Emotional Portraits Of Black Dogs Who Are Often Left Out Of Adoption

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Dogs of all shapes and sizes have hearts of gold, and yet it’s said that black dogs are routinely ignored and denied adoption based on the color of their silky fur. The photographer Fred Levy hopes to shatter negative stereotypes about the dark hued animals, perpetuated throughout our culture perhaps by the ominous depictions of the creatures in media, with the Black Dog Project. Capturing furry friends ranging in age and experience, the artist pins his regal subjects against a black backdrop, narrating a poignant story of canine love and courage.

Set against the soft darkness behind them, the animals appear lonesome and curious. Presumably told to sit for the shot, they cock their heads, let drop their downy ears, and look to the viewer for approval. The moving, miraculous tension in the animals’ bodies recalls the ever-willing canine anticipation the blessed “come,” a nod of recognition, an offer of affection, a release from being alone.

Levy’s stunning lighting records the nuances of the black fur, celebrating the shade that is so often overlooked; the silky stands catch the light in such a way that haloes their faces, gives heavenly, royal meaning to their curved backs and furrowed brows. Levy maintains each subject’s rich personality; the wizened senior Faith perks up her ears, and the therapy dog Max patiently holds our gaze with intent amber eyes.

Says Levy of the project, “I’ve found that it’s really important to share the idea that there are always so many dogs in need of a good safe home, regardless of what the dog looks like […] Maybe someone will see this and consider the gravity of owning a pet, no matter what color it is.” To learn more about the Black Dogs Project, check here, and take a look at some of the enchanting photos below. (via Huffington Post and Design Taxi)

These Spiders And Tiny Insects Are Shockingly Cute And Lovable

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Last week, we featured remarkable photographs of snails by Vyacheslav Mischenko; the Indonesian-based photographer Nordin Seruyan takes similar yet wonderfully unique shots of the astonishing insect life flourishing in Southeast Asia. The magical images feature absurd little creatures that seem to spring from a budding daydream, and amongst brilliant pinks and purples, their spidery eyes and buoyant, spindly legs take center stage.

In their unknowingness, the beautiful creatures are movingly personified; Seruyan often positions his subjects slightly off of center, as if to amusingly suggest that they are simply dropping in for a portrait session. Beady eyes gape open expressively; antennae twitch thoughtfully, and wings brush against one another. Arachnids, normally pictured as frightful, carnivorous creatures, appear quaint (twee, even!) amidst soft, inviting petals that seem to blush bashfully with color.

The high resolution and vivid saturation of Seruyan’s photographs document even the smallest detail of the insect body: the space between a doubled set of wings, the articulation of twiggy limps, the coarsest fuzz that envelops the body. Within this magical miniature world, viewers are invited to imagine narratives for the creatures. Small as the smallest water droplet, a beetle bows his tiny head for a drink, balancing himself atop a weighted blade of grass. Moths mate amongst flower petals fit for the finest honeymoon bedchamber.

These tiny beings and their delightful goings-on serve to remind us of the wonderfully diverse, colorful, and textured planet we inhabit, and the artist entreats us that we might “discover the beauty of the little world.” Take a look. (via Design Taxi)

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Vintage Photographs of Russian Prisoners Showcase Their Coded Tattoos

russian prisoner Tattoos russian prisoner Tattoos russian prisoner Tattoos russian prisoner Tattoos A few weeks ago, we took a look at early stick and poke tattoos that adorned the bodies of prisoners. A new publication from Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell (aka design studio and publishing imprint FUEL) sheds more light (and images) on this subject, specifically focusing on Russian prisoners. The black and white images feature police files of men who are stripped down and their full chest pieces, sleeves, backs, and legs exposed. Their tattoos are more involved that what we’ve seen previously, and are full of curious symbols that seems to include a lot of religious iconography.

For this particular series of images, FUEL looked through the personal archives of Arkady Bronnikov, one of the leading experts in Russian tattoo iconography. He spent several decades working for the USSR Ministry of Internal affairs and travelled throughout the country interviewing and photographing prisoners and later reporting back on the coded meanings. This gave authorities insight into this secret and fascinating language.

FUEL’s project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to make this book a reality. At the time of writing, it’s more than half funded with two weeks left. (Via It’s Nice That)

Byoungho Kim’s ‘Progression of Silence’ Engages Sight and Sound

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Byoungho Kim‘s The Progression of Silence engages sight and sound, using an aesthetically and aurally pleasing repetition of bells. A site-specific installation, Kim constructed the massive work from brass, piezo, signal wire and a sound controller, to hang in the spiral stair case of the Johnnie Walker House, an arts exhibition space opened in 2013 buy the famous whisky distiller. The piece hangs from the roof of the building down to the floor, engaging the entirety of the architecture, and with sound, the people inside the building. Says Kim, “One of the “materials” I like to use is sound. The essence of sound is the vibrations of frequency, and these vibrations are often seen as geometric patterns to the eye. Through the process of changing these geometric patterns, namely modulation, they become sounds for the artworks.”

