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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:30
bairon rivera size photography surreal

Bairon Rivera is a photographer who enjoys playing with perspective and creating illusions that both enthral and marvel the viewer. From models walking up trees sideways to digitally shrinking his subjects to the size of Polaroid cameras and autumn leaves, he is skilled at making believable surreal creations.

bairon rivera surreal photography illusion tree flying on back, suspended in air by bairon rivera bairon rivera photography smoke bairon rivera forest man suspended in air by bairon rivera photography surreal forest
All images © Bairon Rivera

Via Flickr
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Photography, Surreal"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 13:30
ben heines 3d tiger drawing

Here is something very special. Renowned digital artist Ben Heines, who specializes in 3-D drawing techniques, has gifted us with a masterclass in transforming a simple pencil drawing into a magical 3-D experience. In these images a tiger is brought to life in various stages, before creating a self portrait in the same way.

ben heines 3d drawing tiger ben heines 3d tiger ben heines 3d tiger drawing 3d drawing paper ben heines 3d portrait pencil camera 3d camera drawing pencil 3d pencil portrait ben heines
All images © Ben Heines

Via Mirror
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "3D, Anamorphic, Art, Drawing, Illusion, ..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 13:30
graphic art mountain colour by bolin zhang

The mixed media collages of Bolin Zhang get the balance exactly right between nostalgia and modernity, and between colour and black and white. The imagery may be defined by an old fashioned aesthetic but the colours that Zhang has chosen bring us right up to the contemporary age. It is a lovely combination. Enjoy!

pink digital collage digital collage bolin zhang dollar bill bolin zhang pink collage digital collage colour ink drops into typwriter by bolin zhang toddler and mom collage by bolin zhang
All images © Bolin Zhang

Via Flickr
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Art, Collage, Color, Digital Art"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 17:38
mana tide, digital art by aquasixio

From dreams to ideas roaming in minds, there are outstanding digital artists who are able to meticulously illustrate their visions to computer screens. Their imaginary worlds are great escapes from their daily lives, and also become a graphical haven for spectators. From beautiful colors, lighting to texture each image must be perfect, and convey a story or just be a pretty landscape. Here, you will find a handpicked selection of 10 works of art that will transport you to somewhere special.

Top: “Mana Tide” by Cyril Rolando (aka AquaSixio).
“Insukati Valley” by Alex Tooth.
steampunk concept by tyler edlin
“Steampunk concept” by Tyler Edlin.
“Scorched Earth” by Daniel Conway.
endless journey, digital art by rhads, sting rays flying in clouds
“Endless Journey” by Rhads.
“Aenigma-Jonada-TheLine” by Derek Weselake.
“Inside” by Mezamero.
stellar collison by kuldarleement
“Stellar Collison” by Kuldar Leement.
stellar collison by kuldar leement
“Spores” by  Vitaly S. Alexius.
farewell by Mleth
“Farewell” by Mleth.
All images © respective artists
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Art, Digital Art, Landscape"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 13:30
maya hayuk chem trail street art

The weather is getting warmer and the flowers are in bloom. Summer is truly just around the corner, which is the perfect season to appreciate the geometric, multi-colourful works of American graffiti artist, Maya Hayuk. Her recent series “Chem Trails” features her distinct bright colour palette and symmetrical line work to stunning effect. Part psychedelic, part pop culture mash-up, her large-scale murals are a joy to behold.

maya hayuk street art rainbow maya hayuk pink graffiti street art maya hayuk street artist maya hayuk chem trails chem trails maya hayuk paint maya hayuk
All images © Maya Hayuk

Via Street Art News
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Art, Color, Geometric, Graffiti, Pattern..."
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Date: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 13:46
calligraphy letters in gold on black by Niels Shoe Meulman

Having featured Niels Shoe Meulman’s calligraphy in 2012 and 2013, it seems like a good time to check up on the artist. This year he is using pearlized acrylic paint which changes colors when viewing at different angles. It is also fascinating to see images of his painting process showing the various brushstroke layers that form his eye-catching work.

the word SHOE by Niels Shoe Meulman painting calligraffiti letters pink letters by Niels Shoe Meulman Niels Shoe Meulman painting gold letters partial shot of gold letters by Niels Shoe Meulman turquoise letters by Niels Shoe Meulman purple letters by Niels Shoe Meulman
Photos © Niels Shoe Meulman
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Art, Painting, Typography, calligraphy, ..."
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 13:30
ethan nurrow moon drawing illusion

