Japanese artist Junko Mizuno’s candy-colored works draw us into a world full of dark and erotic food fetishes. Meant as a metaphor the female sexual appetite and power, Mizuno’s illustrations feature women enjoying eggs, bacon, noodles, and more. Her maximalist style weaves geometric shapes, naked creatures, and luscious patterns into each composition. Coupled with the strong presence of a female character, it results in artwork that’s simultaneously grotesque, cute, playful, and alluring.
Mizuno’s inspiration comes from a range of historical and cultural influences, as well as traditions found in both Eastern and Western worlds. Fairy tales and the works of Aubrey Beardsley and Eric Stanton are also visible. Narwhal Contemporary writes about her paintings, stating, “One reoccurring image is that of the iconic multi-armed goddess cloaked in symbols of life and wisdom, surrounded by fleets of devoted minions and enveloped in flames that will never consume her.” They relish in their unapologetic gluttony.
Mizuno currently has work in a solo exhibition titled Ambrosial Affair at the Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto. This is the second in a three-part exhibition series titled Junko Mizuno’s Food Obsession. It’s on view until March 15 of this year.
British master jeweler Theo Fennell doesn’t just make your average ring. No, his company goes well beyond the typical diamond jewellery by creating accessories that feature doors and secret compartments engineered into them. They open to reveal tiny painted scenes and small treasures that are inspired by popular novels like The Secret Garden and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Fennell and company’s gold rings have astounding and intricate details. Looking closely at their handiwork, you find things like: individual coins in a pot of gold; a rainbow that’s poking above the clouds; and a ring with a side door that unhinges to reveal a yellow-brick road. Of course, these things don’t come without a price – some of them cost around $30,000.
Fennell’s attitude towards his work is that it should be timeless, and so pairing it with classic literary interpretations makes sense. “Jewellry should be something talismanic and precious, beautifully made to last and not at the ephemeral whim of fashion: it should be truly owned,” he says. “Jewellery has that power – it is a very romantic, sexy and emotional thing.” (Via Demilked)
The iconic pizza pie gets a fun twist in this series titled Pizza Is the New Black by the Paris design studio called Black Pizza. It features 10 different iterations of the dish, all set in a different color and that use some food as well as inanimate objects. Designers had the help of Chef Julie Bassett with support from Erwan Fichou, and together the team came up with “pizzas” that included pacifiers, ping pong balls, iPhone cases, and more on them. The dough was even dyed to match the color scheme. It all results in these visually appetizing images that are beautiful if not slightly repulsive.
Black Pizza describes the project, saying, “In a riotous culinary color scheme, Black Pizza pays tribute to the pizza, the symbol of sharing and pop culture.” The entire project only took a couple of days. (Via Miss Asphixia and UFunk)
“I dreamt I passed my driving license on tricycle.”
“I was sitting somewhere in Berlin surrounded by red and black cat and there were blonde men everywhere.”
“I was riding a shark in the middle of the sea with Justin Bieber, we were smoking pot and having a good time, and it was raining skittles all over the sea.”
“Everyone was using Bing instead of Google at school. Also, everyone was walking on the ceilings.”
Here’s a hilarious Tumblr to follow. Photoshop Your Dreams is a blog that asks readers to submit their dreams have have them recreated in the photo-editing program. The person behind it is Margaux Espinasse, a web project manager based in Berlin. It’s an amusing premise and one that’s very relatable. Have you ever had a dream so vivid but hard (and boring) to explain in words? Here, the images look ridiculous and capture the often-crazy essence of this unconscious state.
Espinasse tells It’s Nice Thatthe inspiration for this project came from her own dreams. “I woke up three weeks ago after an amazing dream where I was chased by flying octopuses (probably because I watch a few too many Nat Geo and BBC documentaries),” she explains. “I tried to tell a friend about this dream and then I realised that the best way to communicate it was to make a montage of it.” Photoshop Your Dreams caught on. “A few friends were quite excited by the idea and sent me their dreams. I put them online on Tumblr and very quickly I saw that people liked the idea.”
