Saturday, April 19, 2014
So, looking at my last post date, it's now been over a month since I last posted anything up here. If you've been keeping tabs on my other social media apps you'll have noticed I've managed a trickle of links and images of sorts... I guess it's all the culmination of work pressure and lack of internet access at home. Though at least one of those has now managed to come right. Pity it's not the work issue!
We've been struggling in the studio by being a few staff members down; that and picking up some serious work has meant a stupid amount of work load and overtime. So to be honest, this blog has suffered terribly as a result. It just hasn't been in my mind at all.
But - I'm hoping to have turned a corner and to be posting up content again soon for everyone to enjoy.
Please bear with; and stay tuned to resume to normal duties. The pause is now over. Someone hit start again.
Monday, March 17, 2014
If, like me, you were a child of the 80's and had an original Rubik's Cube (which I believe actually belonged to my uncle) then you know you spent countless hours trying to solve this time-suck of a toy.
And then you read about people who can do it in a few seconds. Completely demotivating.
Well, now even the fasted cube solver in the world (at 5.55 seconds) has had their record annihilated by this incredible Lego creation.
Watch closely - it's over really, really fast!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
During the recent South by South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, the local Mondo Gallery showcased an exhibition of artwork entitled, "Nothing’s Impossible." Partnering with Oh My Disney the exhibit paid tribute to classic Disney and Pixar films with wonderful and jaw-dropping artwork by some fantastic Mondo artists. Sadly, the show has now finished, but you can still see all the art in its glory over on Oh My Disney's official site - with some sets possibly still to be available for online order.
Some of the posters which caught my eye of appreciation, were notably those by (in order of appearance above): Tom Whalen, Olly Moss, Rich Kelly, Aaron Horkey and Francesco Francavilla.
For some more pics of the event as it unfolded on opening day, be sure to see Oh My Disney's blog here. The entire collection can be viewed in all its wonder here.
Some fans camped outside the gallery for days, and one even flew in all the way from the UK. With some of the talent shown in this art, I can almost justify having done the same thing myself...!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The "Windows of New York" is a project by graphic designer José Guizar; a weekly illustrated obsession of his that has grown since he first moved to NYC. Featuring a collection of windows that have caught his eye out from the never-ending buzz of the city, and then been finely illustrated, the project is part ode to architecture and part self-challenge.
Each window has its own character and personality, and with the addresses underneath each image (on the website), should you choose to venture out yourself and see the window in real life, you could do just that! (Maybe there's a side-by-side project in that? "Photographs of the Windows of 'The Windows of new York'"...)
Friday, February 28, 2014
Hailing originally from Asipovichi, Belarus (Google it!) Yury graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of the Arts in 1985. For several years thereafter he made a career for himself in the illustration and graphic design field, only painting in his spare time. Devoting more time to his art saw him moving to Toronto, Canada and becoming a full time artist and an Elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists in 2009. In 2010 Yury was recognized by the US Government as a “Person with extra ordinary abilities in Art” and granted a Green Card, which saw him shortly opening a second studio in Palm Beach, Florida.
Currently being exhibited in art galleries in US and Canada, Yury says that his:
"... works are about visual perception and the ways in which the face or body or sometimes even a simple cup responds to the color, line, texture or pattern. The "Thing" or "Subject" by itself, surrounded by "Great Nothing", is my excitement. I try to establish a very private dialog between the viewer and the subject matter of my painting. It is a simple and sincere conversation without any unnecessary details."
Most of his paintings are portraits of women, which have been described as, "...any role the viewer desires: goddess, femme fatale, or muse. However, their existence can be as simple and sincere as his compositions. They are beautiful, strong, intriguing women.“ (ERIN LUCUIK, MAG-MAGAZINE)
Make of them what you will, and have a look for yourself through his online portfolio.
(Viewer beware: some nudes in his work, but not many nor gratuitous.)
Ben Voldman is an illustrator and designer who specializes in cute and quirky editorial and advertising illustrations. He also enjoys a nice nap from time to time, has a cat named Jonah who he's secretly jealous fantasizes about trading places, and a girlfriend who thinks he farts too much (he thinks he farts just the right amount).
These are just some of the insights into the crazy world of Ben Voldman, a MFA graduate in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts, currently living in NYC. But don't take my word for it; check out his wacky and wonderful portfolio to get it straight from the horses' mouth yourself.
