German photographer Loretta Lux captures surreal portraits of children, portraying them in a way that makes them appear as if they’re porcelain dolls. Young boys and girls stare towards the camera and with expressions that you can’t get out of your head. As they look beyond or at you, their large eyes look as if they know deep, dark secrets. Pastel and faded colors contrast with the mysterious feel that these works evoke.
Lux studied painting at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich and uses this influence in her images. Some pieces take up to a year to complete, and her process involves a combination of photography and digital manipulation. She’ll strip the background and then place her subjects into muted, minimal environments. The flatted backdrop and realistic foreground confuse your eye and help craft these strange images.
Chinese artist Li Wei’s photographs defy gravity with himself often at the helm. They are the documentation of reality that involves sometimes-dangerous stunts that the artist says aren’t doctored by computers. Instead, he uses mirrors, wires, acrobatics, and more to give the illusion that people are flying and have transcended above cityscapes.
In a 2012 interview with The Creators Project, Wei says “we are all controlled by someone else. Our thoughts and actions are all controlled by an unseen force.” These images demonstrate an effort to break free of constraints and limitations, and teeter the line between fantasy and reality. Specifically, Wei is talking about the rapid change in China’s economy, but they hold a wider-reaching message. His photographs could be seen as a meditation on our consciousness, hopes, and desires of wanting complete freedom but having to live within the confines of society.
The goal of Japanese designer Takayuki Fukusawa’s work is “to create things that make people say , ‘he made another ridiculous thing.’” And that he did. His newest series of works is called Tanama Diver, and it features pendants that resemble human and animals who are poised to look like divers and climbers. They are positioned in a way that they appear as if they’re headed into the cleavage of whomever is wearing them.
The silly accessory includes figurines like a salaryman diver, a skydiver, an astronaut, and canyon climber. There’s even a sloth and wolf thrown into the mix. Alone, they look innocuous, but when around someone’s neck suddenly transform into provocative pieces of tiny, site-specific works of art that interact with your breasts. (Via Demilked and Spoon and Tamago)
Mikey Billings, 29, Statesville, N.C. Degree: B.A., Film studies, Full Sail University Career Goal: Film or music industry Current Job: Working part time at a malt shop Student Loans: $80,000
Annie Kasinecz, 27, Downers Grove, Ill. Degree: B.A., Advertising and public relations, Loyola University, Chicago Student Loans: $75,000
Monica Navarro, 24, Escondido, Calif. Degree: B.A., Literature and writing, University of California, San Diego. Career Goal: Librarian Current Job: Library volunteer, Home Depot Worker Student Loans: $44,000
Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, Suffern, N.Y. Degree: B.F.A., Graphic design, School of Visual Arts Career goal: Graphic designer Current job: Graphic designer and production assistant Student Loans: $130,000
In today’s economy, it’s not uncommon for recent college graduates to move back home with their parents. According to The New York Times Magazine, 1 in 5 people in their 20’s and early 30’s find themselves in this particular situation. The phenomena is fodder for photographer Damon Casarez’s recent series Boomerang Kids, which was shot in eight states and over 14 cities. His poignant images paint portraits not of people who are lazy, but those who have massive student debt, or see their current situation as a means to achieving their own American Dream. They exist in a strange limbo where they’ve grown up but still aren’t entirely self-sufficient adults.
Even for those not living at home, this series might resonate with you on some level. Student loans and a general high cost of living can make anyone feel like it’s hard to make the ends meet. After all the possibilities offered in college, the real world is generally not as kind. But, these images don’t feel hopeless; they feel hopeful and demonstrate the changing landscape of growing up. (Via Feature Shoot)
New York City-based design studio SOFTlab combines technology and craft with an installation titled We Are Flowers. Inspired by nature, the beautiful large-scale funnels are comprised of over 20,000 translucent flowers that create an immersive sculpture in the New York flagship store for Melissa shoes. It appears in the Melissa Gallery and was specifically created for the space. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, it’s funky, colorful, and playful rubber footwear that evokes a childlike feel (although marketed to adults).
SOFTlab’s sculpture is both precisely engineered yet enchanting at the same time. It’s whimsical and not over thought, which is how the designers want you to feel. They write:
Although we used cutting edge digital technology to develop this installation, we hope it remains mostly hidden in order for everyone to experience the magic of a hanging garden of flowers. We imagine this installation as an extension of the We Are Flowers collection by Melissa: technically innovative with attention to every detail, but first and foremost a design that expresses sensuality through its form and brings joy and color to the Melissa experience. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
In the photographic works by Kevin Corrado, human limbs and objects intersect with the landscape. They are painted over, dipped, and blend in the with the horizon line. The series entitled Transfer best showcases this idea as different hands are encased in varying colors of paint. Corrado talks about how this is not only a connection made design-wise, but our notions about the things we see. He writes:
The project began as a playful idea of the ocean being a giant sea of blue paint rather than water. The idea of a blue sea is so engraved into our minds, even though in most cases, water is not actually blue. In all three pieces, a hand becomes covered in paint by touching a landscape of that color. In its entirety, the project speaks about our intense connection between common landscapes and their assigned colors. Possibly something that was instilled in us during our elementary days. The project also addresses my role as an artist, and what color I will choose for my landscapes, even though my tool of choice is a camera (a tad bit ironic). A painter is given the task to paint a tree, but that painter must choose to use green paint.
The quietly compelling images play with our sense of scale; hands are huge, looking like giants and whose veins appear large enough to line up with the choppy waves. (Via Slow Art Day)
Star Wars is a popular franchise that spans decades, so it’s no surprise that it has crept up in many artists’ work. We’ve seen it in paintings, expressed through Legos, and it’s even influenced engagement rings. Clearly, the fictional story has resonated with many. Cedric Delsaux can also count himself as someone who finds inspiration from Darth Vader, droids, and the vehicles made famous in the films. He’s expertly inserted Star Wars characters into desolate urban areas that look abandoned and dismantled. The results are images both poignant and haunting; and, given what we know about the characters, Delsaux sets the scenes for alluring narratives that are like a suspenseful novel. Something is going to happen, but we aren’t sure what.
His bleak and stylish works have caught the attention of many, including George Lucas himself:
Over the years, many artists have interpreted Star Wars in ways that extend well beyond anything we saw in the films. One of the most unique and intriguing interpretations that I have seen is in the work of Cedric Delsaux, who has cleverly integrated Star Wars characters and vehicles into stark urban, industrial – but unmistakably earthbound – environments. As novel and disruptive as his images are, they are also completely plausible.
At first glance, it looks like these embroideries by artist Sula Fay pair thread with your average stitching techniques to depict body parts, words, and ancient sculptures on circular vintage Victorian-era doilies. That fact alone makes them unconventional in the traditional sense of the craft. But, the artist adds one more special touch to make these works all her own – strands of her hair. Fay threads a needle with her locks and passes it through the aged fabric. She describes her reasons and process:
As an adolescent, I struggled with my hair. Being of half African and Puerto Rican descent I inherited very naturally curly hair. Alongside my white skinned, long straight haired friends, I felt different and unattractive. I went through many gruelling hours brushing, combing, and straightening. That process was very difficult and tedious, just like the process of my embroideries. To embroider with my hair I have to straighten each piece separately. (Via Booooooom)