Espinasse is taking submissions for the blog. Learn how to do so here. (Via It’s Nice That)
Photographer Jefta Hoekendijk’s series Aura features shimmering bodies in motion and dazzling colors. The feel of these images is electric as nude models are coated from head to toe with a metallic covering. Bright greens, purples, teals, and more radiate from their every movement.
The eye-catching effect was done without the use of post-production enhancements. “This is metal body paint and lighting effects directly made [from] shooting,” Hoekendijk writes. Any sort of movement will cause these trails of jewel-toned light. The result is a series of seductive and alluring photos where you’re focused on the invisible now made visible.
Hoekendijk experiments with painting, photography, sculpture, and video that’s centered around movement and the human body. Above all, his work is interested in the body as a vessel for expressing his varied artistic voice.
Austrian artist Stefan Zsaitsits draws portraits in pencil that are simultaneously nostalgic and strange. The alluring images often feature surreal moments that are from a child’s point of view and a deranged mash-up of characters, places, and frantic mark-making.
There are small comforts in Zsaitsit’s work, like the warm-toned graphite coupled with moments that highlight the joys of growing up. Some characters play with toys and imagine pleasant, beautiful things. Other times, Zsaitsits depicts children and their nightmares. Dark combinations of desolate scenes are ravaged by scary animals and enemies.
Through visual layering of these characters, the artist indicates that many of these images are seen in the mind’s eye. In the drawings, they’re contained within the body or its direct gaze. Zsaitsits’ symbolic works are a darker, more modern-day version of a child’s Boogie Man, and ripe for interpretation by the viewer. (Via Faith is Torment)
Using discarded inner tubes and a needle and thread, South African artist Hannalie Taute embroiders portraits onto rubber. She takes cuts the abandoned material and cuts them apart to stitch together and form a “canvas.” Often, this means that her subjects have a subtle honeycomb pattern as their backdrop. “Besides the durability and availability of rubber from inner tubes found in car tires, I also decided to embroider on rubber because I find the contrast of working with needle and thread on these inner tubes fascinating,” she says in an artist statement.
As you might imagine, rubber is a tough surface to embroider on. Every stitched line is shown, and Taute isn’t able to seamlessly blend together the different hues. The results are fractured areas of color that abstract her portraits, although not to the point of unrecognition. And, this is partially the idea – to subvert materials. The rubber’s coarse texture is offset by the delicate thread, but at the same time the thread can seem rough with its choppy arrangement.
The artist’s inspiration comes from a number of places, but boil down to identity. She writes:
Titles, words, phrases from books, music, stories, sayings and toys play an integral part in conveying meaning and biographical info about me as a mother, wife and artist in society. Relationships between people and objects are something I prefer to explore using my chosen medium.
When searching for photos of popular tourist destinations, chances are many of these images look the same. Thanks to the now-ubiquitous camera phone, anyone can snap a photo anywhere. So, of course, it’s no surprise that there’s an endless amount of dull images of places like Los Angeles’ “Hollywood” sign or Rome’s Colosseum. Artist Corinne Vionnet recognized this fact years ago and crafted artworks born from banal vacation photos. Her series is titled Photo Opportunities, and it uses at least 100 found photos layered digitally to comprise one cohesive image.
In 2005, Vionnet began searching online for pictures of tourist landmarks around the world, and she observed that most snapshots were of the existing, “stereotypical” imagery of that locale. Vantage points, lighting, visual symmetry – it all looks the same.
Photo Opportunities was recently on view at the Danziger Gallery in New York. They describe Vionnet’s pieces, writing:
Working with multiple images of different monuments, she collates around a hundred appropriated photographs for each of her layered, ethereal compositions. Underneath these beautiful ghost visions is a serious concern with how the persistence of formally repeated photographic compositions affects our cultural and historical awareness.
The Impressionist-quality of these images comment on how we experience and reflect on our environment. Even though the photo feels unique to the picture taker, it is all-too-similar and later lost in the digital ether. (Via Gawker)