Artist Jesse Krimes stands in front of his 39-panel mural Apokaluptein:16389067 (federal prison bed sheets, transferred New York Times images, color pencil) installed, here, at the Olivet Church Artist Studios, Philadelphia. January, 2014.
In 2009, Jesse Krimes (yes that is his real name) was sentenced to 70 months in a federal penitentiary for cocaine possession and intent to distribute. The judge sentenced Jesse to a minimum security prison in New Jersey, close to support network of friends and family, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) opted to send him to a medium security facility in Butner, North Carolina.
His way of coping with the life-changing sentence went a bit more differently than you would expect. He got by with a little help from federal prison bed sheets, hair gel, The New York Times, and some color pencils. Although money was limited in prison, he never struggled to gather enough money to purchase these objects. You might be thinking these are random, but, in fact, they are what made prison life a somewhat more passable experience.
While experimenting with these four materials, Krimes discovered that he could transfer the newspaper images onto the prison bedsheets. At first he used water to do this, but that did not work. Hair gel, on the other hand, had the requisite viscosity to do the job. He was not aware that three years after, he would end up with a 39-panel mural. Each transfer took 30-minutes. Thousands make up the mural. Krimes only worked on one bed-sheet at a time, each of them matching the size of the tabletop he worked on. The laborious routine kept Krimes sane, focused and disciplined.
Eiko Ojala(whose cut-paper illustrations were previously featured here) crafts quietly-detailed work which straddles the lines of art, design and commercial illustration. Beginning with hand-made illustrations, Ojala then combines physically cut, layered paper and occasionally digital to continue reducing the images until they are clear, concise and minimally fantastic. Subtlety seems to be the strongest method of delivery for the Tallin, Estonia-based illustrator and graphic designer, who describes himself as one who “ likes to study the forms of shapes, and to work closely with light and shadow. He likes to keep his illustrations minimal and well-advised.”
This most recent blue series was created for Intel as an effort to show the insides of anything, and seems a perfect match for the illustrator’s deceptively simple trademark style. Ojala has been increasingly recognized for his commercial efforts, having been been nominated in 2013 for a Young IIllustrators Award at www.illustrative.de, a YCN professional Award and ADC Young Gun. (via hi-fructose)
In Mongolia, where the weight of tradition and Soviet rule still hang heavy, it is considered dangerously taboo to be a homosexual. Gays, lesbians, and transsexuals must keep their identities secret, often secluding themselves or participating in prostitution, in an attempt to safeguard their lives against violence and discrimination. In 2011, photographer Álvaro Laiz decided to capture the secret lives of these Mongolians in his series “Transmongolian.” Laiz initially traveled to Mongolia because he was interested in how the country’s newly opened borders affected the population, with the tradition of Mongolian culture meeting with Western influences from the outside. His research led him to connections with transgender individuals whose stories he decided to document with his photography.
Laiz captures these ostracized Monogolians conducting their day-today lives alongside images of them in traditional Mongolian queen costumes. Laiz’s Mongolian series is the first of a larger project exploring transgender people in societies across the world. (via huffington post)
Christopher Rimmer’s haunting photography series Sign of Life chronicles two towns that are slowly being buried by sand. The desolate and surreal works were shot in the diamond mining towns of Elizabeth Bay and Kolmanskop in South Western Namibia. Here, we see the hospital, ballroom, power station, theater, casino, and more slowly filling up of sand. The amount of it makes these places indistinguishable from one another as well as uninhabitable as the spaces are totally devoured.
The juxtaposition of the once-ornate interiors and the giant drifts of sand is fascinating. We see how the material, which is the same thing that’s used to build children’s sandcastles, is really destructive, as it takes doors off its hinges and works of filing rooms to the brim.
With Sign of Life, Rimmer explores the ultimate futility of human endeavor. The now ghost towns depicted in the work were extremely wealthy due to diamond mining and were once a symbol of growth and prosperity. After the diamonds ran out, the last resident moved away in 1951 and left the town to the elements. Now, they are no match for nature as it destroys the structures residents worked so hard to build. (Via Yellowtrace)
When the artist Adam Brown paints a portrait, he sprinkles cremated human remains into his palette, hoping to memorialize the dead in a way that celebrates their individualism and vitality; each image, most commissioned by the loved one of a recent decedent, serves as an alternative to the traditional urn.
