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Stephanie is a writer, editor, and general optimist. She lives online at http://stephchan.com/ .

Hinke Schreuders’s Embroidered Works Run The Gamut From Sinister To Playful

embroidered photographs Hinke Schreuders - Design

Hinke Schreuders - Design Hinke Schreuders - Design

Dutch artist Hinke Schreuders creates embroidered works that run the gamut from sinister to playful. Stitching directly on photographs and illustrations, Schreuders creates entirely new artworks by shifting the emphasis and adding pops of color or whole new objects and interactions. She transforms a dreary gray tree to a flowering one with little buds raining down like a curtain of beads. In other photographs, she applies her hand to texturing rivers with pale blue and adding spirals of threading forming fluffy white clouds.

In her previous work, Schreuders has said she wanted to “subtly confuse notions of feminine vulnerability and reinforce the position of embroidery as an artistic medium,” and she certainly continues doing so in her new work. In one piece, a naked woman is posed confidently, outlined with thread and smoking a cigarette. In another, she lends her embroidery to a photo of a woman in a white dress, adding layers and depth and somehow making the subject less passive and more engaged with the world inside the photograph. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)

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Charles Petillon’s Riotously Joyful Photographs Of Balloons

Charles Petillon - Photography

Charles Petillon - Photography

Charles Petillon - Photography

There is something immediately evocative about seeing balloons in unexpected places, a fact that photographer Charles Petillon takes advantage of in his series “Invasions.” Pure white balloons blossom out of weather-worn storage spaces and wreathe sunlit trees in an idyllic forest. They spill from the open door and windows of an unassuming home, looking for all the world like soap bubbles. Riotous and joyful, they remind us instantly of childhood, yet the name “Invasions” seems to hint at something a bit more insidious.

However, Petillon’s intention seems not to portray a sinister presence in our everyday lives; rather, he seems to want to create a metaphor that can change from scene to scene. The photograph set in a forest is named “Mutation 2,” exploring the way natural and manmade elements interact with each other. Another photograph, this time with balloons draped over a basketball hoop, is called “Play Station 2,” and poses the question of how the pastimes of youth have evolved in modern society.

“Invasions” can be seen at Maison Européene de la Photographie in Paris, France starting on February 20 until March 22, 2015. (via Design Taxi)

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Nancy Liang’s Subtly Magical Hand-Drawn GIFs

Nancy Liang - Illustration

Nancy Liang - Illustration

Nancy Liang - Illustration

Nancy Liang - Illustration

Nancy Liang‘s GIFs and illustrations are peaceful and full of quiet wonder. Much like the imaginings of Chris Van Allsburg in his book “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick,” Liang’s work captures moments from larger stories. They depict scenes of midnight contemplation as well as magic of a subtler flavor: an upside down house surrounded by snow floating up toward the moon; a boat drifting down an empty street; a small child accompanied by a ghostly spirit animal. These are only ghosts and flights of fancy that evoke the shape and landscape of a wider fantasy world that intersects with ours in the shadows.

According to her artist’s statement, Liang “often explores social and cultural narratives in an ironic, metaphoric and emotive way.” These narratives are especially clear in her illustrations that shine a light on suburban life and escapism. The paper textures and lines of graphite bring a storybook quality to her artwork that makes them seem childlike and gives them a kind of universal accessiblity. (via I Need a Guide)

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Nick Smith’s Recreates Classic Paintings With Pantone Swatches

Nick Smith - Design Nick Smith - Design Nick Smith - Design Nick Smith - Design

Nick Smith‘s playfully arranges Pantone swatches to paper to re-create famous paintings from “Girl with a Pearl Earring” to “Mona Lisa.” Though his work uses broad swaths of colors, the pictures are still recognizable, looking almost like 8-bit art. He takes classic pieces and brings them into the 21st century, adding a little twist of tongue-in-cheek pop art to it along the way.

Smith’s previous work has also been largely representative, such as his “Shades of Lust” series, which labels various shades of pink Pantone swatches with suggestive yet simple titles such as “NIPPLE” and “BOUNCY.” (via I Need a Guide)

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Katsuyo Aoki’s Stunningly Intricate Porcelain Skulls

Katsuyo Aoki - Sculpture Katsuyo Aoki - Sculpture Katsuyo Aoki - Sculpture Katsuyo Aoki - Sculpture

Katsuyo Aoki creates stunningly intricate porcelain skulls. Her work is almost like a three-dimensional expansion on the tradition of calavera, decorated skulls made of sugar or clay to commemorate the Day of the Dead. She touches on this in her explanation of work, commenting that elevating the skull, which could be considered macabre, can make the viewer feel, “tranquility and awe that can almost be described as religious, as well as an image as an object of worship.”

The patterns on her skulls range from elegant swirls to jagged spikes that look like prehistoric teeth. Others unfurl like deep sea creatures from another plane of existence, stretching their frills out like anemones from beyond. The name of the exhibit, “Predictive Dreams,” further emphasizes the mystical qualities of the artwork, recalling a time when prophets and seers would study bones and entrails to gaze into the future.

