Creativity

10 extraordinary art installations you need to see

You can find art installations all over the world. One more pronounced or unusual than the other. Here are 10 works of extraordinary art that you won’t see every day.

1) Walking on Faces – Jewish Museum Berlin

Well, this one has a lot of historical value. In The Jewish Museum Berlin you can walk on faces. It’s a memorial to the jewish people who died in the World War 2.

2) Chiharu Shiota – 2000 bolls of wool

This artist is very outstanding. I’ve been in Rotterdam for this art installation in 2018 and was surprised by it’s presence. I mean… they turned this room into this red vlag by hand. They had to make sure 2000 bolls of wool were intertwined. For more of her extraordinary art make sure you visit her website.

Shiota’s work covers a wide range of questions but things like: “What is existence? What does it mean to be alive? What are we seeking? Where are we going?” Is something that you see reflected in her work.

There is this line-up for upcoming months. If you like to go there, check this:

  • Nov 14, 2019 – Feb 2, 2020
    Internal Line, solo show, Japan House, São Paulo, Brazil

3) The Van Gogh Experience

The ‘Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience‘ is the only official travelling Experience by the Van Gogh Museum. Now, visitors all around the world can explore how Vincent van Gogh became the influential, world-famous artist of today.

In 2019, the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience had highly successful tour stops in Barcelona and Seoul. Following the Experience’s outstanding success in these two cultural capitals, Meet Vincent will also be on display in Lisbon and London soon.

Based on the museum’s world leading Van Gogh collection and extensive research into Van Gogh’s life, experts of the Van Gogh Museum introduce an all-encompassing story of the man behind the art.

4) Underwater Museum

Unfortunately, this museum came after I went to Lanzarote. Such a shame, but the island is amazing! I did some snorkeling and diving myself and I found it absolutely worth to travel to. Especially when it’s winter.

Artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created Museo Atlántico, a monumental underwater sculpture park, featuring more than 300 life-size human figures. The collection of sculptures is designed to provoke environmental awareness and social change while proving habitat for Ocean creatures. The result is a stunning masterpiece. To see it you have to have a diving license or you have to settle for this video:

5) Walking on water – Floating Piers

In Italy you can walk on water. In the documentary: Christo: Walking on Water, the artist enjoys his project walking on the piers that connect the islands of San Paolo and Monte Isola. From June 18 to July 3, 2016, Italy’s Lake Iseo was reimagined. The Floating Piers consisted of 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes floating on the surface of the water.

Very surreal! Watch these videos on Vimeo for an impression.

6) Lights

The Field of Light art installation, a global phenomenon by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, has come ‘home’ to the place that inspired it – Uluru. More than 50,000 slender stems crowned with frosted-glass spheres bloom as darkness falls over Australia’s spiritual heartland. Pathways draw viewers into the installation, which comes to life under a sky brilliant with stars. The installation, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku by the local community means ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara will be in place for a full year, and will close on March 31, 2018.

7) 200 extraordinary art installations on 1 festival

This one could not be missing: Burning man! Once I hope to go there and experience all of these art works on one place. You can find so many art installations over there – it’s the concept of the festival. Everyone brings and creates something to take it with them. There is an archive for all the art installations of the past years. If you like, you can head over to this section their website. Or see the video to get an impression.

8) Kinetic Rain

What better way than to ease the stress of flying than through public art? The ART+COM installation welcomes passengers as they pass through Terminal 1 of Singapore’s renowned Changi Airport, consisting of more than 1,000 “falling” bronze raindrops synchronized to assume 16 shifting forms. Each droplet is connected to a motor that is individually operated by an encoder. A collaboration between artists, designers, and technologists, the living sculpture is a symbol of harmony and community.

9) Presence

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has opened his first major solo museum show — an interactive experience meant to awaken its audience to human impact on the environment. Staged by the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands, Roosegaarde’s Presence exhibition takes the form of a sprawling, 800-metre-square installation of darkened rooms and phosphorescent light. At every turn, museum visitors are encouraged to touch, move, push and hug objects in the space, and in doing so leave an imprint for those who come after. Roosegaarde, whose work often focuses on the environment and sustainability, created the exhibition to make visitors aware of the traces they leave behind on their surroundings, and to make them feel empowered to act differently.

