From simple doodles to elaborate paintings, art can soothe, entertain, and inspire in equal measure. With the Web making geographical barriers disappear, you can delve into the works of various artists with ease. We have already featured some useful museum websites and online art galleries. Today we bring you a selection of three online visual art projects that you’ll fall in love with.
What do you get when you bring together individuals who have a passion for drawing as well as for places? You get They Draw & Travel (TDAT). Set up by the brother-sister duo of Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell, the site is a rich explosion of color and creativity in the form of maps that redefine the world’s geographical landscape in unusual and unexpected ways.
As mechanical guides that give you directions to go from one place to another, maps do a great job. But haven’t you ever wished for maps that were tailored to your choices — maps that could tell you where the best eateries are, which locations and experiences are not to be missed, or which attractions your kids will enjoy. The maps on TDAT present such useful information, and they do it in style.
Filter the maps based on region as well as tags like shopping, beaches, outdoorsy, eating & drinking, etc. and you might just come up with the ideal destination for your next holiday. Narrow down your search further by choosing from visual styles such as fun & funky and fresh & hip. If you’re an artist, you can submit maps of your own and even have them sold as fine prints.
A blank sketchbook to fill as you please. Draw, paint, write, record, make a collage, share photos — the choice is yours. Pick a loose starting point from a list of pre-defined themes and tell a story through the pages of the sketchbook. There’s nothing to hold you back, not even an age limit or a perceived lack of artistic talent. That’s The Sketchbook Project by Art House Co-op all summed up. It’s an enormous collection of paper stories submitted by people from all over the world, and showcased in a series of pop-up exhibitions across the US. The sketchbooks are eventually returned to their permanent home, the Brooklyn Art Library.
Sounds like something you’d love to be a part of? Learn more about the project and jump right in. For a certain fee, you’ll receive your blank sketchbook and an info card. All you need to do is fill up the book based on the theme you have chosen and send the completed sketchbook back to Art House Co-op for archiving and inclusion in their mobile library. For an extra fee, your book will be professionally digitized and made available online. Not interested in signing up? No worries. You can still admire and enjoy the sketchbooks of other artists in Art House Co-op’s digital library.
I participated in The Sketchbook Project 2012 (and The Fiction Project 2011). It was a lovely experience to join a global collaboration of this scale. Don’t fret if you miss the deadline for signing up for The Sketchbook Project. You can participate next year. In the meantime, experiment with other free and paid projects on the website.
Unposted Letters [No Longer Available]
Unposted Letters is a series of ink drawings of a boy and a girl, set against dream-like backdrops. It is illustrator Vimal Chandran’s deceptively simple take on life. Through the relationship of its central characters, the series tackles the ever-confusing themes of love and loss. Graphic elements like musical notes, the girl’s umbrella, the boy’s camera, and the occasional velociraptor add to the charm of the images.
Don’t stop your exploration at the cute surface appeal of the images. Dig deeper and you’ll uncover many layers and messages with political, scientific, and existential undertones. All in all, Unposted Letters is a visually and conceptually brilliant collection of artwork that will fascinate you, and perhaps leave you with more questions than answers.
A Treat For Your Eyes, A Treat For Your Mind
Three projects down, a few million more left to go. The volume of enchanting artwork on the Web is staggering. There are many more visual gems for you to ooh and aah over, just waiting to be discovered. Have you stumbled upon any? Let us know in the comments.