About Nathaniel Smith

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Boris Pelcer’s Portrait Drawings Made Of Stars, Smoke And Fire

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Boris Pelcer is an artist concerned with representing two of the great unknowns – space, and the space inside the human mind. Currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Bosnian-born artist and designer draws incredibly intricate portraits, swathing his subjects in cloaks of stars, smoke, hair and other natural elements. His subjects remain visibly human and relatable, but are given an otherworldly or mysterious quality. Using painstakingly detailed mechanical pencil work (aided occasionally with acrylic paints) on paper, Pelcer achieves a dense psychic mood with his incredible drawings.

Some of his more gripping works seem to semi-autobiographical, dealing with the sense of self, works which become an artistic investigation of the psyche. Questioning the nature of the conscious and the unconscious minds in his Supreme Consciousness series, Pelcer’s statement questions what would happen to his mind if given total access to the unconscious, while his work portrays a limitless melding of human and cosmos,

Of his Something Somewhere series, Pelcer says, “I can sense the presence of enclosed spaces within my psyche. A hidden collection of obscure moods & thoughts that I can’t quite comprehend. In attempt to better comprehend some of it, I’ve developed this series. It is a stroll of curiosity in search of something insightful, somewhere within the hidden valleys of my psyche.” (via boooooom)

 

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Georges Rousse, The Grandfather Of Single-Perspective Installations

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Single-perspective installations have been extremely popular for the past several years, with the best examples making their rounds instantly on the usual social media platforms. The real shame of this mass exposure is that viewers rarely experience the tactile joy of these illusions, viewing the photographs but never seeing them first-hand. This is especially true with the work of Georges Rousse, a French artist who has been creating his painted perspective installations in abandoned and soon-to-be demolished buildings since the 1980′s.

Finding influence from Land Art as well as specific works like Suprametist painter Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, Rousse pre-dates the modern trends of illusionistic installation, having perfected his trademark geometric style and his fondness for desolate locations decades ago. According to his site’s bio, Rousse considers himself a painter, sculptor, architect, and ultimately a photographer, but considers his raw material to be his great inspiration: Space. Upon selecting a site, Rousse goes about creating a unique angular perspective, that when photographed, compels the viewer to re-analyze their own surroundings, possibilities, transformations, and ultimately, Space.

Rousse explains, “The convergence of these spaces goes beyond a visual game: Like a hall of mirrors, enigmatic and dizzying, it questions the role of photography as a faithful reproduction of reality; it probes the distances between perception and reality, between imaginary and concrete.” (via My Modern Met)

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Nick Howard’s Eerie Grouping Illustrations

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The pen, ink and gouache works of Minneapolis-based artist Nick Howard are a visually startling exercise in repetition, form and mass-psychology. By carefully rendering similar figures gathered together in masses, each drawing creates formations and shapes that echo the power of a collected focus, or the terror of mob mentality. Using a style that is precise yet simple, individual figures blend into one another despite their unique features, masks, several mouths and monochrome capes. Enhancing the eerie and silent quality of the works is the monuments that occasionally appear, built by the nameless and faceless, or simply serving as a symbolic, yet arbitrary, gathering point.

Says Howard in a statement of his work, “I am fascinated with people, relationships and mass psychology. In particular, I am interested in how the mind works and how the feelings, thoughts, ideas, and perceptions we have create our world both personally and collectively. I find inspiration for my work by both looking outwards and inwards.

This simultaneous outward and inward focus is particularly fascinating, as it illuminates the allure of the collective – whereas one figure alone might not illicit an emotional or aesthetic response, hundreds or thousands of them, carefully drawn and carefully placed, create a sum that is greater than its parts. Similarly, the drawings tap into the simultaneous feeling of empowerment within a large group, as well as the loss of individual and personal control.

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Stephan Tillmans Captures The Final Flickerings of Televisions Turning Off

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The work of German graphic designer and  photographer Stephan Tillmans combines a fusion of new and old technology. Outdated cathode-ray televisions are turned off to reveal a strange but familiar geometry, which are then captured with modern, high-resolution cameras and techniques. This kind of CRT technology is no longer used, and the images the Tillmans collects are equally rare, as each is a finite moment that can almost certainly never be repeated. According to Tillmans, his work is a “photographic series of old tube televisions taken at the very moment they are switched off. The TV picture breaks down and is abstracted to its essential element: light. Each of these photographs is from a different TV, but it’s also the length of exposure, timing, and time the TV has been running before the photo is taken that affects the results.”

Tillman’s recent portfolio is broken up into two categories – the Luminant Point Arrays,  (seen above) made from color television sets, and the darker, more stark shapes of the Luminant Screen Shapings which are taken from black and white televisions (seen below). The more recent Screen Shapings lack color and some variation, but also have a more delicate, line-based visual strength. (via booooooom)

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HOTTEA Canopy Covers Williamsburg Bridge With ‘Ritual’

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“NYC is a very fast paced city.” said artist HOTTEA in an exclusive talk with Beautiful/Decay. “When I walked across the bridge people are either jogging, running for exercise, walking with friends or alone to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice versa. When observing people walking or running across the bridge, there really wasn’t any reason to look up or slow down.  I like creating pieces that dramatically change the space and encourage people to re-look at a certain area.”

One of the most famous of the now-burgeoning international street arts scene that uses yarn and other non-damaging/permanent materials, the Minneapolis-based artist tried to create a similar project on a visit to New York several years ago, but was stopped by authorities. With careful planning and the help of several friends, HOTTEA was able to complete the public installation, creating a canopy of changing colors over a Williamsburg Bridge. Titled ‘Ritual‘, the artist explained that the very act of taking the bridge instead of the train became a ritual, slowing down his journey to the City and being able to process his day, the skyline and enjoy his surroundings. Realizing this, he wanted to create a signature work that would give others the same chance.

Referring to the installation, HOTTEA explained, “After about 5 hours, people continued to slow down but now more and more people were stopping.  Either to take photos or to interact with us directly.  When the piece was near completion after about 11 hours, everyone that came into contact with the piece either slowed down or stopped completely. I was in awe to see such a fast paced city slow down, stop and look up.” (via Colossal)

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The Manual Cut And Paste World Of Jesse Draxler

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It comes as no surprise to anyone who idles away hours at a computer screen looking at design and art sites that the cut and paste collage medium is seeing a resurgence in importance. Sharing the internet’s tendencies of immediacy, appropriation and a denial of visual ownership, collage combines anything and everything to create a natural response and reflection of our age.

The collage work of Jesse Draxler similarly combines these strengths and tendencies, though with hand-crafted technique. His mixed-media fusion of found images, typography and design sensibilities thrives in information-overload times, both in drawing inspiration as well as being viewed instantaneously. By finding source material from anything, Draxler is able to ‘remix’ fashion spreads as easily as referencing art movements, crafting a new 2-dimensional language that has an immediate accessibility. This intentional referencing of constant stimulus, which is manipulated first and considering after, is essentially a kind of hyper-consumption of images that might be the descendant of William Burroughs’ cut-up technique. Draxler has no contention with this, saying, “Going through my Tumblr feed is like gathering ammunition which I will use myself, in my own way. I am able to see trends emerge in real-time, and I think about how I can fit those aesthetics into what I do, or even wrap what I do around those aesthetics.” Essentially everything, regardless of theme, origin, niche or intent, has the potential to become inspiration.

Recently featured in Gestalten’s The Age of Collage, a survey of the foremost collage artists working in the world today, Draxler’s ability to draw inspiration from anything fully portrays the strength of the visual remix medium.

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