Aoki says of the work:

“The decorative styles and forms I allude to and incorporate in my works each contain a story based on historical backgrounds and ideas, myths, and allegories. Their existence in the present age makes us feel many things; adoration, some sort of romantic emotions, a sense of unfruitfulness and languor from their excessiveness and vulgarity.”

(via Deadman’s Reach)

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Artist Saeborg’s Farm of Inflatable Pig Women

SaeborgSaeborg - Installation Saeborg - Installation

Saeborg - Installation Saeborg - Installation,

Seaborg, a Japanese designer and artist, chooses latex as her medium of choice. A blend of installation and performance art, her latest work is an “inflatable animal farm,” complete with blow-up cows and pigs as well as performers in inflatable suits. Saturated with bright children’s book colors, the installation also features somewhat disturbing images, exposing what seems to be a literal underbelly. In a slaughterhouse, a pig with prominent human breasts dangles from the ceiling, gutted and bled. Another photo from the installation shows a pig, partly eviscerated, posing coquettishly with a come-hither expression.

In the past, Saeborg’s work has been included in group shows that portray a female perspective on modern Japan, particularly colored by sexuality, pop culture, and humor. According to beautiful.bizarre,

“As a new driving force of the economy, these women now work for the modernization of traditional Japanese culture, a culture that was unknown to the Western World. This new feminine expression is based on ‘impermanence’ (a Buddhist concept) and is mixed with the attraction to darkness and the internalization of feelings.”

Saeborg’s inflatable farm certainly hits all these notes, putting the ideas of impermanence and objectification front and center. These pig-women are fetishized, yet at the end of the day, they’re nothing more than a commodity: so many pounds of meat. (via Hi-Fructose)

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Jason Hopkins Imagines A Horrific Architectural Posthuman Form

Jason Hopkins - Design

Jason Hopkins - Design

Jason Hopkins - Design

Jason Hopkins - Design

Jason Hopkins creates digital sculptures that ooze with body horror. The collection, called “Abhominal,” is replete with organic blobs, sharp angles suggesting knees and elbows, and pink skin stretched over geometric frames, looking for all the world like fleshy jungle gyms. The similarity to the word “abominable” is surely not a coincidence. The sculptures look like science experiments gone horribly wrong.

As grotesque as they may already appear, the backstory ratchets up the queasiness: “Abhominal, an archaic word meaning inhuman, is an exploratory weblog of the human form,” Hopkins’ website says. “The digital sculptures are a fusion of geometric, architectural and biological abstract forms – a bleak evolutionary future where biotechnology has been used to make perfect posthuman beings.”

That’s right. The sculptures aren’t as innocuous as skin grafts or tumorous cell growths; they’re the imagined next step in human evolution. Hopkins takes the idea of genetic engineering and plays with the concept, mulling over and pulling out the dystopian possibilities like long strands of taffy. His artist’s statement continues:

“Humans have altered the genomes of species for thousands of years through artificial selection. Over the past 40 years scientists have made amazing technological progress to improve natures crops and mammals through genetic modifications; recently science has mapped the entire human genome and begun to realise the potential for modifying us.”

To complete the eerie effect of his digital renderings, Hopkins describes each piece with a kind of sinister optimism. One piece called, “Supermodel, Size Zero,” is a thin stretch of skin with barely human features: two sagging breasts, small clawed feet, and the occasional tiny nub. The description enthuses, “With genetic tinkering we will no longer need to fuss over what we eat.” (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)

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Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew’s Ethereal Paintings On Mosquito Nets Shimmer In Mid Air

Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew - Painting Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew - Painting Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew - Painting Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew - Painting

Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew‘s paints both metaphorical and literal depth. As a student at Silapakorn University in Bangkok, Nimmalaikaew began experimenting with painting on mosquito net and tulle, this giving birth to his unusual and striking style. His paintings seem to shimmer in mid-air, changing depending on where the viewer stands, appearing like specters from another dimension. Though the figures in his paintings are caught in a single moment of time, they are still somehow dynamic, conveying a spectrum of emotions and vibrating with life.

Nimmalaikaew’s work has garnered quite a bit of acclaim, from the Sovereign Asian Art Prize to various medals and the title of Artist of Distinction by the National Exhibition of Art in Bangkok. He spoke briefly with BLOUIN Artinfo on the way he creates his ethereal paintings:

“Well, each process might be a little different depending on the work, but mainly it starts from a digital drawing of twisted lines in human form. The digital drawing is then printed life-size to set the base form and texture. The following layers are painted in oil color in the ‘tulle-painting style.’ Over time, I have learnt that the tulle demands a different way of creating realistic light and shadow for the material. The top layer gives details for the optical illusion. Then I connect each layer with clear copolymer line to make it all fit together and create depth in the image.” (via I Need a Guide)

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