Articles by Umar Ansari

Umar is an Industrial Design student hailing from Toronto, Canada. He has taken his passion for design and writing to the web to connect with and inform other creative minds. He has also written this bio in third person.
Art

Adventurous egg-like creatures in surreal digital illustrations

If you were enamored by the Humpty Dumpty fairytale as a child, these surreal illustrations by Antanas Gudonis will serve as a dose of nostalgia. The Helsinki-based illustrator has a portfolio full of these wonderful illustrations part of a personal project. Each digital work features round, egg-like characters seemingly midway through an adventure. The works combine surrealism and a hint of nostalgia as you see the little Humpty Dumpty-inspired critters walking around like penguins. Check out some of the illustrations below and find more on Gudonis' Behance. ...
Architecture

The 7th Room is a 33-foot tall treehouse in the Swedish woods

The 7th Room puts a whole new shine on the concept of tree houses. The structure is one of seven cabins available from northern Sweden’s Treehotel and offers a stunning view of the Aurora Borealis. The 7th Room was designed by architecture firm Snøhetta and features a base with black and white images of pine trees that give the illusion of reflection. The 33-foot tall cabin camouflages itself into the surrounding woods and floor-to-ceiling windows provide gorgeous views at all angles. Check it out below and find the other six cabins, like The Mirror Cube, on their website. ...
Art

Apple project manager turned artist made new knots each day for a year

Windy Chien devoted a year to learn a new knot everyday. From January of 2016 to December 31st 2016, the artist learned how to make 366 unique knots. That's 366 knots out of 3,900 mentioned in Chien’s knot manual, The Ashley Book of Knots. What's amazing is that it took its authors nearly 11 years to compile that instructional book. Talk about dedication! Windy Chien was formerly employed as a project manager at Apple and found the knot-learning daily ritual to be meditative as well as informative. Check out some of the knots below and find more on her website and Instagram. ...
Art

Artist duo creates majestic paper installation at the Hermès store in Dubai

Hermès visitors in Dubai were welcomed by a wonderful paper sculpture installation by Zim & Zou. The duo specializes in making some of the most intricate and beautiful paper sculptures ever and this series really shows off their collective talents of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann. Each piece is essentially a village with its own tiny characters out and about. The set-up is incredibly eye-catching in comparison to everything else in the mall it's situated in. Check it out below and find more of their latest work on Instagram and Behance. ...
Art

New yarn installation by Chiharu Shiota features 150 boats in French store

Chiharu Shiota is back (previously here) with another fabulous yarn-filled installation. Composed of nearly 300,000 yards of white yarn, Shiota's new installation takes up the center, ground floor, and ten windows of Le Bon Marché as part of the exhibition, Where are we going? With over 150 boats, the French department store encourages visitors to walk through the giant threaded waves. In an interview with Le Bon Marché, Shiota said, "I am struck by the multiplicity of interactions that we experience every day, by their connections with the past and the future." Check out some images of the installation below! ...
Architecture

Coral-inspired installation made from 4,600 strips of aluminum

This perforated tubular installation by architect Marc Fornes really lives up the place! Suspended above the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Florida, the coral-inspired pathways were designed by Fornes and his studio The Very Many. Created by over 4,600 strips of metal, each piece is just a millimeter thick. In tubular form, however, the material drastically improves in strength to the point where it can be walked on. The studio says, "Borrowing and mismatching elements from the world, pushing them out of scale and hybridizing them to the realm of the bizarre, the structure achieves a familiar yet mysterious quality, at once friendly and alien." Check out some footage of the installation below and find more on their website. ...
Art

Beasts hide within these wire-infused human busts

Claude-Olivier Guay infused human facial forms with wires to create these wonderful dynamic sculptures. With a pair of pliers, Guay twisted and bent wires and feathers to create the inner mesh of what at first appear to be human faces. A little bit of manipulation and each piece transforms into bird-like creatures. In one of the pieces called "La Tanière," a female bust turns into an angry wolf. Or in another piece a man's head unleashes an army of 40 locusts. Check out some of the sculptures below and find more on his website.    ...
Animation

