Shared posts

03 Jul 19:18

The World's Smallest Knitted Sweaters

by Miss Cellania
Suko

I think my hands are cramping just looking at them. She does socks and mittens too:
https://www.messynessychic.com/2020/06/30/oh-just-the-worlds-tiniest-hand-knitted-sweaters/



Nice sweaters, but what are they sitting on? It's a hand! Those are some small sweaters, but they didn't shrink in the wash; they are made that way. Althea Crome is a micro knitter. She knits sweaters so tiny that they are in danger of getting lost in your hands, but just look at how detailed they are!



Crome explains how she does it.

Crome uses a fine silk thread and fashions her own knitting needless from surgical wire. According to her website, they’re sometime as small as 0.01 inches and can “accommodate more than 80 stitches per inch.”

Read more about Crone's micro knitting at Messy Nessy Chic.

See more of Crome's work at Instagram and at her shop.

03 Jul 03:34

thewindowofthesummerhouse: Adrian Borda

Suko

I feel like Sithel might like this.

02 Jul 06:25

gothhabiba: “Another myth that is firmly upheld is that disabled people are dependent and...

gothhabiba:

“Another myth that is firmly upheld is that disabled people are dependent and non-disabled people are independent. No one is actually independent. This is a myth perpetuated by disablism and driven by capitalism - we are all actually interdependent. Chances are, disabled or not, you don’t grow all of your food. Chances are, you didn’t build the car, bike, wheelchair, subway, shoes, or bus that transports you. Chances are you didn’t construct your home. Chances are you didn’t sew your clothing (or make the fabric and thread used to sew it). The difference between the needs that many disabled people have and the needs of people who are not labelled as disabled is that non-disabled people have had their dependencies normalized. The world has been built to accommodate certain needs and call the people who need those things independent, while other needs are considered exceptional. Each of us relies on others every day. We all rely on one another for support, resources, and to meet our needs. We are all interdependent. This interdependence is not weakness; rather, it is a part of our humanity.”

— AJ Withers, “Disability Politics and Theory” (via vulturechow)

30 Jun 20:36

Lifelike Human Sculptures Are Submerged in Underwater Museum at the Great Barrier Reef [Interview]

by Jessica Stewart

View on My Modern Met

Coral Greenhouse by Jason deCaires Taylor

For over 10 years, sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has dedicated his artistic practice to the enhancement and conservation of the underwater world. He has created underwater museums in Europe and spread his art throughout the Caribbean, and his latest project takes him to the Earth’s most famed marine ecosystem.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef and, now, Taylor will have a part in raising more awareness about its beauty thanks to his work with the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA).

In collaboration with scientists at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Taylor spent years gaining permissions to install the first artificial reef in these waters. The result is Coral Greenhouse, a collection of hyperrealistic underwater sculptures inspired by the community’s youth. It’s these young people that Taylor hopes will become engaged and take their role as the future conservators of this precious ecosystem seriously.

This work is coupled with Ocean Siren, an interactive sculpture that stands as a beacon just beyond Townsville’s Strand Jetty. Rising from the water, the figure was modeled after 12-year-old Takoda Johnson, a local indigenous girl from the Wulgurukaba tribe whose families once owned local lands. The sculpture changes color in conjunction with the ocean’s temperatures and was made possible by close collaboration with scientists.

In merging art, science, and conservation, the Museum of Underwater Art wants to bring more people to these waters. And by increasing awareness about the Great Barrier Reef and the incredible coral that still thrives in many areas, they’re hoping to inspire greater conservation efforts. Plans to build up the museum are ongoing. There are two further installations that Taylor will create for the project, though the initial portions of the museum should open to the public shortly.

We had the chance to speak with Taylor about this important project and his experiences with the local community. Read on for My Modern Met’s exclusive interview.

Museum of Underwater Art in AustraliaYou’ve worked in so many ocean environments. How was working in the Great Barrier Reef different?

There are obviously many, many different things. It’s the first time I have really worked in the Pacific Ocean, and just the variety and the diversity of life there are some of the best in the world. The various different types of coral and marine species are so incredible—there are so many colors and forms and shapes. It was a huge privilege to work there, and it’s something that’s been a personal ambition of mine for quite some time.

The trajectory and ambition of the project were also very different. Previously, working in the Caribbean, there are not so many reefs. They’re smaller in scale and quite fragile. And the objectives have been about taking people away from natural areas and creating this artificial reef. Whereas working in the Great Barrier Reef, it’s such a vast structure and it’s so endless, there’s not a problem with over-tourism and high-impact numbers and you don’t need to divert people away from it. So, it had a kind of different objective.

It was more about getting more people to go and see it because it has experienced some bleaching over recent years, but mainly in the northerly parts, and two-thirds of it is still incredibly pristine and beautiful, but there’s this misconception that it’s dying or it’s already dead. That’s not the case. Actually the area where we built the museum has some of the best coral I’ve ever seen in my life, so we wanted people to see that and we wanted to help motivate people to want to conserve it.

Underwater Sculptures in the Great Barrier ReefHow did the collaboration with the Museum of Underwater Art come together to begin with?

I first started in Townsville, Queensland, which is home to one of the largest marine research laboratories in the world—the James Cook University—as well as AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science). It is a real hub for science.

Local marine biologists Paul Victory and Adam Smith, who have been following my work for some time, were quite interested in how to communicate science better and in a more mainstream way. So, they first got in touch with me almost four years ago and it slowly developed from there. It’s been quite a lengthy project. Working on the Great Barrier Reef, we’ve had to do an incredible amount of research and the permitting application was one of the most complicated I’ve ever been part of. It was something relatively new for the authorities, so it’s taken three years to get to this point.

Ocean Siren by Jason deCaires TaylorIt’s interesting that the project was kicked off by scientists. Obviously your work mixes art and science quite a bit. This is particularly evident here with the Ocean Siren sculpture that greets people in Townsville. How did that concept come together? 

I’ve very much been interested in ways to tell stories about the marine environment online and in urban environments—bringing it into the kind of spaces where people aren’t really connected to the ocean. And I really like this idea that something that was happening underwater, far outside the Great Barrier Reef but could be felt in real-time and witnessed by everybody.

How did you work with scientists to bring your vision to life?

It’s actually an idea I’ve had for some time, but I’ve not been able to implement it just because I haven’t found the right location and the technical aspects were quite complicated. But, obviously, Townsville was the perfect place because there are already weather stations positioned on lots of different parts of the Great Barrier Reef and these stations monitor water temperature, salinity… lots of different metrics. So it was actually possible for me to be able to do that by working with AIMS Institute to connect that data and then share it on the sculpture.

Ocean Siren by Jason deCaires TaylorIt’s really wonderful because, as you said, sometimes it’s difficult for people to make sense of this intangible data, and with the sculpture, they’re able to visually see what’s happening below the surface in a quite beautiful way.

I was really inspired by a quote by Gus Speth, U.S. Advisor on Environment and Climate Change: “I used to think that the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that 30 years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

I think the world’s changed in the last few years and where you would think that common sense or logic and facts would prevail, they haven’t. You could argue that people are much more swayed by emotional and spiritual arguments than they are behind facts and figures.

Underwater Sculptures in the Great Barrier Reef

Certainly, the visual arts have the ability to tap into people’s emotions and perhaps cause them to get more involved with a social cause they might never have cared about otherwise. I know you tried to engage the public when you did workshops with the local community. How did those turn out and did you achieve that you expected?

