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79-img-og by techgnotic

One of the most unique holiday films ever made was originally inspired by the juxtaposition of Halloween and Christmas holiday decorations

that iconoclastic director Tim Burton saw in a store window. The Nightmare Before Christmas was first conceived in the form of a poem rather than a screenplay, composed by Burton in 1982 while he was working as an animator for Disney.

The story centers around Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who stumbles upon Christmas and decides it looks like a lot more fun than what has become his tedious task of leading Halloween festivities every year. What he finds out is that taking over someone else’s holiday, without truly understanding it, much like anything else, is a recipe for disaster.

Disney at first considered the story “too weird” and “too dark for kids,” keeping it shelved until Burton finally said ‘You guys don’t really want to do this, let me take it elsewhere.’ Not wanting to risk the project being successful elsewhere, Disney finally gave the green light.

Taking 3 years to complete with one minute of film needing roughly a week to shoot, The Nightmare Before Christmas made its debut in 1993.

Disney’s decision to release the “too scary for kids” movie under their adult “Touchstone” banner crippled the film’s debut, but the DVD release in 1997 turned the film into a cult hit.  It has since been re-released several times theatrically, including in 3D, and is now considered a “Disney classic.”

The long struggle for Tim Burton’s twisted fable with a heart of gold to be born, and then be given a chance at survival, proves that there is a space in Hollywood for truly visionary artists, but only space enough for the most dedicated and most doggedly determined to survive.

The darkly baroque look of the film was highly influenced by the art of Ronald Searle and Edward Gorey, as can clearly be seen in the set designs which were heavily modeled to look like the artists’ ink illustrations.

Long before “Nightmare” became a holiday classic, Jack was making secret cameos in films.

Jack first appears in the movie Beetlejuice on the top of the carnival hat that Beetlejuice wears, look closely at the Mad Hatter’s tie in Alice in Wonderland and you’ll spot him. He's as an egg yolk in Coraline and a pirate in James and the Giant Peach.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is now a holiday classic that is a Halloween movie as much as it is a Christmas movie, which means doubling your opportunity to find someone to snuggle with by the fireplace, popcorn bowl at the ready, in preparation for perusal of a “Nightmarish” gallery of frighteningly festive fan art. Enjoy!

Role Models: Then and Now

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:00 AM
Img-05 by techgnotic

There was a time when childhood heroes were real life human beings people dreamed of emulating when they “grew up.” There were sports heroes, famous astronauts, war heroes, political figures, the leaders of social and humanitarian causes, etc..

Then came “Star Trek” which is thought to be a prime mover behind student interest in scientific, especially space, exploration.  Here the role models were Captain Kirk and First Science Officer Spock – fictional characters entirely, with no connection to our living breathing actual astronauts and scientists.

This trend in fictional TV and movie heroes serving as our youth’s role models, completely displacing actual living heroes, has become a near absolute. Even boxing as a career is now driven more by emulation of Rocky Balboa than by Muhammad Ali.

In 1981 a bullwhip-brandishing archaeologist named Indiana Jones became a new hero and role model on our movie screens. While Archaeology Departments in our nation’s universities appreciated the sudden surge in students declaring archaeology as their major, Indiana Jones is not the role model that legitimate archaeologists want student wannabes seeking to emulate. The Indy Jones character is the worst sort of historical faux-archeologist – really just a looter of indigenous people’s cultural heritage who does more to vandalize and wreck our understanding of the ancient world rather than carefully and respectfully decoding it.

“Iron Man” (2008) and his alter ego Tony Stark, played by the irrepressible Robert Downey, Jr. in the movie, is the latest questionable role model hero, driving interest in young people to become maverick entrepreneurial inventors and engineers.  As played by Downey, Tony Stark uses his immense wealth, political connections and pop star fame to skirt the laws regulating his rogue operations.  Hopefully the “Iron Man” movies will inspire the world’s youth to emulate Sir Richard Branson or Steve Jobs in translating their entrepreneurial expertise into the creation of innovative inventions bettering life on our planet.  The worry is that the Tony Stark character could just as easily serve as a role model for “Franken-food” production and fracking and tar-sands pumping and all sorts of other planet-killing albeit profitable “innovations.”

