In 2007, Seth Casteel began volunteering to photograph homeless pets and watched his personality-showcasing shots result in countless adoptions. In the years that followed he carved out a career as a lifestyle pet photographer and recently made a splash with images of submerged canines, collected in the 2012 tome Underwater Dogs (Little, Brown). Now he's back in the pool working on a companion volume involving puppies and awaiting the September release of Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition, a book for children that pairs new and favorite photos with rhyming verse. Check out his website for images of dogs and cats (wet and dry) as well as more exotic creatures, including a sea lion ready for his close-up.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Blue Bottle Cafe has become famous for its art-inspired treats, including a colorblocked Mondrian cake, a fudge pop based on an Ellsworth Kelly sculpture and cakes frosted to resemble those painted by Wayne Thiebaud. Pastry chef Caitlin Freeman reveals her recipes (and step-by-step assembly instructions) in Modern Art Desserts, new from Ten Speed Press. And with SFMOMA soon to close for expansion, the Blue Bottle bakers are heading east later this month for a pop-up shop at New York's Museum of Modern Art. "We're starting with Mondrian cakes and Thiebaud cakes, and there's a great Andy Warhol series in their cafe," says Freeman, "so we'll modify our Warhol Jell-o to work with their pieces."
Acclaimed illustrator Christoph Niemann (Abstract City, I LEGO N.Y.) gets interactive with Petting Zoo, a new app (for iPhones, iPads and now Android devices) that puts a high-tech twist on hand-drawn animation. Users of all ages can swipe and tap their way through the interactive picture book of 21 unconventional animals, from breakdancing dogs to elastic-limbed rabbits. Says Niemann of each creature in his animated menagerie, "You can slowly approach it, touch it, and it will do something unpredictable, but most likely something fun and adorable."
Shepard Fairey's "Obey Giant" street art campaign is the stuff of legend, and now it's the subject of a narrative film by Julian Marshall, a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (Fairey's alma mater). The narrative short, which debuts online on Monday, April 15, is based on the true story of Fairey's first act of street art, making it something of a cinematic portrait of the artist as a young skate punk challenging a big-city mayor (the oleaginous Buddy Cianci) and the powers that be at art school. Visit UnBeige.com on Monday to read a Q&A with Marshall, who raised $65,000 in funding for the ambitious project via Kickstarter.
The talents of an illustrator, a rock star and an animator come together in "I Have Your Heart," a darkly whimsical animated short by Molly Crabapple, Kim Boekbinder, and Jim Batt. Set to an accordion song about love, loss and open-heart surgery, the film (two years in the making) uses paper puppets and stop motion to create a world of staggering detail. "There's something really beautiful and tactile about physically crafting the sets and characters, the way the light catches the paper," says Batt of the team's decision to forgo software for a more hands-on approach to animation. "You get wonderful moments of serendipity, and everything sort of shimmers with potential life in stop-motion, whereas in the computer it's easy to get bogged down in twiddling settings and keyframes forever."
Watch an artist navigate a host of creative challenges in the documentary Gottfried Helnwein and the Dreaming Child, available on DVD March 19. Filmmaker Lisa Kirk Colburn follows Helnwein, a charismatic cross between Alice Cooper and Christopher Walken (with an Austrian accent), as he takes on the role of production designer for the Israeli Opera production of The Child Dreams. Helnwein arrives in Tel Aviv with a grand vision that he fights to preserve amid logistical limitations, opera star egos, Israeli labor laws that put the kibosh on child actors, and a stubborn yet brilliant lighting designer named Bambi. "I treat the staging like a canvas," says Helnwein of adapting his hazy-haunting figuration to a new art form, "but it's three-dimensional and everything moves."