Sasha Ira’s Stunning Portraits of Allusive Youth

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Artist Sasha Ira draws stunning portraits of youthful and carefree depictions women. Her collection of work almost acts like an invitation into her sketch book; each drawing exists in a beautifully allusive state, provoking dreamlike moments and open ended thinking. Her work depicts ethereal renderings of young women surrounded by flora and fauna, decorative hints of cloth, and open, fluid strokes of what lies behind. Her style nods to both Art Nouveau, fashion illustration and Japanese anime styles, giving her images a contemporary, fun and youthful feeling. Her work shows a clear influence of Symbolist artists such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele (who took their inspiration from Japanese art). There is a very innocent vibe to this work. As if the viewer is given a look into a fantasy of a teenage girl. These drawings are captivating and charming. They give just enough information and intense draftsmen that leaves the viewer intrigued wanting for more, as if having his or her own gleeful trance into a moments past. They are reminiscent of a very adolescent state of mind, having an aloof aura to each one. Ira has created a beautiful series of drawings which truly get in touch with a feminine and whimsical essence, tugging at a spectrum of the freedom of adolescent bliss. 

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Shary Boyle’s Powerful Ceramic Sculptures Of Fantastical Satire

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Canadian artist Shary Boyle’s beautiful sculptures know no bounds. Her physically delicate yet intrinsically powerful ceramic pieces push boundaries of the real, stretching seemingly ordinary moments into fantastical satire of historic dark realities. Her work explores the complexity of power dynamics, addressing a vast array of social structures including gender politics, colonialism, and exoticism. Her work exists in a state of quiet conflict; it is fragile, precious, and plays on notions of traditionalist elegant aesthetics, while simultaneously delivering sharp intellectual puns that are clever, sophisticated, and some how, even through the visual distortion, perfectly intellectually exact. For example, her piece Family (2010) features a pilgrim man and woman sitting by a fire made up of a totem pole reminiscent pile of a decapitated heads.

Along side her ceramic sculpture practice, Boyle is also prolific artist in a endless variety of media spanning painting, performance, and film, to name a few. The artist also does beautiful “live drawing” collaborations with musicians. She has worked with artists such as Feist, Peaches, and Christine Fellows.

Shary Boyle has won various awards including The Hnatyshyn Foundation Award and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. She has shown her work at prestigious institutions such as the Centre Ppmpidou, The National Gallery of Canada, and The Art Gallery of Ontario. She exhibited at the 2010 Canadian Biennial as well as the 2013 Venice Biennale.

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Toshihiko Mitsuya Sculpts Epic War Scenes And Mythical Creatures Out Of Aluminum Foil

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Toshihiko Mitsuya is artist who undoubtedly proves that it’s not the quality of materials that creates great art—it’s the way those materials are used. Mitsuya’s medium of choice is aluminum foil, which he cuts, shreds, and folds into astounding representations of medieval battles, mythical creatures, and undead warriors. Taking advantage of the foil’s malleability and reflective surface, the armor and weaponry look deadly; conversely, it also has been manipulated to convey the softness of feathers and hair. Mitsuya has brought to life an everyday, ordinary material that is often viewed as trash. In some of his installations, he has created epic battle scenes in ordinary rooms, so lifelike that you can almost hear the crash of miniature weapons. The foil, while appearing deceivingly formidable, represents the fragility of life.

In September of last year, Mitsuya participated in an exhibition at Studio Picknick in Berlin. Titled The Aluminum Garden, the show involved rooms full of plants made out of aluminum foil; Mitsuya turned a material that was born in a factory back into the semblance of an earthly organism. You can read more about the exhibition here, and learn more about Mitsuya on his website. (Via Booooooom)

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Julia Sinelnikova Asks Us if Fairies Are Good Or Bad

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In her exhibition “Black Fairy Egg Nest,” Julia Sinelnikova asks us if fairies are good or bad. Experienced as a ritual site with candles and stones, “Black Fairy Egg Nest” feels like a secret den where winged creatures could emerge at any moment. The primary piece hovering overhead is a nest of hand cut resin light sculptures dripping into the exhibition space. A pregnant mass leaks thin glowing strands and dark stones dangle towards the ground below.

But while there is a medieval and religious feel to the work,  Sinelnikova is more broadly concerned with the distinction between who we are and how we present ourselves to the world. Her use of a fairy as the icon of the work symbolizes the contradictions inherent in our identities. As Sinelnikova points out in her artist statement, fairies are represented as both benevolent creatures who grant wishes and tricksters who can thwart even the most noble of plans. In this way fairies seem to be like us, flying between the light and the dark.

“Black Fairy Nest Egg” is part of Sinelnikova’s larger “Fairy Organs” work and includes sculpture, video and performance. “Conjuring Rebirth,” performed by Sinelnikova aka The Oracle and Xenolith Yolita aka Culttastic uses the glowing, dangling sculptures as a location for mystical curiosity, acquiescence and frustration. “Meditation on Suffering” centers around a glowing square where multiple women decked in shimmering foil move in concert with whispering voices in a neon lit disco. “Sentinel Seraphim” moves the multiplied women out of the geometric world of “Meditation” and into nature where the foil then takes on the likeness of wings.

Julia Sinelnikova is an artist and curator working in New York City. She has had solo exhibitions in Brooklyn, Austin, Houston, Barcelona, and Oulu (Finland). She recently curated “LEMNIVERSE: Vector Gallery at Art Basel” at SELECT Fair, Miami Beach and “Seeking Space 2014” at the Active Space, Brooklyn.

