Best of 2011: A Year in Review

What a year! And one of the best ever for our blog. We’ve been through a complete redesign of the site and created over 497 posts reaching over 2 million readers this year. Thanks for sticking with us and making 2011 such a success. It’s late December, so it is time for year-end roundups. Here’s a look at the top 10 Junkculture blog posts of 2011:
1. The Tire Art of Wim Delvoye.

2. Amazing images of translucent ants eating sugar drops mixed with edible food coloring by Mohamed Babu.

3. A bizarre and hilarious CGI clip by David Lewandowski.

4. Vintage Camera Nightlights by Jason Hull

5. A 3D sculpture that immortalizes the old Windows game of "Solitaire" created by the The folks over at Skrekkogle.

6. Corrugated cardboard shoes by crazy craftsman Mark O'Brien.

7. Stunning digital collages of windows and doors lit from within at night by French artist Anne-Laure Maison.

8. Amazing composite images of city squares bustling with crowds by Adam Magyar.

9. A series of historic portrait miniatures embossed on aluminium throw-away trays by Idan Friedman.

10. The Cat Scan Project, a Tumblr blog devoted to scanned images of cats.

Mathematical Sculptures

Zachary Abel transforms often-overlooked household items into elaborate, mathematical sculptures. Working with everything from paper clips, lollipop sticks, binder clips and playing cards, Zachary has developed new construction methods and revisited traditional craft techniques.

The Blue and White Collection

For his series of works titled 'The Blue and White Collection', Malaysian artist Fan Chon Hoo created
a set of paper earthenware printed with cyanotype and embellished with imaginary landscapes made up by oriental architectural structures found within the UK. He says, "This work responds to the Willow Pattern invented by English craftsmen in the late eighteenth century. I am interested in how a foreign culture can be appropriated and translated into a form of exotic collectibles, subconsciously tucked into the local culture."

Vancouver Apartments

For his "Vancouver Apartments" series photographer Chris Gergley documented apartment blocks built between 1950 and 1970 between Davies and Beach St in Vancouver. The photographs that make up this series bear a striking similarity to the others while revealing the differences particular to each one. By presenting the lobbies of apartments visible behind glass entrances, variations in décor, lighting, colour and ‘personality’ emerge from banal mid-century architecture, becoming metaphorical of human beings’ simultaneous unity and individuality.

Happy Holidays

Junkculture would like to wish all of our readers a happy holiday! It’s been a great two years since we launched this blog and while I’m looking forward to a few days off over Christmas I also can’t wait to be back in 2012 to continue bringing you our eclectic mix of visual culture and daily inspiration. Most importantly, we couldn't have done it without you – a big thank you for all your support!

The Book Art of Guy Laramee

Interdisciplinary artist Guy Laramée carves amazing miniature landscapes out of stacks of old books. His objects originates from the very idea that "ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation." The erosion of cultures – and of “culture” as a whole - is the theme that runs through the last 25 years of Guy's artistic practice.

Oh Tannenbaum

The exhibition "Oh Tannenbaum" is a collection of over 180 unconventional, provocative and funny interpretations of the traditional Christmas tree. The first show was organized by Johannes Marmon and Johannes Müller, of Karlsruhe-based jjoo design, in 2004; this year, selected works will be on display at the Goethe Institute’s 25 branches around the world.

Etsy Data Scarves

To show the immense growth of Etsy and the effect it has had on its audience, Natalie Rachel created handmade scarves using data from the website. By importing these numbers into Processing, growth trends and other interesting patterns emerged. Natalie created grids that became the knitting pattern for the scarves. The data was also exported and used in the final print posters to compliment the scarves.

Felt-Tip Prints

“Felt-Tip Prints” is Daniel Eatock’s newest work which he created by balancing a single sheets of A1 paper on the tips of Pantone pens. Daniel explains, "I am kind of more fascinated by very basic and humble materials. Materials which are readily available. And it’s taking something that is very familiar but then present it in a way that gives people a surprise … It’s that simple transformation of taking this familiar object but doing something new with it."

Doll-O-Rama

Fausta Facciponte’s 'Doll-O-Rama' series was inspired by discarded dolls found in thrift shops and dollar stores. The artist used digital photography to create larger than life prints as a means of reclaiming these common childhood playthings, confronting the viewer with an underlying and haunting beauty that is sometimes overlooked.

All Wrapped Up

Penique Productions is a collective of artists from different disciplines who create amazing Christo inspired inflatable installations. Their projects completely transform existing spaces into mysterious and tantalizing packages through simplification, unification of shapes and textures and the adoption of brilliant colours.

