Jack Ramunni is a graduating senior at the Columbus College of Art and Design, a school with a sclerotic curriculum geared toward producing graphic designers for local corporations, a place where “fine art” tends to begin and end at object-based art-making for commercial galleries. Ramunni, using this restrictive background as a catalyst, instigated an array of projects aimed at redefining what contemporary art is and what we should expect it to do.
Ramunni and Nikki Skrinak have coined the term “Social Heat” to describe the intent of his artwork. Social Heat is:
“…the spontaneous transfer of energy from one body, group of individuals, or larger social system to another due to a multiplicity of connections and modes of communication.”
Ramunni uses a variety of methods to achieve this goal. In Sweater Shoppe, he reworked the logic of the market system by co-founding a trade-based pop-up “store” replete with its own currency; with Late Lunch Live, a weekly USTREAM cooking show, Ramunni turned the banal activity of making lunch into free community entertainment; in EX-PDF Library, he exchanged lithographed bookmarks for PDF files from the public, which he printed out and made available in a public library; in Benches Gallery, Ramunni created a portable gallery for showcasing artwork in public spaces, excising commercial concerns from the gallery experience.
In the fall of 2009 artist Michael Anthony Simon left Chicago behind, and moved to the countryside of Korea. He wanted to experience a new place and culture that would hopefully inform a fresh body of work that could exist beyond the constraints of the western art world. In the spring of 2011, contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei was arrested on falsified charges of tax evasion by a notoriously conservative Chinese government. The claims were suspect to say the least, and many silent protests were organized throughout the world by major museums and institutions calling for his release. These silent protests became a louder gesture than anything anyone could have audibly said. This act of defiant solidarity became a source of motivation for Simon in the year to come. Realizing that by attempting to silence something you make it’s presence that much more apparent he commenced on a series entitled “The Silence Paintings”. Analyzing the design and significance of the word ‘silence’ in different languages lead him to the creation of an intuitive process that would allow for compositions to develop naturally, but with purpose and intention.
Beautiful/Decay is honoring its DIY zine roots by teaming up with 5 artists from around the country to bring you their limited edition zines. Mailed exclusively to Beautiful/Decay subscribers, each copy of Beautiful/Decay Book:8 will come complete with
it’s very own zine. Each B/D subscriber will receive a different zine blind packed into their issue. These zines are not available in stores, only B/D subscribers will receive them. Subscribe today to make sure you get your hands on one of these exclusive zines. Read about the talented zine makers after the jump and click on the subscribe link to reserve your copy of Beautiful/Decay Book:8 with the limited edition zine today!
You’re probably thinking “Why is Beautiful/Decay posting about children’s puppets?” Well that’s a good question. Usually we leave Sesame Street for the toddler and mommy blogs but over the weekend I happened to watch Being Elmo, a documentary about Kevin Clash, the long time voice and puppeteer of Elmo. Since the age of 10 (check out the above image of young Kevin performing for local kids in 1975) all Kevin wanted to do was to be a puppeteer. With tons of ambition, hard work, and creativity Kevin not only became a professional puppeteer but also one of the most famous and iconic figures in the field right along his life long idol Jim Henson.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story but I will say that every artist, designer, and creative person should watch this documentary. You will be touched, inspired, and moved to work harder, push the limits of your craft, and to never give up on your dreams. Watch the trailer for the documentary after the jump and run out and go out and buy the DVD. It will be the best money you’ll spend all week.
Karin Waskiewicz‘s paintings directly address the physical properties of painting utilizing both conventional and unconventional methods. Waskiewicz’s process beings with acrylic paint applied in thick layers creating a collection of colors to later be unveiled. After the layers are applied, one mark is made. Every mark is a reaction to the shape, placement, and color of the previous marks made. The painting emerges from dry paint as she carves away, excavating the thick surface, intuitively revealing and investigating the depth of the paint, creating a world in paint alone. These paintings reflect formations found in the natural world and the shapes created are both organic and formulated. The repetition of marks connects visually and gives the paintings a vibrational quality and mimic movement. See Karins work in a group show opening April 26th in NYC at Schroeder Romero & Shredder.
CF, offspring of Fort Thunder, and Providence-based artist/musician has consistently created some of the best comics in the underground genre. His work in undeniably his own, and although it is often duplicated, his work remains distinguished from the rest. The delicacy and humor of his masterwork, POWR MASTRS (1,2,3), puts him easily in my top 10 for contemporary comic artists. He blogs and twits, he is a Picturebox regular, and he performs under the moniker Kites while he blasts out sonic booms. He is a gem.
Portland artist Josh Orion Kermiet creates mixed media, collage, and video/animation works that provide a sense of being right on the brink. With swirling, interwoven texture and color, Kermiet illustrates that transient, awesome “breaking point” period when we are able to sense both planes of existence; when the tangible material of earth is propped right up against dark matter and shadows. The artist creates images that testify to the beauty of the moment right when everything begins to fall apart. Perhaps it is only in such moments that we are able to experience the clarity derived from simultaneously envisioning what things once were, and what they are going to become.
In 2011, Kermiet released Free Spirit, a collaborative zine with Jeff Kriksciun and Raf Spielman (of Portland label Eggy Records) through Container Corps.