Buying Paintings: Precisionism

Buying Paintings: Precisionism

Also known as Cubist Realism, and related to the Art Deco movement, Precisionism was developed in the United States after World War I. The term for this movement was coined in the 1920s, and influenced by the Cubist and Futurist movements; the main themes for these paintings were mainly regarding industrialization and modernization of the American landscape. These elements were depicted with the use of precise and sharply defined geometrical shapes, a reverence for the industrial age, but with social commentary not a directly fundamental part.

The degrees of abstraction ran the spectrum as some works had photo realistic qualities, and though the movement had no presence outside of the United States, the artists that made up this particular grouping were a closely knit collective remaining active through to the 1930s. Georgia O’Keefe remained as one of the leading proponents of this style, and stayed so for many years afterwards until the 1960s, her husband was a highly regarded mentor for the group. In a post post-Expressionist phase of life in the art world, Precisionism has affected and influenced the movements of magic realism which utilizes aspects such as juxtaposing of forward movement with a sense of distance, and pop art in which themes from mass culture were used to define art much there forward.

Just after the 1950s began, the movement of pop art was clear in places such as Britain and the United States, and employed elements of advertising and comic books to create a foundation that might have been taken as a reaction to the then popular movement of abstract expressionism. Though the term wasn’t coined until 1958, it was later linked with Dadaism from the beginning of the century, and at one point was called Neo-Dada because of the strong influence from artist Marcel Duchamp. Later affecting artists like Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, bringing the definition to come to mean one of low-cost mass-produced and gimmicky artwork, and stressing everyday values with common sources like product packaging and celebrity photographs.

By exploring that fraction of everyday imagery, the artists found themselves working with contemporary consumer culture, and this became apparent in parts of Britain, Spain, and Japan around the same point in time. In Britain in particular, where pop art seemed to stem from at that point in 1947, and many works began blurring the boundaries between art and advertising. Whereas in Spain, the movement became interrelated with the “new figurative”, the work arose from the roots of informalism which began to be a critical aspect in this part of the world.

In Japan, pop art has been seen and utilized throughout much of the country’s native artwork through such means as Anime and the “superflat” styles of art, and became the means through which the artists could further critique their own culture through a more satirical lens. When choosing a stimulating piece by these artists, it may be a more invigorating exercise to find some of those other artists to whom these later artists owe much of their inspiration towards their own work, and Precisionism is just as appropriate a place to start for you as anywhere else in the artistic spectrum.

Today, Precisionism can be seen as fundamental influence in commercial and popular art, but cannot be too overlooked as being one of a few different movements to affect our present day stance on art’s utility and functions. With the postmodern present coming to light, maybe we shall once again be drawn back to the past that we have come to take for granted too often, and reveal a new age to define a new century of experience.

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Liven Up Your Dull Computer With Free Animated Cursors

Liven Up Your Dull Computer With Free Animated Cursors

If you want something beyond the typical, dull cursor, you can add excitement to your computer with a cute animated cursor. Several sites offer these animated cursors at no charge. Animated cursors are available in a wide variety of themes, from stars and flowers to anime characters to nostalgic cartoon characters.

My favourite animated cursor is one of Homer Simpson. I grew up watching The Simpsons, so having an animated Homer floating around my desktop is a great way to remember how much I loved the show when I was little. Even when I’ve had a horrible day, getting on my computer and seeing Homer dance as I browse the Internet never fails to make me smile. Finding the perfect animated cursor was as easy as a quick visit to an animated cursor website and downloading the cursor I wanted. Installation was fast and simple. Some sites that offer animated cursors also have programs available that allow you to design your own animated cursors. If you can’t find the perfect cursor for you, you can use the software and design the exact cursor that is right for you.

With all the animated cursors available, finding the right one should be a cinch. Many sites feature animated cursors from classic television shows, cartoon and movies, like Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, 101 Dalmatians, The Little Mermaid or Harry Potter. For the sci-fi or computer geek, there are a huge amount of cursors with a science fiction theme. You can get Star Trek, Red Dwarf, Stargate SG-1, Star Wars or Battlestar Gallatica animated cursors, or just about any other popular science fiction television show or movie. Computer geeks can choose from a variety of animated cursors featuring characters and items from EverQuest II, World of Warcraft, and other massively multi-player online role-playing games. Comic book geeks would enjoy X-Men, Spiderman or Batman animated cursors. Just for fun, you can even get an animated light saber cursor. Whatever you like, there’s bound to be a cursor that can help you express your devotion to your favourite cartoon, television show, movie or game.

Even if there isn’t a particular television show or movie that you like, you can still find an animated cursor that suits your style. You can get a seasonal or holiday-themed cursor to get you in the mood for the holidays. You can express your patriotism with an animated flag or a soaring bald eagle. Show off your mystical side with a flying dragon or a wand-waving wizard. You can get delicate flowers to get in touch with your feminine side. So many options are available that there’s something for everyone. All you need to do is search for free animated cursors online.