10) Waterlicht

Beautiful Amsterdam! WATERLICHT is the dream landscape about the power and poetry of water. As a virtual flood, it shows how high the water could reach without human intervention. Innovation is within the DNA of the Dutch landscape via its waterworks and creative thinking, yet we’ve almost seem to forgotten this. WATERLICHT is a powerful and poetic experience to remember.

Conclusion

All of these extraordinary art installations tell their own story and somehow take their viewer on a journey through different kinds of media.

They are all very successful in doing that. Let me know which one is your favorite!

If you like to see or read more about extraordinary ideas in art, head over to these blogs:

Creativity · Women's empowerment

This powerful photo series shows why we should make young girls education a priority

Vincent Tremeau is a photographer based in Dakar, Senegal. His work focuses on raising awareness around humanistic issues across the globe. His ongoing series of portraits – One Day, I Will, asks displaced girls living in refugee camps a single question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?The result shows us why we should make women’s empowerment a priority and promote young girls education.

The beginning

The photo series documents what we hear about too less: the hopes and aspirations of girls, trapped in crises. However, the stories that are being told are not only a reflection of hope. They also make you think a little bit.

Back in 2014, the photographer Vincent Tremeau was creating a story about internally displaced people in the Central African Republic. By that time the country had been destroyed by a civil war that had already started in December 2012. Thousands were killed and a quarter of the country’s population was displaced.

There he met the children that later would play the leading roles in his photo series. As a way to play a game, the photographer asked each child between six and eighteen years old to build a costume designed after their chosen profession.

With the help of accessories and props of what they could find in their immediate surroundings, the girls featured in the pictures have dressed up to show and explain who they want to be when they grow up.

To explain the process, Vincent Tremeau told BuzzFeed.News:

“I remember a girl who started crying as she told me her story. So I began to think of how I could tell the stories of these children in a way that would focus on possibilities for their future rather than trauma of the past and daily survival. I came up with an assignment for these children: Find or make a costume that will represent what you want to be when you grow up, and I will take a portrait of you in it. At that time, I had no idea whether this would work, but it would at least be fun.” […]

Vincent Tremeau interviewed by BuzzFeed.News.

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From girls in The African Republic to all around the world

As a result, the answers to that single question ranges between doctor, teacher, soldier, et cetera. By capturing the dreams, ambitions and goals for the future of those young girls from his travels, Tremeau has created a powerful series covering a very diverse range of portraits.

Presented by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there is a special exhibition of Tremeau’s work at this year’s Photoville festival in New York City. Go see it, if you feel like it!

Tremeau discusses his experience in meeting and photographing these incredible young girls with BuzzFeed.News:

” […] The originality of what the children came up with amazed me, especially because they were able to express so much with practically nothing. I became curious about what results I would get elsewhere. So I started replicating this idea while on assignment in other countries affected by a crisis. In Democratic Republic of Congo, in Niger, in Iraq, and so on. As of today, 20 nationalities are represented in the One Day, I Will project. The children’s choices reflect their everyday experience: who they saw around them, what their parents did, who had directly influenced their lives. Many are pragmatic, some more aspirational.”

Vincent Tremeau interviewed by BuzzFeed.News.

Future dreams

Lorand Hadaya, 13, from Syria, wants to be a break dancer.

One day I Will - Breakdancer - girls education
“People tell me that breakdancing is just for boys, but it doesn’t make sense, as I am much better at it than any of them. My friend Bellal is fifteen, and she dyed her hair blue to rebel against everybody else. We laugh a lot together and talk about the fact that if we keep this up, no boys will want to marry us and we can be free forever. Two of my friends had to get married this year. […]” (By Vincent Tremeau presented by UNOCHA)

Halaz Khaled Ibrahim, 14, from Syria, wants to be a lawyer.

One Day I Will - Lawyer - girls education
“I’m not going to become just any kind of lawyer — I’m going to become a human rights lawyer, and I’ll work for free to defend anyone who’s facing problems during wars and conflicts.” (By Vincent Tremeau presented by UNOCHA)

Zuha Yunis, 10, from Iraq, wants to be an artist.

One Day I Will - artist - girls education
“I do art nearly every day in the camp. I like drawing flowers and houses the most. But when I’m an artist, I won’t sell my paintings. I’ll just hang them in my house. My mum says it’s just as important to be happy as it is to make money. She says my artwork will make other people happy too. That’s why she hangs my pictures in our tent, to make it prettier.” (By Vincent Tremeau presented by UNOCHA)

Dina Khalid, 11, from Mosul, Iraq, wants to be an engineer.

