The Fallen: 9000 Figures Hand-Drawn in the Sand for D-Day

Today is an anniversary of D-Day, the greatest landing operation of the Allies in the WW II. I don’t think I need to remind anyone what influence this had on the continuation of the War.

I want to mark this occasion, as always, with something of art. This particular installation’s taken place last year.


To commemorate those fallen on D-Day in France – civilians, Axis and Allies alike – a pair of sand artists used stencils and solicited volunteers to create a highly temporary art installation, destined and designed to be washed away by the incoming tide.

On September 21st, the pair and their helpers, given stencils and quick instructions, had to work quickly to make The Fallen a reality. At one point, it looked like they would not have even assistance to finish before the water came in to erase their creation.

Thankfully, hundreds of additional people turned out on top of the dozens who had agreed to help … together these, “people took stencils and rakes in hand and embarked on drawing the 9000.  The Peace Day project had finally begun in earnest represented by the people of the world.”

Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss developed the idea of The Fallen as a project for Peace Day well in advance. They created stencils in preparation, but were surprised by the people who turned up from around the world (drawn together, as it were) to commemorate those lost in World War II and otherwise.

Among those participants in attendance, “Monika Kershaw was there remembering her son and his colleagues that died in Afganastan and even wrote in their names beside them. George, a veteran who was on the D-Day beaches was also there and embraced the importance of the project as demonstrating the result of conflict. There were a group from Israel that drew together, people from Germany, Finland and as far as Chili.”

From Jamie in their their pre-project press release: “The Fallen is a sobering reminder of what happens when peace is not present. The idea is to create a visual representation of what is otherwise unimaginable – the thousands of human lives lost during the hours of the tide during the WWII Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. There will be no distinction between nationalities, they will be known only as ‘The Fallen’. It does not propose to be a celebration or condemnation, simply a statement of fact and tribute to life and its premature loss.” Andy added: “This project will bring together people from all nationalities, backgrounds and ages. Each individual will work in a team to make a person using a stencil and by raking the sand.”


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Upon Reflection

Upon Reflection is a beautiful, very feminine (although only one of the artists is a girl) new mural – a collaboration of Fin DAC and Angelina Christina which is featuring each artist’s distinctive style.

The piece can be found at the corner of Winston and Los Angeles in Downtown Los Angeles, USA.


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Cool before it was even cool

Remember a song by Fun Lovin’ Criminals “Scooby Snacks”?  The song is basically a lot about what’s cool and I thought now that the expresion which is shouted at some point:

“- Sonny, I need you cool, are you cool?
– I am cool.”
is a perfect summary of the couple of photos I have found here and there.

They are all of Salvador Dali, a prominent Catalan (not Spanish, mind you!) painter, architect known for his surrealistic art. In fact, he was such a personality and such a great artist that he was “cool” before anyone even knew the word and before it was “cool” to be “cool”. Or, in other words: eccentric.

For instance, you may know this famous photo, entitled “Dali Atomicus“, a photo by Philippe Halsman who pictured Salvador Dalí suspended in mid-air. While today this image could easily be replicated in Photoshop, it wasn’t possible in 1948. It actually took 28 takes and a help of 5 assistants to get this image!

Dali Atomicus (1)

A website “Shooting film” describes the process:

The photographer counts: One… His wife Yvonne holds the chair up. Two… The assistants get ready with the water and the cats. Three… The assistants throw the cats from the right and the bucket of water from the left. Four… Salvador Dali jumps… and miliseconds later—Philippe Halsman takes the photo.

After the photo is taken: the photographer goes to the darkroom to develop it; the assistants mop the floor, catch and calm down the cats; Yvonne and Dali rest and wait for yet another shoot. As Halsman wrote in his book Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas, “Six hours and twenty-eight throws later, the result satisfied my striving for perfection. (…) My assistants and I were wet, dirty, and near complete exhaustion—only the cats still looked like new“.

