Street Artist BLU‘s latest mural is just as ambitious and wonderful as his previous projects. Known for his playful murals he paints onto brick walls, gravel paths, water tanks, forgotten corners, construction sites, and abandoned buildings, he turns overlooked spaces into canvases for jaw-dropping paintings and animations. This time BLU has turned his attention to an old military warehouse in Rome and covered it with a couple of dozen colorful, expressive characters. Stretching over 50 old offices, the scale of this mural is as impressive as it is ambitious.
BLU has a talent for creating eye catching, intriguing street art. He first started to paint in the back streets of his home town of Bologna, and from 2001 had developed a distinct style of using house paint and rollers to quickly sketch his ideas on public spaces. Normally painting human figures, or strange combinations of animals and people, BLU’s work is light-hearted and surreal. He had a period of many years traveling from festival to festival and learnt how to use his environment to his benefit. Basing his sketches on the curves of buildings and pre-existing shapes, he made use of the tools he had at hand.
True to the nature of street art, BLU isn’t precious about his creations, and actively erases his own work to create his intricate animations. They fold out on themselves, essentially erasing what came before. This talented Italian artist has a skill for entertaining pedestrians busy running their daily errands and loves to interrupt their routine with comical, sarcastic narratives and figures. With eye-catching murals scattered all around the world (from Mexico City to Los Angeles, Berlin to West Bank), you will no doubt stumble upon one of his pieces. Keep your eyes peeled for his next one! (Via DesignBoom)
Sandro Giodarno‘s photographs are like Saturday morning crime scenes. The victim? Dignity, mostly. His carefully choreographed pictures show a snapshot of cartoonish tragedy.
According to Designboom, Giodarno says of his photos, “The instinctive reaction is bewilderment and awkwardness towards the unlucky fate of the character, but then that same awkwardness breaks into a liberating laugh. This is the effect I want to recreate through my photographs: tell tragedy through irony.”
While the photos are at times baffling, they’re also increasingly absurd and comedic. One woman’s grocery trip ended in a gruesome mishap with a tomato sauce blood splatter. Another is wearing a halo of pottery shards instead of flowers. The body count reads five in one photo of a dinner party that went down like the TItanic. Truly, Giodarno’s characters are a series of unfortunate people.
“My photographs are short stories about a falling-down world,” Giodarno says, describing each scene as a “black-out” moment where each character simply gives into an existential malaise and flops down, unable or maybe unwilling to go on. They just lie there, clutching whatever material possessions they happen to have with them, that happens to define them whether deliberately or through happenstance.
On first glance, it might seem a little sad. But the name of the collection, “In Extremis (Bodies with No Regret),” is reassuring, like maybe they’ll get up again — or maybe they are fine just where they are. (h/t Designboom)
Though born without the ability to perceive color, artist and activist Neil Harbisson’s work, career, and life are anything but monochromatic. Recognized as the world’s first cyborg, Harbisson boasts an unusual aesthetic aid: an antenna implanted into his skull that enables him to “hear” colors.
“I am not using technology, or wearing technology.
I am technology.”
Extending from the back of his head forward, the appendage is comprised of a rod, a chip, and light sensor. Located at the tip of the antenna, the sensor picks up the frequencies of colors before him, and then sends them to the chip in the back of his head. The chip then transposes the frequencies into vibrations, which translate into sounds in his ears.
Through this process, Harbisson is able to create works of art—namely, his Sound Portraits. To create a portrait, Harbisson simply stands before an individual and aims his antenna toward his or her facial features. Each color found on the face creates a specific note, which he writes down on manuscript paper. Thus, the end result–unique microtone chords–become individual “portraits.”
With portraits of prominent figures ranging from Prince Charles to Woody Allen, it is clear that, through his unique practice, Harbisson has his art down to a science. (Via BBC News)
Mike Harvey was a taxi driver in Swansea who began ferrying passengers around on the night shift to fund his trips overseas. Since beginning the job in 2010 he shared his car with so many strangers, each one with a story as varied as the distance they were traveling, he decided he would document them with his DSL camera. Harvey would take a snapshot of his customers at their final destination in return for waiving their payment for their trip. He said out of around 130 journeys, only 9 people refused their photograph being taken.
