Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid.
I know what you’re all thinking. Enough with this serious art stuff, right? It IS summer after all. Well here’s something exciting for all of you: the Netherlands division of Toyota recently commissioned a couple lucky typographers, Pierre Smeets & Damien Aresta of Please Let Me Design, to create a typeface made entirely from the movements of a car. The car, driven by professional driver Stef van Campenhoudt was equipped with large colored dots on the roof, which were then tracked with a camera and some software custom written by media artist Zach Lieberman. The result, entitled iQ font, is up for download here.
Michael Willis‘ visual language doesn’t consist of any single point of reference. Rather, it is a syncretic blend of multiple styles and influences – a sort of hodgepodge of 60s psychedelia, 80s computer graphics, and a modern view of pop culture. Imagery sometimes includes figures that are in the American cultural unconscious – Frank from Blue Velvet, for example, makes an appearance in a drawing. But more often than not this outlook on pop culture, especially looking back towards the 60s and 70s, is expressed through the utilization of stock imagery of anonymous, yet clearly old, photographs of people from days of yore.
New York sculptor Thomas Doyle works in miniature, creating detailed scenes capturing specific moments in his tiny people’s lives. Some of these moments are rather mundane, while others are epically dramatic. What all these sculptures share however, is best put in Doyle’s words:
The pieces’ radically reduced scales evoke feelings of omnipotence—as well as the visceral sensation of unbidden memory recall. Hovering above the glass, the viewer approaches these worlds as an all-seeing eye, looking down upon landscapes that dwarf and threaten the figures within.
Conversely, the private intensity of moments rendered in such a small scale draws the viewer in, allowing for the intimacy one might feel peering into a museum display case or dollhouse. Though surrounded by chaos, hazard, and longing, the figures’ faces betray little emotion, inviting viewers to lose themselves in these crucibles—and in the jumble of feelings and memories they elicit.
David Thompson, the artist behind Monsieur Cabinet is hilarious. His quirky and sometimes shocking sense of humor is paired well with his simple and almost childlike illustrations. Thompson is a master of visual humor.
23 year old artist Matthew Palladino has been getting a good amount of press, from his show at Park Life to his interview on Fecal Face, and it’s really no surprise because his pieces are conceptually unique and universally beautiful. I’m intrigued by the subjects of his paintings and sometimes titles of his work, for instance, the painting above is titled “Lesbian Jail Wedding”.
Alexis Semtner’s abstract paintings utilize optical illusion to distort the viewers spatial awareness. According to Semtner, her use of visual falsity is used to denote perception and draw attention to how ubiquitous the notion of hallucination is in the human mind. I like the comforting and almost calming colors juxtaposed to the disconcerting Escher-esque environments, I think that the combination works well to create a world of constantly changing perceptions.
Announcement! Beautiful/Decay friend Jessica Hische‘s first font, entitled Buttermilk, is now on sale at myfonts.com. The font is good for “magazine headlines, book title type, initial caps, holiday cards, wedding invitations, you name it.” In related news, a shirt Jessica designed for B/D Apparel will be coming out soon!