The Marche is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The Italian name Le Marche is the plural of marca, and literally means "the Marches", originally referring to the medieval March of Ancona and nearby marches of Camerino and Fermo. The Marche are located in the Central area of the country, bordering Emilia-Romagna and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to the west, Abruzzo and Lazio to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Except for river valleys and the often very narrow coastal strip, the land is hilly. In the nineteenth century, a railway from Bologna to Brindisi linked the Marche along the coastline of the entire territory. Inland, the mountainous nature of the region, even today, allows little travel north and south, except by rough roads over the passes.
This remarkably detailed image is the first true-color shot taken by the Japan Meteorological Agency's Himawari-8 satellite. While the image is not exactly how it would appear to the naked eye of a direct human observer, the photo was taken using all 16 of the satellite's imaging bands to reproduce the "natural" look of the Earth from space, draping the planet in a richly dark palette. The geostationary Himawari-8 was deployed to collect and contribute data to the World Meteorological Organization for use in forecasting, climate analysis, and natural disaster detection, and is the first of two models developed for use by the JMA. A full 11,000 by 11,000 pixel version of the image is available on the JMA's website. Japan Meteorological Agency website via [PetaPixel], [Imgur]
Dhaka, Bangladesh-based cartoonist and graphic designer Manik N Ratan has started a fun series where his cartoon characters have been interacting with real life objects. Ratan's adorable monsters and men look like they're having the time of their lives, zooming past us in a LEGO car or figuring out how a magnifying glass works. The artist has started his own Instagram page where he's attempting to draw one doodle a day. Love how his sketches are all in black and white (or the occasional red). They make his colorful objects pop off the page. Manik N Ratan's Instagram via [DesignTaxi]
Chicago-based illustrator Alex Solis teaches us American Sign Language with the help of charming and colorful drawings. Combining photography and his cartoonish style, Solis adds small critters to pictures of hands that form different letters of the sign language alphabet. The animals playfully interact with each hand that corresponds with the first letter of their name. Solis’ imaginative drawings feature octopuses, zebras, unicorns, and many more. They cling to fingers, sleep on top of them, and rest inside palms. The octopus even wraps its tentacles around the entire hand! Thanks to the illustrator’s wonderful character design, he’s produced unforgettable creatures to associate with the signed letters. This adorable series is now a book titled Signs and Doodles. It’s available to buy through Solis’ Big Cartel shop. Above: E is for Elephant and Eagle B is for Bear
This elegant Christmas tree gracing a public square in Budapest was made from 5,000 pieces of firewood. Hungarian design firm Hello Wood created the Charity Tree as both a decoration and a practical gesture of goodwill. At the end of the holidays, the tree will be dismantled, and the firewood will be donated to charity. Workers spent about five days assembling the tree, often suspended by rappelling gear as they stacked sawed logs of tapering sizes within the cone-shaped, 35-foot wooden frame. By day, it appears that some of the log faces were painted white, reminiscent of ornaments scattered among the branches of a fir tree. By night, the tree is illuminated with festive, colored spotlights. Inside, the structure is hollow. It’s ringed by simple benches made from upturned logs. Offering solace from the streets and simplicity during a season of chaos, the Charity Tree has become a place for meditation and reflection.
Finally, it's Christmas Eve! To put you in the holiday spirit, today we've put together some of our favorite winter photos. We hope that these sweet and snowy scenes will warm your heart, on this cold day. and remind you of what a great time of year it is. What could be more beautiful than snow capped mountains and what's more enchanting than a tree filled with lights? Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone, or happy holidays! Above photo: Yen Baet Natalia Lysenco Magdalena Ginalska Nicolas Le Boulanger besttopics.net rootfun.net John Carr Adam Gibbs/p> Tracy Parker Toby Harriman Stephen Wilkes Elena Shumilova Jeff Lewis Mathayis Victoria Haack studioten25 Adam Brzoza Janez Tolar Jan Bainar Elena Shumilova Viktoria Haack
As many of us are in the midst of winter, it’s nice to see these illustrations of beautiful blooms by Aleksander Gusakov. The Ukrainian graphic designer produced a series of decorative posters highlighting colorful floral bouquets and bold text. Gusakov wove the letters between leaves and petals, and it gives the illusion that his compositions are 3D. To create these works, Gusakov used a combination of hand-crafted illustration and a computer-produced font. This provides a nice visual contrast. The flowers are realistically rendered and feature intricate details - we see every small petal. Conversely, the font is flat and graphic with no shading at all. They together form lovely images meant to adorn your walls. Aleksander Gusakov website via [Lustik]
It was another great year for installations as artists from all over the world brought out their best, most immersive work. While last year we saw Do Ho Suh's fabric replica of a house within a house and, Ai Wei Wei's 3,000 plus stacked bicycles and Yayoi Kusama's LEDs and mirrored filled room, this year we saw mud, tape and crystals being used. Of course, the installation that topped them all was Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red by Paul Cummunis, 888,246 handmade poppies surrounding the Tower of London in one of the most beautifully symbolic works we've ever seen. Now enjoy our list of the top 10 most amazing installations in 2014. We hope you had a chance to experience at least one of these, first-hand, yourself!
