What looks like a beautiful abstract watercolor painting is something else entirely. Cheeky artist Ross Sonnenberg lets out his inner wild child and lights fireworks in his darkroom to create these intensely colorful one-off photograms. Using photographic paper, gel, sand and light, he sets up the experiment and lets chance take it’s effect on the paper. Interestingly enough, the images he creates resemble galaxies, or close up views of our solar system. Full of different layers and textures, his work definitely looks celestial, and featuring a big bang of some kind. Sonnenberg writes:
I have always been fascinated by the planets and stars, looking through telescopes and wondering what these far off places might look like. With this series I have tried to create imaginary solar systems and super novas using different materials, and fireworks for my light source to make one-of-a-kind camera less images directly onto color and black and white photographic paper. Like the darkness in outer space, I work in the dark to create images that mimic the interstellar places that I always dreamed about going to as a kid. (Source)
His past two series featured the experiment on different scales – Color Bang features the technique on a smaller scale, using pieces that are quite small, and Long Bang involves using larger pieces of paper and stronger fireworks. Have a look at his technique in the video above, and if you are feeling bold, you could try it for yourself.
Psychologically dark and a bit grotesque, the watercolors of Montreal based artist Tammy Salzl are meant to be like beautiful parasites. She wants the images of scared children, fragile adults or lonely humans to disturb viewers at first, then slowly over time, delight them with their unique beauty. These emotional studies have evolved from Salzl’s earlier work where she placed the disturbed characters based on Grimm fairy tales in lush, busy backgrounds. Wanting to isolate the figure to exaggerate their state of mind, she has cleared the background and focused on the complexities of skin and the different emotions it can express.
I want the flesh I paint to make a connection between the material of paint and the material of the body, to reflect not only a psychological makeup but to suggest an ‘objectness’ of the body – a medium that is vulnerable to the stresses of life. I want the flesh I make to embody the human condition. (Source)
The figures in Salzl’s art are all suffering from some kind of conflict or anguish. She says she is most interested in expressing the psychological and emotional aspects of human nature, and does it in a personal way rather than in a cliched, way about our society as a whole.
I use allegory and metaphor to to express my particular anxieties and what I perceive to be a generalized psychosis in society. Instead of portraying dead Afghanistan civilians or animals that are going extinct at exponential rates, I paint people with gnarled, anguished flesh and and haunted faces that place them in conflicting settings that are familiar yet foreign. (Source)
Brooklyn based artist Scott Albrecht has a new show opening this coming Friday July 3rd at Andenken Gallery in Amsterdam. Called Here And Now, it is an exploration of themes central to his work: time, inter-connectivity, perception, and consciousness. Albrecht has a holistic approach to his practice – working out different techniques and approaches to the same subjects. He uses a multitude of materials, but they are all definitely from the same collection, and have the same optimistic message: to appreciate life as it is and to live in the moment. He wants us perhaps, to sharpen our awareness of the moment.
The exhibition includes spiritual mottos inscribed on paper: “That brief moment when we forget where we are” “A moment in time”, “All things change”; psychedelic multi-textured star bursts assembled and collaged from paper, and carefully constructed wooden displays filled with philosophical musings.
Nostalgic and romantic, his work has titles that will pull at your heart strings: The Spark, The Visionary, Leaf Life Span, Adventurer, Easy Goer. They seem like personal tarot cards or affirmations for Albrecht. He explains the symbolism behind the leaves, hands and eyes in his work:
The hands are meant to be representative of personalities or character traits. I like using the hand as a canvas with the idea that you can be defined by your actions, and the hands are symbolic to helping facilitate those actions. The eyes are similar but represent observing individual situations. Here the focus is on the idea of those pivotal moments that we’ve all encountered. It’s also about being slightly more aware in your day to day. (Source)
Brooklyn based painter Alexandra Rubinstein‘s paintings of women in orgasmic moments are beautiful, sensuous and a little bit kitsch. Reminiscent of some over-the-top romance novel illustrations, her paintings are full of women with blue eyeshadow, novel earrings and big hair – kissing, moaning, or caught in the moment of climax. Even though they are a little bit 80s, her paintings focus on an important, modern day feminist issue – the women’s perspective during the act of sex. The series Looking for Mr Goodsex is a series of small sexy vignettes inspired by vintage porn films, in particular the well known ‘Deep Throat’ movie.
The artist explains more about her work:
Inspired by the title of the 1985 movie, they highlight the shots taken of women’s faces – which are less emphasized in contemporary videos. This disparity questions progression in sexuality and value placed on female pleasure as pornography became more accessible and mainstream. The portraits also explore the emotional states of the women in these films. (Source)
While they seem at first to be quite superficial, cheesy and perverse, Rubinstein’s paintings are a celebration of coitus. She has managed to capture moments of tenderness and enjoyment, even though the source from which they come from is something that usually isn’t so sentimental.
