Martin Hugo’s sketchbooks détourné the commercial imagery he encountered while designing corporate fashion in the “Empire State.” These books read as Hugo’s coping mechanism for trafficking in cultures he actively disdains. Using styles from esoteric hardcore music and quotidian visual culture, Hugo degrades and problematizes “high-brow” mainstays like the fashion industry, the contemporary art world, and our global plutocracy. But these minimal collages would be a bore if they were just well-designed, on-the-nose crits of capitalism’s look and effect; whether it’s through his deft rebranding of The Whitney (it rhymes), or by imploring us to “Support Our Predator Drones,” it’s Hugo’s gallows humor that makes them shine. He is able to look into the abyss of American culture and find the ha-has we need to get through the (last) day(s).
Chelsea Dirck is an art student majoring in Art Education and Fibers at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts. I met her through the DIY punk scene five years ago, and her drawings are still resonant with the energy, sincerity, and immediacy of that time period. Dirck’s artwork is often derived from her innumerable personal journals, some of which have recently been released as zines. These zines are full of emotive jottings and ink drawings that are paired with humorous or poignant words and slogans – oftentimes directly referring to Dirck’s personal life. The drawings in her zines are influenced by such disparate quarters as advertising, comics, Internet memes, David Shrigley’s drawings, the book More Things Like This, and other forms of text and image combination – which seems to be the predominant mode of expression for us “Millennials.”
Dirck’s journal-based artwork seems almost tailor-made for Internet distribution through sites like Tumblr, where she has cultivated a sizable following. However, she has recently expanded her art practice to include mediums where physicality is a central concern: embroidery, quilt-making, and large-scale drawings. With an upcoming show this spring at MassArt and an ongoing relationship with the Boston gallery Lincoln Arts Project, Dirck seems to be coming into her own – just in time for her 24th birthday, which, by the way, is today. So go do some celebratory pillaging of her Etsy for prints, originals drawings, postcards, and zines of many of the images found after the jump.
AJ Fusco is a multimedia artist currently living at Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. His past body of work, seen after the jump, consists of finely wrought, large-scale graphite drawings that put the viewer’s received distinctions between natural and digital imagery in doubt.
Samantha Rehark is a 22-year-old multimedia artist and graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design. Her artwork limns the psychological space nature holds in our collective consciousness. Aside from creating collage, installation, and sculpture, Rehark plays keyboard in the band Threesome with Jordan DiDomenico and Alex Ross. Pony, her recently released artist’s zine, was made during a residency in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Justin Clifford Rhody is the proprietor of Friends and Relatives Records, a Ypsilanti, Michigan-based music and zine label. I first became acquainted with Rhody through Smut, his powerviolence band, and through his eponymous acoustic project. He currently plays in (D)(B)(H) but has turned most of his creative energy toward photography. His photos capture the melancholy of declinist America; the decaying Fords in the moldering suburbs of the Rust Belt, the plastic-casts of statuary standing sentry over the overgrown lawn – the physical forms of our economic and spiritual malaise.
2012 looks to be busy for Rhody: a book of his photography, Sliding Glass Door, is slated to be published this spring by Bathetic Records, a solo exhibition of Rhody’s photography opens at Skylab Gallery this March in Columbus, Ohio, and Rhody has an exhibit with the painter Peter Shear planned for the summer in Bloomington, Indiana.
In the meantime, Rhody plans to continue touring the states with his slideshow and to revisit Guatemala, the setting of a few of the photographs found after the jump.
Mei Yan Jane Lee is a 22-year-old Hong Kong-based illustrator. Her prodigious output encompasses comics, graphic design, product design, wall murals, and installation. Lee’s artwork is playful, detail-rich, and teeming with a heartfelt optimism. To get a better feel for the extent of her oeuvre, please visit her Tumblr. For now, here is a selection of Lee’s pattern designs:
Hardcore punk is a codified style with a ritualistic devotion to convention in both its sound and imagery. However, a much-needed wave of art school interveners have recently begun to re-imagine the genre. Elijah Funk, current or former member of the bands Drug Money, Horrible Creeps, Le Vansona, and Shaver, creates artwork that expands and complicates the abusive iconography of hardcore, infusing it with irony, intelligence, and anxiety. Funk is currently a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, where his senior thesis show opens April 7th, 2012.
His recent zine Sometimes When I Am Feeling Sad – images of which are after the jump – is now available for purchase.