Love Hultén’s Artistic Gaming Systems Combine Technology And Craftsmanship

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In his beautiful retro/modern gaming systems, Swedish designer and craftsman Love Hultén combines technology with classical artisan techniques. His wood encased computers and classic arcade games are both lovely and functional. Hand-crafted and refined, the technique, ornamentation and finish are traditionally Swedish.

“Hultén wants to resuscitate a fading culture and create curiosity towards the origin of video gaming, pushing gaming into a new context, making the arcade an artistic equivalent to the painting on your wall.

By working with materials that, without regular maintenance and daily care, grows a unique patina, the expiry date of a product is extended. The product will breathe through time, rather than get suffocated by it.”

For the gaming units, vintage arcade favorites such as Pac Man and Asteroids are encased in solid wood. Joystick pads and controllers are made from walnut, and custom leather bags are available for some portable units. Hultén’s works were recently shown in his first US show at the Holy Circuit exhibit at Austere in Los Angeles, California.

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Susan Copich Stages A Darkly Humorous And Disturbing Family Life In “Domestic Bliss”

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Bath Time

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Mommy Time

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Happy Days

Reaching middle-age, photographer Susan Copich was feeling disillusioned with her acting career, disenchanted with her marriage, and, when she noticed her absence from every family photo, as if she were disappearing. Her solution was to create the series “Domestic Bliss,” staged photos featuring her in darkly humorous scenes from an exaggerated life.

“I use proverbs, idioms, and biblical scriptures as a conduit to reach my inner creativity while grounding it to something real. Social observation continues to fuel my inspiration. The use of humor allows me to mock the worlds I traipse through while permitting the viewer to live vicariously through the character. I project my thoughts into a frozen a moment in time, allowing the story to continually unfold in front of you.”

She tackles topics like unsupervised children with access to guns, women and food, and homicidal anger, as well as lighter topics such as Christmas cards and crying over spilt milk. Some of the images are very dark, indeed, such as “Bath Time” with its implication of double murder/suicide, and “Anger Management,” which depicts Copich, with unkempt hair and Diane von Furstenberg dress, in the act of wringing the family dog’s neck in front of her daughters.

“I dwell in the dark thoughts and recesses of my mind to create character and subject, in order to project them into a frozen moment of time, allowing the story to continue to unfold bilaterally for the viewer. I feel a certain freedom to live vicariously through these characters to engage, seek to navigate (and, no less, avoid), both my own personal imperatives as woman, artist, mother, and wife, as well as those – personal, social and cultural – that are imposed on me by others.”

The photos are funny and disturbing, polarizing and attention-grabbing. It seems that Susan Copich is in no danger of disappearing any time soon.

All photos by Susan Copich, courtesy of Moen Mason Gallery. (Via Demilked)

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Lori Nix’s Photographs Of Danger And Disaster Are Actually Miniature Worlds Painstakingly Made By Hand

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In her ongoing series “The City,” photographer Lori Nix creates incredibly detailed scenes by hand in miniature, then photographs them. The result is an amazing collection forecasting scenes of danger and disaster. The pictures share some commonalities with Matthew Christopher’s “Abandoned America,” recently covered on b/d, but instead of finding places that have been left behind, Nix constructs them.

“In my newest body of work ‘The City’ I have imagined a city of our future, where something either natural or as the result of mankind, has emptied the city of it’s human inhabitants. Art museums, Broadway theaters, laundromats and bars no longer function. The walls are deteriorating, the ceilings are falling in, the structures barely stand, yet Mother Nature is slowly taking them over. These spaces are filled with flora, fauna and insects, reclaiming what was theirs before man’s encroachment. I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but at the same time I am fascinated by what a changing world can bring.”

The images are classically composed, with a balance of color and space. Even once the viewer is told that these are dioramas, it’s difficult to believe. The intricate details, realistic lighting, and cohesive scale make them absolutely lifelike.

“My scenes can be as small as 50×60 centimeters and as large as 182 centimeters in diameter. It takes approximately seven months to build and photograph a scene. I build it for one angle of view and never move my camera from that spot. I will change the lighting, the placement of the objects and re-shoot until I’m fully satisfied with the results.”

Nix’s apocalyptic visions are both familiar and fantastic. She presents a world on a tabletop that is beautiful and alarming.

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Fantasy Meets Photography In The Striking Images of Zhang Jingna

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Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.

“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)

The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.

“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)

Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)

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Maria Jose Garcia Piaggio Investigates The World Of Cybersex Webcams

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In Maria Jose Garcia Piaggio’s “Through the Window,” she appropriates found images as part of her investigation about cybersex. A project in two parts, the images of men capture them watching though free portals; the women’s photos are taken from live shows where the viewer has to pay to participate.

“I want to be able to show these scenarios that we all know are there but we keep hidden, deconstructing it from the virtual context and taking it to other scenarios to show these two groups to the viewer.”

There’s no mention in the project description of consent, so it’s unclear whether these voyeurs and provocateurs are willing participants in this project. Likewise, there are no descriptive texts or photographer/videographer credits available. Since these are found images, Piaggio serves less as an artist and more as a curator of these experiences. The images she’s chosen are interesting in their variety: the men’s and women’s faces are both alternately fully exposed and hidden. Rooms are revealed in the background, or left darkened and unspecific. Some subjects smile into the camera, others seem unaware that they’re being photographed.

It’s a broad subject and a provocative one, and Piaggio’s notes indicate that this is just the start of the project. She says, “I reflect about the body, the pose and the clichés.” In continuing to compile these images, Piaggio has the opportunity to push past the expected and reveal more about the proclivities of the watchers and the watched.

