Frieke Janssens’ dramatic photographs of kids smoking stopped me dead in my tracks as I was going through various projects on the talented Belgian Photographers website. Here is more on the project in her own words.
“A YouTube video of a chain smoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, “Smoking Kids”. The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity. Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer’s focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act. Coincidentally around the time of the “Smoking Kids” gallery opening, a law was passed, and smoking has been banned from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of “Mad Men,” when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of “Smoking Kids,” – Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal – there is a nod to less attractive aspects, on the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking.To assure you of the safety of the children, there were no real cigarettes on set. Instead, chalk and sticks of cheese were the prop stand ins, while candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke.”
Watch a video of the photo shoot after the jump and let us know what you think about this series.
A beautiful of collection of mixed media illustrations by Jacob Escobedo including a bunch of artworks for The Shins as well as six illustrations for the June Science Fiction issue of The New Yorker that illustrated Ray Bradbury’s last published story. The New Yorker issue was released one day before Bradbury’s death.
While his street art pseudonym might not be the most creative (we’re guessing he uses his real name), the French artist simply known as Seth’s bold and colorful portraits of locals city dwellers painted in every continent is quite the creative endeavor. One of our favorite parts of Seth’s project is that he often times gets locals to pose next to murals. We’re not sure if the paintings are directly based the individuals posing in the photographs but they certainly do add a bit of extra charm and humor to the images. More images from China, India, Mexico, and everywhere else imaginable after the jump!
Lionel Bawden is an Australian artist working in sculpture, performance, installation and painting. Bawden’s core practice exploits hexagonal colored pencils as a sculptural material, reconfigured and carved into amorphous shapes, mining the material’s rich qualities of color, geometry and metaphor. Bawden explores themes of flux, transformation and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world, essential to the construction of identity. Bawden’s sculptural works harness landscape as a stand-in for the body, personal themes of desire, longing and interconnection become abstracted in a generative process to create form. Bawden’s recent paintings explore darker psychological states, grounded in an exploration of an ambivalent relationship between figure and landscape. These paintings mark a return to the figure after a sustained fascination with more oblique approaches to articulating aspects of the human condition.
Japanese designer Miharu Matsunaga has followed in the footsteps of polka dot queen Yayoi Kusama and covered everything with dots! for her college graduation project Miharu created an elaborate body of work using pattern that engulfs every surface from the human body to entire rooms . The result is a vibrating decorative surface that references everything from topographical maps to an ultra zoom of skin pores.(via)
Street artist EPOS 257 built himself a giant paint cannon and decided to liberate some billboards. This thing looks like it could cause a lot of damage and be a lot of fun. EPOS 257 says about this project “this is not an attack on a particular advert but billboard as a medium in general, which in this context represents a painter`s canvas in the urban landscape.” More paint cannon fun after the jump! (via)
Rebecca Morgan creates a collection of characters and types, a cross between Brueghel’s stylized peasants, R. Crumb’s winking harlots, “Deliverance”, and the inbred mutants of many a horror flick. Morgan takes her background in rural Appalachia as the point of origin for her personae – as they become uncultured tourists, or especially in her self-portraits, expatriate interlopers ambivalently negotiating their depiction. Morgan’s more exotic rednecks inhabit a rural America where people exist intimately and potently with the wilderness, a relationship which urbanites can only smirk at and envy. Nature is either wistfully idyllic – the idyl found in a margarine ad – or the scene of demonically perverse debauchery.
Morgan’s style fluctuates between hyper-detailed naturalism, reminiscent of Dutch painters such as Memling and Van Eyck, and cartoonish caricature, which pushes the imagery to a ridiculous, repulsive, even absurd dimension. Jagged teeth, furry brows, corpulent bodies symbolic of sloth and over-indulgence, and a general air of dirty unkeptness all exploit the demonization of the Appalachian. Internal traits come to the surface, and while Morgan exorcizes her country folk’s demons, ridicule mixes with pride and defiant celebration. In her alternately tender and aggressive depictions of herself, she bares all – a metaphoric exposure of her former rural character, or to prod the viewer to question their own position.
Amsterdam based Jasper de Beijer constructs detailed scale models and staged sets, which then create a specific and entirely made-up image. De Beijer’s work stems from a fascination with the pictorial and photographic information of foreign cultures and former historical periods. Each series is specifically inspired, but ends with photographs that are dreamlike and not quite real. De Beijer focuses on real cultures and events that are removed from his own personal experience, dealing with the character of information that is created by photography. The distance created between artist, viewer and subject matter is further built upon by De Beijers staging process to build a bridge from “there” to “here”.