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Kevin Champeny

6 Amazing Kevin Champeny Mosaics From Afar And Close-Up

Original image
Kevin Champeny

A quick glance at one of Kevin Champeny’s large-format mosaics will reveal a beautiful, often playful image—an elegant rose, a detailed skull, or a colorful fish, for example. But a closer look reveals the true artistry of the work, as colors turn into hundreds or even thousands of tiny hand-sculpted items, chosen based on their relationship to the larger image.

Champeny is interested in the relationship between his work and the viewer: "I want people to talk about what these pieces mean to them and how their own experiences make sense of the choices I made when creating the work,” he told mental_floss. The self-labeled "organized hoarder" keeps literally hundreds of thousands of tiny sculpted pieces in his Westchester studio, where they also serve as inspiration for new ideas. Enjoy some of Champeny’s work below, and check out his tumblr and Facebook pages for the complete collection.

1. What Remains

This 60-inch wide by 48-inch tall and 1-inch deep piece is made of 35,000-plus hand cast urethane flowers.

After a skull was then chosen to be the subject, I photographed a skull and printed it out on a large format printer and visually broke down the colors to about 40-plus to work with. I hand sculpted 30 different flowers as the pixels for the skull. I then molded and cast the flowers in color (nothing is painted) in various forms of resin. It took over 35,000 castings to create "What Remains". The flowers were then painstakingly glued on by hand to create the final piece. Each mosaic can take up to several months to complete from concept of idea to finished art.

2. Sweet Death

More than 33,000 individually hand cast urethane pieces of candy make up this piece, which is 66 inches wide by 66 inches tall and 1.5 inches deep.

This my homage to 'Día de Muertos' or the Day of the Dead. I captured the beauty of the intricately designed sugar skulls commonly found around this holiday with a tattoo styled design created entirely of candy, taking the idea of a sugar skull to a completely new level.

3. A Rose By Any Other Name

This piece is 51 inches long, 41 inches tall, and 1.5 inches deep, and is made of more than 15,000 individually hand cast urethane pieces of candy.

What could be sweeter than giving flowers? Candy? A flower made out of candy with a title alluding to Romeo and Juliet? Yes, all of these. This cloyingly sweet rose is a perfect example of how far you can take a theme before it just about implodes. Had I actually made it from real candy, well, that would have been going too far. Or would it?

4. School of Transcendence

Champeny hand-cast 25,000 fish to create this 42-inch long by 60-inch tall and 1.5-inch deep piece.

I created this particular piece with all of the left over castings I had from learning how to cast urethane. It was a very cathartic piece, utilizing castings that I'd accumulated over about 15 years. Finishing this mosaic closed a chapter on a very long process that helped me get to the point where I am now in my career.

5. Hot Wheels

This Hot Wheels piece is made of 4400 tiny cars and weighs 550 pounds. It's 9 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 3 inches deep.

This is perhaps the most fun I have had creating a mosaic. This custom beauty was created for a car enthusiast and allowed me to get in touch with the joy I had as a child playing with Hot Wheels in the driveway. It took me several months just to acquire the nearly 5000 Hot Wheels needed to make this and another month to build the finished mosaic.

6. Flag

This American Flag piece is made of 44,450 hand cast urethane army men; it measures 72 inches wide by 48 inches tall and 1 inch deep.

I created the Flag mosaic as a direct commission through Jellio for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), in Michigan. I was only given 30 days to hand cast—they are cast in color, nothing is painted—and apply all 44,500 soldiers. It was exhausting but well worth it. It remains to this day, the mosaic that I have been the most proud to complete.

All photos courtesy of Kevin Champeny.

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Art
Artist Makes Colorful Prints From 1990s VHS Tapes

A collection of old VHS tapes offers endless crafting possibilities. You can use them to make bird houses, shelving units, or, if you’re London-based artist Dieter Ashton, screen prints from the physical tape itself.

As Co.Design reports, the recent London College of Communication graduate was originally intrigued by the art on the cover of old VHS and cassette tapes. He planned to digitally edit them as part of a new art project, but later realized that working with the ribbons of tape inside was much more interesting.

To make a print, Ashton unravels the film from cassettes and VHS tapes collected from his parents' home. He lets the strips fall randomly then presses them into tight, tangled arrangements with the screen. The piece is then brought to life with vibrant patterns and colors.

Ashton has started playing with ways to incorporate themes and motifs from the films he's repurposing into his artwork. If the movie behind one of his creations isn’t immediately obvious, you can always refer to its title. His pieces are named after movies like Backdraft, Under Siege, and that direct-to-video Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Passport to Paris.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Dieter Ashton

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photography
This Is What Flowers Look Like When Photographed With an X-Ray Machine
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Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Peruvian Daffodil” (1938)

Many plant photographers choose to showcase the vibrant colors and physical details of exotic flora. For his work with flowers, Dr. Dain L. Tasker took a more bare-bones approach. The radiologist’s ghostly floral images were recorded using only an X-ray machine, according to Hyperallergic.

Tasker snapped his pictures of botanical life while he was working at Los Angeles’s Wilshire Hospital in the 1930s. He had minimal experience photographing landscapes and portraits in his spare time, but it wasn’t until he saw an X-ray of an amaryllis, taken by a colleague, that he felt inspired to swap his camera for the medical tool. He took black-and-white radiographs of everything from roses and daffodils to eucalypti and holly berries. The otherworldly artwork was featured in magazines and art shows during Tasker’s lifetime.

Selections from Tasker's body of work have been seen around the world, including as part of the Floral Studies exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in San Diego in 2016. Prints of his work are also available for purchase from the Stinehour Wemyss Editions and Howard Greenberg Gallery.

Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)

X-ray image of a rose.
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “A Rose” (1936)

All images courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery.

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