Damon Casarez’s Poignant-Yet-Hopeful Photos Of Moving Back Home After College Because Of Debt

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

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

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

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

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)

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Immersive Installation Fills A gallery With Over 20,000 Translucent Flowers

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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)

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Kevin Corrado’s Human Limbs DippedIn Paint Cleverly Play With Landscapes

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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)

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Cedric Delsaux Inserts Star Wars Characters Into Plausible Earthbound Environments

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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.

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Sula Fay Embroiders On Vintage Doilies Using Her Hair As Thread

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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)

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A Giant Immersive Kaleidoscope Built Inside A Shipping Container

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Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.

A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture.  “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)

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Akasha Rabut’s Glitzy Photographs Of High School Cheerleaders And Marching Band Performers

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Was your high school experience as glitzy as the one in photographer Akasha Rabut’s series Edna Karr? (The title comes from the school in New Orleans where the documentary-style photographs were taken.) We see cheerleaders, the dance team, and marching band getting ready to perform in these quiet behind-the-scene shots . Girls are applying their makeup, fixing hair, and sitting idly before they hit the city streets of a parade and come alive.

The series is a balance of high and low energy. As people kill time on their phones the scene is still.  But when the kids are moving, Rabut captures the spirit of the performance, with sequins gleaming.  The faded, low-saturation image are reminiscent of vintage photographs, and if it weren’t for the cell phones, we might just believe it. This plays to a sense of odd nostalgia for high school, a time when many of us wanted to feel grown up but just weren’t quite there. It was activities like the band or dancing that helped define the experience, and is a symbol of a relatively simpler time. (Via It’s Nice That)

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Compelling Nude Bodies Walk The Line Between Ordinary and Strange (NSFW)

Nude Bodies

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Dutch photographers Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm depict both sexes simultaneously in a series entitled Best of Both. It appears in Baron magazine for their The Future of Sex issue. The images feature nude male and female figures posed in different yoga-esque positions on the same gray carpet, with one half a man and the other a woman. Bodies are twisted matched up perfectly to create one whole person.

The combination borders on ordinary and strange. On one hand, these figures are nude, which is nothing new; we’ve seen it throughout our lives and plenty of times within the context of art history. But, at the same time, its creates a person whose extreme twists and distorted views (we see the butt attached to the front of a chest) immediately reads as something amiss. It subverts any sort of preconceived notions we have of the individual in a simple but effective manner. (Via It’s Nice That)

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