The Appeal of Contemporary Art Tapestries

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Since antiquity people have used textiles for all range of purposes. From blankets for warmth, to elaborate woven fabrics for commerce, they have been at the very center of human life.

The need for textiles, combined with our desire to embellish the world around us, has given rise to a huge range of fabric based art, everything from basic colored cloth to complex woven textiles. Tapestries and wall hangings have long been one of the most accomplished forms of this art, having a history dating back millennia, and artists from almost all cultures have contributed some form of textile wall art.

Recently tapestries and wall hangings have enjoyed a rise in interest, with many people looking beyond traditional options for wall decor. The tactile nature of tapestries, combined with their long history, has made them once again a choice for the discriminating home improver.

Contemporary tapestry design

Although there are a vast range of traditional designs available, a more recent development is the growth in contemporary art as a basis for modern tapestry designs. Because of the nature of the modern weaving process almost any design can be successfully incorporated into a tapestry, providing the weaver has the skill to do so. This has led many contemporary artists to consider wall tapestries as an alternative medium to framed canvases and prints.

The range of artists who now license their original work for tapestry wall hangings is impressive, and growing. Leading contemporary artists such as Malenda Trick, Elizabeth Brandon and Stewart Sherwood are now being introduced to a whole new group of art lovers.

Encompassing a vast range of subject matter, from modern cityscapes and impressionist inspired landscapes, to idyllic coastal scenes and fantasy art, these contemporary works of art are adding a new dimension to fabric design, marrying traditional weaving techniques with modern, vibrant images.

Although prints enjoy a unique position in home décor, paintings and designs from these popular artists are increasingly exploiting the unique qualities of woven textiles. The tactile nature of wall hangings adds depth and texture to these already impressive works and makes a distinctive alternative to framed art often bringing alive the designs in ways not originally planned by the artists.

Modern textile art

Additionally many textile artists who use fabric as their main medium are enjoying a renewed prominence in the art world. Rather than plying their art in paintings there are a growing number of artists using tapestries and other types of wall hanging as their primary medium for expression. Modern artists such as Ulrika Leander, Monique Lehman and Elda Abramson combine their artistic vision with the depth and range available through fabrics to create a new, modern twist on this ancient art.

Many of these textile works of art are abstract in nature, often employing bold colors and striking, modern designs that incorporate the weave of the fabric as an essential part of the design to create a depth not available with traditional materials like canvas. As a home décor option they can add a splash of color to brighten up a room, and often become a great focal point in almost any setting.

Like abstract art prints, contemporary tapestry designs often allow art lovers to take more of a chance with their wall décor choices. Unlike a traditional painting, where the subject matter can be too modern, old-fashioned, fussy or just plain wrong, contemporary art allows us to concentrate more on the hues and tones of a piece to match the ambience of a room. Because of this they often afford a great deal of flexibility when decorating, adding to the reasons so many are looking towards contemporary tapestry art for their wall décor choices.

An ancient appeal

Contemporary artists are increasingly attracted to tapestries and textiles primarily because the individuality of the weaving process makes each piece produced a unique work of art unlike any other. In a world driven by mass production art lovers are often drawn to the uniqueness of wall tapestries as an antidote to the monotony of many other options.

Now, despite their ancient origins, many people are again looking toward tapestries and wall hangings as an answer to their modern home decor aspirations. With an ever growing range of options the choice has never been better for art lovers.

Copyright © The Tapestry House, all rights reserved

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Source by Godfrey Bazalgette

The History of Rice Cookers

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Rice has been a staple food of mankind across thousands of civilizations for almost as long as recorded history. As such, the cooking of rice dates back almost as far, which in essence requires the same basic principle steps today as it ever has. In short, the rice itself, hot water or steam and something in which to cook it.

Of course, never content with doing things the old fashioned way, manufacturers have moved away from tradition methods of cooking rice in favor of modern alternatives which offer both convenience and quality of end product. However, that state of the art rice cooker which takes pride of place in a huge number of modern kitchens may not in fact be as modern as many would think.