Travel company lets you travel through time and space with these immersive, animated posters

Mind-blowing. That's the compound word I'd use to describe this series of immersive animated posters by NeoMam Studios. The studio created these phenomenal animated posters as part of a project called "Timescape," by Expedia. The posters imagine an era in which time travel and voyages to other planets is an everyday thing. Gisele Navarro, from the studio, told DesignFaves, "The bad news is that it's not here yet, no matter how many series Netflix and NBC create about it (time travel). But a human can dream, and that's what the Timescape Series is all about." From Atlantis to Europa, Timescape lets your imagination run wild! Check out some of the works below and find more on  Expedia's Travel Blog. ...
Art

‘Cats in the Mail’ has you sending postcards with cat stamps to Belgium

Cats have not only taken over the Internet, but they're about to invade your mail, too! Olivier Verhellen recently began, Cats in the Mail, a postcard project in which he gives people going abroad some fake stamps and glue. The stamps feature photos of the artist's four cats. The traveler then mails the stamp back to Olivier on a tourist postcard. Initially, Olivier was the sole recipient, but now his wife and daughter have joined in. A fun little project that I think has potential to go viral. Check out some of the stamps below and if you'd like to participate head on over to Tumblr for instructions. ...
Creativity

Photographer creates alien plants made of light hidden inside forests and abandoned buildings

Light might have become the new medium of choice for installation artists. Finland-based artist Hannu Huhtamo uses a variety of light tools to create what appear to be unusual alien plants within dense forests and abandoned buildings. Imagine stumbling upon one of these while trekking through the woods! Each photo is created in-camera without the use of Photoshop. The folks over at Great Big Story were intrigued by Huhtamo's works and caught up with him to learn more about his process. The artist was profiled in a video that you can watch below! ...
Art

Gold cords and metallic beads used to embroider insects and trees

Insects have never looked so majestic and valuable than in Humayrah Bint Altaf's stitched works. The embroidery artist uses gold twist cords, metallic beads, Rococo threads, and other materials to create amazing ornate insects, trees, and more. The resulting three-dimensional works are incredibly detailed and aesthetically appeasing. The Bedford-based artist cites her process saying, "I often wander through the woods near my home, where I gather leaves, twigs, feathers and other things I can find to bring back home and preserve. I also like to incorporate nature’s treasures into my embroideries and with each piece I feel that a part of me has been embedded into my work." Her works can now be purchases through an online shop. Check out some of the beetles and scarabs below and find more on Instagram. ...
Art

Creepy photo montage scenes created with old matte painting techniques

Suzanne Moxhay has been creating some amazing photo montage scenes lately. The surreal, often dreary, scenes combine photos from Moxhay's own archives as well as those transferred over from her professional practice. The artist uses a technique called matte painting, dating back to to the early 20th century, which involves creating backdrops on glass panels which are then integrated into movie sets. Talking about her recent works, Moxhay says, "Architectures are disrupted by anomalous elements – contradictory light sources, faulty perspective, paradoxes of scale." Check out some of her photomontage scenes below and find more on her website. ...
Design

New mobile app Carrot Weather features a quick-witted robot with sassy forecasts

Weather apps, however trivial they may seem, are the most frequently used apps on any smartphone. And CARROT Weather is the cream of the crop. Powered by Dark Sky, a provider of hyperlocal (and hyper accurate) weather forecasts, CARROT Weather is "the weather robot with a personality." And it's freaking amazing! Apart from radar maps and detailed meteorological data, CARROT rewards you with data from secret locations like Mt. Doom, the North Pole, and even the Moon! Perhaps the killer feature here is the collection of sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek remarks that you have to endure whenever you launch the app. The developers have now launched an entire suite of apps utilizing the same witty A.I. in the forms of an alarm clock, a to-do list, and a workout coach. Check it out on iTunes! ...
Animation

