Artist Fuses Surreal Scenes Into Fake Puddles

Jeffrey Michael Austin
Jeffrey Michael Austin

When the conditions outside are right, puddles can act like windows to different worlds. Chicago-based artist Jeffrey Michael Austin likes to photograph pools of water on the street that mirror fragments of the sky and cityscape above. But when he isn’t waiting to stumble upon an artfully-placed puddle in the real world, he’s creating striking street art of his own.

These sculptures, spotted by Co.Design, combine surreal images with the ordinary sight of a trash-filled puddle. Austin uses photographic prints and polyester resin to make his puddles. They’re designed to lay flat on a street or hard floor, kind of like the fake vomit you’d find at a practical joke store, only a lot more appealing. Sometimes his puddles reflect typical images, like a cloudy blue sky, but more unusual scenes like swirling nebulae also find their way into his work. Real props, like trash and plastic cups, help to ground the pieces in reality.

Austin has exhibited his puddle art at the Luminary in St. Louis, Missouri; the University Galleries at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois; DEMO Project and Enos Park in Springfield, Illinois; and SideCar gallery in Hammond, Indiana. You can check out some highlights from his project below and visit his Instagram page and website for more.

Puddle street art.
Jeffrey Michael Austin

Puddle art with caution sign.
Jeffrey Michael Austin

Child looking at puddle art.
Jeffrey Michael Austin

Puddle art on sidewalk.
Jeffrey Michael Austin

[h/t Co.Design]

National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Aretha Franklin With Week-Long Exhibition

Courtesy of Angela Pham BFA
Courtesy of Angela Pham BFA

With the passing of Aretha Franklin on August 16, 2018, the world has lost one of its most distinctive voices—and personalities. As celebrities and fans share their memories of the Queen of Soul and what her music meant to them, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery will pay tribute to the legendary songstress's life with a week-long exhibition of her portrait.

Throughout her career, Franklin earned some of the music industry's highest accolades, including 18 Grammy Awards. In 1987, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nearly 30 years later, in 2015, the National Portrait Gallery fêted Franklin with the Portrait of a Nation Prize, which recognizes "the accomplishments of notable contemporary Americans whose portraits reside in the National Portrait Gallery collection." (Madeline Albright, Spike Lee, and Rita Moreno are among some of its recent recipients.)

Milton Glaser's lithograph of Aretha Franklin, which is displayed at The National Portrait Gallery
© Milton Glaser

Franklin's portrait was the creation of noted graphic designer Milton Glaser, who employed "his characteristic kaleidoscope palette and innovative geometric forms to convey the creative energy of Franklin's performances," according to the Gallery. The colorful lithographic was created in 1968, the very same year that the National Portrait Gallery opened.

Glaser's image will be installed in the "In Memoriam" section of the museum, which is located on the first floor, on Friday, August 17 and will remain on display to the public through August 22, 2018. The Gallery is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and admission is free.

This Wall Chart Shows Almost 130 Species of Shark—All Drawn to Scale

Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

Shark Week may be over, but who says you can’t celebrate sharp-toothed predators year-round? Pop Chart Lab has released a new wall print featuring nearly 130 species of selachimorpha, a taxonomic superorder of fish that includes all sharks.

The shark chart
Pop Chart Lab

Called “The Spectacular Survey of Sharks,” the chart lists each shark by its family classification, order, and superorder. An evolutionary timeline is also included in the top corner to provide some context for how many millions of years old some of these creatures are. The sharks are drawn to scale, from the large but friendly whale shark down to the little ninja lanternsharka species that lives in the deep ocean, glows in the dark, and wasn’t discovered until 2015.

You’ll find the popular great white, of course, as well as rare and elusive species like the megamouth, which has been spotted fewer than 100 times. This is just a sampling, though. According to World Atlas, there are more than 440 known species of shark—plus some that probably haven't been discovered yet.

The wall chart, priced at $29 for an 18” x 24” print, can be pre-ordered on Pop Chart Lab’s website. Shipping begins on August 27.

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