Using electrical heating to cook rice is fairly old concept, dating back to the first half of the 20th century. In fact, it is known that as far back as 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army created something of a primitive electric rice cooker in the form of a wooden box with a pair of electrodes attached at opposite ends. In order to cook the rice, the wooden box would be filled with water and washed rice, to which an electrical current was subsequently applied. The electricity would then heat the water to boiling point and cook the rice exactly as would be done conventionally. The first japanese rice cooker.

Upon completion, the electrodes were removed and ambient heat of the box coupled with the evaporation of most of the water provided a wonderfully effective and natural keep-warm facility for the cooked rice, which is one of the most essential features found on the modern equivalent . The main downsides of the initial invention were that the quantities of water and rice could not be adjusted, and that the presence of a live electric current posed the very real danger of electrocution to those operating the cooker.

1945 saw the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation become the very first manufacturer to produce a electric commercial rice cooker suitable for general use with a moderate level of safety. The engineering principals were fairly simple, featuring no specific components for the regulation of the cooking process. As such, the aluminum container with a heated coil inside required constant attention throughout the cooking process.

During the early stages of their development, rice cookers were incredibly basic basic appliances whose purpose was to simply heat up water and rice to a desired temperature and remove power to the heater when said temperature was met. However, the temperature readings were heavily influenced by the environment in which they were placed, therefore seasonal changes and general differences in ambient temperature could cause inaccurate temperature reading and therefore result in improperly cooked rice. The idea was almost foolproof, though inherently flawed.

December 1956 saw the world's first commercially successful rice cooker hit the shelves courtesy of the Toshiba Corporation. The device used a twin-pot cooking process which featured advanced thermostats and safety devices which ensured the cooker was automatically turned off before rice could spoil or burn. As such, it was not long before Toshiba was producing and selling upwards of 200,000 such units every month for the Japanese market alone. Within the space of four years, at least 50% of Japanese homes featured one of Toshiba's rice cookers and the rest, as they say, is history!

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Source by Debbie Parkinson

Different World Views of Art

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Art through the centuries acquired different forms and conceptions. First of all there was naturalism, then developed romanticism, and then there was impressionism, followed by cubism, which was followed by surrealism and finally trends moved on to postmodern art. Here I would like to provide my understanding on various schools of art.

Naturalism proceeded out of mimesis. The aim of art was to mimic nature. A classic example of mimetic art would Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa lives through the ages for its enigmatic style. Another example would be the Last Supper by Da Vinci. Art became permeated heavily with religious motifs. What has naturalism contributed to the world? An answer would be representation of a mimetic ethos. There is very little to interpret in naturalistic art but we can admire its imitation of nature. I would also like to take Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. What would a postmodern interpretation take? It would perhaps couch it as being gay.

Another style of art that developed during the 18th century was romanticism. What is romanticism? The poet Wordsworth defined romanticism as the spontaneous overflow of feelings. Romanticism captured feelings on to the canvas. The canvas became permeated in rich colors of the baroque. Romantic painting is fanciful and ornamental. When we think of romanticism in the postmodern age we encounter a catharsis with the past. Goya’s exhibit: Saturn devouring his son can be taken as a classic example. The grotesque Saturn is portrayed as an admirable beauty. Romantic painters are endowed with passionate neurosis. Feelings and emotions lie with us to contemplate in ravishment.

Another school of art which developed during the beginning of the 19th century was impressionism. The great masters of impressionism are Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin. Impressionism is a unique style of art. Impression is marked by a wide usage of brilliant colors. Strokes were left like scars on the canvas. Impressionism was marked by a tendency of art to become modern. Van Gogh was a brilliant artist who etched out paintings in a style that marked a departure from his predecessors. When we look at Van Gogh’s starry night, we get a passion that is akin to listening of music. Similarly Gauguin’s painting: ‘where do we come from and where do we go’, highlights mythical allegories in brilliant dashes of color.

