Monthly Archives: May 2011

City invaded by Isaac Cordal’s tiny urban sculptures

In case you can’t tell, we’re fascinated by street artists, so when we found the work of Isaac Cordal we were pretty excited. His tiny cement sculptures could very well be at home indoors as installations. But the fact that they inhabit the same, outdoor environments that we do adds a whole other dimension. The use of cement not only makes them more long-lasting, but gives you the sense that they’ve risen up out of the cityscape around them. At the same time, the intimate scale makes the viewer afraid they could get stepped on or run over by a car at any second. You have to agree that they’re a little bit eerie, almost apocalyptic.

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How to teach kids to deface public art

OK, that title’s a little misleading, but we’re competing with the holiday for your attention, so sue us. Meet Eltono, a public space artist who began by producing graffiti in 1989. His work changed into street art and has evolved to the point where he is now an international artist. Eltono is interested in how art is affected when it is not only viewed, but engaged by, the public. He directly expressed this idea recently when he participated in the Art Re-public Festival in Japan. Passersby were invited to make a series of random selections that would determine their contribution to a piece of public art. Using templates to trace with bright colors, different people each made their mark on a plywood surface over the course of 5 hours. You can see Eltono’s documentation here and watch the time-lapse video below.


It’s interesting to us to think about the method by which each choice was made. What if there were more or less numbers on the spinning arrow? What if the image surface was smaller? What if each participant’s template choice was unique? Simply put, how random can art really be? And how does the introduction of math, an exact science, affect the final image? This is a great experiment that actually teaches the viewer and the participant a lot of things about the way we think and the way art is made. You could reproduce this kind of art making at home quite easily, either by yourself, with a group, or even as a kid’s project. Give it a try and find out what image you make!

What’s Boston’s best blog? (hint: it’s not ours)

Listen up, Boston – it’s time to represent! Brendan Ben Feeney writes a blog that’s in the running for Boston’s Best of Awards. Ben is also a photographer and he’s been coming to us to get his work framed for a while. Check out his blog here – it’s full of musings about New England and other things, along with a variety of photographs. You’re probably more familiar with the other catergories in Boston Magazine’s contest – live music venue, sports team, nightclub – but we’ll be voting in a group that some might overlook. You can cast your vote for his blog at the Boston Magazine site and get a sampling of his photography here…

Crayons from a galaxy far, far away

These Star Wars characters carved out of wax crayons were too hard to pass up. Especially after we got so excited about Dalton Ghetti’s pencil tip sculptures. Granted, wax is probably better for carving than graphite, but we’re guessing these organic shapes and facial features might’ve been just as big a challenge for this master jedi carver.

Our friend has cancer

In the short time we’ve been posting, this blog’s been about a variety of things art related. But recently, a member of the Big Picture Framing family received two diagnoses of cancer in a matter of months. We wanted to use this platform to share with you the challenge that our friend and colleague, Kezia Fitzgerald and her family are facing.

Last May, Kezia and her husband Mike gave birth to their daughter, Saoirse. Eight months later, Kezia was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She began undergoing treatment and documenting the ordeal in her own blog called New Mom… New Cancer. Everyone’s heard the word “cancer”, but few of us know the day-by-day events that take place for those who have it. People unaffected often don’t know what the treatments involve, exactly, or how one’s life is transformed. For us, that’s changed now. We encourage you to visit Kezia’s blog and discover what happens when someone you know is dealing with the unthinkable.

About one year after her birth, Kezia and Mike admitted Saoisrse to the ER when she began to display mysterious ailments. After much head scratching and lots of testing, she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor called Neuroblastoma. Kezia had been making real progress in her own battle and we were all feeling a little safer about it. So when news reached us about Saoisrse, it’s safe to say that we were knocked back on our heels. Saoisrse is one of those babies that you’d expect to see in a commercial or magazine ad – utterly adorable and quite angelic. We were heartbroken, but at the same time we thought of Kezia’s strength that had brought so much success in her own battle. Some friends of Kezia’s who are also mothers have organized a fundraiser for the family. The Diaper Derby is a race for crawlers and walkers up to 15 months old. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest babies. There is a $15 suggested registration fee and donations will be accepted. You can get all the details here. In the meantime, we will continue to check in and update you as to how Kezia and her daughter are fairing.