“Avatar” (2009) is probably the best “role model” movie in recent years.  Not only is it anti-militaristic (in the sense of the military not being a defensive home force, but an invasion force against weaker nations), but its scientists – mostly cultural archaeologists and botanists – are respectful of indigenous peoples’ culture and genuinely seeking knowledge rather than artifacts to loot to fill museums.  The scientists as portrayed in “Avatar” (i.e., ethical and caring human beings) are the best sort of role model cultural and natural world explorers – the ones who leave their bullwhips at home.

Your Thoughts

  1. Are your personal role models at present more likely to be actual human beings or fictional characters?
  2. Which living human being has been your most important role model and why?
  3. Which fictional character has served you as an important role model and why?
  4. When a lifelong beloved role model suddenly disappoints in a spectacular fashion, how devastating is the experience to your emotional/mental health?  Is this why some people prefer fictional role models who never disappoint?
  5. Has anyone ever told you that you are his or her role model?

Collection: Each Chapter's End

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 10:19 PM
52-img-00 by techgnotic

Context is everything. The same photographs and paintings of airport terminals and train compartments and subway platforms that seem so cold and forbidding in contemplation of one’s traveling out into the world, somehow become reassuring in their hard functionality and durability – when thought of as the pathway to the journey back home. Faces of travelers photographed in airports often exhibit muted “Mona Lisa smiles,” masking the direction (to or away from home) that they are headed.

Art Weapon For The People

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 6:33 PM
Phone by techgnotic

As you explore the possibilities just opened up to you by the DeviantArt Mobile App, you should all be asking more than just “how can this app entertain me,” but instead, how can this tool and the network of arts enthusiasts, fandoms, and creators that it represents, help me do my part to inspire and change the world?

You are now connected, we are now all connected, with DeviantArt wherever you are and whenever you want. Art is still humanity’s most powerful, magical and non-suppressible agent of change. Don’t believe the hype. You can make a difference. The arts, all of the arts, are one of the only means we have left to really do that.

As advertised, the DeviantArt Mobile App does indeed place the “world’s largest art gallery” in your hand. But the DeviantArt Mobile App is so much more than just a daily respite, a visit for a few minutes to an artistic oasis during a break time. It’s that of course, but let me be your witness to this app’s mind-blowing potentials.

sharing aid, comfort, advice, tutoring, critiques and friendship. Through status updates, comments and, very soon, person to person messaging, what we have now been given in this mobile app is the ability to support any artist on DeviantArt with encouragement as well as the ability to ask a question, talk commissions—or find teams of artists for special projects. For the last couple of months, I’m probably on DeviantArt 10X more since having access to the app everywhere and anywhere I happen to be. I must report to you that the experience of being a part of this community, well, it just got exponentially, cosmically... deeper. Just wait until you download this thing and spend your first day “together” with it.

The ability to be responsive to events in our world in a creative way has been increased a thousand-fold with the power of the mobile app. The potentials for the future being opened up through this mobile app for our deviant storytellers (writers and poets needing artists, artists needing writers) are absolutely mindboggling. The increased reach and immediacy is even more impactful for curators, bloggers, culture fiends, publishers, producers and anyone in need of a creative jump start at any time of day in any place.

When they were first implemented on the site I think the initial less than enthusiastic reaction of “What? Is this Facebook now and we post pictures of our food and the jacket we just bought?” was justified as a quick impression. Facebook is the defining point of reference online for a “Status Update.” But as soon as Status Updates launched on DeviantArt, this community started to change what they were. When I roll through Status Updates every morning on DA, what I find is a quick tip on drawing faces, an invitation to an Artgermination chatroom where you can improve your line art skills, a link to a new writer discovered just the night before, a wrap up to a community-sponsored challenge, a famous quotation paired with relevant pieces of artwork or a link to a newly curated collection that could change the way we think about art in any given category. This is a whole new way in to our ongoing conversation.

