Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Disney's 1940 Fantasia is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful creations of modern man. When the Mickey Mouse big boys announced their "Fantasia 2000" thingamajiggy, I was beyond skeptical of its possibility of being good, millennial Disney being what it is (crappy). A decade has passed without me lowering my snobbish nose to the matter. Until, that is, I realized there's a Whales In Space segment in the film.

The segment is set to the music of Respighi's Pines of Rome, which frankly I find to be an unremarkable piece of music, though that's just a matter of taste. Disney trots out the typical overused devices to play on its audience. There's a cute, peppy little baby whale, playing catch-up with its majestic parents, getting into mischief, etc. It just, like, sooooooo clearly rips off the original Fantasia's Pastoral Symphony sequence. Actually, it is either ripping it off , or it's an attempt at being meta. In either case, I cannot deny that the cgi animation is gorgeous, and the...ahem...concept behind the whole thing is pretty thrilling.

So, does this bring the entire genre into another strata of high-browedness?

Sequence director Hendel Butoy recalls the concept coming up as a result of one of the artists preliminary brainstorm drawings (rock on, whoever you are!). The idea tickled Butoy's fancy. He says, "When you think about it, whales really do have a lighter than air quality to them. They're like big blimps suspended in the sea and moving effortlessly around in the water. The idea of putting them in an environment that you've never seen them in before was appealing."

Amen to that! And without further discussion, here is the video:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wyland's Watery Wonderlands

"Marine Artist" Wyland is kind of a big deal. As I write this, I am actually hanging my head in shame that I haven't profiled him sooner.

He was called a “Marine Michaelangelo” by USA Today, (I'll give you a moment to absorb that......ok.) His "Whaling Walls" are a series of large-scale outdoor murals which can be found in cities worldwide.
His work is primarily straightforward oceanscapes, eschewing the space/sea mindfuckyness of WIS.
Notice that I said "primarily."
Ol' Wyland has done the dirty, as is evidenced by the above work, entitled "Water Planet." It was presented to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2007 for their bicentennial.

Click on the post title to visit his website.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jim Warren is Rad

Jim Warren is a self-taught artist. He specifically states on his website that he never uses an airbrush, only traditional oils. He has a background in the wonderful WIS-y worlds of sci-fi book cover illustration and album art. He has also collaborated with WIS helmsman Wyland. His philosophy on Art is this:

"To hell with the rules...paint what you like."

In this... extraordinary painting, we see Whales In Space portrayed as a world which exists inside the mind. The dolphin, rainbow and ocean are literally spilling out of the shattering veneer of the beach babe's face. The work seems to be pulling at the restraints on our inner universe of imagination, like a call to battle to bring our most lovely dreams into reality.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

psychotropical emanations

Amsterdam artist Kamiel Proost likes Whales In Space. And, apparently, Magic Mushrooms. Coincidence? I think not.

My heart swells and I feel excited butterflies in my stomach when looking at his work---a true psychedelic artist, with a beautiful vision. In his artist/process statement, he claims that DMT helped reveal to him other dimensions populated with elves.... hmmm. You know what? Just keep on taking them drugs brother, because these paintings ROCK!!

Click the post title to visit his website!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jovian Floaters Fantasy Video

Not to turn this into the Carl Sagan Fanclub Blog or anything, but the man was undeniably formulating some very Whales In Space-y ideas during his career.

Sagan and his Cornell colleague Edwin Salpeter published a paper in 1975 entitled “Particles, Environments, and Possible Ecologies in the Jovian Atmosphere.” The paper theorized about the varieties of organisms which may evolve and flourish in a volatile, gaseous atmosphere such as Jupiter's.

Basically, they look like big ol jellyfish and mantarays. Needless to say, this has far reaching implications for WIS.

Click on the post title to see a segment of Sagan's WONDERFUL AMAZING BEAUTIFUL show "Cosmos" in which he most elegantly explains the theory. The video contains, a bliss-fest of ANIMATED WIS concept fantasy art.

Mister PicassoHead and His Bucket of Art Parts!

Get your french-fried cubism on with Mr. PicassoHead! Click the post title to access the website, and or click here for my own personal "masterpiece."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Still Love the Old World

In my eternal quest for WIS images available on the interwebs, I bear witness to what I believe to be the evolutionary progress of the art form. The golden age of WIS has clearly passed. This was an age of airbrushes, an age when evidence of the warm touch of the human hand was still felt, no matter how polished and realistic the pieces may have been. These days---though I must emphasize that it gives me infinite pleasure to see people still pursuing the genre---these days I see more photoshop job WIS than not.

Now, I majored in fine art. I mean, I am a purist. I built my own silkscreens and gleefully inhaled the aroma of linseed oil and turpentine. I wore my charcoal smudge warpaint with pride. It never crossed my mind to pursue digital photoshop whatnot, because...well, I'm a purist snob! And recently, I've reconsidered my thinking. It sure is a hellofalot easier to get what's in your head out and into existence with photoshop than struggling with the many varieties of technical difficulties involved in the old ways. Photoshop is cool, fine, yes. And worth pursuing...But...I still just like the old stuff better.