Tattoo Artists Ink Over Mastectomy Scars With Empowering And Personal Designs

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Tattoos have been personal and symbolic to a lot of people for a long time, and these tattoos mean a whole lot to these women for a very heart warming reason. P.ink is a collection of artists who team up with breast cancer survivors and ink designs over their mastectomy scars. The aim of the group is to help women who have won the battle with cancer feel happy to look in the mirror again; so that they want to look at their breasts once more, and not only to be reminded of the pain and suffering they have experienced.

For most of these women who choose to get tattooed, the inking process represents gaining control back over what has happened to their bodies. Not only do the images cover the physical scars, but they also lessen the emotional and psychological scars the cancer has created.

Launched in 2013, along with Molly’s story, P.ink has bought together 47 artists and 48 survivors, in over 12 locations around the United States in the few years it has been operational. With over 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S alone, it was clear a lot of women needed a way to celebrate their battle with the disease. Over 56% of those survivors are left with visible scarring and often no nipples, and adding tattoos to the area after surgery is a beautiful way to turn something that was avoided into something worth celebrating and showing off.

You can donate to P.ink now, or learn more about becoming a survivor participant. (Via Bored Panda)

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Martin Eder’s Atmospheric Paintings Of Fearless And Melancholic Female Warriors

"Blut/Blood". Oil on canvas, 225 x 150 cm.

“Blut/Blood”. Oil on canvas, 225 x 150 cm.

"Inner Reality". Oil on canvas, 150 cm x 100 cm.

“Inner Reality”. Oil on canvas, 150 cm x 100 cm.

"How to Stand". Oil on canvas, 142 cm x 186 cm.

“How to Stand”. Oil on canvas, 142 cm x 186 cm.

"Behind the Curtain". Oil on canvas, 80 cm x 60 cm.

“Behind the Curtain”. Oil on canvas, 80 cm x 60 cm.

Martin Eder is German artist who paints atmospheric portraits, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in a semi-surreal haze. His recent series involves figures of mythological repute, clad in armor and posing on the battlefield while the background boils with fire, smoke, and blood. Elsewhere, in more subdued scenes, his subjects recline in tender contemplation, or transform — with a silent violence — into a swan. Blending Botticelli-esque classicism with contemporary hyperrealism, Eder’s paintings defy categorization, appealing in their ambivalence to our fantasies through passionate stories radiating courage and melancholia.

Eder’s previous works are known for their flickering touches of eroticism blended with absurdity. Those who see his depictions of women as somewhat fetishized are not mistaken; experimenting with desire (and engaged criticisms) as affirmations of life, Eder asks us, in a rhetorical turn, “isn’t arousal, if it’s present at all, a rebellion against death?” (Source). In his bloodied and battle-wearied warrior portraits, however, Eder seems to be metaphorically driving at something else: a connection to the present, as the curator’s statement for Eder’s current exhibition at Galerie Eigen + Art suggests:

Women in armour, torn linen fabrics, armed with swords, traces of acts of war on their faces. The theme seems to be of a historical one, but is omnipresent: women of war in battle, in combat. Amongst the overflow of catastrophes, natural disasters and war images, emerge female figures as warriors that we repeatedly see, as soldiers, in the form of mothers who protect their children or their villages with weapons in the Middle East, or on another front on Maidan Square, equipped with improvised armour of street signs, gaffer tapes and plastic containers. (Source)

Eder’s exhibition, titled “Those Bloody Colours,” is showing at Eigen + Art in Berlin until May 23rd.  The title of the exhibition refers to a cry of war uttered in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3: “Let our bloody colours wave!/And either victory, or else a grave!” Offering yet another level of interpretation, Eder’s works remind us of the power of fantasies, as they can cover up (or romanticize) bloody histories and ongoing violences occurring beneath the “colours” of a flag.

Visit Eder’s website to see more of his art. In addition to oil paintings, he also works in watercolour, photography, and sculpture.

