The Future Looks Bright

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab isn’t exactly what I think of when I think of great illustration, but they’ve proved me wrong with a gorgeous recently-released poster series. “Visions of the Future” brought together scientists, engineers, designers, and illustrators to create a series of nine posters meant to conjure the wonder and possibility of space travel. They remind me a bit of the poster series from 826LA that I wrote about a few years back, along with the clear influence of Depression-era WPA posters, which are a perennial favorite of mine. The designs are available free to print, perfect for tacking up in the bedroom of your favorite future explorer of the cosmos.

One Man’s Trash

My love for a good, old-fashioned obsessive collection has been well-documented (see here, here, and here). As someone with a soft spot for objects that deserve a good home, I find that the line between adding to your collection and leaving something for someone else to find is a fine one. At the thrift store I can convince myself that someone else will come along and give that amazing object a good home, but what about when something interesting is destined for the landfill? How do you say no then?

Perhaps this sense of rescuing things just before they’re lost forever was the motivating force behind the collection of Nelson Molina. A now-retired New York City sanitation worker, Molina began collecting objects from the trash to decorate his locker. 30 years later, his “Treasure in the Trash” collection now takes up one entire floor of a sanitation department warehouse in East Harlem. The collection (which is sadly not open to the public) lives on as a reminder of the value, humor, and strangeness of broken and discarded things. One man’s trash is clearly another man’s warehouse full of treasure.

Via Atlas Obscura.

#5womenartists

March is Women’s History Month, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts has launched a campaign to bring attention to the many amazing women artists whose work tends to be overlooked. Asked to name five artists, way too many people will come up with a list of solely (dead, straight, white) dudes. This campaign aims to reframe the conversation– a move I am definitely down for.

Narrowing my favorite women artists down to just five wasn’t easy, but I decided to go with five that are most inspiring me lately. Check my blog archives for about a hundred other awesome art-makers, many of them ladies.

Vivian Maier

Margaret KilgallenMargaret KilgallenA post about Margaret’s work and my love of hand-lettered signage.

Kara Walker

Martha Rich

Frida Kahlo

Honorable Mention: Guerilla Girls

Light Rail

We all know that they just don’t build them like they used to, and that’s especially apparent when looking at this amazing 1940’s photos from Chicago’s Union Station. These days the Great Hall is rented out for events, but during WWII when commuters traveled through it every day, officials decided to black out the building’s skylights in an attempt to hide it from potential enemy aircraft. The tall clerestory windows at each end were left as the only light source, which resulted in these moody, dramatically-lit scenes. Perfect for a film noir, wouldn’t you say?

Via Mashable.

Alex Beck

This week I’ve been immersing myself in the paintings of Alex Beck, a Virginia-based artist whose work combines an old school painterly style with contemporary subjects and vintage mash-ups. I’m always intrigued by work that gives a nod to other techniques, as with Beck’s paintings that look like photographs, and paintings that look like collages of photographs. Plus, I’m a sucker for a bright pink/cool blue color scheme.

Via Jealous Curator