Archivio | strange art RSS feed for this section

Pugnacious Propaganda: 15 Images Of The Art Of War

30 Giu


Propaganda has many purposes but paramount is its use to promote war and bolster a united home front. While most people have some acquaintance with their own country’s graphic propaganda – often absorbed into pop culture – that of the “enemy” is far less familiar and thus, somewhat jarring. This selection ofwartime propaganda from friends and foes alike takes no sides; instead it seeks to expose the bombastic, jingoistic and prejudicial properties all propaganda has in common.

American Propaganda’s Mild Side

propaganda2_1(images via: Looking Through The Lens and HubPages)

So-called soft propaganda is mainly concerned with exhorting citizens to join the armed forces and reminding workers of their important duties in munitions production. Iconic anthropomorphic symbols ofAmerican propaganda include Rosie The Riveter and good ol’ Uncle Sam.

Now It’s Personal

propaganda2_2(images via: Looking Through The Lens and The Advertising Archives)

Wartime propagandists turn up the heat when the situation on the battlefield becomes desperate. The above propaganda images are stark and severe, reflecting the tone of the times. Less words and plainer imagery help drive home the all-important message: win at all costs!

Antichrist Of The Axis

propaganda2_12(image via: Art’s Not Dead)

Beautiful yet bizarre, the image above depicts Germany, Italy and Japan killing Jesus Christ! American artist Thomas Hart Benton painted this stunning tableau, titled “Again”, in 1941 immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The painting was one of Benton’s 8-part “The Year In Peril” series whose stated purpose was to awaken Americans to the dangers of fascism.

Spanish Flew

propaganda2_14a(images via: The Visual Front)

The Spanish Civil War that raged from 1936 through 1939 was one of the first modern wars to receive widespread international media coverage. Both sides; Franco’s right-wing Nationalists and the left-wing Socialist government put visual propaganda to good use in extolling their respective causes. Thousands of posters, many of them exquisite works of art, were produced by both sides during the course of the war.

Guernica: A Shout Against The Darkness

propaganda2_14b(images via: Essex Ac)

On occasion the line between graphic propaganda and genuine art is blurred, even broken – such is the case with Pablo Picasso’s modern masterpiece, Guernica. Painted in 1937 following the aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by the German-manned Condor Legion, the immense (11.5 ft. by 25 ft.) painting shouts out against the horrors and injustice of war. The painting was commissioned by Spain’s socialist government following the bombing and was shown around the world, bringing attention to the Republican cause.

Stamps Of Disapproval

propaganda2_3(images via: PsyWarrior)

The wartime OSS (which later became the CIA) was involved in the creation of forged postage stamps which were delivered into Nazi Germany via leaflet bombs. As one part of Operation Cornflakes over one million stamps were printed showing Hitler’s face as a human skull. To fuhrer, er, further get the point across the lettering beneath these stamps was changed from Deutsches Reich to Futsches Reich, or “Collapsed Empire”.

Putting The Kibosh On The Kaiser

propaganda2_4a(images via: MySpace: Kaiser_Wilhelm2Christianna’s BlogVicMart and AllPosters)

Second World War anti-Germany propagandists weren’t starting from scratch. A generation earlier, some surprisingly graphic posters made the rounds as allied governments sought to stoke war fever by demonizing Germany, especially Kaiser Wilhelm II. The French poster of the Kaiser trying to eat the world – and finding it too hard – is typical of the era.

Before Spike TV: Spike Propaganda

propaganda2_4b(images via: King’s College)

Depicting German soldiers for propaganda purposes was easy: simply combine some dastardly deed with a soldier wearing a spike-toppedpickelhaube helmet. Though the pickelhaube was phased out in early 1916, it continued to be used as an identifying feature of Germany and/or Germans for propaganda purposes. This practice can also be questioned as the pickelhaube was used at times by soldiers in the service of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Russia and Sweden.

A Game Two Can Play

propaganda2_5(images via: German Propaganda Archive)

Germany was by no means silent when it came to propaganda – Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels did much more than just write Hitler’s speeches. The above images aimed at Churchill’s Britain come from Lustige Blätter, a popular German humor magazine.


propaganda2_6(images via: German Propaganda Archive)

America joined the UK at war in 1941 and almost immediately joined her as a target of Nazi propaganda. Above are a small sampling, once again taken from the pages of Lustige Blätter.


propaganda2_7(images via: Mark Bando)

Another type of graphic propaganda was aimed directly at troops in the field. The German propaganda leaflet above was fired via rifle grenade into the American positions at Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944 during the crucial Battle of the Bulge. Bastogne was where the commanding American officer, when presented with a German demand for surrender, famously replied “Nuts!!”


propaganda2_8(image via: Art’s Not Dead)

This disturbingly sardonic image was widely reproduced in Germany and occupied countries. There are several variations titled eitherKULTUR-TERROR or LIBERATOR. The color poster above is the most disturbing, portraying the decadent American prodigal son who has crossed the ocean to bring lies, hate and death to Mother Europe. The caption of the poster translates to “USA wants to save Europe’s culture FROM DESTRUCTION?”

