Lithuanian photographer Tadao Cern has created a series of photographs entitled “Comfort Zone” that depicts resting sunbathers at the beach – people who are sprawled out on blankets, their few beach belongings sitting around them. The series asks the observer to create a narrative of the unknown person, to let the details speak for the narrative. Cern says, “I started this series because I was surprised how a certain place or surrounding can affect people’s behavior. During our everyday life we attempt to hide our deficiencies, both physical and psychological. However, once we find ourselves on a beach – we forget about everything and start acting in an absolutely different manner. Is that because everyone else around you is doing the same?”
Cern seems to be addressing the seeming lack of inhibitions and the overall embracing of comfort that the beach environment courts. The variety of body shapes and positions paired with patterns of swimsuits and towels/blankets create a unique aesthetic of comfort for each sunbather – an aesthetic that is relatable and immediately puts you at ease. In these photographs, the towels and blankets don’t just serve as practical (and comfortable) beach gear – they also serve as backdrops for each portrait, framing the sunbathers but not confining them.
Cern asserts that the sunbathers had no idea they were being photographed, and that he purposely chose to only photograph people with concealed faces in order to “grant an observer with an opportunity to calmly scrutinize each and every detail without being distracted. It also helps to avoid empathy or connection between people in the photos and the observers. It really does not matter who they are – the details not only reveal their stories, but make us face ourselves as well.”
According to Cern, the selection of photographs found on his website is only part of the entire series which consists of 24 large scale prints. Images are for sale in limited edition. In addition to his personal page and Behance, you can find him on Facebook and Instagram. (via david’s sketchbook and behance)
Baltimore based illustrator and designer Gel Jamlang illustrates surreal watercolor and acrylic pieces that largely feature the human body, sometimes paired with animals or painted with an interesting symmetrical or mirroring effect. Jamlang’s illustrations combine realism with whimsical imagery to create a dynamic and energetic composition. The figures in her illustrations seem to lack boundaries – they merge or spill into other figures.
Of her process, Jamlang explains, “Watercolor behaves so unpredictably… It is very exciting to use. It drives itself. The transparency and the brilliance of the colors all swirling around are thrilling. And when you use it side by side with acrylic, the more opaque, dense and unyielding medium, the contrast can be beautiful.” (via hifructose)
Sophie de Oliveira Barata’s Alternative Limb Project applies an artistic approach to prosthetic limb design, seeking to create unique and personalized prosthetic limbs for amputees. With her degree in Special Effects Prosthetics for film and television from London Arts University and 8 years of work for prosthetic providers creating realistic limbs, de Oliveira Barata has now established her own studio working as a specialist consultant alongside prosthetists to create alternative prosthetic effects with direct input from clients. She also collaborates with other artists – designers, laser-cutters, metal, plastic, and wood workers – in order to maximize the potential for a unique prosthetic. In addition to her “surreal” and “unreal” prosthetic designs, she is also highly skilled in crafting realistic looking limbs.
The experience of losing a limb, often under intense and strenuous circumstances, can be alienating and disempowering. Through her work, de Oliveira Barata offers a creative form of empowerment, one that is both functional and fashionable.
“Generally the whole technology is moving towards trying to recapture a lifelike limb that looks realistic and also acts realistic in motion,” says de Oliveira Barata. “In this instance I’m doing the complete opposite and I think it does capture that whole childlike imagination — it’s like being a superhero with super powers.”
“It’s drawing attention to their disability in a positive way…Rather than people seeing what’s missing, it’s about what they’ve got…Having an alternative limb is about claiming control and saying ‘I’m an individual and this reflects who I am.’” (via cnn)
Sarah A. Smith creates shimmering gold drawings with a combination of gold metal leaf, corrosive, ink, and pencil on paper. After she arranges the metal leaf that was mined and manufactured in China, she brushes it with copper sulfate, causing a chemical reaction that tarnishes and corrodes the gold metal along the surface of the paper. In the natural environment, this erosion process can take hundreds of years to complete. “The oxidation illustrates pollution, disintegration, transformation of elements, changes, and the passage of time,” Smith says. The result is an incredibly detailed and textured series that while extravagant is also evocative of restraint because it emerges from a process of decay. (via my modern met and diablo magazine)
Linda Gass stitches together hand-painted silk crepe de chine to create these colorful aerial representations of the topography and geography of the San Francisco Bay. Some of the image designs she sources from other publications, while others are completely her own, like her depiction of an imagined restoration of Bair Island. Other land features represented include the original Dumbarton bridge (opened 1927), the Southern Pacific Railway bridge (opened 1910), the Fields of Salt, the South Bay, and salt ponds. In addition to these quilts, Gass also uses paint, mixed media, and even the land itself to create work that consistently addresses issues of land and water use.
From her artist statement, “I use the lure of beauty to both encourage people to look at the hard environmental issues we face and to give them hope. My paintings are done on silk, a naturally beautiful surface, and I gravitate towards luminous, saturated colors, giving my work an optimistic feeling. Although many of the landscapes I depict are ugly in reality, my landscapes are beautified as I prefer to engage the viewer through pleasure. I am trying to create an attitude shift from feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems to feeling inspired and empowered to take action through the experience of art.” (via skumar’s)
Joel Cooper crafts paper masks and geometric shapes using the technique of origami. Cooper’s intricate three dimensional masks are created with a large number of folds out of one sheet of paper. He alternates between bright and muted colors and matte and shiny sheets of paper that all appear earthy in tone. On some of his pieces, his wife has collaborated with him by using painting techniques to enrich color and texture. You can check out more of Cooper’s work on Flickr and purchase available designs via his Etsy shop. He lives in Kansas. (via design taxi)
Khalil Chishtee constructs life-size sculptures out of plastic bags. Much of his figurative work is evocative of movement and fluidity, and indeed, some of his work is sculpted in such a way as to be constantly moving. Admittedly charmed by the vastness of the plastic bag medium, Chishtee enjoys the way it respectfully responds to his deepest emotions.
“We live in the age of plastic, and plastic bags are the most ordinary form of this material. It goes back to the Sufi approach of my upbringing where worth does not depend on what you inherit, it depends on who you are. Anything made out of bronze, wood, stone or painted on a canvas carries the appearance of being worth looking at, because of its history, but if one can change the impact of that history, one is an artist.”
Originally from Pakistan, Chishtee now resides in New York. (via combustus)
Spanish artist Iván Prieto‘s sculpture work is surreal and sometimes a bit disturbing. In order to heighten the jarring effect of his creations, Prieto places some of his work in abandoned places, creating a narrative that lends his work (and the places they inhabit) a haunting presence. His sculptures are largely figurative, and feature bodies that are warped or grotesque, speaking to ideas of excess and deficiency. Even when he’s not using empty spaces to feature his work, his gallery installations are just as provocative and strange. Prieto’s talent for sculpting fascinating figurative shapes and contortions and then contextualizing them within spaces indicates an awareness of an overall composition of his creations, something not all sculptors think about when featuring their work. (via slow art day)