We Are The Youth is a photo-documentary and essay project that compiles the stories of LGBTQ youth from around North America. It’s a simple project that packs an honest punch. Each story is personal and demonstrates the completely different experiences of the participants. They speak about the need for role models or their role in becoming one, about their own struggles with their identity, where they situate themselves on the gender/sexuality scale, and how that can change from day to day. The project is a collaborative effort between Laurel Golio who takes the photographs, Diana Scholl who writes the biographic essays, and of course, the LGBTQ youth. (Via Lenscratch)
Photographer Peter Stewart captures the pulsating neon guts of Hong Kong from a unique perspective. Standing at the bottom of dizzying skyscrapers and towering apartment buildings, Stewart offers us a glimpse of modern architecture as a force of nature. Each floor of the buildings he photographs looks like the ring of a tree, surreal in their orderliness.
In an interview with The Creators Project, Stewart explains how he chooses his subjects. “All it takes really is a keen eye for finding the beauty in the monotonous,” he says. “The everyday structures that we often fail to appreciate.”
The collection is called “Stacked – Hong Kong,” a fitting name. From some angles, the buildings almost look like life-sized Lego blocks. Oddly, the photographs do not impart a sense of claustrophobia, but rather a peaceful calm. The bright colors and little personal flourishes — a balcony-dwelling plant here, a line of fresh laundry there — are tell-tale signs of human life. It’s almost a little too calm — where are all the city’s inhabitants?
Still, rather than looking post-apocalyptic, Stewart’s portrait of Hong Kong is dreamy rather than dismal. It’s as though the city is asleep or simply waiting, holding its breath.
(via Design Boom)
Photographer Danny Ghitis started to take these photos of the BDSM and fetish subculture in New York City with a particular goal in mind. He wanted to know more about his own sexual identity, preferences, gender, and social norms by contrasting them with those of his subjects. He decided to seek out and connect with people on a social network called Fetlife. Described as being “similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me”, Ghitis found himself meeting people through this site he normally wouldn’t get the chance to encounter.
He became familiar with the world of transgenders, dominatrixes, submissives, and kinksters, and proceeded not to exoticize or eroticize them, but rather to familiarize his viewers with them. Ghitis says:
“Something I accomplished through meeting these people and getting invited to their homes was seeing them as real people living in New York and not as stereotyped 2-D caricatures that I think are often portrayed. I wanted to contribute to a positive dialogue about the complexities of sexual and gender identity. I felt somewhat a sense of a responsibility as a journalist to do that, though it was sort of secondary to the primary goal of wanting to learn about this for myself.”
He wanted to accurately document the sexual preferences of these usually very alienated people and to normalize them. He was very inspired by these everyday people accepting themselves fully and truly for who they are and what they want, and aims to live his own life in a similiar, honest and unhindered way. Ghitis tends to hunt out individuals with complex and fascinating histories and documents them for the benefit of us all. “He believes that challenging social norms with self-aware imagery can spark the curiosity needed for open dialogue in the average person.”
Artist duo Christian and Rob Clayton, who exhibit as The Clayton Brothers, found their muse at Sun Thrift, inspiring their latest show “Open to the Public.” Three to four years in the making, the artists visited the shop almost every other day to browse and people watch. Rob Clayton says:
“There are two aspects to this show: one side of it is the store itself and the employees that run it, and more importantly, the other side is the people that go there to get things they need.” (Source)
A third aspect could be said to be the pieces that the brothers purchased and brought into their studio, and sometimes into their finished works. Drawn to the handmade and personal the artists speculate on the embedded stories the objects can’t tell. They see the store itself as a curated collection of sorts, where the employees determine the exhibition by making connections and creating categories. Christian and Rob, inspired by this method of organization, say it inspired the way they worked for this show.
When creating, the brothers have an interesting method of collaboration. They work simultaneously in the same studio, leaving unfinished pieces out for the other to be inspired by and often to add to.
Rob elaborates, “At the studio we don’t say, ‘This is mine, that’s yours.’ We refer to the drawings that haven’t made it into the process yet as carcasses. If a painting sits around for a while, one of us will usually grab it all of a sudden and change it in some way. It’s a constant give and take.” Christian adds, “When do get into a heated spot with a piece, we know each other well enough to let things stew.” (Source)
Their different approaches and techniques are evident in this collection, and it is particularly apt. The varied stylistic choices — assemblage, drawing, collage—speak to the patchwork merchandise in the store as well as to the diverse shoppers.
“The characters that inhabit Open to the Public are overall a sweet bunch. They might look disjointed and fractured, or some might say disturbing, but our overall intent with these drawings was to gain an honest understanding of ourselves as humans. The objects that are discarded or donated to the thrift store become a direct reflection on us as people. We look at the objects like archaeologists, and there is narration attached to all of it. The stories of peoples lives, creative heartfelt moments, messages left for loved ones, forgotten memories… this is what has been driving our characters.” (Source)
Boston-based photographer Asia Kepka did not have a master vision for where her horse and squirrel photos would go, but she didn’t need one: once she began shooting, they quickly took on a life of their own. This project, now titled “Horace and Agnes: A Love Story by Asia Kepka,” has become a beautiful collaborative project between Kepka and writer Lynn Dowling, both of which play the characters. Since the projects inception the cast has grown as they have added friends and other characters into their story.
