"Ewok and _____" an art series art series where I take photos of an ewok action figure in front of artworks. Most of the photos posted in the series are taken in front of the artworks at my parents home. However, I did some in Paris on our honeymoon. I'll post the Paris Ewok photos soon.
Does your city have touristy things that you've never done? Chicago has a lot of that. One of the tourist attractions is the 50 foot tall public art sculpture by Picasso. The angled base made of Cor-Ten steel makes for a great slide. Children are always running up the base and sliding down.
I never thought of sliding down the base, because only kids do it. But today was a different day.
After picking up parking passes across the street at Chicago's City Hall, I crossed over and walked up to the Picasso. Never having sat down on the pedestal around the Picasso, I figure it would be a good experience for me as a public artist. I sat down for about ten seconds and realized that I want to slide down the Picasso with the few other kids doing it.
In my tie and work clothes, I climbed up the Picasso slope. The surface was much more smooth than I imagined. Perhaps it was my treaded-out dress shoes. Successfully reaching the top, I sat down and slid down on my butt. It was fun. I though maybe I wouldn't be able to slide down, but i went along just fine. It was so much fun that I did it three more times.
An army of caterpillars somehow got onto the median of a busy tourist street in Chicago. How was such an unusual sight discovered? Why through origami butterflies, of course!
Being freshly married two weeks ago, we have about four hundred extra origami butterflies that we didn't use in the wedding reception. This army of butterflies will be slowly released upon the city of Chicago over the next few months.
The 400 origami butterflies of deep purple, lavender, and gold paper match nicely with with the purple and gold sunflowers in the garden medians of a major traffic thoroughfare in downtown Chicago's shopping district, Michigan Avenue. The photos for this setting turned out alright. The sunflowers were slightly burnt from the hot 100-degree weather days earlier. Looking for some better sunflowers on the medians, I delicately danced along the median with cars zooming past.
Many striped caterpillars were all clustered together feeding on the greenery. These caterpillars will big, fat, and striped. An amazing site to see them clinging to the leaves as the wind from the zooming traffic blew the branches left and right.
So not only would fate have it that the flowers in the gardens matched the colors of the origami butterflies in my hand, but there were actual live caterpillars on the plants!
The very symbolism for why we used butterflies in our wedding was right there! The transformation of caterpillar to butterfly! I placed a gold origami butterfly next to one of the caterpillars and happily shot photos and videos. Cars were honking and I was hopping in delight.
Here's a 51-second simple video of the origami next to a caterpillar with the traffic wind blowing the plant around.
With the Stanley Cup in the news again as Chicago won its third Stanley Cup in six years, Chicago's Adler Planetarium made an infographic revealing that 429,305,338 Stanley Cups stacked on top of one another would reach the Moon.
IGN lists a few items you can buy for $500 million:
* 7 of Vincent Van Gogh's most expensive paintings ever sold. Total Cost: $408 million
* Launch the Space Shuttle into space, burning 900,000 gallons of fuel. Cost: $450 million
* Feed 1 million hungry families for a year. Cost: $480 million.
* 6 Private Islands, totaling 9957 acres of land. Cost: $496 million.
The Muppets comic book (2009-2012) is EXCELLENT! If you like the Muppets, go to your nearest comic book store and pick up the compilation, "The Muppets Omnibus." (or get it from Amazon) It's seriously one of the best comics to ever come out. The Muppets are a perfect fit for the comic book format. The Muppets show was about different little performances. Each of these performances fit very well into a spread on a comic book. Each spread, or each page in the comic book is one of those performances. And then every issue has a thread going througout it, just like in the tv show.
Muppets the Comic Book. Pick one up! It won't disappoint. Oh i should also say, do not accidentally pick up the Muppets Robin Hood comic book also out now. That comic book, well, I don't want you to accidentally pick up the Robin Hood version, stick to the regular Muppet Show comic book.
Here's what The Muppets Omnibus collects together:
* The Muppet Show (2009) 1-4
* The Muppet Show Comic Book: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson (2009) 1-4
* The Muppet Show Comic Book (2009) 0-11
* The Muppets (2012) 1-4
This collection has 600 pages of Muppets goodness.
Crowd control gates lined the streets of Michigan Avenue outside Tribune Tower. The kickoff to the NFL Draft in Chicago was supposed to be huge. Such a large crowd was expected that people were going to be spilling over into the street. The sun was shining. The court was filled with NFL Hall of Famers and top prospects.