Ben's quirky style has been featured in many fine publications such as Runner's World, Town & Country, and The Society of Illustrators.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Richard Davies is a freelance designer, illustrator and active member of international digital art collective The Luminarium, currently based in South Wales, United Kingdom. With over 10 years working predominantly with print and branding projects as a graphic designer, Turksworks is the pseudonym for his creative outlet as a digital illustrator.
As Turksworks, Richard has done work for such clients as Rolling Stone, Ask Men Magazine, SND Films and Alliance Films, as well as numerous features and contributions in leading design magazines such as Computer Arts and Advanced Photoshop Magazine. He's even had work exhibited in exhibitions in New York and Vienna and published in a variety of design books.
He has a flair for illustrations and portraits of the folk who grace our small and big silver screens; so have a look through his portfolio and see if you recognize anyone. I like the style that Richard has developed as well in his art.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
On the 4th February 2014, a debate took place at the Creation Museum - owned and facilitated by the organization, Answers in Genesis (AIG) - between the president and founder of AIG, Ken Ham, and his opponent, Bill Nye "The Science Guy" (you may remember watching his science programs on TV as a young kid if you're in your 30's).
Several days later and the conversation around this debate is still going strong. Essentially the debate's aim was to discuss whether creation is a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era. Ken Ham would argue that it is, and Bill Nye would argue against it; by default, taking the position that evolution is a far more viable explanation for the origin of life on earth. It must also be said, for those who may not know, that Ken Ham holds to a literal understanding of the Bible, meaning that he believes the universe was made in 6 days around 6000 years ago.
As the Internet blows up about what was said on the evening, there are some interesting comments being made about both sides of the argument. By far the more vocal on the World WIde Web are those voices who agree with Bill Nye's views, and yet believe that even by showing up to debate Ken Ham, that Bill has done science a disservice; giving credance to what they believe is nothing but a tale of fiction anyways.
I as yet have not watched the debate myself, although I have already downloaded it and now just need to find the 2 and a half hours in my life needed to listen to it, which I hope to do so soon.
Based on my understanding of how the debate went, I feel that a few important observations should have been made or clarified.
First and foremost, the theory of evolution does not disprove the existence - or lack thereof - of a Creator. So even if it were true - and I don't believe it is - this is not to say that a Creator could not have started life on the planet and then evolution took over. This is where Theistic Evolutionists come into being.
Secondly - and this is where people continue to get this point wrong - science is not against Theism. Many of the greatest scientists in history were creationists and for that matter, Bible-believing Christians, men and women who believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, as well as in the deity and saving work of Jesus Christ. They believed that God had supernaturally created all things, each with its own complex structure for its own unique purpose. They believed that, as scientists, they were "thinking God's thoughts after Him," learning to understand and control the laws and processes of nature for God's glory and man's good. They believed and practiced science in exactly the same way that modern creationist scientists do.
And somehow this attitude did not hinder them in their commitment to the "scientific method." In fact one of them, Sir Francis Bacon, is credited with formulating and establishing the scientific method! They seem also to have been able to maintain a proper "scientific attitude," for it was these men (Newton, Pasteur, Linnaeus, Faraday, Pascal, Lord Kelvin, Maxwell, Kepler, etc.) whose researches and analyses led to the very laws and concepts of science which brought about our modern scientific age.
Science and theism are not enemies. In point of fact, it is science that helps us to see how ordered and designed the universe actually is; pointing in fact to an intelligent Designer behind it all. This is something that I've mentioned many times in the past that Dr WIlliam Lane Craig does so eloquently in all his debates with his Kalam Cosmological Argument.
I hope that when I eventually watch the debate that Ken Ham spends far more time speaking about the failure of evolution to explain several key factors in the origin and guidance of all life on earth (origin of the first cell, sexual reproduction etc etc), rather than trying to prove his belief that the earth is only 6000 years old.
There are many things that we do not yet know or understand, and Bill Nye admitted to that several times in this debate quite passionately. It would seem that the answer, "We don't yet know" is far more acceptable to some than, "We don't yet know, but I believe that God still did it all." How is that at odds, it seems to me? If you can't say for sure that God DIDN'T do it; how then do you know that he DIDN'T? And this is where debates like this come to an end, because they are rarely ever going to change a person's mind, as there is far more at stake here than what meets the eye.