After Brown’s clients submit a sampling of sandy ashes, the artist dons a pair of gloves and mixes them with paint to create personalized renditions and imaginings of the dead that span from straight black and white portraiture to dreamy colored abstractions. He carefully preserves any and all unused ashes, ultimately returning them to his client.
The project, titled Ashes to Art, poignantly aims to reconstruct the deconstructed body, fixing delicate cremains with glue and paint; in this way, his paintings work to incapsulate the entirety of the human body and lifetime into one sly smile, one glint of the eye, or one splash of color.
Brown’s ambitious body of work subverts morbid thoughts on human remains, adopting the medium to create shockingly cheerful faces, heavily textured hands, and vividly yellow flames. The idea of permanence figures prominently into the work; not unlike the popular ritualistic scattering of ashes over the sea, his landscape paintings elegantly incorporate the corporeal into the seemingly eternal earth, everlasting sky, or immovable mountains.
With each work, the artist ensures the respectful remembrance of human life with a simple inscription; lest a piece get lost or auctioned and taken for an average painting, he writes a disclaimer on its backing: this work of art contains human remains. (via Daily Mail and Oddity Central)
Rebecca Jewell spent a year in New Guinea in 1982 and became inspired by feather artifacts and birds. She saw how important they were to the people there and was amazed by the beautiful feather headdresses people made. She went on to study anthropology at Cambridge University in 1985 and then gained a PhD from London’s Royal College of Art in Natural History Illustration. During that time she would work mainly in watercolor, drawing bird skins at the National History Museum and ethnographic artifacts made out of feathers at the British Museum.
All of these experiences came to influence the body of work she began to create using “ethically sourced” feathers to print on. Her work is based on careful observational drawing as a way of seeing, recording, investigating and analyzing. Through a process involving a photo-plate, ink, an etching press and feathers, Jewell creates beautiful and delicate works on feathers depicting birds. Of the pieces she says: “Over the past years I have drawn and painted feathers and birds, and explored how they have been used to enhance and decorate humans. I am also aware of the plight and precarious status of many species, which I wanted to represent in the delicacy of the image on the feather.”
An artist in residence at the British Museum, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, Jewell creates work that explores the shared histories between people that create certain artifacts, the explorers, anthropologists and travelers who obtain them, and the museums that house them.
For the last few years, Japanese artist Jun Kitagawa has installed large zippers in public spaces. Sometimes they are painted on the wall, but more often and impressively, they are placed as sculptures in the middle of rooms and in public ponds. There, the ground looks as though it’s opening up and going to swallow you whole. Kitagawa has fashioned larger-than-life zippers, complete with his name on it (akin to the popular manufacturer YKK). Between the giant zipper’s teeth you can see what’s below, like wooden beams or most of the time, a dark void.
Kitagawa’s work plays into the wonder we have of what lies beneath the surface, and is a metaphor for making light of the unknown. The giant zipper reveals what can’t easily be seen, and what we often wish that we could. Even if the zipper is “open,” many times the artist fills it with nothing, saying that the truth or reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. (Via Colossal)
French photographer Pascal Pierrou takes interest in creating the ultimate ‘modern girl’ photo catalogue. Pierrou, a fashion photographer, is interested in showcasing alternative ‘feminine beauty’, the type that we are not really used to seeing in popular television or mass-produced advertisements. He primarily focuses on girls with short hair/no hair, tattoos, and piercings. While these women’s looks are not uncommon per se, Pierrou is looking to create a fashion-like photoshoot that shows off these women in a way that is uncommon and unexpected. For instance, his way of pairing a naked woman with a sword tells us that he is looking to show off a double-sided profile, one that shows off a rough edge, and another that features the soft lines of a slender and feminine naked body.
This idea of rough and soft lines is somewhat of a pattern amongst the photos on this series. These characteristics are indicative of what Pierrou thinks about today’s modern girl- often times, a woman that carries a powerful and tough, but ultimately soft appearance and character.
His inspiration for the series was Andy Warhols ‘Factory’ which was popular in the 60s in New York. Pierrou imagined people of a new factory, free women, feminists, artists that would exhibit their skin, hair, tattoos and words without being ashamed.