A fun little collection of stuff I like.
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Nighttime in Tokyo

Japan is a country full of amazing art. Some of it is housed within museums and galleries while others are right underneath our feet. Just about anywhere in the country you can find stylized manhole covers, each more beautiful and intricate than the next. 

Montreal based A’shop crew is an artist-run production company that creates graffiti murals, street art, and other public art displays. Most of their work is heavily influenced by graffiti but has also found inspiration elsewhere like their 2011 piece titled Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (top) that borrows from the art nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha. 

Can I have it?

Since 2006 artist Joe Mangrum has taken to the streets of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere armed with sacks of colored sand that he sprinkles by the handful to create sprawling temporary paintings. Each work is spontaneous in its design and evolves as Mangrum works, spending upwards of 6-8 hours hunched over the ground to complete each piece.

Each image begins with 8mm or 16mm camera film strips which he lays down in rows to create a larger surface that effectively acts as a single piece of film. Park then exposes two images in a large format 8×10″ camera using sets of vertical and horizontal strips which are woven together to create a final print. Seung Hoon Park

Polish artists Sainer and Bezt, collectively known as Etam Cru, paint large scale murals of surreal and frequently humerous subjects in locations mostly around Eastern Europe. 

The world’s largest nature aquarium and aquatic plants layout competition is the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) which annually ranks hundreds of competitors from around the world with Asian and Eastern European countries generally dominating the top slots. While it’s somewhat difficult to track down galleries of winners from every year, above are some amazing entries from the last few years.

In the midst of our daily binge of emailing, Tweeting, Facebooking, app downloading and photoshopping it’s almost hard to imagine how anything was done without the help of a computer. For Venezuelan artist Rafael Araujo, it’s a time he relishes. At a technology-free drafting table he deftly renders the motion and subtle mathematical brilliance of nature with a pencil, ruler and protractor. Araujo creates complex fields of three dimensional space where butterflies take flight and the logarithmic spirals of shells swirl into existence. He calls the series of work Calculation, and many of his drawings seem to channel the look and feel of illustrations found in Da Vinci’s sketchbooks. In an age when 3D programs can render a digital version of something like this in just minutes, it makes you appreciate Araujo’s remarkable skill. You can see much more here. (via ArchitectureAtlas)

New York-based photographer Sean Lynch was in Nepal in September and captured these surreal, infrared photographs of Nepal. The photos were taken in the Annapurna Himalayan Range but their unique, reddish quality makes them look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. You can see the entire set over on his tumblr site dorialusium.

Time can be a difficult variable to visually convey in still photography, both the length of time an exposure takes or a series of photos meant to depict the passage of time can be somewhat ambiguous without a written explanation. In his latest series, Time is a dimension, Singapore-based photographer Fong Qi Wei (previously) explores just that idea by shooting landscapes from a stationary position over a 2-4 hour period and then digitally slicing the images to create a layered collage. He shoots at sunset or sunrise to obtain a wide variation in light and then carefully cuts each image to reveal incremental timeframes.

Part tribute, part conceptual photography, part exploration of costume and set design, Wonderland is an ongoing series of portraits by UK photographer Kirsty Mitchell. After the loss of her mother in 2008, Mitchell found herself in need of a creative outlet to grapple with the emptiness that often follows the death of a loved one. To fill the vacuum, Mitchell began to revisit fragments of fairy tales her mother would share with her as a child and decided to use them as a starting point for a series of elaborate portraits that would make use of her background in fashion design and costume making. The resulting images would form a storybook without words, a sort of visual narrative that people might project their own stories onto.

Everything you see in Mitchell’s photos from the costumes to the sets have been sewn, painted, glued, and assembled completely by hand, requiring up to five months of preparation. By the time of each photoshoot, which generally happens in the woodlands around her home, an elaborate scene has been constructed that the photographer says is akin to a miniature movie set, complete with lighting and assistants, let alone her absurdly patient models.