Another school of art which developed during the beginning of the 20th century was Cubism. Its master exponent was Picasso. With the advent cubism art left its mimetic modes and became the sole creation of the artist. Cubism had a tendency to portray art in abstract terms. Picasso’s La Demoiselles D’ Avignon presented harlots. Their features especially their breasts, hips and asses were made incongruous with oedipal fantasies. Another notable creation of Picasso was the Guernica. Guernica is fantastic rendition of the horrors of bombing Basque, presented in abstract terms. When we look at Guernica we become fascinated to the point of disgust. Cubism highlighted that art can be repulsive.

The next school of art which developed by the middle of the 20th century was Surrealism. My most loved surrealistic artists are Dali and Paul Delvaux. Dali’s most famous painting is the ‘persistence of memory’. Surrealism following Freudian psychoanalysis attempted to portray art with a conglomeration of reality and fantasy. In the painting, persistence of memory, we find melting clocks hanging on trees and covered by an embryo. The tree can be symbolized as a phallic construct. The melting clocks portray time as flowing with the literature of streams of consciousness. The embryo can represent the artist’s oedipal trauma. Delvaux most famous painting is the call of the night. In the ‘call of the night’ a barren land is seen with skulls. There is a nude standing on the open with luscious vegetation growing on her head. There is also a nude whose head is covered standing outside a building with a candle on her head. Delvaux is trying to portray ancient fertility rites in modernistic terms. The painting can also be interpreted as a sexual awakening. Thus surrealism attempted to portray dream with reality.

Next I would like to focus on postmodern art. Postmodern art is contemporary and tends to be a rebellion against existing artistic norms. In postmodern art normal objects are presented in unusual terms. For an example: we can take Marcel Duchamp’s inverted urinal. Postmodern art is also famous for inventing pop-art, where cartoons, comic strips and consumer products were drawn as artistic representations. Another interesting example of postmodern art is Rodin’s thinker. The thinker can be interpreted in two ways. One in a way that a person has constipation, another as an intellectual poised in thought. Postmodern art freed art from all inhibitions and pre-existing conceptions.

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Sanity In A Psyche Ward

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The most highly paid living artist lives in a psyche ward in Tokyo. When she stops painting or creating, she becomes suicidal. Her art therapy began while undergoing treatment for her mental illness. She has had visual hallucinations since she was a child and has been painting them ever since.

Her recent exhibit in Washington DC., drew record crowds and caused lotteries, scalping and endless lines. Extra staff was added to accommodate the extra large crowds and the show took two years to plan and execute.

At 88, she entered into the reality of creating a new museum in Japan. It has now opened and Ms. Kusama claims she is only getting started-rare words for an octogenarian.

She has just signed yet another clothing deal. Her daily regime includes leaving the confines of a mental institution to walk to a nearby artist’s studio where she paints every day from 9am to 5pm. She then returns to her room in the hospital where her status is referred to as ‘fragile.’

In her twenties, Kusama wrote to Georgia O’Keefe and sent some of her paintings. To her surprise, O’Keefe responded. Kusama then decided to leave her homeland of Japan to avoid her family’s expectation of marrying a designated man. That is the decision that brought her to America where she landed in New York City.

In Kusama’s initial work, she painted huge works called “Infinity Nets.” Her repetition of pattern was manic. She attempted to paint polka dots on everything from people to food as well as thousands of canvases. From the early years until today, Kusama strives toward ‘self-obliteration’ through painting.

As a contemporary Japanese artist, she visits a variety of media with her work-painting, sculpture, film and installation. Her body of work shows strong repetition and densely patterned motifs. She exploits the use of repetition. She explores infinity and she is obsessively negating the self.

She returned to Japan from the states in the ’70s where she has lived in a mental hospital ever since. After falling into obscurity for decades, her talent received heightened recognition after a memorable showing in the 1993 Venice Biennale.

As fragile as she is, her work ethic has carried with her throughout the years. And still today, she describes having constant hallucinations. When she talks about her work, she claims she feels as excited as a child and filled with ‘mountains of energy.’

Today when she attends exhibits, she always has an exit strategy. If her mood changes or she gets confused, her assistants quickly whisk her away and back to the safety of the hospital.