Being a part of this community for the better part of eight years, DeviantArt has always meant for me the creation, discussion and understanding of the world through a special art lens where, unlike anywhere else, there remains the ability to “speak” of our needs, concerns, hopes and dreams with great clarity and truth. The Arts have always been our great translator of truth beyond what mere words can express.

As the largest and most influential community of culture creators and culture responders in the world, we must cherish and make the best use of our grander visual and textual proposal as we artists and art appreciators continue on the ever-evolving arts journey we have chosen and that connects all our lives.

  1. Do you consider yourself to have an “art lens” and can you make art out of anything that flies by in a day: a passing car, a tragic event unfolding in front of you, a simple gesture of thanks or love between people or animals?
  2. Living in public with a declaration of being an artist has just become easier. You now have the weapon. What statements will you hope to make?
  3. Are there places you go to just sit and browse art for inspiration? Do like quiet places or ones filled with people?
  4. Photographs can be art and art can be photographed. What art have you captured and shared on mobile and why? Give us link in the comments below.

Animals Within, Spirit Animals

Wed Dec 17, 2014, 5:34 PM
71-img-00 by techgnotic

There has always been this obsession with the others we share this planet with.

We communicate with them on certain basic levels and yet they inhabit a plane so different from ours: savage, instinctive, a life of sheer survival. At the same time they can do things beyond human abilities: fly through the skies, swim the oceans, apply the physical strength of a dozen strong men. They survive and thrive where we would perish. Yet animals cannot tell tales of their experiences. When we speak of an animal, even our beloved pets and friends, we can only imagine their emotions, thoughts, and inner lives.

Is it then any surprise that from cave paintings to cereal mascots—animals and art are inseparable?

From the beginning of recorded time, animals have been immortalized in pottery, statues, been worshipped as gods, and had fables and myths created in their image. Seventeen thousand years ago, in a cave shielded from the sun, a Cro–Magnon artist raised her bundle of split reeds, dipped them into charred black soot, and began illustrating an opus of animal life: stags, cats, bears, birds. Five thousand years ago, Egyptians integrated animal features into creation myths, and used them as hieroglyphs, adapting the recognizable forms of vultures, bulls, cobras and lions (among others) into a communication system.

Today, in every culture across the globe, animals serve as mascots for sports teams and cereals. We have Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam. Anthropomorphized animals star in movies and comics. My Little Pony has amassed groups of Bronies. Animal cosplay is mainstreaming into mass culture. It all still begins with a child given that first crayon who immediately begins to sketch the familiar forms of cat and dog.

Animals are intrinsic to creativity and art—but why are they so satisfying to observe, mimic, and draw? What is the power they maintain over us to the extent that so many feel an actual spiritual connection with a particular species of their own extended family—cats, dogs, wolves, dolphins, raptors? While so many feel this connection, artists seem particularly sensitive to the presence of their animal spirit kindred and guides.

Why are artists so drawn to animals?

Visually, animals are beautiful and compelling subjects.

Animals are an efficient subject. Identifying characteristics can be drawn and recognized easily— cat eyes, elephant tails, butterfly wings, bunny ears: all unique visual traits. Powerful physical capabilities lend themselves to artistic expressions of motion. The long fluid moves of a deer, expressively captured with a few expert lines. Quick brushstrokes sketch a hyperactive monkey. Heavy pen lines suggest the static power of a stoic elephant. Physical similarities help artists develop a quick visual shorthand for a specific species—but unlike humans, animals that look alike often behave similarly. While anyone who’s ever lived with a pet knows animals have individual personalities, it’s not over–simplifying to state that each type of animal has its own range of specific behaviors and attitudes. It’s this species–by–species predictability that draw individuals to become fond of a particular animal. Just as an artist may prefer certain subjects or materials, so do artists become fascinated with the idiosyncrasies of a species.