When it comes to meticulously detailed works of contemporary art, it is hard to beat Ethan Murrow for the accuracy of his stroke. Populated with classical American figures, his drawings are enigmas which possess secrets and treasures, well hidden beneath the exquisite surface.

ethan murrow black white ethan murrow pencil black white ethan murrow plane black white ethan murrow ethan murrow black white pencil
All images © Ethan Murrow

Via Huffington Post
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Art, Black & White, Drawing, Illusion, P..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 15:07
playing cards stacked pyramid by by zachary norman

A big part of Zachary Norman’s art focuses on his study and creation of optical illusions from stacked 3D cubes that appear to be falling over, to impossible objects that are crazily intertwined and messing with one’s mind. If you enjoy these images, also view the work of Fanette G. and Gianni Sarcone.

branches on black paper by zachary norman impossible object by by zachary norman 3d cubes stacked by by zachary norman playing card illusion box by zachary norman staircase illusion by zachary norman 3d shapes by by zachary norman wood framed illusion by by zachary norman
Images © Zachary Norman

Via Art Sponge
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Art, Geometric, Illusion"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 12:49
troll hunter monster movie scandinavia

As it turns out there is more to Scandinavian cinema than just Ingmar Bergman and bleak, wintry black and white films which contemplate the human condition, religion and death. A new generation of young filmmakers are challenging old stereotypes and forging exciting new ground.

The current landscape of Nordic cinema is very exciting. Some of the most talented filmmakers working right now come from the far North. Whether they’re shooting indies in their home countries or big budget dramas in the US or UK, they are making their mark. Here are 10 of the finest examples from the last couple decades.

Top: A giant troll wanders about the frozen Fjords in “Troll Hunter” (2010).
king of devil's island norwegian cinema
The frankly terrifying Stellan Skarsgård in “King of Devil’s Island” (2010).

King of Devil’s Island

This Norwegian thriller is set entirely on the infamous Bastøy Island Prison for troubled youths during WWI. It is a cold, baron place lorded over by the disciplined and ruthless warden Håkon (Stellan Skarsgård). When new inmate Erling (Benjamin Helstad) arrives he begins a rebellion amongst the other boys. “King of Devil’s Island” is a handsomely shot, historical drama that gives the audience a window into a world long since past.

let the right one in vampire eyes blood
Bloody eyes are the window into your soul in “Let the Right One In” (2008).

Let the Right One In

The little Swedish horror film that spawned both a big budget Hollywood remake and a successful theatre adaptation in the UK, “Let the Right One In” also helped to spark a worldwide interest in Nordic horror with the snowy, silent streets of Stockholm offering the perfect setting for a monster to hunt. In this case, the creature is a 12 year old vampire who strikes up a friendship with a young social outcast. Bewitching and terrifying.

the hunt mads mikkelsen
Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) and son in acclaimed Danish drama “The Hunt” (2012).

The Hunt

Director Thomas Vinterberg is best known for co-founding the Dogme movement with fellow Dane Lars Von Trier. In this slow burning thriller a Kindergarten teacher (Mads Mikkelsen) living in a small Danish village is wrongly accused of molesting his pupil. When the townspeople find out about it, they swiftly turn on him like Frankenstein’s monster in a terrifyingly realistic witch hunt.

we are the best! swedish cinema punk
A trio of punk Stockholm teens in “We are the Best!” (2013).

We are the Best!

Lukas Moodysson has a reputation in the international filmmaking community as being a bit of a depressing Swede. But that might be about to change with his upcoming release “We are the Best!” (2013). Set in Stockholm in 1982, it focuses on three outcast girls who decide to start a punk rock band. Early buzz from TIFF has been very positive.

kim bodnia nicolas winding refn gangster
Gangster thrills and drug deals going down in the vicious “Pusher” (1996).


The film that made Nicholas Winding Refn’s name as a director of highly stylized and violent art house thrillers. “Pusher” (1996) follows the exploits of a low level drug dealer (Kim Bodnia) on the streets of Copenhagen as he tangos with the cops, prostitutes and a Serbian drug lord. It is a brutal and engrossing depiction of Scandinavia’s underground drug war.

oslo august 31st
The beautiful, clever movie “Oslo, August 31st” (2011).