So most of the models for the projects I have completed are part of community workshops. I feel that’s a really important part of the process. The local community becomes the sculptures; they become ambassadors or guardians for the reef. And I think that’s really critical for them, especially children growing up. They feel like they have a sense of ownership and a sense of responsibility to protect the reef.

In Australia, I really wanted to make sure that the indigenous community was represented in the artworks. So it was very important to get the local community to join in and be part of it. In fact, Ocean Siren was a young indigenous girl whose family are the traditional owners of the land. She looks out to sea, and she also looks out on the island of her great grandfather.

Museum of Underwater Art in AustraliaHow did the overall vision for Coral Greenhouse come together?

One of the overriding objectives was that we wanted young people to be inspired by marine science and fascinated by it. And want to have an active interest in the health of the reef and to be able to explore it in a fun and dynamic way.

One of the big objectives was to create this space encompassing many areas, to be not only a space for art and culture but only about marine science and to use it as a portal or access point to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Boat Towing Art to the Great Barrier Reef

Photo: Richard Woodgett

So you’ve already mentioned that the permitting was a big hurdle. But that aside, what were some of the other challenges you faced with this installation?

Yeah, it was pretty difficult. There are many, many factors. One of them being the occurrence of big cyclones on the Great Barrier Reef. So you had to plan the structures for a category four cyclone and that was very challenging—very difficult to do, especially with the scale of the project.

It’s also, I think, around 70 kilometers (43 miles) away from the shore, which is a very long way, especially when you’re towing hundreds of tons of artwork. It took us 16 hours to get there.

So there were some challenges, but there were also some very helpful things. I was very lucky in Australia to have incredible logistical help, the operators there—the machinery and the cranes—the experience there is really second to none. It has a very rich diving history. So I was fortunate in many respects.

Underwater Sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor

Photo: Richard Woodgett

So for people who may not understand how these things work, can you share a bit about how these installations end up providing a good habitat for marine life?

Sure. So take the Coral Greenhouse, for instance, this is situated on a patch of sand in a kind of underwater channel at the northern part of the reef. It is flushed by a nutrient-rich current which is an ideal area for corals and marine life to flourish.

Because the sculpture is quite high, it spans all different areas of the water column. And so, in the lower parts, we have all these different habitat spaces for marine life. This includes a series of workbenches and modules which have a different type of hollowed space tailored for different types of creatures. So some of the holes are very small and just allow juvenile fish to get inside and be protected. Some of them are much larger for crustaceans and larger species. And so all this area beneath the lower end, it creates this artificial reef habitat—an area for fish to spawn and to take refuge.

Then, as the structure moves up, it starts to go into the kind of high current area where there’s a lot of nutrients flowing through the water. And from that part, it offers a really good substrate for all the different species that are filter feeders that extract all the nutrients from the water. So all the different types of hard and soft corals or crinoids, they can all attach to the structure and start sieving it for food. It becomes a large tree community. The smaller species very quickly attract larger species that then predate on them so, in a very short space of time, you get a very healthy reef system revolving around it.

Museum of Underwater Art in TownsvilleWhat do you hope that people take away from your work at the museum in Australia?

First of all, I hope the people who come to Townsville make the trip out and go to see the Great Barrier Reef in itself. Where it’s positioned, as I mentioned, it’s actually next to some of the most spectacular reefs I’ve seen. So I hope that people go out there and snorkel and dive and see how incredible the reef is and how beautiful and diverse it is, and also get to see how we can actually live in some kind of symbiotic relationship in harmony with nature. It’s not a matter of us being conquerors of the natural world, it’s much more about interconnectedness. I hope people leave with that kind of sense.

Artificial Reef Sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor

Photo: Richard Woodgett

So I know that things might be on pause at the moment, but what’s next for you?

I was in mid-roll with a few different projects. For instance, the Australia project wasn’t finished so I still have to return. And we are in the process of installing, I think, 4,000 corals into the greenhouse. We also want to expand the project into a Palm Island, which is a very beautiful Island just off the coast and is home to a large indigenous community. The idea is to create some large scale artworks for the community whilst helping to provide more local jobs and economic stimulus. We’ve been planning this for the last two years and we’ve raised the finances for it. We’re in the process now of just deciding the design with the local community. There are actually four phases to the Australia project. We finished the first two, so we’ve still got another two to go.

Jason deCaires Taylor: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Jason deCaires Taylor.

Related Articles:

World’s First Inter Tidal Art Gallery Opens in the Maldives

400 Cement Sculptures Submerged Underwater by Jason de Caires Taylor

Underwater Sculptures Celebrate Life on Earth and Protect Aquatic Ecosystems

Hyperrealistic Human Sculptures Submerged in Europe’s First Underwater Art Museum

READ:

View on My Modern Met

28 Jun 10:06

Read this:

texnessa:

“I want to tell a story about an invisible elephant.

Once upon a time, when I was in graduate school at UCSB, the department of religious studies held a symposium on diasporic religious communities in the United States. Our working definition for religious diaspora that day was, “religious groups from elsewhere now residing as large, cohesive communities in the US.” It was a round table symposium, so any current scholar at the UC who wanted to speak could have a seat at the table. A hunch based on hundreds of years of solid evidence compelled me to show up, in my Badass Academic Indigenous Warrior Auntie finery.

There were around 15-20 scholars at the table, and the audience was maybe fifty people. There was one Black scholar at the table, and two Latinx scholars, one of whom was one of my dissertation advisors. The other was a visiting scholar from Florida, who spoke about the diasporic Santería community in Miami. But everyone else at the table were white scholars, all progressively liberal in their politics, many of whom were my friends. Since there was no pre-written agenda, I listened until everyone else had presented. I learned a tremendous amount about the Jewish diaspora in the US, and about the Yoruba/Orisha/Voudou, Tibetan Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu communities, and even about a small enclave of Zoroastrians.

As they went on, I realized my hunch had been correct, and I listened to them ignore the elephant, invisible and silent, at that table.

So I decided to help her speak the hell up. “Hello, my name is Julie Cordero. I’m working on my PhD in Ethnobotany, Native American Religious Traditions, and history of global medical traditions. I’d like to talk about the European Catholic and Protestant Christian religious diaspora in the United States, as these are the traditions that have had by far the greatest impact on both the converted and non-converted indigenous inhabitants of this land.”

Total silence. And then several “hot damns” from students and colleagues in the audience. I looked around the table at all the confused white faces. My Latinx advisor slapped his hand on the table and said, “Right!!?? Let’s talk about that, colleagues.”

The Black scholar, who was sitting next to me, started softly laughing. As I went on, detailing the myriad denominations of this European Christian Diaspora, including the Catholic diocese in which I’d been raised and educated, and the brutal and genocidal Catholic and Protestant boarding schools that had horribly traumatized generations of First Nations children, and especially as I touched on how Christians had twisted the message of Christ to try and force people stolen from Africa to accept that their biblically-ordained role was to serve the White Race, her laughs grew more and more bitter.

