This Friday ALL items in the Beautiful/Decay shop will be 20% off. Our full-color, willd and trippy posters make for great gifts. Plus, we’ve added a second wave of posters to the store, so be sure to check out the whole selection—and get 20% storewide savings this Black Friday. (Trampling sold separately.)
Based in New York, figurative artist Dillon Utter has a penchant for portraits. With a strong focus on urban decay and everyday encounters with others, Utter presents intimate portrayals of people we would otherwise look right past, such as tenants, workers, drifters, and the elderly.
Particularly influenced by his small hometown in upstate New York, Dillon uses real-life experiences as inspiration for his genuine—and often gritty—portrayals:
Binghamton’s rich history and urban decay create an ideal backdrop for my portraits. The city once flourished with industrialization and major manufacturers. Many of these industries are now in ruins and have left economic hardships for the area. I use my street photography as reference for my paintings. This allows me to capture people at a more intimate level, revealing more about them and myself.
While some of his portraits possess titles that reference the scene itself, such as The Corner, Dog Days, or Cold Afternoon on Court Street, others—like Lonely Child and Wounded—poignantly describe the individuals portrayed and focus entirely on their plight.
Unidealized and true-to-life, Dillon Utter’s portraits are unquestionably compelling and exceptionally intimate.
Nasa Funahara recreates iconic artworks, like The Mona Lisa, and Girl With A Pearl Earring out of masking tape. The Japanese artist, who attends Musashino Art University as a painting Major, boasts a collection of around 450 rolls of masking tape. The series originally began as an art project for school, and she received a very good reaction to the work.
The artworks are well-detailed recreations. The patterns of the masking tape create a stimulating visual experience for the viewer. It is surprisingly not overpowering to see tons of brightly coloured roses and polka dots all in such close proximity. What’s astounding is that Funahara is able to find so many different types of tape. Apparently, masking tape in Japan has become an ornamental media, rather than just a tool to block off sections of a painting. According to Spoon and Tamago, each work is around the size of a tatami mat, and each takes about a week to make.
The Van Gogh reproduction of Sunflowers is the most successful work. The tape works well to imitate Van Gogh own style of brushstroke, and the colours are close to the original ones. Even the texture of the tape, sticking slightly out from the canvas, maintains a painterly effect and a kind of weight to the image. (Via Bizarre Beyond Belief)
British set designer and artist Nicola Yeoman creates optical illusions via temporary installations. The complex arrangements use well-scoped vantage points and specifically-lit sets that conjure fantastical scenes. She uses both conventional and discarded objects in her work and places these objects in unexpected locations.
Yeoman combines moody lighting and a variety of textures to make her works appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. This is especially visible in her letter installations. The “D,” for instance, is crafted by negative space with chairs that occupy the foreground, middleground, and background. But, you wouldn’t necessarily realize it unless you looked closely – this photo is shot at just the right angle.
While some of Yeoman’s work is as specific as the alphabet, other installations are more mysterious. Outdoor scenes obscured by fog fill the composition, and paper planes and a silhouetted car on a journey into the unknown. Her work has the power to go in opposite directions – didactic and dreamy – and the well-thought compositions, allow her to take the viewer anywhere. (Via Yatzer)
Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.
Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”
To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)
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)