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This Designer Makes Animations With Nature

Paul Johnson turns Twin Cities landscapes into hypnotic stop-motion

smithsonian.com

How do you see the world? If you live in a major metropolitan area, your field of vision might be cluttered with highways, suburban structures and skyscrapers. Not Paul Johnson. The Minnesota-based graphic designer seeks out serene natural landscapes within the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and turns them into calming, hypnotically accurate stop-motion animations.

Johnson takes inspiration from modern artists who draw from both art and land science, Christopher Jobson reports for Colossal. He uses everything at his fingertips—like trees, sticks, grass and fire—to create animations and photos that cast the world as a geometric canvas. The hashtag he uses for his videos on Instagram (#landthropologic) expresses that tension between what’s outside and inside human beings.

It’s surprisingly easy to find nature in the midst of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Minnesota is studded with nature preserves and wildlife refuges, and the Mississippi River adds something uniquely scenic and soothing to the Twin Cities.

Johnson’s work is part of a larger movement called Land Art, which has its roots in environmentalism and a rejection of traditional galleries. For artists like Johnson, the best installation is the one that brings people and Earth together in a beautifully precise dance.

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