Animated short film with quirky characters opens design conference in New York

All design conferences should start with animated short films as good as this one created by Eran Hilleli. The Tel Aviv-based artist and animator was brought on board to create an animated opening for the Style Frames Design Conference last November in New York. The title sequence featured a number of quirky characters setting the tone for the event as well as introducing the lineup of speakers. The music, provided by Disasterpiece really accentuates the indie game art style used throughout the video. Watch the animated sequence below and find more from the artist on his website.  ...
Art

Crystallized book sculptures discuss growing connection between humans and machines

Books in their physical nature are disappearing from our lives each day. Alexis Arnold discusses that and more through her crystallized book sculptures. The San Francisco-based artist uses borax crystals to create turn publishings into iridescent forms of themselves. Appearing to be frozen in time, each piece is chosen based on weight in the sense that they center around advances in technology and explore the deepening connection between humans and machine. Check out some of her crystallized works below and find more on her website and Instagram. ...
Art

Palm-sized religious works from the 1500s carved within boxwood containers

These tiny carved sculptures contained within palm-sized boxes have long puzzled historians and archeologists. The works are believed to have been created in Flander or the Netherlands between 1500 and 1530 and contain carvings of religious iconography. Taking the form of prayer beads, altarpieces, and rosaries, each piece is produced from a single boxwood fragment and held together with pins. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has worked together with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum to find out more about them. It was recently uncovered that one of the pieces, an eleven-bead Chatsworth Rosary (c. 1509-1526), was owned by King Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon. ...
Art

Multicolored beeswax sculptures inspired by geological processes

These alien-looking sculptural forms by Laura Moriarty are downright mystifying. The self-taught artist created a series of asymmetrical pieces by heating and cooling pigmented beeswax to mimic geological processes such as erosion and weathering. Some of the brain-like formations have been cut in half to reveal multicolored rings within. The patterns are reminiscent of microbial life as seen under a microscope. Moriarty writes in her artist statement, "Layers of color form the strata of a methodology in which the immediacy of the hand can translate a sense of deep time." Check out some of the sculptures below and find more of her work on Artspace and Instagram. ...
Art

Photographer Craig Burrows uses UV rays to make plants glow

When traditional methods of photography aren't doing nature's beauty justice, try something avant-garde like Craig Burrows. The 28-year-old photographer employs the use of a particular type of photography when capturing flowers and plants called, UVIVF (ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence). This is a process that activates natural glowing fluorescent in plant matter with UV rays. Visible light is then captured in different wavelengths with Burrows' lens. The South California-based photographer aims to take the initiative one step forward by capturing larger scenes like gardens and greenhouses with 100-watt floodlights. Check out some of the luminescent flower photos below and find more on his Flickr and portfolio site. ...
Creativity

Humorous road art in Montreal urges drivers to get out of their cars

Roadsworth took to the road to create some hilarious artworks aimed at drivers and pedestrians. The Montreal-based artist and activist, aka Peter Gibson, has been busy creating tongue-in-cheek works that poke fun at drivers. Drawing inspiration from lines and signs already present on asphalt, Gibson does such things as turning parking stripes into dandelions. His portfolio is incredibly vast with a variety of medium to large scale installations. Check out some of his road-works below and find more on his website. And make you follow Roadsworth on Instagram for regular doses of artistic humor.  ...
Creativity

Amazingly detailed stamp-inspired sculptures featuring adorable birds

Diana Beltran Herrera is out with a crafty little series combining adorable birds and stamps! The Colombia-based artist has long held a fascination of birds and that has culminated into a creative collection of stamp-inspired sculptures fashioned out of paper. The details in the birds are incredible, to say the least! Just look at the feathers! Herrera says, "I always felt inspired by postage stamps as they are little windows of the world, specifically those that contain birds which are often traveling around the word." Check out some of the works below and find more on her Instagram and Facebook. ...
Art