You can actually watch the mis-takes on the photos here.

Below you can see Dali hosting a Surrealist party as a fund raiser for displaced European artists.


Other form of entertainment would be a little sport. Like jumping rope.

salvador dali jumping rope

Here’s the artist’s doing a Buddha impression.


Dali also enjoyed pets company. Quite unusual pets, though.
Here’s him with his little kitty, an ocelot….



…and Salvador Dali walking his anteater. Of course.

Salvador dali and his Anteater

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Crocheted Alligator

First, please allow a side note, quite personal one. I am lately involved quite much into bringing to live a urban knitting project where I live. I don’t want to be over enthusiastic, but please keep fingers crossed it goes well. At the time I am writing this I am waiting anxiously to see what will happen…

Since I am much into thinking into the field of “yarnbombing-crocheting-urban knitting” I though that maybe a post related to this would be welcome.

Olek is a Poland-born (I can’t say I’m not proud of that), Brooklyn-based artist famous for her large scale crocheted objects. In 2012 she travelled to Brasil for the 2012 SESC Arts Show, a non-profit arts show across several venues that runs in São Paulo. With the help of a team of “crocheteiros,” (surely she couldn’t have done such a massive piece on her own) over a period of several weeks Olek completely covered the massive alligator in colorful North Carolinian acrylic yarn and Brazilian ribbons.

Kids can climb in, through and on top of the brightly-colored alligator, which loses some of its intimidation with that blanket of pink yarn.

I must say I absolutely love the array of colours and the idea of the entire work. I can’t possibly imagine to match the scale of the project, but I can say out loud I do admire the reptile.

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The Painted Village of Zalipie

This time something from this little corner of the world. I hope – equally as interesting and charming as other wonders of the wide world.

Zalipie is a village in southeastern Poland, 68 km east of the regional capital Kraków (Cracow), known for its wonderfully, rustically painted houses.

The tradition of decorating both the exterior and the interior of houses originated at the end of the 19th century when old-fashioned furnaces were replaced with new furnaces with chimneys. Early furnaces had little more than a hole in the ceiling for smoke to escape, which being inadequate led to blackening of the walls by soot. In order to cover the unsightly walls the women of the houses began painting over the spots of soot with whitewash. Later, these whitewashed walls became backdrops for more immaculate designs. Using flower compositions, the women put special emphasis on decorating the wide stoves. They also painted flower garlands under pictures and around windows and doors. Soon they began to paint the exterior of their homes and pretty much anything unmovable – chicken coups, bridges, bins, wells and dog kernels.

nitially, the ornamentation was predominantly geometric with dots, curves, circles, zig-zags, and wavy lines etc. and the materials used were simply those that were most available like brown clay, soot, and lime. As an adhesive they used milk, sugar and egg whites or dumpling stock. Brushes were composed of horse hair, leather, or human hair; some of these types of brushes were still used up until a several years ago.

Like most small villages, Zalipie would have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for a clerk from Krakow, who became so intrigued by the Zalipian cottages that he published an article about them in a local ethnographic periodical in the year 1905.

The tradition is upheld each year in the first week after the Feast of Corpus Christi, when a competition is held for the most beautifully decorated cottage. The house-painting competition started in 1948 and occurred every few years until 1965 when it became an annual event. In addition to Zalipie, these special cottages can be found in a number of surrounding villages such as Kuzie, Niwka and Kłyż.

Zalipie’s best known painter was Felicja Curyłowa (1904–74), and since her death her three-room farmhouse has been turned into a museum.