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Cathrine Ertmann Confronts Death With Her Powerful Photo Essay From the Morgue

Muscular stiffening begins between four and twelve hours after death. It starts in the neck and makes movement of the limbs impossible. When it reaches the scalp, it can make the dead body’s hair rise. Like goose bumps on the living.

Muscular stiffening begins between four and twelve hours after death. It starts in the neck and makes movement of the limbs impossible. When it reaches the scalp, it can make the dead body’s hair rise. Like goose bumps on the living.

 His breast isn’t moving. The cells in his body have carried out the last of their work, the mechanisms have come to a halt and he is now not going to get any older.

His breast isn’t moving. The cells in his body have carried out the last of their work, the mechanisms have come to a halt and he is now not going to get any older.

In the chapel of the Pathological Institute of Aarhus University Hospital, the dead are received. Here they are dressed in clothes, their hair is combed and they are laid in the coffin, before we can say our last goodbye to those we have lost.

In the chapel of the Pathological Institute of Aarhus University Hospital, the dead are received. Here they are dressed in clothes, their hair is combed and they are laid in the coffin, before we can say our last goodbye to those we have lost.

Here are lying women and men, girls and boys on ice, because they were careless, because they were unlucky, or because their time was come. This woman was found dead in her home. She has just been through an autopsy, which confirmed that she didn’t die the victim of a crime. Soon her body will be dressed and laid in the coffin.

Here are lying women and men, girls and boys on ice, because they were careless, because they were unlucky, or because their time was come. This woman was found dead in her home. She has just been through an autopsy, which confirmed that she didn’t die the victim of a crime. Soon her body will be dressed and laid in the coffin.

These photos of the dead are purposefully anonymous. In “About Dying” Danish photographer Catherine Ertmann was aiming for the universality of death rather than the stories of these particular dead. And that’s what makes this series so moving. In photographing the dead so intimately, bare of everything, including their life stories, she has made room for the viewer in the morgue—as observer and as deceased. Who doesn’t project themselves into the sewn torso, the half-clenched hand, the freckled cheek? Will it be the zipped bag or the fiery crematorium in the end? How can we live fully if we can’t look at death?

“This project tries to break down the taboo by showing something we rarely have access to, and that death can be both hard to look an but also beautiful. Just like when a new life comes into the world when a woman is giving birth. It deals with the incomprehensible fact that life ends and hopefully remind the audience that our time here is precious and what things really matter while we are here.”

This project was approved by Aarhus Universitets Hospital (University Hospital of Aarhus, Denmark), where she and journalist Lise Hornung worked.

The only complete certainty in life is that one day we will die. It is the most certain thing in the world, and the biggest uncertainty we experience of the world, because nobody can say what will happen afterwards. Maybe that is why we find it so difficult to speak about death.

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Tsuyoshi Tane’s Shimmering And Immersive Installation Using 80,000 Watch Parts

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As part of Milan Design Week 2014, Citizen teamed up with Paris-based architect Tsuyoshi Tane (DGT) to create “LIGHT is TIME,” an immersive installation of 80,000 watch base plates. The result is a shimmering space, golden and ethereal, delicate and glowing.

“We envision a space-orchestration where light will fill the space, composing, through sound and vision, a sense of light and time never experienced by humanity before. In this exhibition, we have created a space of light and excavated within it three primary volumes to exhibit everything from CITIZEN’s first pocket watch as the company’s origin, through to the latest satellite watches.”Suspended from the ceiling, the golden watch base plates, the basic component of watches, are reminiscent of droplets of suspended rain. The sense of suspended animation conveys the idea of time and timelessness. It’s when time stops that you become most conscious of it.

“LIGHT is TIME” won “Best Entertaining” and “Best Sound” in the Milano Design Award Competition, and was so successful that a reconfigured version was brought to Japan and shown at The Aoyama Spiral in Tokyo.

“Time is light. If there were no light, then there would be no time. In the 20th century mankind digitized time, measured it and continued to economize our time, until eventually we forgot about its relationship with essence of light. Without light we never would have had the wonders of the universe, the richness of our planet or the joy and pleasure of our life.” (Via demilked)

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Artist Interview: The Amazing And Prodigious Creative Skills Of Stefan G. Bucher

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Stefan G. Bucher is a graphic designer, illustrator, author, creator of monsters, and pursuer of obsessions. The (sole) creative force behind 344, his clients have included art galleries, film directors, magazines, record companies, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Blue Man Group. If you’ve seen the Yeti themed Saks Christmas windows, you’ve seen Stefan’s work. The Daily Monster is his, too. The cover of The Matrix soundtrack; typography for Mirror, Mirror; Blue Man Theater. All Stefan G. Bucher.

Aside from his amazing and prodigious creative skills, Stefan is an astute observer of culture and a consistently funny writer. He agreed to be interviewed for Beautiful/Decay.

B/D: Thanks for talking with me, Stefan—I’m just going to jump right in. What’s the most interesting thing you’re working on right now?

Stefan Bucher: It’s my pleasure. The most interesting project I’m working on right now is the pitch for an animated show surrounding the Daily Monsters. It’s a long process of uncertain outcome, but it involves a lot of things I love—illustration, working with a brilliant writer and a genius animation producer, thinking about music and character design. It’s great! I’m also working on a solo gallery show for the spring. That’s just a big beast breathing down my neck. I don’t know how much of it will be retrospective and how much will be new work. I just want it to be a fun trip for the audience.

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