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Davis Ayer’s Projections Of Vintage Photographs On Nude Bodies Transcend Time And Memory

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Dreams, memories, and bodies melt together in the hazy, surreal work of Los Angeles-based photographer Davis Ayer. We featured his otherworldly landscape and double exposure shots last year, wherein Lindsey Rae Gjording eloquently describes him as a “true nostalgist” whose timeless work “allows the viewer to insert their own subconscious desires into the narrative” (Source). In regards to Ayer’s ability to compress emotion, time, space, and consciousness into his photography, this stunning series, entitled Time Travel, is no exception. Here, Ayer again pulls on the magic and semi-lucidity of dreamworlds, using nude bodies as a projection screen for vintage images; among them, you will see trees, beaches, rushing street lights, and the moon, all mapped onto the surfaces and contours of the nude body, turning skin into a visual narrative, like the one that plays in our heads as we close our eyes to sleep while remembering the past and visualizing our feelings.

What makes this series even more curious for discussion is the idea that the images and memories projected onto the bodies are not the models’ own. Certainly, our bodies are vessels of our own experience, but how much can we embody or touch the past? When we feel nostalgia for the “old days” and vintage culture, what are we missing or mourning? By projecting foreign memories (“foreign,” in that no one’s inner experience can ever be exactly simulated), Time Travel moves the human body — vulnerable, powerful, and honest in its nudity — through time and space, transcending memory and lived experience, and connecting a present lifetime with a past one in moments of intensity and reverie.

Visit Ayer’s website, Tumblr, Facebook page, and Instagram to follow his work.

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The Ethereal Photography Of Jason Mitchell Explores Figures Transcending Their Bodies Into A New Existence

Jason Mitchell - Digital Photography

Jason Mitchell - Digital Photography

Jason Mitchell - Digital Photography

Like floating into a dream, Jason Mitchell’s photography takes you into a new place of existence, stuck between worlds. His series Dream Away displays ghostly bodies in a different state of being, exploring a sense of awakening. Inspired by metamorphosis, his figures are placed in a blank space, not knowing exactly where they are except for in a place of uncertainty. Even still, they seem tranquil and ready for whatever is to come next. Each image contains an ethereal quality, as the figures delicately glide through the air. In this series, we cannot tell if Mitchell’s figures are falling or floating, as there is no sense of direction, like they are underwater. With bright whites and light shadows, the absence of almost all harsh shadows creates an angelic atmosphere around these women.

Hinting at themes of afterlife and a higher state of being, Mitchell’s figures almost do not appear to be human. They are transcending their bodies on a journey of oneself.

“I ask my subjects to explore a loss of control, but a sense that they are being guided, pushed and pulled by another sentient being, as they make their way to a new self. They represent the soul of a magical creature on a journey through the limbo that connects their past understandingto this new unknown.”

- Jason Mitchell

Although all of Mitchell’s work holds a striking beauty, his series Dream Away truly exhibits stunning detail and imagery. Photographs from this majestic series will be on view at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, CA until May 30th.

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Jessica Dalva’s Beautiful Sculptures Explore Inexpressible Moments Of Internal Struggle

"Barghest, or Look After Me" (detail view)

“Barghest, or Look After Me” (detail view)

"Viscera, or What More Can I Give"

“Viscera, or What More Can I Give”

"Abyss"

“Abyss”

"Abyss" (detail view)

“Abyss” (detail view)

Jessica Dalva is a Los Angeles-based artist who creates beautiful, wall-mounted sculptures depicting dark, fantasy imagery and the exploration of internal struggle. Recurring throughout her works is the feminine figure in various states of intensity and solemnity, such as sinking in a sea of grasping hands or engaged in somber rituals. Like religious artifacts, each sculpture carries a spiritual energy intended to resonate with the viewer. With metaphorical, mythological prowess, Dalva visually expresses the torments and transformations of subjectivity, from personal battles against fear, to moments of rapture and emotional healing.

Dalva’s works are currently being exhibited in a feature show titled Hapax Legomena at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery. “Hapax Legomena” refers to words that only occur once in a text or within a language, which often makes them untranslatable; Dalva uses the term to explore the singularity and ephemeral nature of an individual’s inner struggle. As outlined on the exhibition page:

“These experiences can be difficult to convey due to the lack of a context to anchor them, as well as the inherent gap between understanding and expression. The pieces are singular expressions of an idea, hapax legomena, in that they are representing distinctive concepts, as well as attempting to communicate the untranslatable through the imperfect language of art.” (Source)

An encounter with Dalva’s work is intended to be a subjective event, representative in some intuitive way of the hurdles encountered by everyone. Dalva’s darkly mystical works do an incredible job communicating the physicality of emotional pain and restoration; with their eyes fogged and eerie, the feminine figures become transcended forms, their bodies acting as expressive vehicles. It is left to the viewer to interpret the spiritual/emotional passage in which they are engaged.