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Lit Up Pieces of Paper Caught in a Breeze

London designer Paul Cocksedge created a gorgeous installation resembling pieces of paper caught in a breeze for the  in Lyon, France in 2011. Installed in the courtyard of Lyon’s Hotel de Ville (City Hall), the 25-metre-long sculpture, called Bourrasque, was comprised of 200 A3-sized sheets made from an electrically conductive material that lights up when a current passes through it. Each of these double-sided sheets was individually moulded by hand in London, and then assembled on site.


big_370250_1583_web_Cocksedge_Bourrasque06 Bourrasque-by-Paul-Cocksedge-3


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The Last…Stop


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Public furniture by guerrilla activists

A group of guerrilla activists hit the streets Paris as darkness descends on the city, but no to riot, protest or graffiti but to build and install community infrastructure from the discarded roadside scraps found in the French capital.

Chapitre Zero is a upcycling project led by Duccio Maria Gambi and Mattia Paco Rizzi, furniture designers with a higher purpose in mind for the urban refuse they find, but with no license from the city to install their de facto illegal creations. The evolving  team of nocturnal participants uses leftover palettes, old doors and other pieces of wood to shape seats and tables which they deploy into carefully-chosen spaces, leaving local residents to wake up surrounded by useful surprises. Their process has evolved over time, from prefabricating their pieces to working onsite with portable power tools to build with whatever waste is at hand, bending, fastening, screwing and nailing as they go. This trash-taking approach naturally requires a degree of planning and preparedness but also a sense of the impromptu – much like other forms of ad hoc guerrilla street art. The community has responded warmly to this activity, throwing impromptu picnics, meetings and birthday parties in these unexpected new spaces.


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Land art rocking a pasture

Round here we feel the first breaths of spring, with tiny fresh green leaves blooming on trees and first flowers of spring sprouting around. And soon enough there will come the time for green, green grass… And for all these reasons – it’s time to go back to land art.

Maya Lin is an American  designer and artist who is known for her work in landscape art. One of her widely known (in the world of those interested in “earth art” which comes as another term for this kind of artistic activity) is a massive “Eleven Minute Line”. This squiggly line is 1600 feet long and 12 feet high. And here’s the awesome part: it’s located in a cow pasture in Sweden. The artists was inspired to do this work by the Serpent Mound (c. 1070 AD) which is located in Adams County, Ohio. The Serpent Mound is the largest effigy structure in the United States, and it is thought to have been built by the the Fort Ancient people. (It was originally thought that the structure was built in prehistoric times, but carbon dating of the mound revealed a much later date.) 

The artist is from Ohio, and she has always been struck with the story of the Serpent Mound. When Europeans came to America and discovered the Serpent Mound, they concluded that an earlier group of Europeans must have made the structure and then traveled back to the Old World. Basically, these European explorers could not conceive that Native Americans could have built something so complex and monumental. Lin decided add a subtle element of irony with Eleven Minute Line by turning the tables a bit: she brought a design that was inspired from the New World back to the Old World (i.e. Sweden).

lin_maya lin_maya1

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Zig-zaging city streets

A duo of Swiss artists Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann, who work together as Lang-Baumann bring unexpected visuals to public spaces. One of their trademark projects are bright painted zig-zag patterns that contrasts with the urban surroundings. The artists have already prepared seven installations of this kind, each in different city. Sometimes the stripes bring some life into muted, understated areas, as in case of the current installation in Rennes, France which will be visible in the heart of town until May 25, 2014, so you can still catch it, or rather – walk it – if you are in the area. The installation was applied directly to the asphalt using road marking paint, introducing a new sense of vibrancy and modernity to this historic city block. The painting obliterates expectations for the type of public art that’s acceptable for this kind of setting.

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But in the previous works street paintings have graced smaller, even quainter communities like the picturesque Vercorin, Switzerland, as well as major cities like Moscow.

Vercorin, Switzerland

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Paris, Place Martin Nadaud

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Pedestrian’ and ciclysts’ path, Ulmbergtunnel, Zürich, Switrzerland

2012-05_StreetPainting3_08NM 2012-05_StreetPainting3_03NMStrelka Institute of Media, Design and Architecture, Moscow, Russia

Geometric-Street-Paintings-France-5 2011-08_StreetPainting6_2NM

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