actually do. I love the level of detail and intricacy in his paintings, which seem to invite close inspection to examine each layer and pathway by which all the rainbow of acrylic globs connect. The images are deceptively simple at the same time. The paint is applied in a way that showcases the materials of paint and brush that seem accidental at times and at others makes me wonder how he convinced the paint to conform itself into such controlled chaos. There is an interesting evolution of his work toward a simpler and more tightly controlled style which you can browse chronologically on his site here.

The Experimental Image-Making of DR.ME

Dr. Me

Dr. Me

Dr. Me

Dr. Me

DR.ME is Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards, a Manchester-based studio with a hand in a diverse range of media including some great photo-collage and video-based work for both commercial clients and exhibitions. You may remember DR.ME from the show they recently curated, Happy Accidents, part of Mike Perry’s art space Wondering Around Wandering. “Happy Accidents” seem to play a significant role in the work of these two, with a lot of recurring found imagery, photomontage, juxtaposition and reclaimed or reinterpreted symbols that look simultaneously familiar and jarring. Their new site just launched, which you can find here.