It sounds cliche, but scars really do tell stories. They speak of things like accidents, turbulent periods in our lives, and the road to recovery. Sometimes scars have funny origin stories and other times tragic ones. Photographer Sandra Franco explores these permanent body marks in her aptly-titled series, Scars. The quiet, intimate images feature people with these blemishes on their bodies, which are now apart of their physical personal history. Some are more noticeable than others, and on backs, arms, and even the neck. Franco explains Scars, writing:
Memory can be fragile and people find particular ways of holding on to it. Due to their strong evocative power, there is an evident connection between photographs and memories which I find fascinating. In this sense I observe a few parallelisms between scars and photography.
They share not only an aesthetic value, both being affected by the idea of “beauty”, but also an organic quality. Film ages and changes its properties in a similar way our body does, more visible through the marks, wrinkles and eventual scars left in our skin with the passing of time.
Thus, while taking a picture of a particular moment in time, light “scars” the negative, which once developed becomes a reminder of the past event. Some dramatic experiences, positive or negative, leave a physical trace on our bodies made visible through scars.
For me, scars are able to bring experiences from the past to the present moment,acting like “prints of memory”, just like photographs do.
The ink drawings of Anton Vill are exquisite and small – about the size of your average fork. Vill is highly skilled in wielding a pen, and he makes tiny marks so fine that they appear as a pencil drawing or even as an engraving from the 17th century. But, looking closely at the subject matter, you discover that they are wholly contemporary, like something out of a nightmare.
We see babies piled in a shopping cart, a grotesque separation of someone’s head, and countless people that are wrapped up in the long hair of a Cousin It-type character. Vill’s work is quietly visceral and bizarre, and it doesn’t immediately strike you as strange; this creates a greater impact when you study his drawings. The longer that you look, the more you’ll discover and get a glimpse into the artist’s imagination. (Via Faith is Torment)
Korean artist Choi Xooang creates sculptures that you’d see in your nightmares. The grotesque artworks are made out of resin and shocking in the brutal ways that they manipulate the human body. Severed limbs, skin corsets, and people-made backpacks are all featured in these pale, hyperreal mutant characters. Although they feature exquisite craftsmanship (the life-like details are stunning), it’s hard to get away from subject matter.
His existentialist creatures, in the torments of their flesh and their contradictions, become our double dumb and clueless. The artist says that emotions are the only things given to a man or woman apart from their social status in the functioning of a capitalist society. Choi Xooang not only gives us his own feelings but attempts to retrieve a collective soul, a chart of all the sufferings and joys experienced by everyone.
We see these types of feelings represented; while there is pain, there is also sensuality between the characters, and even some eroticism shown throughout the strange hybrid people. With this, Choi communicates that pain and pleasure can walk a thin line. (Via Hi Fructose)
Chris Burkard is a photographer based in Central Coast, California. He captures lifestyle and action sports, and some of his most compelling works are these pictures of people surfing among the snow-covered mountains in places liked Iceland, Norway, and Alaska. There’s a cognitive dissonance that comes from viewing these photos – surfing is typically a warm-weather sport that doesn’t seem like it’d mix with the cold temperatures. But here, Burkard’s subjects are traipsing among glaciers and a white landscape in their head-to-toe wet suits.
Despite the initial reaction of “buuuurrrrr,” there’s a palpable bliss in Burkard’s idyllic photos. The natural beauty is undeniable no matter the temperature. Skies are clear, the water is blue, and it’s all made even brighter with the peppered throughout. Burkard purposely searches for wild, remote destinations, and, according to him, “portrays the humble placement of the human in contrast to nature.”
In San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood sits Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, a small, windowless locale that’s the only remaining gay bar in an area once known for its nightlife LGBTQ attractions. It features an evening-length drag queen show, which is the subject of photographer James Hosking’s intriguing images.
Hosking first visited Aunt Charlie’s in 2009 after moving to the city from New York, and he was drawn to the older entertainers there. What was their connection to drag when it was “illicit and less accessible,” and why do these people continue to perform? “They open themselves to ridicule because of their age, yet they seem to relish the opportunity for provocation and confrontation,” the photographer told Slate.
Hosking’s curiosity played out by photographing three performers at Aunt Charlie’s during 2013 – Collette LeGrande, Donna Personna, and Olivia Hart. He also teamed up with journalist Jeremy Lybarger for a story published in Out Magazine, and completed a documentary about the drag queens titled Beautiful by Night.
It’s in these gritty candid photos and film that we see just how laborious performing is. Putting on makeup, wigs, and costumes can take time a lot of stamina that only gets harder with age. And with all that effort, audience members can sometimes be disrespectful, Hosking tells Slate, “But, for the most part, I think the joy comes from the audience’s excitement and pleasure, which creates a feeling that everyone is there to have a good time together. I imagine that makes all the bullshit worthwhile. The tips don’t hurt either.”
Check out the documentary to hear the drag queens talk about their experience and to see the transformation process take place.
Food artist Tisha Cherry turns the mundane into magical with the use of simple foodstuffs. She creates art on Oreos with the sweet frosting acting as her “paint.” The results are portraits of Yoda from Star Wars, Snoopy the dog, Mona Lisa’s face, and more. The small, impressive works look impeccable and present a conundrum for those who have a sweet tooth: to eat or not to eat?
Cherry’s food art extends beyond the twistable cookies. On her Instagram, you’ll find food arrangements, portraits, and a love for The Simpsons under the hashtag #ArtintheEats. Her Oreos are the most impressive, however, just based on their 2 inch scale and craftsmanship. The white icing has a luscious texture with subtleties that look like they were applied using a palette knife.
If you enjoy these portraits, check out the work of Judith G. Klausner. She also created relief sculptures on the iconic cookies. Is this a tasty new trend in art? (Via Illusion)
Quilting is a time-honored craft that uses scraps of fabric to form a pieced-together image. The designs are often geometric patterns or more complex images that have been appliqued onto the textile. Artist Ben Venom works in this well-known realm, but instead of adhering to tradition, he creates quilts that are beyond your typical subject matter. Venom takes heavy metal and motorcycle t-shirts, cuts them up, and fashions them into spectacular handmade pieces. He writes about it in a short artist statement:
I’m interested in juxtaposing traditional handmade crafts with extreme elements found on the fringes of society. My work can be described as opposing forces colliding at lightening speed. Imagery found in vintage tattoos, the occult, and motorcycle gangs are stitched together with recycled materials using techniques usually relegated to your Grandmothers sewing circle. Serious, yet attempting to take on a B movie Horror film style where ridiculousness becomes genius. The question remains… Can I play with madness? (Via Boooooom)
The candy-colored works by New York-based artist Jaz Harold have a subversive nature about them. Although they use pastel colors have soft features, you can’t avoid the sexual undertones and overtones that are prevalent throughout Harold’s sculptures. We see grotesque displays of rotting skin, nippled pom poms, and sensual lips with just a hint of tongue. She writes about her charged works, stating:
Using an aesthetic that consciously appeals to child-like naïveté, Jaz’s work softens the emphasis on the ego, ritual, intimacy, and stigma that society generally attaches to sex.
Cherry blossoms (sakura) are a perfect balance of sexual innuendo, beauty, and innocence. The cherry blossom, symbolizing love in many cultures, adds an additional element in a body of work that covers both areas- an innocent love, and a simple uninhibited lust.
Harold makes the pure not so pure, perhaps in an attempt to scramble the visual culture that we’re used to, or as a way to offer a confusing reflection onto being young and learning about sex/being sexual. (Via Asylum Art)