A Scintillating Shot of Art, Watered Down

Ryan Taylor

Water- the word alone evokes a flurry of ideas; it is elusive and mystical, patient and serene, clear and fragrance-free. It constantly mystifies with the myriad responses it arouses. Yet, it is beautiful in every unfixed form, whether cascading, rippling, swirling or bubbling.

We just can’t get enough of it, and absolutely had to find you some more amazing people that feature the magical liquid in their art. In a previous article, we featured artists that used water as a medium in their works. Now, we’ll show you some new (but equally fantastic) artists that not only incorporate it into their work but also make the element their actual subject. While their art may be watery, it’s certainly no weaker in their content or value.

Like us, these artists can’t quite get their fill of water.

1. Water Falls

Continually experimenting with water photography, Markus Reugels creates pillar-like structures from colliding water droplets as his latest artistic endeavour. His little, colourful creations appear to be a different species altogether, and are often caught in a movement that seems almost dance-like. It is a true expression of human joy and celebration, capturing a single, elevated moment.

Reugels has developed his method of precisely timing and releasing his water drops by setting up an elaborate arrangement of synchronised valves and coloured gel-coated flashes that fire simultaneously with the camera shutter. This complex procedure is Reugels’s way of bringing balance and rationality into his “wild stuff,” as he calls it.

The German photographer has also previously created a series of photographs of miniature worlds (to go with his miniature aliens we hope!), by using large satellite photos of planets as a backdrop and a high speed camera to capture its refraction through a water droplet. The perfectly timed pieces have almost a delicate fragility about them when one considers the accuracy involved in Reugels’s art.

It is hard to tire of his trial-and-error works with water splashes and one can see his lighting, colour and timing skills evolve, with each image better than the last. Go through both these series and more here.

Markus Reugels

Markus Reugels

Markus Reugels

Images Courtesy- Markus Reugels


2. Water Bodies

French artist Antonin Fourneau (who we’ve featured before, too) has been working with LED and a moisture-sensitive surface to create an all-new type of graffiti, made with water and light. Working at the Digitalarti Artlab in Paris, Fourneau has been producing his ‘Water Light Graffiti‘ system. Incorporating his moisture-sensitive panel into a sizeable LED matrix, he sets up the system so that exposure to water would cause his structure to light up immediately. Thus the water itself and the path taken by the water can be seen illuminated, highlighting the beauty of the element itself.

On experimenting further with his water-responsive screen, Fourneau creates all kinds of images, such as that of the human body, street art-like illustrations and landscapes, among others. His project becomes fun as almost anything becomes a paintbrush for him as long, as it can hold water- a wet hand, water guns (Did someone say LED water fight?), an atomiser, or even a regular paint brush.

His ‘Water Light Graffiti’ project was recently displayed in Poitiers, France and you can watch this video to see it in use, or this one (in French) of Fourneau showing how the entire thing was constructed. Check out more photos of his phenomenal work here.

Antonin Fourneau

Antonin Fourneau

Images Courtesy- Colossal


3. Smoke on the Water

Designer Garth Britzman from Nebraska created a stunning parking canopy using partially-filled recycled bottles. He fills the plastic bottles with a bit of coloured water and allow their natural shape to give the pooled water the appearance of flowers or leaves. Through this inventive idea, therefore, Britzman makes the idea of parking just that little bit more pleasant by creating a wonderful shade for a parked vehicle. The water of all different colours looks attractive and colourful and, since it is a liquid, the lack of restriction in form makes it appear even more bright and vibrant.

In this work, that he has entitled (POP)culture, he makes a statement about the environment, with his conscious re-usage of 1,581 old bottles, as well as about art and beauty. Britzman finds that pretentious excess is not needed to create true art, which can be simple or made with easily available tools and still be as impactful and profound. He also seeks to stimulate discussion on further environmental awareness, to find creative alternatives to wasteful practices.

More of Britzman’s work can be accessed on his Behance page. For his process and D.I.Y. instructions, see here.

Garth Britzman

Garth Britzman

Garth Britzman

Images Courtesy- Garth Britzman

4. Water, Water, Everywhere

What do you get when you mix water, strobe lights balloons, and milk?

No, this isn’t a set-up to a lame punchline, even though these words “water, water, everywhere,” from Coleridge’s poem do answer it quite well. Rather, the question addresses photographer Ryan Taylor‘s latest work. He captures his resplendent photographs through exploding balloons that make our heart leap along with the funky slush in them. The native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa mixes coloured water, paint and milk inside water balloons and then times their explosion, his strobe lights and his camera so that they all go off together and create the most beautiful explosion since… well, I doubt there have been many nice explosions in history so let’s say, ever.

His work is a perfect, though quirky, blend of the Indian festivals Holi and Diwali, replete with both colours and explosions. Much like Reugels does with his photographs, Taylor needs exact precision in his work, which is jubilant, festive and rainbow-like. He calls it his “chromatic reverie”, a term fit for his entire oeuvre, as even his work with chalk and other media is as colourful and bright, without being cloying. Browse through all his gorgeous work on his Flickr.

Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor

Images Courtesy- Ryan Taylor


5. Blank Space

A perpetual pool of black water, whirling and frothing, has been installed by artist Anish Kapoor as part of his ‘Descension‘ series in a gallery floor at the Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi as well as in a former theatre (now home of Galleria Continua) in San Gimignano, Italy. His installation is part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. He claims that,

If one is talking about sculpture then scale and skin is everything.

And his pieces have both if skin is what defines it, while scale creates a certain mystery around the object. His ominous, seemingly-endless hole of black water churns ceaselessly, reflecting his belief that there is more space than can be seen. His vortex represents this idea. He discusses what, according to him, triggers creativity and says with reference to Plato’s cave analogy on humanity, on the mythical cave from which humans look upon the outside world:

The odd thing about removing content, in making space, is that we, as human beings, find it very hard to deal with the absence of content. It’s the horror vacui.

To see more of his blank space, check out his website. Also watch the videos here and here for more information.

descension, Kapoor.

Italy, former theatre.

descension, Kapoor.

India, Fort Kochi.

Images Courtesy- Anish Kapoor

These five artists are inspiring as well as inspired, and take their love for the element of water to a far deeper level, making statements with it about serious subjects like the environment and humanity’s future fate. Water has been proved by these phenomenal people to not just be an essential life, but a possible means to improve it, too. And of course, it helps that it makes for some seriously beautiful art.

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