How Creatives Work: Akira Kurosawa

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Akira Kurosawa is respected as one of the greatest film directors who ever lived, and as a master of the Samurai genre of Japanese cinema. Films such as “Rashomon,” “Seven Samurai,” Ran,” “Throne of Blood,”  “Yojimbo,” and others, revolutionized cinema and introduced Japanese film to Western audiences. He always said he didn’t like talking about particular films after he had finished them. He wanted them to do the talking for him. “If what I have said in my film is true,” he explained, “someone will understand.”

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Artist Uses Toasted Bread As a Canvas for His Anime Drawings

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Move over latte art! Japanese toast art may just be the next big thing. A Japanese artist by the name of Hittomii uses lightly toasted bread as a canvas to make these adorable anime illustrations. He first “painted” on cookies, but has moved from dessert to breakfast with these new creations. He shows us that playing with your food is a good thing!

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Smart Environmental Illustrations by Yuko Shimizu

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With Superstorm Sandy still a recent memory, New York-based editorial illustrator extraordinaire Yuko Shimizu has recently put together a portfolio of her environmentally themed works. We’ve got to confess a strong affection for her incredible illustrative stylings, and when applied to something as vital as the environment, we’re in love. The flowing lines of her work lend themselves well to the inviting curves of the natural world and the very elements we so badly need to protect. These illustrations featured in articles ranging in topic from sustainable eating and deforestation, to oil drilling and environmentally friendly cars.

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Origami and Pokemon? A Perfect Match!

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Young Canadian artist Jobe Brown has an obsession with fantasy and paper. It’s a happy combination which sees him folding 3D characters from hits like Harry Potter, Spongebob Squarepants and Pokemon in his uniquely patterned style of origami. He’s made a winged Golden Snitch, Mr Krabs and a load of Pokemon characters (gotta catch ‘em all!), each one cleverly redesigned to fit the modular methods he uses to create them.

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Opening Week for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

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For the past thirteen years London’s Serpentine Gallery has hosted the work of fantastic architects in the form of their annual Pavilion, staging perhaps the most anticipated and innovative program in the world. The resulting structures are open to the public, allowing passerby to explore groundbreaking experiments in design from such names as Zaha Hadid (2000), Frank Gehry (2008), Oscar Niemeyer (2003), and last year, Ai Weiwei. This year’s example, now celebrating its opening week, sees a cloud-like structure of tubular steel rising like an apparition from the grounds of the gallery.

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Illustrations: Clever and Beautiful, Just Like a Cat

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Like most of the internet, Japanese artist Yoko Tanji has an obsession with cats. Lucky for us, she’s doing something about it, creating a large body of work revolving around the feline species and their human companions. Her work ranges in style from sketched pen drawings to watercolors and digital illustrations, while her cleverly executed themes range from the somber to the brilliantly funny. Despite her varied modes of bringing the work to life, each piece stands well on its own and is created with a perfection unmatched by most artists.

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Massive Handmade Cloud Leopard Paper Cut Sculpture

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Using one single- rather large- piece of black paper, Japanese artist Nahoko Kojima of Solo Kojima hand cut an unbelievably intricate cloud leopard sculpture. The cutting process took five months and it was assembled by securing it in the air by fishing wire hung from the ceiling. The Crafts Council chose Kojima among just nine other international artists to display work in the Project Space at the Saatchi Gallery in the UK earlier this month. Before that, in February, the piece was assembled at Le Beffroi in Paris.

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Visual Bits #432 > The Funny, The Beautiful, & The Odd

Check out your links after the jump.

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Moving Light Sculptures by Mihoko Ogaki

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Where do we go after we die? Is there an another life after this one? Will we be reborn? Inspired by these ideas of life, death, and rebirth, Japanese artist Mihoko Ogaki has created some amazing works. For the past few years she has created an ongoing series of sculptures that illuminate. The ongoing project is called “Milky Ways” and the pieces were just currently displayed at the MORI YU Gallery in Tokyo.

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Bold Typography in Vintage Japanese Newspapers

As a designer, it’s easy to get stuck in the style trends of today… so here’s some typographic inspiration from vintage Japan. Coming from a large collection of 3000 ads from the years 1891 – 1945 (put together by the University of Tokyo), these vintage newspaper pages feature a bold style we don’t frequently see today. Huge glyphs boldly displayed in neat blocks. The emphasis here is often on the arrangement of elements, rather than a reliance on imagery… something to which the both vertically and horizontally orientable Japanese characters lend themselves well.

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