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Small Designs Magazine

Small Designs Magazine

Friday, December 19, 2014

Psychedelic art made out of drops of paint

Bruce Riley is a Chicago-based artist who creates beautifull, interesting and unique paintings. The abstract organic forms are made from layer after layer of dripped paint and poured resin.

Riley works using a number of experimental techniques, frequently incorporating mistakes and unexpected occurrences into the thick paintings.

You can see more of his paintings on

Friday, December 12, 2014

Flopy Disk paintings by Nick Gentry

A man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. If you stil have flopy disks at home don’t thow them away. Artist Nick Gentry can make beautiful pieces of art out of them.

He is a British artist from London. He states that through this process "contributor, artist and viewer come closer together".

His art is influenced by the development of consumerism, technology, identity and cyberculture in society, with a distinctive focus on obsolete media.

His works have been featured in galleries in the UK, USA and in cities throughout the world.

See more of Nick Gentry's works at

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grotto Sauna for winter cold days

 In these cold days of summer, a hot place is a must.

The Grotto Sauna perched at the north-west edge of a private island in Toronto, Canada is not only a cool place to relax, but also has a beautiful smooth design. The 800-square-foot freestanding sauna carefully sits on the island's prehistoric rock formations.

The builders are the PARTISANS.  They’ve selected a concept of solid, simple presence on the exterior, while the interior followed dynamic air movements in curvature forms.

To minimize disturbance of the age-old rock, PARTISANS used a Leica 3D scanner to create a site model before working on the freestanding sauna design.

See more on PARTISANS site:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Amazing carvings in New Mexico caves

For the last 10 years, artist Ra Paulette carved a sandstone cave in New Mexico’s desert.

Paulette created different designs and styles for every cavern, giving each one very specific qualities and textures. He carved over  14 different caves in the desert outside of San Jose.
No two of Paulette's caves are alike. Some feature under-size doors or skylights that let the sun in, while other include benches carved into the wall. The walls are also decorated with designs from flowers to abstract formes.

The purpose of this gigantic artwork is to create an environment that would inspire “spiritual renewal and personal well being.” It will also serve as a venue for artistic events once it’s finished.

See the documentary of Ra Paulette's carvings:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Things you may not know about Monet, Van Gogh, Dali and Picasso

An artist creates his painting, through his work, people can take a glimpse into the painter’s soul. But what about his life? What are the artists unusual habits? Are there any skeletons in his closet?
It is said that the great geniuses of the world were not good at school.Claude Monet is an artist who did not like to study at all. In the short biography published in 1900, the artist said: “School always seemed to me as a prison and I could never convince myself that it was better to stay there, more so as it was four hours a day, when the sea was calm, and I had such a craving mood to stay in open-air.” Few people know that from this boredom appeared Monet’s first passion. During classes, he used to draw on the border of the book’s portraits of his teachers and other personalities in the city. Thus, at 15 years old he was known throughout Le Havre as a cartoonist. His fame earned him quite a few orders from friends and colleagues. He said: „In one month, my sponsors have doubled. I could ask for twenty francs without decreasing the number of orders. If I would have continued drawing caricatures today I would have been a billionaire.” 
Painting was not Vincent Van Gogh’s first love. The artist had in his youth a special inclination towards religion. He studied theology at the University of Amsterdam, but not for long. Because he did not understand the utility of learning Latin and ancient Greek, he dropped out of school. He later tried to follow a course of a preacher in Brussels, but failed to promote the final exam. After several attempts, the preacher stage ends, and Van Gogh is preparing to pursue his final vocation, that of an artist.
Nevertheless, one of the most eccentric artists is Salvador Dali. Convinced that he is a genius, he decides to write his memoirs in the book called „Dairy of a Genius, Salvador Dali.” Dali even makes the difference between him an ordinary person: „From the French Revolution has developed the vicious tendency to believe that geniuses are human beings more or less similar to the rest of the world. Not so true. And if this is false for me, who I am a spiritual genius, it is false for the Renaissance geniuses, like Raphael, who is an almost divine genius. This book will show you that the daily life of a genius, his sleep, digestion, ecstasy, his fingernails, coldness, blood, life and death are different from ordinary people.”
Pablo Picasso is another artist who besides painting had the passion for writing. In fact, when he had been lacking inspiration in drawing, he dedicated his time to poetry. The lyrics are written spontaneously, and the association of words and images is left to run free. The texts are written in a surreal manner, often without punctuation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Digital Tattoo – connects with your phone through your arm

For those of you who lose their phones we have some good news.

 Jim Mielke invented a device that is implanted into your skin. He made it to enter the Greener Gadgets Design Competition in 2008.

The implant is inserted into the arm through a small incision, and lies beneath the skin just above the muscle.

After it is inserted, tubes from the device are attached to a vein and an artery.

This allows blood to flow into and out of a small battery on the back of the device.