Has a serious illness affected someone in your life?

3D pencil drawings by Fredo get a double take

Drawings by 17-year-old Chilean artist Fredo are showing up on the internet more & more. He has over 5,000 followers on Facebook. His own website Drawing Open My Third Eye, boasts a steady stream of his pencil drawings done in a characteristic style. The soft rendering technique appears right away as that of somebody still early in their drawing skills. But the imagination beyond the drawing is what stands out. With crafty staging and witty concepts, Fredo creates some pretty impressive, albeit low tech, three-dimensional effects. While a lot of the illusion is happening on paper, don’t let the amateur photography mislead you. The stark lighting and angles are clearly doing a lot of the work here. However, if this is entirely the work of someone 17 years old, then there might be some truly mind-blowing work in store for us from an adult Fredo.

Shawn Smith – sculptures of nature from your computer screen

Shawn Smith is one of the artists who will be included in “40 Under 40: Craft Futures” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012. He’s been working for a while now on a series he calls “Re-things,” sculptures of pixilated animals and objects of nature. He takes images he’s found online and then creates three-dimensional sculptural representations of these two-dimensional images. They’re made of plywood that he cuts in little cubes or sometimes strips and hand dyes. Smith says, “My work investigates the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically, I am interested in how we experience nature through technology. When we see images of nature on TV or on a computer screen, we feel that we are seeing nature but we are really only seeing patterns of pixilated light.” Upon seeing these at first glance, we thought one of them was indeed a blown up satellite photo or some sort. It appears that each one is life-size which must make for an added effect in person.

Check out Shawn Smith’s site here. Thanks to

Give Todd McFarlane a hand

Some people say they can draw. Some people say they can’t. The fact is that we can all draw – that’s one of the terrific things about creating art. But be assured, even the people who profess their drawing skills will tell you that drawing the human hand is hard. Even if they don’t admit that, they probably don’t like drawing hands.

Meet comic book artist Todd McFarlane. In the late 1980s and early 90s, McFarlane became the John Grisham of comic books. Every book he drew, and then began writing, was a monster success. Comic book shops were selling out of books he did in numbers that the industry hadn’t seen before. His biggest mainstream success was a run on Spider-Man, followed quickly by his own creation, Spawn. Now McFarlane’s produced a series of how-to videos about drawing. I think I can draw a pretty decent hand – I took numerous anatomy classes in college and I’ve seen all sorts of techniques. But watching this clip makes me feel silly for ever struggling at it. I wanted to share this video ’cause I think anyone could become a hand-drawing expert with these instructions (no, I’m not getting a cut of Todd’s profits.) Even if you don’t care to take a crack at drawing, it’s fascinating to watch someone work who makes a living doing this. It’s not just that it looks like a hand, but he effortlessly nails the gesture and implication of action.

The endangered store front sign

Store Front – The Disappearing Face of New York by James T. Murray and Karla L. Murray documents the lost art of graphic signage. Much like illustrated movie posters and hand drawn magazine ads, we don’t see signs with this type of flair anymore. In fact, in the eight years it took the authors to complete this book, one third of the stores in it closed. We love the variety of fonts and colors. There’s a definite style in each store’s appearance, but it happens without any rigidity or rules. The composition feels natural, rather than designed like a “Best Buy” or “Gulf” gas sign. You can find the book here. Thanks to How to be a Retronaut for the turn on.

Lowrider is the one to color

We may not be custom car enthusiasts, but we always appreciate skilled craftsmanship and creative style. So this video was worth sharing for a few a reasons. A) The cars featured in it are some of the most amazing example of custom work you’ll ever see – far more extreme than what one typically imagines. B) We love that the publisher chose to make a video for a coloring book. C) We love that it’s a coloring book of lowrider cars. You can purchase the coloring book here. Thanks to Neatorama and Lilsnob for giving us the inside track.

This makes us think, how cool it’d be to do a frame design of any coloring book page. So unique!