January 31 - An Artist Explores LEGOs

Posted on January 31, 2019

"Where it all started," someone commented on a particular Instagram photo.

On this date in 2014 artist Dante Dentoni posted - as he often does - his latest art piece to Instagram.

What made this particular post special was that it was his first Instagram post featuring LEGOs.

- LEGOs as an art medium!

When we meet an artist, we often ask, "What media do you work in?" And we expect to hear things like "oil paint" or "sculpture - in marble" or "watercolors" or "photography and installations." Some artists are incredibly varied in their artwork, of course, and create pieces in wood and metal as well as stone, plus paint and draw with a variety of media. And some artists have managed to carve out unusual niches like Post-it notes or apples and other foods or coffee

Well, Dante Dentoni was inspired to use LEGOs in his art. And he didn't start with colorful castles and pirate ships, as many a child can and does build...

...but instead, his photo appears to have been made by digging into a wall and allowing the LEGOs underneath the dry wall or plaster to peek out.

Wait - there are LEGOs behind our walls?

Of course there aren't; the anatomy of real walls is almost always wooden studs and insulation and wiring and pipes, and it's precisely never LEGO blocks!

But there is a certain charm to imagining that the entire world is constructed of LEGOs carefully hidden behind paint and plaster - and Dentoni's LEGO sculptures craftily embedded in drywall capitalizes on our imagination... 

I especially like the pieces that feature "hidden rooms" and LEGO people...

...Sometimes LOTS of LEGO people...

As I checked out Dentoni's LEGO art, I couldn't help also admiring his pieces formed from artful arrangements of paint chips:

To follow Dentoni on Instagram, search for @dantedentoniart.

By the way, Dentoni's art reminds me of the street artists who LEGO bomb public areas in the dead of night, so people wake up to the unexpected sight of colorful plastic bricks within cracked walls or broken stairs. Of course, like many graffiti artists, LEGO bombers probably don't get paid!

Also on this date:

January 30 – Hardin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

Posted on January 30, 2019

The world's largest ice and snow festival isn't the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, in Japan, but rather the Hardin Festival in northern China. 

How big is it?

Weather permitting, it's held for a long time. This year parts of the festival are open from December 24, 2018, until February 28, 2019. ("Weather permitting" means cold. Like, really REALLY cold, with an average daytime temperature of -13 C [8 degrees F] and nighttime lows of around -30 C [-22 F].)

The main area, the Ice and Snow World, spreads out over more than 600,000 square meters, features more than 100 landmarks, and is made of about 110,000 cubic meters of ice and 120,000 cubic meters of snow!

Notice how different it looks in the day (above)
and at night (below):

It takes about 10,000 people to create the massive Ice and Snow World!

There's an international ice sculpture competition with artists from 12 different nations!

There's an opening ceremony with fireworks, ice lanterns, regular-folk competitions, winter sports, concerts, fashion shows - and even a group wedding ceremony!

A newlywed couple enjoying the ice sculptures
after their group wedding...

The ice sculptures are considered the largest in the world - the record-breaking largest-ever ice sculpture was created in Harbin in 2007.

And there are 2,019 snowmen apart from the festival, just chilling down by the river! (One for every year C.E., notice.)

There are stairs and walkways and bridges and even slides...

Annnndddd the festival attracts about 18 million visitors! More than $4 billion dollars USD (29 billion yuan)! 

So...yeah, it's really big!

For more, check out this slide show.