10. Owl Eyes by Artur Bordalo
Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, aka Bordalo II, uses mixed media to create his own interpretations of the urban landscape and environment. He often composes his works using various found items that he merges together into beautiful…
Who says that cats and dogs get to have all the fun? Meet Martin “Marty” Mouse, an adorable rodent whose big personality means a lot of adventures. Don't let the name fool you, though. He's actually a dumbo rat! Mouse is just part of his name. According to his owner, MM (Marty’s Mom), he has many interests, including a band called Marty and the Corms and dispensing advice under his Ask Dr. Marty column. Sadly, this charming, photogenic creature passed away on November 20 of this year. Thanks to social media, however, his spirit lives on through Facebook and Instagram. “He’s found an Internet connection in Heaben so he can still talk to us,” MM writes. Which is a good thing - it means we can continue to share our joy in his rodent-sized shopping cart, miniature chef’s hat, and love of a good donut. Marty Mouse website, Facebook page, and Instagram via [Pleated Jeans]
Appearing at the Amsterdam Light Festival this year is a mysterious illusion by the Romanian architecture collective visualSKIN. Titled Ghost Ship, it’s a 3D projection of a 17th century boat set against a backdrop of water. Two intersecting images project onto vertical and perpendicular planes of liquid that together, render an eerie artwork that’s viewable from many vantage points. To craft their incredible piece, visualSKIN used four water pumps mounted onto a pontoon, floated out, and positioned in the dock. The pumps create screens of water that rise about 30 feet in the air and cross at 90 degrees. It’s illuminated thanks to two old-fashioned stage lights at the side of the dock. Ghost Ship isn’t immune to the natural elements, and this only adds to the allure of the piece. Windy conditions cause it to blow and wave, making it look like a true apparition. If you find yourself in Amsterdam, there's still time view visualSKIN's handiwork. Ghost Ship is up until January 18, 2015.…
Deep in the Siberian tundra, the village of Oymyakon is widely considered to be the coldest inhabited place on Earth with an average winter temperature of −50 °C (−58 °F). New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple embarked on a two-day journey from Yakutsk, the coldest major city in the world, to the village in order to document what it's like living in an area so frigid that people risk frostbite after only a few minutes outside. Chapple's photos of Oymyakon and Yakutsk reveal some surprising things about life in the unforgivably cold region. In Oymyakon, villagers rely on a diet of primarily meat, since crops and fresh produce cannot survive the brutal temperatures. The frozen ground makes it difficult to maintain indoor plumbing, so most toilets are outhouses. Cars must be kept running while outside, or else stored in heated garages. Very few people linger outside, instead rushing inside for warmth and light, so the landscape outdoors often appears lonely and desolate. Although…
Slava Fokk’s retro paintings depict feminine characters in a stylized world of bygone eras. The artist defines his female figures by painting exaggerated cheekbones, dramatic eyes, angular chins and arching eyebrows. Drawing from a vintage palette, the Moscow-based artist forms an environment for his characters from flat color blocks contrasted with pops of texture and depth. This offsetting element often takes the form of richly detailed flowers, leaves or lace. Repetitive, vintage wallpaper-like patterns also make frequent appearances. Although most of Fokk’s work was created between 2012 and 2014, his style recalls art deco-style advertisements, which came in vogue after World War I. As seen in his work, the artist favors avant-garde and surrealist techniques, paying attention to elements of design and juxtaposition.