I want to be pro-Chicago and declare this event fantastic. Chicago should host more events like this, but Pioneer court was nearly empty. A handful of people showed up, just enough to line up in front of the stage. The first time in 51 years that the NFL Draft was happening in Chicago, and right outside my work window in the Tribune Tower. I had to go down and check it out in person.
The crowd was thin enough where I was able to walk right up to the front and watch. About a dozen NFL Hall of Famers were announced, the crowd didn't seem to know any of them. I didn't. Except when Dick Butkus was introduced. Then people started to take photos.
With the fantastic architectural backdrop, I took a pano sweeping from the jumbotron displaying Butkus' name along to the stage and the crowd. I got lucky with the photo, because with panoramics, you never quite know the exact moments when it will pick up certain actions. But I just so happened to get the frame where he was shaking hands with the MCs.
Maybe the event was not very well attended, because it was in the middle of a workday on Wednesday, a bit chilly outside. Even though the stage was being set up for a good week before the event, there were no signs saying the day and time of when the actual introduction was taking place.
Just as soon as they introduced the dozen prospects, the event was over. But not before the mysterious voice on the speakers asked all the Hall of Famers and prospects to stand up with the crowd and take photos with the crowd. The players were very confused and hesitantly stood up thinking they were supposed to mingle with the crowd. Instead they all just stood nervously for a minute until the voice came back on the speakers thanking them.
Then all the players walked off the stage, probably wondering if maybe this event would be been better hosted by a local high school where you would at least have a few hundred, or maybe even a few thousand yelling teenagers. Instead you had a few tens of business people walking back to their jobs, looking at the cell phones and the photos they just obligatorly took (including myself).
Here's hoping the other events that take place in Grant Park will be more well attended.
The Tribune Tower has many locked doors leading to secret closets. Walk down any hallway, and you are sure to encounter a locked door that leads to a mysterious place. One of these such doors is on the 14th floor of the Tribune Tower where I have worked for 15 years. While going home late Friday night, this door that I have NEVER seen open, was actually swung wide open. Why would this door be open?
Since the mystery door was open, I was curious what was inside. Lo and behold there is a sink with standing water, which I'm assuming is a janitor's sink. Hence, this closet is a janitor's closet. Around the corner in the closet is a large water valve.
A water main break in the Tribune Tower on Friday caused Building Services to shut off all the water during the day. The door to this mystery was open, so Building Services could have access to this valve.
But perhaps one of the greatest mysteries revealed was seeing one of my photos hanging up inside the closet. The tape holding the photo has yellowed, and the print itself is pretty wrinkled from water damage--most probably from the janitor's sink.
How does one of my photos get put on display in a Tribune Tower janitor's closet?
Then someone noticed this print in the recycling and appreciated it so much, this person took it out of the recycle bin. Wanting to display this fine photography, this person hung it up in the janitor's closet. Every time the mop water is cleaned out, my image of the Tribune Tower hangs watching onward to the delight of the Tribune Tower cleaning crew.
At least that's how I imagine the reason for why one of my photos is hanging up inside this mystery closet.
Parked and waiting was the infamous Puppet Bike. Strips of the Carina Nebula in my hand, I was looking for poles and other items to wrap the Nebula around. What great felicity to run into one of Chicago's most famous mobile works of street art.
The Puppet Bike has given me great enjoyment on many occasions, but I never walked and touched it, for this is a beloved part of Chicago. The opportunity was to great to pass up as the bunny puppet performers inside the bike would surely love to go on an intergalactic ride. My Star Wraps are completely non-destructive, so I felt ok to give the Puppet Bike the star treatment.
The chrome handlebars were the obvious choice, but which wrap should I use? Each NASA image gets cut into eight slices, resulting in a variety of images to select from. Given the Puppet Bike's intense colors, a wrap with vivid crazy color would be very fitting. Having learned from yesterday's tree wrap, I positioned the wrapping so a hero star would be most prominent in the composition.
The Puppet Bike brings so much out of this world joy to people, I'm glad to have contributed just a little bit to the entertaining piece of street art.
Every artist has their go-to methods when creativity runs dry. Tools like sketchpads. Working in locations like coffee shops. For me one of my methods is to make artwork to place on the front of Tribune Tower.
149 rocks from around the world are embedded on the exterior of Tribune Tower in Chicago. One of those rocks is a tiny ledge from the Royal Castle in Stockholm Sweden. Sitting on a busy tourist-filled sidewalk, this is perfect podium to hold tiny works of art for people to discover. I like to frequently place artwork here. This is one of my creativity buster go-tos.
If you leave artwork in a certain area enough times, that place becomes your gallery.