Thus your blood components, glucose (sugar) and oxygen are converted into energy.

The Tattoo interacts with your other devices such as your cell phone. A touch display appears on your arm allowing you to enter a phone number. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pinza't - graffiti on bags and bikes

Pinza't brings a fresh, sort-of-rock-punk spanish design for bags. Plus, Pinza't only works with recycled good quality materials. Each item is handmade, handsewn and handpainted. Sam, a member of Pinza't told me how it all begun:

The beginnings of Pinza't are back in the new born XXI century, 14 years ago.  Samuel Nualart and Dolça Teruel, both sculptors, started the Pinza't adventure in a workshop in Barceloneta with a totally new business idea: combine recycled materials (the boom of the recycling bags will start a year later) with original art paintings. 

The Pinza't concept is inspired by the graffiti scene in NYC back in the '70 when the trains and subways where the common support for the street artist to develop their creations. So you have original art passing through the city, as our bags: unique art pieces wondering around different landscapes. Very important too is the relation we live with bikes: the bags are adapted to the bikes and we have specific products for the bikes (pedal straps, u-lock carries, bike seats, …) Biking is how we move!

We work as a collective, Sam and Dolça paint and saw all the products and other artists collaborate in the project by painting. At the beginning we were 4 artists, and now, the family has grown up to a  35 allover the world artist, mostly based in Barcelona. Five years ago we move from Barceloneta to Born, a neighborhood base of artisans since the Roman times. 

As we are 35, we have 35 different styles and influences, most of the artist are graffiti artists and some others illustrators. So, you will find icons of the street art scene in Barcelona and abroad like Ibie, Uyu, Alberto de Blobs, Lolo y Sosaku, Ovni, Morcky, Otica... and very tallented painters Minerva Capdevila, Javier Siquier, Emilio Cerezo... From the abstract to the figurative, there is a vast and rich exhibition. Our shop/workshop is a lively art gallery with new bags and creations every day.

We believe in recycling but in a way that the recycled material doesn't fell apart in months. So we choose always strong and tough materials such as truck canvas (3 layered pvc), seatbelts -if they can protect your live, they can carry your stuff- and also the buckles, just for fun. One of our achievements: our waterproof ink. It is the result of two years of research and it is really stable, also washable and doesn't fade away. We want our art to stay!
For our technic line, backpacks, hippouchs and messengers, we use cordura, ballistic and waterproof zippers to give the products a really long life.
Top item seller: bike straps, backpacks and laptop size bags

Not anyone can become a Pinza't artist, we are very accurate in choosing the artist we work with, and we like to keep an heterogeneous style. Normally, one artist introduces another.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Top 10 most expensive artworks

When they were alive, most of the painters known today as "Great Artists" didn't even have enough money to live a comfortable life. Now their paintings are worth millions.
Adele Bloch-bauer I
The most expensive painting ever sold is said to be Jackson Pollok’s “Number 5, 1948″. It is said that the art work was bought for $140 million at a private sale in 2006, though the exact price was never confirmed. David Greffen sold it to an unknown buyer, whom is rumored to be David Martinez, a Mexican business man.

Woman III
The second most expensive painting in art history is Willem De Kooning’s “Woman III,” bought for $137.5 million by Steven Cohen. It is the only woman painting by Kooning owned by a private person.

Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-bauer I” sits in the 3rd place in the top 10 most expensive artworks. The cosmetic magnate, Ronald Lauder bought it for $135 million, at a private sale, in 2006. The painting originally belonged to Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, but the Nazis confiscated it during World War II. In 1948, after the war, the art work was placed at the National Gallery of Austria.

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust
“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” by Pablo Picasso is worth $106.5 million. The price was paid by an anonymous buyer, at the Christine’s New York auction, in May 2010. This is the biggest price ever paid at an auction.

The “Nude” painting is followed in top 10 most expensive art works by another canvas made by Picasso, “Garcon a la pipe” (Boy with a Pipe). Now it is in the hands of an anonymous buyer who spend on it over $104 million, at the Sotherby’s auction, in May 2004.

Andy Warhol’s “Eight Elvises” completes the rank, on number 6. The painting is worth $100 million and was sold at a private auction in 2008.

Dora Maar au chat
Picasso is present again in the ranking to number 7 with “Dora Maar au chat” (Dora Maar with Cat). The painting was sold at the Sotherby’s auction, in May 2006, for $95.2 million.

Titian is the only old master in the rank, with “Diana and Actaeon,” sold at a private sale on February 2009. A buyer from United Kingdom has it now for $91 million.

Sold only a few months later than Klimt’s first version of “Adele,” the second painting was worth $87.9 million.

Francis Bacon closes the rank with “Tryptich 1976.” A European private buyer gave on it $86.3 million, at the Sotherby’s, in May 2008.