Kim fully explains his process, “My work is an approach toward the rationality that was spontaneously generated with the progression of civilization such as systems, standards and modules. The unitized and systemized material/immaterial elements become the material of my work. The output created from my materials poses questions on the essence of life as well as being a study on human nature.” (via myampgoesto11)

Mika Aoki’s Blown Glass Sculptures Look Like Biological Specimens

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Japanese artist Mika Aoki creates intricate glass sculptures inspired by natural forms, creating new, clear, alien-like worlds. Aoki’s glasswork resembles biological specimens and systems. Her amoeba-like entities are displayed in clusters, as growths or adornments on a malfunctioning car, or in glass containers, as if they are specimens to be collected and studied. Sometimes, Aoki illuminates her glass, enlivening her organic forms with the presence of light. In her work, she contextualizes the fragility of glass with the hardness/coldness of scientific classification and automobiles, underscoring the delicacy and temporality of her designs. Important to Aoki is her medium’s transparency, and that she is able to control its solid-liquid-solid state, manipulating a material that is nearly invisible. Of her material, she says, ”Unless light shines on it, we can’t confirm the existence of it because it is transparent. But once the light shines on it, glass truly emanates a special presence.” (via my modern met)

Keren Moscovitch Photographs Intimate Moments Of Her Open Relationship

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New York-based artist, Keren Moscovitch, attempts to explore the murky waters of open relationships through the lens of her camera. To do this, the artist relies on her own personal experiences with polyamory. The project began when her and her partner, in a monogamous relationship, decided to open their relationship up. Whether or not the decisions was made for the sake of this art project is unknown.

“I was confronted by jealousy and pain, but also got to experience a deep intimacy that I believe is only possible when we are fully vulnerable and exposed.”

 

The images, some of odd details of body parts, make up “Me into You,” a series of photos that shows out-of-sequence scenes of sexual encounters and romantic embraces. The choppy narrative obscures the the identities of the ones in the photos, resulting in a batch of visual chaos. By not knowing who is who, the viewer finds themselves caught up; essentially, they are having to do some guess work on who was in the original romantic relationship and who wasn’t. But, can that ever be known by just looking through these photographs?

 ”I wanted my work to show moments and views of the body that most of us experience in our erotic life, but that we aren’t permitted to acknowledge in casual conversation. If we are all sexual beings, we should be able to connect around that.”

(via Huff Post)

Website Builder Made With Color Presents: The Installation And Sculptures Of Alexis Zoto

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Premiere website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Website builder Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This excited to share the sculptures and installations of Alexis Zoto.

The work of Los Angeles artist Alexis Zoto is inspired by her Albanian Orthodox heritage, art history, antiquities, family stories and her personal experiences as a woman, wife and mother. Her work is distinctly feminine and feminist. The starting point of the work is found materials such as a piece of discarded furniture found on the street and family lore/cautionary tales. Often these stories highlight struggles with acculturation. Drawing from both from high and low culture as a source of inspiration and materials,  she uses buttons, birds, lace, plates, chandelier, motifs from traditional Albanian textiles, furniture parts, and evil eye amulets in her work to connect the past to the present, the personal to the public, and the intimate to art history.

Alexander Paulus’ Grotesque Paintings Are Straight Out Of A Child’s Nightmare

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The painter Alexander Paulus works in the grotesque, visualizing the ecstatic realm of human excess; in his disturbing images, desires of the flesh are celebrated as both revolting and magnetic. In the Primitivist style of Paul Gauguin and Paul Klee, the artist weaves viscerally-charged narratives that center around the erotic self. Through Paulus’s masterly, globular brushstrokes, the human body becomes a site of lust, gluttony, and a disgusting brand of pride.

Here, the allure and seductive powers of the flesh veer into excess and are thusly robbed of their beauty; a painting titled Blond haired blue eyed beauty imagines the female embodiment of Western beauty ideals as a rounded, egg-shaped monster, her ravenous, gummy open mouth revealing gnawing teeth. Similarly, in a piece titled Bette Davis eyes, the artist reinterprets the famed Kim Carnes song; in his rendition, the teasing seductress has an absurd about of tiny, beady eyes, and she takes the form of Queen Elizabeth I, a historical figure renowned for her spurning of male suiters.

Within Paulus’s intentionally crudely-rendered paintings lies a harsh indictment of modern culture. The works, dripping with satire, lay bare society’s worshipful treatment of sexual satisfaction; Crowing glory hole shows a roughly drawn anus adorned with a primitive crown, and Mount blue balls elevates thirsty and desirous phallus and testicles, complete with an ironic smiley face, to awesome level of the tallest natural peak. In Just the tip, thick, messy brushstrokes are also equated with the phallus and sexual desire left unquenched. In Paulus’s expertly seen world, the beautiful is merely an illusion, masking our basest desires. Take a look.