The Religious Studies department chair, who’d given a brilliant talk on the interplay between Jewish and Muslim communities in Michigan, stopped me at one point, and said, “Julie, I see the point you are so eloquently making, but you’re discussing American religions, not religious diasporic communities.” I referred to the definition of diaspora we had discussed at the start of the discussion, and then said, “No, Clark. If I were here to discuss religions that were not from elsewhere, I’d be discussing the Choctaw Green Corn ceremony, the Karuk Brush Dance, the Big Head ceremonial complex in Northern California, the Lakota Sun Dance, or the Chumash and Tongva Chingichnich ritual complex.”

It got a bit heated for a few moments, as several scholars-without-a-damn-clue tried to argue that we were here to discuss CURRENT religious traditions, not ancient.

Well. I’ll let you use your imagination as to the response from the POC present, which was vigorously backed by the three young First Nations students who were present in the audience (all of whom practice their CURRENT ceremonial traditions). It got the kind of ugly that only happens with people whose self-perception is that they, as liberal scholars of world cultures with lots of POC friends and colleagues, couldn’t possibly be racist.

Our Black colleague stood and left without a word. I very nearly did. But I stayed because of my Auntie role to the Native students in the audience.

I looked around at that circle of hostile faces, and waited for one single white scholar to see how unbelievably racist was this discursive erasure of entire peoples - including my people, on whose homeland UCSB is situated.

Finally, a friend spoke up. “If we are going to adhere to the definition of diaspora outlined here, she is technically correct.”

And then my dear friend, a white scholar of Buddhism: “In Buddhist tradition, the Second Form of Ignorance is the superimposition of that which is false over that which is true. In this case, all of us white scholars are assuming that every people but white Americans are ‘other,’ and that we have no culture, when the underlying fact is that our culture is so dominant that we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking it’s the neutral state of human culture against which all others are foreign. Even the Black people our ancestors abducted and enslaved we treat as somehow more foreign than ourselves. And, most absurdly, the peoples who are indigenous to this land are told that we belong here more than they do.”

People stared at their hands and doodled. The audience was dead quiet.

And you know what happened then? The elephant was no longer invisible, and my colleagues and I were able to have a conversation based on the truths about colonialism and diaspora. We were THEN able to name and discuss the distinctions between colonial settlements and immigrant settlements, and how colonial religious projects have sought to overtake, control, and own land, people, and resources, while immigrant and especially refugee diasporic communities simply seek a home free from persecution.

As we continue this national discussion, it is absolutely key to never, ever let that elephant be invisible or silent. You are on Native Land. Black descendants of human beings abducted from their African homelands are not immigrants. European cultures are just human cultures, among many. And the assignation of moral, cultural, racial superiority of European world views over all non-Euro human cultures is a profound delusion, one that continues to threaten and exterminate all people who oppose it, and even nature itself.

I hope that this story has comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.”

- Julie Cordero-Lamb, herbalist & ethnobotanist from the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation

20 Jun 08:56

emerpenny: any other fandom ever: I love this show but wish this character wasn’t so...

Suko

Pretty much.

emerpenny:

any other fandom ever: I love this show but wish this character wasn’t so problematic

artemis fowl fandom: if disney makes our rich, snobby trash boy a decent human being we will riot

19 Jun 01:14

marshmalleaux-queen: youlovetoseeit: Unrealistic

17 Jun 19:43

49, Zuko

49. Cold + Zuko 

Zuko sat and watched the turtle-seals for hours before he slipped under the water. The cold he was sure he could handle, but there was the question of air. Turtle-seals were mammals– they’d gone over such things in his and Azula’s lessons back home, prepping them for the lands they’d one day rule over. Turtle-seals gave live birth, had a fine coat of fur, and they breathed air. 

But they could, Zuko expected, hold their breath a lot longer than one shivering royal firebender could. 

So he wrapped his coat tighter around him and settled down to watch. A seal slipped under the surface and he sucked a lungful of air in and held it. He counted, listening for his heartbeat in his ears and for the sound of a seal’s fat body coming up on the far side of the wall. 

He noted their markings, their beady eyes and scars and twisted flippers. He tried to tell one from another, so he could see how long they stayed under, see when one popped up and another vanished. 

Snow was seeping into his boots and the ankles of his pants. He could warm it up, but then it would just be water, re-freezing rapidly in this frigid polar air, and anyway he couldn’t risk the steam being spotted. 

A seal slipped under the water. Zuko caught his breath, and counted. He could wait. He could clamp down on his lungs like he had iron bands to hold them there. He could ignore the burn in his chest, the cold seeping into his ankles. He  could hold perfectly still, one more patch of grey and black in this monochrome landscape, and keep count. 

There were things worth waiting for. There were things worth aching for. There was a twelve year old boy inside this icy fortress and Zuko was meant to find him. He’d been walking in his wake for months, past the bereft carnage of hijinks, past volcanoes redirected, temples destroyed, valleys flooded, villages saved. 

The Avatar had hidden for a hundred years from the might of the Fire Nation. The Avatar had run away from home at the age twelve and gotten lost in a storm. Zuko had pulled his ship into the eye of a storm, once, and let the Avatar fly free, to save his crew. Zuko had found himself swept into that same polar sea, once, when two inexperienced kids and a giant flying bison had showed up to rescue their friend from being dragged back to Zuko’s childhood home in chains. 

Zuko’s lungs were straining, the waters surging at the feet of the snowy land. He pushed the feeling down– the desperation, the panic of a body trying to reach for what it needed, the shiver and the shake of it. A seal surfaced, but not his– this one smaller, sleeker, a smatter of black dots on its rump. 

Zuko let the air rush out of his gaping chest and then flood back in– fresh, cold, burning gratefully. The seals dove down into a crack in the wall– he could see them. There must be some place they surfaced, later, for the air they needed as much as he did. The question was– how long until then? How far did they swim buried in cold waters, only ice above them?

Had it been cold, when Aang hit the water, a hundred years ago? Of course it had been cold. But had he felt it, all that time, the ice seeping into his bones? When he woke, how long before he felt warm again? 

Zuko shifted his weight, rising. He still didn’t know how long a seal could submerge for, except that it was likely longer than he could. But he knew a rough count, at least, of how long he could hold his breath before he burst. If he swam in and found no air before half that count was gone, he could turn back. He’d still have enough in him to get back here to breathe. If he swam well. If he didn’t get turned around. 

If he got halfway through his air, and there was no sign of an exit, no escape, he’d turn back. Zuko let fire start to roil in his belly, getting ready for the plunge. Once he was halfway through his count, he’d decide. He’d turn back while he could still make it back. He wouldn’t bar his lungs tighter and push on, scrambling forward through icy currents until he clawed his way out to the surface or died trying. He’d turn back. 

Surely, just this once in his life, he’d figure out how to give up on something. 

17 Jun 00:54

mabelsguidetolife: rattle-my-stars: i love how joyfully...

Suko

This checks out.









mabelsguidetolife:

rattle-my-stars:

i love how joyfully powerful she obviously feels the second they hand her the sword because that’s what i would do if given a cool weapon

10 Jun 19:06

Naomi Osaka, Illustrated by her Sister Mari Osaka

by Johnny
Tennis star Naomi Osaka appeared in GQ Japan’s June edition, in a cover that was drawn by her older sister Mari Osaka. A tennis player herself and also apparently a talented illustrator, Mari Osaka depicted her younger sister in a series of bold, beautiful and strong portraits. Naomi Osaka appears in a mask with the […]
04 Jun 18:20

The Frog Bread And Other Artful Breads You Can Bake At Home

by Franzified
Suko

Little bread-birds!