Oslo, August 31st

This is a film for life. It is a profoundly moving and wise drama that intelligently engages with the complexities of what it means to be human. “Oslo August 31st” spends a day in the life of recovering drug addict Anders (Danielsen Lie) as he is released from a rehabilitation centre and wonders the streets of Oslo, seeing old friends and partners. Just stunning.

Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) scrubs up well in “Headhunters” (2011).


Adapted from the bestselling novel by Jo Nesbø, this Norwegian heist drama boasts an impressive cast, including Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Set in the murky world of corporate headhunting Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) steals valuable paintings from his rich clients in order to fund a lavish lifestyle. It isn’t long before things go pear shaped, naturally. A richly drawn out and skilfully executed Scandi-thriller.

troll hunter light truck stone
The thrills of hunting and killing Norwegian Trolls a la “Troll Hunter” (2010).

Troll Hunter

This is a bit of an oddball film: a found footage faux documentary about a group of Norwegian college students tailing and filming a mysterious hunter who turns out to be a specialist in capturing and killing trolls. The result is a surprisingly believable dark fantasy film with some top notch digital effects. All the trolls look like they have stepped out of a book of menacing fairy tales. If you go down to the woods today…etc.

English actress Emily Watson in Lars Von Trier’s
English actress Emily Watson in Lars Von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves”(1996).

Breaking the Waves

Before he was known simply as cinema’s leading pervert with a string of art house torture porn flicks, Lars Von Trier made this hypnotic masterpiece. Set in the remote Scottish Highlands in the 70s, it centres on a strange young woman, Bess (Emily Watson) and her unconventional relationship with her husband, an oil worker who becomes paralysed in an accident.

after the wedding mads mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen pops up again, this time in “After the Wedding” (2006)

After the Wedding

The acclaimed Danish director Susanne Bier has made a handful of fine flicks in her home country. “After the Wedding” is one of the best. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Jan, a manager at a Mumbai orphanage who returns to Denmark for a wedding in the hopes of securing a huge donation from a Danish businessman. But it is not long before the demons from Jan’s past return to the surface in this magnetic and gripping drama.

All images © respective film studios
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Analysis, Cinema, 10films, drama, indiem..."
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 17:06
Pattern tattoo on arm by Brody Polinsky

Over the years Brody Polinsky moved on from tattooing in color to focusing on black and grey. His spontaneous mentality makes him a bit different from other artists who depend on stencils to help visualize their final designs. “I get into it by approaching each project loose to see what will manifest. The energy of the client affects the moment. I feel that spontaneity pushes me away from having a perfect stencil.” [1] This Canadian-raised tattooist is working at AKA in Berlin; and you can read a great interview with him at Sang Bleu.

hand and leg tattoos by Brody Polinsky line art tattoo cover up by Brody Polinsky pattern tattoo by Brody Polinsky photographing client's tattoos by Brody Polinsky tattoos by Brody Polinsky Brody Polinsky drawing on client's leg
Rochat, Jeanne-Salome. "Interview Between Brody Polinsky and Jenny Hoepke." Sang Bleu. Feb 1, 2014.

Photos © Brody Polinsky

Via Kamil Czapiga
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Art, Body Art, Tattoos"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 15:06
broken face album cover - adesign

If you have been waiting for the results of the A’ Design Award and Competition, the wait is now over. From 12,525 entries in 105 categories, the judges have chosen 750 winning projects (see here).

Our website Illusion has won a Platinum award for digital and broadcast media, another nod to all the hard work the team has put into this project. But of course other entrants have also spent much time and effort on their concepts and final designs, and I would like to share 10 awarded examples.

Top: The Haezer album cover by Chris Slabber.
man tearing plastic makeup from face, Haezer Album Art by Chris Slabber
The model rips off his latex make-up during the Hazer album photo shoot.

Haezer Album Art

Chris Slabber designed this album cover for electronic music band Haezer. His goal was to illustrate frequencies in the human body that want to break through the skin. His inspiration was based on Classical sculptures.

town calendar
A beautifully simple calendar by Japanese designer Tamura.

2014 Town Calendar

It is difficult to get enough of Katsumi Tamura’s cute paper calendars, he has done a number of them from animal to flower cutouts, and this year the “Town” is spot-on for a theme.

nissan calendar, art and car
Artist Kanda is all about dancing and painting at the same time.