From December 5-8 earlier this month, the city of Lyon in France was illuminated by dazzling light displays for the 2014 Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights). Continuing the annual tradition that dates back over a century, 4 million visitors flocked to Lyon to marvel at the luminous outdoor art gallery spread all over the city. With over 70 stunning, site-specific installations this year, there was plenty to see, including an impressive projection-mapping installation on the facade of the Cathedral Saint-Jean, a cosmic journey formed by thousands of illuminated globes, and giant glowing puppets that interacted with the festival attendees. To see more of the specially commissioned light installations, be sure to check out the festival's website. Above: Laniakea by Simon Milleret-Godet, Jérôme Donna Photo by G.J. Plisson
Color or Not by Yves Moreaux Photo by Frédéric Guignard-Perret
Inspired by the beauty of Renaissance paintings, German photographer Rebecca Rütten puts a spotlight on contemporary fast food culture in her series Contemporary Pieces, rendering greasy burgers and takeout containers in the dramatic lighting and classical style of the Old Masters. Elegant aesthetics and unhealthy, calorie-laden meals are juxtaposed in these portraits and still lifes, drawing attention to disparities between social classes and the food they can afford to eat. "In the Late Renaissance, Italian and Dutch painters dealt with the middle and lower classes," Rütten writes in her artist statement. "In my opinion, Fast Food Culture represents these two social classes in the United States today. To eat healthy is expensive. However, one can buy large amounts of food at a fast food restaurant for a comparatively low price." The photographer asked her friends—some of whom have tattoos and piercings, underlining their identities as "children of the modern age"—to model for her,…
Wedding photography has become breathtakingly beautiful, especially for those couples that don't mind getting a little wet. More and more, brides and grooms along with their daring photographers have stepped out into the snow or rain to capture stunning wedding photos. The use of natural or artificial light from behind creates a romantic look while creating a dreamy, ethereal effect on the couple. Hoffer Photography claims to have brought this backlit photo trend to wedding photography saying, "It’s been flattering to see how the photography community has embraced the backlit rain trend. While we’ve never claimed that we invented backlighting rain, we’re happy to have been the start of the wedding photography trend. We’ve seen some amazing photos using the technique and it’s been really fun to see what people are trying. Who would have thought that when Maria & Eric decided to take one last shot in the parking lot, it would result in a whole new photography trend." (Pictured…
Vienna-based photography studio Staudinger + Franke's series Barrier consists of stunning portraits of women separated from the viewer by a barrier of water. Simple in concept but executed to perfection, the images put a unique spin on the trend of underwater photography. Ripples of water distort the faces of the women, transforming their visages into beautiful canvases of reflected light and motion. Their features blurred by almost sculptural swirls and waves, the subjects are turned into otherworldly creatures of the deep, their gazes both serene and hauntingly piercing. Staudinger + Franke website Staudinger + Franke on Behance via [JedaVu Art]
California-based Black Market Bakery recently served up this delightful rendition of the Star Trek “Starship Enterprise.” In this multiple-component gingerbread creation, discs of gingerbread are decorated with detailed candy accents and icing serial numbers. Peppermint sticks form a laser beam suspending the ship in the atmosphere. On the base of the piece, marshmallows and candy canes create a frozen-looking tundra as the Enterprise hovers above. The elaborate gingerbread sculpture is now on display at the bakery’s shop in Costa Mesa.
It's been a good year for funny art and photo projects. Creatives, you made us laugh with your sly Photoshop tricks, and you made us double over with laughter with your cute and clever comics. That's why we're looking back on the year and picking out our 22 most hilarious projects. Though you may think we use the word "hilarious" loosely, we challenge you to take a look at these and not laugh out loud yourself. Our favorites are the celebrity makeovers, as you can tell by our cover photo. Enjoy!
Bear Baubles by Mike Kennedy and Pauline Ashford
Awkward Family Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack
Cute animal comics by Liz Climo
Stuff Being Thrown at My Head by Kaija Straumanis
Peppy the Inspirational Cat by October Jones
Des Hommes et Des Chatons (Men and Cats) posing the same way
@TheEllenShow Oscar® Selfie: A wider view. #thesimpsons." selfie by Matt Groening
Sloths replace humans by Matt Tucker
Will It Beard by Stacy and Pierce Thiot of Red Poppy…
Chicago-based artist Bruce Riley uses resin and paint to create vibrant, abstract shapes that blossom organically across large-scale panels. Pools of resin form the base of his striking creations, while drips and broad strokes of paint are layered endlessly in mesmerizing patterns that catch the light in interesting ways. Psychedelic and spontaneous, the paintings can grow to resemble anything from dreamlike visions to cellular, microscopic landscapes. Riley emphasizes the importance of movement and exploration in the process of creating his works. "You’re always investigating. It’s not about an end result," he says. "The paintings aren’t about specific things. They’re all about kind of the same thing. I’m not really trying to define any ideas, I just let it flow."