Putting Together Your Cosplay Costume

Putting Together Your Cosplay Costume

A lot of people find cosplays fun. The word “cosplay” is a Japanese contraction for the term “costume play”, where participants don costumes and dress up to look like characters from anime, from video and roleplaying games, from fantasy and science fiction stories, and sometimes from live action programs. In Japan, some people who engage in cosplays dress up as a popular J-pop (Japanese pop) or J-rock (Japanese rock) artist.

Most anime and comics conventions have cosplay events worked into their program to cater to people who love doing cosplay. There is no real point to cosplay; people dress up as their favorite characters simply for the sake of dressing up as them. When they gather at cosplay events, they spend most of their time showing off in their detailed and elaborate costumes, check out the costumes worn by the other participants, and to take pictures. Cosplay events are fun events, even if they are wacky, outrageous, and sometimes downright weird.

Deciding What Costume to Wear to a Cosplay

So, if you are going to a cosplay and it is your first time to attend one, how do you figure out what costume you are going to wear? First of all, you need to find out what kind of cosplay it is going to be. Is it going to be a purely anime or manga (the Japanese comic book) cosplay? Is it a fantasy or science fiction convention? What is the theme of the cosplay event? Knowing this beforehand will definitely help you narrow down your choices on what costume to wear to the event. It will also save you from the embarrassment of showing up and being totally out of place, like going to a cosplay event as a character from The Lord of the Rings at a Star Trek cosplay event.

Once you have figured out the theme for the cosplay event, you then have to decide which character you are going as to the affair. Do you have a favorite character that you are just dying to impersonate, even for just this event? Choose a character and study his or her costume. You will certainly find pictures on the Internet that will help you take in the details of this character’s costume.

If the character of your choice appears in different costumes, such as the character Sakura in the anime Card Captor Sakura, you ought to choose which costume is most identified with this character. The fun in cosplay is being recognized immediately whom you are dressed up as. What is the use of going to a cosplay if no one recognizes your character because the costume you have chosen is not that popular?

Should You Buy or Should You Make Your Costume?

Would it not be nice if you have the skills to be able to make your own costume for your cosplay event? Some people are just handy with needles and threads and can use the sewing machine without a lot of difficulties. Making your own costumes gives you the chance to get all the details of your costume right, and it always feels good to show up at a cosplay event decked in a costume that you worked on yourself.

Unfortunately, not everyone is gifted with the ability to work with needles, cloth and thread. In this case, you can go to a dressmaker with a picture or a sketch of the costume you have in mind and ask the dressmaker to make it for you. A good dressmaker can come up with a satisfactory set that you can proudly wear to the cosplay, but you cannot expect him or her to get all the details right.

Another alternative to making your own costume is to buy bits and pieces of items that you can throw together and wear to the cosplay. This is a good option if the character you are showing up as is not a fantasy character with an elaborate costume. Japanese schoolgirls are very simple to cosplay. You just need to get a short, pleated skirt; a blazer or jacket that matches the skirt; a blouse, preferably with a wide sailor collar; a necktie or a bow; legwarmers and loafers. The downside to buying bits and pieces for a costume is that it is not always possible to be as elaborate and detailed as you would have wanted to be with your costume.

Putting It All Together

Of course, the costume that you would put on for your cosplay event is not limited to your clothes. You would also need a wig, especially if the character you are showing up as has an unusual hairstyle and hair color. It may also be necessary for you to wear makeup – you would not want to cut a lightning scar on your forehead just to make yourself look like Harry Potter, would you?

Props and accessories are also in order in cosplay events. A Harry Potter getup will not be complete without his spectacles and his magic wand. Knights in shining armor need swords. A princess cannot be a princess without her tiara.

Cosplays are fun events for people who love going to them, all dressed up and dolled up for the party that cosplays often are. Putting together your costume for the event is definitely half the fun of it.

Lost and Found In Adaptation: “Fate-Stay Night”

Lost and Found In Adaptation: “Fate/Stay Night”

Whenever adapting material from one medium to another, there is always the danger of losing something in the adaptation. This usually happens if the original material was in the literary form, such as a novel or a comic book. Another cause might be the additional stress and anxiety on the director of the adaptation because the original material most likely had a sizable fan-base, which is liable to riot if anything too drastic occurs during the change.

More often than not, the core strategy for dealing with this sort of problem is to remove what could be considered “filler” material, leaving only what needs to be present for integrity of the plot. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series and several Japan-to-Hollywood conversions, such as “Godzilla” and “Ultraman” are victims of this. However, judging from the stress of the animators and the backlash from the hardcore fans, even the Japan-exclusive game genre known as the visual novel is hard to translate. Take, for example, “Fate/Stay Night,” based on the visual novel of the same name.