On January 18, 2005, the recipe of the Frog Bread was released online via the Fresh Loaf website. As the name implies, the bread is supposed to take the shape of a frog. Not only does the bread look good, it also tastes amazing (at least, that’s what one of the commenters said on the Fresh Loaf website).

Now, after over 15 years, someone has discovered the recipe and made it viral online, as baking has become a new hobby for many people who stay indoors.

…thousands have crafted their own golden, crusty amphibians, proudly posting the results despite distended eyes and spiky limbs.

The Frog Bread is not only the artistic bread that you can bake while you stay indoors. Atlas Obscura also features other artistic breads like the Zhavoronki, and the Hiyoko. Check them out over at the site.

(Image Credit: The Fresh Loaf)

(Image Credit: Atlas Obscura)

26 May 16:13

Traveling Artist Paints Exquisite Watercolors Immortalizing Europe’s Old World Architecture

by Jessica Stewart
Suko

Holy crap. I have a hard time making my watercolor skies and land not mush together into a muddy mess. Her precision is crazy good.

Traveling Artist Paints Exquisite Watercolors Immortalizing Europe’s Old World Architecture

Watercolor painting of Aachen Cathedral

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Russian graphic designer and watercolor painter Eleanor Mill has a knack for capturing the spirit of place. Through her architectural watercolor sketches, she documents buildings with exacting detail. At the same time, Mill imbues her work with the color and light that gives each environment character. This allows viewers to come along with her as she places the memories of her travels down on paper.

Typically focusing on old-world European architecture, Mill is intrigued at how these buildings stand as a testament to history in the face of change. “Buildings and constructions once created by people but now fallen into oblivion have an inspirational value for me,” Mill tells My Modern Met.They are silent witnesses of history. These giants towering over densely populated cities preserve the memories from the moment of their creation until the last stone drops off their walls.”

Mill starts her creative process out in the field, drawing in watercolor as she travels. “Sketching while traveling is a special kind of exploration of a new space, a subjective opinion expressed by the artist through different styles and accents,” she shares. “An ordinary photograph captures the moment while a work of art is an opportunity to view the world through the eyes of the artist. Similarly, sketches represent my subjective opinion and capture my personal impressions.”

Back in the studio, she uses these sketches to help lay out what will become a fully realized watercolor painting. Not content with copying her direct observations, Mill enjoys recalling the emotions she felt when sketching as well as bringing some hypothetical scenarios to each scene. “I visualize my imagination: what if people disappear from a big city? How ephemeral are we before the hundred-year-old giants created by our fellow tribesmen? Do we complement the greatness of nature?”

Fans of watercolor painting will appreciate that Mill documents her work extensively on Instagram, giving them the opportunity to see how each piece develops. These in-progress photographs also demonstrate the thought and care that goes into Mill’s work. From the color palette to the selection of the correct brush, each decision is carefully weighed in order to bring her vision to fruition.

For those interested in owning a piece of Mill’s work, she sells her prints and originals on Etsy.

Watercolor artist Eleanor Mill is known for her incredible architectural paintings.

Leuven Town Hall Watercolor Painting by Eleanor MillWatercolor Painting of Leuven Town Hall in Progress by Eleanor MillWatercolor Painting of Namur, Belgium by Eleanor Mill in ProgressWatercolor Painting of Namur, Belgium by Eleanor MillWatercolor painting of Bernkastel-Kues, Germany by Eleanor MillWatercolor Artist Painting ArchitectureWatercolor Painting of Namur, Belgium by Eleanor MillWatercolor Painting of Namur, Belgium by Eleanor MillWatercolor Painting of Walls of Bouillon in Belgium by Eleanor Mill

She often documents her creative process on Instagram, from sketch to finished watercolor.

Architectural Drawing of Aachen by Eleanor MillArtist Eleanor Mill Painting Picture of AachenWatercolor detail of Gothic Window

Mill is inspired by the sketches and drawings she creates while traveling.

Watercolor Sketch of Roosevelt Island by Eleanor MillWatercolor Sketch of Roosevelt Island by Eleanor MillWatercolor Drawing of Frankfurt by Eleanor MillWatercolor Sketch of Saint Petersburg

Not limited to watercolor, she also creates stunning architectural pencil drawings.

Architectural Drawing of Abbaye de VillersDetail of Architectural Drawing of Abbaye de VillersPencil Sketch of Ungru Manor in Estonia by Eleanor MillPencil Sketch of Ungru Manor in Estonia by Eleanor MillEleanor Mill: Website | Instagram | YouTube | Etsy 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Eleanor Mill.

Related Articles:

Colorful Watercolor Paintings Immortalize Tokyo’s Historical Storefronts

Artist Uses Her Own Body as a Canvas for Her Detailed Architecture Sketches

Watercolor Paintings Capture the Beloved Monuments of Cities Around the World

Spectacular Watercolor Paintings Illustrate the Captivating Elegance of Cities Around the World

READ: Traveling Artist Paints Exquisite Watercolors Immortalizing Europe’s Old World Architecture

26 May 16:10

Playful Duo Captures the Fun and Joy of Interacting With Architecture

by Sara Barnes
Suko

So pleasing.

Playful Duo Captures the Fun and Joy of Interacting With Architecture

Quirky Architectural Photography

Creative duo Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís find wonder in seemingly ordinary places. As two former architects, they incorporate elements of buildings into their whimsical compositions in which a model (often Devís) is perfectly coordinated with different facades or blends into the scenery.

“Our backgrounds in architecture have completely shaped our way of seeing the world,” Rueda tells My Modern Met. “As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be doing this if we hadn’t studied that particular degree.” Travel, even if it’s within the same city, is an integral part of Rueda and Devís’ process. “For us, every image has to tell a different story and, in order to do so, it needs a unique location to be told in.”

The photographs also depend on precision. A model, for instance, must be standing in a specific spot, in a certain place, to maintain the illusions that are an essential part of their work. “There’s nothing random or fortuitous in our work,” Rueda reveals. “We get to decide every single element and how it affects the narrative of the image. This also allows us to chase a certain type of mood and tone that helps us build a cohesive portfolio of images where, even though every photograph tells a different story, it does so in a very homogeneous way.”

Because planning is required, all of the compositions start with a sketch. They brainstorm the project, and Devís translates it into “little drawings” that turn ideas into reality. “In this part of the process, we usually realize we need something that has to be produced, like a human-sized Tetris piece or a rainbow-colored paint roller, for example. All of our props are handmade, that’s why some of our images take so long to bring to life!”

A common feeling that comes from Rueda and Devís’ work is that of marvel—you can’t help but wonder how they find so many amazing spots. “As important as the props needed for the image are other things like the outfit of the model and the location of the set. These two variants always fulfill a very important role in our work, that’s why we spend so much time scouting for unique places and clothes even when we are not working on a particular project.”

So while the images might look “simple,” they are anything but that. “At first glance, one would probably think that most of our images are not very difficult to capture because of their modest appearance. But, with the passing years, we’ve learned that achieving this level of simplicity is really, really complicated; which makes the process of creating each image a completely different and unique adventure!”

Creative duo Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís showcase the beauty of buildings in their quirky architectural photography.

Quirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Architectural PhotographyQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaClever Photography by Daniel RuedaClever Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaQuirky Architectural PhotographyQuirky Architectural PhotographyQuirky Photography by Daniel RuedaPink BuildingClever Photography by Daniel RuedaDaniel Rueda:  Website | Instagram
Anna Devís: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Daniel Rueda.

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25 May 09:49

Please Someone Make a Movie About This Bolivian Orchestra Quarantining in a Haunted Castle

by Chelsea Steiner
Suko

Mostly sharing because those Bolivian maned wolves are awesome-looking.

bolivian orchestra

Quarantine: we’re all doing it. Some of us are alone, others are staying with family, while many are shacked up with significant others and roommates. We’re accompanied by various assortments of children, pets, and more toilet paper than a human could conceivably use. With travel restricted and stay at home rules imposed, many of us find ourselves stranded on a seemingly permanent vacation.

And then there’s this Bolivian orchestra, which is currently taking up residence at a haunted German palace surrounded by wolves. In a situation that is equal parts Vincent Price movie and 90s Disney musical, The Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos find themselves quarantining in Rheinsberg Palace, a moated castle just north of the city of Berlin. The musicians have been there for about 75 days.

What was supposed to have been a two week-long spring concert tour in Germany has now been extended to a strange extended stay in a centuries-old palace. Carlos, one of the musicians, was quoted as saying, “Our bus broke down on the motorway. I remember joking that this was bad luck and perhaps our concerts would be cancelled, … but never did I think it would actually happen.”

The company tried to return home to Bolivia, but were unable to after their home country closed its borders. Now the orchestra has nothing to do but explore the palace grounds, practice their music, and wait. Unfortunately, if the musicians wanted to explore the surrounding woodlands, they would be confronted by packs of wild wolves roaming the area.

That’s right, wolves. And in case that weren’t enough, there have been rumors of the palace being haunted by the ghost of Frederick the Great. Another musician, Camed said, “We all joke that Frederick’s ghost is following us and trying to trip us up, … I don’t usually believe in such things but it does feel as if there are ghosts on the grounds.”

With travel bans lifting, the musicians are hoping to return home in June, or before the last petal of the enchanted rose falls off the stem. Many took to Twitter to discuss the strange and deeply cinematic situation. I mean, this story has EVERYTHING: pan flutes, aristocratic specters, German wolf packs. What more could you want?

In the meantime, the orchestra is being sheltered and taken care of in the castle. Miguel Cordoba said, “There are worse places to be trapped, … When I wake up, I watch the sun rise over the forest and the lake. Back home, I only hear the sound of traffic.”

(via BBC, image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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25 May 07:45

utwo: Northern  W I N D S © N. Bondarev 





















utwo:

Northern  W I N D S

© N. Bondarev 

21 May 18:02

New Guinea Has Rare and Beautifully Haunting Creatures Called ‘Dracula Parrots’

by Jessica Stewart

New Guinea Has Rare and Beautifully Haunting Creatures Called ‘Dracula Parrots’

Dracula Parrot Perched on a Branch

Photo: Stock Photos from Danny Ye/Shutterstock

There are some beautiful birds in the world but perhaps none with a name quite as frightening as one species found in New Guinea—the Dracula parrot. This is the nickname for the Pesquet’s parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus), which is endemic to the island’s hill and montane rainforest. With rich black feathers and a scarlet red underbelly, it has all the coloration of Count Dracula’s cape, but looks can be deceiving.

The Dracula parrot is a relatively large parrot, measuring a total length of about 18 inches and weighing between 1.5 and 1.75 pounds. Its long hooked beak and bare face, coupled with its large head, make it look a bit like a vulture. For that reason, it’s sometimes also called a vulturine parrot. But, don’t let these colloquial names fool you—this bird is no flesh-eater.

In fact, the Dracula parrot is a frugivore, which means that fruit is its preferred food. And for this parrot, we’re not just talking about any fruit. These parrots only feed on a few species of fig. This helps explain why they aren’t migrant and typically stick to one area. This is also why they’re only one of three parrot species without a bare face, as the fruit pulp they eat would cause facial feathers to become matted.

When they are left alone in areas where they aren’t hunted, it’s not uncommon to see groups of 10 to 14 roosting in the trees. They can almost always be found at least in pairs. Dracula parrots are believed to have a lifespan of 20 to 40 years and they nest in large, hollow trees. Interestingly, only one or two eggs are laid at a time.

These rare birds are the only members of their genus, and this genus is the only member of the subfamily Psittrichadinae, which shows how unique these parrots truly are. Unfortunately, the Dracula parrot has been classified as vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List. This is mainly due to poaching, as well as habitat loss. Poachers go after the Dracula parrot for their feathers, which are highly prized by collectors. It’s believed that between 20,000 and 50,000 Dracula parrots exist in the wild and their population continues to decrease.

The Dracula parrot is a rare bird endemic to the New Guinea rainforest.

Vulturine Parrot on a Branch

Photo: Stock Photos from Alexandr Junek Imaging/Shutterstock

Its bare face makes it look a bit like a vulture, but in reality, this parrot only feeds on a few types of figs.

Close Up of a Dracula Parrot

Photo: Stock Photos from Dicky Asmoro/Shutterstock

Its black feathers and scarlet red belly give it the appearance of Count Dracula’s cape.

Pesquet's Parrot Hanging Upside Down

Photo: Stock Photos from Milan Rybar/Shutterstock

Unfortunately, Dracula parrots are declining in number due to poachers who are after their feathers, which are highly prized.

Psittrichas fulgidus on a Branch

Photo: Stock Photos from Milan Rybar/Shutterstock

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READ: New Guinea Has Rare and Beautifully Haunting Creatures Called ‘Dracula Parrots’

21 May 14:37

Woman’s Ingenious Life Hack Shows How We’ve All Been Closing a Cereal Box Wrong

by Sara Barnes
Suko

I love clever things like this. I generally clip the internal bags closed to keep staleness from being an issue but it's always bugged me how useless the box flap tabs are. I love this idea! Plus also I'm thinking it could be used to turn a cereal box into a fun gift box.

Woman’s Ingenious Life Hack Shows How We’ve All Been Closing a Cereal Box Wrong

Cereal Box Folding Hack

Did you know there’s a right way to close a cereal box? Becky Holden McGhee recently discovered that she had been sealing up her Crunchy Nut and Cheerios boxes all wrong. Rather than inserting the tab into the flap on the top of the box, she realized that by folding the sides inwards that she could save her family from torn packaging and stale cereal. And best of all, the method is easy to replicate, making it one of those little life hacks you’re happy to know.

Once McGhee figured out this cereal box tip, she knew she couldn’t keep it to herself. So, she did what anyone would do. She shared it on Facebook. “It’s only taken me 40 years,” McGhee wrote, “but now I know the correct way to close a cereal box. Genius. It takes seconds, no more dried up cereal and ugly torn boxes to greet me every morning.” The photos and the step-by-step video went viral and racked up over four million views as people tried it for themselves.

The folded boxes came out of a desire for a more organized kitchen. “I was up late on a Saturday night looking at kitchen units (mine are driving me mad, just not enough space),” McGhee tells My Modern Met, “and I saw a pic of a cereal box folded that way.” The next morning, she tried it for herself. “I couldn’t believe how easy it was and taller boxes now fit in the cupboard!”

