Young-Deok Seo uses the human figure as the core of his work, though material is an ever present, and surprisingly inventive, concern. Using bought and discarded bicycle chains, the young South Korean artist spends months constructing and welding his pieces, with larger pieces taking even longer. Although the majority of his intricate constructions are manifested through the human form, there is an ever-present emotional quality present, oftentimes that of hurt and loss. While some figures physiques are the pinnacle of human perfection, others are faceless, in positions of mourning, or shattered upon the gallery floor. The viewer can easily make the assumption that the links Seo uses go past material and into metaphor, connecting chains to our manufactured, and fractured, world.
The artist explains, “We get to deal with lots of relationships in our fiercely competitive society. And from those relationships, we get desire for materials.To portray the mankind as a being which are bound to many things around them, I use the material that is also bound and also connected to each other….material restrict and choke each other.Modern people’s addiction to the material can be stood up as a main theme, in this way.” (via myampgoesto11)
During the summer, Milwaukee-based fiber artist Molly Evans began to rise early in the morning, on the hunt for discarded furniture to embroider with lyrics from Lionel Richie songs. Dubbed “#LionelStitchie,” her project first began when she set out to entertain a grumpy neighbor by transforming their abandoned, seemingly unlovable couch into something more lovable. She has since embroidered many discarded pieces with these love lyrics, giving a voice to unwanted domestic objects.
‘These bulky discards were the remains of university graduates moving on to new chapters, of families starting over with fresh styles, and of people letting go of emotional attachments to tired possessions. I identified with this process of reestablishment and sought to call attention to this important narrative in progress all around the city,’ Molly explains.(via ignant)
This picture of Morgan Freeman is not a photograph. It’s actually a hyperrealistic digital painting by Kyle Lambert. Using an iPad, the app Procreate, and over 285,000 brush strokes, the artist recreated a picture of the actor (the original photograph is by Scott Gries). The result makes you do a double and then triple take. Lambert’s painting is nearly identical to its source. The entire thing took over 200 hours, and he created a four minute time-lapse video that details the process.
Touted as “The World’s Most Realistic Finger Painting,” Lambert approaches the construction of his piece in a traditional way. He prepares a solid ground to paint on and works in layers, building up volume and texture. He refines details with each stroke. Just when you think the portrait is nearly done, Lambert continues to add highlights and details to the tiny hairs in Freeman’s beard. Here, the his fingerprint works to his advantage, as he uses light pressure to make subtle, light strokes.
There’s no denying that technology has changed painting. With apps like Procreate and the ease of holding an iPad, it’s possible to create something like Lambert did with enough practice and skill. You don’t necessarily have to know hold a paintbrush, or have knowledge of traditional methods of painting. You just need to know how to use the program. Working digitally gives an artist the chance to zoom into their piece, adding fine details that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It’s also very forgiving. Instead of having to cover up part of a painting with more paint, they can simply undo their last moves. Whereas a covering up an oil painting will show some evidence of what’s beneath, in a digital work, no one is the wiser. (Via Twisted Sifter)
Crystal Wagner’s installations are a combination of printmaking, cut paper, and cheap, dollar store objects. Her work has a very organic feel to it, as if we are about to walk through a luscious forest or happen upon a moss patch. This isn’t surprising, as Wagner has spent a lot of time immersed in nature, spending extended periods in Yellowstone National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. The large, site specific works convey the awe-inspiring beauty we experience in places like Old Faithful.
Using items like police caution tape, chicken wire and table cloths, the artist crafts multi-layered and complex forms that occupy walls, floors, and everyday spaces. I’m reminded of green wall technology, in which moss grows decoratively on walls and gardens. It is not only good for the environment, but visually dazzles. This is much like Wagner’s work, which uses what already exists in our world to create a calming, tranquil environment.
Wagner has a formal education in printmaking, and this training works to her advantage. She is able to refine her installations by adding intricate prints of forms that look like vines and petals. It contrasts nicely with her construction, which focuses more on structure and building volume. These are the heart of Wagner’s installation, and tell us the most about the essence of her work.