Red Star Rising

propaganda2_9(images via: Suggestive)

The USSR boasted a long tradition of vivid graphic propaganda that was employed to support their war effort in World War II. The war in the east began with betrayal and was bitterly fought – Soviet propaganda posters pull no punches: the translated captions on the above posters read, clockwise from upper left, “Kill German Beasts!”, “Warrior of Red Army, save us!”, “That will happen to German beast” and “Death To Fascist Vile Creature!”

Rising Sun Setting

propaganda2_11(images via: King’s CollegeABCChinese Posters and WW2 Shots)

Here is a selection of unusual anti-Japanese propaganda imagery from the World War II. The curious British-made poster at top left warns of Japanese influence in… South America?

propaganda2_10b(image via: Digger History)

Above is an example of Japanese propaganda directed at Australiandiggers fighting in New Guinea and the Pacific islands. Japan’s aim was to create a rift between Australia and the USA by sowing seeds of mistrust.

Propagating Propaganda

propaganda2_13(image via: Art’s Not Dead)

Wartime propaganda is an equal opportunity endeavor – so is war itself – and the above selection of posters is proof. The striking air defense poster at above top left is from Finland; to its right is an anti-American poster issued by the French Communist Party and at top right, a Republican poster from the 1936 Spanish Civil War. Below those, from left to right are posters from Great Britain, Italy and Japan.

War often brings out the worst in humanity yet it can also bring out our best when people unite to defend their country, their families and their way of life from an opposing force who seeks their destruction. The same can be said about wartime propaganda – at worst it’s blatantly offensive, at best it can rally hearts and minds to a common cause.

Record Silhouettes: Laser Cut Vinyl Art by Carlos Aires

30 Giu

They may not play music any longer, but these records definitely have something to say. Artist Carlos Aires created this series, entitled “Love is in the Air”, by using a digital process to laser-cut shapes drawn from images of pornography and disaster and juxtaposing them with innocent scenes of animals and children.

It may not be obvious at first, but this laser-cut vinyl art is more than just simple shapes. What is suggested but not shown is just as much a part of each work as the silhouette itself, and even the text on each record imbues subtle meaning – such as the “Touch Me” title on the body of a muscled man.

Mostly known for his photography, Aires is certainly known for deviating from the conventional in his art, which consists of uncommon subjects like dwarfs and parks known for gay sex cruising in a hazy, fairytale-esque style that imitates romantic painting.

Raised in Spain and currently dividing his time between his birth city of Málaga and Antwerp, Belgium, Aires earned an MA in Photography at Ohio State University. His entire portfolio can be viewed on his website,

I, Rubikcubist: 30 Twisted Works Of Rubik’s Cube Art

30 Giu

Rubik’s Cubes are meant to be solved, right? Wrong – the art of cubingtakes on a different meaning under the 8-bit eyes of Invader. Twisting dozens, even hundreds of Rubik’s Cubes into precise patterns of pixelated pointillism, Invader updates artistic techniques pioneered by Picasso, Duchamps, Seurat and others into a new and distinctly modern form: Rubikcubism.

(image via: Gradient Magazine)

Who or what is Invader? One clue is the name of this former French street artist’s website: Indeed, Invader’s first pieces of what has been dubbed Rubik’s Cube Folk Art were representations of early 8-bit arcade game characters such as the digitized alien enemies from Space Invaders.

(image via: Space-Invaders)

As the above angled photo shows, it doesn’t take many Rubik’s Cubes to form a simple representation of an 8-bit video game character – in this case, just nine. You’re probably thinking what Invader was thinking back in ‘05… with more Rubik’s Cubes, more complex and detailed images could be formed.