One Day I Will - Engineer
“Daesh is destroying Iraq, so I want a job that lets me build it back again. I had my own bedroom in my old house, before it got burned down. These days, there are 11 of us in one tent. I don’t know if you have tried, but it is really hard to fit 11 people in one tent.” (By Vincent Tremeau presented by UNOCHA)

Habiba, 13, from Nigeria, wants to be a journalist.

One Day I Will - Journalist - girls education
“I would like to be a journalist when I grow up, because I want to inform people on the things that are happening around the world.” (By Vincent Tremeau presented by UNOCHA)

Ahlam Fardous, 12, from Iraq, wants to be a dentist.

One Day I Will - Dentist - girls education
“I want to be a dentist to help people when they are in pain.”  (By Vincent Tremeau, presented by UNOCHA)

Otpika Pandey, 18, from Nepal, wants to be an accountant.

One Day I Will - accountant - girls education
“School is my whole life. I worked so hard to be able to stay in school. I had to stand up to my parents and convince them that I could pay for my school fees by setting up a small business to make handicrafts and baskets.
It’s not complicated why girls are made to drop out of school. It’s just about money. People don’t have enough food to eat three times a day, so if you have a daughter, you’re going to want to find her a husband as soon as possible because that means you won’t have to feed her anymore.” (

By Vincent Tremeau, presented by UNOCHA)

Sarita Tharu, 16, from Bankaffa, Nepal, wants to be a civil engineer.

One Day I Will - Civil Engineer
“I want to become an engineer. I want to be in charge of my own life and not have anyone else make decisions for me. I’m no less capable than a man, but many people her disapprove of women working so I have a lot of challenges to overcome.” (By Vincent Tremeau, presented by UNOCHA)

Khadija Kaku, 15, from Nigeria, wants to be a computer scientist.

One Day I Will - Computer scientist
 “I want to work in IT to learn and share knowledge. I was born in a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria with no school and no clean drinking water. What I have learned is that with the Internet, even if you don’t know something, somebody in the world has what you need. It is the best way to share knowledge.” (By Vincent Tremeau, presented by UNOCHA)

Photoville NYC is a free outdoor photo festival located in Brooklyn Bridge Park from Sept. 12–22.

The importance of girls education

When it comes to girls education, there are some striking facts: 1 out of every 70 people in the world lives in a humanitarian crisis, and women and girls are disproportionately affected. This exhibit documents their hopes and dreams, beautifully.

Standing at the intersection of art and documentary, these photographs capture in a unique way the challenges these girls face, as they repeatedly bring up concerns which are often way beyond their age.

It is also a call to strengthen our action to better protect children as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

And we better protect young girls as well. Girls are in a worse position than young boys, especially when it comes to young girls trapped in crises.

In those settings, girls are often kept away from school for safety reasons. They are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys. Not only for safety reasons, but also for reasons to nuture the family.

It’s also estimated that at least 1 in 5 women refugees has experienced sexual violence. The rates of sexual violence against women and girls in those settings are higher than with boys and men.

This harsh reality for women and girls rarely makes headlines.

But research shows that if we as a global community make young girls education a priority, there will change a lot.

Conclusion

What you want to become when you grow older is a question that we all heard before at some point in our lives. Most of us find that question difficult to answer. However, it is even harder to answer if your environment is one of conflict, forced displacement or humanitarian crisis.

By tapping into each of their visions for the future, the series provides us a unique glimpse into their current circumstances and challenges, and how they can shape the future.

The series also reminds me of a shared humanity. That there is more that unites us that divides us. I love the way those kids all have their own dreams and aspirations, but it also made me wondering how these desires and aspirations are so much different from the ones of children in the West.

It also shows the importance of girls education, since girls in conflict situations are more critical and research shows that girls education can help them overcome poverty.

What strikes you when you read all those girls’ stories? Let me know in the comment section below!

Head over to these blogs about the importance of women’s empowerment and girls education.

Lisanne Swart granted permission to use these photographs by Vincent Tremeau.

