CLOSE
Living Ink Technologies via Kickstarter
Living Ink Technologies via Kickstarter

Art Made With This Algae Pen Becomes Visible After Sun Exposure

Living Ink Technologies via Kickstarter
Living Ink Technologies via Kickstarter

You’ve heard of disappearing ink, but this pen does the opposite—by creating illustrations with living ink, they only become visible after spending a few days in the sun.

The secret behind this tricky art tool is the special ink made from living algae and cyanobacteria. When artists first put the pen to paper, the living ink isn’t visible to the naked eye. It’s only after prolonged exposure to sunlight that the algae and bacteria start to rapidly multiply to the point where the green chlorophyll becomes abundant enough to see.

The pen also includes regular disappearing ink to help guide artists through their initial sketches. Users can draw with the pink “fast ink” pen in tandem with the blue “slow ink” pen to create different components that reveal themselves at different times. The illustrations grow in a miniature greenhouse, which is actually a glass frame filled with a nutrient-rich material called agar. The fast sketches become visible in one-to-two days, while the slow ink appears after about a week.

Even once the algae and cyanobacteria have died, the stain left by the chlorophyll remains vibrant for years to follow. And while the pens aren’t available for commercial purchase just yet, anyone can pledge to the Kickstarter campaign and reserve a Living Ink set of their own. The pen package is $30, and the special “artist edition" package includes paintable inks and paintbrushes for a pledge of $60 or more. If the campaign reaches their funding goal of $15,000 before January 13, rewards can be expected to ship by June of next year.

[h/t: Gizmodo]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Art
The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
iStock
iStock

The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Art
This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
iStock
iStock

It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios