Mandarin Duck (Aniko Koleshnikova) hand carves one-off book covers inspired by fantasy and supernatural stories. Using colorful polymer clays, the Latvian artist sculpts dragons, frogs, owls, leaves, beetles, skulls, roses, and vines. She adds crystals, Swarovskis, or resin details to her creations to accentuate the features, and engraves or indents different patterns into the surface of each cover. Each design is so intricately made and beautifully finished, you can see the amount of hours put into each piece.
Koleshnikova doesn’t only customize book covers – she also uses her carving skills making jewellery and decorative sculptures. She makes beads, pendants, earrings, and also cases for pocket mirrors and large vases. If you want to try it out for yourself, she has many tutorial videos on Youtube you can follow and learn from. Or you can visit her Etsy shop here. Furthermore, Mandarin Duck also takes custom orders if you would like your own personal journal covered. (Via Bored Panda)
The figures in Sarah Louise Davey‘s world are haunted, magical, nymph-like creatures who are both hard to look at, and delightful to see. She sculpts double headed woman-beasts who are tortured, but hopeful; disgusting but ethereal; grotesque, but innocent. Her work is a blend of aesthetics and emotions. By presenting us with these gruesome half-human half-monsters, Davey is essentially asking us to evaluate our own aesthetic measures – what do we consider beautiful and why?
Can a bald dwarf with saggy pig ears and forlorn eyes sprouting fungal forms still be attractive? We can definitely appreciate the craftsmanship of the object, and yes – somehow find ourselves wanting to look at it again and again. Davey says she also wants to question her own standards of beauty:
Through the vessel of the figure and materiality of clay, I create sculptural objects and installations to evoke intuitive, visceral responses informed by our subjective notions of physical image and societal norms. I question my own experiences of these through the various personalities that emerge with each hybrid portrait, as they are often an exaggerated mix of whimsical beauty and exaggerated macabre. (Source)
She herself calls her creation-beasts ‘feral’ and ‘beastly’ – yet she can see parts of herself and various personalities she can relate to within them. She is able to reflect on her own experiences through the broken brutes and we can see that while we are all human, we are all also part ugly, tortured animals.
At the heart of these works is the eternal push and pull of the spirit. The two-headed beast, the twin within, living just beneath the skin, sharing the shell and breathing life in through the cracks. They are psychic creatures blistered by hope and beaten with twinges of nostalgia. (Source)
Utah photojournalist Trevor Christensen‘s latest photographic project Nude Portraits is not what it sounds like. He has come up with a clever twist on the usual relationship between photographer and subject and the normal practices of taking photographs. Toying with the idea of himself being naked, taking photos of people fully clothed, Christensen was intrigued by the idea enough to follow it through. He started out by taking snaps of his girlfriend in the kitchen while in the buff, and had continuing doubts about the direction he was going in. Feeling as if it was unnatural, or definitely not normal for a photographer to work in a state of undress, he pursued the activity further to see just what he could capture on the other side of the lens.
By creating a memorable experience for his subjects, he is able to record a variety of reactions and emotions, revealed only in this unique set up. People range from laughing awkwardly, to averting their eyes, to being quietly stern, mildly bemused, or completely unfazed. His project has turned out to be a comprehensive and interesting study into different individual’s and societies’ attitudes toward nudity, personal space and the borders between public and private.
Throughout the process Christensen is exposed and vulnerable, but sees it as a necessary tool to ease the tension between artist and muse, and to level the playing field – where everyone is just as nervous as each other. In one case he enters the domestic space of Kendal, a gay Mormon man and what follows is indeed interesting. For Christensen, he is very confronted by this particular photo and worries he is taking advantage of some one who is too uncomfortable with the situation.
He says his main aim is to show people something they have seen or experienced before, and is worth seeing again. He wants his models to go back to that place they were in during the portrait and to feel those same things once more. Check out more images on his Instagram account, and an interview with him here.
A smart new campaign launched on Earth Day (April 22) in Hong Kong has ambitious plans aimed at changing the littering epidemic the city is facing. Called ‘The Face of Litter’ and developed by The Hong Kong Cleanup, in partnership with Ecozine and The Nature Conservancy, it is a multi-media attempt to curve people’s messy habits. Groups of scientists have targeted certain areas around the city, and with the help of DNA phenotyping and specialized software, an image of the litter culprit is developed. Then by considering the type of litter found, and where in the city, an even more accurate description of the person and their demographic can be developed. The faces of the guilty litterbugs are then displayed around the city, in different bus stops, on billboards and on social media.
By publicly shaming people who drop their rubbish, The Hong Kong Cleanup hopes to drastically change their citizen’s habits. China and Indonesia are among the top polluters around the world, and now many people are acting to change this sooner rather than later.
95 per cent of marine refuse in Hong Kong comes from local sources, with over 80 per cent originating from land-based activities. Additionally, more than 70 per cent comprises plastic and foam plastic items. (Source)
Lisa Christensen, Founder and CEO of The Hong Kong Cleanup, says:
We are thrilled to be part of this innovative campaign, which is sure to have a positive impact on people and the community. Last year, during the six-week Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge, 418 teams comprising 51,064 participants, collected a total of 3,894,000 kilograms of litter from city streets, coastal area’s and country trails. Sadly, we suffer from a serious ‘pick up after me’ mentality, and this simply must change. (Source)
Painting something like Lolita crossed with David Lynch crossed with a crude porn site, the works of Lisa Yuskavage seem to have people divided. Her luscious images of nude women and girls have been described as both vulgar and earnest, affectionate and alienating. She has developed a unique style that blends Renaissance techniques, landscapes, still lifes, cartoon-like figures, porn and religious iconography that both delights and disturbs viewers. Yuskavage’s world is full of innocent yet flirtatious vixens parading around in their undies and getting into mischief in meadows or apartments. Her characters seem a bit narcissistic, and self loving, and in some cases maybe even self loathing. Yet they are definitely interesting and magnetic; a commentary on the complexities of the modern woman and her sexuality.
Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Yuskavage explains her encounters with, and understandings of sexiness and power:
As a little girl, in Catholic school, they were the first feminists I met. It seems counterintuitive, but these women rejected the normal system of life. The ones that taught me were quite smart. When I came to my senses, I realized it would actually be awful for me to live that particular life. I guess I liked the idea of a calling, the intensity of it. (Source)
Works from the last 25 years of Yuskavage’s career is now on show at The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Be sure to visit and make up your own mind if you love or loathe her style and content. Her solo show Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood is on display from September 12 to December 13, 2015 at David Zwirner Gallery in NYC.
San Fransisco based chemist/artist Klari Reis hand paints a plexiglass petri dish every day in her latest project A Daily Dish. But it is not just superficial, decorative painting, Reis fills the actual form with different layers of epoxy polymers pigmented with oils, acrylics, powders, and dyes. Manipulating the transparency, opacity, color intensity, size and forms of the different elements, she produces mini abstract ‘paintings’. They are colorful, playful and optimistic-looking examples of how beautifully science and art can exist as one and the same.
And she doesn’t only make paintings within the individual dishes, but she also arranges her creations into impressive large scale wall installations. Using the color of the dishes to dictate her layout, Reis’ petri dish installations are a subtle and poetic reminder of how aesthetically pleasing the elements can be. Living next to many life science companies in San Fransisco, she allows this to benefit her work.
[She] takes advantage of this proximity to collaborate with local biomedical companies and thus receives inspiration from the cutting edge of biological techniques and discoveries; this context grounds her artwork and lets her authoritatively explore the increasingly fuzzy line between the technological and the natural. (Source)
Reis has created so many different petri dish paintings, make sure you check out all of them on her website, complete with amusing titles such as Companion Planting, Birthday Surprise, Interconnected Planetary March, Backstroke Drills and Emotion Explosion. Not only do they sound like the names of paint samples, but also a wonderfully experimental high school science experiment.
The ceramics of Jess Riva Cooper are gross, majestic, fragile and poetic. Her Viral Series is a collection of clay heads bursting with groups of insects, tree roots, branches, leaves, flowers, stems and buds. Mostly white with a heavy glaze, Cooper subtly decorates areas of her sculptures and adds accented color. The pieces show a beautiful understanding of the circle of life, or rather how things are destroyed and created simultaneously. Cooper talks about how something seen as destructive and parasitic is no different from the form it is overtaking. She treats all areas of life as equal, and each creepy crawly is as beautiful as a lotus flower.
My work, Viral Series, is a continued exploration into the death and regeneration taking place in deteriorating communities. Places and things, once bustling and animated, have succumbed to nature’s mercy. Without intervention, nature takes over and breathes new life into objects, as it does in my sculptures. (Source)
Cooper has researched heavily into different cultures and how this same idea is treated. In most eastern philosophies, the idea that birth and death are part of the same spectrum rings true. She takes that idea further and looks a bit deeper into one culture in particular:
I also study the foundation myths of the Golem and Dybbuk spirits in Yiddish folklore and reinterpret these traditional stories through a female lens. I see a direct parallel between my interest in insidious plant life and a malevolent Dybbuk spirit, which takes over the human body. In both situations a loss of control is suffered as the parasitic entity subsumes the host. (Source)
Cooper’s ceramics remind us that even though things of beauty are there to be admired and celebrated, it is also a fine thing when those things are disrupted and replaced by other things.
Nail artist Hatsuki Furutani has combined the love of designing incredible patterns for nails with her interest in cute narratives and scenarios. She has applied her active imagination in this new project to take her nail art designs next level. The Japanese manicurist has teamed up with a talented group of animators and software engineers to produce a few short animations telling beautiful little stories. After designing the nails on computers planning out exactly what parts of the nail would move, and in what way, the team processed the designs through a 3D printer. Over 500 nails were then printed out and applied to human hands. The fingernail creations were shot frame by frame and edited together.
Furutani likes to show the beauty and attraction in the things around us. She says there is mystery and charm in everything, in all
Living things, dead things, objects, phenomena, men’s mind, soul and imagination… Inorganic and organic matters, works of art… (Source)
Her animations see origami birds coming to life, colorful fish flapping around, wheels spinning, balls and blobs bouncing from nail to nail. Her video is full of life, joy and positivity. For more of her uplifting designs, be sure to check out her website, and maybe go and get a manicure afterwards – it will surely raise your spirit. (Via Design Boom)