Doctors have tried to medicate her but she does not like to alter her natural imaging of things. She might be the first artist to accurately capture an hallucination. Or maybe she is one herself.

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Source by Sherry Lynn Daniel

Using Color Psychology to Sell Your Home

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When painting your home for resale, choosing the right colors can make a huge difference in your paycheck at closing. For instance, did you know that the exterior color of houses selling most quickly is a certain shade of yellow, but that choosing the wrong shade of yellow can kill a sale?

You'll find many brochures in paint stores, showing various combinations of exterior paint colors. But most people don't realize that most of those combinations actually include three colors, and not just two. Limiting your exterior paint scheme to just two colors also limits your income potential.

For a fast sale, think fun colors and go for a third, or even a fourth, exterior color. Think "Disneyland Main Street," where every shop is painted in glorious multi-colors. Adding more colors will also add definition to the various architectural details of your home. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

The Psychology of Exterior Colors

When choosing exterior colors, take the sales price of your home into account. Certain colors, especially muted, complex shades, attract wealthy or highly-educated buyers, whereas buyers with less income or less education generally prefer simpler colors. A complex color contains tints of gray or brown, and usually requires more than one word to describe, such as "sage green," as opposed to "green."

On the other hand, simple colors are straightforward and pure. Generally, houses in the lower price range sell faster and for higher prices when painted in simple colors like yellow or tan, accented by white, blue, or green trim.

The Psychology of Interior Colors

Using colored, rather than bland, white walls will increase your profit potential. Lynette Jennings tested the perception of room size and color, and discovered that a room painted white appeared only appeared larger to a few people when compared to an identical room painted in color – and the perceived difference was only about six inches! Most people also look better when surrounded by color, and feel happier, and since buyers pick houses that make them feel happy, that knowledge can put dollars in your pocket at closing!

Entryways should bring the exterior colors into the house. Repeating shades of the exterior throughout your home will make the entire home seem to be in harmony. Living and family rooms painted in a slightly lighter shade of the exterior color will ensure that you've picked a color your buyers like, because if they didn't like your exterior colors, they wouldn't have bothered to look inside. If they loved the exterior colors, they'll love the interior, too.

When choosing interior colors, consider the use of each room. For instance, kitchen and dining areas that are painted in "food colors," such as coffee browns, celery greens, and scrambled egg yellows, feel natural.

Since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, I like to paint master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. (See the chapter on the Psychology of Color in my book "Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology" for further information.)

Selling Season

Always consider your selling season (the time of year you'll be marketing your home) and climate when choosing colors. Estimate the amount of time you'll need to get your home ready for sale, and then add on extra days for unexpected delays. Use cool colors, such as blues, greens, and grays, to sell during spring and summer, and warm colors, such as yellows, reds, and maroons, when selling in the fall and winter.

Color Intensity

My husband and I usually use lighter colors when painting the exteriors of our investment dollhouses, because it makes them appear larger. On the other hand, our cabin in the woods looks richer when painted a darker color. When we decided to have it painted, I considered the usual cabin colors of dark brown and barn red, but fell in love with Olympic's gorgeous "Gooseberry" plum color.

When getting ready to paint your house, look at the colors of neighboring houses and choose colors that harmonize, yet stand out from the crowd. Colors that clash badly with other houses will detract from the overall neighborhood.

At the beginning of the article, I told you that homes with yellow exteriors sell the quickest. But which shade of yellow sells best? First, the yellows to avoid: yellows with green undertones look sickly to most buyers, and yellows with orange undertones give buyers an impression of cheapness.

The best-selling yellow exterior color is actually a pale, sunny yellow, especially when complimented with one or more carefully-chosen accent colors. For instance, a semi-gloss white trim will give your home a clean and fresh look, and adding a third color, such as green, can make your home even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of Color Psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

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Source by Jeanette Joy Fisher

Create A Carousel Horse That Looks Antique

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Antique carousel horses often sell for thousands of dollars. These beautiful creations large and small are wonderful additions to any collection. Collectors almost will pay any price for the true hand carved horses once displayed on the carousels of yesteryear. Through the miracle of modern technology molds have been been produced of these works of art. From these molds grand carousel horses have been recreated. In this article I will show you where to purchase them and guide you through the process.

