For years, Nathan Ota has been pursuing new worlds, both dark and fantastic, to explore in his paintings. Ota has used his stand-ins – a blind bird, a drunk monkey, a one-eyed robot lost in the woods – to travel through dreamlands that hold fantasies and tragedies.
His early influences came from television cartoons, comic books, photographs and punk rock flyers. Classical art never really interested him so he turned to work by artists he could really relate to: Robert Williams, Olivia, Puss Head, Raymond Pettibon. In high school, Nathan always found himself gravitating toward popular culture—then he discovered graffiti. He still dabbled a little in graffiti once he entered Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, but a whole new world of art was unfolding before his eyes with illustration. Ota didn’t know what he wanted to do when he entered college and left it to the hands of the instructors to lead him in some direction. That’s when he became an illustrator.
Taiwan-based artist Yeh Ching is an award winning artist that is amazing at character design. He currently lives in Taipei and works primarily in traditional mediums, designing a variety of intricate robot and mech designs.
Spain based Josan Gonzalez is an artist that has exploded onto the science fiction art scene. His work depicts a grimy cyberpunk world where everyone seems to feature some kind of robotic augmentation and the only real escape is to slip on a retro-futuristic VR headset. But it’s also light and playful in a way most dystopias aren’t.
The Future is Now is a collection of art all tied together by a particular vision of near-future where technology pervades, and a cheerfully oppressive government is in control of the residents of Robo-City 16.
San Francisco based artist Eric Joyner‘s newest body of work “Sweet Dominion” shows new subjects such as rain, transformers, cakes, anti-gravity, cats and migration. Born and raised in California, that was where Joyner discovered himself as an artist and where he was encouraged to explore his creativity, using themes that invite his viewers to visit the interplay between reality and imagination with a touch of humor.
We examine today the incredible art of Boris Artzybasheff, who’s love for machines and mastery in illustration captivated a generation of fans of the 1940s-60s. His well published works that innovated how to smartly examine our social, political surroundings still inspires us today. We admire Artzybasheff’s use of surrealist imagination as a tool to cleverly re-examine and precise what matters around us. And in particular, his own passion and admiration for technology and its machines led him to produce an impressive body of work focused on it:
“I am thrilled by machinery’s force, precision and willingness to work at any task, no matter how arduous or monotonous it may be. I would rather watch a thousand ton dredge dig a canal than see it done by a thousand spent slaves lashed into submission… I like machines.” – Boris Artzybasheff
Escif, who we consider to be one of the headiest street artists working today, has dropped so many good pieces in his hometown of Valencia this year, its hard to keep up. And with the European street art festival season going off soon, he is sure to drop some more. We love this “We Are the Robots” piece. Check our new Escif tees shirts here.
Put this in the category of “you learn something new everyday.” Nikola Tesla created robots. Did you know that?
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10th 1856, in the territory of modern day Croatia to his two Serbian parents.
Tesla grew up into bright inquisitive, yet eccentric child, who found himself fascinated by the world around him.
Tesla once tried to fly by jumping off the roof of a barn while holding on to an umbrella. He devised a bug powered motor using Junebugs, but had to abort his experiment after a friend decided to eat some of the bugs (Tesla thought this was gross). He once attempted to generate electricity by rubbing two cats together, which resulted in two very mad cats and a scratched up Tesla.
On June 6th, 1884, Tesla arrived in the United States. He was hired by Thomas Edison to do basic electrical engineering, but moved up to re-designing the direct current generators that ran Edison’s business.
Edison offered Tesla $50,000, or about $1.1 million in today’s currency to make these improvements. After completing this assignment, Tesla asked about the payment for his work. Edison didn’t pay out the money. He claimed that he wasn’t serious about the payment, that Tesla didn’t “understand American humor”.
Tesla eventually left Edison’s company and partnered with George Westinghouse in 1888 to commercialize his system of alternating current (AC). The problem here is that alternating current competed with direct current, which Thomas Edison built his entire monopoly on. Thus begun the “War of the Currents”.
Edison started a massive smear campaign against Tesla and alternating current, trying to scare people into avoiding it’s use. He spread false information about deaths from alternating current, lobbied against it, and went so far as to electrocute a circus elephant in public.
Direct current had plenty of faults, it was the cause of death of countless children, and created numerous house fires. Also, the maximum reach of direct current was about two miles, which meant a substation had to be built to continue the current. They would still be building substations today if they were going to get electricity across the US.
Tesla’s alternating current could go for hundreds of miles. Lights running on alternating current were brighter, unlike the dull yellow lights running on direct current.
Eventually, Edison had to give into the demands of the people, and go with alternating current.
Tesla’s influence goes much further than electricity. He had over 700 patents, and came up with ideas such as
the Electric Arc Lamp
an Xray Device
Blade less turbines
An electrical bath to remove germs
And much more
Tesla died from heart failure in a room of the New Yorker Hotel, on January 7th 1943. Despite his fame and influence on the world, he died with significant debts, and all alone.
While Edison is known as the inventor of the century, Tesla is only acknowledged as a paragraph in today’s history books, forgotten, and unappreciated.
The Jetsons had their Rosie, and now you can have your own robot butler. Maybe even call him Jeeves if you want. Pal Robotics just announced their new creation, REEM, the robot butler.
Fast Company writes, PAL, a Spanish company with interests in the United Arab Emirates, describes REEM as a “humanoid robot, equipped with an autonomous navigation system, a touch screen” and notes that he is “capable of roaming through any kind of surroundings” thanks to the simple wheeled-base assembly. The company thinks it can be used as “a guide, an entertainer, a logistical tool.”
What is more entertaining, a 3-hour NBA game or a 55-hour Robot Marathon? We thought you would side with your Terminator 2 obsessive side and go fully robot/machine. As reported in what appears to be a fake newscast on the marathon here, “”Sadly our visions of giant mechs stomping their way through downtown Tokyo were a bit ambitious: the five contestants in the inaugural Robo Mara are all around a foot high, which means it’d be a struggle for them to destroy downtown Toytown.”
We just watched an awful, awful Target commercial with a dancing robot Santa, totally downgrading exactly what a robot can and should do. A robot shouldn’t be role-playing a dancing robot to really crappy 80’s disco. Instead, the robots should be facing off against the biggest winners ever on “Jeopardy!” in a man versus machine battle of wit and wills.