Creativity

Weird beauty products you’ve never seen before

You can find the most extra-ordinary things on Amazon. The platform even added the category “weird beauty products” to it’s website. But “weird” really is an understatement… I mean, bacon balm and placenta conditioner?! In this article I show you the work of Evija Laivina, a Scottish-based photographer that studied the beauty products of our time, and started to create an amazing book out of it.

Under the Loupe

Recently I wrote this blog About the women who preceded us, – and how beauty standards kept them busy. In the blog I explain why I started Undertheloupe magazine. It’s an online collection of powerful, nostalgic memories about the experiences of women with beauty and beauty standards through history.

I started to bookmark those pictures a while ago, when I just discovered Pinterest. I enjoyed that process because we as women all look so vulnerable in a way. It’s entertaining to see what has been done to make us look good. And when time passes by, it’s hard to see the point of doing those harsh interventions that help change the way we look.

Women’s history can help put into perspective the strong perseverance that we have to achieve beauty, and also the way we nowadays perceive that beauty. Taking a closer look at our history enables us to see where we all came from. It can give us a sense of comfort and identity and may help us discover what actually the point is of pushing ourselves so hard for beauty standards that fade away over time. And besides that, what is beauty actually if its so changeable…

Here are 3 stories from Undertheloupe:

The ever-changing industry of beauty

So what’s considered to be “beautiful” for women is always changing and so are the beauty standards. Nevertheless, the high expectations from society on women remains unchanged over the years. And so nowadays the beauty products that we come across are adapted to the beauty standards of our time as well. That picture is something visual artist Evija Laivina wanted to capture in her series Beauty Warriors.

The series uses humor and shock to highlight the extremeness of today’s beauty industry. “With this series I wanted to show how far we are ready to go in the name of beauty,” the photographer explains on the website Its Nice That. “To be successful, you must be perfect and look perfect – these are our society’s rules, which we follow without even realizing how ridiculous the standards are. We often forget about the importance of inner beauty.”

Born in Latvia, Evija is now based in Scotland. While studying Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice BA at University of Highlands and Islands, she started to explore themes related to women identity and beauty standards. In her work she combines disciplines like photography, painting, performance and installation.

It was during her studies that Evija started digging deep into the idea of beauty standards and came across an unlikely selection of odd looking objects online. Evija bought a selection of weird beauty products like nose straighteners, smile trainers, face slimmers, lip plumpers, eyelid stretchers, and anti-double-chin bandages and used it for her book Beauty Warriors to capture a bit of that extremeness.

Her trigger

Using a eclectic cast of her friends, family, and some women she found through social media, Evija made it her mission to highlight the at-once shocking and extreme reality of those objects. “They were surprised and didn’t believe they are real beauty products,” she says on It’s Nice That. “Of course they were laughing a lot during the photo shoots and sometimes it was tricky to create an image with a serious face expression!”

To describe what drove her to do this project, she writes:

“I am very interested in online beauty trends, strange, unusual beauty routines and plastic surgery and the actualities in the beauty industry. I use social media and online shopping sites as my inspiration. By using specific keywords and hashtags, I can find very interesting images, items and information. I capture screenshots and note down the information, sometimes comments and reactions. I am interested in how the story unfolds by following trendy hashtags. For example, I looked for information about breast enlargement surgeries. Through the hashtags and social media posts, I found out about Breast Implant Illness. I followed the hashtag BII I found so much information – the individual women stories, the warnings from the doctors about dangers of the implants and the opposite stories- how good and safe the implants are. So I wanted to understand what is the truth and are the implants so bad for women? – Evija Laivina on crowdfunder.co.uk

What is and is not true she leaves aside in her series. She says:

Sometimes it’s hard to understand what is true and what is fake news. I am fascinated by the amount of different information and images and videos available online and I use them as a starting point in my art. […] – Evija Laivina on crowdfunder.co.uk


Todays beauty devices unchained

Let’s unchain the results of Evija’s online exploration. Enjoy the photos by scrolling down. If you like to order the Beauty Warriors book, head over to this part of her website. Enjoy!

“Anti-wrinkle mask” – By Evija Laivina
“Cheek Slimmer” – By Evija Laivina.
“Anti-Double Chin Bandage” – By Evija Laivina.
“Face Slimmer” – By Evija Laivina
“Nose straightener” – By Evija Laivina
“Anti Wrinkle Mask” – By Evija Laivina.
“Relaxing Gel Face Mask” – By Evija Laivina.

