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david irvine
david irvine

Artist Adds Pop Culture Figures to Thrift Store Paintings

david irvine
david irvine

Artist David Irvine of the Gnarled Branch makes all kinds of of interesting artwork, like painted upcycled vinyl records, sculpture, and even puppetry. He also finds old thrift store paintings and adds his own unique touch to the landscapes. These remixed paintings feature pop culture characters, animals, and creatures you've seen before—just not like this.

The project started years ago when Irvine was a struggling artist. He would frequent thrift stores for old, discarded paintings he could use for art supplies. He would reuse old frames and paint over canvases that would otherwise be thrown away. Irvine first got the idea to use the pre-existing art after finding a particular landscape on one of his trips. 

"One piece I came across at a yard sale was a seascape and for some reason I had a vision of two reapers standing on the shore playing with a beach ball," he explained in an e-mail. "I painted in this vision and posted it online where it sold immediately and generated a big response—I knew at that moment I had to start a series of redirected paintings along with the other types of artwork that I do."

Irvine is careful to respect the original art and artist (as much as one can when repurposing a piece), and never paints over signatures. He explains: 

Over 90% of the work I redirect are prints on board or heavy paper with the remainder being originals on canvas or anonymous paint by numbers. I take great care in touching up any damage from sun bleaching, scratches or buffs, before I add in any of my own ideas. I also do research on each work before I begin paint, to make sure it's not a valued work. Most are generally mass produced and have little historical or monetary value. In many of my redirected works I try to emulate the original by use of similar brush work, coloring and rendering style.

He also tries to avoid cleaner, nicer pieces that might still be being purchased and enjoyed. Instead, Irvine looks for worn and broken artwork that he can breathe new life into. You can check out more of his work on Facebook and Etsy

All images courtesy of David Irvine.

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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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.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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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]

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