Get Social:

Photographer Ellie Davies Creates Mystical Scenes That Explore Our Relationships With The Forest

Ellie Davies — Photography Ellie Davies — Photography Ellie Davies — PhotographyEllie Davies — Photography

For photographer Ellie Davies, the forest is her studio. Her images are an immersive mix of realism and heightened fantasy. In a mossy clearing, for example, galaxies have been interposed with the landscape like clouds of will-o’-the-wisps, while elsewhere, stars resembling flaxen particles drift down in a column, illuminated by the sunlight. Her landscapes are not only places of mysticism and beauty, but of darkness, as well. Fog and clouds drift amongst the trees like ghostly breaths expelled from the twisted, bronchiole-like branches. In one particularly haunting photo from Between the Trees Triptych (2014), skeletal trees flank a spectral cluster of mist.

Whether glowing bright or cast in shadow, all of Davies’ images reveal a reverence for the forest, as well as her intimate understanding of the way such landscapes have manifested themselves in our cultural imaginations. As she writes in her Artist’s Statement:

“UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years. […] As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.”

And it is true; all of these cultural legends, practices, and traditions have made the forest — indeed, “nature,” as a concept  — a construction, a story we tell ourselves to try and understand our individual connection with it. We imagine the woods as a symbolic place of “elsewhere” and “otherness,” and this cognitive distancing allows us to romanticize it, fear it, and/or exploit it.

Davies wants to confront us with these fictions “by making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, which place the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy” (Source). She creates her scenes in what she calls “small acts of engagement [that] respond to the landscape” — she builds things, creates pools of light, incorporates craft materials such as paint and wool. As I read it, the images have several effects. They resonate with our fantasies about the forest, but at the same time, we recognize their construction, which helps us to perceive that our cultural relationships to the forests of the real world are also constructed. In unveiling such narratives, Davies’ work encourages a more ethical connection to the woods: we recognize “reality” as a series of stories that have been told to us, we sense that we are not truly separate from what we call “nature,” and we accept that we can never fully understand it — an acknowledgment that fosters both respect and peaceful coexistence.

Visit Davies’ website, Twitter, and Facebook page and immersive yourself in more of her stunning landscapes. (Via Art Fucks Me)

Currently Trending

Advertise here !!!

Cat Obsession Has A Long Multi-Cultured History In Japan

japan society paintingjapan society paintingjapan society paintingjapan society painting
Our obsession with cats has a long and multi-cultured history. Long before Grumpy, Garfield and Felix, the Japanese were depicting cats in their artwork. A new exhibit set to open at New York’s Japan Society entitled “Life of Cats” studies the feline’s depiction during the Japanese Edo period. The period comprises a little over 250 years between 1615-1867, that saw a prolific use of cats (hi harmony), particularly in pieces made from Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The printing technique was initially introduced to distribute texts of Buddhist scriptures. In 1765 a new technology made it possible to produce a single sheet using up to 20 colors. This allowed artists to take full advantage of palette and soon cats were appearing in a multitude of roles.
The first cat surfaced in Japan around the sixth century. They were brought over from China on ships transporting sacred scrolls written by monks. The Buddhists believed cats were mindful creatures and when an enlightened person died they would first come back as a cat before reaching nirvana. The exhibit at Japan Society is divided up into 5 categories: Cats and people, Cats as people, Cats vs. people, Cats transformed and Cats and play. Since the woodblock prints mainly depicted courtesans and Kabuki actors we see these figures in numerous works interacting with cats. The colors are exquisite and most of the scenes between human and feline is endearing. Some of the weirder prints are hybrid looking cat people and as mentioned earlier stems from the Buddhist belief of an enlightened being transforming into a cat before reaching nirvana. A popular motif was the common leisurely activities of a village, in these we see cats role playing as people relaxing at spas and playing in parks.  (via hyperallergic)
japan society paintingjapan society paintingjapan society paintingjapan society paintingjapan society paintingjapan society painting

Currently Trending

Advertise here !!!