Photographer Vincent Dixon and the Mimi Foundation ( a non-profit that helps cancer patients to deal with their condition), join forces to produce ‘If only for a Second’, a poignant book-project that includes the portraits of 20 cancer patients under a positive light.
The participating men and women were asked to keep their eyes closed during their makeover, a step that they weren’t really aware of; they thought it was just procedure for the photo-shoot. They were not expecting to see what they saw later.
The last step of the process entailed the 20 cancer patients and a mirror (a two-way mirror which was hiding photographer Vincent Dixon behind it).
They were asked to open their eyes to see themselves. The surprise they got from the hilarious makeovers clearly shows on their faces- Dixon, behind the mirror, took photographs of their first reaction- a moment of joy, amusement and surprise.
London photographer Juno Calypso’s self portraits as her alter ego “Joyce” are hilariously deadpan images of the artist as bored receptionist, unenthusiastic sexy girl in a cake, porno modeling agent, and deranged housewife looking for the next beauty miracle. The meticulously staged retro scenes are created perfectly with the artist posing with her signature blank stare that says “My life is exhausting and void of joy.” The result is an unsettling take on the extreme efforts that women go through to be everything from homemaker to career woman and the draining effects that it produces. (via feature shoot)
Calypso states about her work:
“ I recently began working with self-portraiture, which led to the creation of a character named Joyce. Within elaborately staged large format photographs and videos I draw upon personal experience to perform critical studies into modern rituals of beauty and seduction. We find Joyce alone, consumed by artifice – trapped inside pastel-coloured encounters with beauty masks, cream cakes and polyester negligee; her glazed appearance acting as a mirror to the exhaustion felt whilst bearing the dead weight of constructed femininity.”
Artist Kate MacDowell uses porcelain clay to craft her nature-inspired works. MacDowell’s works are realistically sculpted and meticulous. Hollowing out a solid form and building each piece leaf by leaf and feather by feather, she intimately involves herself with the process of building. The works themselves are beautiful, ghostly white and evoke a very serene feeling. Upon a closer examination, however, things aren’t quite right. A large bird has human hands instead of its normal claws, and an apple has a tiny skull inside of it. Mice have ears on their backs. MacDwell explains in a statement, writing:
In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats. In each case the union between man and nature is shown to be one of friction and discomfort with the disturbing implication that we too are vulnerable to being victimized by our destructive practices.
The careful construction and fragility of material MacDowell has chosen coincides conceptually with her work.
Premiere website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay team up each week to bring you some of the best contemporary artists and designers using Made With Color to build their sleek websites. Website builder Made With Color helps artists create well-designed and mobile/tablet responsive websites in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This week we are pleased to present the work of Mark Francis Williams.
The powerful black and white monoprints of Romanian artist Mark Francis Williams look like eroding ghost-like portraits of ancestors who passed many decades ago. In a constant flux between abstraction and representation, the haunting figures appear and disappear over and over again like a distant memory that you can’t quite put together but also can’t forget.
About his work Williams states:
My work explores states of impermanence and the resulting aesthetic. It is a response to the experience of living in Bucharest – a city of disparities and contrasts.
Across this city, I am unnerved by the pugnaciously glossy, newly erected shopping malls rising phoenix like, offering a hyper-real, super-beautiful sense of order that conveys certainty, purpose and fixedness. It is a vacuous grandeur that leaves no space for error. The unintentional consequence of such artificial splendor is to highlight the true soul and charm of the city. One where buildings crumble, facades crack and deterioration is pervasive. Due to Bucharest’s close location to a major earthquake fault line a further sense of impending ruin permeates. Red warning dots on exteriors signify the approaching collapse of unstable buildings.
It is in this opposing fragile state that I find the city at its most authentic and most alluring. The environmental decline presents a natural orderliness, a passing self-organisation that quietly exhibits the inevitability of the life cycle. These are the qualities that I value and connect with and the platform I use as a investigative focus for my work.
Rather than recreate, emulate or photograph eroding materials, I choose to use faces and figures as a story telling vehicle. The human portrait is accessible and connects immediately with a viewer. It is a device I use to examine the correlation between man and his habitat, between changes in state and concepts of beauty.