Anyone with reasonable talent with a paint brush can create an antique reproduction carousel horse. Unpainted or unfinished carousel horse molds can be purchased ready to paint. These molded horses are made of a high density polyethylene which is strong and very forgiving to the finisher. The artist is able to make the choice to purchase a horse with seams to sand at a reduced price or choose a ready to paint surface.

Time to create an antique reproduction. Choose the size you desire. Full size, half size or small horses. Full size horses at a full 65 inches high are a very large project. I have seen Elegant Standers and Royal Standers that really do look like the horses we all would ride or stand next to. Half sized unfinished carousel horses are probably the most popular to artists and hobbyist. This size fits real well in baby nurseries and little girls rooms. Most of the horses that I have seen available come complete with the brass pole that runs through the horse.

Let's Get to Painting! There are many ways to finish a carousel horse. Most people like the traditional painted horse that recreates the memory of the Merry Go Round. Some artists are able to locate pictures of actual horses where they are mounted on carousels. Right down to the color of the tail, the picture can be followed to recreate that special horse. Some painters like to reproduce the carved wooden horse effect. Special paints and techniques are available to mimick a real wood surface.One of the last steps is choosing a clear coating to provide a clear shell around the painted finish. Some artists have chosen to take this step a bit further and add multiple coats of gloss creating an almost deep glass effect. Small pictures and material can be added under the gloss to get a desired look.

Creating your own carousel horse is a very rewarding project. Reproductions have sold for hundreds even thousands of dollars. I know of at least two small businesses that have been created finishing and selling these horses.

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Source by Ron Cambria

The Art of Minimalism in Modern Day Decor

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Today, modern decor is all about simple and clean lines. It’s less about sheer aesthetic value and more about functionality.

The utility, the practicality of the space, the decor is what makes its aesthetic and not the other way round. Minimalism, from an art form has now progressed to a lifestyle. A lifestyle that more and more people are increasingly adopting. You see, the moment you declutter your home, free it from all the tangible additional baggage; a certain sense of ‘being free’ is felt at a very innate level. People tend to feel lighter at a very philosophical level.

One solution for those looking to declutter their homes is to get storage boxes. Today, one finds a lot of storage boxes online. It is thus advisable to purchase such boxes which clear up maximum clutter while taking the least space. In fact, look for boxes which serve multiple purposes. Look for ways to seamlessly integrate the storage boxes that you purchase, with the rest of your minimal decor.

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Consider your home to be a beautiful puzzle. Let the decor be such that every product fits within it in a perfectly balanced way. Let there be no extra piece, however pretty it may be. Anything that doesn’t serve a purpose of fulfilling that puzzle is a piece that doesn’t count and so should simply be disregarded.

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One must rather have key pieces which make a statement rather than multiple baubles that do nothing but create noise. Getting carried away by sweeping trends may sound quite alluring at first but will only prove to be a waste in the longer run. Instead, invest in timeless decor products. For example, of all the options of storage boxes online, it is advisable to buy vintage storage boxes rather than many other boxes for decoration. This will ensure that your accents look classy for years to come. Remember, the principle of quality over quantity to always maintain a cleaner, de cluttered home decor.

3. Left door in, Right door out-

Often we get so caught up in buying all the pretty things that come our way, we forget how we have a lot of similar stuff already. It thus, makes a lot of sense for all of us to follow a basic rule of letting something go for every new thing we bring into our homes. This ensures that there is no ‘junk’ as such lying around our homes. Things that we haven’t used in ages, broken decor accents that we can’t seem to let go, etc should all be shown the door to make way for newer, better things.