Urban Explorer Matt Emmett Captures The Desolate Elegance Of Abandoned Places

matthew-emmett-1 matthew-emmett-8matthew-emmett-9matthew-emmett-6

For the last three years, urban explorer and photographer Matt Emmett has taken pictures of hidden locations across Northern Europe. He finds it thrilling to enter a previously-forgotten world and discover its new idiosyncrasies firsthand. Emmett is particularly fascinated in industrial remnants and ex-military sites, and he’s documented it in a series titled Forgotten Heritage.

Having a camera with me allows me to prolong that thrill long after the building is gone,” Emmett writes on his website.“It’s an often quoted cliché but there really is a strong sense of palpable history present in abandoned buildings, the items left behind like paperwork in a drawer or plaques or signs in an industrial plant, allow you a glimpse into the past. I consider experiencing these places to be a great privilege.

The landscape images feature hulking machines now obsolete. Rust, dirt, and grime covers control panels and infrastructure as the earth reclaims the land. Emmett is interested in capturing the aesthetics, character, and history of the buildings. He describes this process:

From the point of view of a photographer there is a total lack of distraction in the stillness of a derelict building; the sound and movement associated with people or workers has been removed, for me this makes them far more sensory than when they are occupied. Your mind can easily focus on what is around you and takes in so much more. The building’s voice is clear and a character and visual aesthetic emerges that was much harder to define than if it was a busy, populated environment. (Via designboom)

Currently Trending

Marathon Runner Wears A Tomato Feeding Robot On His Head

Kagome - tomato robot Kagome - tomato robot Kagome - tomato robot

Yes, it is as strange as it sounds. Japanese ketchup company Kagome has taken product placement to another level. Unimpressed that most marathon runners rely on bananas as a fuel source, they decided to invent a tomato feeding robot that athletes can wear. Weighing 18 lbs and able to hold 6 tomatoes, the Tomatan is designed to combat fatigue and raise the appeal of tomatoes worldwide. While on your morning jog, all you need to do is to pull the level next to your arm and a ripe juicy tomato will pop into your mouth.

And what’s more, if you decide that the Tomatan is too heavy, there is a smaller, more petite option also. The Petit-Tomatan weighs half the weight of the original design and will be tested at the Tokyo Marathon this Sunday. It has a delivery tube attached to a mini-tomato holster worn on the wearer’s back and even a timer to stop the runner over-indulging.

Designed and completed by company Meiwa Denki, known for it’s off-the-wall devices and musical instruments. The Tomatan is a brilliant example of Japanese humor. I’ll end with something CEO Shigenori Suzuki from Kagome said about how serious the business of tomatoes are.

Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue. (Source)

I think we have all been underestimating the power of tomatoes for too long now. This is their time. (Via Gizmodo)

Currently Trending

Irma Gruenholz’s Surreal Illustrations Crafted with Clay

irma-4 irma-9 irma-5 irma-3

Spanish illustrator Irma Gruenholz constructs hand sculpted, three-dimensional scenes using clay. Her surreal compositions primarily involve portraits of rosy-cheeked humans coupled with fantastical characteristics. A woman, posed like a frog, captures small human flies with her long tongue. Another illustration features a woman catching small bits of light between two chopsticks. Gruenholz forms the clay into smooth, elegant figures that don’t immediately read as handmade – they look like they could’ve been digitally produced.

A lot of work goes into crafting these illustrations. Gruenholz individually creates each character each character and scene using sculpting tools and paint. They’re held in place by stands and posed correctly. Scenes are photographed and later edited to remove the supports and produce the illusion that they could possibly be real.

Currently Trending

Kevin Dowd’s Nostalgic Photo Collages Depict The Impossible

Kevin Dowd 5 Kevin Dowd 3 Kevin Dowd 4

Kevin Dowd creates photo collages that examine the familiar in surreal environments. An amusement park ride is suspended in mid-air; the lonely peak of a roller coaster ride frames a mysterious moon. His artwork resonates with emotional meaning, evoking feelings of uncertainty and isolation. By using the totems of our childhood — brightly colored balloons, swings, and theme park rides — Dowd also calls up a sense of unsettling nostalgia.

