Fantich & Young is the creative partnership of artists Mariana Fantich and Dominic Young, who have been working together since 2008. In their series Apex Predator (meaning a predator with no predator of their own), they imagine the world’s toughest animal, and attempt to dress it. They created a suit and two pairs of shoes using natural materials that the Apex Predator could have gathered from his prey; a grotesque but awesome display of power. The suit is covered with human hair, with glass eyes and small bones for buttons. The collar is lined with dentures. The artists created two pairs of shoes to match the suit: oxfords and high heels, both lined with dentures (the thought of standing on teeth gives me goosebumps!!). This is a true power suit, designed for the cold-blooded animal who has fought their way to the very top of the food chain. The fact that this suit is designed to fit the human form is a clear indication of who the artists think that animal is…
“The Fat-Fat Club” is a hysterically childish new book by designer Aude Debout, who has a certain knack for combining images to create something ridiculous. This book imagines how the most gluttonous people see the world; people’s heads are hot dogs, buildings turn into overflowing desserts. In addition to the surreal content of this book, Debout definitely has an eye for the grid lines in compositions; knowing exactly where and how to combine these photographs. The layout of the book also shows Debout’s understanding of the medium she’s working with, as two separate, unrelated pages come together to form one cohesive new image.
Taxidermy is a subject that frequently makes people squeamish and uncomfortable, and there is something definitely something surreal about preserving an animal that has died. Idiots are a Dutch art collective who combine their skills in sculpture and design create taxidermy works of art that are both playful and disturbing. The animals are lifelike and dynamic, but often with their bodies torn apart, stuffed into glass containers, or trapped in unnatural positions. Their sculptures often exhibit the animals inner workings, and replace organs with metals, minerals, or jewels. The beauty contained inside the animals makes their lifelessness even more tragic, and indicates that the artists recognize the morbidity in their own work.
For most people, flowers and distortion pedals have little in common. But for contemporary floral artist Azuma Makato, the two work together in harmony. For his project Distortion x Flowers, the Tokyo-based artist worked with artistic partner Shiinoki Shunsuke to capture photos of these distortion pedals entwined with flowers.. He matches the colors of the pedals with flowers, but also matches them based on illustrating each pedal’s sound: brash, soft, full, or bright. He and his musicians then plugged guitars and performed electric music made of loops and feedback, ultimately destroying the beautiful serenity he had created. In his project statement, Makato describes the temporary nature of both sound and flowers:
“One might not see the similarity in flowers and music. However, rock or classic, or whatever the genre may be, music is the combining of momentary sounds. The process of creating music never stops to stay in one form, but is constantly appearing and disappearing, just as flowers blossom beautifully and yet wither away in time. So, flowers are like music, and music is like flowers.”
When you first look at the paintings by the Miaz brothers, it doesn’t seem like there is much to see. A blurry collection of colors forming an incoherent image. Everything seems far away and out of focus. But something draws you to look closer, perhaps the fact that you can’t immediately comprehend the paintings when you see them. Their lack of detail demands additional attention, and you find yourself scanning them again and again as you put together the larger picture. Colors and patterns begin to stand out, and details slowly emerge. That demand for closer inspection draws you in, and makes you closely examine a painting, that at first glance, seems almost empty.
Taizo Yamamoto‘s shopping carts are familiar images we’ve all seen before. Crammed into alleyways or left abandoned in the streets, these shopping carts are part of the scenery of a city. Yamamoto uses graphite and colored pencils to illustrate the carts in great detail, highlighting their contents and the strange collections contained within. By choosing to exclude the people who use these carts, Yamamato is bringing all the focus to the carts themselves. There’s a sense of an anthropological study here, like these carts and the collections they contain are specimen meant to be studied.
In French photographer Fred Lebain‘s series “Spring in New York”, the artist visited various sites around New York City, photographed them, and then returned to these sites with a large-scale print of his photographs. By lining the landscape and the photo up perfectly, he creates a cheeky illusion which is often given away by a corner of the poster curling up, or the print shifting in the wind. Turning the 3-D world into a 2-D image brings light to the incredible amount of detail in each composition, and to the fact that recreating these scenes perfectly is impossible, especially in a landscape as dynamic as New York City. Lebain also reminds us that our surroundings are temporary and ever-changing, as minute details between his photographs and their surroundings indicate. By the time Lebain has printed his image, the landscape has already changed. Each moment in life is unique and will never happen exactly the same way again. His work is also reminiscent of another urban camoflague master – Liu Bolin, a Bejing artist who paints himself into his surroundings, rendering his body almost completely invisible.
Lorena Garcia Mateu has created a series of stunning portraits of young women, but almost all of them have their faces obscured. Mateu’s warm colors and thick paint strokes create a soft ambience to his paintings, without hard lines or defined edges. But in these beautiful, soft settings, his figures are twisted and mutated, with obstructions growing out of their faces. The obstructions themselves are organic and natural things, like coral or flowers, but are growing in unnatural places. These figures leave the viewer wondering: are we supposed to find these images beautiful or horrifying? Are these harmonious mixtures of women and the natural world, or monsters?