4. Small Steps Count-

If the modern home decor with its minimalist values is something that you are sceptic about but still want to have it introduced in your life, it’s best you ease into it slowly. For all new things in life, taking a sudden, complete plunge doesn’t always bode well. Taking small steps towards adopting a new philosophy is a sure shot way of sticking to it for a longer duration. This way, you are able to pay attention to details and slowly but steadily get accustomed to a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that you’ll realise soon enough declutter your life figuratively just as it does literally, giving you a clearer head along with a cleaner space!

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Source by Abhilash Tyagi

How To Use Contemporary Art Paintings As Decor

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We live in an age where we create art for arts’ sake. The point of art is to appeal to our senses and bring beauty into our lives. Art is on canvas the picture what we see around us, it is also an expression of who we are. We need not create art to express ourselves, but the display of art in our houses and personal spaces is also very telling of who we truly are. These days it has become rather easy to buy art paintings as there are many sites online and in stores in our local neighborhood to check out as well. Of course, sitting at home and browsing through some of the best work out there in the world is very enticing.

Using art around the home

One of the best places to use contemporary abstract art is around the house – especially if you are the kind of person who loves minimalist, but chic décor. Taking pride in your home is a good thing, and you can showcase through the exemplary art that you have displayed as well. But you cannot simply put up random art pieces around your house. This will make the place look cluttered and claustrophobic and messy if it isn’t done right. So, here are a few decor pointers you need to know about art.

• When you buy paintings one of the main things you need to consider is the balance of color. This means that both within the painting itself and with the things in the room, there needs to be a good sober balance of color. Contrasts are always really good to work with, but it should not be jarring or hurt the eyes. Go for a minimalist, calming sort of look.

• You can combine multiple pieces of original art paintings. You can either have one large piece over the mantle place or three smaller pieces. Do not be afraid to experiment with whatever you have. See what combination works best for the room and the artifacts you have. You will be surprised at the amazing things that can be done when you step out of the lines and try new things.

Things to keep in mind

If you are looking for a simple and easy way to find original contemporary art that is catered to your wants then you don’t have to look very hard. Everything you that you need can be found online. There are many artists who will create very specific paintings according to the guidelines you give them. Here are a few things to keep in mind in the process.

• Ensure that you have the full credentials of the artist in question. You should definitely be getting your money’s worth.

• They should be sure to listen very carefully to the kind of original canvas art that you need.

• They should be recognized and have a portfolio or catalogue that you can go through. They should also take you through the process of their painting so that you can see if they can deliver what you need.

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Source by Yelena Dyumin

Pachinkos in America: Where Are They?

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Many people in America have pachinkos in their basements, garages and attics. But they were put there years ago by parents, or former residents, or maybe they were picked up at garage sales or flea markets. How did these crazy Japanese stand-up pinball machines all end up in America? The history of pachinkos in America is rather surprising.

As the owner of a website devoted to the repair and restoration of pachinkos, I have learned quite a bit about where they are today and how they got there. Utilizing tools such as Google Analytics, I have been able to compile some statistics that let we can use to tell where they are today. Thousands of people have visited my site, and all looking for information on these rather odd-looking games. Where these queries originate, combined with orders and sales data provide a fairly clear picture that I will share with you below. But first, a bit of history on how all of these pachinko machines got here in the first place.

Japanese pachinko parlors for decades only allowed machines to remain in service for about a year before they had to be removed and disposed. This led to huge numbers of used machines available in Japan, and most were simply destroyed. However, it was not unusual for American servicemen to send or bring them back to the states as souvenirs. The numbers that trickled in spread out from our major military installations, but in the 1950’s and 1960’s these numbers were small, somewhere in the thousands. Few of these pachinkos have survived today.

In the early 1970’s a few enterprising gentlemen got a good idea for a use for all of those piles of expired pachinkos. They formed a company called Target Abroad LTD, and started buying them up by the thousands and filling shipping crates with them. They then shipped these crates by the thousands to America, and sold them through major chain stores such as Woolworth, K-Mart, and even Sears. Several other smaller companies quickly formed and opened pachinko specialty stores across the country. Two of the most successful were Pachinko Palace and The Pachinko Factory, and many vintage pachinkos in America today still bear their stickers. Literally millions were sold between 1972 and 1976, but sales began to plummet when video games were invented and then mass- produced. By 1978 nearly all imports of pachinkos to America had ended, and the retailers sold off their inventory and closed their doors forever.

