“Keep Austin Weird” is not just the Texas city’s nickname, it’s a way of life. Though “weird” may be a bit of a misnomer here; instead, the city government is working to keep Austin artistic with their recent Creative Crosswalks initiative. They’re encouraging Austin businesses and citizens to come up with artistic designs for the city’s crosswalks to “break the visual monotony of the asphalt or concrete pavement and highlight crossings as an extension of the pedestrian realm,” according to their website. Locals can fill out a request form to the city government for design approval. The website states that the budget is limited and encourages each nominee to secure funding for their proposal on their own. The city hopes that small businesses, neighborhoods and communities will nominate crosswalks in their areas for the program to bring life and identity to the diverse personalities of each area.The first crosswalk in the Austin initiative was installed last week on Lake Austin Blvd and is titled “Crosswalk by the Lake.” Not surprisingly, the design is an abstracted take on flowing water, with wavy blue lines intersecting the white crosswalk bars. It’s eye-catching, modern and engaging— just what they were hoping for.Austin’s Creative Crosswalk program is not the first of its kind; many other cities have implemented similar artistic endeavors on their streets for both aesthetic and safety reasons. Lompoc, California has held an annual Creative Crossing competition in which artists can submit designs for a chance to “win” a crosswalk to makeover, complete with a $500 honorarium. This year, Linda Powers won for her sea-inspired shell and sand dollar motif.Never a city to be beat in the public art arena, Portland, Oregon also ushered in its own version of a Creative Crosswalk program, though the city’s own Department of Transportation came up with and installed the piece themselves. The raindrop and umbrella installation was actually printed on road-safe rubber and laid down in squares to make it durable and useable on the busy Chinatown street.The phenomenon isn’t relegated to the US; this cute dog walking crosswalk is in the middle of the Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City. It imbues even the most mundane errands with a lightheartedness and charm that makes us wonder why every crosswalk isn’t made over with an artistic eye.Somewhat surprisingly, China is home to at least a dozen creative crosswalks, located all over the country. From Chengdu’s romantic, heart-shaped “I love you” crosswalk to Shenyang’s whimsical barefoot hoppers, China’s streets are slowly filling with major artistic vision.Both Warsaw, Poland and Chongqing, China have taken advantage of the organic piano motif in two of their creative crosswalks. We’re particularly into Chongqing’s shadowy hands playing the keys in mirror image of two side-by-side crosswalks.And speaking of taking advantage of a crosswalk’s natural shape, Zurich, Switzerland turned their yellow pedestrian crossing into a Super-super-super sized box of McDonald’s french fries! McDonald’s actually created this creative crosswalk on their own as a part of an annual art festival held in the city.Cities like Detroit and Baltimore which are facing serious financial and economic struggles, have used creative crosswalks as a way to bolster local resident’s hope in their city and to encourage tourists to explore the streets. This zippered up crosswalk in Baltimore is an awesome example of that innovation and enthusiasm that brings extra life and awareness to that neighborhood.
Category - Cute
I recently read How to be both by Ali Smith and absolutely fell in love with every sentence on every page. I kept track of the particularly inspiring passages with basic yellow Post-it notes that honestly brought my whole reading experience way down with their boring, office-y vibes. If only I’d known about Duncan Shotton super cute and totally necessary Sticky Page Markers, I’d have been so much more aesthetically pleased with my record-keeping.
They’re literally Post-it notes except they’re in the shape of rainbows, the Loch Ness Monster, the NYC skyline and shark fins. Just look how adorable! The stickies transform random page holders into purposeful art in the cutest way. Seriously though, if you’re in the coffee shop reading Hemingway and scoping the cute girl at the next table over – what’s gonna start a conversation? A Post-it flapping around or a Godzilla peeking out from behind your page? [h/t ufunk.net]
Pottery is an impressive skill at any time – but even more so when, like Jon Almeda, you make pots and bowls that can sit on the tip of a finger.
Although previously an adherent to the view that ‘bigger is better, Almeda now works to a 1” scale, creating works that are tiny, but beautifully formed. The proportions and attention to detail are flawless, and they are perhaps even more elegant than their full-size counterparts. Working with a custom-made miniature throwing wheel, he uses traditional pottery techniques – even going so far as to decorate many of his teapots, vases and bowls.
Almeda’s work is beautiful and original, and has the added novelty value of being able to sit comfortably on the edge of a pencil. His finesse and (one can only imagine) patience is truly mind-blowing. [h/t demilked.com]