It seems like people have a real soft spot for 1980s pop culture, especially fans of children’s television. This is due to a combination of the toy tie-ins on the cartoons of that time, the bright and vibrant colors on the shows, the larger than life characters, and the fact that the children of that era have grown into adults and they’re making content about what they loved. And I am just as much a victim of this ’80s nostalgia bug as anyone, and that is why the following artist caught my eye.
The internet is a great thing for creative minds. Sure the criticism an artist can receive is a heck of a lot harsher than what a face to face confrontation would be and you need to be ever vigilant of the dreaded trolls who are lurking at every dark corner of the web ready to rip your work apart. However, it does offer numerous benefits such as getting your work out to numerous people on a global scale and having the freedom to do what you like. This freedom has given us some superb pieces of work which when successful, can spread like wild-fire with pop culture fans and internet users alike. There is also freedom to interact with your audience in an instant way which just might not have been possible before. It is these elements of artist freedom that both Brandon Bird and Jim’ll Paint It excel in but they both use this freedom in very different ways.
Brandon Bird may not be a name that you know but his work is instantly recognizable. In fact one image in particular sent the internet into free fall when it came out. It is the image below that most internet users will recognize and it has popped up on numerous message boards and memes and has been embraced by the pop culture universe.
Brandon comes from California and has worked in some degree in numerous projects, most interestingly helping out the punk rock group the Aqauabats with their merchandise and show designs. The thing that is so great about Brandon’s work is the sheer creativity in his mashups (Peter Dinklage as Wolverine is incredible) but also the childlike innocence behind them. They embrace childhood whether it be the rejection of children you want to play with (Harrison Ford suffers from this in one painting), or the sheer excitement as an adult we get of seeing our childhood icons mixed up in interesting yet somewhat natural feeling ways. They always gel together so well no matter what is getting mashed up or how surreal the outcome. His merchandise enforces this notion with coloring books and adventure kits available that harkens back to a simpler time when we made our own entertainment. It is ironic then that the internet has embraced his artwork so much. Maybe we all just want to remember that feeling of childhood one more time?
Jim’ll Paint It also has close connection to the internet, more accurately it is his audience he relies on for part of his inspiration. Little is known about Jim (other than we think he is called Jim) but it’s what he does that is important. He takes requests from internet users on what to paint, with the more extreme and bizarre the concept, the better. The love of retro and childhood shows that Brandon has embraced with his art is seen here because Jim’s (mostly) UK audience have looked back into their past for inspiration and got Jim to incorporate these memories into the pop culture icons of the present. So you have Jim Bowen from UK show Bullseye doing his best Thelma and Louis impression while the band T–Rex and Jurassic Park combine together to form a stunning visual piece. But it is not just retro stuff Jim excels in; his audience throw anything at him from Christian Bale watching over Ben Affleck’s version of Batman to Voldemort becoming happy he found a can of coke with his name on it. The great thing is though the audience give him the idea it is Jim’s incredible mind that puts it all together and gives his own unique spin on it. It is always an incredible experience to read what the person has requested and then see Jim’s surrealist version of it.
Both Jim and Brandon have their own websites where you can buy their products and also look for Jim’s Facebook page where you can check out more of his fans requests. If you want to see your favourite pop culture icons engaged in ways you never imagined possible, then keep checking out these guys work as they continue to create incredible pieces every week or so.
Kickstarter is a crowdsourcing platform where people donate money to your idea to get it off the ground. In exchange for your contribution, you are rewarded with exclusives based on the amount of money you donate to the project. Getting a copy of the product, being a producer in a film, T-Shirts, posters, etc – these are some of the various rewards you can get.
There are hundreds of Kickstarters running at a time, so we’ve picked out a few we think might be worth funding if you’re looking to ger involved…
Comic: The Spider King
There have been a few great cross genres created as of late. Whether it is Robots, Zombies, Ninjas or Pirates going against each other, it usually makes for an entertaining book. The Spider King is a graphic novel that pits Vikings against Aliens and it looks like it’ll be fun. Written by Josh Vann and Illustrated by Simone D’Armini, you can support this book and watch the Vikings kick some Alien butt.
Gaming: The Amityville Project Phobos
Kickstarter has been host to a myriad of tabletop games and this one seems to be another awesome entry. The Amityville Project: Phobos has a very unique premise as you are fighting to gain control of your mind. A project split an investigating detectives mind into four personas and these are clashing to gain control. There are eighty miniatures included in the game and they all look twisted and creepy. This is definitely a project to watch as it looks really unique.