While the styling and acting portray a romanticized version of reality, the faces suggest more honest emotions like vulnerability and withdrawal – left up for interpretation of the viewer. The series evolved into stills of male faces, as well as kissing stills. (Source)
Looking for eye catching bike helmets might soon be a thing of the past if digital designer Jyo John Mulloor has anything to do with it. He has been experimenting with different ways to capture people’s attention on the roads, and has designed a set of four surreal looking helmets. While they are not yet available to purchase, or even more than digital prototypes, they are still an amusing idea, and a lighthearted approach to the serious issue of road safety.
One version comes complete with a man’s ears on the side, looking like a weird detachable scalp. Another has a pair of old-fashioned aviator goggles stretched over the top as if the wearer could pull them down while zooming down the road. The combination of the striking high resolution images with some serious head protection, Mulloor’s helmets are sure to be a crowd pleaser. And would no doubt make motorists more aware of the person inside of them. (Via Design Boom)
I’m sure most of us have a love of chocolate and confectionery – sometimes indulging ourselves a little, and sometimes we binge, purge and gorge our way to diabetes with the sweet stuff. Embroidery artist Charlotte Bailey of Hanging By A Thread has taken her obsession to a healthier place. Instead of eating the chocolate and candy bars, she has been reworking the logos and house hold brand names of the sweets with colorful, eye-catching embroidery thread. Bailey ever-so-slightly changes the wording of the labels to allude to the darker side of the confectionery industry.
Hershey’s is now changed to Hurtey’s; Milky Bar to Guilty Bar; Oreo to Ohno; Cadbury to Calories. The embroidered pieces are loaded with emotionally charged messages that remind us of the seriousness of an eating disorder. Bailey taps into the thought processes that pass through people’s heads when thinking of buying their next candy fix.
She points out the scary subtext that is always there with any kind of confectionery, or actually with any commodity that is superfluous to our needs. We are always being told to buy more; need more. Whether it’s the style of the attractive packaging and optimistic-looking font, or the level of sugar content in the product, we are always left wanting more.
And if you want more of Bailey’s clever designs, the collection of embroideries are on display at Menier Gallery in London from 28th July – 2nd August 2015.
Using up to 30,000 volts of electricity, artist Dries Ketels tries to capture a quality usually unseen in most portraits. His latest series, called Our Souls Captured in the Electromagnetic Field is an exploration of the human condition. He says by using a unique combination of different chemicals, painting materials and electricity, he is able to capture something more about his subjects. He wants to go deeper into their psyche, and to reveal something about people that is usually unseen. In the process he has come up with some pretty striking images.
He raises some pretty interesting questions while trying to reveal the working of our inner selves:
What is this soul or this character of an individual other than a bunch of electromagnetic interactions in the brain of that individual? What is the most important thing that a portrait should grasp? Are our actions, that define us as a human being, more than electromagnetic interactions? (Dries Ketels)
Ketels also makes the connection in his images between the patterns formed from the lightning and veins in the body, or synapses in the brain. He links the macro-world to the micro-world; the external universe to our internal one. The young artist is interested in new, exciting and innovative methods and ideas:
For a few of my series around realism I leave the traditional realism behind and present the reality of realism. One of the most important attitudes that helped me developing a relaity of realism and becoming what I am is the simple act of going left when everybody else is going right. It’s the only way to discover the new and push the boundaries forward. (Source)
To see more of his boundary pushing art, see here.
A most fascinating thing has been found in Kazakhstan, Russia, by urban explorer Ralph Mirebs: the decaying shell of a space shuttle. The long-abandoned air craft was a part of a project called the Buran program. Launched in 1974 as part of the on-going international space race, this pet project of the Soviet Union was one of the largest and most expensive space exploration programs.
‘Buran’ is Russian for ‘snowstorm’ or ‘blizzard’ and a few prototypes of the shuttle were built (from plans stolen from NASA), but only one actually flew. Tens of millions of dollars were invested in this particular program, so it is such a shame to find the shuttle in such a demolished and forgotten state. Mirebs discovered this particular air craft in an old hangar that is still used by Russia today. It is located on a site called the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and is a launch pad for shuttles to reach the International Space Station.
This hangar is gigantic – at 433 feet long and 203 feet high, it has massive sliding doors on either end to let the shuttles out. Containing heavy duty cranes that can lift up to 400 tons, the building in itself is an incredible sight. Full of peeling paint, rusting beams and steel that can withstand shock waves from an explosion, the hangar is a piece of architecture that should be preserved.
Hopefully along with the publication of Mirebs’ photographs of this incredible discovery, someone will realize these historical artifacts need to be restored or at least protected from further decay and damage. Be sure to check out the amazing footage of the one and only shuttle launch in 1988 after the jump. (Via Bored Panda)