These trailblazers took selfies before selfies were a thing

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Robert Cornelius made photography history with the first known self-portrait taken in 1839.
Robert Cornelius made photography history with the first known self-portrait taken in 1839.
Photo: Library of Congress

There was no selfie stick, no hashtags and no sharing with his BFF. In fact, when Robert Cornelius took his historic selfie, he sat still as a stone for 15 minutes, then watched the photo slowly appear on a silver-plated sheet of copper as he breathed in dangerous mercury fumes.

That was instant gratification in 1839.

Cornelius, using a wooden box fitted with an opera glass, likely deserves credit for taking the world’s first selfie. He didn’t make the picture out of vanity, but as an experiment to test a silver-plating method for the daguerreotype photographic process, which had been introduced worldwide just three months before Cornelius’ self-portrait.

The simple patent drawing was once a work of art

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A flying machine from the 1860s drawn with shading, colors and detail not seen in today's patent illustrations.
A flying machine from the 1860s drawn with shading, colors and detail not seen in today's patent illustrations.
Photo: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The illustration that accompanies a patent application is a first glimpse inside the head of the inventor. Finally, an idea becomes a possibility, and even if an invention later proves to be impractical or an outright failure, the drawing serves as a tangible record of humanity’s quest to solve problems and move forward.
 
But the modern day patent sketches are stark chicken scratches compared to the intricately detailed, da Vinciesque artworks that once accompanied applications to the United States Patent & Trade Office, which first opened in 1790.

SuicideGirls give ripoff artist a taste of his own medicine

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Richard Prince sold and Instagram screen shot for thousands, but the original owner will sell it on a deep discount.
Richard Prince sold Instagram screenshots for thousands of dollars, but the original owner will sell it on a deep discount.
Photo: SuicideGirls

You can spend $90,000 on a Richard Prince “piece of art.” Or you can get the same thing from the original source he ripped off at a 99 percent discount.

Prince used screenshots of people he followed on Instagram and converted them into a large inkjet paintings he then sold for thousands of dollars. Prince did not alert the subjects their Instagram shares were being displayed and sold.

Some of the images were from the popular trend-setting SuicideGirls, whose founder has offered the same pictures printed in the same way for sale for $90 on its website.

Artist Richard Prince cashes in on others’ Instagram photos

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Inkjet
Inkjet "paintings" from a body of work by Richard Prince from Instagram.
Photo: Collector Daily

Instagram users, adjust your privacy setting and remember the name Richard Prince.

Should he request to follow you, he could one day “appropriate” your pictures and make thousands of dollars off you.

Prince featured 38 screenshots from his Instagram feed in a show in New York City last fall and at the Frieze Art Fair earlier this month, and some of the people featured are just now finding out about their pictures appearing in giant form on gallery walls.

Unicorns, horror and bikes: 8 Instagram accounts to follow right now

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adam-jones
A detail of Adam Jones' art for new Red Hare album. Photo: Adam Jones/Instagram

Instagram has become riddled with so many photos of kitty cats, inspirational sayings and kitty cats spouting inspirational sayings that it has become nearly impossible to find fun and interesting feeds to follow without spending hours staring at your iPhone. So we did it for you.

This is not so much a “best of” list as a starting point that should open your mind to what else is out there in the great big Insta-world.

Exciting images from ‘Golden Age of Auto Design’ we almost didn’t get to see

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Charles Balogh, Ford Advanced Studio, 1953. Photo: American Dreaming
Charles Balogh, Ford Advanced Studio, 1953. Photo: American Dreaming

The concept artists who envisioned the future of the automobile created edgy, forward-thinking illustrations knowing their works might never be seen — and would likely get destroyed.

But some of the forward-looking art created during Detroit’s “Golden Age of Automotive Design” made it outside company walls, thanks to artists who lined overcoats with drawings or used boxes with false bottoms to smuggle out their work.

The car-centric art is the subject of a current exhibit at Lawrence Technological University in Detroit and is the subject of an upcoming documentary on PBS called American Dreaming.

This museum wants you to touch the art and take lots of pictures

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Go ahead, touch the art and have your picture taken at Art in Island interactive musuem in Quezon City, Philipines. Photo: Art in Island/Facebook
Go ahead, touch the art and have your picture taken at Art in Island interactive musuem in Quezon City, Philipines. Photo: Art in Island/Facebook

It figures that the city known for generating the most Instagram selfles would open a museum to attract selfie shooters.

Art in Island, an interactive art museum in a suburban Manila, Philippines, has installations designed for visitors to incorporate themselves into master 3-D copies of some classic works.

Pencil artist works in miniature — and that’s the point

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Russian artist Photo: Salavat Fidai carves detailed sculptures into the point of a pencil lead. Photo: Photo: Salavat Fidai
Russian artist Salavat Fidai carves detailed sculptures out of pencil lead. Photo: Salavat Fadai

Salavat Fidai is working proof that artists need not create large pieces to make a name for themselves.

Much of what he creates is no bigger than the tip of a pencil — literally.

Under the glow of a single work light while his family sleeps, Fidai uses a craft knife and 4x magnifying glass to create tiny sculptures out of pointy pencil lead.

Fruitdoodles artist finds banana work has mass a-peel

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Stephan Brusche finds bananas to be a great surface for drawing and regularly posts his Fruitdoodles to Instagram. Photo: Stephan Brusche
Stephan Brusche finds bananas to be a great surface for drawing and regularly posts his Fruitdoodles to Instagram. Photo: Stephan Brusche

Stephan Brusche was bored and starting to play with his food when he made a discovery that would change his life: Bananas are nice to draw on.

Graphic artists are paid to think this way, and Brusche was being urged by his wife to promote his work to a wider audience using Instagram.

“There wasn’t anything exciting to photograph,” said Brusche, 37, an artist for a travel agency in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “I still had a banana and I thought maybe if I draw a smiley face on it, that would make a nice picture. I discovered how nicely the ink flows on the peel. It was really a pleasant surface.”

That smiley face, posted more than three years ago, received more likes than his work illustrations. And thus Fruitdoodles was born. Since then, Brusche has transformed more than 200 bananas into fine art.