Originally I envisioned the paper hanging off the ledge like a tongue. But as I stood in front of the ledge with paper in hand, it was clear this strip of stars should be laid along the width of the ledge.
Honestly, the image wasn't THAT compelling. Sure, it's interesting seeing a random piece of paper with stars on it, but... uh, ok, what is really being said here? I guess it's cool how the texture of the stars mimics the texture of the sandstone. As many stars in the sky as there is sand on the beaches. But the paper just sits there. Limp. Not sure of itself.
I left walking away thinking that maybe these strips can be wrapped around the poles inside Chicago's CTA commuter trains. Or around fence poles. Against the foggy sky the Michigan Avenue trees were asking to have some art wrapped around their stark branches. A perfect place to wrap the Galaxy around!
With my bad back, I climbed a top the damp sidewalk planter containing the trees to install a starwrap print around an aesthetically pleasing branch. The backdrop is wonderful at his location with the limestone Michigan Avenue bridgetowers.
My first wrap wasn't so successful as it was a darker section of the Andromeda Galaxy. The foggy sky had a light exposure which made taking photos tricky. Thankfully I can cut about 8 strips from one 11 x 17 print. After doing some climbing around, I finally took this shot:
The placement of the star burst was completely unintentional when I was wrapping the branch. But the star totally stood out as I was photographing it, I decided to make it the hero of the photo. That star helps to identify the photo as being one of many stars.
It's amazing that something so massively huge like a galaxy would wrap something small like a single tree branch. The contrast of scales is wonder-spoking (yes, I made up that word). Plus, with the close-style of photography, the texture of the tree branch is captured. You get a true sense of what that branch feels like, and its size. The photo reveals the truth of the branch. Yet, it's wrapped by a galaxy--one with a texture all its own.
I'm excited to start wrapping more galaxies around other items in public. Perhaps the images I use can even feature different photos from NASA. Train pole wrapped by Orion Nubula. Fence pole wrapped by Pillars of Creation.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looked down at the soil on the western rim of Endeavour crater to capture this raw image from its panoramic camera during the rover's 2,686th Martian day, or sol, of work on Mars (Aug. 14, 2011). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU
An impressive show was put on by this year's batch of BFA students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The expansive seventh floor of the Louis Sullivan Building on the State Street housed more than 300 artists' work by students completing undergraduate degrees this spring.
One artist's work in particular stood out. A series of seven QR codes printed on white paper hung on a black wall. Doesn't sound too exciting at first. Since I have a curious obsession with QR codes, this particular work actually drew me in. Scanning the first code, it translated to, "no one likes you"
When we encounter QR codes, normally you get some promo website. This simple, hurtful message was startling.
Scanning another code, it brought up, "you have pretty eyes but your fat"
These insults were shocking given the simple presentation on the wall. What is the artist intending here? That the viewer's feelings are hurt? That sort of feeling is exactly the point. The artist Josi Yingjiao Pei created this series to highlight the destruction that cyberbulling causes.
These seven QR codes were actual online messages sent to teens who eventually committed suicide. Pei's artist statement:
Josi Yingjiao Pei
The Invisible Scar; 2015
The Invisible Scar is a study that examines the manifestations of cyberbullying and teen depression. Cyberbullying happens when people use electronic technology to harass, threaten or embarrass each other. It is even worse than the traditional schoolyard bullying since it can occur seven days a week at any hour. By using search engines, I found many teens that committed suicide due to endless bullying messages they received via emails and social networking sites. Each QR code corresponds to one single victim, and the texts behind the QR codes are actual messages and comments I found on line that relate to the death of the teens. The installation is a memorial to seven of these young victims. By interacting with The Invisible Scar, the viewer turns into an experimenter, observing and feeling the actual impact that cyberbullying has on individuals.
I encourage people online to scan all QR codes. The messages are very somber, and truly hit the emotions of how awful cyberbullying is. The words are so devastating, I don't want to repeat them on my this blog post. You truly need to experience scanning in the codes and seeing the results.
Doing this act of scanning in the codes with your phone connects the viewer with impact that these messages are digital. Phrases that are tossed around on social media sites that destroy people's lives.
This is one of the best uses of QR codes I have ever seen. The medium works so incredibly with the message. Josi Yingjiao Pei's website, josipei.com shows a few of her other works that carry her themes of memory, loss and displacement (Pei uses those three words to describe her work). From photographs of landslides in the Donghekou Village of China to melting glaciers in Alaska projected onto a human body, Pei's body of work is already looking very mature for an undergrad student. I can't wait to see what future works she will be creating.