Re-using old books and creating amazing art works

It’s Friday. As the school day ends I have been looking around pinterest and the wider web community for images. I am always looking for interesting views of books and/or libraries and I was very pleased that I came across a 2012 post by Pinar (@mymodernmetArtist), 5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain – My Modern Metropoli

The post offers some photos and explanation about how she did it as well as a video of the amazing sculptures by Spanish-based artist Alicia Martin. The Biografias (translated as Biographies) project used 5,000 books in each of three site-specific sculptures, all based in historic buildings in Madrid. You can see how the sculture works in the video below.

I also came across the following site this week that had some great artisitic uses for old books. I am not sure if I could actually bring myself to cut and re-use the books in some of these ways but I am impressed by what these artists did.

Re-Use of Books = Art is from the Inspiration Green site . There are some great photographs in here showing how artists have re-used old books to create some amazing art, including some more by Alicia Martin and the very creepy image by Waldo Lee (Walee)

Waldo Lee, aka WALEE

So some more images to add to Pinterest board.


Book covers – a history

I recently found the Cover Archive by Alexander S. Budnitz.

I am always fascinated by the covers chosen for books and how why they change with new reprints and editions. The styles over the years also changed with the societal changes. There are some lovely early covers and some of the 1960’s and 70’s covers now appear to be just plain awful/garish to me.

This is a great site that displays the changing styles in book covers from the early 1920’s up to the present day, and it shows not only how they developed but also how many of those from a particular period were so similar in style.

This archive is about graphic design. I’ve attempted to label each cover with a date and, where possible, a designer (or design firm). The designs are the publisher’s property, and are here as an educational tool and as things to be enjoyed.

There were many covers were not familiar to me, even into later ones but that is to be expected because these were covers for the US editions and until recently we had little access to them as our editions were from the “Commonwealth” publishers. It is well worth having a look at the site that is constantly being updated.

Use the drop-down navigation above to browse covers by year, by select designers, and by other more ‘synthetic’ categories. Only the ‘Time Flies’ chronological section is fully updated. There are well over 1,000 covers in the archive. I keep adding to the collection, but can only ever represent a fraction of what’s out there.

Using the drop down list, the covers from 1900-1949:

Sculptris: 3D modeling software

Tonight I have had some fun playing with a new tool. I will not be putting in my creation just yet as I need to do some work on them. At the moment they look more like something out of an alien movie.

From the Sculptris image library

From the Sculptris image library

The program I downloaded was called Sculptris. It is free 3D modeling software for Windows (there is no Mac option). Sculptris is designed to create models of sculptures and 3D objects with an almost hand-made aspect. It allows you to sculpt a figure in three dimensions,is based on a ball. It is really very simple and reasonably intuitive to use and requires no special knowledge of 3D modeling. I simply started to shape  the “ball” with the different tools just as though it were a block of clay.

The designer, Tomas Pettersson, created this application for his own enjoyment as a hobby and it is free. He does envisage developing it further and states that any donations to him would be used to help him fix any problems.  It amazes me that someone has spent so much time and effort creating these tools and are willing to share them with us.

It is an amazing tool and to get a better idea of how it works have a look at the videos below. They show, in a much more effective way than I can put into words, just how to create images using this program.

This looks as though it might be a good tool for students in the visual arts area. They could use this program to design models for claymation models or sculpture projects. I haven’t used it a lot but it might also be useful in other subject areas where models could be created such as geography, geology and science.

Steampunk links

Since first hearing about Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan about 6 months before it was published I have been looking up more information about the “steampunk” concept, trying to get a better understanding of the literature that has been classed as “steampunk”. The Steampunk librarian’s blog is an interesting site to read that gives you many links to all things “steampunk” as is the blog Steampunks links. Recently the later site highlighted art by James Ng. I really liked his artwork but it has information about many other visually interesting sites as well .

Another  site I really like is The Steampunk Workshop. It has some great posts and offers all sorts of interesting ideas and projects. Working in a school populated by teenage boys, it is a great site to get their attention. There are links to many things”steampunk”, from links to literature and reviews, projects, technical links , ephemera (that includes all manner of things that have caught the author’s attention) and even music.

The projects the author, Jake Von Slatt, takes on, ranging from the Steampunk keyboard to the Victorian camper to the Victorian PC, are amazing. I am not sure how he thinks up his ideas but as this photo is from a post about creating a “steampunk” PC  it is all quite fascinating. 