Want to try this hack for yourself? Scroll down to watch McGhee’s helpful step-by-step video.

Becky Holden McGhee shared an ingenious cereal box folding hack.

How to Seal a Cereal Box

By folding the sides inward, the box stays neat and the cereal stays fresh.

Life Hack for Folding Cereal BoxesLife Hack for Folding Cereal Boxes

McGhee shows how to do this hack step by step:

Becky Holden McGhee: Website | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Becky Holden McGhee.

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READ: Woman’s Ingenious Life Hack Shows How We’ve All Been Closing a Cereal Box Wrong

21 May 00:26

This Is The World’s Largest Anamorphic Illusion

by Franzified

South Korea — What seems to be a large aquarium with violent waves created by the water inside it turns out to be just a huge anamorphic illusion designed by District. It doesn’t make a sound, however, which would have made the illusion more convincing. But I guess, considering that the illusion was set up in a busy area, the sound would have annoyed the people nearby.

The digital media company created the public project utilizing the world’s largest advertising screen that spans 80.1 x 20.1 meters. As shown in the video, the deceptive aquarium looms over the outdoor area and splashes repeatedly into the sides.

(Image Credit: Colossal)

21 May 00:26

She Is The Oldest Gamer YouTuber!

by Franzified

Born on February 18, 1930, 90-year-old Hamako Mori still enjoys playing video games. In fact, this has been her hobby for the past 39 years. She has a YouTube channel (Gamer Grandma) with 150,000 subscribers.

After seeing her children enjoying them, she wanted a slice of the action, sparking a hobby that’d see her become a world record-holder later in life.

And while you might think, “Oh, I bet she only plays Tetris and Pacman!”, then the answer is no. She also plays modern games like Skyrim, Resident Evil 3 Remake, and Call of Duty.

Earlier this month, she was officially recognised by the Guinness World Records as the planet’s oldest gaming YouTuber. ‘After living for this long, I feel more than ever that playing games for this long was the right choice. I am truly enjoying my life – it’s rosy,’ she said.
Her gaming career began back with the Cassette Vision. In the decades since, Hamako has kept most of the consoles and software she’s acquired. At the moment, she’s hooked on the PlayStation 4.

Keep it up, grandma! 

(Image Credit: Guinness World Records/ YouTube)

20 May 21:45

Here’s How to Make 6 Different Blanket Forts at Home Using IKEA Furniture

by Emma Taggart

Here’s How to Make 6 Different Blanket Forts at Home Using IKEA Furniture

IKEA Furniture Forts

Remember when you used to build blanket forts as a kid? Well, it’s time to relive your childhood dreams. Swedish furniture company IKEA recently published 6 different structure ideas that will help you experience your childhood adventures at home once again. And if you’re still in lockdown, making one of these forts will keep you busy and provide a new space for you to hang out in!

Created by Instinct agency, the clever campaign is aimed at those who are struggling to keep their children entertained during the pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean adults can’t join in the fun, too. In typical IKEA fashion, each fort design has been given a Swedish name and features simple, illustrated instructions. From the classic Cåmpingtent to an elaborate Cåstle, each fort can be built from IKEA products, as well as items found around the typical home.

Perhaps the most traditional fort from the collection, Cåve comprises a chair, a sheet, a few pillows, books, and some fairy lights for a dose of magic. There’s also Höuse, which requires a table, two blankets, 8 books, 10 laundry pins, and a teddy bear for company. Fancy trying to create one yourself? IKEA has asked people to share photos of their homemade forts on social media, using the hashtags #StayHome and #IKEAHome.

Check out the 6 different fort designs from IKEA below, and if you need more inspiration, scroll down to see what others have created from the instructions.

IKEA has shared 6 ways to make blanket forts out of furniture and other home objects.

IKEA Furniture Forts

The campaign is aimed at those struggling to keep kids entertained during lockdown…

IKEA Furniture Forts

…but that doesn’t mean adults can’t have their own fort!

IKEA Furniture FortsIKEA Furniture FortsIKEA Furniture Forts

Here’s what some people have created at home using the IKEA instructions.

 

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IKEA: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube 
h/t: [Laughing Squid]

All images via IKEA.

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READ: Here’s How to Make 6 Different Blanket Forts at Home Using IKEA Furniture

19 May 05:23

The Anglerfish Waits for Your Descent

by John Farrier

Go ahead and take the stairs. The lights will guide you to your destination. Skurk, a street artist, used a pair of streetlights and a staircase to depict a huge anglerfish on the hunt in Bergen, Norway. She waits patiently for you to come to her.

By the way: I use the pronoun "her" for a reason. Only female anglerfish have the natural lure. Males of the species have a, um, flexible relationship. National Geographic explains:

When a young, free-swimming male angler encounters a female, he latches onto her with his sharp teeth. Over time, the male physically fuses with the female, connecting to her skin and bloodstream and losing his eyes and all his internal organs except the testes. A female will carry six or more males on her body.

We've all known guys like that.

-via TYWKWIDBI

18 May 21:32

artalien-jpg:… Julien Missaire

17 May 17:24

Sisters Imagine How Famous Characters Would Dress in Real Life Using Only Vintage Clothes

by Sara Barnes
Suko

Unexpectedly delightful Lilo and Stitch and Fresh Prince outfits. The Malificent one is really good.

Sisters Imagine How Famous Characters Would Dress in Real Life Using Only Vintage Clothes

Vintage Clothing

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet

Winnie the Pooh is an unlikely fashion muse; but for twin sisters Danielle and Nicole, the beloved teddy bear and his little friend Piglet are inspirations for their everyday attire. And they aren’t the only cartoon characters to influence their creative outfits.  Looking to animated films like Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, the sisters create head-to-toe ensembles of the main characters using only second-hand clothes. Best of all, the results don’t feel costumey. Danielle and Nicole’s keen sense of style and selections capture the essence of the characters while still being the type of looks you’d expect to see on people walking down the street.

Danielle and Nicole “never stopped playing dress-up” and have made their love of clothing into a career. They own an online vintage shop called Betty Berry. “Now instead of a box of costumes, we have our ever-growing wardrobe of vintage and a constant stream of stock for our store,” they tell My Modern Met. The twins first enjoyed putting their twist on Disney princess looks by reimagining what the ladies wore using everyday attire, and they have since expanded the series to other types of movies and television shows.

“We take inspiration from their color palettes and personalities and put together outfits in our style that we then sell in our vintage collections,” Danielle and Nicole explain. “At the heart of what we do is sustainability and so by creating these looks and introducing more and more people to vintage, we’re aiming to provide a necessary alternative to fast fashion.”

While it might sound like a daunting task to create these outfits, doing so was not as hard for the sisters as you might imagine. Thanks to their store, they have a lot of vintage garments to choose from. “We handpick our vintage from wholesalers so if we have a particular theme in mind then we will keep a lookout for specific pieces while sourcing our stock. A lot of the time we come across unique pieces that themselves will inspire a whole look!”

Twin sisters Danielle and Nicole imagine how fictional characters would dress in real life, using only vintage clothing.

