Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weird but Wonderful

I've seen this animation posted in multiple places, and I just remembered I could share it with you. I really love the flat coloring combined with the fluid animation. Also the sound is strangely effective.

This one time... from nelson boles on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cannes Short Films

If like me you couldn't make it to Cannes this year (again), you might be happy to hear that you can get a little bit of the Cannes film festival online. The National Film Board of Canada has been hosting an online short film competition they call Cannes Short Film Corner. This is the fifth year. Several films are presented, and you get to vote for the ones you like.

As of this posting, I've only watched the movie you see above. I have no idea what other types of films you will find, but there's bound to be a few gems (if you like short films).

Found via the Drawn! blog.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Playing for Change

This morning NPR did a story about a music project called Playing for Change: Songs Around the World. I was previously aware of this project, but the NPR news story prompted me to write about it here since I realized it has progressed much further since I last heard about it.

The basic idea of the project is musical collaboration. But this isn't simply getting some well known musicians together and having them hammer out some songs. The vision of this project is larger. The idea is to record individual musicians and groups in their own settings all across the world. The collaboration occurs across time and continents via recordings of the other musicians that the producer brings along with him to the different sites. The result is quite beautiful and moving.

But my words aren't really doing this project justice. Here's the video that first introduced me to this project (you can see more videos if you click the above link to their website):

The project is also associated with the Playing for Change Foundation which appears to be trying to build music schools. I don't know enough about that foundation to comment one way or the other about it, but I'm always game for having more music in our lives, and more music schools sound like a worthwhile goal to me.

When I sat down to write this, I thought I was going to say something about how this project could be seen as a metaphor for all human endeavor. But I just realized that this musical collaboration isn't a metaphor, it's simply a wonderful example of the global human jam taking place all the time. We're all building off of what each of us have done. Ideally we do this in peace, but we know that isn't always the way we do things. Regardless, we keep trying. The project isn't metaphorical. It is better than that. It is inspirational.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Irene Gallo has just posted that MicroVisions 4 auction is open! MicroVisions is a fund raiser for the Society of Illustrators scholarship fund. The idea is that several talented and well known artists create and donate 5"x7" works of art to be auctioned off. So far they've held the auctions through eBay. This is really cool because it allows anybody with an eBay account to have an opportunity to bid and win one these items. In fact, I won a nice piece one year.

I recommend following the link to Irene's post for more information, but click here if you want to go directly to the list of items being auctioned off.

All the pieces look good, but for me, the stand out items this year are from: Gregory Manchess, Michael Whelan, and Justin Gerard. (All those links go directly to their respective eBay pages.)

Gregory Manchess (website) is an established artist and illustrator. Even if you don't know him, you have very likely seen his work since he has done illustrations for many magazines (National Geographic being a notable example) as well as book covers. He has an energetic, painterly style I enjoy. I always look forward to seeing more of his work. I think his soaring spaceman would make an inspirational piece of art to have hanging around your home.

Michael Whelan (website) is an "old" favorite of mine. I discovered him through his book covers to the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn fantasy trilogy from Tad Williams, but he has done much more than that. Just go to your favorite bookstore and browse the fantasy and science fiction section. You will easily find his work gracing the covers of many of those books. He's one of those illustrators with the exquisite ability to distill a book's contents to a single, symbolic image while retaining wonderful compositions that make you want to find out what's the story behind that image. From what I understand, he has been focusing more on his "fine art" work, and his MicroVisions entry is a nice example of that. If you'd like a piece of art that makes you wonder and contemplate, I think his entry would be a way to go.

Finally, Justin Gerard (website) is a recent favorite of mine. I discovered him by browsing the internet. I follow various artists' blogs, and those artists inevitably will lead you to other artists. I'm sure that's how I found out about Justin. I wrote about his series of Hobbit paintings a while back. He has since updated his website's gallery with those paintings. Those are definitely worth checking out. Additionally, Justin went the extra mile for MicroVisions. Although he only entered one painting, he actually painted several and chose one. I personally think he chose very well. His introspective portrait of a dapper looking faun is fun and mysterious.

So, if you've ever wanted to own some original art work from talented illustrators, now's your chance!