(images via: Space_Invaders and The Frisky)

The above image of student anarchist Florence Rey is shown both in-progress and completed (above, lower right). As can be seen, the image used a Polaroid instant photo of Rey as its source. Rubik’s Cubes were then twisted into the proper sequence of pixels and then affixed to a backing board. Invader needed a total of 221 Rubik’s Cubes to complete the Rubikcubism work in late 2005.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

Even complex images with wide variation in color, shade and intensity can be successfully rendered using Rubikcubism but as always, the more cubes (and thus, more pixels), the more detail which can be rendered. The above Atomic Bomb blast took 294 Rubik’s Cubes to create and the six colors of the basic Cube (red, orange, yellow, white, green, and blue) were sufficient to capture and display the image.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

Although most any image can be represented with properly prepared Rubik’s Cubes, faces – especially familiar ones – spark recognition much faster. Our brains are hard-wired to perceive faces in less than ideal conditions; forming them from Rubik’s Cubes allows for the same effect, regardless of the fact that both the Rubik’s Cube and 8-bit animation are both less than 40 years old. Just in case their names are overly elusive, from the top left: Gene Simmons of KISS, Jack Nicholson in the film The Shining, and Frankenstein. Below is a Rubikcubism triptych of notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal.

Rubikcubism isn’t Invader’s sole artistic niche, not is he the only artist creating pictorial folk art from the ubiquitous geek icon. Robbie McKinnon (above), an electrician from Toronto, Canada, created much of his so-called Cube Works in the late 2000s and has, at last word, moved on to other forms of visual expressive art.

(image via: Torontoist)

McKinnon’s version of Frankenstein, above, shows many similarities and some differences to Invader’s portrayal of the classic Hollywood movie monster.

(images via: Torontoist and Space_Invaders)

Here are versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa side by side, above: McKinnon’s on the left used 315 Rubik’s Cubes, Invader’s on the right used 330. Curiously, the artists use different techniques to create what appear to be astonishingly similar end results. McKinnon uses Photoshop to pixilate his source images, then manipulates the individual Rubik’s Cubes manually. Invader uses a computer program to dictate the exact arrangement of facets required for each Rubik’s Cube. Either way, the finished works measure about 3 by 4 feet and weigh around 80 pounds each.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

While both McKinnon and Invader have chosen, for the most part, to use Rubikcubism to put a new face on pop culture, Invader’s body of work covers more ground with a particular focus on crime, criminals and anti-heroes as depicted in films. Those above include (from top, clockwise) Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in 1967’s Bonnie & Clyde, Robert De Niro in 1976’s Taxi Driver and Al Pacino in 1983’s Scarface.

(images via: Space-Invaders)

True life anti-heroes and villains are also fodder for Invader’s Rubikcubism tributes: from above top left and working clockwise, we have Al Capone, Charles Manson and the late Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious posing for a well-publicized mugshot.

(images via: Jonathan Levine Gallery and Videdesign)

Music is an integral part of modern pop culture and that fact hasn’t escaped the attention of Invader or exhibitors like the Jonathan Levine Gallery in new York. Rubikcubism constructs of some famous album covers include, at the extreme top left to right: The Clash and Iron Maiden. Below from above upper left and moving clockwise are homages to The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Nirvana and Roxy Music.

(images via: Game Set Watch)

In the summer of 2009, the Lazarides Rathbone gallery in London, UK, put on an exhibition titled Low Fidelity, featuring Invader among others. Music-inspired works by Invader included Rubikcubism album covers from Michael Jackson and The Doors.

Livable Packing Tape Web Installation is Spideriffic

30 Giu

It’s a spider web so large, a human family could set up furniture and make a home inside of it. But this stunningly sticky creation is no work of nightmarish monster spiders – it’s an art installation made of packing tape by design collective For Use/Numen.

With its long, hollow tubes suspended five feet in the air from surrounding walls and pillars, the packing tape cocoon is like a giant artistic bounce house/jungle gym for adults, who can crawl inside and lounge around, comfortably supported by 117,000 feet and 100 pounds of tape.

“The installation is based on an idea for a dance performance in which the form evolves from the movement of the dancers between the pillars,” For Use’s Christoph Katzler told Fast Company, who produced this video. “The dancers are stretching the tape while they move, so the resulting shape is a recording of the choreography.”

The project – which has grown progressively larger, starting in a small Croatian gallery and then inside an abandoned attic before moving on to the former Viennese stock exchange building pictured – will get a bigger stage than ever in September when it travels to a public space in the center of Frankfurt, Germany.

Apartment Made From Paper

30 Giu

Apartment made from Paper

Don Lucho has created an entire apartment out of cardboard and paper.

As an added bonus, the artist also made a life-sized paper car and placed it outside of the apartment building. [via]

Paper Apartment

Cardboard Apartment

Paper Apartment by Don Lucho

Paper Toilet

Apartment made of Paper

Apartment made out of Paper