Conclusion

These were just some of the weird beauty products that are part of the book Beauty Warriors. But there is also a new book coming up with more interesting and unusual beauty routines and tools. If you like to donate to her crowdfunding-project, head over to this section.

I think the message Evija wanted us to give is a very clear one and is tended to let us think a little bit about ourselves. And how important we make beauty in out lives.

Leave a comment down below what the most unusual beauty product is that you have ever seen or used! I would love to hear more of that.

Lisanne Swart granted permission to use photos by Evija Laivina.

Creativity

Football Stadium transformed into a lush forest

Recently I came to hear via CNN Climate that the Wörthersee Football Stadium in Austria has been transformed into a lush forest. It’s a great example of how art can push social change forward. Let me introduce you to the For Forest Art Installation.

For Forest Installation by Klaus Littmann
Klaus Littmann „FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature“, Art Intervention 2019, Wörthersee Stadium Klagenfurt | Austria
Photo: UNIMO
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An effort to raise awareness

This installation is another example of art that can make people aware of important things in the world. This art installation from Swiss artist Klaus Littmann spreads a light on deforestation and climate change. And seriously, he does it with class and some quirkiness!

I mean, not everyone comes up with the idea to put nearly 300 trees in a soccer stadium. Especially when some of those even weigh up to six tons! For Forest—The Unending Attraction of Nature is a meaningful piece of work and is the largest public art installation ever on view in Austria.

The inspiration for it goes back to the time when Klauss Kittmann saw a pencil drawing by Austrian artist and architect Max Peintner. Below you’ll see the one. Completed in 1971, Peintner’s sketch shows a crowded stadium filled with spectators, who have arrived to enjoy a magnificent forest of trees planted on the field.

For Forest Installation by Klaus Littmann
Photo: Unimo

The vision

Peintner‘s work basically draws upon the idea of imagining a time when forests will exist only as exhibition objects. The sketch anticipates a world in which there is a destructive relationship between the process of civilisation based on machines and nature itself. Peintner interpreted his landscapes as dream-like visions, and the prophetic nature of the picture is now felt keenly in the present day. Over the years it made its way into more than 20 school and textbooks, as well as in publications in France, Denmark, Estonia, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Max Peinter The Unending Attraction of Nature
Max Peintner, The Unending Attraction of Nature, pencil drawing, 1970/71, hand-coloured by Klaus Littmann in 2018, unique print from series –
Photo: For Forest.

Peintner’s sketch can not be considered with a moralizing undertone, but rather with a figure of thought. On the website of For Forest they explain: “What if the forest became nothing more than an item on display! With this fictional idea, the artist was way ahead of his time, as discussions about forest die back only started in the 1980s.”

So this drawing has become the symbol for Littmann’s work. Almost 30 years later, with the help of Enea Landscape Architects like Enzo Enea, Littmann transformed Peintner’s fictional idea into reality.

By bringing Peintner’s vision to life, Littmann puts our ideas of deforestation, climate change, and the role of nature in our lives in a different perspective. By enclosing the forest inside the stadium, Littmann reminds the public that, if we’re not careful, we risk only being able to enjoy nature in false environments—much like animals in a zoo.

Klaus Littman
Photo: Emmanuel Fradin

The experience

The Wörthersee Stadium seats up to 30,000 people, and is now home to an enormous European forest filled with diverse species. Name it, and you’ll find it there: silver birch, alder, aspen, white willow, hornbeam, field maple, and common oak are just some of the varieties that will take root and transform colors across the autumn season.

Also, visitors are allowed into the stadium free of charge from 10 am until 10 pm daily, where they can experience the magic of the forest under different weather and lighting conditions.

For Forest Installation by Klaus Littmann
Klaus Littmann „FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature“, Art Intervention 2019, Wörthersee Stadium Klagenfurt | Austria
Photo: Gerhard Maurer

During the evening, For Forest changes dramatically under the stadium floodlights. As the lights cause a variety of shapes and shadows, this carefully constructed landscape will change form. And they also have thought about the destination of the trees after the exhibition.

Namely, once the installation is complete in late October, the entire forest will be replanted in an area close to the stadium. The work will remain as an ever-evolving, living sculpture.

For Forest Installation by Klaus Littmann
Photo: Gerhard Maurer

Conclusion

For Forest by Klaus Littmann is on view daily at Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria until October 27, 2019. If you like to go there, be my guest and let me know what it was like! I would love to hear that.