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Dot One Designs Unique Scarves And Prints Based On Your DNA

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London based company Dot One takes product customization to the next level. The company, named after the 0.1 percent of a genetic sequence that makes each human unique, uses your DNA samples to create one of a kind products (such as scarves and prints) from the very part of your genome that makes you distinct. The company requires a simple cheek swab DNA test (the type made popular by direct-to-consumer personal genome tests such as 23andMe). Dot One then outsources the lab testing to AlphaBioLabs, where they extract, identify, and use DNA profiling to distinguish the desired portion of the code. AlphaBioLabs does this by creating a genetic finger print through scanning for Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), which are tiny bits of genetic code that are different for every person (except identical twins, of course). Once Dot One has the genetic finger print, they use an algorithm to translate these codes into a color, resulting in a pattern that is personalized to your specific DNA. These patterns are designed to imitate what a DNA sample would  look like in a genetic gel test in a lab. While these products are made through a high technological process, they are reminiscent to traditional weavings and folk art patterns. They possess a true quality of something warm and special. You can even get a Tartan, which is created from the DNA of two people, or get a poster of your family tree. Cute. (Via HYPERALLERGIC)

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Amy Douglas Restores 19th-Century Staffordshire Figures Into Eccentric Versions Inspired By Present-Day Life

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Amy Douglas is an English artist who restores old Staffordshire figures into eccentric recreations. Staffordshire figures were found throughout British homes in the 19th century, often bought at county fairs and collected as “toys” for the mantelpiece. When they arrive to Douglas—broken and eroded away by time—she modernizes the pieces by adding touches of present-day quips and scenarios. Each one has been given a title that makes them humorously unique; for example, “I Lost My Head” depicts a beheaded man joyously swinging a wreath decorated with various craniums; “Chicks Rule” features a chicken-headed figure riding a horse with a human face.

The humor of Douglas’ work is often subtle, fostered in the cultural disparity between past and present. Part of the fun is also tricking the viewer into believing they are seeing a bizarre original work. Douglas works with the destroyed objects to seamlessly blend modern relevance with a traditional, domestic art object. “Many of the techniques, materials, and recipes I use have been in the hands of the craftsman for centuries,” she writes on her About page. “In our more increasing, intangible, fleeting, [and] modern existence, I think people do not look properly and do not acknowledge the craftsmanship of work. I like the idea of making people look twice” (Source).

Douglas’ works are currently on display in a solo show titled The Art of Salmagundi at the Jack Hanley Gallery in New York. The show runs until February 7th. You can learn more about Douglas’ work on her website. (Via The Creators Project)

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Nightshop Creates Trippy, Soft-Looking Rugs Out Of Colorful Liquid Foam

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In April, Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van der Ploeg of the Rotterdam-based design studio Nightshop will be showcasing their unique “décor” at the Robert van Oosterom Gallery: large-scale rugs made out of colorful foam. Each one is created from the artists’ unique blend of urethane foam, which they put into syringes and squeeze out into spiraling and cross-hatched designs. Once the foam dries, it fuses to the adjacent “thread” and thereby creates a solid piece. There are currently seven carpets completed, and the artists plan to finish three more by the exhibition.

While the rugs appear functional (and comfortable—perhaps due to that soft, clay-like appearance), the artists have stated that they’re “they’re more objects without a clear use,” intended to be viewed as art pieces (Source). As colorful curiosities, they blend the traditional art form of carpet weaving with modern kitsch; the are reminiscent of everything from playroom décor to a carpet as seen during a psychedelic trip. On their studio’s About page, Nightshop professes to “bring aspects of ‘low-culture’ into their designs,” thereby “investigating the boundaries between good and bad taste” (Source). The foam rugs bring our attention to everyday objects, highlighting their innate design characteristics and artistic, culturally-relevant merit.

Visit Nightshop to learn more and view their other creations. The exhibition at the Robert van Oosterom Gallery will be called Showdown. (Via The Creators Project)

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Joanna Black’s Photos Show Us What Ugly Doesn’t Look Like

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Joanna Black, a photographer, entrepreneur and collector in Edinburgh, UK, uses surrealist images to show us what ugly doesn’t look like. Her “Black Teeth White Heart” series is a compilation of Black’s nose, eyes, lips, and even toe nails in a style that is hauntingly beautiful.

In describing “Black Teeth White Heart” Black begins by saying, “people always told me I was ugly.” As a child, Black suffered from an acute form of scoliosis, causing her to live, sleep and play in a waist to neck metal brace. Her brace in addition to blackened teeth, which were caused by a treatment of tetracycline, were devastating. In an artist statement she recalls the pain of being pitied by adults and mocked by her peers. By the age of 13, however, the brace was removed and her teeth corrected and she left behind that “ugly girl.” It seems impossible that Black, now the owner of Miss Bizio, a couture vintage clothing shop in the Stockbridge neighborhood of Edinburgh and partner at Black Appointments Executive Search, could be ugly or pitied. Relatively new to professional photography, Black has already been shown at the Rencontres d’Arles (2015) and the International Photography Awards (2014).

In “Black Teeth White Heart,” Black takes intensely close photos of her body that, while pinpointing her physical idiosyncrasies, leaves you feeling like you are gazing on your beloved. Reminiscent of Dora Maar portraits by Man Ray in the 1930’s, many of her black and white photos capitalize on Black’s ability to be completely at ease in front of the camera while simultaneously executing the shot. Others are developed to include shadows and graininess and, at times, seem to allude to the many x-rays that Black must have undergone throughout her childhood. Her color photos are more playful and sexual, accentuating her mouth and parted lips. Close photos of her staring eye feel more medical than voyeuristic and her toes a reminder of our fragility.

While “Black Teeth White Heart” covers a lot of photographic ground, the core of the piece, an investigation into beauty, comments on the singular perfection of our features.

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