This is no coincidence. One of his collections is called Technostalgia: a pair of balloons tethered to a telephone pole, at odds with a wisp of cloud in the background that could either be coming or going. The artist’s intent is to examine “the nature of communication, the analogous methods of wired transmission, sound and even thought.”

Dowd is a thoughtful artist who has grand metaphorical meanings behind his work. Field Day: Ascent, the collage of children on swings rising into the sky, is meant to “capture sensations of awe and beauty, while recognizing the tentative nature of such experiences.” The photos of the roller coaster, named Babel I and Babel II, “explore the hubris of man.”

Whether or not the viewers grasp those exact interpretations, though, Dowd’s work still stirs up feelings of traveling to times and places long gone. (h/t I Need a Guide)

Currently Trending

Artist Herbert Baglione Paints Eerie Shadows On The Walls Of An Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital

Herbert Baglione, 1000 Shadows - Painting, Installation Herbert Baglione, 1000 Shadows - Painting, Installation Herbert Baglione, 1000 Shadows - Painting, Installation Herbert Baglione, 1000 Shadows - Painting, Installation

Since 1999, Brazilian artist Herbert Baglione has been populating the cracked walls and floors of forgotten places with shadowy, painted specters, which are characterized by their elongated limbs and emaciated, sinuous bodies. As the years have passed, his ghostly installations have emerged in dark corners all over the world, including Brazil, Germany, and France. In July 2013, Baglione found what might be his most eerie location to date: an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Parma, Italy. Down the building’s moldering, littered corridors, the artist’s ghosts aimlessly trail their wispy bodies up the walls and through open doors. At this time, the ongoing project was officially named 1000 Shadows. Describing his creative approach to forgotten places and their inhabiting spirits, Baglione has explained that “The ‘reading’ of these places allows [him] to take the shadow to a unique path, which usually feeds and broadens the discussion because it brings light to the abandoned environment […]. It is as if the soul is leaving an invisible trail on these places” (Source).

What makes Baglione’s work so simultaneously fascinating and unsettling for the psyche is that it plays with the dichotomy of presence and absence — two states of being that we often assume are fundamentally separate. By creating these shadows, not only has Baglione left his physical “mark” (his presence) for passersby to ponder (who was here? And what does it mean?), but he reminds us that other people were there long before us, and perhaps their energy still remains, making absence a form of presence. We feel drawn to these sad specters, and perhaps a bit frightened; they are traces of a persisting darkness that inspire us, emotionally and imaginatively, to close the gap in time. The wheelchair deserted in the hallway with its accompanying ghost is a particularly visceral referent for this troubling of past and present life.

Visit Baglione’s blog, Facebook page, and Instagram and follow him as he continues to occupy our imaginations and the world’s forgotten places with his signature shadows. (Via Bored Panda)

Currently Trending

Stefano Colferai Takes You Behind The Scenes Of His Cute And Hilarious Clay Illustrations

Stefano Colferai Stefano Colferai Stefano Colferai

Just like a modern day Wallace and Gromit, Stefano Colferai‘s clay creations are cute, light-hearted and can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. He spends many hours with his cutting board, modeling knife and colored clay. Carving out hamburgers, candies, tacos, chicken nibbles, sneakers, boobs and self portraits (all with big googly eyes), Colferai is no stranger to having a laugh to himself and indulging his own sense of humor.

These behind the scenes videos show us a candid insight to his process and creative practice. Creating different campaigns, posters and images for many clients, Colferai approaches them all in the same way. If he’s not enjoying himself, then the viewer won’t be either. About his Boob poster creation, he says:

As a big fan of boobs, I have tried to study their shapes, reproducing some of them in plasticine. I decided to play with the consistency, trying to emphasize the materiality. (Source)

Personifying objects and giving them some sense of life is Colferai’s specialty. Like all good animators he can convincingly tell us a narrative through an unexpected image. Like his ‘Shit Selfie’ – a humorous look at a modern day phenomena. His fresh take on different ideas is what makes him an exciting talent to watch. See more behind the scenes footage after the jump.

Currently Trending