In addition to that, it’s also compelling to me that art can be so transformative and so significant. To me, the great thing with art is that it can say way more sometimes than words can do. Using visuals and your imagination can bring worlds and ideas to life in many ways, that can make even more impact.

Tell me what you think of this art installation in the comment section below.

For Forest Installation by Klaus Littmann
Klaus Littmann „FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature“, Art Intervention 2019, Wörthersee Stadium Klagenfurt | Austria (Night) –
Photo: UNIMO

Lisanne Swart granted permission to use photos by For Forest.

Creativity

5 documentaries that will spark your creativity

I like to get myself inspired all the time. Documentaries can help me dive into other worlds and spark my creativity. Let’s have a look at some of the documentaries that you can watch today on Netflix. Of the below mentioned, there might be a documentary on creativity that inspire you in some way. Here are just five documentaries I like to recommend to you.

1) Iris

“Iris is a fearless and fiercely creative 95 year-old fashion icon and businesswoman. The film highlights her life, her creative pursuits, and her lust for a life drenched in accessories. She has inspired my take on interior design and fashion—there are no rules and if you love it, it works.”

2) Kings of Pastry

Documentary from 2010 where everything revolves around that one question: How do you earn the prestigious prize for the most skilled pastry chef in France?

Every three years, sixteen chefs are allowed to show their extraordinary professional skills to a respected jury for three days. This jury decides who wins the coveted blue, white and red collar. A prize for life, awarded by Meilleur Ouvrier France (MOF). According to the selected participants, the competition is tougher than at the Olympic Games. The ultimate recognition is for every chef both a dream and an obsession.

You can watch the full movie on Netflix.

3) The Artist is Present

The Artist Is Present from 2012 follows the renowned performance of artist Marina Abramovic as she prepares for her retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The film explores how the Serbian national redefined the understanding of what art is.

4) Walking on Water

One of the artists that I mentioned in the blog 10 extraordinary art installations that you need to see, is Christo from the artwork the Floating Piers. Below you can watch the video to get an impression.

The Floating Piers

This documentary is an uncensored look into the artistic process and personal relationships of Christo, an artist known for his large-scale installations. For the first time since the passing of his wife and partner, Jeanne-Claude, Christo sets out to realize, The Floating Piers, a project they conceived together many years before.

The documentary

Conclusion

For many artists like the ones above, creativity is a way of living. I love the way photographer Chase Jarvis put that into words: “Turning an idea in your head into a tangible reality is one of life’s great satisfactions, whether the end result is a story, a photograph, a meal, or a business.”

Tell me if I have to see other inspiring documentaries I didn’t hear from yet. Use the comment section below to post a documentary on creativity.

So you may also like these posts related to creativity:

Documentary on creativity

Head over to my bookshelf

If you want to see what kind of books I read.

Creativity

This business idea will make art accessible for everyone

New ideas in business can happen on Instagram. This initiative called Avant Arte is a great example of that. It has the mission to promote accessible art and bring the art world to every person around the globe.

From Jay-Z to Avant Arte

Back in 2015, two dutch guys Curtis Penning and Christian Luiten launched an Instagram-account called Avant Arte about modern art. Although they didn’t know much of art themselves, they loved hiphop and because of Jay-Z rapping about Rothko, Warhol and Koons in his song Picasso Baby, they started to pay attention to these names and their works.

But because these were way to expensive to buy themselves, they started to pay attention to ´the Picasso´s of this generation´ by sharing it on social media. Avant Arte was born and started to function as a digital outlet for their personal journey in the world of arts. The platform has no pretentious captions, is open for everyone and is just about the joy of an artwork.

The platform quickly gained a large following and created a international community of art lovers. The main reason for that is among many due to the way they make art less intimidating and more accessible. Or how the boys say it themselves: “we make art more accessible for everyone and give great artists the exposure they deserve.” In the article What is “Accessible Art”?, writer James Ardis explains why accessible art is important.

Avant Arte is comprised of curators, designers, and developers. They are working on online and offline initiatives that empower the new art collector and help artists to reach the right audience.

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#nrchandelsblad today

A post shared by Christianluiten (@christianluiten) on

Some of their pickings

International media reports refer to Avant Arte as “one of the most influential online art blogs.” If you want to explore their platform, go here. Below you can already find some of their pickings.