Distracted Media has created a few projects and their latest offering is on Kickstarter. Airlock has an interesting premise as a derelict ship docks with an isolated space station. The security officer Jonah Wright inspects the ship and finds that the crew was murdered. In the cargo hold are a group of Sector Nine Asylum seekers who are hiding a secret that threatens the entire human race. This tidbit alone makes me want to watch this series and you can watch it for free if you donate to their cause.
Technology: Raspberry Pi minicade
Raspberry Pi is a mini computer that has a ton of uses from home networking to media servers. People also use it to play some of the retro arcade games and one of the projects is to make a mini arcade cabinet. The cabinet will come complete with a mini LCD, arcade stick and buttons and even speakers! With this DIY project and your Raspberry Pi you will be playing classic arcade games in no time. If you ever wanted your own arcade machine but don’t have the space or money then you need to check out this project.
Remember when you were a kid and waged war on your living room floor? Playing with robots, monsters and army men was such a fun time. BMOG (which stands for Bio-Mechanical Ordnance Gestalts) is a new toy that is being developed and has multiple uses. For one each of the single pieces can be used with action figures. These pieces can also be combined to make robots that are bristling with weaponry. BMOG is a great project that has multiple uses that is worthy of your attention.
These are some of the great projects that are on Kickstarter right now. Tune in from time to time as I will chronicle some of the best projects in gaming, film, comics, design and technology.
The Wrap has just got news that popular video site YouTube has gotten its first paid for horror channel. Called Screampix it will charge $2.99 per month and will cater to all the screaming horror fans out there in dire need of a new fright flick fix. The channel debuted on Wednesday in the US and Canada and will be coming to the UK and other countries later on this year.
It’s safe to assume that by now you’ve heard about SOPA, PIPA, or the Wikipedia-led internet blackout that took place today. However, it may be unclear exactly what SOPA and PIPA are designed to do, and how their passing might affect the internet community. In the interest of remedying that, we’ve pulled together some of the best, most informative explanations of what SOPA means to us.
[I want to be clear: Grizzly Bomb is an opinion-based site. While we report often on entertainment news, this is a platform for our staff to share our thoughts and reactions to the content we are passionate about. We are opposed to SOPA, and while we encourage neutral publications to remain unbiased and respect their reasons for doing so, Grizzly Bomb does not intend to imply neutrality. This is our perspective, nothing more or less.]
What is SOPA/PIPA?
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.
In layman’s terms, SOPA and PIPA are the latest attempt by legislators to provide the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders with unprecedented freedom to pursue legal action against websites illegally sharing copyrighted intellectual property. It would considerably increase the repercussions of infringing on copyright, in- or outside the United States.
Some of SOPA’s supporters include (From Wikipedia):
- The Motion Picture Association of America
- The Recording Industry Association of America
- The Entertainment Software Association
The Effects of a passed SOPA Bill
The bill’s main goal is to take down the rampant pirating and streaming of content like films, television and music, which honestly is a totally valid demand. As convenient and enjoyable as easy, free access to your favorite content may be, it is childish and ridiculous to ignore the fact that this is the property of companies like the MPAA or the RIAA. Whether piracy is, by definition, theft or not is besides the point.
The issue of removing and penalizing sites engaged in piracy and streaming is not the one that most of us against the bill take issue with. The problem with SOPA is that the language it uses to describe protected intellectual property is so vague that it threatens to censor perfectly legal use of copyrighted material as well. On top of that, many are quick to remember that similar copyright laws are already in place, and haven’t managed to stifle infringements in the past. The fear is that SOPA may not only prosecute perfectly legal content-sharers, but end up failing at its intended goal to take down the actual offenders. Youtube user Total Halibut explains it clearly below:
About halfway into Total Halibut’s video, he delves into the more sinister ways big businesses could exploit SOPA for their own gains. On the same topic, Jeepers Media made this video that suggests an even more sickening manipulation by SOPA supporters. Try to cope with the guy’s grating voice, because it’s important to hear what he has to say:
Here’s a concise summary of how PIPA could unfairly control and oppress the internet and its users, via Vimeo user Fight for the Future:
And probably the most comprehensive of them all, here’s a TED Talk from Clay Shirky:
For gamers – Any of you who follow the video game industry know that E3 is the biggest event for games. As well as serving as one of the biggest conventions out there, it features most of the industry’s biggest reveals, announcements and early demos every year. As you can imagine, for many publishers, developers, journalists and fans, E3 is the most important part of the year. However E3 is run by the ESA, which you may recognize as one of the supporters of SOPA, mentioned above. Many people from various ends of the games industry feel betrayed by their support of the bill, as indie games, journalists and others rely on a free internet in order to operate. If you have a stake in the video game industry in any way, as a consumer or otherwise, it’s important you see this video from Screw Attack:
While a majority of the entertainment industry is invested in seeing SOPA pass, it’s important to know that almost every internet business on record has opposed it. These are the people who understand the internet, who actually know how it functions and rely on it operating legally in order to make a profit; not as an additional stream of revenue. These are some of the companies who vocally oppose the bills (Also from Wikipedia):
- Mozilla Corporation
- the Wikimedia Foundation
Not to mention, the Obama administration stated its disapproval of SOPA and PIPA, asking “all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response.”