2013 Nissan Calendar

Every year Nissan creates a calendar revolving around the tagline: Excitement unlike any other. This time they collaborated with artist Saori Kanda who expressively painted on the backdrop curtain and floor of the studio. The photos of her performance art were composed on Calendar pages by E-Graphics Communications.

hostess dress
Painting studies were made for this collection inspired by a Russian fable, “Hostess of the Copper Mountain.”

The Hostess Fashion Collection

Apparel designer Daria Zhiliaeva wanted her womenswear line to have an androgynous appearance with forms influenced from miner uniforms and Russian national costumes. There are 23 other garments, but the one shown here is the most interesting of all.

The Jazz Book Robert Nippoldt
One of the many pen drawings by Nippoldt for his elegantly composed hardcover book.

The Jazz Book

Robert Nippoldt loves music, drawing, typography and infographics, so he decided to unite his passions and make a book. It took him about two years to fully illustrate this publication which is about the early days of Jazz in New York.

Black Shadow H-E by Mark Norton Menendez
A two-wheeler that combines new technology with past era styling.

The Black Shadow Motocycle

Designed by Mark Norton Menendez, the Hydrogen-Electric Hybrid Motorcycle is a revival of vintage bikes, but, with an environmentally friendly motor. It was built with quality in mind, for example to make the tank and seat the aluminum was handcrafted like in the old days.

Motif Wine by en garde
These visually appealing bottles are directed to a modern, open-minded clientele.

Motif Wine

Instead of placing the brand name on the labels, En Garde preferred using different patterns to identify six different wines. From semi-sweet to full-bodied, each geometric motif hints the taste of the wine to the consumer.

Only Right Here Knife Holder by Alan Saga
A great use of geometric shapes to form a minimalistic looking bull. Olé!

The Bullfighting Knife Holder

Originally titled “Only Right Here” (Solo Aqui Tienes Derecho) is a kitchen item that isn’t suited for everyone. It was inspired by traditional bullfighting events that have entertained people throughout centuries in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and beyond. Designer Alan Saga created this product with focus on how mentalities have changed in regard to animal rights in the last two decades, and cultural activities like these may one day be extinct.

the conspiracy sandal
It looks almost like 3D fractal art, certainly an intriguing strappy heel.

The Conspiracy Sandal

Gianluca Tamburini’s stunning collection for Conspiracy footwear expresses luxury and style. Customization is also another characteristic, as women are able to buy add-ons to change the look of the sandal for each outing. Not all stilettos are works of art, but these are quite something!

flower bouquet wine bottle
Often the best ideas are clear and simple.

Blossom Cava Wine Bottle

Making a packaging design interactive is not always easy, but Packlab was able to give a twist to Cava’s sparkling wine bottle so that you have more to give to a special someone. It is a light and feel-good visual that will contribute to a sellable product.

If you want to participate in the next A’ Design competition, get an early bird discount on April 27 – 30, 2014.

All images courtesy of A' Design Award and Competition. Copyright respective designers and artists.
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Design, Product, Product Design"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 12:09
Sony zx100 headphone- win, giveaway

DEADLINE: April 24, 2014.

We are offering a pair of Sony ZX100 Headphones to one reader. Our give-away is open to entrants worldwide. To enter contest, please “Vote for Illusion” through the link provided on tab below.

Read Terms and Conditions

(+) View Now

  1. The closing date for entries is April 24, 2014.
  2. Anyone from any country may enter. Entrants aged under 18 years old must have the permission of a parent or guardian.
  3. Staff members of Illusion and Scene 360, supplier of prizes, and entities directly associated with the drawing are ineligible to enter this give-away.
  4. (1) reader will receive (1) Sony ZX100 DJ Style Headband Headphones (Color: White). The prize will be sent via snail mail from Illusion. Winner(s) must provide contact details such as mailing address and phone number.
  5. To enter this give-away you must apply through the widget on this page. Either click on the Facebook or Email button. All submitted emails will not be published online.
  6. The judge’s decision is final. The selection will be drawn at random.
  7. No cash or other alternative prize is available.
  8. The winner will be notified by email within 7 days of drawing. The winner must respond within 5 days from the date of the email notification attempt. If failure to respond or undeliverable email or address, the prize will be awarded to another winner. Winning entrants names will be published on Illusion and Scene 360 websites or/and email newsletters.
  9. The winner is not allowed to forward his/her prize to another person or mailing address.
  10. Prizes may take up to 30 to 120 days to be delivered.

