art

Suntory’s awesome miniature ice versions of the Golden Pavilion, Statue of Liberty and more

Suntory’s awesome miniature ice versions of the Golden Pavilion, Statue of Liberty and more

Although I’m a man who can definitely appreciate the simple joys of knocking back a can of tasty beer in my living room, every now and again it’s nice to treat yourself to a drink at a classy bar. You know, the kind with soft lighting, a gleaming wooden bar top, and a vested bartender with an ice pick working a block into a classy orb to place in your glass of whiskey.

But as impressive as a nicely rounded sphere of ice may be, it can’t hope to match the visual impact of an ice version of Japan’s famous Golden Pavilion or the Statue of Liberty that you can drop in your glass.

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Sailors assemble! Artist reimagines the cast of Sailor Moon as Marvel’s Avengers

Sailors assemble! Artist reimagines the cast of Sailor Moon as Marvel’s Avengers

No one was really that shocked when Sailor Moon became a hit with its target market of little girls shortly after the anime started airing in 1992. Nor was anyone’s mind completely blown when the show started attracting older female viewers too, since its script had plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor mixed with some honestly compelling drama.

The big surprise, though, was just how many guys the show pulled in, as Sailor Moon built a male fan base of unprecedented size for what was ostensibly an anime for girls. While the central cast of five leggy ladies in sailor skirts obviously didn’t hurt, another key point in breaking down the barrier of entry for male viewers was the high quantity of action scenes in which Sailor Moon and her partners battled villains using their command of fire, thunder, and other awesome powers.

Looked at from that perspective, Sailor Moon isn’t so different from an American comic superhero team like The Avengers, something hammered home by this impressive crossover fan art.

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Sailor Moon in the City of Angels at LA art exhibit going on right now 【Photos】

Sailor Moon in the City of Angels at LA art exhibit going on right now 【Photos】

Back when I was growing up in Los Angeles, as anime was just establishing a foothold overseas, my high school animation teacher gave us a class project of reproducing an existing animated character of our choosing. As I applied the finishing touches of green and pink paint to mine, I got some quizzical looks from my classmate, and more than a few comments of, “Dude, do you have a thing for girls in pleated skirts?”

As accurate as their insights were, my choice of subject had nothing to do with my preferences in women’s fashion, and everything to do with being a huge fan of the anime Sailor Moon. Confused as my classmates had been, the series’ phase of international obscurity was short-lived, and now not only is Sailor Moon loved around the world, it’s got its own art exhibit going on in Los Angeles right now.

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Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world

Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world

As so much of video game and animation character design shifts from sketching on a piece of paper to modeling on a computer, I’ve often wondered about the differences in the two skill sets. Not long ago, designing a character was about imagining how to express the three-dimensional human form using lines on a flat surface, but now, the arguably more valuable skill is being able to break that form down into minute building blocks, then render and reassemble them digitally.

The 3-D graphic method is a lot closer to building something out of blocks than drawing a portrait, so it’s actually quite fitting that one Lego enthusiast decided to use Japan’s favorite digital diva, Hatsune Miku, as his muse in making a life-size recreation of the virtual idol.

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Taiwanese student creates incredible art with materials others would throw away【Photos】

Taiwanese student creates incredible art with materials others would throw away【Photos】

Tony Stark is a character whose power comes from his ingenuity in designing and building his Iron Man suits and weapons. And of course having millions of dollars at his disposal helped.

Meet Kai-xiang Xhong, the Tony Stark (sans riches) of cardboard art. Some people might laugh at the phrase “cardboard art,” but this man’s sculptures are so stunning that it’s hard to believe they are made of the same stuff your Amazon purchases arrive in. Take, for instance, the life-size Iron Man suit shown above. (Did we mention it’s wearable? There is a person in that suit, walking around and bending parts without it falling to pieces!)

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Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Just as you can broadly divide academic subjects into arts and sciences, in Japan people are often referred to as being “science-type” or “art-type,” with the first describing someone who holds everything up to the light of logic, and the latter for someone who applies more romantic standards.

Recently, Japanese Twitter users have been sharing their theories on the way this difference in fundamental mentality can affect a person’s attitude and feelings about such a wide range of topics such as not being too busy to see their dating partners, what happens when snow melts, or even their reactions to famous anime movie lines.