Steampunk PC

This is a comprehensive site that also features many other people’s works and anything else the author discovers. It is a good site to keep tabs on to get solid overview of whatever is happening in the steampunk community.

On-line Exhibition – Ansel Adams at 100

I have always liked photography and have been to many exhibitions, with B&W photographs being my favourites. Ansel Adams is one photographer in whom I have always been interested. From a tweet, I was put onto the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art‘s recent exhibition of works by Ansel Adams.


You can still see some the great Ansel Adams content on the museum’s website, just look for Ansel Adams at 100. This is an interactive exploration of the work by Adams’s. You can click on any image in the display to learn about the processes he used in capturing the image and sharing the image with the world. There are also a number of  instances that you can hear audio recordings of Adams talking about a particular photograph. 

For an added bonus on the site are the  eight short videos (7 with Ansel Adams himself talking about his work.)

For anyone interested in photography, especially teaching it, this make a great resource.

Street Art – Berlin

In the past few years many of our students develop a great interest in street art/graffiti/urban art and artists such as Banksy are studied intently. There is some amazing and vibrant art found in the streets, although I can’t stand tagging, which is an eye-sore and a pain in the neck.  The Dark Roasted Blend site had some interesting examples of street art here.

From the Culture Now site I received some information about a new source for urban art. Adidas recently decided to sponsor the Urban Art Guide. It uses iPhone applications to identify places where you can find interesting/unusual/famous street art in the city of Berlin. On the 20th of March the Urban Art Guide will be launched. It looks to be a really interesting addition to the art resources.

The YouTube trailer gives you just a taste and looks really interesting. The idea behind the experiment is not new and similar experiments have been discussed in various blogs, etc. This is yet another way to grab the attention of our students, to make art accessible and show that it can be/is part of their everyday lives. There are very few of our students who do not have a phone with the ability to take photos and most would believe that they too could be part of such an art “museum”  

Berlin’s rough cityscape is marked by urban art. Paintings, graffiti, stencils, paste-ups, stickers. Berlin is a city where both national and international artists go wild. This iPhone application allows its users to discover urban art where it takes place – the streets, hidden backyards, in hallways, behind fences or in remote places. You can search your local environment for art work, go on suggested tours or scroll the mobile gallery to see another side of Berlin. The Urban Art Guide editorial staff will constantly update the site. Users can interact with the guide: If the user explores new works of Berlin’s street art himself, he can send his suggestions to the editorial staff directly via his iPhone. Furthermore all pictures can be rated, commented and recommended to others. In addition to the iPhone application, the Urban Art Guide website goes beyond Berlin’s scene by featuring pictures of international art works, artist portraits and interviews as well as event and book recommendations. adidas Originals offers the Urban Art Guide for free download for the iTunes store from March 20th forward.

Artabase – finding out about the art world


Just a quick post tonight. I have been having a quick look at the Artabase site (found via the Creative Commons Australia site).

Artabase is a beta social networking site for artists, galleries and art lovers, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for news of exhibitions and events.

The Artabase site allows you to see what events are coming to your area by choosing states or regions for whatever (or whoever) and to view works by different artists in many fields, including photographers, painters, ‘videopoets,’ multimedia practitioners to name a few. There are community discussions that cover topics such as on-line arts resources and new gallery spaces. The blog keeps up wth news and reviews. The site included, in 2008:

  • 1170 Registered Users
  • 463 Exhibitions
  • 366 Artists
  • 157 Galleries

The art site also uses creative commons licenses for a percentage of the works featured.

Artabase announced its decision to allow images to be licensed under Creative Commonsin October 2007. According to Rebecca Cannon, Director of the site, approximately 12% of the images uploaded to Artabase to date have a Creative Commons licensed image. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike is the most common licence chosen.

Artists benefit by being able to create a free profile and list their exhibitions in the calendar, which then remain in our archive for perpetuity. It worth having a look through if you have students who are looking for inspiration or examples of the many different approaches to art. It was easy to add a widget to my photoblog so that I get information visually and without have to go to the site all the time.

Copyright: Public Domain S.C.Jeltema 2006 Italy

Copyright: Public Domain S.C.Jeltema 2006 Italy