In a brilliant article by G. Shane Morris, CP Guest Contributor over at the Christian Post, Morris raises some key points about just this. He says:
Let's be clear: the evolutionary "science" of Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye and the sizable crowd of other pop-evangelists for unbelief amounts to little more than microwaved materialism. They're atheists, and they make no bones about it. They think Ken Ham and others who accept a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 are barking lunatics-on a level with flat-earthers and holdouts for Ptolemaic cosmology. Dawkins and Nye have both equated teaching Creationism in schools to child-abuse, and Nye has publically pleaded with parents not to cripple our future scientists and engineers by passing on suspicion toward Darwinism. But it's when Nye and his ilk bump up against the Intelligent Design movement that they really tip their hand.
... these visceral denunciations and party-line tactics by many Darwinists betray the fact that, for them, more is at stake here than a biological theory. What's in the dock is a worldview-one which excises God from history, and is therefore committed to philosophical materialism-the idea that every effect can be explained by purely material causes. That's why for Nye and others, this debate extends well beyond the borders of science, which historically restricts itself to observable cause-and-effect, and threatens presuppositions about the universe and the nature of reality. For Nye, atheism is not an unrelated addendum to Darwinian evolution-it is the heart and soul of it.
This is the reason the Nye-Ham debate ... isn't likely to win either side many converts. Neither opponent is approaching the question from a purely scientific standpoint, but is advancing philosophical commitments as science, and wondering why the other can't get on board. For Nye, science is synonymous with atheism. It obviates God or at least relegates Him to the place of the Tooth Fairy-a private fantasy some people entertain to make them and their children happy.
For Ham, meanwhile, as much as I respect him (and having met him, I do), science as a pursuit encompasses much more than seeking the best explanation for natural phenomena through observation and experimentation. It becomes a kind of baptized laboratory where the goal is to compel the evidence of the natural world to support a certain Scriptural hermeneutic (one which, to be honest, I actually share). As a consequence, not only does science lose its integrity and objectivity (as far as human souls can reason objectively), but legitimate disagreement among Christians about Scriptural interpretation becomes "compromise."
As much good as it is to debate topics surrounding the Bible and science and the many worldviews out there; no scientific explanation ever forced someone to believe in God. As the Bible itself says it Hebrews 11: 1-2 & 6
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible... And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
As I once read somewhere; we are all looking at the same evidence - we just choose to interpret it differently. Those who want to see God in it, will. Conversely, those who wish to not see God, will not.
That being said though, there are still some who take a condescending tone of superior intellectual grounding when it comes to scientific and philosophical questions against theism, whilst still misrepresenting scientific and philosophical observations because their own bias. Case in point, Phil Plait a.k.a Bad Astronomer writing for Slate.com.
In the wake of the debate, Matt Stopera of BuzzFeed, asked 22 self-identifying creationists to write a message/question/note to the other side. You can see the list of what they wrote over here. Phil attempted to respond to some of these questions in an article on Slate over here.
Says Phil, "These questions are fairly typically asked when evolution is questioned by creationists. Some are philosophical, and fun to think about, while others show a profound misunderstanding of how science works, and specifically what evolution is. I have found that most creationists who attack evolution have been taught about it by other creationists, so they really don’t understand what it is or how it works, instead they have a straw-man idea of it."
In trying to even out the playing field, I'd like to point out just a few errors that Phil made in his answers here, and show the errors in his thinking. The original questions are in bold; Phil's response in italics, and my own thoughts in normal text below.
“Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove evolution?”
No. The creationist argument assumes the Earth is a closed system, such that energy cannot escape or enter. But the Sun is the main source of energy for the Earth. This allows more order to be created, and for entropy to be locally lowered in some cases.
It seems to me that most would agree that the entire universe is a closed or isolated system - not just the earth! Which means that the 2nd Law does count against, not just evolution, but also a model of the universe where order comes from chaos. It just doesn't happen that way. Certainly not to the degrees by which we can measure the fine-tuning of the laws and physics of the universe as we understand them to be.
“How do you explain a sunset if their [sic] is no God?”
Angular momentum. OK, kidding aside, if you mean the beauty of a sunset, well, we have evolved to appreciate colors, shapes, and metaphors. And in my opinion understanding the science behind events like sunsets adds to their beauty.
To be fair, Phil understands what this poster is attempting to ask. But he fails to deliver on that with his answer. The concept of beauty is something that evolution cannot explain. And I'd like to see the emperical data that proves it can if someone should take the stance Phil has in his answer.
“Where do you derive objective meaning in life?”
