Millicent Hailes’ Provacative Photos Mirror Relationships In A Strip Club

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Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.

Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”

To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)

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Pierre And Gilles’ Pop Icon Portraits Made With Sex And Glitter

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Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard – Pierre and Gilles – have made portraits of Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Andy Warhol, and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. The portraits are sexually charged and totally fantastical. Their subjects are placed under water, surrounded by flowers, or in what looks like a McDonalds ball pen (a not so subtle reference, in the tradition of most of their portraiture). Their kitschy and outlandish aesthetic has had them attain international recognition; they’re included in collections like the MoMA’s and have had a major retrospective at the New Museum in 2000.

Not only do they work together professionally, they have also been together as a couple for the duration of their shared career. Pierre is the photographer, and Gilles does the painting afterward. According to a VMagazine interview, the entire process of one portrait takes them about three weeks:

“We do everything from creating the décor to taking the picture to constructing the frame. We are always inspired by the person’s personality.”

Although their sexual orientation is a large part of their public persona, they say they are cautious not to pigeonhole themselves into what they call the “gay ghetto” and for this reason take portraits of a variety of celebrities they admire, while maintaining their own distinct style.

Their aesthetic is whimsical and edgy. Certainly setting a man up fully nude peeing into a garden of flowers is not an image you will see every day. It’s provocative, but not aggressive, probably because of the teasing, over-the-top nature of the accompanying imagery. They find a way to playfully bring the mainstream out of its comfort zone so it seems like every day should be filled with sexy nuns riding bedazzled horses!

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Powerfully Disturbing And Certainly Controversial Art By The Kid

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Powerfully disturbing, and certainly controversial, the art that 22-year old artist The Kid creates spans genres. He describes his work as “forever caught between innocence and corruption,” and the well-executed pieces are compelling with their huge, detailed, Bic pen-drawn faces and hyper-realistic sculpted bodies. Photos of his sculptures, made from materials such as platinum silicon, glass fiber, oil paint, human hair, cotton, and mixed fabrics, force you to look, and look again, in order to believe that they are, in fact, inanimate objects.

In his latest work, The Kid is influenced by bullying inflicted on him by fellow students and teachers when he was younger. The sculpture “Do you believe in God?” which depicts the artist kneeling and holding a gun in his own mouth, was in response to the Columbine killers, who he feels he understands and sees as “victims of a social context.”

“All subjects of my drawings for the exhibition “endgame” really exist and are currently being held in prison-even in the United States-with exactly these tattoos. They are not imaginary and no detail is invented. They are all serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, until they die in prison. There is no other hope for them-a life in adult prison at the beginning of their sentence, that’s all, even though they have been convicted of violent crimes they committed before the age of 18.” (Source)

It’s clear that The Kid empathizes with these stigmatized subjects and hopes to give them back some humanity by evoking compassion from the viewer. Many share his view that social determinism condemns people from birth because of their familial circumstances, but by depicting, in such a graphic way, a sampling of those who are affected, he brings attention to the issue. It’s not empty sentiment, either. The Kid donated a portion of the profits from this work to the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch, which defends the rights of people worldwide. (Via yatzer)

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Choi Xooang’s Exquisitely Nightmarish Human Sculptures

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Korean artist Choi Xooang creates sculptures that you’d see in your nightmares. The grotesque artworks are made out of resin and shocking in the brutal ways that they manipulate the human body. Severed limbs, skin corsets, and people-made backpacks are all featured in these pale, hyperreal mutant characters. Although they feature exquisite craftsmanship (the life-like details are stunning), it’s hard to get away from subject matter.

Galerie Albert Benamou – Véronique Maxé, who represent the artist, write about Choi’s work, stating the ideas behind his work:

His existentialist creatures, in the torments of their flesh and their contradictions, become our double dumb and clueless. The artist says that emotions are the only things given to a man or woman apart from their social status in the functioning of a capitalist society. Choi Xooang not only gives us his own feelings but attempts to retrieve a collective soul, a chart of all the sufferings and joys experienced by everyone.

We see these types of feelings represented; while there is pain, there is also sensuality between the characters, and even some eroticism shown throughout the strange hybrid people. With this, Choi communicates that pain and pleasure can walk a thin line. (Via Hi Fructose)

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The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls

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Early morning at the hotel in Wales. ‘Shadowman’ wakes up with his doll Carly. He has 2 adult daughters with another woman. Besides Carly he has 4 other dolls. Bianca is one of them. His dolls are not part of a daily life with his family, but everybody knows of their presence. Shadowman recently got divorced from his second wife.

Phil stopped smoking for a year to be able to afford his doll Jessica. He is aware that she's a doll, but simply doesn't care what anyone thinks about his choice of lifestyle. Phils friends all know of her existence.

Phil stopped smoking for a year to be able to afford his doll Jessica. He is aware that she’s a doll, but simply doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his choice of lifestyle. Phil’s friends all know of her existence.

Rebekka and June in the backyard of Everard. He has 12 dolls and often takes them to the garden for a photoshoot. His neighbours goes inside when he enters with his dolls. Everard has only had one relationship with a living women and has difficulties understanding women. He is lonesome but his dolls gives him kind of a comfort by their presence. The men are in general vain towards the dolls, they use a lot of time to make the hair and make up right before they picture them. That is also the reason why Rebekka and June are wearing summerhats – not to have the sharp sun in their face.

Rebekka and June in the backyard of Everard. He has 12 dolls and often takes them to the garden for a photoshoot. His neighbours go inside when he enters with his dolls. Everard has only had one relationship with a living woman and has difficulties understanding women. He is lonesome but his dolls give him kind of a comfort by their presence. The men are in general vain towards the dolls; they use a lot of time to make the hair and make up right before they picture them. That is also the reason why Rebekka and June are wearing summerhats – not to have the sharp sun in their face.