Author: "Illusion" Tags: "Give-Aways"
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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 13:30
chloe early painting balloon

Chloe Early is an Irish born, London based artist who uses her canvases to explore the contradictions between the romantic and the gritty. Simultaneously dreamlike and unflinching, her oil paintings are a place where opposites meet, they are full of colour and space and play with abstract and collage effects in interesting ways.

chloe early woman jumping up with balloons in hand, oil painting by chloe early chloe early portrait artist chloe early painting abstract chloe early portrait chloe early

Click here to view the embedded video.

All images © Chloe Early

Via The Verge
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Abstract, Art, Painting"
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Date: Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 14:29
horse hand shake by redmer hoekstra

Dutch artist Redmer Hoekstra lets his mind wander to the point of envisioning animals fused with daily objects and human body parts. He draws these strange concepts on paper and it is quite fascinating to see the end results, such as a crocodile nail clipper, a ballerina crab (music) box and much more.

toad stones by redmer hoekstra crocodile nailclipper brain cake by redmer hoekstra orange juice squeezer for man's brain, by redmer hoekstra balerina crab box, drawing by redmer hoekstra
Artwork © Redmer Hoekstra

Via Behance
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Art, Black & White, Drawing, Illusion"
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Date: Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 13:36
religious figure, weird art by charlie immer

Step into the surreal, fluorescent wonderland of illustrator Charlie Immer. His world is one of freaky skeletons, monsters and other fantastical creatures which have sprung from the dark corners of the mind and been coated in bright colours. Inspired by everything from cartoons to video games, you can abandon reality for a while and enjoy these magical drawings.

charlie immer illustration surreal colour pink and blue paintings by charlie immer a colorful print with a weird skull by charlie immer painting by charlie immer pumpkin skull by charlie immer charlie-immer-03 paintings, whimsical by charlie immer
All images © Charlie Immer

Via Juxtapoz
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Art, Painting, Surreal"
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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 14:21
the warrior movie, fire fight scene

Warning: This article includes a violent image. Viewer discretion is advised.

In a sense, all Asian action movies kick ass—even those no-budget DTV “ninja” flicks that seemed to come out once a week in the Eighties. Ass-kicking is what defines them.

Yet there are some martial arts movies that can take on the competition and wipe the floor with it, through sheer filmmaking or fighting craft. These are the pioneering films, whose respect for past tradition or influence on the future guarantees them a key place in the genre’s history. Here are five of them.

Top: An intense fight scene in the “Warrior King” (2005).
bruce lee in enter the dragon men in colored suits watching a martial arts fight, Enter The Dragon
The legend Bruce Lee in his last movie appearance.

Enter The Dragon

After appearances as Kato in American television’s high-camp “Batman” (1966-7) and “The Green Hornet” (1966-7), US/Hong Kong citizen Bruce Lee would star in a run of features in the early Seventies that showcased his extraordinary fighting skills while popularising the kung fu movie beyond China’s borders. This culminated in Robert Clouse’s “Enter the Dragon,” both the first Chinese martial arts film to be co-produced by a major Hollywood studio (Warner Bros.), and also Lee’s final motion picture before his untimely death in 1973. Much like Jeet Kune Do, the “style of no style” that Lee founded in 1967 from a combination of different martial arts techniques and disparate philosophies, “Enter the Dragon” is a hybridised mishmash of ideologies and genres all violently resolved in no-holds-barred biffo.

On a mission all at once to assist the British authorities, to reclaim the Shaolin Temple’s lost honour and to wreak some personal vengeance, Lee (Bruce Lee) enters a martial arts tournament in order to infiltrate the illegal operations of Shaolin renegade Han (Shih Kien). What ensues is a heady blend of cod spiritualism, 007-style espionage, voguish blaxploitation, and of course clashing martial styles and sensibilities, all pitted violently against one another in an island pad that combines the Eastern and the Western, the traditional with the groovily modern. Lee’s easy takedown of giant scarred thug Oharra (Bob Hall) is unmissable, while the climactic duel with Han multiplies Lee’s immense talents in a hall of mirrors.

Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky, fire scene with main actor man punches through stomach
Riki-oh (Siu-Wong Fan) is fierce in this Hong Kong martial arts film.

Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky

There was a notorious scene in “First Blood” (1982) when Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo established his tough-guy credentials by stitching up his own arm wound. The hero of “Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky,” whose name is not so far from another of Stallone’s iconic he-man roles, goes one better: after his arm is slashed in a fight with prison ganglord Oscar, Ricky sews the wound using his own tendon for suture. Then, after having an eyeball knocked clean out of its socket, Oscar disembowels himself, using his own intestines to strangle Ricky—until the latter deals a bone-crushing deathblow to Oscar’s lower skull (shown in glorious X-ray).

Lam Nai-choi’s prison-set dystopian Manga adaptation is certainly cartoonish, not to mention ridiculously camp, but it also fully earns a Category III rating (one of the first awarded to a sex-free Hong Kong film) for its improbably gory ultra-violence. When Ricky, trained in the mystic art of qigong, strikes, typically his fist does not just make hard contact, but passes right through to the other side leaving only a gaping fleshy hole in his opponent’s body—while he is himself resistant (indeed, he embodies resistance) to all manner of lethal attacks. So as this champion of justice and freedom works his way through the ranks of a privatised penitentiary, the increasingly monstrous criminals and corrupt wardens do not quite know what has hit them—and nor, thanks to this film’s deliriously unreal excess, do we.

the warrior movie,  kick ass scene tony jaa in the protector
Kham (Tony Jaa) acrobatically kicks ass in the “Warrior King” (2005).

Warrior King

There’s a scene near the beginning of “The Warrior King” where Tony Jaa, just arrived in Sydney in search of stolen elephants, runs into Jackie Chan on his way out (actually a lookalike who has often served as Chan’s body double). Chan, who has an early bit part in “Enter the Dragon,” would dominate the kung fu genre throughout the late Seventies, Eighties and Nineties with his cheeky personality and insane stunt work—but this airport encounter represents a passing on of the baton to new blood, and a new martial art.

Jaa (the screen name of Panom Yeerum) first caught western attention in “Ong-Bak” (2003) with his acrobatic moves and punishing use of elbows and knees as weapons—but in “The Warrior King” (a.k.a. “Tom-Yum-Goong,” a.k.a. “The Protector”), Thailand’s indigenous martial art of muay thai is literally taken abroad by Jaa on a quest for missing pachyderms and appropriated national identity. Not unlike much of Chan’s own output, the film is a not always well-judged blend of queasy violence and clownish humour, but it will go down in history for an uninterrupted four-minute take in which Nattawut Kittikhun’s steadicam follows Jaa up, around and through a multi-storied club interior, taking down scores of villains single-handedly. Yet perhaps equally representative of this film’s high impact is the climactic sight of Jaa surrounded by an army of fallen black-suited opponents, all groaning from the multiple compound fractures that we have just seen him mete out.

man pulling another's leg, raid movie the raid, swat
“The Raid” is a well-shot action movie that received several film festival awards.

The Raid: Redemption

If “Ong-Bak” introduced the world to both muay thai and its extraordinary on-screen practitioner Tony Jaa, the similar “Merantau” (2009), directed by Welshman Gareth Evans, did the same for Indonesian martial art pencak silat and the powder keg Iko Uwais. Evans and Uwais followed this up with “The Raid,” an uncompromisingly brutal police siege actioner wherein Uwais’ cop Rama must crash, kick and crunch his way through a whole tenement building’s worth of baddies for reasons both professional and personal. At first vicious bulletplay is at the front, but once enemy crossfire has mowed down most of Rama’s colleagues, the guns are mostly put away and the knives and machetes come out—not to mention the fists, feet, elbows and knees.

After all, as Rama’s aptly named opponent Mad Dog (played with visceral ferocity by Uwais’ fellow fight co-ordinator Yayan Ruhian) puts it in explaining his preference for fists over firearms: “Squeezing a trigger—it’s like ordering takeout.” So while all this film’s bullet ballet is certainly intense, its real home-cooked treats are instead to be found in the unflinchingly nasty close-up fighting whose effect is greatly aided by bone-snapping foley work. With all this pummelling punishment, no doubt the four on-set massage therapists listed in the film’s closing credits were required to work overtime. The results are genre in its purest form, unperturbed by the thinness of the characterisation or perfunctory quality of the dialogue. Here, the ecstatic orgy of carnage is all.

the grandmaster, fire warm scene with man ready to fight fight scene in the rain, the grandmaster 2013
Cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd beautifully composes the look of each fight scene in “The Grandmaster” (2013).

