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5 Graffiti Artists You Should Know

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British graffiti artist Banksy, who's been in the news quite a bit lately, is probably the most well-known graffiti artist of all time. He's also the only graffitist most people know by name. But there is a plethora of graffitists, both talented and not-so-talented, and some of them warrant just as much attention, if not more so, than Banksy. A few that top the list...

1. Lady Pink: Sandra Fabara

The Ecuador-born Sandra Fabara was raised in Queens, NY, and started creating graffiti in 1979, during her years at the High School of Art and Design. She quickly became the only female able to compete with the boys in the graffiti world. At the same time, she was already exhibiting paintings in art galleries. Her starring role in the movie Wild Style in 1982 made a national name for her and earned her a cult following. Since then, her works have been added to the collections of major museums. She now runs a legitimate mural company with her husband Smith, an artist.

2. Xenz: Graeme Brusby

Xenz.jpg Apparently, Graeme Brusby is "widely considered to be the UK's most important graffiti artist after Banksy." He's definitely one of the most Internet-friendly graffiti artists, with a web site, blog, Flickr photostream, MySpace, and fan forum. Brusby got into graffiti as a teen in the "˜80s, then studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Today, he's a member of "one of the UK's most admired graffiti art collectives," the TCF crew, and is frequently included in collaborations and exhibitions.

3. SABER

Saber.jpg The graffiti artist SABER is the creator of a giant work on the sloping cement bank of the Los Angeles River, supposedly the largest graffiti piece ever created. The 1997 piece required 97 gallons of paint, took 35 nights to complete, and is nearly the length of a football field—so large it can be viewed in satellite images. SABER has held a solo exhibition and released a monograph, and he's put his skills to use working for Harley-Davidson, Levi's, Hyundai, and Scion, among others.
(Photo from anarchosyn's Flickr stream.)

4. Tox: Daniel Halpin

Tox.jpg Daniel Halpin has gotten a reputation as London's "most prolific bomber" since his tag appears EVERYWHERE in the London rail system. His tag, consisting of "TOX" and then the last two digits of the year, is the most well-known tag in London. Apparently, 2003 was the apex of his tagging, with virtually every inch of the Metropolitan line covered in "Tox03." Then, in 2004, he was arrested. His graffiti, arrest, and trial were discussed in a Discovery Channel piece that same year. Despite the arrest, his tags have been spotted at least as recently as 2007.

5. Borf: John Tsombikos

Borf.jpg With the help of some friends, John Tsombikos, an art student, left his mark all over D.C., including a five-foot-high face and a 15-foot "BORF," in 2005. Much of his graffiti involved mysterious phrases like, "Borf writes letters to your children." There was also a recurring face, which is said to be the face of one of Tsombikos' friends, who went by the nickname Borf and had committed suicide. In D.C., Borf graffiti was ubiquitous, on walls and pillars and bridges and overpasses. Tsombikos remarked he felt powerful, "like Batman or something," when he heard people talking about his work. But, in July 2005, Borf came to an end when Tsombikos and two friends were arrested for defacing property.
(Photo from niznoz's Flickr stream.)

BONUS: For more graffiti fun, check out the Graffiti Project on Kelburn Castle, for which Brazilian artists were brought to Scotland to paint Kelburn Castle. The site has photos, videos, and more.

Know of any other talented, prolific, or otherwise interesting graffiti artists? Tell us about 'em!

(Click on the images above to see larger versions.)

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Courtesy of Nikon
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science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
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Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

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Art
‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]

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