Jose Romussi’s latest series #Anti-Serie is a visual depiction of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. The series is made up of a collection of fashion photographs which he has modified through the application of colorful embroidery. The colors in the photographs are clustered and tightly knit in order to create a textured layer which adds an aesthetically intriguing aspect to the primarily black and white photographs. The embroidery in this series is made up of abstract blocks of color and zig zags which give the series a more tribal touch.
The colors of the threads clash perfectly with the black and whites present in the photographs and give them a different meaning and even a sort of second life. His use of lines and geometrical shapes is somewhat reminiscent of the naïve art movement. Romussi aims to “give the image a new emotion, a new life, a new interpretation through embroidering”, and he does just that. He has taken a series of beautiful photographs and given them a new sort of meaning through embroidery. The original faces of the subjects in the photographs are entirely covered, which gives the thread a sort of mask-like property.
Romussi’s project is not only interesting from the visual perspective but also on a conceptual level in the sense that the ideas at the root of the project are connected to deeper debates about beauty and the personal aspects of defining such a concept. The idea that applying another layer to an otherwise finished product is interesting to examine from the perspectives of multimedia art and making meaning on a more personal level.
In 2001 I was in art school, trying to make sense of how one gets into shows, sells art, and gets press. It was a daunting task for my peers and me–none of us knew where to start. Running into the art world’s countless closed doors, however, became the inspiration behind creating Beautiful/Decay. My dream was to expose and support all the great art that I was finding by unknown, young artists. I wanted to celebrate these “underdogs” and give them the credit that they deserved.
It’s been almost a decade since then and our mission hasn’t changed. We still strive to shed light on work that is underrated and unknown. So in the spirit of Beautiful/Decay’s dedication to emerging art, we present to you our first annual edition of “The Underdogs.” Each year, we will open up the magazine to you, our readers, so that you can have a chance to participate in Beautiful/Decay. For this issue, we asked artists to interpret our theme, “The Underdogs,” as they saw fit. Some literally interpreted the theme, while others imagined the concept abstractly to create their works. With just under 100 slots, and over 500 submissions, figuring out who made the cut was anything but easy.
Some of the artists you may have heard of, and others have never been featured in print before. We selected our cover artist, Allison Schulnik, for her beautiful depictions of anonymous, unsung heroes. For all their tragedy and isolation, Schulnik gives form to the world’s “fools and rejects,” who in turn transcend the page to become icons in and of themselves. This process of transformation and redemption, of attaining the spotlight against all odds seemed the perfect concept in which to encase Book 3.
Get your copy of Book:3, the ultimate inspiration/resource of emerging art at the B/D Shop!
You can’t help but feel like you’re the last person on the face of the Earth when you look at the blurry, skewed and foreboding work by American photographer Todd Hido. Well known for his photographs of houses at night, Hido’s landscapes are categorically different from his best hits; instead of a voyeur, you’re the lost soul. Take the leap to see more. Hido captures that inner mood of the sometimes depressing and surreal landscape contained in the northern states. I can always feel nostalgic about cold weather and the pleasant variety of loneliness the winter brings. If you see that moment, forget the tripod mounted cam- shoot through the windshield and give photographic impressionism a try.
Photographer, film director, and international dilettante Ivan Cazzola takes photos of “models, artists, rock bands, cinema stars, gipsys and gangastars, posh ladyes, whores and transexuals”. His voyeuristic portraits are beautifully candid, subtly intimate, and just plain fresh. Almost reminds me of Diane Arbus, but more sexy and less creepy.
Ben Foster‘s sculptures almost appear to be comptuterized digital renderings at first glance. An industrial and natural artist, Foster creates these life-sized animal sculptures out of enamel-coated aluminum, often placing them in the natural environments that surround his New Zealand home. The sculptural form juxtaposed against the natural landscape has a stunning effect, appearing to be at once disparate and cohesive.
From his website, “Foster’s geometrical rendering is suggestive of the animal’s inherent connection to, and place within, the natural environment. Characteristically, it relies on the interplay of light and shadow and while the subject matter is ostensibly pastoral, the result is dramatic with the sculpture’s silhouette as commanding as the mountainous landscape it resembles.” (via colossal)
For 3 months of the year, Corey Arnold is a commercial fisherman. For the rest of the time he travels around Portland, Oregon and the surrounding areas photographing the wildlife in a very sincere and earnest way. Beginning his life at sea, he first worked as a deckhand on a crabbing vessel in Alaska in 1997, and from then started documenting his experiences in an on-going series called Fish-Work. In it, Arnold captures the lifestyle of the commercial fishing world, filled with images of men in neon colored rain jackets, bundles of ropes, dead bait, enormous waves, monstrous fish and hoards of birds.
In his new series though, he has concentrated just on animals and their personalities. The exhibition Wildlife is as unpretentious as it sounds. Arnold has been able to become quite intimate with his subjects, capturing bears, birds, seals, sharks, and moose all in a relaxed, natural state. Spliced with images, once again, from the fishing world, we get a good idea of how seamlessly Arnold fits into his environment. It seems the animals caught on camera don’t notice the presence of this human one bit. The artist reflects on his obsession with the wilderness and also his ability to go unnoticed within it:
I harbored a deep desire to be an animal living in nature and I didn’t have far to travel. The lush gully in my backyard, just out of sight beyond a thicket of poison oak, was home to coyotes, raccoons, possums, stray pets, snakes, lizards, rats and crawdads. Any bustling in the bushes was a potential mystery to unravel or a prey to stalk. I was a particularly curious child, an amateur wildlife tracker, behaviorist and hunter who often pressed the boundaries of human/wild animal proximity. (Source) (Via Super Sonic)
The work of Matthew Picton is something more than a map, even something more than a model city. He meticulously builds cities from paper. Each buildings wall is built from a strip of paper leaving its interior empty. In a way his three dimensional maps get at the personality of a city. Speaking about cartography Picton says,
“There is some intrinsic quality to cartography that goes beyond the scientific document – a beauty of form and detail, a record of past times and places, something that lives as a world in which imagination can flow; places to re-visit, places to re-imagine, a world to re-make itself in the imagination.” [via]
Several of his pieces depict cities before and after a natural disaster or war. The charred strips of paper mark burnt or crumbled buildings. Pockets of burnt paper seem more like injuries than a cold record of a past fact.
Photographer Maja Daniels is studying aging. Her photo series “Into Oblivion,” shows the raw and fragile lives of those living in an Alzheimer’s ward. Working in a geriatric unit in France, the Swedish photographer Daniels spent three years documenting life for the residents. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s were kept in a locked ward as a protective precaution due to their innate tendencies to wander and get lost.
“This series documents not only the day-to-day challenges in an often ignored sector, but also the wider implications of the growing populations of elderly in modern society as an increasing life span has coincided with the breakdown of the family unit. These aspects have caused a growing disregard for the elderly, swept aside by a commercially driven, youth-obsessed culture. As growing old and being dependent is more taboo than ever, the geriatric institution hides our elders away, safely out of sight.”
Children do not care for their parents as they once did, and national healthcare often fails to meet the needs of those who need it. Bringing the viewer into the heart of this lifestyle, Daniels is hoping to motivate us to view our own personal role within healthcare policy:
“While giving a vision about what living with Alzheimer’s in an institution might mean, I want to motivate people to think about current care policies and the effects it can have on somebody’s life. This project gives a rare insight to a part of the modern geriatric institution. It attempts to create a discussion about our institutionalized, modern way of living as well as the use of confinement as an aspect of care.”