Tiny Masterpieces

For centuries, scholars and commoners alike have debated what defines the word "art." Is the distinction between what is and isn't art made by financial valuation? Do people need to have training in order for their work to be considered legitimate art? Are artists truly artists if their work is not their sole occupation? These questions and more have kept history's greatest minds awake at night.

Still, if there's one thing humanity has proven throughout its existence, it's that there's no limit to the type of canvas people can use for their art. From etchings on cave walls to galleries of the modern metropolis, our species has shown its boundless creativity by designing with whatever materials are available and on whatever canvas can be found.

By the Spoonful

All parents have told their children at one time or another not to play with their food. Ioana Vanc was told the same thing growing up as a child in Romania, but her artistic sensibilities were hardly reined in. Now an adult and a professional artist, she has taken her messy childhood habit and turned it into a hobby that has brought her worldwide recognition.

zebras on a teaspoon
Image via Ioana.

Using nothing more than the most minimal of food scraps, Vanc creates colorful landscapes and recognizable portraits on the surface of a teaspoon. Her works include zebras in an open plain, as well as likenesses of celebrities Karl Lagerfeld, Iris Apfel, and even Kermit the Frog. Regular updates to Vanc's gallery can be found by following her Instagram page. They make for some of the more interesting food pictures one can find on the site.

Petri Paintings

With art being such a deeply ingrained part of the human experience, it isn't very far-fetched to think that artistic urges might be part of the very building blocks of our existence. Similarly, it isn't too great a stretch to imagine those very building blocks becoming works of art themselves. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) recently launched the first-ever Agar Art competition, inviting challengers to use microorganisms and mold to create art pieces that fit inside of petri dishes.


Petri dish
Image via Hyperallergic.

The above stories show how, more often than not, art adheres more to vision than to tool or format. All it takes is a little imagination to transform something ordinary into something truly inspiring.

Lots to Love about LEGOs!

It should come as no surprise that we’re LEGO fans. Who isn’t? Kids turn them into houses, adults turn them into sculptures, and they even inspired a hit film. LEGOs have been popular for more than 50 years with no signs of slowing down. And with the recent news that they will soon be fully sustainable, the time seemed right to once again take a look at some major LEGO development.

Another Brick in the WALL*E

It’s no surprise that LEGO has created special sets to tie in popular film and television properties. From Star Wars to Batman, every franchise that’s any franchise gets a LEGO set eventually. But there have been surprisingly few sets for Disney or Pixar Animation properties. Thankfully, that’s about to change.

LEGO-WALLE.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

This past February, LEGO announced they’d begun production on the titular character of the hit Disney/Pixar film WALL*E. The model is being designed by Angus MacLane, a Pixar animator who worked on the film. Although the model is expected to be pricey ($65) when it hits store shelves in December, it’s also expected to be one of LEGO’s bestsellers for 2015.

LEGO V8

One of the defining characteristics of LEGO is the amount of attention paid to the tiniest details. It isn’t always easy, especially since the typical brick is a solid rectangular block. But the company’s designers have always made it a point to adhere as close to the original designs as possible, even in ways you wouldn’t expect.

LEGO-Ferrari-F40.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

Ferrari is one of the most popular car companies in the world, so it’s no surprise that they would eventually have a LEGO incarnation. What wasn’t expected was how the set – based on the popular F40 model from 1987 – would have so much detail that it would also include a LEGO-style V8 engine as well. The set is expected to hit shelves in August with a $90 price tag. How many other chances will you have to say you own a Ferrari?

A Work of Art

As we’ve already mentioned, LEGOs appeal to people of all ages. This is most likely due to the fact that no matter what your age, you can make a design all your own. Well, now machines are trying to get in on the fun.

Jason Alleman’s specialty at JK Brickworks is to find new uses for 3-D printer technology. So it was only a matter of time before his unique line of work was combined with one of his favorite hobbies. Alleman created the Bricasso, a modified 3-D printer that creates mosaics out of LEGO pieces. Although the images created have to be heavily pixelated to conform to the bricks used, the Bricasso has created some incredibly detailed images for a machine that works with tiny blocks.

R/C Redux

30. April 2015 12:04 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

When you’re a kid, it’s almost impossible to think that anyone could have more fun than you’re having at any given moment. But eventually you get older and notice the world changing around you. All of the “simple” knick-knacks you grew up with are replaced complicated pieces of machinery that you can’t even begin to comprehend. But even as you resign yourself to letting the new kids have their fun, you’d give anything for one of your childhood favorites to make a comeback.

Well, one such classic toy is evolving with the times: the radio-controlled (R/C) racing car. Created in the 1960s, the R/C car was an electronically-assisted step up from the self-propelled toy cars kids used. It became a staple of neighborhood playtime in the ‘80s and early-‘90s, despite a few glitches (close proximity with other R/C could allow a user to commandeer control someone else's car). As the new millennium dawned, rising prices drove the R/C to become a niche item.

That hasn’t stopped the smart device generation from resurrecting the R/C in a bold new way. They’re even looking to some of their favorite movies and tv shows for inspiration.

Bat-tastic!

There have been films about Batman nearly as long as there have been films. Though the producers may change and the details may evolve, one lasting detail of the Caped Crusader’s cinematic exploits is his use of iconic custom-made vehicle, the Batmobile. 

The first is a 29-inch model based on the design used in the 1989 blockbuster Batman. Though not fully R/C, it does allow the user to remote-control the car’s lights and machine gun turrets that activate on command. If you prefer a more modern design with a bit more control, you can try the 1:12 scale model version of “The Tumbler” from Batman Begins. It’s fully R/C, allows you to control both the lights and doors, and even features a 480p on-board camera that allows you to view driving from your mobile device.

At starting prices of $1,000, neither of these models is very cheap. But if you’re willing to spend the dough, you can indulge the Dark Knight in your life.

Batman-RC-Tumbler.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

Tokyo Drift Away

The success of the Fast and the Furious movies caught nearly everyone by surprise. What started with a low-budget racing film has evolved into a seven-film franchise for which the revenues have only increased with each subsequent entry. The most recent sequel recently became the fastest film in history to gross $1 billion in revenue during its initial release.

Although you might not have the money (or the insurance coverage) to try out the films’ stunts in actual cars, you can still get a kick out of this tribute video the Falkan Tires company made with R/C cars. The nearly three-minute video uses R/C cars over dry ice to simulate “drifting”, a driving technique popular in Japan and introduced to western audiences via the film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Because who said every film you act out with R/C cars had to be a superhero flick?

Dark Side Drones

By now, it’s safe to say that you’re aware of a new Star Wars film coming out this December. Well, one enthusiastic fan decided to combine his love of the classic trilogy with his new hobby. Oliver C has made quadcopter drones designed to resemble ships used by The Galactic Empire. His latest creation is the Star Destroyer below, following his TIE Fighter design and his Millennium Falcon model.

No one knows if he’s going to design another soon, but with the new film half-a-year away, he’s got plenty of time to decide.

Star-Wars-Star-Destroyer-drone.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

Improving Your Work Experience

For many workers, summer is a time of vacations, Summer Fridays, or a general downturn in responsibilities. But now that Labor Day has passed and we're headed into the middle of September, operations are ramping up everywhere. You might feel overwhelmed by so many emails, uninspired and unable to get back into your routine, or generally unhappy with office politics. These three ideas might help you turn your disappointments into positives, helping you be more productive.

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