As an arts blogger I spend most of my day looking at amazing things created by artists, performers and creatives. If you’re reading Beautiful/Decay, a good portion of your time is likely also spent in awe of the creative output of others. I decided to make a move to the other side of the screen, rolled up my sleeves and learned to create something awesome. I joined forces with Skillshare, an online learning community that provides access to over 15,000 creative classes, to help accelerate my creative inspiration. Whether you’re looking to learn graphic design, illustration, photography or practically anything else, Skillshare can teach you what you need to know to execute your vision. Even better, they’re offering Beautiful/Decay readers two free months of Skillshare Premium (usually it’s $10 per month). Visit this link to redeem the promo or use the promo code BEAUTIFULDECAY..
It’s Halloween season, and campy macabre aesthetic surrounds us, making the general public a little more open to the darker parts of our existence. Reflecting back on the origin of this holiday, All Hallow’s Eve and Samhain, the pagan celebration, it’s clear that death and the unseen world is the foundation. Our ancestors believed that the veil to the other side became thin or disappeared completely on this night, allowing the spirit world to comingle with the physical and living world. There are many people and cultures that still hold this belief and practice today.
In light of the season I began searching through aesthetically significant contemporary art that finds its foundations in death and dying. This is Part 1 of 2 of the scope of art about death, ranging widely in medium and other interwoven themes. Damien Hirst, Angelo Filomeno, Joel Peter Witkin, Konrad Smolenski and Doris Salcedo all embrace the subject of death and dying in a widely varied manner. As well, all are highly revered in their own right for their individual continuums of art produced over the years.
Damien Hirst is no stranger to controversy as an artist. He always delivers shock value well and does not shy away from creating work that makes viewers squirm. Materials he used to create the pieces featured here range from dead flies, to animal carcasses, formaldehyde and maggots. Hirst’s works don’t just discuss the business of birth, death and dying- they display it in action right before your eyes, in a way that some of the work nearly becomes about life itself.
David Emitt Adams beautifully captures the landscape of the Southwest on the surface of discarded tin cans along with other debris he finds in the desert. Growing up in Yuma, Arizona, he is no stranger to the desert and the objects inhabiting it. Adams explains that deserts, naturally being so barren, are often used as a dumping site for garbage. This is where he finds all of his materials, with some tin cans being up to four decades old. He combines classic and iconic Southwest imagery with the reality of the state of the land today. Although the present day desert still holds immense and vast beauty, it is not without the remnants of urban sprawl left behind.
Throughout history, the West has long been photographed and documented due to its breathtaking and often unbelievable, natural landscapes. Adams not only pays homage to this tradition, but to its traditional processes as well. Inspired by the history of photography, the process he uses was one of the first methods of photography invented. Adams chosen method of photography is not your everyday digital photograph. He uses a labor intensive process invented in the mid-19th century called “wet-plate collodion.” This complicated process not only takes time, but an impressive amount of skill. Adams’ technical talents are only matched by the creativity of his body of work. Each tin can’s rich, red patina is still intact as they bend and twist around their lids, which hold the delicate image of the desert. This series, Conversations with History, is just one of several series in which Adams uses this traditional method of photography to express his artistic vision.
Ted Vasin illustrates an intensely surreal world for his viewers to get lost into. Combining his tight representational drawing skills with colorful abstract forms, Ted succeeds in both keeping us in awe of his draftsmanship, and a little disturbed through subject matter.
Motion designer Dan Marker-Moore has a beautiful collection of collaged time-lapse photographs depicting the light and color transitions in the sky due to the movements of the Sun and Moon. In his series, “Timeslice,” Marker-Moore layers images taken within seconds or minutes of each other, demonstrating the spectrum of beauty to be found in the (mainly) Los Angeles skyscape. His talent for capturing time-lapse beauty first came to the attention of the internet when his images and short time-lapse video of the full moon rising in LA, a series of 11 still frames that were captured over a time period of 27 minutes and 59 seconds, were featured by art and science blogs. Since then, he has added more photographs to his “Timeslice” series, creating a gorgeous collection of the sky in transition. You can check out more of his images via his website or Instagram. (via jeda vu)
Stefan G. Bucher is a graphic designer, illustrator, author, creator of monsters, and pursuer of obsessions. The (sole) creative force behind 344, his clients have included art galleries, film directors, magazines, record companies, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Blue Man Group. If you’ve seen the Yeti themed Saks Christmas windows, you’ve seen Stefan’s work. The Daily Monster is his, too. The cover of The Matrix soundtrack; typography for Mirror, Mirror; Blue Man Theater. All Stefan G. Bucher.
Aside from his amazing and prodigious creative skills, Stefan is an astute observer of culture and a consistently funny writer. He agreed to be interviewed for Beautiful/Decay.
B/D: Thanks for talking with me, Stefan—I’m just going to jump right in. What’s the most interesting thing you’re working on right now?
Stefan Bucher: It’s my pleasure. The most interesting project I’m working on right now is the pitch for an animated show surrounding the Daily Monsters. It’s a long process of uncertain outcome, but it involves a lot of things I love—illustration, working with a brilliant writer and a genius animation producer, thinking about music and character design. It’s great! I’m also working on a solo gallery show for the spring. That’s just a big beast breathing down my neck. I don’t know how much of it will be retrospective and how much will be new work. I just want it to be a fun trip for the audience.
Each image of What I Eat is accompanied by a detailed breakdown of the meals. The couple featured diverse profiles such as a Japanese sumo wrestler, a Maasai herdsman, an Arctic hunter, a Tibetan yak herder, and a Bangladeshi factor seamstress.
All of the diets, of course, vary by location and availability of food, but also profession. Shashi Kanth (pictured above), an AOL call center worker, relies on fast-food meals, candy bars, and coffee to keep him going throughout the long nights as he talks to Westerners about their technical issues. This stands in stark contrast to Bruce Hopkins (also pictured above), a Bondi Beach lifeguard in Sydney, New Whales, Australia. He eats moderately and hardly ever enjoys fast food or alcohol. (Via Amusing Planet)
Jacob Foran‘s latest series, “Headspace” celebrates exploration and fantasy. The diving helmets represent a sort of creative sanctuary just as real armor-like diving helmets protect the wearer from the dangers of underwater pressure, (and sea creatures). Foran returns to the creative fairytale worlds of childhood, this time as an adult, with more mature musings about the “pressure-filled” world we live in.