Colored objects carefully organized in cohesive patterns and gradients

Sometimes you just need a dose of color. And when you do, Adam Hillman's Instagram feed is your best friend. The New Jersey-based visual artist finds all kinds of colorful objects and rounds them up to create cohesive patterns, towers, and gradients. The objects range from lollipops, and colored paper to pencil crayons and M&Ms. The meticulously organized objects represent just how well some color work together to create sensible patterns. A few really good ones can be seen below and if you fancy some more, head on over to Instagram and Tumblr for regular updates. ...
Art

Freaky, strobe-animated sculptures by John Edmark

John Edmark has created a series of animated sculptures that you won't believe are real, physical objects! Each complex sculpture is 3D-printed and is part of Blooms 2, a collection of strobe-animated sculptures. After being programmed in Python, the pieces are printed and then set in motion upon a table. Edmark describes the project, "Blooms are based on the same geometry nature uses in many plant forms, including artichokes, sunflowers, and pinecones, all of which share the same underlying mathematical pattern." The film, created by Charlie Nordstrom, uses freeze framing techniques and a short shutter speed to provide the fantastic motion seen below. Check it out! ...
Art

African mask-inspired chrome paintings by Brooklyn-based artist

Drawing inspiration from historical African sculptures, Kip Omolade's latest series of oil paintings is all about chrome and solid backgrounds. Titled, "Diovadiova Chrome," the Brooklyn-based artist's new works discuss contemporary identity, luxury, and immortality. Each piece features a mold taken from a model which is then produced in resin. Then, layers of chrome-y goodness are applied coupled with artificial eyelashes. The process ends with tall, hyperrealistic oil renderings that serve "as a conduit between the spiritual and natural world," writes Omolade. Check out some of the works below and find more on Instagram. ...
Inspiration

Rare disc of ice forms and spins in small river outside of Seattle

Naturally-occurring ice formations? 'Tis the season. Right outside of Seattle, word began to spread on Facebook about a massive circular sheet of ice in a small river. Photographer Kaylyn Messer was on scene to capture it. The disc of ice looks majestic spinning at the mercy of the current in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. Messer comments, "You can hear the sound of the river flowing continuously. Sounds from the ice periodically interjected with very small sharp cracks and groans. Overall, it was a quiet experience to stand along the river watching the ice circle rotate." Check it out below and find more photos and videos on her blog. ...
Art

Artist ships glass with FedEx for exhibition featuring shattered boxes

Making sure fragile items don't get destroyed while on their way to destinations is tough. Walead Beshty captures the experience in shattered glass boxes. The LA-based artist packed up a number of glass boxes and shipped them to various exhibitions and galleries across the country. The works, created to fit said boxes as proportionately as possible, were expected to endure a few bumps while on their way. The almost-shattered pieces were then carefully removed by gallery curators and then titled using the shipping date, tracking number, and box size. Beshty writes, "I considered this volume as my starting point; the perversity of a corporation owning a shape—not just the design of the object—and also the fact that the volume is actually separate from the box." Check out some images of the works below and watching the video profiling the project below. ...
Architecture

Mesmerizing helicopter views of Los Angeles by Dylan Schwartz

Taken from high above the city, Dylan Schwartz's aerial photography is mesmerizing. The creative Director and photographer based out of Los Angeles frequently takes helicopter rides at dawn and dusk, capturing breathtaking views of towering skyscrapers, bridges, and sports complexes. The cinematic shots often feature LA landmarks such as the Hollywood sign and familiar locations like Chinatown. It's almost like the viewer is part of the experience of cruising above the horizon and taking in the sights. Check out some of the glorious shots below and find more on his Instagram and website. ...
Art

250 mirrors reflect changes in California’s Laguna Beach

Reflecting the beautiful sunset on California’s Laguna Beach coast is Phillip K Smith III's latest installation - and it is absolutely stunning. Dubbed "1/4 Mile Arc," the series of 250 mirrored posts measuring 10-feet each, stood reflecting four days of subtle changes in the Pacific Ocean in November 2016. The Los Angeles-based artist was commissioned by the Laguna Art Museum for the fourth annual Art & Nature program. Check out some images of the installation below and watch the video profiling the work by photographer Lance Gerber. Find more wonderful installations over at the artist's website.  ...
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