Kathy Klein is a devout lover of plants, and she translates this admiration into a series of natural mandalas. They are called danmalas, which means “the giver of flowers” in vedic sanskrit. The colorful arrangements are comprised of different blooms, leaves, and even some vegetables such as peppers. She layers a variety of textures and shapes into circular patterns that converge in the center.
Klein describes how she crafts these pieces, and it’s about around being in the right state of mind. First, she situates herself in a meditative devotional space. Next, she gathers flowers and other natural objects while her mind continues to be still. She finds inspiration from the golden sound that resides in silence. “These offerings are reflections of the inexpressible, a gesture which points towards life’s abundance, an unspoken verse of Love,” Klein writes. “The danmalas remind us all to listen to the unheard voice of nature, creation, and the eternal mystery.”
If you too are a plant lover (or mandala lover), Klein has many, many more danmalas on her website. (Via Faith is Torment)
Photographer David Emmite snaps pictures of a different kind of still life. A plate of spaghetti and meatballs is supplemented with yarn and knitting needles; a thick steak is cut directly from the flesh of a table, finely marbled by wood grain.
Emmite’s whimsical take on classic everyday objects in his series “Pot Luck Dinner” seems to occur entirely within the confines of a dollhouse neighborhood. There’s a playful sense of imagination that permeates all his photographs, especially his TV dioramas. Tiny green army men burst out of a handheld television set, literally breaking the fourth wall. A retro TV houses a floating model of the starship Enterprise, recalling the nostalgic days when model-building was a widespread hobby.
The sense of nostalgia is not misplaced; according to Emmite’s artist’s biography, his interest in tinkering and bringing playtime to life started from an early age. Fortunately, he didn’t leave his imagination in the past, instead choosing to stage miniature scenes and bring them to life. (h/t Behance)
These majestic, bird’s eye view images are of the remote Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces located in China’s Yunnan province. Small bodies of water are punctuated by the bold lines that create the terraces, and they signify the harmony of man and nature. Their brilliant colors and complex designs give them the appearance of abstract paintings rather than natural splendor.
The 1,300-year-old terraces cover 461 square kilometers, and are said to display the best-developed in three valleys. And although it’s hard to tell from these photos, they cascade from a summit of 2,000 meters above sea level to the base of the Ailao mountain range.
From late April to late September, the Hani people grow red rice. The water from brooks, springs, and rain is collected by forests and distributed through the gravitational system. This accounts for the vibrant grounds we see here. (Via China Discovery Blog and Dana Boulos)
Designer Nickolay Lamm has designed a “Normal Barbie,” who has the same body issues as “regular” people. This doll, called Lammily, comes with stickers to show acne, tattoos, stretch marks, and other imperfections that make us (and her) human. Now, before you rush out and buy one for every child in your life, it’s probable this design is tongue-in-cheek, and questionable how much kids will enjoy it at first.
However, it is a good barometer to measure ourselves against. Barbie- the old school Barbie I had growing up- embodies the idea of perfection, one that is fed to children at a very young age and subconsciously produces vast feelings of inadequacy and the idea that woman should measure up to specific proportions, proportions that aren’t even attainable. Everyone knows that Barbie’s curves cannot exist on a real human’s body. So why do we form her that way? What role models are we giving our children and what does that say about our society? Food for thought.
Here is some more about Lammily:
“A sticker pack that comes with the doll allows kids to apply all the sorts of skin imperfections that real people have, teaching kids that they don’t have to aspire to or value the unrealistic body images promoted by Barbie or Ken dolls. And, judging by the reactions of the 2nd-graders Lamm showed his doll to, the message has been received with open arms!”
One of our best and zaniest magazine covers (which is saying something!) was designed by French illustrator Skwak, exclusively for B/D Issue J. We profiled Skwak for that issue, and we interviewed him again when he collaborated with the Mr. Chiizu crew. He described the genesis of the crazed creatures he features:
“My maniacs are born to pollution. They have since evolved and created a world with its own rules and codes, all based on the absurd and the idea of “excess”. Every day, new maniacs enter this world and make it evolve. This world is becoming more dense, more rich everyday.”