Bruce Riley's website Bruce Riley on Flickr via [WeTheUrban], [Colossal]
World-renowned architect Zaha Hadid has unveiled plans for her first project in Brazil—a luxury apartment complex overlooking Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Called Casa Atlântica and located on Avenida Atlântica, the 11-story building will house 30 exclusive residences, a spa, a cinema, and a rooftop pool. Hadid's signature aesthetic of sweeping curves is apparent in the design of the building, with a striking facade that resembles skeletal vertebrae. "Casa Atlântica's design continues the liberating formal composition and spatial flow inherent within Brazil's rich Modernist tradition and engages with the unique tempo and vitality of Copacabana's urban beach culture, as well as the fluidity of its renowned Burle Marx promenade," Hadid's studio says. The project was commissioned by Brazilian entrepreneur Omar Peres, who reportedly gave Hadid free reign over the design. Construction of Casa Atlântica is expected to begin in March 2015. Zaha Hadid Architects website via…
Daniel Cheong’s surreal cityscape photos capture some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers engulfed in fog. The photographer stakes out incredible vantage points in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to shoot the tops of ghostly gray buildings as they puncture the thick carpet of fog. Because the intense fog typically occurs at the change of the seasons, capturing these photos requires patience and planning. Cheong studies weather patterns, waiting for ideal conditions. Once the natural elements seem to align, he ascends to 70th- and 80th-floor skyscraper levels to achieve the unique perspective and lets his shutter fly down at the clouds. Cheong’s photos are created through blending multiple exposures of a scene into one composite image. This technique lends depth, a sense of movement and an augmented spectrum of color to the images. “'Straight out of the camera' is a concept which I am not familiar with,” the photographer says on his website. “I don't pretend to show reality,…
For the past 20 years, British photographer Peter Thorpe has upheld the festive tradition of dressing up his dog as different animals and characters for holiday-themed photo shoots. Instead of using Photoshop, Thorpe builds elaborate sets and props, assembles creative costumes, and uses treats to coax his dog into posing for a few pictures, which are then turned into delightful cards that he sends to family, friends, and clients. Over the years, he has transformed Paddy, and now Raggle, into a mouse, a turkey, one of the Wise Men's camels, Ebenezer Scrooge, and many more seasonally appropriate creatures. "2 dogs, 3 children and now over 20 Christmas's later, making these cards has become something of a family tradition and a lovely record to treasure," Thorpe says. "The fun for me, has been choosing to continue to create these traditionally rather than with Photoshop, by making my own sets + props and using a fair bit of food bribery!" Sadly, the photographer announced that Raggle…
To commemorate 2014, both good and bad, Beutler Ink created an amazingly-detailed graphic highlighting some of the most newsworthy things of this year. The Washington, DC-based digital content agency gave a nod to Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel movie poster and cross sectioned it with celebrities, news headlines, and even emojis. This creative illustration features a lot of entertainment, like Ellen’s star-studded Oscar selfie and Kim Kardashian’s infamous, Internet-breaking Paper magazine cover. But, it doesn’t shy away from 2014’s more serious events. Beutler covers the Ebola outbreak and protests for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, too. The brimming cartoon-style image is a great way to reflect on the year. With so many headlines, tweets, videos, and more, it seems incredible that these things all happened in 365 days. Check out Beutler Ink’s blog for a full list of everything included in this illustration. Beutler Ink website via [Lustik]
A recently completed floating greenhouse named Jellyfish Barge provides clever green space and a magical riverside glow. The barge’s octagonal structure is comprised of a network of floating barrels and wooden and plastic spokes. Small potted plants are held secure when slid into holes in the spokes. This innovative greenhouse does not rely on traditional farming resources such as fields of soil and environmentally taxing freshwater irrigation systems. It is powered by only solar, wind and tidal energy. The project, commissioned by Italian design firm Studiomobile, took about five months to finish. Aside from its beautiful design that includes a built-in deck around the perimeter, the greenhouse was created with urban growth and dwindling land resources in mind. Its raft-like nature gives city dwellers inventive space to cultivate crops and contribute positively to the community’s health.
Nestled within a rock fall field on the Swiss alps sits Antoine, a cabin that resembles a large boulder. It was designed by the studio Bureau A, and the cozy interior space features some of the basics: a bed, fold-out table, stool, fireplace, and windows. But, just looking at the outside, you’d never know to go in because it’s perfectly camouflaged among the surrounding environment. The inconspicuous nature of Antonie was inspired by the long-standing Swiss tradition of hidden bunkers and military infrastructure. In addition, it’s a tribute to the alpine experience as well as the words of French philosopher Paul Virilio. His 1975 writings spoke of bunker archaeology and the principles of camouflage. These themes fascinate Bureau A, and they’ve translated them into a mysterious concrete building whose well-crafted exterior doubles as a work of art.
Bureau A website via [Lost at E Minor and designboom]
Rena Detrixhe collected thousands of seeds in Lawrence, Kansas, and she stitched the unlikely art materials into an amazingly delicate tablecloth with a lace-like pattern. In her project titled Heirloom, the seeds form gentle star, flower and pinwheel patterns. As the sheer fabric cascades down from the tabletop, the seed design seems to hover in the air. The artist describes herself as a “hunter and gatherer of materials.” She says she views nature as fine art, drawing inspiration from natural elements and creating projects that deflect attention back to the earth and humans’ relationship with it. Detrixhe’s motivation behind this particular project stems from a desire to dialogue about the intersection of art and the environment. “The table and cloth were created to exist as a stage or platform,” the artist says on her website. “As part of its exhibition, individuals were invited to participate in a round-table discussion including environmentalists, ecologists, biologists, artists,…