The Nail Cloud Lamp

'The Nail Cloud' is a customizable lamp that’s made up of hundreds of standard metal nails and magnets. Created by Dutch designer Ilias Ernst the lamp is held together with a hanging magnet strong enough to suspend and manipulate metal nails within its magnetic field resulting in a completely unique piece every time.

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured Jesse Rieser's photographic exploration of the biggest event on the American calendar, an interactive art installation created by German artists Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, and Richard Wilhelmer, QR coded wrapping paper by UK-based studio The Chase and a series of weapons made from harmless materials by Kyle Bean.

Cardinal Sin

The Walker Art Gallery has a new addition to its collection - a statue of a Priest vandalised by Banksy. The renowned graffiti artist has sawn off the face of an 18th Century replica stone bust and glued on a selection of bathroom tiles. The resulting 'pixellated' portrait is entitled 'Cardinal Sin' and is believed to be a comment on the abuse scandal in the Church and its subsequent cover- up.

The Postiche Collection

Paul Sharp and Julian Wolkenstein's 'The Postiche Collection' is a portrait series capturing the provenance of iconic facial hairstyles through the ages. Combining rare original postiche with meticulous replicas, technical adviser Tamara Maynes created six facial costumes designed and crafted for the above characters and patchworked from various fabrics.

Future of the City

Crochet artist Nathan Vincent created this amazing replica of a classic New York City manhole cover, intended as an art piece for smart's Future Of the City project. Nathan says, "I love the idea of walking and driving around on the streets of New York, with an entire world beneath us. Manhole covers always seem like a portal to the underworld of New York- something hidden, something mysterious, the connection between the past and the present."

Feel-O-Meter

Created by German artists Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, and Richard Wilhelmer, Fühlometer (Feel-o-meter) is an interactive art installation that shows the mood of a city by displaying it in the form of a monumental Smiley. The system allows to read emotions out of random people's faces. The faces are analyzed by sophisticated software. The obtained mood data are then stored on a server and processed by the smiley to visualize the emotions in real-time.

Soft Guerrilla

Kyle Bean was recently commissioned by CUT magazine to create a series of weapons made from harmless materials for a feature article centred around the topic of 'Guerilla Gardening' and 'Yarn Bombing. Kyle explains, "As a nod to Guerilla warfare I created a series of harmless weapons from various materials (some of which are edible). A jelly grenade, a feather blade knife, bread knuckle dusters; I created a total of 6 weapon models as well as my own take on the iconic Che Guevara image for the opener."

Bucketry

Los Angeles artist Matthias Merkel Hess reimagines mundane plastic containers as ceramic sculptures that are clever, quirky and surprisingly beautiful. His show, titled “Bucketry” at L.A.’s Acme Gallery, on view through Dec. 21, consists of a few dozen familiar containers- garbage cans, milk crates and laundry baskets rendered in glazed ceramic.

QRistmas Wrapping Paper

 UK-based studio The Chase have designed several christmas wrapping papers using QR codes. Not only is this wrapping paper a tasteful way to package your gifts, but the grid of colorful QR codes also directs any smart-phone user to great gift ideas. "From space hoppers to spa days, LEGO to lipstick, iPods to private islands their QRistmas wrapping paper links you to hundreds of gift ideas. each code also acts as a single pixel within an overall festive picture, giving you the option to find the perfect present and then wrap it in the paper, or brighten up your office with some seasonal posters."

Christmas in America

“Christmas in America” is Jesse Rieser's photographic exploration of the biggest event on the American calendar. This is a Christmas that is complex and at times, uncomfortable. It’s awkward and sometimes bleak. But it is also sincere and celebratory, colorful and creative. Rieser explains, "Initially inspired by the absurdity of a five story inflatable Santa who appeared to be guarding a tree lot, I have launched this survey of uniquely American Christmas traditions. “Christmas in America” is an unvarnished examination of the ways people mark the holiday’s meaning."

What Have you Got in Your Head?

For her series titled 'What have You Got in Your Head' Italian artist Sara Asnaghi created replicas of the human brain using 9 different types of food, ranging in variety from rainbow sprinkles to seeds.

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured a 1937 Underwood Standard typewriter modified by Tyree Callahan to print colors rather than letters, a set of burger-inspired wrapping paper by Gift Couture, a video by Luis Úrculo that features a variety of household objects stacked and arranged to look like icons of modern architecture and amazing sculptures created with sewing buttons and fishing line by artist Augusto Esquivel.

The Paint Evolution

Valencia -based designers CuldeSac working in collaboration with paint company valentine. have created a collection of re-imagined brushes and rollers that echo the physical movements of the artist as he or she manipulates paint. "Genetic mutations give birth to imaginative instruments: the brush compass, pendulum or whip give a clue to the behavior of paint through." sketches and through history.

