art

【TBT】The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan

With bookstores in Japan overflowing with manga, novels and non-fiction, it takes a lot to stand out and get noticed. However, with the advent of the three styles of book stacking we’re going to show, it’s impossible for passersby not to stop and take a gander at these literary works.

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Akira’s Katsuhiro Otomo to design giant mural featuring cyborg fish for Tohoku’s Sendai Airport

With works like Domu and Akira to his name, screenwriter and manga-ka Katsuhiro Otomo is universally well-known and respected. He is, however, not exactly the most prolific artist in the world, often leaving fans waiting for years on end for his next project or collaboration.

So although we’re thrilled to announce his next work will in fact be completed by March of next year, you should know that it’s going to take a little traveling to get a good look at it. You see, the currently untitled Otomo public art piece will hang in all of its 24-square-meter (258 sq ft) glory in the lobby of the terminal building of Tohoku’s Sendai Airport.

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Tasty art brought to life — enjoy unique recreations of illustrated food at the Pixiv Festival!

Some of our readers may be aware of Pixiv, the popular Japanese online community that provides a forum for artists to share and receive feedback on their illustrated works. Well, we certainly think such a community is a meaningful use for the Internet, and now, we’re even more excited to hear that Pixiv will be putting on a real-life festival! It’s the “Pixiv Festival – where drawing is fuuuuuuuuun!!!!!!!!!!!!” scheduled to be held in Roppongi next month, and while the event is sure to provide plenty of opportunity for artistic action, it seems there’ll also be some very interesting food options available as well — yes, you’ll be able to sample dishes that have actually been recreated from illustrations shared on the site, so let’s take a closer look at some of the unique culinary creations that have been brought to life especially for the festival!

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Check out these amazing miniature dioramas from Tokyo artist Satoshi Araki【Photos】

Satoshi Araki is an artist who creates miniature dioramas. In one of his brilliantly imagined worlds, a mysterious figure stands in a dark alleyway. In another, a car with smashed-out windows sprawls in front of a bombed-out house in a destroyed city.

Araki sometimes puts a single finger into the frame to show the scale of the tiny scenes, which are sculpted in painstaking detail. His coke cans are smaller than a fingernail; his Vespa model is tiny enough to rest on your thumb.

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These traditional Japanese hairpins may be too beautiful to wear

The traditional Japanese kanzashi hairpin is usually an elaborate affair meant to be worn in the hair when donning a kimono or yukata. Intricately detailed and beautiful, they’re like Japan’s answer to the corsage. But these particular kanzashi may just be too beautiful to ever wear at all on account of directing all the attention away from your kimono.

Sakae, a kanzashi specialty manufacturer, makes each kanzashi by hand from colored glass that’s been melted down and coated in resin to prevent breakage – and lord knows you wouldn’t want one of these shattering into a thousand pieces in your hair.

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Opera AOI blends the old and the new with vocaloids and bunraku puppets

The use of vocaloids, artificial singers programmed on a computer, has created its own niche in online art. Thousands share their individually crafted songs using one of the dozens of synthetic voices available posting them to sites such as Niconico for the fun and entertainment of all.

Their popularity has risen to the point of vocaloids getting adopted by highly acclaimed musicians and artists. The figurehead of vocaloids, Hatsune Miku, has collaborated with Louis Vuitton, Lady Gaga, the Japanese Self Defense Force’s Central Band, Pharrell Williams, and Isao Tomita to name a few.

This time, however, artificial performers of the present will be merged with artificial performers of the past in Vocaloid Opera AOI with Bunraku Puppets. I love it when a name perfectly explains what something is so I don’t have to, so let’s get right to looking at trailer for this human-free opera.

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From plums to panties, the strange and beautiful bento of Keisuke Umeda【Photos】

When you think about the media that artists can work in, ink, paint, stone, metal, wood, and glass all spring readily to mind. We could take an even broader view and include things such as film, sound, and even light. But even then, we’d still be overlooking the creations of Keisuke Umeda, who brings to life scenes of beautiful nature, disturbing juxtaposition, and offbeat humor through the medium of boxed bento lunches.

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Ordinarily-looking van gets transformed into amazing Japanese-style living room 【Video】

There are two paradigms you can aim for in designing a car. One is a great vehicle, accelerating, turning, and braking with speed and precision. The other is a great living or hotel room, with stylish interior appointments and spacious seating.

The owner of this van is obviously in the second camp, and has modified his ride so that it doesn’t look anything like a car on the inside, but rather a Japanese inn on wheels.

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Toyota owner goes crazy with new driver marks, earns a little extra lane space on the road

Japan has a couple of unique automotive regulations. For example, every other year cars have to undergo an extensive inspection to make sure they’re being properly maintained and haven’t been illegally modified (although you can get away with some pretty interesting modifications in the 24 months between checks). You have to make a full stop at all railroad crossings, regardless of whether or not there’s a train coming.

For new drivers, there’s even an additional rule, which states that for their first year on the road, they have to put a large sticker on their car advising surrounding motorists to be extra careful. But while the law states the vehicle must bear two stickers, one on the front and one on the rear, there’s apparently no upper limit, as one proud owner recently demonstrated.