The Grandmaster

Apparently a biopic of Ip Man, grandmaster of the Wing Chun school of kung fu, Wong Kar-wai’s deviously beautiful film brings us full circle. For while Ip Man has become something of a legend in his own right, and his life has already been celebrated (with considerable license) in Wilson Yip’s huge Hong Kong hits “Ip Man” (2008) and “Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster” (2010), the real Ip was also sifu to the real Bruce Lee in Hong Kong. Any movie about Ip Man’s life is inevitably also concerned with the history of martial arts in the cinema.

This take on Ip certainly delivers plenty of hyper-stylised, minutely controlled slo-mo fighting, set against raindrops, snowflakes or the rapid movement of trains. However, Wong continually frustrates expectation: Ip (Tony Leung) bests Grandmaster Gong Yutian in a battle as much of philosophical wits as of physical skills; Ip is then himself bested by Yutian’s daughter Er (Zhang Ziyi) in a fight that is also a flirtation; and Ip’s climactic combat, towards which the whole film seems to be building, never happens, replaced by Er’s greatest duel (shown in flashback). By the end, viewers may well be wondering who is the real “grandmaster.” Preoccupied less with brawling as an end in itself than with broader themes of time’s passage and artistic tradition, “The Grandmaster” falls into line with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Hero” (2002), and “House of Flying Daggers” (2004), elevating conventionally low-brow genre materials to the arthouse.

All photos © respective film studios
Author: "Anton Bitel" Tags: "Cinema, 5films, actionmovies, asianmovie..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 17:00
butterfly with couple's face tattoo on back by Aldona Szery

If you look closely at the image at top, you may see more than just butterflies. Polish artist Aldona Szery tattoos in a way that mimics drawing, painting, and graphic novel illustration. She predominantly inks in black and red, which are two of the first colors used in art in the Stone Age, and clearly these pigments still look great together.

woman painting style tattoo by Aldona Szery woman tattoo on arm by Aldona Szery tattoos by Aldona Szery sound waves tattoo by , by Aldona Szery bird and face tattoo, origami bird, by Aldona Szery mixed-media art and Aldona Szery tattooing a client
Photos © Aldona Szery

Via Rise
Author: "Adriana de Barros" Tags: "Art, Body Art, Tattoos"
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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 13:30
desire obtain cherish

Desire Obtain Cherish (aka Jonathan Paul) has been a key mover in the contemporary art world since the early 2000s. His delightfully satirical pop sculptures shine a mirror up to our brand obsessed society in the form of designer babies and gaudy pink poodles. With a large solo show currently on display at the Unix Gallery in New York, now is the perfect time to cast an eye back to this constant innovator.

desire obtain cherish pink poodle desire obtain cherish desire obtain cherish baby sculpture, fashion brands desire obtain cherish chanel desire obtain cherish fat teddy bear and large-scale lollipops by desire obtain cherish
All images © Desire Obtain Cherish

Via Artsy
Author: "Christopher Smail" Tags: "Art, Pop Art, Sculptures"
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 15:13
Illusion (Scene 360) nominated at the Webby Awards. Best art website

It is difficult to put in words our immediate reaction when we were notified about Illusion’s nomination for Best Art website at the Webby Awards. It was a whirlwind of excitement and shock which required some hours to let the news settle in.

The Webby Awards is known for being the Oscars of the Internet, already in its 18th ceremony, with members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences evaluating the websites. It is without a doubt a big honor to be nominated, and something we are very proud of.

Please vote for us here.

The winners will be announced on May 19th in New York City.

Below: Highlights from last year’s event.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Author: "Illusion" Tags: "Art"
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 10:52
adrian brody in the jacket movie

It is often said that movies are the closest thing we have to re-experiencing our dreams. As can often happen after eating a block of cheddar cheese before bedtime, directors can present us with perplexing movie-dreams packed to the gills with the absurd, the baffling, the confusing, the mind-melting and sometimes just the plain old WTF?

In honour of this rather fine and wacky cinematic tradition, here are ten movies made in recent times that fried our noodles, wracked our brains, defied all logic and messed with our heads.

Top: Adrien Brody as the time traveller in John Maybury6s sci-fi drama, “The Jacket.”
inception movie
Defying gravity in one of the most extraordinary sequences in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi heist thriller.


