Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Artsy and Brainpickings

Being an artist, I think I troll the the web somewhat differently than others.  I am especially looking for things that are visually intriguing, but also mentally stimulating.  I have found two new favorites to further my addiction to being online.  Artsy is one and Brainpickings is the other.

First Brainpickings:  I found this site by accident, and it was a happy accident indeed.  There are articles and essays about literature, art and more.  I'm not sure how to describe what you all might find on the site.  I was especially impressed when I saw things like manifestos (somethings we'd been asked to write and design in art school) posted there.  I've found that my Pinterest board of inspiring quotes often gets lots of new pins from this site.  Mostly I love that I get an update on Sundays when I'm playfully imagining and creating and daydreaming really.   You will find essays and art and more by people like Susan Sontag, Maira Kalman, Edward Gorey or how about Bertrand Russell's 10 Commandments of Teaching?

So rather than me, try to tell you what Brainpickings is I'll just quote the website.  Of course you can check it out yourself.
Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. She has gotten occasional help from a handful of guest contributors.
Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.

The other site I mentioned as a favorite is  Artsy.  First part of what I love is the clean design of the site itself.  I am a big fan of design and I really appreciate when something such as a website is well planned.  (worked briefly as a web designer so I really like this)  Artsy  is organized to be as detailed or as clean as you want.  It is a repository of artwork that you can browse through for the purpose of purchasing or for research.  You can browse and search in a variety of different ways.  Browse by Medium/Technique, Subject Matter, Region and Contemporary Art.  You can also Filter your art further with the Filter menu.  Another choice is to save art into a favorites folder.  I find this especially useful as an Art Educator.  I can customize favorites for the classes I teach.  The Learn More link helps explain the goals and aims of Artsy and how you customize your experience with the site.

There is, of course, also a Search function that works quickly to find what you've asked for.  When I typed in Renaissance I found a great collection of some of the top art hits of the Renaissance complete with information about the artist and where in the world the work can be found.  It also gave me the option to further narrow my search by looking at the early Renaissance, the Harlem Renaissance, the Northern Renaissance etc. 

I have found Artsy to be a really great repository of more modern, current art, which in education we sometimes ignore.  Both Artsy and Brainpickings inspire me to think and reflect and that is something I greatly value in my web browsing and daily life. 

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