Dominon GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

As the sun sets and the temperature quickly drops, more than half a million lights illuminate the grounds at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. The annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights is a holiday tradition at the garden in Richmond, Virginia.

In this year’s “East Meets West” theme, familiar plants stand next to those from across the world. They are placed to juxtapose, yet harmonize, with each other.

Thousands of lights adorning hedges and trees greet visitors once they enter the garden. From there, the visitors can choose to walk along the path, go through a dragon tunnel of lights (pictured), and cross Sydnor Lake via the glowing Lotus Bridge.

Framed by the “East Meets West” theme, this year’s GardenFest features a tunnel of lights, moongate, sea serpent, peacock (pictured), and more. Dinner is served at a teahouse at the end of a bamboo-lined path that goes over a bubbling stream.

Other features include a brightly lit garden maze and tree house for the kids, as well as a firepit.

A short walk away from the entrance is the conservatory, where greenery surrounds a central fountain. A man in a Christmas hat answers questions about the hundreds of plants housed inside.

The back room houses a toy train track snaking around miniature Japanese tea houses. A large painting of Mt. Fuji sets the stage for this exhibit. Standing in front of the exhibit, welcoming visitors, is a tall, festively decorated Christmas tree.

Low lighting enhances the calm atmosphere of the left room of the conservatory. White, pink, and purple flowers cover the ground, while an enormous chandelier made of 2,500 origami paper cranes hangs above. An arched arbor is decorated with strands of colorful origami cranes and glowing paper lanterns.

Visitors walking along the path can read the story of The Empty Pot, a children’s story about a small boy who tries to grow a plant from a seed given to him by the Emperor. A model of the inside of a teahouse stands at the end of the path, leaving visitors to imagine their own tea ceremony in the peaceful garden.

The garden hopes to inspire its visitors, whether they are “traveling east from Short Pump or Japan, or traveling west from Varina or Turkey.”

The event goes on every evening from 5-10 p.m. until January 7th.

8-Bit Graffiti Street Art

The word “graffiti” usually elicits imagery of giant bubble letters on brick walls and sides of trucks. There are a number of graffiti artists, however, who take inspiration from the 8-bit technology of years past. Using a grid style, they create works different from your typical graffiti artist. Their pieces often include media icons from videogames such as the Mario and Pokémon series, as well as movies.

Here are eight examples of great 8-bit graffiti street art:

Boo (Mario franchise) graffiti by Gameboyone.

Haunter (Pokémon franchise) graffiti by Gameboyone.

Mario graffiti (photo by Travis Volk on Flickr).

Warioland 3 graffiti (photo by Tobias Abel on Flickr).

Totoro chalk art by srfive3 on deviantART.

Air Man (Mega Man) graffiti by China-based artist Ano.

Hulk graffiti by China-based artist Ano.

Iron man graffiti by China-based artist Ano.

Johnny Depp Tea Party by memorypalace

Everyone in the States has heard of Johnny Depp, yes? The 49-year-old actor has been in over 40 movies, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Alice in Wonderland, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, among others.

deviantArt’s memorypalace illustrated this piece, called “The Depp Hatter’s Tea Party,” in 2010. I had stumbled upon it before and only remembered it recently. It is worth sharing because it’s fun, reminiscent of great movies from the past, and in my opinion, the artist did a great job.

The illustration shows six of Johnny Depp’s movie characters. From left to right, Jack Sparrow, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, the Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, and Edward Scissorhands. Can you find the four visible Jack Skellington faces?

Click here for memorypalace’s other works.

MIA’s Rainbow Walkway

An elegant rainbow walkway greets visitors as they head toward the MIA Mover at the Miami National Airport. The structure, called “Harmonic Convergence,” was designed by Christopher Janney and put into place in 2011. Its predecessor in that area was “Harmonic Runway,” also by Janney.

The installation is made of 24″ x 24″ glass panels with large “X-bracing” in front. Sunlight filters through and creates colorful reflections off the floor, while at night, flourescent lighting is used. At intervals throughout the day, the different sounds of South Florida play. According to Janney’s website, the score includes the sounds of the Everglades, thunder storms, and tropical birds.

I was able to enjoy seeing this installation after my flight into Miami International Airport in July. The spacious area and beautiful lighting effects were refreshing, especially after a stuffy airplane ride. Greeted by the sounds of a tropical forest, I immediately thought of the Everglades, an icon of Miami. Given the chance, I would have stood in the pathway longer to take in the installation. Unfortunately, I had to catch the train and could only hastily snap a single photo.

Click here to see Christopher Janney’s website.
Source of first photo: Art of Miami

Origami Installations by Mademoiselle Maurice

Paris-based Mademoiselle Maurice uses origami to create installations in various cities around the world. Her series is meant to send messages of hope and strength to its viewers.

Inspired by the devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan in 2011, and by the story of Sadako and the 1,000 paper cranes, the series is also a personal tribute to various movements. These include movements such as those for peace and climate preservation.

Click here for Mademoiselle Maurice’s other works.