Christopher Nolan’s excellent thriller, “Inception” (2010), takes place inside the minds of people tricked into thinking their dreams are their waking life. The blurring of realities makes for a heist movie like no other, and the final shot is still debated by those who want firm answers rather than teasing ambiguity.

in absentia by quay brothers
The Quay brothers and Stockhausen crafted a frightening movie experience.

In Absentia

Animation legends the Quay Brothers and experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen collaborated on a BBC-funded short film together, “In Absentia,” in 2000. It is both the very essence of avant-garde cinema and nightmare movies. The score is creepy—a dark symphony of droning effects, blasts of feedback, electronic shrieks and demonic voices. “In Absentia” is a perfect marriage between mysterious and frightening images and haunting music.

primer movie
“Primer” will fry your brain.


Shane Carruth’s award-winning debut feature took inspiration from his years as mathematics nerd and software engineer. “Primer” (2004) was made for peanuts ($7,000) in the director’s garage and features a time travel plot that will make your brain hurt a lot. Carruth’s last film, “Upstream Color” (2013), was also deeply strange.

sexy girls in sucker punch movie
Sexist trash or girl power statement? “Sucker Punch” is loved and loathed in equal measure.

Sucker Punch

Plenty of people, maybe rightly so, loathe Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” (2011). Is it a pro-feminist, girl power statement or a horny schoolboy’s ultimate fantasy? None of it makes much sense and it is repeatedly self-contradictory—to the point where one must wonder whether Snyder himself understands his own movie? Still, there’s something charming about the lunacy of it all.

adriana brody on stretch with tape on mouth, in the jacket
The director reveals a crazy approach to time travel in “The Jacket.”

The Jacket

John Maybury’s foray into American cinema was 2005’s time-travel drama, “The Jacket,” starring Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley. As movies that play around with time and space go, it opts for a distinctly wacky premise: a man is pumped full of drugs, made to wear a straightjacket and kept inside the drawer of a morgue. He’s then able to go back in time to an earlier point in his life. Honestly, that’s what happens!

shutter island, mark ruffalo and leonardo dicaprio, movie
Martin Scorsese’s homage to American horror films is a genre joy.

Shutter Island

“Why are you all wet, baby?” One of the most unexpected lines in screen history, uttered by Ben Kingsley, is also the moment “Shutter Island” (2010) revealed its own lunatic plot twist. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is not a Boston cop on a mission to expose a mental hospital’s insidious experiments on vulnerable types, but a patient of the facility unlocking the door to his own troubled mind. Yeah, because that all makes total sense. Not.

holy motor, limos near building
A Parisian adventure like no other.

Holy Motors

A celebration of cinema and a comic-surrealist odyssey set in Paris, director Leos Carax’s madder-than-a-box-of-frogs comeback, “Holy Motors” (2013), featured a mesmeric performance from Denis Lavant as the ever-changing Monsieur Merde. Hollywood actress Eva Mendes and pop star Kylie Minogue appeared in minor roles but everybody, bar Lavant, looked a bit confused.

trash humpers movie
Actors in weird-looking masks, pretending to be old people, humping trash. It could only be a Harmony Korine movie.

Trash Humpers

Harmony Korine is well-known as a provocateur and for producing very odd work. “Trash Humpers” (2009) was greeted by critics mostly with “What the f*** did I just watch?” bafflement. Shot on crappy videotape, four actors dressed in masks that look like melting old people, misbehave and trash—and/or indeed hump—anything they can lay their dirty hands on. Is it genius or just plain ridiculous? You decide.

scary white painted man in the lord of salem
Rob Zombie’s LSD horror flick is gloriously insane!

The Lords of Salem

Ken Russell on a pogo stick hopped up on LSD. That’s how I’d describe Rob Zombie’s psychedelic horror show. A radio DJ (played by Sheri Moon Zombie) is targeted by evil witches and made to do witchy things while losing her grip on reality. You’ll either find it all brilliant or hate its stupid guts.

russell crowe yelling in Noah
Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” is the craziest Biblical epic/blockbuster ever made.


“Noah” has only just been released but deserves a place on any list of this nature. How so? The William Blake-like intensity of vision and a generally whacked-out-of-its-gourd approach to The Flood narrative is mainstream movie-making at its most daring. Darren Aronofsky has used Hollywood’s mega bucks to produce the ultimate anti-blockbuster.

All photos © respective film studios
Author: "Martyn Conterio" Tags: "Cinema, Weird, 10films, blockbusters, dr..."
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