TYPE-MOON, the company that made the source material, upheld their reputation for heavily detailed, highly artistic characters and plots in “Fate/Stay Night,” which was among the most awaited games for its genre in decades. The game itself had multiple endings, carried out through three possible scenarios, each one with a plot that develops in distinctly different ways from the others, albeit having roughly the same major players in the cast. The success of the game and the relatively warm reception to the adaptation of a previous TYPE-MOON work, “Tsukihime,” exerted enough pressure and stress on companies to grab the rights for an anime version of F/SN. The finished product, however, wavers.

It is difficult to judge just how well the extensive material covered by the original visual novel translates to animated form. The core of the plot is intact, if only because the anime takes only one of the possible scenarios and runs with it, only inserting elements from the two other scenarios (such as hints of one of the character’s fractured mental health) of the visual novel in certain episodes. The self-doubt and the skirting with depression that comes with the main character’s personal burdens failures are apparent, but the show tended to skim over the background details of the other pieces to the puzzle.

For example, the real nature of the relationship between Rin and Sakura (two of the female leads) is only hinted upon vaguely in the show, whereas the original material goes into extensive detail not only on their shared background as sisters, but also on Sakura’s depression and feelings of abandonment by her original family. The show also drops several important elements to the personalities and relationships between Sakura, her brother Shinji, and the creature known as “Rider.”

The show does, however, have some good points. The plot is coherent and strong, owing largely to the quality of work that went into the original plot by TYPE-MOON. The characters that are focused on have some of the most developed personalities seen in this sort of anime, which match perfectly with the top-notch visual quality of the show. Several of the scenes echo some of the more beloved scenes from the visual novel, though some had to be edited due to the nature of their content.

Ultimately, “Fate/Stay Night” is an example of both what can be done right and wrong about translating stories from one medium to another. Due to the extensive and expansive written material present in the original game, as well as the vast number of possible decisions a player can make that have an effect on the outcome, it would be impossible to get everything to fit into the context of a 24-episode show. However, like good adaptations, enough elements from the source material were retained to make it both recognizable by fans and interesting enough to attract non-fans.

A Brief Glimpse Into “Welcome To The NHK!”

A Brief Glimpse Into “Welcome To The NHK!”

The willingness to deal with even unpleasant aspects of one’s culture in a humorous-yet-serious manner is something that has been ever-present in the media. Social issues, along with the occasional political issue, can suddenly be the focal discussion point of episodes of popular shows, with some more prominent ones becoming the focus of entire series. The Japanese hikikomori problem, along with the standard social anxiety and hints of schizophrenia that being a hikikomori entails, has become the premise of a fairly recent franchise consisting of an anime, comic, and novel series known simply as “Welcome to the NHK.”

The show focuses on the lives, trials, and tribulations of Sato Tatsuhiro, who is essentially a hikikomori. This means he exhibits extreme moments of social anxiety, going so far as to avoid his parents (whom he’s living with) as much as he can. Besides being a social shut-in, he is also frequently seen to exhibit another Japanese sub-culture-turned-problem: that of being an obsessive anime otaku. For the unfamiliar, the Japanese see the otaku sub-culture as a potential social problem, mainly because most of these people have a slightly compromised grip on reality, preferring to focus their time, effort, and attention on various forms of entertainment. Usually, the obsessive nature targets a single media form, such as music or anime, and focuses exclusively on that. The sub-culture exhibits signs that are interpreted as social anxiety, though they sometimes appear to have somewhat normal social interactions on the rare occasions where large numbers of otaku gather.

Sato firmly believes that his status as both hikikomori and otaku, along with the social anxiety, poor people skills, and general paranoia, are all caused by a massive conspiracy. This conspiracy, known as the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (the Japanese Hikikomori Association), is the source of the “NHK” in the title, rather than the real-life Japanese television network NHK. His belief in this theory has developed into an elaborate delusion, which includes NHK agents in the form of cute, attractive young girls being sent to prospective targets to allow the conspiracy to more directly influence their targets. It is notable that while Sato initially believes the female lead, Misaki Nakahara, to be one of these agents, he never actually takes the time to detail what the NHK hopes to achieve by turning the entire male population of Japan into socially-inept shut-ins.

Together with a variety of other characters, some of which seem to be representatives of other socially-challenged Japanese sub-cultures, Misaki and Sato come together in the most unusual ways. Part of the interaction between the two leads stems from Misaki’s contract with Sato, which states that once every evening, she is to lecture him on how to overcome his social anxiety and become a normal, functioning member of society again. Of course, to provide entertainment value, not everything goes as planned, with Sato experiencing everything from panic attacks due to being outside his apartment, to having Misaki pretend to be his girlfriend to fool his visiting mother.

Aside from the aforementioned subcultures, the show also briefly touches upon other aspects of Japanese culture. This includes the thriving independent gaming circuit, the “Internet suicide pacts” problem, and other Japanese social idiosyncrasies. It should be noted that, despite the title of the show, the network NHK never actually aired “Welcome to the NHK.” Thus, unlike the novels, the show does not explicitly link the NHK conspiracy to the NHK television network.