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Swimming Lovers by @fischlstudio #ericfischl

A post shared by Avant Arte (@avant.arte) on

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#partsofpaintings by @mrkagan #michaelkagan

A post shared by Avant Arte (@avant.arte) on

Business model

The platform got noticed by knowledgeable contemporary art specialists like Brett Gorvy, Simon de Pury and Serpentine Gallery director Hans Ulrich Obrist. They tell that this business idea is unique in itself because Avant Arte fills the gap between IKEA-posters and expensive Picasso’s by selling limited editions of the work of famous artists.

Not only that, what makes Avant Arte young, dynamic and different from any other art gallery is that they use social media as their platform. Because of that they reach younger but interested people and are often new to art. It makes them attractive to existing galleries who are dying to work with them.

Conclusion

The way Avant Arte uses social media is a totally new and inventive way to not only make some artists bankable, they also are able to bring their art to a new, very young audience. An audience that has an interest in art and would like to get inspired by new artists, but found this art world not so accessible before.

In this way Avant Arte is a great and inventive, but simple sollution to a existing problem. Let me know in the section below what you think of this company that now makes multi-millions of dollars. And what do you think of their taste?

You may also like this another example of accessible art: Football Stadium transformed into a lush forest.

Creativity

The power of storytelling – and how it can help you find who you are

My love for storytelling started at a very young age. My mom told me once that I started reading before I was even able to read. As years past by my love for stories didn’t stay with the book genre. Every art form tells his own story – from films to cartoons, and from theater to paintings. Recently I came across this book from Jonathan White. It helped me articulate the power of storytelling.

Finding your sweet spot

One reason why I like to look out for people and have conservations with them about their dreams in life and what they do in order to achieve them is because they can learn me things.

Look for example at the blog that I wrote: 3 personal brands to inspire you. Those mentioned thought leaders have a mission – something they find irritating and want to change. They use their platforms or professions to achieve that and are known for something.

What I’ve learned from them and others is the importance of understanding your own potential, not only in business or in your career. But also in your personal life. Read my blog: Why everyone has a personal brand, about finding your sweet spot.

But finding and fully understanding your worth is for a lot of people difficult. Not every creature on this earth is like Bill Gates or Beyoncé, who knew at a very young age what they wanted to do in life. You may not know it yet yourself, but I do think that a lot of the answer is already inside of you.. You only have to recognize it, embrace it and live by it.

The power of storytelling

And that is exactly what storytelling can do. For sure, the power of storytelling through art, television, podcasts and film is huge. As a producer or artist you can reach millions of people with meaningful messages.

Not only may storytelling reach a big scope, storytelling can also give people abilities.

It can give you the words you need

One of those abilities is that it can give people the ability to find the right words for the feelings and thoughts that you have. In Talking on Water, Ursula K. Le Guin says:

One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience. There are always areas of vast silence in any culture, and part of an artist’s job is to go into those areas and come back from the silence with something to say. It’s one reason why we read poetry, because poets can give us the words we need. When we read good poetry, we often say, ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s how I feel.’ – Ursula K. Le Guin in Talking on Water.

For me that are great examples of how powerful storytelling can be and how it can help you articulate your experiences, structuring your thoughts and find the right words for it.

[… ] Storytelling is a tool for knowing who we are and what we want.

Those right words are important to structure your life.

It can help you recognize

But there is also another reason why I think storytelling is a powerful tool as well. Author Le Guin described that wonderfully:

[…] If we never find our experience described in poetry or stories, we assume that our experience is insignificant.

This saying was a real eyeopener for me. When you talk about understanding your potential, you need other people. You need different perspectives that show you how you also can live your life.

One of my favourite quotes is from Tina Knowles. She once said: Your world is as big as you can see, if you know better you do better. It means that if you see yourself in someone or in a story being told, it can give you recognition for the feelings that you have. That recognition can help you find your sweet spot so that you can live by it.

the power of storytelling

Conclusion

That’s exactly what storytelling can give you. A new perspective. A story that is recognizable. A message that can help you change things in your life.

It’s what I would say is very strong about storytelling. For understanding who you are and what you want, you need the stories to show you how it can be done. Just so that you can recognize it, embrace it and live by it.