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Iraqi Shadow of the Colossus is hardcore (plus more fun with bootlegs) 【Photos】

Iraqi Shadow of the Colossus is hardcore (plus more fun with bootlegs) 【Photos】

It’s become less common with the increasing globalization of the video game industry, but not so long ago, box art for the same title could vary wildly from one region to the next. Much of this was due to the nature of licensing contracts. For example, it may have made sense to commission a popular anime artist to draw the cover for a Japanese release of a game, but without that same fan base and recognition overseas, oftentimes executives judged it was wiser to hire a struggling artist to draw new art on the cheap than to shell out the extra money necessary to procure the rights to use the anime art internationally.

But while these sorts of legal technicalities explain how North American gamers ended up with such horrible art on the packaging for Mega Man and Ranma 1/2 Hard Battle, it doesn’t explain why someone felt the need to create strange new covers for bootlegged video games in Iraq.

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Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Last week, we had a round-up of my choices for the seven stupidest art pieces in Tokyo, but lest you think I am just a negative Nelly incapable of appreciating talent and beauty, this week we’re presenting Tokyo’s seven coolest public art pieces.

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60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

In the eight years since it opened, the Lazona shopping center in Kawasaki has become the city’s highest-profile entertainment hub. Conveniently attached to Kawasaki Station, Lazona makes a great place to grab a bite to eat or shop for the latest fashions or electronics.

But like many of the visitors who made the trip to Lazona on April 10, we weren’t there for dining or bargain hunting. We came to see the projection-mapped 60-meter Colossal Titan from hit anime Attack on Titan.

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Ten-year-old illustrator getting national attention for his unique style of portraits

Ten-year-old illustrator getting national attention for his unique style of portraits

Up-and-coming artist Mondo draws with a somewhat skewed sense of proportion very much like any other 10-year-old boy. However, from beneath the superficiality of his sometimes jarring contours, the unmistakable sense of his subject can be felt.

The impact his images create has been earning him a lot of respect around his hometown of Fukuoka and recently a growing fan-base around Japan. In addition to his public appearances where he draws visitors’ portraits, he has a blog on which he posts a daily illustration displaying his ever-growing talents. Check out his work after the jump.

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Tokyo’s 7 stupidest public art pieces

Tokyo’s 7 stupidest public art pieces

Any city with aspirations to be a vibrant international metropolis should invest in interesting, challenging and useful public art, and Tokyo has certainly done so. There are some absolutely amazing artworks scattered around our fair city, but there are also some complete abominations lurking as well.

While acknowledging that art is subjective and one person’s favorite piece is another person’s piece of crap, here are what I consider the seven stupidest public artworks in Tokyo.

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These aren’t colored pencils.

These aren’t colored pencils.

Every artist has their tool of choice. Some choose the subtle opaque of watercolors, others the bold burst of pastels. Many go old school and create with colored pencils; the humble pencil and its colored cousin are widely used all over the world and are the first choice of many budding artists. But what you see above aren’t colored pencils. They were actually created using an entirely different medium.

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Beautiful woman doing things: Unsettling art created by unexpected artist

Beautiful woman doing things: Unsettling art created by unexpected artist

Some of the best-yet-unsettling art in the world has often been created by male artists: be it Hemingway’s subtly disturbing short story, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn,” the dark and surreal yarns of Cormac McCarthy (We hear reading Blood Meridian automatically qualifies you as suffering from PTSD), or the insidiously impossible physics of Dalí paintings, whenever we view somewhat disturbing artistic works, we tend to assume the author is a man.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking the drawing below comes from a male artist with a particularly tormented past:

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“Realistic” Kuroko’s Basketball characters look just as cool, if not cooler【Pictures】

“Realistic” Kuroko’s Basketball characters look just as cool, if not cooler【Pictures】

As an avid anime fan, I sometimes wish my favorite characters were real humans, but the logical fangirl in me warns that if anime characters existed in real life, they probably wouldn’t be as awesome as they were in the original works. Just take Kuroko’s Basketball as an example, it would be impossible for Kuroko’s unbelievable skill, “Misdirection Overflow”, to happen in real life.

In such situations, I’m glad there are talented artists who create realistic looking fan art of anime characters, such as these amazing portraits!

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Prominent political figures like you’ve never seen them before… FABULOUS!

Prominent political figures like you’ve never seen them before… FABULOUS!

Saint Hoax is a Middle Eastern artist who recently set up a website which combines the kitsch of pop art with cynical political commentary. In their post, Saint Hoax muses on the similarities between drag queens and world figureheads. Thinking that they share unique fashions and stand-out personalities, the only real difference between a drag queen and a king boils down to flashier colors and a whole lot of money.

So Saint Hoax took nine political and religious figures and applied some sequins and foundation – a lot of foundation – to make them queen for a day.  They certainly work – sashay, shantay – but if you happen to have strong political or religious leanings in one direction or another, you’ll probably find yourself offended by these images.

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Guy lifehacks his way to flawless “Seven Samurai” wall art

Guy lifehacks his way to flawless “Seven Samurai” wall art

When I was a freshman in university, still meandering aimlessly around campus as a General Education (read: “Future Starbucks Lifer”) major, I spent a brief stint in the art college thinking I’d give drawing or maybe even painting a try. After several months of doodling poorly-drawn machine gun-wielding dinosaurs attacking stick figures while my classmates were effortlessly putting together impressive full canvases, I decided I wasn’t really cut out for fine arts.

If only, like this guy, I’d known I could use clever lifehacks to give me an edge in class. The unnamed do-it-yourselfer used simple tools including a few different sizes of paint brush, a paint roller and an old-school projector hooked up to a computer to transfer an iconic scene from Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai onto a barren dining room wall with stellar results. To top it all off, he claims he has no formal training or innate art talent and that anyone with enough time and just the right amount of crazed dedication to pop culture can do it.

Here’s his step-by-step guide:

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We’re going bananas over these amazing Attack on Titan…bananas!【Photos】

We’re going bananas over these amazing Attack on Titan…bananas!【Photos】

Did your mom ever tell you not to play with your food? She was probably right, it’s not a nice thing to do when there are thousands of people who are struggling to afford proper meals each day. However, if you’re able to create an art piece out of your food, then we guess you’re in a league of your own. Like these banana tattoo artists, or this banana engraver from Japan who creates stunning replicas of famous characters using bananas!

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Are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid all dating the same prince?

Are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid all dating the same prince?

If we’re going strictly by the Disney versions, most people could tell you that the respective heroines of The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are respectively Ariel, Aurora, and Snow White. A tougher trivia question, though, is to name their three princes.

As the most recent of the bunch to appear on the screen, Ariel’s Eric might not be too hard to recall, but how many remember that Aurora’s betrothed is named Phillip? And as for Snow White, we never learn the name of the man who wakes her with a kiss, as not once in the movie is he referred to as “Prince Charming.”

Actually, if we go back further, to the original fairy tales these Disney classics were based on, many times the male lead is simply called “the prince.” While it’s possible this is because of their relatively small and interchangeable roles in those stories, one mother in Japan has another theory: the same prince stole the heart of the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.

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Defend the Earth while lying under it with an Immobile Suit Gundam grave

Defend the Earth while lying under it with an Immobile Suit Gundam grave

For a few years now, whenever online chatter of a new statue based on the machines of the Gundam universe goes on the picture above seems to always pop up. But exactly where is this MS monument of mourning? Is it even real?

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Tatsuo Horiuchi: 73-year-old who creates beautiful works of art using only Excel

Tatsuo Horiuchi: 73-year-old who creates beautiful works of art using only Excel

When Tatsuo Horiuchi was approaching retirement age, he wanted to do something new with his free time. So he bought a computer, and in 2000 decided to try his hand at making digital art. But Mr. Horiuchi from Nagano Prefecture, Japan, doesn’t use Photoshop or any other graphics editing software. These intricate digital artworks were made entirely in Microsoft Excel! It’s hard to believe that spreadsheet software can be used to make something so compellingly beautiful.

Fourteen years after he first started experimenting with digital art, Mr. Horiuchi is now a celebrated artist whose works have been exhibited locally and nationally. He’s also the winner of the Excel Autoshape Art Contest (what d’you mean, you didn’t know that was a thing?!)  Let’s take a look at some of his work, and the fascinating process that goes into making it.

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