Emotionally, animals express primal urges and desires.

Animal personalities are predictable. Tigers are fierce, squirrels are nervous, sharks are stealthy, hippos are lazy. Compared to the complexity of human behavior, animals are simpler beings. They behave according to instinct, not reason. As such, they serve artists well as ciphers for emotion. It’s not just art that allows us to connect spiritually with animals. It’s easy to observe, in ourselves and others, subconscious similarities between personal behaviors and the characteristics of a favorite animal. We’ll call a clever person a fox, or a stubborn child a donkey. A sweet guy is a puppy dog. A sexy lady is a minx. An angry, stubborn man is a bull. Animals serve as elements of our visual and written language.

Humans explore our own instincts through animal art.

Using animals in art, we recognize the most beautiful and terrifying parts of ourselves—our instincts. Society and language are important for humans, but when we feel urges or emotions beyond what is widely accepted or understood, both of these creations fail us.

When we talk about “spirit animals,” it can be in a magical sense, the idea that an essence we can’t see is guiding us through our lives. Or it can be an affinity for a species we find our instincts connecting with. Perhaps we have a fondness for the way they move, finding them fun to draw. Maybe we can imagine the world through their eyes, running, flying or swimming at top speed. But perhaps we see something more than the animal. We see ourselves.

Animals provide a bridge between the alien and familiar, allowing humans to recognize ourselves in strange forms. We can represent our fears and our desires expressed without reserve. Through animal eyes, we can acknowledge the oddness and the fallibility of humanity. Featuring animals in art, we can interpret many spiritual aspects: the primal and the innocent, the beautiful and mysterious. As long as we share a planet, artists will look to our Earth companions for inspiration and understanding of ourselves.

Community Thoughts

I personally have been drawn to animals my whole life and my earliest pictures were always of wildlife. I think artists see the world through different eyes than most and the things that fascinate us speak to us on a deeper level. Animals are an enigma, they have intelligence and their own means of communication and yet we can only hope to understand and be a part of their world. If you've seen my gallery you know I clearly have a fondness for big cats, I find everything about them to be beautiful and awe inspiring. My art is a way for me to get close to these animals in the only way possible, I’ll never be a zoo keeper (because I know myself and I wouldn’t be able to respect the boundaries they do and I’d get eaten—that’s a fact) and I’ll never own one because it goes against everything in their nature to held in captivity as a pet. It can be a very intimate experience to draw an animal in detail and it makes me feel close to them and privileged to show a side of them that others may not see. Any great animal art in my opinion has to come from a deep love and respect for the subject first and foremost by the artist, and what follows is their tribute.”

:iconheatherzart: Heatherzart

I think people gravitate toward depicting animals in art because they are simply aesthetically stunning to look at. Humans are very visual beings and we have always enjoyed striking colors, beautiful patterns, flowing lines and powerful forms. All animals have something which can be appreciated. Like for example dramatic plumage, or the intricate silver and black patchwork that is the coat of a snow leopard. To capture that on canvas is something many artists find alluring.”

:iconailah: ailah

Your Thoughts

  1. What animal do you find yourself drawn to in your art? What about this subject is so ennobling that you would seek to emulate?
  2. What personal qualities do you possess that drive you to feel a shared connection with a particular animal?
  3. Do you have vivid dreams in which you become, or run with, your “spirit animal”?
  4. Over time, how has your understanding of this animal evolved? Has your perception of the creature changed?
  5. What are some challenges you’ve experienced in terms of drawing animals, and how have you solved them?
  6. How does drawing an animal compare to drawing a human?
  7. Who are your favorite animal-focused artists in the DeviantArt community?

Paul Tobin's Scavenger Hunt Part 2

Wed Dec 17, 2014, 5:33 PM
72-img-00 by techgnotic

Avatar & Narnia: Inspirational Tutorials

Masterful Resources on DeviantArt


PaulTobin is a conceptual designer, illustrator and graphic designer who has worked at Weta Workshop of New Zealand since 2003.