The largest concentration of these vintage pachinko machines in America is California with 16% of the total. While it is true that California is a very populous state, the ports of San Francisco and Los Angeles were the major deliver points for pachinkos shipped from Japan. It only makes sense that many would be sold there.

The second largest concentration is in Illinois at 8%. For decades Chicago was the place where most pinball and arcade machines were manufactured, and the port and transportation infrastructure there was an obvious distribution point for the populations of the Midwest. Even today, vintage pachinkos seem to be abundant in the suburbs there.

The third highest population is Texas at just over 6%. Texas has population going for it, and several good ports as well. Several of the distributors had major outlets in Texas, and the dry climate appears to have preserved the pachinkos in a superior manner.

Next up at number four is New York with 6%. As usual, a state with major ports with access to major population centers. Pinball machines were outlawed for decades in New York, so it seems only natural people would turn to pachinkos as an alternate for of entertainment on boardwalks and arcades. Eventually they found their way into private hands as video games replaced them.

The absolute worst states in the continental United States for pachinkos should be no surprise. North and South Dakota score dead last. No ports, low population, and little general interest in some silly looking pinball games from Japan.

So, now you know where the vintage pachinkos are, and how they got there. If you are inclined to find one, try San Francisco or Chicago, and you may get the best deals and best selection. But if you are in North Dakota, you might be better off ordering pachinkos online, because it may be quite some time before you find one at the local flea market.

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Source by James Duane King

How to Take Good Reference Photos for Line Art Illustrations

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The old saying "garbage in, garbage out" applies to reference photos for line art illustrations. If the quality of the reference photo isn't very good, the artist is going to have trouble discerning the detail they need to make a high quality image. One of the earmarks of line illustration is sharp detail.

A good reference photo helps an artist see the detail they need to include, and enhance, in a line art illustration, but taking a good reference photo is not a simple matter of pointing and clicking. Here are some tips that will help you take good reference photos for line art illustration so you can streamline the process, save money, and produce better quality results.

Take plenty of photos.It's better to have extra, than it is to have to go back and "do it again". For larger subjects, such as a forklifts, zoom in and out on the various features while standing from the same spot. For smaller subjects, like a microwave oven, you won't need to zoom in and out.

Get a variety of angles too, but keep in mind which angle you will ultimately want the illustration to represent. Get most of your shots from that angle. If, for example, you are shooting a power hand tool that will end up being illustrated in someone's hand being used, try to get the angle right, and provide variations. Shoot a little high, a little low, a little left and a little right. Twist the angle, and shoot more. With digital photography, you don't have to worry about film costs, so take a lot of shots.

Make sure you get the entire subject within the frame of the shot. Seems simple, but a lot of people don't realize that they've cut off someone's shoe, or hand, or something that extends from a piece of machinery.

Take close ups of key parts of larger products. For example, if you are taking a shot of a car and you want to make sure we get the hood ornament right, take a close up of it, so the artist has the detail they need. When taking close ups, make sure to take them from the same angle as the main photo. Either zoom in from where you are standing for the main shot, or simply step straight forward to get closer. Taking close up photos from alternative angles can help us understand the mechanical structure of a product – same-angled close-ups help streamline the illustration process and can save you money.

Lighting is the single most important factor that affects the quality of a photo. Studio lighting is the best. Sunlight is good, but creates harsh shadows that usually hide details. It is better to shoot in shade. Warehouse or office lighting tends to come from the ceiling, so if there are important details on the lower / under side of your product, think of ways to bring light in from the sides. Using portable floodlights, commonly used on construction sites and job shops, is a good way to bring light in from the sides.

Take shots with, and without, your flash turned on. The flash will add detail, but also create harsh shadows and highlights. If the subject has shiny parts, the flash can create hotspots that totally burn out detail.

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Source by David A Thompson

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