Trying to categorize or summarize the genre of Alex Andreev’s digital paintings is nearly impossible.
Part science fiction, part dystopian future, the scenes are equally disturbing and beautiful, his characters inhabiting a world Andreev tells me is deeply influenced by Soviet-era literature, music and movies.
A New York artist has been combining his love for staples and Star Wars to create stunningly intricate works of art. 40-year-old James Haggerty makes pictures of iconic Star Wars characters using tens of thousands of multi colored staples in organized patterns.
Some of his most notable works are Darth Vader (made from 10,496 staples), C-3PO (33,580 staples) and Greedo (21,458 staples).
Haggerty’s work is incredible and meticulous – he starts out with a thoroughly organized plan.
He first creates five to ten ink drawings and picks his favorite one. He transfers that one onto a painted board, about 40 x 32 inches in size.
He then patiently punches each staple on to the board.
The dark background of the board fills in some of the negative spaces, while the metallic staples form the highlights, adding shine and depth to the picture.
Coloured aquatint, ca. 1862, depicting a man covering his mouth with a handkerchief, walking through a smoggy London street – Source: Wellcome Library.
“Scarcely can I portray in words the dire and dismal scenes that met my vision here…
For here, where on the previous night had throbbed hot and high the flood-tide of London’s evening gaiety, was now presented to my poor fevered sight, the worst, the most awful features of the whole terrific calamity.
I had entered into the very heart and home of horror itself. This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a bronchial spasm”.
That is, at least, according to William Delisle Hay’s 1880 novella The Doom of the Great City. I
t imagines the entire population of London choked to death under a soot-filled fog.
The story is told by the event’s lone survivor sixty years later as he recalls “the greatest calamity that perhaps this earth has ever witnessed” at what was, for Hay’s first readers, the distant future date of 1942.
The novella received only mild acclaim among its late Victorian readers, and today it is almost forgotten.
But, surprisingly enough, it has become possible to read our social and environmental problems foretold in Hay’s strange little story.
In our age of global warming, acid rain, and atmospheric pollution, we may become the first readers to take Hay seriously.
When Hay imagines a city whose wealth and “false social system” lulls it into complacency, we can recognize ourselves in his words.
And as for those air problems that loomed dangerously around them, Londoners “looked upon them in the light of a regular institution, not caring to investigate their cause with a view to some means of mitigating them”.
At moments like these, we get the feeling that Hay’s obscure 135-year-old story is eerily prophetic.
A print from around 1882 depicting a futuristic view of air travel over Paris as people leave the opera.
Many types of aircraft are shown including flying buses, limousines and, what are presumably, police vehicles. On the latter are mounted strangely un-futuristic sword-carrying officers that wouldn’t seem out of place on the Opera’s stage itself.
As far as the get-up of the normal opera-going folk, things don’t seem to have progressed too radically, though many of the men seem to be sporting the same bizarre military-esque hat.
To the left of the scene, amongst the flying vehicles, we can see a restaurant, which like the Opera building itself, is elevated to an enormous height above the vaguely discernible city below.
In the distance we can make out the Eiffel Tower, which seems to have some enormous structure emerging from its top about which buzz more flying vehicles.
One other interesting thing to note is that women can be seen driving their own aircraft.
The print is the creation of the French illustrator, etcher, lithographer, caricaturist, novelist, and all around futurologist, Albert Robida. Editor and publisher of La Caricature magazine for 12 years, Robida also wrote an an acclaimed trilogy of futuristic novels imagining what life would be like in the 20th century.
He foretells many inventions in his writings, including the “Téléphonoscope”: a flat screen television display that delivered the latest news 24-hours a day, the latest plays, courses, and teleconferences.