“Once we gave them identity, their story began to unfold. They met through random circumstance and their love for each other is literally blind. They exemplify a fairy tale of what would be like to fall in love with the right person…just because.
Horace and Agnes, along with their friends, are inspired by people and stories from our past and present. Sometimes by family members and sometimes by strangers we have encountered. The photographs are memories brought to life once again- recreated with as much detail possible to make the viewer become immersed in this magical and unique world.”
Opening on September 25th, this photo series will be on view at the Griffin Museum at SoWa in Boston.
(Excerpt from Source)
MASS Gallery in Austin, Texas recently opened its newest exhibition, Exquisite Corpse. The group curated by Beautiful/Deay’s founder Amir H. Fallah features a myriad of artists, with many that we’ve featured in Beautiful/Decay publications and on our site: Dan Attoe, Jay Davis, Bill Donovan, Austin Eddy, Amir H. Fallah, Chie Fueki, Joshua Hagler, Adam D. Miller, Kymia Nawabi, Christopher Pate, Max Presniell, Colette Robbins, Maja Ruznic, Tom Sanford, Alfred Steiner, Michael Shaw, and Dani Tull. In their own way, each artist explores the body and what it means to be human in the modern world.
Exquisite Corpse refers to the collaborative game whose origins are rooted among the Dadist writers as a poetic exercise and the Surrealist later turned into a drawing game. You might’ve played it before; when each person does their part well, it creates an alluring, sometimes grotesque body that was completely unexpected.
This exhibition brings together artists working in both Los Angeles and NYC. As MASS Gallery poetically describes:
A central problem of 21st century life is that the old, psychologically fortifying myths are fading. Philosophers and scientists have described us as wet robots and biological algorithms, which is perhaps an intentionally shocking way to describe humanity, but these descriptions also seems to get close to a dangerous truth that contains a kernel of abject horror. It is the artist’s job to create psychologically coherent images which look forward. It is now a matter of viewpoint whether, when it is all said and done, you are a dead body or an Exquisite Corpse.
In addition to the show, the gallery also produced a full-color catalog that showcases all of the work and an essay by Bill Donovan. The limited-edition, 102 page publication features a beautiful spot UV with fluorescent cover. If you can’t make it to Austin for the show (it’s up until October 25), then the inexpensive-yet-high-quality catalog is totally worth it.
More work by the featured artists as well as sample spreads from the publication after the jump.
Raffaello Ossola vibrant dramatism and invented landscapes create an exciting space for the viewer to explore and ponder. Each one offers an opportunity to imagine yourself in his universe, wandering through mazes or floating around trees. Although Ossola takes liberties with his compositions, ultimately they retain the verticality/gravity that we are familiar with. Where he leaves the laws of our world more readily are in his pools. They seem to be reflecting a cloud, moon, or other objects in the sky, but the eye reads it more as if the elements mentioned are situated in an environment within the water. The surface of the water appears more like a penetrable glass casing than a body unto itself. It’s mesmerizing to see.
Though most of his paintings don’t contain living creatures, occasionally Ossola will include a part of or even a whole figure, bug, or animal. His ability to render invented landscapes is more convincing than these living subjects, but it’s an interesting attempt. Sometimes the living creatures break the illusion of the scene, and they tend not to engage with the environment in a very natural way. On the other hand, these environments are very barren to begin with, and it may be for this reason that living creatures appear foreign or perturbing in some way. I enjoy the idea of seeing a person trying to scramble up the side of a tilting pool or interacting with the glassy water. I know also, though, that it might set stricter boundaries for my own imagination and experience of the paintings.
Visit his website to see his more recent maze paintings. (Via Melt)
Photographer Julieanne Kost‘s latest project takes a look at the Salt Lakes south of San Fransisco. Treating her photographs as abstract paintings, she chooses a very specific angle of the landscape to focus on. With the emphasis on the graphic nature of the lakes, they become something entirely otherworldly. Sky becomes water, the horizon is in the wrong place, power lines seem to float in mid air, clouds appear unexpectedly, and the colors are all wrong. That being said, these images are the result of something even more surprising – the intense shades are all a part of the salt evaporation process. The ponds can range in color from a rich navy blue to a luscious magenta, and are due to the salinity levels of the water and the micro organisms that live in each pond.
Kost is heavily involved in Photoshop and other Adode photo enhancing programs (and is also the publisher of the Daily Photoshop and Lightroom Tip), but has for a long time had an eye for interesting landscapes and their natural patterns.
In her work, Julieanne combines a passion for photography, a mastery of digital imaging techniques and knowledge gained from a degree in psychology, in order to construct a world similar enough to appear familiar, yet obviously an interpretation of the physical reality that surrounds us.
She wants her images to be abstract enough to allow viewers room for their own interpretation – to inject images from their own dreams into her snapshots. And she is able to do just that – turning a familiar type of landscape (albeit a very interesting process that is happening there) into something that looks like it is an image sent back to Earth from Rover exploring the surface of Mars.
(Via This Is Colossal)