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)
Artist Peter Madden splices tiny elements to create large collages that are a dizzying combination of imagery. Using pictures extracted from encyclopedias, National Geographic magazines, and found photographs, he arranges all of the disparate pieces to form detailed compositions. The large groups are suspended on a transparent background, as if they are capture a moment in time before everything falls apart.
Madden’s collections create different narrative by virtue of the individual elements’ pairings. Some of the things included in his collages include: exotic birds, monkeys, the letter “m,” fishes, and clocks. They are often formed into some sort of larger shape, such as the outskirts of a giant hole, as if it’s surrounding the eye of a tornado.
The use of so many different pieces and the meticulously-constructed explosion-looking compositions feel as though we’re looking at windy, inclement weather that’s strong enough to make these pieces whip through the air. (via Inkult)
Artist Harry Roseman takes the ubiquitous material known as plywood and with careful cuts and placement, creates the illusion that this rigid material is pliable. The large pieces include “folds” that make them look as though they are textiles. Roseman uses a single piece of wood and mismatches its grain to break up the visual monotony; it fools us into think that there’s a back and a front to this “fabric.” The rigidity is reminiscent of a plastic camping tarp, but it’s still impressive at how, with relatively few cuts, the pieces are believeable as something other than what they’re made of.
These sort of observations and overall sentiment is part of what Roseman is trying to achieve in his sculptures, writing:
The subjects of my work are the bend of a curve, the conjunction of edges, the turn of a fold, the weight and nature of objects, the conjunction of idea and object, the way an idea sits in an object and next to an object and the way surface can obscure and also reveal. One of my aims is to close the distance between thinking, looking and making, to the point where it is hard to tell the difference.
Artist Carson Davis Brown wants to disrupt the big box stores (think Walmart or Target), or “places of mass” as he calls them. Not by making a lot of noise or leaving the aisles in total disarray, but by creating site-specific installations titled Mass that feature carefully-selected and thoughtfully-arranged products. He’ll pick one color and group those objects into totem-like structures that line the shelves, create an island in the shoe aisle, or block an important door. They form visually-pleasing works of art that are documented via photographs.
It’s no surprise that these installations were made without the permission of the store; Brown takes things from all around and somehow arranges the displays without getting stopped by staff. They are then left until they are inevitably disassembled.
There’s an inherent beauty of these works, but a guilty pleasure that comes from enjoying them. Brown’s disruptions highlight just how massive these warehouse-type stores really are – just look at the range of products. This “convenience” has put many “mom and pop” shops out of business. So, these works are a small way of fighting back. But, at the same time, having to disassemble these displays must be done by the lowest level, least-well paid employees – the sales staff.
Hedi Xandt is a multidisciplinary creative who has a formal graphic design education, but doesn’t see himself limited to this field – his work takes the form of fine art paintings and sculptures. Xandt’s three-dimensional pieces are visually powerful and conceptually compelling. They feature busts and skulls composed of gold-plated brass, polymer, distressed black finish, and marble. The gold acts as an accent that adds an element of terror to the work, such as giant spikes or dripping blood.
The skull and bust are symbols of both art and humanity, and the aggressive nature of Xandt’s sculptures makes it appear as if he is rejecting these classical notions. The sleek and stylish “killings” coincide with his philosophy about creative spirit. Instead of mastering one thing and sticking to it forever, Xandt favors a more fluid approach, writing:
I think that the main and most important aspects of my work are creativity and concept. Being permanently on the experimental side of thinking and creating, I seek to add to my skills with every piece I begin. Learning-By-Doing, this awfully overused term, applies to me just as well as Doing-By-Learning. The unison of knowledge and skill provides me with inspiration and a broad foundation to be used as a starting point for any kind of project. (Via Inkult)
Premier website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up again to bring you exclusive artist features. We show you exciting artists and designers who use Made With Color to create a clean and modern website. But it doesn’t just help artists create a minimal, mobile-responsive website; Made With Color also allows them to do it in only a few minutes without have to know any coding. Today, we’re sharing paintings by Brian Cooper.
In his series Empty Space Is Not Nothing, Cooper depicts soft-looking forms on a pitch-black background. They are strange, abstract shapes that have an air of originality about them, but seem familiar at the same time; the surface treatment resembles gridded paper that you’d find in a notebook, and the figures themselves droop like a mat or mattress that stood upright. We see excess and folds, which gives these paintings a visceral feel, and the viewer has an overwhelming desire to reach into the work and touch the imagined-malleable surface.
Cooper is both an artist and a musician – he performs under the name Earth Like Planets – who recently released a self-titled EP and has a show coming up at Ham and Eggs Tavern. If you’re in Los Angeles, it starts at 8PM on Saturday, November 8.
Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from “The Nine Circles of Hell”
There’s a lot of impressive things built using LEGOs, and a lot of times the family-friendly toy stays PG in content. In Mike Doyle’s new book titled Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, however, the dozens of creations are more sinister in nature. The publication includes a number of MOCs (a community acronym that means “My Own Creation”) that feature the likes of a scary bear, an electric chair, giant insects, and more. The artworks are an interesting and entertaining spin on LEGOs as they venture into adult territory. And, since we’d usually think of them as something that’s more lighthearted, it makes even more of a visual and conceptual impact. Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark comes out next month. But if you enjoy these unconventional builds and want to see more of the now, be sure to check out its predecessor, also by Doyle. It’s titled Beautiful LEGO. (Via Wired)