Fake Leica

Chinese artist Liao Yibai built this giant stainless steel Leica camera using a combination of wood, wire, and clay for the underlying shape, before plating it in stainless-steel. Only three copies exist; one at the Foto Henny Hoogeveen Leica store in Lisse, the Netherlands, one at Leica Camera AG headquarters, and a third in the possession of a Leica distributor.

Button Sculptures by Augusto Esquivel

Miami-based artist Augusto Esquivel creates his amazing sculptures by suspending hundreds of buttons from strands of fishing line, to create life-size replicas of pianos, fire extinguishers and more. Augusto explains, "I realize how insignificant and small a simple sewing button can be as it lays in my grandmother’s sewing box, but at the same time how unique and precious it can become as part of a work of art. Like an atom in a molecule, each button serves and shapes the whole. "

Burger Wrapping Paper

Gift Couture is a start-up creative and innovative wrapping paper company that offers high-quality wrapping paper sets. Their latest projet is a set of burger-inspired wrapping paper that includes 5 different wrapping paper designs; a bun, hamburger, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, all of the components of a Cheeseburger!

Collections: The Dumpster Project

Forced to downsize into a smaller studio and reduce the amount of stuff he owns, artist Mac Premo converted the interior of a dumpster into a walk-in traveling exhibition of objects he has collected over the years. As Dave Pinter reports for PSFK, "The artist has neatly lined the walls with objects ranging from works of art, to bike frames, to old appliances and cell phones. The items fit together like a puzzle, each object nestled in its designated place like pieces in a museum."

Collection of Light

Collection of Light by Stockholm-based design firm humans since 1982 is simply a collection of LEDs assembled and arranged to make a lamp. Inspired by museum-style collections of insects, the LEDs are all labeled (with name, size and colour temperature) and arranged in a specific order to accomplish harmonic light. There are three versions: a limited edition of three with 300 LEDs, an edition of 10 with 150 LEDs, and an edition of 10 with 90. For the 90 and 150 version, they refurbished and reused original 70 year old insect-collection drawers from the Museum of Natural History Stockholm.

Video: Covers by Luis Urculo

"Covers" by Luis Úrculo and Cris Blanco is a video that features a variety of household objects stacked and arranged to look like icons of modern architecture. Buildings like the John Hancock Center from SOM, the Guggenheim Museum from Frank Lloyd Wright, the New Museum from SANAA or the National Congress of Brasil from Oscar Niemeyer, are some of the works of architecture that have been recreated using everyday objects.

The Art of Provocation

Cuban sculptor Yoan Capote's work deals principally with the interactions between individuals and objects. Yoan explains, “…my work has been the result of analyzing objects and their relationship with our body; studying their interface, representation and physical or sensorial possibilities. My working process begins by applying different physical, social and psychological situations to the hard surface of urban materials and standard objects. When we use objects, they are an extension of our body and are connected with all the habits and human needs that define our behavior.

Tyree Callahan: The Chromatic Typewriter

Tyree Callahan's Chromatic Typewriter is a clever painting device based around a modified 1937 Underwood Standard typewriter whose letters and keys have been replaced by color pads. Imagine being able to "type" a painting using colors instead of letters. Pretty neat!

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured Chacho Puebla's humorous project titled 'Grandmother Tips', the controversial images of Belgian photographer Frieke Janssens, experiments with letterpress printing using pieces from Ikea flatpacks by Lorenzo Bravi, and beautiful cross section of teapots and kitschy vases by Studio Rolf.fr.

Revalue

Revalue is the name of latest series of sculptures by British artist Chris Mitton. The work focuses on the subjective nature of the value of cultural objects by the reinterpretation of their form in contrasting materials and scale. The artist has produced a series of used objects; coke cans, coffee cups, potato chip packages and lightbulbs carved from marble using a classical sculptural medium.

Patrick Jacobs' Small Realities

Brooklyn-based artist Patrick Jacobs creates miniature landscapes that can be viewed through magnifying lenses built inside the gallery walls. What you see are lush green fields, patches of mushrooms and incredibly detailed dandelions. Creating these amazing dioramas can be a time-consuming, labour intensive process which can take from weeks to months for each piece.

Information as Object

What happens when a two dimensional QR-code is transformed into a three-dimensional structure? Would this change its information content? German designer Elena Belmann decided to find out , and she created a wood sculpture that is part architectural form and part scannable data. Oh yeah...and I forgot to mention that this wooden structure is also a lamp. Amazing!