You can get this totally radical Skwak B/D cover print now in our newly relaunched shop. Hungry for more of Skwak’s style, just like we are? Well whet your art appetite with his Feed Me print, a beautifully tangled composition of hungry creatures, weaving in and out of one another as they eat everything in sight. Take some critters home with you today!
On the lookout for cool art gifts for friends and family? We’ve got a big holiday sale on all of our posters, books and magazines. Now you can find the work of Skwak and other talented artists at 15% off full price! re3Use the promo code “beautifulposters” during check out and instantly save 15% on everything on our shop!
Tully Arnot has a great sense of humor. His sculptures, installations and videos all have a subtle sarcasm to them, and are all a clever commentary on the man/machine connection, and the part technology plays in contemporary society. His latest sculpture in particular (Lonely Sculpture) is a amusing look at the current online dating app Tinder. Setting up a mechanical finger tapping mindlessly away at nothing, Arnot just places a mobile phone underneath the finger machine and proceeds to interact with other humans on the internet. Luke Letourneau sums it up perfectly in his essay about Arnot’s work:
[Lonely Sculpture] is a piece of technology that reflects the way we interact. Dating apps like Tinder are an aspect of socialization that allows for isolation: it reduces identity and demands judgement. The work heightens an absence or disconnect that already exists with this form of interaction. However, Lonely Sculpture does not reserve judgement. The artist’s mechanized silicone index finger taps yes to every dating profile that appears on the screen, even when the screen is loading new profiles the finger keeps unconsciously tapping, anticipating, longing. (Source)
Lonely Sculpture is not the only display of Arnot’s cynical sense of humor. As part of a larger show at Wellington Street Projects called Uncanny Residues, it is one of many pieces. All are concerned with the line between reality and the digital world, humans and technology, and how we interact and utilize different interfaces. Tuley definitely gives us something to think about next time we reach our fingers out to touch the screen.
French muralist Seth Globepainter paints large, expansive scenes of people on the cusp of going some place else. The fantastical compositions feature young men and women whose heads are often in the proverbial clouds. Their bodies are obscured and half-hidden in another mysterious dimension that’s as easy to access as lifting a curtain.
These murals read as dreamscapes where the surreal and impossible happens. Everything is beautiful, nothing appears to hurt, and the color of the rainbow surrounds us wherever we go.
With their backs and side turned away from the viewer, it’s clear that Globepainter’s characters aren’t concerned about us. They’d rather make it to their next big adventure, or at least find out what’s behind that curtain. This creates a lot of intrigue, and we are founding asking questions about where they are going or what they’re leaving behind.
Notoriously awe-inspiring Japanese pop artist Keiichi Tanaami has featured some spectacular new works in his show Cherry Blossoms Falling In The Evening Gloom. Since 2010, Tanaami has focused his energy toward the creation of large scale paintings focusing on prominent elements of his childhood, living in wartime Japan. The comic-like characterization of bombs, Mickey Mouse, and war planes, spin together his chaotic dreamscapes, full of hypnotic colors, patterns, and a nearly mirage-like quality.
An excerpt from the exhibition, at Nanzuka Gallery in Tokyo, details the symbolic elements within his work:
“Glowing, grotesque creatures personify bombs and the light of their explosions. Beams of emanating light are the searchlights of Japanese troops keeping watch for American bomber planes. The skeletal monsters that appear in his works represent war casualties, and at the same time function as figures of us, ourselves, who know no fear. A recurring character based on a motif that comes from Tanaami’s wartime memory of goldfish also frequently appears in his works, and is deeply connected to the sight of the light from the American bombs reflecting off of the scales of the goldfish his grandfather kept. Pine trees, seemingly pregnant with animal-like life forms, are based on hallucinations Tanaami witnessed when he nearly died from a pulmonary edema at age.” (Excerpt from Source)