However, the most expensive painting in art history has not been sold in any auction or private sale. Guinness World Records lists the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci as having the highest insurance value for a painting in history. It was estimated at $100 million on December 14, 1962. Taking inflation into account, the Mona Lisa would be valued today at around $743 million!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yulia Brodskaya - the artist that tames paper

Funny thing this imagination. It has no boundaries, it’s infinity and its form can be seen through creativity.

This is what I had in mind while seeing Yulia Brodskaya’s creations, an artist and illustrator born in Moscow. She creates stunning works of art using the quilled paper technique, which she discovered six years ago.

„I was planning to create a small brochure with my hand-drawn illustrations to be sent out to potential clients and I was looking for an eye-catching image with my name ‘Yulia’ for the cover. I created a number of hand-drawn variants, but I didn’t like any of them and then I remembered an image from some school book showing a paper strips standing on edge, so tried to make the letters using this technique and apparently the attempt was successful. I found the way that has turned out to be ‘the one’ for me, now I draw with paper instead of on it. I use edge-glued strips of paper as if I draw with a pen. I like to incorporate typography and create very intricate elaborate designs with paper”.

Yulia told us she likes natural motifs such as flowers, plants, animals etc. However, for her personal project she finds inspirations in photos with old people.

„The reason why I focus on aged figures is related to the theme of death. I'm fascinated by it, it worries me, I have really strong mixed feelings that make me look through photographs of old people in a search for inspiration for my personal work. Another reason is material/technique related: the edge-glued paper strips are a great way of depicting the wrinkles, so it is a bonus” – Yulia says.

„Taming” paper isn't easy at all. Yulia explained us that a simple piece can take couple of days, a large detailed one takes weeks.

„The process is really simple: I take a strip of paper, shape it, dip it into glue and then place it onto the surface and wait till the glue begins to stick, then take another strip of paper and so on and on...”

View more of Yulia Brodskaya’s creations on her site: ArtYulia

Friday, October 10, 2014

Great Artists: Frida Kahlo turned pain into creation

It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. We use words to express what we feel or what we need. However, when it comes to images you don’t need words anymore. 

The image is the one that can capture a feeling: sadness or happiness. You become absorbed in the feelings that live before you. The artist can make you feel sad or happy.

The artist is the one that can and will play with your feelings, even if he or she is not near you. Artists can do that by just creating a painting that can change the way you feel only by looking at it. The free will inside you is not so free anymore. The choice of what you should take is not yours anymore. You are just a person at the crime scene, and you can’t take your eyes from it. It is mesmerizing. In the same time, an artist can make you sense what he is feeling.

fridah 257x300 Frida Kahlo: Expression of Feelings on CanvasFrida Kahlo is an artist who could lay her feelings on canvas. She described with images what she was going through since the accident on September 17th 1925. It was the exact day of the Mexican independence. In the years that passed, she described the accident by painting it. She also wrote: “I sat on the edge, near the descent. Moments later the bus was hit by a tram line Xochimilco. The Tram crashed the bus on the corner of the street. It was an odd blow. It wasn’t violent, but dull, slow, injuring everyone. Especially I.” She suffered a triple fracture of the spine, clavicle fracture, dislocation of left shoulder, triple fracture of pelvis, abdomen and pelvis perforation and dislocation of her right leg. Virtually, the accident stopped time for Frida, who was, as she described in her memoirs, a wanderer.

The list health problems will continue throughout her life. However, Frida is the worthy example of someone whose body is weak, but whose interior is strongly. In the long days she had to wait to walk again Frida made the first significant painting of her work, Self portrait in a Velvet Dress. It is influenced by the Renaissance painters whom she studied with passion during convalescence. Besides her work is represented by the self-portraits, the only person she knew best so she could spread feelings on canvas. She was the only person who could stand still long enough that she could surprise even the most hidden feelings. People can only see glimpses of the person you really are, but they can never look within yourself to see your hidden thoughts.

Sometimes even you cannot see the hidden part of you. I fell in love with Frida not only for her original paintings, but because of the whole package, her life. I think that you can’t understand the significance given by the artist to his paintings if you don’t know his life. Because Frida lived in much of her life in bed in a room with four walls, her paintings are full of solitude. We can see this by the fact that the main character is placed in the middle of the paintings, all alone. Sadness in the eyes of the character also surprises. She shows loneliness and sadness as they are, without a curtain. The artist’s suffering can be seen especially in the painting The Broken Column, made in 1944.

fridah2 250x300 Frida Kahlo: Expression of Feelings on Canvas Admired in Frida is that for a moment, she did not hide the sadness and suffering that had gone through her life. Frida is for me a worthy artist. She wrote towards the end of her life “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope I never come back.”

Most people fear of death, but she would look right into its eyes. Perhaps the harsh and sincere reality of her paintings resonates so much with the viewer precisely because it describes exactly what the world feels: that we struggle alone with our own suffering.

Frida shows that you don’t need words to reflect how you feel just as you don’t have to reveal your wound for people to understand your pain. You only need a painting.