Polish fashion photographer, Sylwia Makris, creates photographs that juxtapose an academic portrait aesthetic with a steampunk sensibility. Sylwia’s work resembles dark and dreamlike worlds where bodily expressions, makeup, clothes and the environment itself come together to tell a unique story full of charm and mystery.
Makris’ recent body of work, a series of portraits that resemble the dark and the beautiful, serve as an artful glimpse on our current fashion aesthetic condition- in Makris’ terms, of course. It primarily features pale-white women and men encapsulated in a black background in steampunk formalwear; many are tattooed or pierced, if not wearing dark makeup. The models wear extravagant headpieces that pile up on top of their head like the headdress of wild mythical creatures. She photographs people that are strong or delicate, broken or dynamic. She photographs the faces of our time-and in doing so, she gives a face to our time in her own terms.
The dramatic lighting and over-the-top costumes are not what we deem real, however. Perhaps, what is real, in this case, is Makris’ faith in the strength of an expressive and strong appearance and personality; a belief that through her gothic, steampunk characters, she illustrates very clearly. The intensity and confidence that exudes from her subjects is not to be missed and certainly not to be disbelieved.
New York based fashion photographer, Dominik Tarabanski, creates surreal editorial photographs that evolve around the notion of a ‘modern human’–minimal and sophisticated yet weird and edgy. Think of it like this: a mix between the early surreal photographs of May Ray and Lady Gaga’s outrageous closet and styling.
My interest and inspirations evolve around the modern human, photography is always the ultimate form of reflection. I hope that my visual sensibility will one day lead to a simple, pure and perfect organic form. I want to talk about the phenomenon of fashion in my own conceptual way, which leads to a smooth transition into the art domain. – Tarabanski
“This spot was once a prosperous place” says Mexican artist Raúl Gasque. “It used to be one of the top commercial shrimp fishing ports in Mexico and now its an abandoned space.” This photography series, Metonymic Tropic, is Gasque’s way of capturing his nostalgia for what was: an affluent port that thrived during a prosperous economy and the rule of prolific leaders.
The decay shown through these images serve as a visual metaphor of an overall state of destruction and crisis. Although apocalyptic and dark, Gasque’s way of juxtaposing decay and bright blue waters or skies gives the composition an alternate uplifting meaning, one he hopes his viewers can somehow find upon careful and willful inspection.
The photos are metaphors of the present time in humanity: ghost towns, crisis, climate change consequences, but in the horizon the blue skies transmit us a way of hope and redemption.
Even in the darkest of photographs in the collection we are able to pinpoint a source of inspiration and beauty. Destruction always call for re-birth and rehabilitation and it is safe to say that through his photographs, Gasque makes a case of nostalgia but most importantly a myriad of observations that may in fact rebuild his faith in something that might return to the way it was.
Studio Swine‘s Azusa Murkakmi and Alexander Groves specialize in creating exquisite designs out of discarded objects (aka trash). For the pair’s latest project, they turned to an alternative unwanted material: discarded locks of human hair. With it, the designers at Studio Swine created Hair Highway, a series of beautiful functional and decorative objects that mimic the look and texture of hardwood but are in fact made of human hair. Mixed with resins and dye, the hair turns to a hard material, one that becomes a potential functional and decorative piece of art work. Each of the objects in the series looks as if it is carved from tropical wood, horn, and tortoise shell yet they were produced at a fraction of the cost with the human hair. According to the duo, hair is in many ways a perfect sustainable resource. It grows up to 16 times faster than many tropical hardwoods, and it’s incredibly strong as well.
Oakland based artist Christopher Blackstock creates the ‘The Lone Stranger’ a series of illustrations that explore the life of an imagined character who finds himself experiencing the ultimate journey of self-discovery in a hallucinatory, post-apocalyptic remote desert area. The vibrant, cartoonish aesthetic puts emphasis on the surrealism of it all. Finding yourself in a desolated space can become lonely but exciting all at once.
According to the artist, the stranger, the recurring character, has experienced his fair share of tragedy and is now in search for answers, and maybe some sort of redemption through a spiritual quest. His tale, one of existential turmoil, redemption and self-discovery coincides with the collapse of the ecosystem as climate change reaches a more advanced stage and renders California completely arid.
Blackstock, a muiti-media artist who works in painting, sculpture and illustration, rendered these as digital drawings first and then turned them into laser-cut panels which were then placed onto canvas and hand-painted with acrylic and spray-paint.
Blackstock’s ‘The Lone Stranger’ will be on view at Oakland’s Loakal, starting July 4th through July 30th, 2014.
Don’t we all love to hate those kitschy landscape paintings at the local thrift store? I know I do. But what if we can make them became exciting again?
Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal give thrift shop paintings new life by embedding monster-like creatures. The finished product resembles a pop-surrealist version of Nickelodeon’s Aaahh! Real Monsters.
Both artist carefully blend the monsters into the original scene as if they were always there. The process can be tricky, since it can be a challenge to match the original textures and colors, but it can be said that their attempts have been a success. They are pretty awesome.
Brooklyn-based artist Hannah Kunkle puts Kim Kardashian on the altar, literally. Kunkle delivers Kardashian as the Virgin Mary, Medusa, the devil and even Kleopatra. With a flashy net-art inspired aesthetic, the artist takes Kim’s iconic, worshiped image and puts it to work, naturally, with religious/cultish iconography. The controversial juxtaposition is rather riveting as its subtle insights perfectly captures the absurdity of our nation’s obsession with Kardashian and celeb idolatry in general. “We have accepted her into our lives via television screens, memes, and Instagram feeds”, she says. “If Jay Z is the father and Yeezus is the son, then she is the ever-present holy ghost of pop culture.”
According to the Huffpost, Kunkle’s recent exhibition in Bushwich titled “The Passion of Kim Kardashian” caused some controversy amongst the religious community in New York. “It’s deplorable,” Pastor Reggie Stutzman of Real Life Church told The New York Daily News. “It’s sacrilegious, irrelevant, and disrespectful… It’s idol worship.” The Hindu community had opinions about it too. “I am certainly not happy about this,” said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. “Any religious symbol should not be used or abused.” (Via Huff Post)
Argentinian artist Agustina Woodgate creates these colorful and complex rugs made out of the skins that once belonged to a few hundred abandoned stuffed animals. Originally inspired by Eastern Culture’s symbolic use of rugs [as they often depict the spiritual and mental world in woven form], Agustina was looking to ultimately deliver an alternative memory object that displays and references personal histories.
Woodgate’s idea started by her relationship with her own old Teddy bear, Pepe. On an interview with Sight Unseen, she says:
It was simply an object. But I also didn’t want to throw it away. That’s when I decided wanted to do something with the bear. In the beginning of the process, I had no idea what was going to happen. I went to a thrift store, got another bear, and started playing around. I looked at all the components that make up a stuffed animal: the stuffing, the fabric, the stitching. I wanted to approach an everyday object in the hopes of making something new.
Woodgate was recently awarded the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. The $20,000 prize was accepted by Woodgate last Friday at the Orlando Museum of Art, which established the award this year. “She was chosen based on the quality and significance of her overall body of work and contributions to the field of contemporary art”, said museum curator Hansen Mulford.