Moonrise Over Junk Food (Your Monthly Ticket to Weirdness)

For this month we explore landscapes created with junk food, insane Steampunk calculators, and a vampire hunting kit.

Blue Dye #1 Precipice from the series Processed Views 2014

Blue Dye #1 Precipice from the series Processed Views 2014

 

Junk Food Landscapes

Always on the look out for the latest and most surreal items this world has to offer, I was stunned by how  artists Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman used junk food to recreate classic photographs by Carleton Watkins. Look at how the food artists recreated a 1869 photograph of the Farallon Islands photographs.

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And now the Ciurej/Lochman version, titled Cola Sea (from the series Processed Views 2013).

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The artists use processed food to point out just how far our food has diverged from nature. They state: “As we move further away from the sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health.”

Stempunk Calculators

Most of use think of calculators are objects from the computer age. Who can blame us when adding apps are available on smartphones or even Google.

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Check out these truly gorgeous beauties from an age where objects were crafted by hand. The calculator, built by Johann Helfrich Müller in 1784, evokes stempunk passion with it’s brass knobs and dials. Check out this close up the workings:

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To view more of these marvelous mechanical wonders, visit this site.

A Love Story Through Coffee

Although this short film features a food product, and thus might fall under the category of propaganda, it’s so charming that it captures my heart. The characters, a boy and a girl, are dusted onto the tops of 1000 cups of cappuccino. The story shows their courtship, love, and family. The commercial is for Ajinomoto General Foods’ Maxim Stick drink flavoring. Watch and enjoy.

Tim Kane

Hessian Global Goods is My Coffee and Kitsch Dealer

Long ago, I wrote how I would buy my coffee from a “dealer” in the part as if it were an illicit transaction. The reason for this strangeness was that the pair of San Diego ladies who supply my coffee had close shop in 2011. The coffee was so darned good, I had to continue buying from them. Now, they have opened a new shop in Uptown San Diego where I can not only get my coffee fix, but also delve into kitsch from Africa and Asia.

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The ladies, Viviana and Verena, hail from England. They set up Hessian Global Goods under the auspices of Pannikan, but they quickly expanded beyond that. Their new shop clearly shows that they are now more of a global goods purveyor than simply a coffee broker. Honestly, they put World Market to shame. The ladies travel abroad quite often, packing kitschy artifacts into their suitcases when space allows. (Actually, I asked them about this, and when the went to Morocco, each one nested two suitcases inside their main one.)

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Let me be honest, if you ever are in San Diego, visit her for the coffee. It’s stupendous. They have beans from parts of the world most people didn’t even know grew coffee. Come for the coffee, but leave with some kitsch.

I covet this vacuum coffee maker.

I covet this vacuum coffee maker.

The ladies color code their supplies, so as you walk in, you see walls of color: orange, red, black, green. Sprinkled in between the coffee cups and coffee pots are tin toys, dolls

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They also collect artifacts and art from Africa including the types of wooden statues you’d expect to see in museums.

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My favorite new addition are these stuffed animal heads. Instead of a real dead animal staring down at you, check out these cute “stuffed” animals made of corduroy and buttons.

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Check out Hessian Global Goods. They’re located a giant renovated red house in San Diego (4034 Park Blvd). You can also call the ladies at (619) 239-7891.

Tim Kane

Weird Roundup for September

Often I find little nuggets of weirdness that are too brief to warrant their own blog post. I’ve created this forum of the monthly uncanny to give you all the morsels of weird that make a well balanced strange meal. All of these are guaranteed to make you see the world differently.

Firefly Magic

Photographer Vincent Brady shot this footage of fireflies over the sumer of 2013 in  Lake of the Ozarks (as well as Grand Ledge). Brady comments on the sublime experience: “Being out on the boat and watching as they light the treeline with their all night disco party is just amazing.” Brandon McCoy provided the music.

Trippy Vintage Science

Do you love vintage science illustrations? Yes. Well so does Fanfarlo. The following video uses Fanfarlo’s “Cell Song” to score a series of vintage images lifted from science journals, encyclopedias, and magazines. They were all animated and remixed into a trippy journey through space, cells and time.

Ghost Girl Stalks Boyfriend on Facebook

Yes, we’ve finally reached the point where ghosts are using social media. This story comes from the Reddit community No Sleep, a forum for horror stories that supposedly have really happened. Prepare your requisite grain of salt, people. Even if this ghost girl is a hoax, it’s a darned good one and very creepy (I don’t creep out easily).

Check out the postings to the boyfriend’s wall from Emily, the ghostly girlfriend.

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The part about the freezing and the plea to stop have me on edge. See more of the creepy posts at Jezebel.

United States that Never Was

What if the Constitution was never written? What would North America look like? Well, graphic designer Jordan Penny has spent his spare time devising faux maps and currency for the countries that would occupy this alternate North America.

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Notice that the Republic of Mexico still has most of its land, minus Texas and California. The Kingdom of Canada gobbled up the northwest states. Then you have the strange states that make up the original thirteen colonies. Under the Articles of Confederation, they would be loosely tied together, yet never as strong as the United States would become. Penny says, “the AoC are never replaced, and the Union slowly devolves into what you see here.” Therefore, each state expanded west to take over the Ohio valley. Look at Virginia, clearly the strongest of the colonies, took over nearly all the territory up to Louisiana.

That’s your dose of weirdness for this month. Remember, strange is the new normal.

Tim Kane

Porcelain Dolls So Realistic, You Swear They’re Alive

I have a seven-year old daughter, so, yeah, I see a lot of dolls. From Barbie to Ever After High. However, when I stumbled across the book Enchanted Doll by Marina Bychkova, I was ushered into a new world of doll art. I have to say, that dolls, as a whole, have never interested me. As guy, my desire to own dolls started and ended with action figures (Star Wars and G.I. Joe). However, I do love art of all kinds and the dolls created by Bychkova deserve to be in museums.

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What Bychkova creates is nothing short of amazing. Look at the following close up from the end of her book and note how she paints in the tears. Now tell me, if you just glanced at that, and didn’t know it was a doll, you’d think it was a photo-realistic painting.

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Just creating beautiful “pin-up” quality art is one thing. But Bychkova takes it one step farther. She bases her dolls on fairy tales and legends. Here are a few of my favorites here along with the inspiration Bychkova includes.

Bride of Frankenstein

Bychkova finds her inspiration for this doll from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Camilla d’Errico’s Helmetgirls, and Erte’s conceptual fashion designs that appeared in Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Bychkova envisioned the “Bride” as a woman who went through so much high-voltage shenanigans, that her hair bleached white. She says: “Being electrocuted with several thousand volts of electricity destroyed all the pigmentation in her body, bleaching her once vivid complexion.” The Stempunk styled metal helmet helps pump oxygen to her brain and also adds some neural zapping to keep her thinking.

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Little Red Riding Hood

Did I mention that Bychkova also creates all of her own clothing? Just look at the ornamentation in that red cape. Speaking of the cape, we all know the story of the little girl on the way to grandma’s who gets waylaid by a wolf. With Bychkova’s version, she imagines the peasant girl as a “rebellious, yet painfully naive teenage heiress on an ill-advised quest for adventure and independence.” Unfortunately, she is stalked by a the predatory wolf.

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Cathedral

Not all of Bychkova’s dolls are based on fables. With “Cathedral” she shows her love for Renaissance art and gothic architecture. She says: “As a student, I was eager to experience the magnificent works of art and celebrated places from the pages of my art history textbooks. Soon after graduation, I embarked on a six-week grand tour of Italy in a camper van. While there, I was intoxicated by the Italian art, architecture, culture, and religious iconography—it truly was a sensory overload.” This experience inspired her to make art. The Cathedral doll is directly linked to her memories of Italy, especially the jewel-encrusted reliquaries in the Vatican.

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Phantom of the Opera

Although not a doll of Christine, this Chandelier doll was inspired by the falling chandelier from the Phantom of the Opera stage production. This is an experimental piece for Bychkova which focuses on the lighting rather than the clothes. She imagines this chandelier as being worn by a model in a Paris catwalk for a fashion show. She exaggerated the proportions in order to create that “over the top” feel of haute couture. She says that this project “is a comment on the constrictive and at times brutal nature of fashion, showing how willingly women embrace these discomforts for the sake of conforming to accepted standards of beauty.”

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There are many many more gorgeous dolls in the Enchanted Doll book. Please check it out when you get the chance. Your imagination will thank you.

Tim Kane

Stempunk Fetish Watches and Sculptures

I am truly a sucker for Steampunk as an aesthetic. Just a glance around my office reveals multiple gear or steam-related items.

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I’ve also had a yen for gear driven watches. Multiple pocket watches have come and gone (not really gone, more gathering dust on the shelf). Most never quite live up to the functionality promised by Victorian mechanization. Probably because they were made by modern hands instead of crafted by artisans. Regrettably, I end up with battery driven wrist watches that don’t look as sleek, but function none the less.

Still, my heart belongs to gears.

That’s why when I discovered All Natural Arts by Susan Beatrice, I was hooked. One look at the amazing work she’s done and you’ll slaver yourself into a Steampunk coma.

Here are some of my favorites:

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This is called The Beast of the Machine. The front view is extraordinary, but then take a look at it from an angle. You’ll see how Beatrice has built this image up, so it’s more sculpture than simply a flat illustration.

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This Steampunk Bunny has been crafted out of clock parts. Of course. What else would you use to fashion such an exquisite animal. I particularly like the curved pieces that makeup the ears.

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At first glance this appears to be a simple, albeit amazing, dragon sculpture placed inside a pocket watch case. But when you open it up…

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The dragon rotates and now you can see the flames shooting out. Astounding. I particularly like the chain that keeps the dragon tethered to the watch case as if it might fly away at any moment.

Beatrice has many more Steampunk creations, along with illustrations and fairies. Go ahead and check out All Natural Arts for yourself.  All of her art is for sale.

Tim Kane

Tarot: The Magician Cover Reveal Giveaway

Love. Death. Betrayal.

It’s All in the Cards.

Tarot Cover Art 72

 

Available May 27

When Kassandra Troy discovers an ancient tarot deck, her life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card, and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell. He lifts Kassandra out of despair, dispelling the devastation she feels after her father’s death. But Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. The only way Kassandra can save herself is to journey into the Tarot cards. But once inside, can she ever escape?

Irresistibly compelling and heart-wrenching, Tarot: The Magician is a superb fantasy tale that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

Tarot Cover Art Teaser

I love making book trailers. So much so, I made one just for the cover reveal of the book. Check it out.

Giveaway Details

Okay folks. This is it. By helping me promote Tarot: The Magician, you can win a tarot decl of your own.

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Click anywhere on the image below to take you to enter the giveaway.

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Tarot Cover Art

The new cover art for Tarot: The Magician is coming on April 12th. I have to say, I’m very excited about this. First book. First cover. This project (the novel, I mean) has been five years in the making.

Tarot Cover Giveaway

I’m also hosting a giveaway for a tarot deck starting on the 12th. Come on back and check it out.

Love. Death. Betrayal.

It’s All in the Cards.

Tarot Cover Art 72 question

Coming in May 27

Blurb for Tarot: The Magician

When Kassandra Troy discovers an ancient tarot deck, her life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card, and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell. He lifts Kassandra out of despair, dispelling the devastation she feels after her father’s death. But Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. The only way Kassandra can save herself is to journey into the Tarot cards. But once inside, can she ever escape?

Irresistibly compelling and heart-wrenching, Tarot: The Magician is a superb fantasy tale that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

Tim Kane