Vintage Styling Women's Clothing

Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty”

Vintage Clothing

Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty”

Vintage Clothing

Anna from “Frozen”

Vintage Clothing

Elsa from “Frozen”

How to Style Vintage Clothing

Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”

Vintage Styling Women's Clothing

Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”

Vintage Styling Women's Clothing

Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”

How to Style Vintage Clothing

Sebastian and Flounder from “The Little Mermaid”

Vintage Clothing

Peter Pan

Vintage Styling Women's Clothing

Pinocchio

How to Style Vintage Clothing

Lilo and Stitch

Vintage Clothing

Buttercup from “Powerpuff Girls”

Vintage Clothes Styling Reveals How Cartoon Characters Would Dress IRL

Mina and Serena from “Sailor Moon”

Vintage Styling Women's Clothing

Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz”

Vintage Styling Women's Clothing

The Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz”

Vintage Clothes Styling Reveals How Cartoon Characters Would Dress IRL

The Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz”

Styling Vintage Clothinga

Chandler and Joey from “Friends”

How to Style Vintage Clothing

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Betty Berry: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Betty Berry.

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READ: Sisters Imagine How Famous Characters Would Dress in Real Life Using Only Vintage Clothes

17 May 17:06

‘Hamilton’ Is Coming to Disney+ Way Ahead of Schedule This Summer

by Jessica Stewart

‘Hamilton’ Is Coming to Disney+ Way Ahead of Schedule This Summer

 

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Disney is making the Fourth of July extra special for Hamilton fans by fast-tracking its release of the beloved Broadway musical. Originally, a recording of the show was set to hit theaters in October 2021 and then move to Disney+ (the company’s new streaming service) afterwards. Instead, as a gift to us all, Hamilton is skipping the cinema and will land on Disney+ on July 3—just in time for the holiday weekend.

Hamilton first premiered off-Broadway in 2015 and took the world by storm with its innovative telling of America’s founding fathers. Not only was Hamilton nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards—winning 11—but it also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Now, both lovers of the musical and those who didn’t get to experience it on Broadway will have the chance to see the original cast take the stage.

Recorded in 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Hamilton had its entire Broadway run, the film’s release is thrilling for fans and the cast. “I’m so proud of how beautifully Tommy Kail has brought Hamilton to the screen. He’s given everyone who watches this film the best seat in the house,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda, who not only wrote Hamilton‘s lyrics, music, and book but starred as the titular character. “I’m so grateful to Disney and Disney+ for reimagining and moving up our release to July 4th weekend of this year, in light of the world turning upside down. I’m so grateful to all the fans who asked for this, and I’m so glad that we’re able to make it happen. I’m so proud of this show. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

Hamilton‘s release is a smart move for the fledgling Disney+, which can expect an uptick in subscribers for those who want to relive the magic of the musical. Particularly during this time, when film and television production has come to a grinding halt, it’s a good way for the streaming service to continue to serve high-quality content to people who so crave it at home.

Disney is fast-tracking the Hamilton movie and releasing it on Disney+ on July 3, 2020.

h/t: [Buzzfeed, Mashable]

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READ: ‘Hamilton’ Is Coming to Disney+ Way Ahead of Schedule This Summer

17 May 17:00

Dazzling Gold Leaf Details Illuminate Mysterious Portraits of Otherworldly Women

by Margherita Cole

Dazzling Gold Leaf Details Illuminate Mysterious Portraits of Otherworldly Women

Fantasy Illustrations

Artist Nikolaos Kafasis—also known as Nikolas Tower—combines watercolor and gouache to create rich, character-driven fantasy worlds. His paintings feature unusual, mystical women surrounded by abstract backgrounds of flowing colors, and often, layered with details in dazzling gold leaf.

The artist draws upon several areas of inspiration in his paintings. His influences include motifs from Ancient Greek and Asian mythologies, as well as nature, anime, video games, and fantasy novels. Kafasis places his figures in mysterious, decorative scenery and intends to evoke “silent human feelings that cannot easily be expressed in words.” The visual language is its own swirling universe, or as Kafasis calls it, “a Cosmos in Silence.”

Kafasis documents the step-by-step process involved in each painting on Instagram. First, the artist sketches the rough composition and, once satisfied, then tapes the paper onto a drawing board. Afterward, he slowly builds the color in layers of watercolor and gouache. Once the painting is complete, Kafasis adds gold leaf to select areas of the design, enhancing the sense of magic.

Scroll down to see more examples of Kafasis’s gilded illustrations, and, to purchase prints of his art, you can visit his website.

Greek artist Nikolaos Kafasis adds gold leaf to his incredible fantasy illustrations.

Nikolas Tower Golden Illustrations

The artist is inspired by motifs from ancient Greek and Asian mythologies.

Nikolas Tower Golden Illustrations

He incorporates abstract elements and flowing lines into his compositions of otherwordly women.

Nikolas Tower Golden IllustrationsNikolas Tower Golden ArtFantasy IllustrationsFantasy IllustrationsNikolas Tower Golden ArtNikolas Tower Golden ArtNikolas Tower Golden Portraits of WomenNikolas Tower Golden Fantasy IllustrationsFantasy Illustrations

Here’s a peek into Kafasis’ gold leaf process:

 

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Nikolaos Kafasis: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Nikolaos Kafasis.

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16 May 08:12

Dead Still Is the Darkly Comic Victorian Murder Mystery Series You Didn’t Know You Needed

by Kaila Hale-Stern
Suko

This may be a hard sell given the current state of the world but in all other respects this looks like a delightful show.

Dead Still Irish period comedic murder mystery

Dead Still centers around a practice many of us would view as odd—the Victorian tradition of mortuary photography. That’s taking a snap of a dead person, either on their own or posed with their family. The show follows a celebrated mortuary photographer who is dragged unwittingly into a murder mystery that hits close to home, and balances on a fine line of comedic sensibility against a morbid backdrop.

The six-episode first season of Dead Still, which premieres on Acorn TV on May 18th, is set in 1880s Dublin. Actor Michael Smiley, who is always excellent, is in rare form as the fussy, aristocratic Brock Blennerhassett, a pioneer in the field of mortuary photography. That is, no one takes such artful, “lively” photos of the dead. He’s assisted by his free-spirited niece Nancy Vickers (Eileen O’Higgins), and the stalwart, soulful Conall Molloy (Kerr Logan), an ex-gravedigger who aspires to become a photographer himself.

While the emotionally distant Blennerhassett wants to stay in his lavish, insular world, Detective Frederick Regan (Aidan O’Hare), a sort of blundering visionary with a nose for crime, draws him into an investigation of macabre deaths around Dublin. Regan, who is obsessed with busting up the new black markets for “obscene” photography, is pursuing the idea that someone is staging and photographing murders in a style eerily like Blennerhassett’s.

Dead Still is unique not just in its subject matter—which zooms in on practices of grieving that can feel profoundly alien to a modern audience—but in its co-mingling of dark humor, ghastly pastimes, and tongue-in-cheek period representation. The tension between characters often emerges from class differences, and it’s interesting to watch how that plays out amongst a distinctly Irish population.

Too often in period dramas, an Irish character will be stereotyped or secondary, but here Ireland, and its internal divisions and political conflicts, are in focus. Sometimes the temperature of society will be taken with a passing comment, and sometimes raised eyebrows are all that’s needed. There’s a fantastic bit where the privileged, naive Nancy, a would-be actress, gussies herself up to infiltrate a working-class neighborhood, but she’s a painfully transparent figure to the world-weary denizens of those parts who encounter her.

Victorian Dublin is not a setting I’ve seen represented often before on television, and it also makes for an intriguing jumping-off point. The show does a nice job of showcasing an era that was equal parts repressed, decadent, sensationalist, depraved, and prim—and one that was absolutely consumed with the rituals of death. On the whole, Victorian mourning practices were ornate, time-consuming, and intense by modern-day standards.

The etiquette and expectations were extensive across classes, with many standards set by Queen Victoria herself, who was devastated by the death of her husband Albert in 1861. While mourning-wear was often elaborate and strictly dictated (especially for women), it’s traditions like post-mortem photography and jewelry and mementos made of loved ones’ hair that have held a fascination for some of us for well over a century.

Photographs of the dead weren’t only the province of the wealthy, being more economically accessible than paintings, and in many cases would have been the only picture ever taken of a beloved subject. As Professor Mary Warner Marien wrote, grieving people turned to the practice so that they might “capture an image of a deceased loved one rather than have no photograph at all.” It’s hard for us to imagine as we carry around phones with thousands of pictures on them, but even a single exposure was precious.

Brock Blennerhassett and post-mortem photography

Series co-creator (with Imogen Murphy) and writer John Morton seems to have been equally captivated by the photography aspect, telling period drama site Willow and Thatch, “It’s a very morbid concept, almost comically so at times, looking at the lengths people would go to in order to make a loved one look alive for a photograph. But there’s also something quite poignant about it.” It’s death as a central conceit of the show, coupled with gallows humor, that makes Dead Still tick along like the fine pocket-watches borne by the characters, whose chains and fobs are gleamingly displayed.

Dead Still is worth it to period drama fans for the gorgeous costumes and rich sets alone, and those who might not normally watch murder mysteries may find the comedic elements appealing, as they provide levity to an environment that harbors a vicious killer. It can verge at times on the slapstick and totally absurd, but we’re always grounded by engaging performances.

There are also winking plays on popular entertainment of the day, like Gothic novels—which got a significant boost by the Irish Victorian writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker—in a half-scary, half-hilarious episode where Blennerhassett and Molloy must stay over at a possibly haunted manor-house, and the Victorian preoccupation with seances, in perhaps the most off-the-rails seance sequence you will see on television. The show also has a rather modern sensibility despite its trappings, so those who aren’t necessarily drawn to period pieces will also find fun here.

For me, what made Dead Still so compelling to watch was its offbeat themes and the strength of its characters. Its arrival is also well-timed for our current circumstances. Most of us experience death these days as a distant, sterilized affair, and now we see it as frightening numbers on the news. But it used to be something that took place in homes, and, though tragically more commonplace—especially amongst babies and children—it could be embraced, understood, and made accessible at in a way denied to us today.

Mourning as the Victorians went about it provided a closeness to the deceased that may seem odd to us, but feels doubly poignant in a time when even funerals must be held on video conferences and burials are socially distanced. And while the characters’ concerns about technology are quaint—the obscene and disturbing pictures people are dealing under the table in Dead Still are available now in multitudes with the click of a button—its emphasis on the ramifications of technology being used for both good and, well, evil have never been more applicable than now.

Actor Michael Smiley stars in 'Dead Still'

This series really belongs to the actors and their characters. I may have guessed at the murderer pretty early on, but by God did I want to see how it would be played out. Smiley, a Northern Irish actor and comedian who has embodied a range of roles across every genre, is just astonishingly good as Blennerhassett. At first an insufferable snob, before long it’s impossible not to like the intrepid photographer, though I wish the show did more with its implications about his sexuality (if there’s a season 2, the set-up is that it might).

Logan’s Molloy is the strapping, soft heart of the piece, and O’Higgins’s independent Nancy refuses to be hemmed in by the expectations of her age (and her eccentric family, which must be met to be believed). I also adored Aoife Duffin as Detective Regan’s clever wife Betty; she’s clearly the brains of the operation, and if this were set a hundred years later, she’d be the one out solving crimes. In fact, all of the women on Dead Still are strong and smart, another element that is quite refreshing to see on television, let alone a period drama.

Dead Still is a particularly good diversion at this moment in time: it transports us to a different era, gives us plenty of pretty—and pretty strange—things to gaze upon at, and makes us laugh when we need it most. After seeing it through Brock Blennerhassett’s lens, you might never look at death in the same way again.

(images: Acorn TV)

Dead Still premiers May 18th, 2020 on Acorn TV’s streaming network, which hosts select British, Irish, Canadian, Australian, and other international content. It is the only channel that I watch now. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial using the code FREE30 at http://acorn.tv.

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15 May 03:56

“Men of Middle-earth as Bad Ex-Boyfriends” Thread Is Absolutely Perfect

by Kaila Hale-Stern

Bad Ex-Boyfriends of Middle-Earth hilarious twitter thread

Every now and then, a Twitter act of creation reminds us that good things can still emerge from our hellish Internet stomping grounds. Such is the case with a viral thread from writer Alex Arrelia, in which Arrelia painstakingly—and hilariously—takes on J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters under the heading of “Men of Middle Earth as bad ex boyfriends who ruined your life.”

This is all in good fun, but the brilliance of the thread is in its co-mingled knowledge of both Tolkien characters and human nature. These labels attached to Middle-earth heroes and villains and Ents work so well because they play on the characters’ inclinations alongside recognizable modern types we may have met (or dated). Arrelia was kind enough to give us permission to feature the thread here, so let’s dig right into this tasty second breakfast:

Not to be limited by the famous characters many of us know from the Lord of the Rings books and films, Arrelia also ventured into more obscure and secondary-character territory on this adventure through Arda.

But Thorin wouldn’t actually be Arrelia’s last request, as The Hobbit still has an active fanbase, and there was clamoring for further analysis therein.

And last but ever vigilant, the Lord of the Rings himself:

As with any viral thread, there has been some trollish responses that Arrelia is handling with further humor and wit; you can also find more character-with-bad-boyfriend-conflation over on Twitter, if you were wondering about the likes of Celeborn, Everard Proudfoot, and Tom Bombadil in a relationship.

Of course, the examples of behavior that Arrelia gives may also apply to women and genderqueer folks in your life. But as Arrelia points out in another Tweet to address some of the angry replies, “‘You did a sexism by mocking this story with a thousand men and three women in it’ is a hell of a take.”

Yet the widespread popularity and overall enthusiastic embrace of this fun thread gives me hope. If we couldn’t delight in the gentle ribbing of beloved characters from epic fantasy literature, it would probably be time to pack up the Internet and call it a wrap.

(via Alex Arrelia on Twitter, image: New Line Cinema)

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11 May 21:14

iwasthylaonce: Your voices are louder! You are the rational...









iwasthylaonce:

Your voices are louder! You are the rational ones!

inspired by @hunxi-guilai‘s tags under this beautiful gifset

10 May 21:05

odinstyr: “I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief.” — C.S. Lewis...

odinstyr:

“I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief.”

— C.S. Lewis (via onlinecounsellingcollege)

06 May 00:01

Bolero Juilliard

by Miss Cellania
Suko

So good.



The bad news is that students at The Julliard School didn't get to stage their spring performances live. The good news is that what they did instead is available to us all. Student musicians, actors, and dancers, along with some distinguished faculty and alumni, collaborated from their homes to produce Ravel's Bolero. Read how the performance came together here. -via Kottke