We have evolved over millions of years to be social animals, tribal, supportive of others and willing to reach a common goal. This could explain much of the morality and meaning we see in life, without the need for it to be revealed by a divine presence. In fact, I object to the idea that humans need a supernatural parent figure to give us morals; I don’t need religion to know that murder is wrong. Note that there were laws against murder long, long before the Bible was around. I would also mention that the Bible has very conflicting morality, saying for example that it’s OK to stone people to death for all manners of minor infractions. I have no problem with the idea that people seek moral guidance or meaning in the Bible, but I do object when they ignore the parts that are clearly immoral.
Meaning in life is what you make of it. For me that’s love, beauty, art, science, and learning. For others it may be different, but those are what call to me.
I've written much on the Moral Argument and why the answers of evolution to explain the origin of morality fail abysmally. Ultimately, this answer fails because the question has not been answered. The poster was looking for an objective meaning to life. Phil could only give a subjective one. That's because within the framework of evolution; life has no objective meaning. He goes on to say elsewhere, "Life is what you make of it." So then, it's all relative is what you're saying, Phil? How then can you say my version of why we're here is wrong?
“Because science is 'theory'–not testable, observable, nor repeatable, why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?”
Actually, science is testable, observable, and repeatable! That’s the very definition of what science is! And if you actually mean evolution, that fits the criteria as well. There are countless examples. Here’s one.
False. No one was there to see the first cells originate, nor watch them evolve; no one has ever replicated or tested these original conditions. This is an impossible feat. That is why the theory of evolution is a version of Origin Science, not Emperical Science. Granted, the poster got a bit confused around the question here, but I like to think they were asking if the theory of evolution fits the definition of science. It does not.
“Relating to the big bang theory … Where did the exploding star come from?”
A quibble: It wasn’t an exploding star, but an explosion of space and time. But as I said for No. 6, we don’t know, but that’s OK, because we learn more about it every day. Someday we will know, but until then, using a supernatural explanation without explaining why doesn’t give you any true understanding of it. That only leads to the stopping of learning, not the growth of it.
Again, science cannot ever explain the WHY. It may be able to explain the HOW, but only that. And there's nothing to say that a scientist who is a creationist, couldn't still discover the same answers! Only their WHY is because God chose to create it all with purpose.
“Are you scared of a Divine Creator?”
No. In fact, if there is a Judeo-Christian god, that would have fascinating implications for much of what we scientists study, and would be a rich vein to mine. Perhaps a more pertinent question is, “Are you scared there might not be a Divine Creator?” There is more room for a god in science than there is for no god in religious faith.
To be fair to Phil, I've put this answer of his last to show that at least he seems open to the possibility of a Creator. And yet, reading through his articles it would seem that this may never be the case. And that's fine! We are all entitled to our own views and ideas.
Provided that we can have respectful discourse and dialogue on the topics of how we got here, why are we here, what is the purpose of life; then debates like the one between Bill Nye and Ken Ham can never be a bad thing - despite the naysayers. It is my hope that this conversation will continue on for many more weeks and months; and that maybe, just maybe, people might consider to find out a little but more about the amazing and incredible world we live in, and attempt to see their worldviews change a little.
And from a Christian point of view: Jesus never said to go about browbeating people on the merits or lack thereof of the limitations of science. Rather, love them, and faithfully share with them, the joy we have as people who are saved by Grace by a resurrected God, who died on our behalf.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
The shortlist for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards has been chosen!
Some 139,554 photos from over 165 countries were submitted to the seventh annual Sony World Photography Awards, and now the organizing committee has revealed its shortlist of the very best. Split into professional and amateur groups, the entire shortlist will be exhibited in London's Somerset House for 18 days in May, though the winners will be announced earlier, with the Open and Youth category victors announced on March 18th and the Professional section getting its own gala event announcement on April 30th.
Some of these images are truly awesome. If you're a Londoner, you have no excuse to go and soak up some incredible imagery from the last year. Here are a few of my favourites.
As an aside: the competition's rules do allow for some photo retouching — and modern cameras are capable of boosting things like shadow detail and color vibrancy at the moment of capture — though there's a separate Enhanced category for cases of extreme post-processing manipulation.
Federico Babina is a Barcelona-based cinephile, architect and illustrator, and his latest project "Archiset" takes a look at the interior spaces of several cult classic films. Says Babina:
“The idea is to represent a film set as if it were a doll's house where we can start to play with the imagination together with the movie’s characters.”
Take a look at these retro-styled posters and see if you recognize any of the movie sets. Federico has put an amazing amount of detail into the pixels that make up each illustration. Be sure to have a look at the artists website for some more examples of his style as well as some interesting architectural concepts.