As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Greta Rybus’ interview with Photographer Anton Kusters.
Anton Kusters is a Belgium-based photographer specializing in long-term projects. In 2011, he published his first photobook on the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime families, that he photographed for two years.
Tell us about your Yakuza project.
‘YAKUZA is a personal visual account of the life inside an inaccessible subculture: A traditional Japanese crime family that controls the streets of Kabukicho, in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. Through 10 months of negotiations with the Shinseikai, my brother Malik and I became one of the only Westerners ever to be granted this kind of access to the closed world of Japanese organized crime.
‘With a mix of photography, film, writing and graphic design, I try to share not only their complex relationship to Japanese society, but also the personal struggle of being forced to live in two different worlds at the same time; worlds that often have conflicting morals and values. It turns out not to be a simple black versus white relationship, but most definitely one with many, many, many shades of grey.’
Michael Bevilacqua current exhibit at Gering &Lopez Gallery in NYC showcases a single, monumental painting titled An Ideal For Living; a canvas that the artist has spent more than the past year painting. As with a number of Bevilacqua’s works, the title references a particular source of music, in this case the 1978 debut album by the post-punk rock band Joy Division. The band became an obsession for Bevilacqua, so much so that the painting grew along with his focus, consuming his attention and mirroring his state of mind. Each song, each lyric began taking on particular significance for Bevilacqua, who found many parallels to his own life and reflected his outlook on his surroundings. An Ideal For Living in fact created the rhythm of the artist’s life over the past year, further loosening his painting style and bringing about a series of work that he refers to as ‘the New Dis Order.’ Clearly diaristic in nature, the 30’ painting features an eclectic mix of color, text, visual styles and process. As rich as one would expect a yearlong work to be, the painting is also nuanced, with areas of sharpness and clarity layered upon washes of color and moody hues. Juxtaposed against this singular outpouring, other new works take a different approach, becoming extremely minimal and hauntingly symbolic, drained of color or highly textured.
It’s not everyday that we post about an exhibit in East Hampton, New York but our good pal Ryan Travis Christian has an exhibit of his gorgeous drawings at the premiere East Hampton contemporary art space HALSEY MCKAY GALLERY (run by talented painter Ryan Wallace). You may remember our feature spread on Ryan’s work in the now sold out Beautiful/Decay: What A Mess book with it’s mind bending patterned detail that flows back and forth between abstraction and representation.
Christian describes his show Something, Something, Black Something as being “about pulling it off or not. Like trying something new and failing or succeeding, or trying something old and failing or succeeding. It’s about losing functionality or becoming functional in a completely different fashion. It about garbage and glitz having equal rank. It’s like finding money on the ground or having a stranger slap the back of your neck as hard as possible while you are on a nature hike. It’s similar to an uphill tumbleweed. It’s like realizing a fourth of an idea, or almost remembering something you want to say. It’s like having a clear mind and vibrator eyes.”
Make sure to head over to HALSEY MCKAY between now and August 7th to catch Ryan’s show. If you’re stuck out west and still need your RTC fix you can see a great exhibit of work curated by Ryan over at Double Break Gallery in San Diego featuring works by over 120 artists (including yours truly).
We all need a bit of inspiration every once in a while. Whether you’re having a bad day in the studio or looking to add some art into your life the Beautiful/Decay Book series is the ultimate collection of art & design curated by us for you to enjoy. So get creative, get inspired, and join us in our mission to document, promote, and share the best creative minds from around the world. In other words join the cult of decay and subscribe now!
We’ve saved the best for last with our last series of photographs from our European travels with the folks at Canson and Royal Talens. Although we went to dozens of galleries, had a private after hours tour of the Louvre, and got to enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam- the best part of our trip was visiting the Royal Talens factory in Apeldoorn. Usually our interactions with art supplies happen in Blick and Utrecht art stores, so being able to see how all those magical art supplies gets made and packaged was a rare treat.
German artist Clemens Behr puts his everywhere. Whether it’s illegally installed on the streets, painted on the facade of a apartment complex, or hanging in a gallery his geometric assemblage works bring together a mix of cardboard, wood, metal, and paint to create images that effortlessly move between abstraction and representation.
We’ve put it off for as long as possible but you can now follow me and see all the awesome, random, and random stuff I photograph all day long. I can’t promise a few occasional shots of the adorable B/D mascot Mr.Baxter but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. What you can expect is lots of art, design, street art, studio visits and more. So jump on your phone, ipad, and any other Instagram compatible device and follow your favorite art publication at @beautifuldecayofficial !