Dalva’s show is on display until May 31st. Visit her website, Instagram, and Tumblr to follow her work. (Via Hi-Fructose)

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Pavel Samokhvalov’s Provocative Day-Glo Nude Photography

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Photographer Pavel Samokhvalov captures intriguing images of the nearly-nude body set against day-glow neon lighting. The provocative photos feature models clad in see-through hosiery and whose bodies are bent and contorted towards the camera. Often, their faces are obscured by hair or poses. Samokhvalov will also only shoots part of the torso, zeroing-in on a small tattoo or glitter-covered nipple.

The photographer does a lot of editorial work, specifically in the fashion realm. His background is cinematography from the Moscow Film Institute, and this training can be seen in his work. The images tell a story, and each fuschia-colored background is one piece of a larger puzzle. They double as character studies, showcasing a product while at the same time providing subtle clues about the nature of the pieces and the people who wear them. (Via Scene 360)

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Pawel Bajew Constructs Peculiar Photographs Of Contorting Bodies

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Artist Pawel Bajew is a master of contorting the body and creating an oddly beautiful scene constructed from simple objects. In his series titled Freaks, the photographer creates surreal images of seemingly mutated bodies and disembodied limbs. However, disfigured his figures may appear, this effect is created mainly through simple minimal objects under the clothing or strangely placed props covering identifying parts of the body like the face or limbs. His cleverly placed mannequin parts and wigs form surreal scenes, some filled with isolation, others with humor. Each strange situation is not unlike a film still; holding dramatic poses and staged lighting. His figures seem tormented in some way, with the bodies twisting and bending in abnormal ways. The faces are often hidden in this series, distorting the identity of the person and causing an eerie, psychological effect on the viewer.

This intriguing, Polish-based photographer also captures amazing portraits full of detail and originality. His portraits are filled with self-portraits as well as others, embodying an eclectic group of eccentric individuals. Each subject seems like a fictional character, filled with exaggerated expressions and over the top costumes straight out of a novel. Bajew’s portraits are not without humor, as some figures have funny expressions, but also have a darkness about them, just like his series Freaks. His body of work as a whole personifies a distinct mood and peculiar atmosphere about it that leaves it distinguishable and unique.

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Photographer Alex Stoddard Combines Dark Fantasy With The Pain And Beauty Of The Human Experience

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Alex Stoddard is a Los Angeles-based photographer who produces inspiring, conceptual images exploring the beauty and pain of the human experience. Each image is charged with emotion, combining dark fantasy with images alluding to death, isolation, intimacy, and strength. Bodies lie prone on the beach, or amidst piles of torn paper; elsewhere, in a scene connoting anything from desire to sacrifice, a man collapses into the arms of a woman with arrows protruding fatally from his back. Among the images featured here are two of Alex’s series: Hunting for Pearls and Wake of Thunder, the former depicting a moon-pale water nymph wandering a dusky shoreline, the latter featuring a mysterious young woman possessed by the storm. Whether they are part of a series or standalone images, Alex’s narrative-rich works strike us with an emotional roar.

Named one of Flickr’s 20 Under 20 — a collection of the 20 most talented young photographers on Flickr — Alex has been taking the photo community by storm. His growing distinction is well-deserved, as he has worked hard to produce the images arising from his unique imagination and the fantasies of his youth. In a video posted on The Weekly Flickr, Alex describes the daring commitment that led to his burgeoning success:

“I put myself in so many different extreme circumstances. One day I would be hanging off a cliff, another day I would be throwing myself in a giant fish tank in the dead of winter, or putting a snake around my eyes. I didn’t really care if I was uncomfortable, I was just focused on creating a unique shot.” (Source)

Alex’s advice for succeeding as an artist is as equally inspiring, as he makes the astute point that “you’re never going to grow if you’re doing the same thing every day. You need to be afraid of what you’re doing to learn from it.” Just as his images depict the human body in transformative states of emotion and peril, Alex demonstrates how materializing your dreams involves staying brave and moving through the intensities and difficulties that shape our lives.

Visit Alex’s website and Flickr to see more of his inspiring work. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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