The Art World is the Whole World

Today I’ve got some awesome art to share.
First up is Peter Gric. His hand painted masterpieces will blow your mind. “Cortex” is one of my favorites. Some of his work seems directly influenced by H.R. Geiger, but I think the imaginary landscapes are his best work. Don’t miss this video.

Where Peter Gric is a master of the brush, Werner Hornung is a master of the pixel. Ironically, Hornung’s website is dismal, especially next to Gric’s, but the digital images he creates are amazing. I like “Going Through Life with a One Way Ticket” the best. The composition and the colors convey a sense of motion with the stages of life depicted as a moving circle.

And now for great art by my buddies.

I’ve watched Matt Morcher go from tagging around town to painting colorslposions on canvas. Recently he successfully morphed into a new style still rooted in color, like Jackson Pollock but more intentional.

Another artist whose growth from hobbyist to professional I’ve been privileged to witness is Tyler Ristow, or Pharo if he’s making music. Tyler creates unbelievable visionary landscapes and sometimes creates his masterpieces at live music shows.

For the full treatment, check Tyler on Facebook.

Hope y’all enjoy the art and I encourage everyone to go to a museum, scour the web, seek out amazing art.
Life is better with art.

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Games of the future

I remember virtual reality as a novelty and a dream forgotten. While the commercial video game industry has grown to juggernaut proportions virtual reality has been relegated mainly to military applications. Until now, or at least the soon to be now. A Kickstarter campaign for Oculus Rift made it’s goal and then some to provide dev kits of their personal virtual reality gaming system to people who make games.

The promise is a totally immersive gaming experience affordable enough for the general public. Now they are funded and presumably video game designers from some of the industry heavyweights have dev kits and are working on making games for the Oculus Rift.
I couldn’t find a single bad review from the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
In fact, the only negative thing I could find about the Oculus Rift had more to do with the fear of what happens to people when they can be totally immersed in a video game world more exciting and better than the real world. World of Warcraft already has twelve step programs, will some people plug into VR and never come back?
As with any tool the possibilities for advancement or abuse are built in.
I am excited and cannot wait to try out an Oculus Rift and like current video games, tv shows, or books I will try and limit my immersion so I can still get work done.

You can see the Oculus Rift in action all over YouTube.

As if real VR isn’t enough, Interaxon has an Indiegogo funded gaming headset allowing users to control games with their brain waves.
I wonder if the two headsets could be combined to create a virtual world controllable by brain waves.

Wait a minute, The Matrix is just a movie right?

I’ve become a Pod(cast) Person!

The amount of information available via podcast staggers the mind. Any interest is covered, probably by more than one podcast. It’s like talk radio except you get to choose the content. Apple recently updated their podcast app and they improved the interface and added a playlist function. I look through the podcasts I am subscribed to and add the episodes I want to the On-The-Go playlist and then hit play, I get to program my very own talk radio station.

Enough singing the praises of the medium, let’s get to some content.
Many of the podcasts I listen to are design related and a few of my favorites are:
Design Matters with Debbie Millman– Debbie Millman is President of the design division at Sterling Brands and the AIGA. She podcasts her radio show from Design Observer. Each episode is between 30 minutes to an hour and she talks with designers, artists and other creative people about their creative lives.

99% Invisible-Roman Mars is a public radio producer and reporter who hosts this podcast. This one grew on me, I didn’t quite get it at first, but each episode covers some obscure topic about a hidden jewel, like public stairways in San Francisco, or offers insight into the fabric of our daily lives. The recent post about the Modern Moloch sheds some light on the early days of the automobile.

The Deeply Graphic Design Cast-I happened to start listening to this podcast right as they started a “Portfolio Site Pro-Tips Series” which has already given me some ideas and inspiration. They don’t post regularly but every post is worth listening to.

On The Grid-This is the newest podcast in my cue, but after one episode I am hooked. Episode 30:Make it Worse is 47 minutes 52 seconds of awesome. I hope they keep up the quality, after listening to two posts I feel confident these guys have it dialed in.

These are the top of my list, there are others I like but these four are at the top of my mind when I think about design podcasts I listen to.

My whole life doesn’t revolve around design (mostly, but not all of it), I also like science and home brewing.
For science and general knowledge of the world:
NPR:How To Do Everything– The mission statement is “If you need to know how to find a date, or how to find water in the desert, we’re here for you. No question is too big or too small.” I recently listened to Episode 102: 70 Days in Bed with Howard about a man who stayed in bed for 70 days straight as an experiment for NASA and space exploration. This particular episode is more interesting than instructive, but like 99% Invisible, How to Do Everything sheds light on topics most people never think about but affect our everyday lives.

Science Friday-Another one from NPR, every Friday Ira Flatow serves up interesting news from the world of science. You don’t have to get the podcast, NPR brodcasts this show on their radio stations, but I like being able to choose which topics I want to learn about and I can pause it if my kid needs my attention.

Stuff You Should Know-Josh and Chuck provide another resource for interesting information you may not even know you can’t live without. Want to know what makes a one-hit wonder, or how CPR works? Stuff You Should Know has you covered and then some, brought to you by HowStuffWorks.com.

For home brewing:
The Sunday Session-About once a week The Brewing Network presents a long podcast (2-4+ hours) featuring tips and tricks for home brewing and interviews with professional brewers. One of the better episodes is the live broadcast from Celebrator’s 25th Anniversary Bash, but most episodes are entertaining and educational.

That’s all for now, I’m sure as I wade through the vast ocean of information encoded as podcasts I will find more to share and if you’re following my blog you’ll be the first to know.

Good lookin’ out Science

Starting at the edge of the galaxy.
Voyager I and II, something humans launched in 1977 are rapidly approaching interstellar space. Rocketing out at 38,000 miles per hour, the Voyager spacecrafts are 11.5 billion miles away from earth.
According to NASA we will be able to maintain radio contact for several more years.

Closer to home, from the space station.
Later this year UrtheCast will begin broadcasting streaming video of earth from twin cameras mounted on the space station. In High-Definition. Supposedly users will be able to see actual people in real time and will be able to send video clips to friends.
Besides the obvious privacy/Big Brother issues this raises, what a great idea. Zoom in on sporting events or Mardi Gras, protests or war zones, survey natural disaster areas.
Whether we like it or not we are moving into a brave new world and like any tool it will be up to us to decide how to use our technologies for good instead of evil.

On that note, new rumors from Cupertino.
Apple rumors are notorious and don’t always pan out. But with the impending launch of Google Glass later this year it would not be surprising if Apple was throwing it’s hat in the augmented reality ring. It appears to run on social networking allowing users to share images and videos from their location with friends or colleagues in their network who can see the notes and tags overlaid on the real world.

I’ve heard of a bar already banning Google Glass to protect the privacy of its patrons but as it becomes possible to capture any and every moment the very idea of privacy may need a reboot, or at the very least an upgrade.
We are a curious species by nature and I doubt we’ll stop looking at the world, galaxy, and universe around us anytime soon.

Hardwired for beauty

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a well known cliché but this article from Co. Design points to new scientific data which suggests beauty may be in the DNA of the beholder.

We generally regard DNA as the blueprint for our genotypes and phenotypes, but the double helical molecules also carry information collected over the course of humanity to ensure our survival although it’s more accurate to say our genes are the ones which survived. For better or worse we are not so removed from our primitive ancestors and some our deepest impulses are responses to external stimuli activating those ancient reactions.

Primitive responses in our brains can be utilized in design, whether we use it for good or bad is up to the more evolved parts of our brains.