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Ghibli, Star Wars, Breaking Bad: artist carves crayons into amazing characters

As a kid, playing with crayons always guaranteed hours of fun. The array of exciting colours, combined with an ergonomic design perfect for young hands meant endless artistic possibilities on paper, walls, compliant siblings…

Now Crayolas are providing hours of fun for adults too, thanks to a dedicated artist who’s created dozens of unique crayons that are so adorable and true-to-life you have to see them to believe.

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Giant rabbit takes over Taiwanese military bunker

Last year, Osaka and many other cities around the world found themselves hosting a 25-meter-tall inflatable rubber duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. But after sending the rubber duck project around the world (and becoming part of a copyright battle), Hofman seemed to have thought we needed a new super-sized animal and unveiled a giant white rabbit earlier this month at a Taiwanese art festival. Resting against a former military bunker, the huge rabbit drew a big crowd at the festival with visitors eager to get a picture with the serene-looking creature.

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Kamikiri, the amazing Japanese art of paper cutting mastered by Akira Nagaya【Photos】

Earlier this month, we talked about Japanese artist Akira Nagaya. An expert in kamikiri, the art of crafting intricate paper cutouts, Nagaya first caught our eye with his takes on classic anime icons such as Totoro, Son Goku, and Pikachu.

Japanese animation isn’t Nagaya’s only inspiration, as we can see in his other creations that capture the delicate beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons.

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These posters from the Taisho and Showa Eras are simply gorgeous!

If we could have a genie grant only one wish, it would likely be for a time machine. Even going back a mere 100 years would be fascinating, but, alas, genies aren’t real. Or, if they are, the world governments are keeping them tightly under wraps.

Fortunately, we don’t need time machines to sneak peeks back in time–all we need are some awesome, full-color posters. And these 17 posters are the next best thing to finding Doc Brown waiting outside with a revving DeLorean!

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These scarecrows look so human, they belong in an art museum【Photos】

There’s no doubt that crows are some of the smartest animals on the planet, so we have to admit that we’ve always found it kind of funny that they’re fooled by something like a scarecrow. Silly birds, those things look nothing like real humans! Unless you’re out driving around Japan’s Shiga Prefecture and happen upon Nobuou Onishi’s farm. Then even careful humans might be fooled by his incredible scarecrows.

In fact, Onishi’s scarecrows are so realistic–and have captured so much attention–that he’s been requested to create an installation for the Borderless Art Museum NO-MA in Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture. Check out some of the photos from Onishi’s farm below to see if you can believe your eyes!

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Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】

While origami is Japan’s best known paper craft, its less famous relative, kamikiri, has been around since the 19th century. In contrast to the intricate folding techniques of origami, kamikiri, literally “paper cutting,” involves creating an unbroken cutout from a sheet of paper.

Chiba-born artist Akira Nagaya is a kamikiri master, and many of his designs are inspired by centuries-old imagery such as the phoenix, fuujin wind spirits, or the Seven Gods of Fortune. Occasionally, though, Nagaya turns to more modern muses, as with these amazing kamikiri versions of some of anime’s biggest stars.

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What is this man painting? You may have to wait until the very last second to find out 【Video】

I’ve never been able to see those “magic eye” pictures. No matter how many times people tell me to “unfocus” or “relax” my eyes, I still find myself staring at a mass of dots, demanding to know (because, like a petulant child, I absolutely hate not being in on secrets) what I’m supposed to be looking at. So when I first caught this video, which shows an unnamed artist slapping white paint onto an all-black canvas on a beach in China, I assumed that it was just my noggin letting me down again when I couldn’t make out what the picture was supposed to be.

Until, that is, I reached the very end of the video and all suddenly became clear.

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Nightmare food – Artist creates shockingly colorful portraits out of junk food

British artist James Ostrer created a series of artwork titled Junk Food Portraits by layering amounts of all of our most familiar junk foods on models. The result is at once stunning yet unnerving. While these surreal images are indeed vidid, we have to admit they made us think: is this really thing kind of thing we ought to be putting into our bodies? No wonder these portraits caught the eye of so many Japanese net users!

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Creator of plastic-bottle girlfriend has new invention: brainwave-activated inflatable muscles

About a month ago, we brought you the story of artist Showta Mori and Lisako, his plastic-bottle girlfriend. Their forbidden love landed Mori in police custody for “suspicious behavior.”

Well, Mori apparently escaped incarceration because he has just released a new video in collaboration with beverage maker Suntory that promotes his latest invention: the brainwave-controlled muscle suit (ver. 3)!

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Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls

What would you get if you crossed the charming, ever-so-innocent Disney princesses with…sexy, risqué pin-up girls? Read on to see the Disney girls like you’ve never seen them before.

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Going Bananas for Bananart on Banana Day! Students create a “bananamation” movie【Video】

We know what you are thinking: “Really? There’s a Banana Day?” In Japan there is! It comes from the date “August 7″ and the way you can pronounce “8” (ba) and “7” (nana) in Japanese. The two of them read together become Banana Day, an informal holiday where the amazing powers of bananas are reviewed and admired, which is mostly achieved through nutritional campaigns that teach you fun facts like “bananas are high in potassium” and “they are good for giving you a quick boost of energy”.

In fact, an elementary school in Kanagawa Prefecture took advantage of Banana Day to squeeze in a nutrition class and, surprisingly, the kids didn’t go bananas because they had to go to school during summer vacation. Instead, the students took the day to its most artistic and clever form yet by creating a stunning video that all banana lovers should watch.

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