Find more blog posts that I wrote about the power of storytelling. Head over to these articles:

Creativity · Personal Branding

How artists have used self-portraits to promote their work for centuries now

There has been a well-known saying throughout the history of art: “Every artist paints himself.” This catchphrase demonstrates that self-portraits were a big thing for artists throughout the years. But self-portraits has also been a way to promote the artists’ work and to find new customers for centuries now. This is how self-portraits have worked for those creatives.

An important tool in marketing

When I say Frida Kahlo, people will often say: “the girl with the unibrow”. Or: “the girl who always looked a bit sad”.

When thinking about her art, we immediatly think about her – about her feminism, her unconventionality and her strongness although she was physically very ill.

The self-portraits that Kahlo created communicate a story. A story of outward display and of being legitimate about your own pains and frustrations. It’s a story that people, especially women, can relate to.

And that feeling is important when it comes to selling Kahlo’s art and to gaining some level of fame with it.

That’s because from the Renaissance onwards, most of the customers have been conscious of buying not just the work of art as an object in itself, but also as something of the ‘aura’ of the artist who created it.

Artists have therefore promoted themselves as well as their works, and the self-portrait has been an important tool in this marketing campaign – whether painted for a customer or for display, or printed for mass circulation.

Self-portraits Frida Kahlo

The pervasiveness of Kahlo

Until even today, there is this so-called “Fridamania” going on. The artist’s image has materialized with particular frequency in 2017, in increasingly diverse forms and mediums.

For example, in honor of Kahlo’s 110th birthday there was a Frida lookalike mob organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. On July 6th 2017, they attempted a Guinness World Record for the most-ever Fridas, numbering an estimated 1,100, for which the record is currently pending approval.

But since 2017 there is also a set of Frida emojis that iPhone users can employ as emotional surrogates. Gallerist and graphic designer Sam Cantor owns this project.

Lastly, there also is this new Frida Kahlo Museum near Cancun, an institution that contains no original artworks, but offers a Kahlo “experience,” and is connected to a restaurant where projections of the artist’s face appear on your dinner plate.

The pervasiveness of Frida Kahlo is at least partly due to the selfportraits that she created during her lifetime. She wanted to be seen. And that has done no harm to her legacy at all.

Examples

Artists have portrayed themselves as honest craftsmen, as feminists, fighters, inspired geniuses, as sophisticated courtiers, as pillars of society and as heirs to a long tradition.

Almost every self-portrait that I have put down below, is a carefully honed image, intended to appeal to a specific audience.

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#FridaKahloSelfPortrait

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One third of Kahlo’s oeuvre exists of self-portraits. The portraits show a bold, self-styled, and afflicted artist who championed Mexico’s indigenous cultures.
Warhol often portrayed himself with a sense of vulnerability—a departure from his glamorous, idealized portraits of celebrities. Many of his self-portraits contain explicit symbols of mortality, such as skulls or ghostly facial expressions. Created just months before his own death, Warhol’s “Freight Wigs” portray the artist with a skeletal face, gazing at the viewer through hollow eyes.
American artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell is known for his delightful collection of Saturday Evening Post covers. On February 13, 1960—an impressive 44 years after Rockwell joined the magazine—the Saturday Evening Post ran a biographical piece on the artist. For the issue cover, Rockwell was commissioned to depict himself, and, thus, he created this clever and comical Triple Self-Portrait.
Van Gogh also mastered the art of self-portraiture. He painted himself more than 43 times between 1886 and 1889.
In one life-time Rembrandt made more than 90 self-portraits.

Last note

It is interesting how those self-portraits have been so present in our society ever since. If you think about it, the self-portraits that I have shown you may not be that different from what we nowadays call selfies.

In this book: Seeing ourselves: Women’s self-portraits by Frances Borzello, I came across more information about how artists used self-portraits as a marketing tool to find more customers and sell more of their art.

You can find the PDF over here.

And if you want to own your copy you can go here: Seeing ourselves: Women’s self-portraits.

To discover even more selfies and self-portraits, check out the Arts and Culture section of Google for this time and color tool.

This tool enables you to look at selfies painted way back in the 15th century and compare them to the ones that are created today.

But you can also organize the color palettes adopted by different artists and see the similarities between them.

Lovely right? Let me know what you think of this trend of self-portraits in art history and if you would consider it for yourself.

I also wrote more about personal branding. Head over to these blogs: