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11 Fun, Silly, Weird and Far Out Monet Tributes

Today would have been Claude Monet’s 172nd birthday, so in honor of one of the world’s most influential impressionists, here are a few tributes to his famous works of art.

1. Land of Misfit Toys

We just had an article about recycled art yesterday, but we didn’t include Tom Deininger, another talented artist specializing in the use of discarded toys. Here’s what happens when a pile of old plastic toys and trash come together to form “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies.” While most of the pieces are too small to see without coming in for a more detailed shot, you can probably at least spot the Sponge Bob Squarepants toy in the top right.

2. Modern Art

It’s hard to say if Monet would've approved of Banksy’s graffiti or his political message, but there’s no doubt that Banksy has been inspired to some extent by the impressionist. In fact, he has even taken to recreating Monet’s classic “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies” with the modern addition of abandoned shopping carts and traffic cones sitting in the waterway. The name of the doctored piece? “Show Me the Monet.”

This piece is one of many that the famous graffiti artist has snuck in and hung in famous art galleries and museums around the world.

3. Toon Tribute

The Simpsons have mimicked just about every top artist of the last 2000 years and seeing Bart get a ride along the artist’s famous garden bridge only serves to show just how relevant Monet’s work remains in modern times.

4. Having A Ball

Claude Cormier & Associates Inc. used over 90,000 plastic balls to create this amazing replica of the wisteria blooms that Monet was so fond of painting throughout the years. The creation was designed to help Le Havre celebrate their Contemporary Art Biennale with a tribute to the city’s most famous native.

5. Building Blocks

It’s hard to capture a lot of detail in a Lego creation, but the blurriness of this remake of Monet’s 1873 “Impression, Soleil Levant” by William Keckler only makes it a more suitable tribute to the impressionist.

6. 8-Bit Impressionism

Ever wish you could see what Monet’s work would look like if it were recreated in the 8-bit video game world of the past? Well, artist Jaebum Joo is here to help by reinterpreting “Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, facing left” as a classic game image.

7. Dutch Treat

These days, you aren’t anyone if you haven’t had an artistic cake designed to look like you or your work. Fortunately, Flickr user Megpi helped further secure Monet’s place in history with this lovely recreation of his famous “Tulip Fields With The Rijnsburg Windmill.”

8. Nerd Alert

Like cake dedications, any famous artist of the past is destined to have a few geek interpretations of their work. This “Darth Vader With A Parasol” painting by David Barton is a perfect blend of classic Monet and 20th century pop culture.

9. Meow-nay

Not even a classic impressionist like Monet can escape the internet’s cat obsession. Here is artist Svetlana Petrova’s take on “Haystacks at Giverny” with her little Zarathustra taking over for the haystack.

10. Invasion

What happens when Voltron invades “Les Coquelicots a Argenteuil?” Well, while you might expect a lot of screaming and terror at the sight of the giant robot, according to artist Hillary White, things seem to go on pretty much as usual—just with a massive robot blocking out much of the scenery.

11. The Comic Connection

To help promote the release of The Avengers, Marvel decided to publish a number of variant covers for some of their most popular titles this April. All of the titles were inspired by famous artworks of the past and while this variant of Avengers Assemble #2 by Stephanie Hans doesn’t seem to be based on any particular Monet painting (although it could be one I’m just not familiar with), it’s immediately obvious that the style was definitely inspired by the impressionist’s great body of work.

What do you guys think of these tributes? Are they sad attempts at capitalizing on the work of one of the world’s most famous artists? Or are they fitting dedications to someone who has influenced the art world so, so much? Also, if you happen to know of any other tributes not listed here, feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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