During this type of job, Harvey would have many different types of adventures and experiences. He would find out a lot about his passengers in a very short time, and would discover things they wouldn’t divulge to their friends. He found himself in a very sticky situation one time:
I was driving out of Swansea at about 3AM, and this girl who was full-term pregnant – you know, ready to go – was sat at the side of the road, barefoot, flagging me down. So she got in and… it’s a bit of an impromptu counseling service sometimes, driving a taxi. I said that maybe getting hammered when you’re pregnant isn’t such a good idea, but, you know, we had a nice chat. Then, when I dropped her off, she legged it. I’d usually chase after someone, but she was fully pregnant, you know? She was the one that got away, but I let her get away. (Source)
Harvey has without a doubt managed to capture all walks of life in Swansea, and his images portray all types of people essentially existing in the same way – whether it is getting a ride to or back from a hard day’s work, or on their way to celebrate or commiserate something. Harvey’s photographs are on exhibit now at Monkey Cafe in Swansea. (Via Cultured Vultures)
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.
Graphite artist Frank Magnotta creates absurdist Americana-inspired images that are heavily saturated with symbolic elements and a farcical outlook on the modern world. Magnotta’s work is strongly influenced by pop culture and the attributes of branding; he has referenced magazines such as Time and Self in his work, and phrases such as Take Off Your Mask and Century 21 come from brand identities that he was intrigued by. Magnotta recognizes the significance of pop culture on his drawings:
“I think you can tell by my drawings that it is a big influence. I’d have to say it is an inevitable influence on our daily lives whether we like it or not. I think pop culture is a double edged sword, it gives and it takes too. I’m not interested in pure pop, but dirty pop, pop that has been consumed and processed by the individual. I think that is more intriguing.”
Some of his drawings involve structures made of their elements: the rough shape of the United States comprised of detailed words and media logos. Yet he has a lot of crude portraits that, from afar, are recognizable, and up close gain another layer of meaning:
“I had been working on the mega-structures for a bit and wanted to invert the process. What if the logos and graphics made individuals that would inhabit the structures? For each portrait in the series I collected logos from a different societal institutions. So, the “Bank Dick” is constructed from financial logos, and “The Diagnosis” is comprised of morphed medical logos. “The Bank Dick” is also the great title of a W.C. Fields movie. On a personal note, for some reason I think that drawing is the closest thing to a self portrait I’ve done. Maybe it is the bugged out look in his eyes. I’m keeping that one for my personal collection.”
Magnotta was previously featured in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 1: Supernaturalism.
London-based artist Jessica Dance specializes in creating handcrafted models, props, and sets that have a wide-range of commercial appeal clients include Vogue, Vanity Fair, Google, and more). Her work features a lot of conventional, everyday objects reimagined in a delightful, unconventional way. Dance knits food, toothbrushes, and even calculators on her domestic knitting machine, and it’s a playful twist on the real thing.
The knitted pieces are made from wool, and they look like something you’d want to snuggle up with. It’s an odd feeling to want to hug a giant turkey, but that’s the power of fiber arts (or any art, really). We attach associations to materials and sometimes nostalgia prompts us to touch, pet, or squeeze brussel sprouts and meatballs.
Just in time for the holidays, self-proclaimed “painter, illustrator, writer, jeweler, and up-to-no-gooder,” Hannah Rothstein has cooked up a Turkey-day treat. Straightforwardly titled, “How Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Meals,” this series of photographs portrays plates of tried-and-true Thanksgiving staples reimagined as if they were created by celebrated figures in modern art history.
Based in San Francisco, Hannah “focuses on finding clever and humorous ways to look at ordinary objects and ideas.” Whether simply rearranging the food or drastically fracturing the plates, the works comprising her “Thanksgiving Special” represent her playful, experimental approach.
In true Piet Mondrian fashion, Hannah has divided her rations into a geometric grid. To evoke the work of Pablo Picasso, her meal is fragmented and rearranged into an unrecognizable form. In homage to Georges Seurat, she has turned her peas and potatoes into a pointillist picture, while plopped morsels and splattered cranberry sauce mimic Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings.
With aesthetic allusions to myriad other artists, including Vincent Van Gogh, René Magritte, Mark Rothko, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, and Cindy Sherman, there will certainly be no scarcity of art at the table this year.