In 1986 after having their first child Chris Zachos wife filed for divorce. He was refused contact with his daughter for years. Every now and then he would try to search his daughters name on different social medias to get back in touch and a few years ago he managed to find her, now married and a mum of 2. It has been very painfull for Chris not to have been a part of his daughters life, so it was big when they finally reunited.

In 1986, after having their first child, Chris Zacho’s wife filed for divorce. He was refused contact with his daughter for years. Every now and then he would try to search his daughter’s name on different social medias to get back in touch and a few years ago he managed to find her, now married and a mum of 2. It has been very painful for Chris not to have been a part of his daughter’s life, so it was big when they finally reunited.

While, since its popularization in the 1990s, the phenomenon of sex dolls—life-sized and lifelike synthetic figures intended both as erotic objects and as stand-in companions—has been riddled with condemnation, Danish photojournalist Benita Marcussen seeks to shed these judgments through her series, Men & Dolls.

Following a group of six male doll-owners, Men & Dolls documents the individuals’ relationships with the anatomically-correct mannequins and provides an intimate glimpse into this controversial lifestyle. While the identities and situations of the subjects greatly vary—two men are married with children, two have been through a divorce, one was once betrothed in a dead-end engagement, and one has never had a girlfriend—they have one very apparent thing in common: they each consciously turn to dolls as a means to alleviate their loneliness.

This is why, in the photoseries, Marcussen does not solely focus on the sexual aspect of neither the dolls nor the relationships that they facilitate. She presents, rather, images that convey the ways in which the men incorporate the dolls into their daily lives and treat them as sentient—albeit intimate—companions.

Ultimately, whether clad in a sun hat and seated outdoors, dolled up in formal attire, carried around on a romantic pseudo-stroll, or wrapped in an embrace on a bed, it is clear that each doll featured in Men & Dolls is so much more than a sex toy. (Via Feature Shoot)

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26 Choreographed Performers Come Together To Create The Most Striking Video You’ll See Today

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Dimitris Papaioannou - Nowhere 2009

Dimitris Papaioannou - Nowhere 2009

Greek director, choreographer, visual artist and performer Dimitris Papaioannou has caught our attention with this strikingly simple video. Just under 4 minutes long, it is a short clip of the central segment of his longer show Nowhere (2009). Ominously lit, and eerily quiet, it is a strange experience to watch. The whole piece was performed by 26 people and is a testament to just how well Papaioannou can direct bodies to create unified, seamless actions. The arms of the performers stop looking like separate limbs belonging to humans and more like giant tentacles, or something very alien indeed. The arms are either moving on their own accord or in harmony with something unseen. It is both wondrous and unsettling to watch the action unfold.

Papaioannou is no stranger to directing large numbers of people performing synchronized movements. He has also co-ordinated the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. As we know, these shows are a finely tuned ballet of thousands of interconnected bodies and continuously changing patterns (the closing ceremony alone had more than 3500 performers).

His focus on composition and the overall harmony on stage probably owes itself to his training as a painter. Papaioannou has for a long time been interested in gestures; how the body influences mark making; or how we are able to express an emotion through the use of our skin and bones. Gradually though, he was drawn toward the immediacy of performing, and fell in love with the theatricality of the stage.

As a painter, [the Edofos Dance Theatre] was the place to create images; as a comics artist, this was where to tell my tales; and as a performer, this was the context in which to present myself. Furthermore, as I was to discover over time, this was the territory in which to inspire people, exercising my skills as a team leader. (Source)

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Ángela Burón Creates Optically Perplexing Photographs Of Distorted Bodies

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Using herself as a model, Spanish photographer Ángela Burón creates surreal and often optically perplexing photographs. With askew imagery and mysterious compositions, Burón seeks to disorient the viewer and prompts them to question the reality of what they are seeing.

While Burón boasts a diverse body of work, a common motif in her photographs is a focus on hybridity. Feet replaced by hands, breasts conjoined with thighs, and legs sporting two sets of knees are just a few examples of these peculiar pieces, which make up a large portion of her celebrated portfolio.

In addition to her surreal photographs, Burón also dabbles in more conventional portraiture. Spanning coy self-portraits, sensual nudes, shots of amorous couples, and even a close-up of a bright-eyed cat, these works—though seemingly realistic—still convey the artist’s unique and curious style. Characterized by unnatural poses and disconcerting expressions, this side of Burón’s oeuvre still captures her inherent tendency toward the surreal and, thus, portrays her unique and unusual style. (Via Inkult)

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Sculptor Monica Piloni Creates Architectural Body Horror

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Sculptor Monica Piloni takes body horror and gives it an acid bath in the surreal. Remember how traumatizing Labyrinth was? Specifically, the scene with the “helping hands”? Now imagine that times a million — sans David Bowie, but plus whatever Ziggy Stardust was on.

In one piece, named “Opium,” a constellation of body parts melt and fuse with each other. Hands, faces, genitalia, and everything in between are carved out perfectly from a chalky resin. A series of acrylic and vinyl fruits are shown bisected with gory ribs instead of the usual innocuous white pith.

Though of course the body horror is a highlight of Piloni’s work, there something more to it. Her art explores identity and otherness. “Triptych Self-Portrait,” is a sculpture of a woman as seen through a kaleidoscope. It’s a grotesque play of symmetry and perspective. Similarly, “Ballerina” is a woman deconstructed, each part of her isolated from the others in a clear box, as though she were some kind of pre-packaged Barbie doll.

There is something architectural about Piloni’s work, the way she calls your attention to the angles, negative spaces, and repeated motifs, like those many body parts are only building blocks. If anything, that makes it all the more disturbing. (via Hi-Fructose)

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