He has worked on films such as Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and James Cameron’s Avatar and most recently The Hobbit.

A master illustrator who has had gallery showings of his own original fantasy and sci–fi art, he has become a spokesman and advocate for other New Zealand fantasy and sci–fi artists. White Cloud Worlds was the 2010 “coffee table” anthology edited by Paul featuring the works of 27 of his amazing fellow NZ fantasy artists.

Paul has recently been the subject of a series of DeviantArt tutorial videos in which he outlines his work as a conceptual designer in film production and describes his methods at Weta Workshop for developing the best original concepts for the prehistoric or alien inhabitants of other worlds of the artist’s imagination. These tutorials should prove an invaluable resource for deviants interested in pursuing careers as studio graphic designers and illustrators in fantasy films.

Read the full interview

Paul Tobin There and Back Again

White Cloud Worlds Volumes 1 & 2

With forewords and introductions from Guillermo Del Toro, Richard Taylor, Iain Craig and Wayne Barlow, these two lavish volumes represent the finest fantasy artwork from New Zealand.

Paul Tobin has graciously given us 20 copies of his books for a DeviantArt competition.

What you need to do

All you need to do for a chance to grab one of his books is to post in the comments below a link to a piece of art from the community that you think might inspire Paul for his own personal upcoming project about the lost city of Atlantis. Paul will then select 10 of the pieces and the deviant posting the piece will get a copy of one of the books as well as the deviant who produced the piece.

Paul will select his favorites on December 31st and we’ll post a wrap–up shortly after.

View the rest here

Paul Tobin's Scavenger Hunt Series

Leave your selections for Paul in the comments below

50-img-00 by techgnotic

Spots fascinate the human mind. It’s as if we’re born “knowing” on some molecular level that we’re not really “solid” but an electronically glued together quivering system of particles. Aristotle surmised as much by simply walking on the beach and lifting up a handful of that solid beach, only to have the countless grains of sand flow through his fingers.

Spots arranged in patterns represent order—and order creates life. Spots and circles are arranged by the artist or craftsman. The eye is fascinated. The mind is pleased.

Img-01 by techgnotic

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

—Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

The opening line of Jane Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), readily reflects the established view of the early 19th century English gentry and the main theme of every single one of her stories—the pursuit of marriage and through it salvation from spinsterhood and dire financial straits. This was the reality of Austen’s world where being a woman meant having limited options in life.  A respectable middle or upper class lady would never have the option of working and had no means of supporting herself outside of the economic institution of marriage.

Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.”

—Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Austen was born on Dec. 16, 1775 in Steventon, England into a large family of eight children.  She was the youngest girl.  Alongside her sister Cassandra, she was educated at home by her parents, growing with and immersing herself in her father’s library, as well as enjoying comedic plays staged by family and friends. At a time when being a “lady” meant almost universal disapproval of her pursuing a career as a professional writer, Austen was fully encouraged and supported by her family to continue her course towards becoming a published novelist.

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”

—Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

By the age of 23 Austen had already written the first manuscripts for Elinor and Marianne (later to become Sense and Sensibility), First Impressions (now Pride and Prejudice), and Susan (eventually Northanger Abbey) with her father trying but failing to get her initial works published. It was ultimately her brother Henry Austen who successfully secured publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811.  The novel’s emergence and popularity within the fashionable circles of society ensured the future publication of Austen’s work.

Her novels seem to draw from events and situations in her own life.  Holding “the mirror up to nature,” Austen used her comedies to reflect the truth in society as she had experienced it. Similar to the theater, society required every lady to play a certain role, one which unfortunately had been assigned to her since the moment of birth. By staying within established social theatrics in her novels, Austen gained the freedom to innocently introduce ladies who rebelled against convention, were confident, spirited, determined, and proved equal in intellect to any man. Her leading ladies raised no objections from readers because to everyone’s satisfaction and approval all the “loose ends” were tied up with her protagonists ending the show properly attired in wedding gowns on their way towards living happily ever after.

I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

—Persuasion, Jane Austen

Over 200 years ago the world read Austen’s first published novel, though no one outside her family (and eventually members of the aristocracy) knew she was the author, as the byline read “By a Lady.”  It was not uncommon at the time for female authors to go by other names or, as in this case, even uncredited. Austen’s books continued to be well-received and her earnings provided her some financial freedom, though never sufficient to enjoying a comfortable lifestyle independent of her brother’s support. It was only after her death in 1817 that her brother Henry finally revealed the author’s true identity in the preface to Austen’s final published novel, Persuasion.

Today Austen is one of the most read authors in English literature

Her novels, and even her life story, have been adapted for film (Clueless; Becoming Jane), for television (BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice; Lost in Austen) and most recently re-imagined through today’s technology (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; Emma Approved), with each production recreating Austen for her current day audience. Even zombies have made their way to Pemberley (in the mash-up parody, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). From gracing the Bank of England’s £10 note to her latest honor of having Dec. 16 declared worldwide Jane Austen Day by The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, the beloved novelist’s popularity only seems to grow with each generation. Legions of devoted fans, some called Janeites and others Austenites, continue to demand all things Austen, finding in her strong female characters the early echoes of today’s cries for gender equality. It seems the times have finally caught up with Jane Austen, a writer whose words were generations ahead of their time, but always speaking to her readers, especially women, as promises of a more egalitarian society to come.

It is only a novel ... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.”

—Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

Your Thoughts

  1. When reading an Austen novel (or watching a faithfully-adapted movie version) are you surprised by how contemporary the situations and heartaches her characters faced two centuries ago seem, compared with our own?
  2. Does it anger or depress you that the life decision conundrums faced by Jane Austen’s female characters 200 years ago are so much unchanged for so many women living today?
  3. Have you ever felt you had become a Jane Austen character in your own life?
  4. Which authors today are exploring the same subjects in women’s lives (e.g., marriage vs. career; financial expediency vs. romance) on a similar level of acuity, nuance and wit as Jane Austen?

Cosplay Friday: Harry Potter

Fri Dec 12, 2014, 2:42 PM
70-img-00-v2 by techgnotic

Nothing says happy holidays like the magic of Harry Potter!

Witches, wizards, and muggles alike grab your wands and get ready for the Sorting ceremony! We’re heading to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where deviants have mixed up batches of Polyjuice Potion to transform into their favorite characters from the beloved Harry Potter series.

Whether you’re a student from Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw or a follower of ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named,’ these crafty cosplayers are sure to cast a spell on you.

Expecto Patronum!

Your Thoughts

  1. If you could choose, what house would you be in at Hogwarts?

Collection: Tilda Swinton

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 9:15 PM
Tilda Swinton by arabdel

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton has always been more types of wildly creative artist than “only” an actress. As part of a live performance art installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London, she was displayed in a glass box not much bigger than herself, doing nothing but occasionally sleeping. She’s well–known in fashion circles for her work with designers specializing in androgynous styles of attire. She starred in the art–house film “Orlando,” based on the Virginia Woolf novel, in which she switches gender half way through the time–tripping story. Tilda is now known mostly as an Oscar–winning actress in mainstream Hollywood movies. She may have become “legit” in the film industry’s eyes, but she will remain a shining icon of “pure” artistic creativity and experimentation to her fans worldwide.

Angel (light) by jameswolf

“Hush, my friends. Let me tell you of those gods whose lore has left our lands, of the long–dead songs of angels and demons; let your hearts brave the ill–luck of broken vows and breathe the influx of borrowed spells. Walk with me on the winds of a victory of kings, and tell me now: whose flock will be crushed under the blow of defeat? Will you bathe in the white solace of the banners of salvation, or burn in the fiery fire of the warriors of damnation?”

HtBlack, of theWrittenRevolution

About Realm-of-Fantasy

Fantasy, by it's core definition is: the free play of creative imagination. At Realm-of-Fantasy you are welcome to explore your imagination. From Fantasy to Science Fiction, Horror to Steampunk, Superheroes to the Surreal; it's all there just waiting to be discovered.

The Origin of Realm of Fantasy

Cities of the Future

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 7:44 PM
Metropolis KL 2210 by skian-winterfyre

What do you think your favorite city will look like in one hundred years?

Architect Rem Koolhaas has completed a “vertical city” complex in Rotterdam, bringing a new style of multi–purpose skyscrapers to the city skyline. Bennett Stein wrote about the new buildings for KCRW’s Design & Architecture blog, calling the creator “the Godzilla of architecture.”

Here’s an excerpt from Stein’s essay:

It’s a diva of biomimetics—you swear it’s a living, sentient thing that watches you as you watch it. And it loves itself so much it’s looking in the mirror all the time–wait a minute, it is a mirror. The building has a reflective shiny exterior of glass and steel which is repeated on the interior in planes of reflective glass and steel.

— Bennett Stein

We love imagining what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world.

These new buildings are one vision of our future cities. On a page celebrating the completion of the massive complex, the architecture firm described the new design:

The three stacked and interconnecting towers of De Rotterdam rise 44 floors to a height of 150 meters and span a width of over 100 meters… Office employees, residents and hotel guests are brought together in conference, sport and restaurant facilities. The building’s shared plinth is the location of the lobbies to each of the towers, creating a pedestrianized public hub by means of a common hall.

Stein compared the building to the work of Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The 20th Century architect imagined rebuilding Paris with “tall, concrete cruciform towers set in green, wooded parks.”

In a famous essay about the future of the city, Le Corbusier wrote:

We must create a mass-production state of mind:

A state of mind for building mass–production housing.

A state of mind for living in mass–production housing.

A state of mind for conceiving mass–production housing.

Could you live in this kind of city? Or do you hope for a different kind?

There has always been a prejudice against the vertical (How many stories?) in favor of the horizontal (How many square feet, miles, acres?) in this competitive egos society in which more counts for more than better.

Men like big numbers.

As the generations and genders evolve slowly to higher fields of perceived self–worth, the zeitgeist is forever changing, And as always, this is reflected in our trends in architecture. Bravo to better living through functional ecologically inter–engineered working and recreating spaces. How many acres of unused plains dust in Texas constitutes George W.’s “ranch?” I’m sure it’s an impressively large number. I’d prefer to reach for the stars in my life unit not using up any more space and resources than is necessary for my happy, healthy, creative existence.

Your Thoughts

  1. Do you do any sketching/painting/designing/inventing of buildings and architecture? What sorts of things? Have you ever built anything three dimensionally?

  2. What is your hometown like (city, suburb, rural, etc.) and has it influenced your interest in being an artist?

  3. What do you think of the architecture of cities and their influence on our everyday lives?

  4. What is your favorite building in the world and why?

Collection: The Secret Garden

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 7:42 PM
The Secret Garden by MistaBobby

The Key is in Your Head

“The Secret Garden” was a serialized children’s story, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, written in 1910—11. It’s all about a troubled little girl coming alive in a secret place she alone has found the key to. Today, one’s “secret garden” evokes any place a person goes to be alone with their most private thoughts—that place sometimes existing only in mind in fantasy or memory.

Collection: The Dance of Fire

Fri Dec 5, 2014, 6:21 PM
Flamenco Feet by EyesLikeAbsinthe

The Dance of Fire

Flamenco is the dynamically measured music and flamboyant dance of the Spanish Romani gypsies known as “Gitanos.” It evolved around the campfires of a persecuted people always on the run from government authorities, a form of much needed release from constantly struggling to survive and not be forced to assimilate into the “civilized” populations of Europe. Flamenco is the dance of total abandonment to a unique guitar time signature that creates a whirling vortex of fire in the night, the dancers becoming inextinguishable human flames.