What To Do About It
Discussion of SOPA is on pause for the time being, but is slated to resume debate in February. Meanwhile, PIPA is scheduled to go to a vote on January 24th.
If you disagree with the implications of SOPA and PIPA being passed, please check out these petitions and make yourself heard:
It was announced early this morning that J. K. Rowling’s new pet project, ‘Pottermore,’ will be an online experience for Harry Potter fans. Not only will it help fans gain a better understanding of the world that she created, but it will also be a place for new readers, who didn’t experience Potter-Mania in its prime, to experience the world of Harry Potter first-hand.
According to the official press release:
In the new website, the storyline will be brought to life with sumptuous newly-commissioned illustrations and interactive ‘Moments’ through which you can navigate, starting with the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone. On entering, you choose a magic username and begin your experience. As you move through the chapters, you can read and share exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling, and, just as Harry joins Hogwarts, so can you. You visit Diagon Alley, get sorted into a house, cast spells and mix potions to help your house compete for the House Cup.
In addition, she will be providing new information on characters, places, and objects in the Potter universe. ‘Pottermore‘ will also have an online store, where fans can purchase Harry Potter merchandise; and for the first time will be the exclusive place to purchase all seven installments in eBook form. For some screen shots of what to expect from the website – Click Here.
Only a select few will get the chance to view the site before its wide release in October. Starting July 31, fans can enter their email address at the official website to earn the chance for an early entry. The rest of us will have to wait!
I must say, as a huge fan of the series, I am THRILLED. It’s hard to say whether or not this will replace her promised encyclopedia to the series, but this is better. It gives all of the eager fans a chance to learn more about the world they love, while adding the interactive aspect and experiencing the wizarding world first-hand. If done right, the website can give us Potter nerds a chance to continue our love of the series after the books have been written and the films have been released. I couldn’t be happier!
I’d be curious to know what you all think, fans of the books or not. Let us know in the comments!
It’s already been a crazy week with celebrities getting accused of doing things they haven’t or accused of not doing things they say they did. The most recent one was Jackie Chan who was accused of doing something he clearly did not do, which is die.
OTRC reported that one way or another, through gossip on social networking sites, the martial arts action star suffered a heart attack and died. This was until through his own Facebook, a status was left denying that Chan had any problems at all, and he was in fact busy filming his current movie.
I must be out of the loop because I hadn’t heard anything about Jackie Chan dying until the day it was reported that he wasn’t dead. I’m now more concerned about which movie he is currently working on. The last live action movies he appeared in were The Spy Next Door and The Karate Kid Played By Will Smith’s Son. (that was the full title right?) Maybe Rush Hour 4 or The Tuxedo 2? (Please God no!) [Ed. – I hear that movie was very very popular]
The next movie Chan will appear in through is Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom as the voice of ‘Furious Five’ warrior Monkey. The film releases this Summer. Jean Claude Van Damme will also be in the movie as a Crocodile, but he should’ve been a Kung Fu Beaver. Van DAM, get it?
This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last celebrity death hoax, but with such a vast web of social networks out there, gossip is able to spread across the globe in a flash. Below is a small list of celebrity death hoaxes.
Jeff Goldblum – Fell to his death while filming in New Zealand
Johnny Depp – Killed in a car accident in France.
Taylor Lautner – Died of a cocaine overdose.
Will Ferrell – Hang Gliding accident. (I picture his cameo in The Goods as how that would have carried out.)
Adam Sandler – Snowboarding accident.
Charlie Sheen – Died from an overdose of ‘Winning’, but was then resurrected by Vatican Assassin Warlocks. (I actually just made that up. But hopefully with everyones help it becomes the sweetest death hoax of all time.)