London-based Japanese photographer Chino Otsuka has created a series of time-traveling photo manipulations that allow her past and present selves to exist in the same time and place. Titled “Imagine Finding Me,” the series is a result of Ostuka digitally splicing her image into old photographs from her childhood during the 70s and 80s, creating seamless collaged manipulations. These photographs represent a doubled identity for Otsuka, reflecting both her Japanese roots and the heavy influence of Western culture. They also raise questions about how we remember our pasts and how these stories intersect with our modern lives. Otsuka explains, “The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.” (via my modern met)
David Catá describes his ongoing series, “A Flor De Piel” as an autobiographical diary of which his skin is the canvas. Catá embroiders portraits of people who have influenced or marked his life - family, friends, teachers, lovers, partners – by physically marking his palm with these images. This embroidered flesh corporally represents relationships we have with each other – love and union and the pain and loss felt through separation, as well as the residual imprint of the relationship. Catá documents this action with photography and videography, imprinting his life story into various surfaces. You can check out more body-as-canvas work on his website. (via design boom)
Cecelia Webber‘s collage work features tessellated figures and limbs of the human body arranged to form images of plants and animals. Webber photographs nude models – including herself – in various poses before she digitally edits the images, cutting and coloring them to form particular parts of the new image. The final product features different bodies and body parts posed in the same positions. Many of the pieces take months to finish, but the longest image – the rose – took her a year to complete because of how tricky the angles were to capture and arrange. Webber creates an image with such a high resolution that they can be printed up to 6 feet tall, a size that would make the tessellated bodies even more pronounced and captivating.
“Each image takes many stages to create. I start by researching photos of the creature or plant I’m trying to create and then sketch poses I want to photograph in a notebook…I never warp my models or edit them to change them – it is important to me to portray real natural bodies. Once I have my photos I start laying out my piece and playing with colour and arrangements…Many drastic transformations take place during this stage, so it’s sort of magical, because so many different variations are possible. I feel many possibilities at once but the true form of my subject slowly emerges.” (via daily mail)
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata has been creating beautiful light art while aboard the International Space Station. Using long exposure photography and a spiral top equipped with LED lights designed by light artist Takuro Osaka, Wakata produces light paintings in an atmosphere of zero gravity. In 2009, Wakata flew as a crew member of the ISS where he first experimented with the Osaka’s spiral top (also pictured here). In 2011, Wakata was assigned as a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 38 and the Commander of Expedition 39. Wakata is the first Japanese astronaut to command the ISS. You can check out more of Wakata’s incredible space photos on his Twitter feed. (via i09)
Texas-based artist Adrian Esparza uses nails and the thread from Mexican sarape blankets to weave colorful geometric patterns. Growing up in El Paso, Esparza encountered these blankets on a daily basis. Using his background as a painter, Esparza observed that the blankets contained painterly qualities that he sought to deconstruct. The result is an unraveling of a Mexican cultural symbol into a new form, a multi-dimensional landscape of color and shape. Esparza’s deconstruction and transformation of this cultural symbol reflects the displacement of identity that many Mexican-Americans experience as a result of migration. The wall pieces Esparza constructs from the serapes, though completely transformed, recall macrame and other handcrafts from the artist’s culture. Through his work, Esparza reinvents the ordinary and asks the viewer to embrace the potential for creative transformation that can be found in the familiar and the mundane.
Katarzyna Majak‘s “Women of Power” photography series captures the faces and dress of earth-worshipping Polish women who are powerful among their particular spiritual sectors. The vast majority of Poland’s people (90%) are practicing Catholics. When Christianity was introduced to Poland a few centuries ago, it erased most traces of paganism, witchcraft, and shamanic traditions. The women Majak photographs – ranging in age from their 30′s to their 80′s – represent the very small minority of Polish women who practice alternative spirituality. For many of these women, this series depicts their first public display of power. They “practice a wide range of spiritual paths and spiritual systems. A few are traditional healers (so called ‘whisperers’ who mix religion with primeval superstitions to heal and remove spells using prayers) whose traditions survived on the Belarusian border. Some are women who had grandmothers who could ‘see’ or were herbal healers and who are working to revive what would otherwise be dead traditions.”
Porter Contemporary, where Majak’s work was featured in 2012, writes, “When asked what being a witch meant to one of the subjects in the series, she replied ‘A witch is a woman of knowledge who takes a broom and sweeps to cleanse the world.’” (via feature shoot)
Hikaru Cho‘s method of painting could best be described as a physical and unconventional type of doodling. Cho primarily uses acrylic paints on bodies or food to create believably 3D surrealistic effects, and even transfers this skill to stop-motion film and other video work. Her work alters our perspective of seemingly stable universal concepts, creating new forms that demand our engagement using only the special effects rendered through paint.
Jamie McCartney is a multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in sculpture. For “The Great Wall of Vagina,” McCartney casted the vaginas of 400 women, ranging in age from 18-76 years. Casts of mothers, daughters, twins, trans men and women, pre- and post-natal women, and a woman’s pre- and post-labiaplasty are all featured in this large piece. “In creating this work, I set out to alleviate the needless anxiety that is driving so many women to contemplate cosmetic genital surgery.” “The Great Wall of Vagina” book is for sale and features testimonies of over 100 women who took part in the piece. The piece even has an entire site dedicated to it, featuring images and videos and other information about the project.
For “The Spice of Life,” McCartney casted the genitals of flaccid and erect penises, vulvas with closed and open legs,and breasts of a variety of people. “4×4″ depicts a panel of 16 erect penises. McCartney claims that many people have engaged with his work in positive ways, noting the variety and lack of “normality” across the spectrum of featured genitals. People often use pornography to gauge normalcy of their genitals, even though these representations are skewed or exaggerated.
McCartney’s pieces, “Old Glory” and “O Limp Pricks,” feature casts of the tip of the artist’s penis. For “Internal Affairs,” McCartney casted the inside of vaginas, transforming the vagina into an external, almost phallic organ.
In all of these pieces, McCartney seeks to satisfy our curiosity and asks us to engage with the relationship we have with our own bodies.