Eight Artists Who Sculpt Mind-Bending, Hyperrealistic Depictions Of The Human Body

Jackie K. Seo, "Secret Shame"

Jackie K. Seo, “Secret Shame”

Jackie K. Seo, "Man and Rope"

Jackie K. Seo, “Man and Rope”

Jamie Salmon, "Chris"

Jamie Salmon, “Chris”

Jamie Salmon, "Self Portrait"

Jamie Salmon, “Self Portrait”

In a blog post published last week, The Creators Project composed a stunning list of eight artists who sculpt hyperrealistic depictions of the body: Marc Sijan, Xooang Choi, Sarah Sitkin, Jackie K. Seo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Jamie Salmon, Felix Deac, and Trent Taft. From states of beauty, intimacy, deformity, and death, the artists approach flesh as a figurative storyboard for human experience; whether it’s the stale sadness of Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Old People’s Home,” or the life-like, slow-burning intensity of Salmon’s “Chris,” each work accentuates the details and imperfections of the skin to convey a much deeper message.

To some, the purpose of hyperrealistic art may seem uncertain; why reproduce reality in such painstaking detail, when we are confronted by each other’s flesh every day? Of course, some of the sculptures have disturbing and surreal aspects, which makes their illusory qualities more clear. Like rats’ tails and hairless cats, these sculptures may make many of us strangely uncomfortable, for they unconsciously remind us of our own mortal fleshiness. Beyond this initial repulsion, however, they also mimic and accentuate reality to confront the viewer with meanings they may never see otherwise: human vulnerability, and the skin as a shallow edifice that distracts us from another’s internal experience. In each of these “simulations” of real life, an intuitive (and often unsettling) truth is revealed.

To read more, check out The Creators Project blog post. More images after the jump. (Via The Creators Project)

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Sean Norvet Binges The Imagination With Humorously Gross Mash-Ups Of Food And Flesh

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Sean Norvet is an LA-based artist who paints grotesquely amusing mash-ups that represent the mania and excess of contemporary culture. Food and flesh are his two main ingredients; shattered jawbones, melting eyes, raw meat, and fast food collide in unholy, humanoid altars. Norvet punctuates his pieces with eroticized body parts, mixing desire and beauty ideals with mass consumption. Despite the gruesome subject matter, his work is surprisingly humorous—and there’s a lot to digest.

In an Artist Perspective video with the Stay Gallery, Norvet describes today’s technology-saturated world as an all-you-can eat buffet. From dawn until dusk, we are inundated with arbitrary connections and information—whether we consent to them or not. With intense talent and keen social observations, his paintings reveal this cultural chaos in shameless and visceral ways, provoking self-reflection through imagery that is fun, insightful, and revolting.

To view more of Norvet’s work, visit his website and Instagram.

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Pink Ladies: Melchor Bocanegra’s Candy-Colored Portraits Explore Playful Aesthetics And Hidden Sadness

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Melchor Bocanegra is a digital designer based out of Salamanca, a city located in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. His work is characterized by portraiture mixed with candy-cream absurdity; his subjects are usually set against empty or washed-out backdrops, acting out expressions of play or alarm. He often incorporates surrealist elements, such as thick tears or fluorescent goop smeared across their faces. Despite the innocent colors and fun compositions, Bocanegra’s images grab our attention with their discreetly unsettling aspects; in the following statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, he describes his style and explains how he seeks to convey conflicting emotions:

“I always work with portrait and I really like to mix feelings of isolation and melancholy with colorful and friendly aesthetics. I use simple compositions, trying to focus on the expression and emotion of the character. I could say that I try to create portraits with a passive/aggressive hidden sadness.”

Featured here is his Pink Ladies series, which present us with a cast of pastel-hued characters in various ambivalent and bizarre poses. The underlying themes in these images explore insincerity and idealized femininity, blending sexualized elements with the symptoms of banality; combined with the models’ superficial expressions, the fake tears, exposed breasts, and over-the-top makeup and jewelry convey a sense of exhaustion and meaninglessness. There is also the sense of loss, a grief over something that went missing during the transition into commercialized, sexualized adulthood. As Bocanegra explains, “[these] images create messages or questions about insincerity; with gestures of concern and ambiguity, we discover symbols of the unattainable, a longing for something we do not know or barely remember.”

Visit Bocanegra’s website, Instagram, and Facebook page to learn more.

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Kristen Liu-Wong’s Bizarre Paintings Of A Humorous And Disturbing World

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Kristen Liu-Wong is a Los-Angeles artist who paints darkly humorous and bizarre scenarios—ones that often involve violence and/or human depravity. The bright colors and cartoonish figures are initially misleading; look closer into her grotesque doll house of images and you’ll see people decapitated, vomiting, and performing sexual acts. It’s a bit like the Sims on bad acid; people stand around in ordinary-looking rooms while engaging in absurd (and placidly horrific) situations. It’s all in good humor, however; Liu-Wong’s characters smile diabolically and carry on, no matter what mayhem is occurring around them. She also paints still-life-like images with the same surreal edge.

Liu-Wong draws her inspiration from a variety of styles, ranging from American folk art to Japanese paintings to 90s “lowbrow” artists. She cites Clare Rojas as a main source of inspiration (Source). Her subject matter—a figurative representation of the world and human behavior—is a product of her vivid imagination. Visit her website, Tumblr, and Instagram for more high-energy and detailed scenarios that will leave you amused and guessing. There is an interview with the artist available on Pacific Dissent. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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The Romantic Melancholia Of Katie Eleanor’s Elegant, Historically-Influenced Photography

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Katie Eleanor is a London-based photographic artist who creates visions of Victorianesque romance and melancholia. Complete with elaborate costumes and set designs, her works have a theatrical presence; serene-faced maidens wearing gowns—or in various states of undress—pose in dimly-lit rooms, often with esoteric props, such as a magpie, a fox, and a white crown. Mixing sensuality with darkness, the chill of death creeps in on the periphery, taking the form of dead branches, wilted leaves, and a shroud. There are signs of injury and endurance; one woman leans on crutches, while another stoically leaks blood from her eyes.

In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Eleanor talks about her work. “My style is fictional and narrative based, away from the confines of our shared earth,” she writes. “I am influenced most heavily by the past, [. . .] as I am intrigued by both its links and disconnect from the way we function in the present.” Her influences arise from several creative sources, such as books, performance, Victorian illustration, and costume collectors. As a visual storyteller, set design is integral to conveying her meaning and absorbing the viewer into her ethereal dreamscapes; narrative and emotions speak through the costumes and staging. In addition to this complex process, each image is hand-colored, which allows her to “push more of [herself] into [her] works” by incorporating more of her physical being.

Be sure to visit Eleanor’s website, Facebook page, and blog and follow her work. She also creates haunting videos, which can be viewed here.

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Photographer Artur Birkle Depicts Sensuality And Playfulness In Unique Suggestive Ways

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Artur Birkle is a German photographer with an eye for the candid and playfully suggestive. He shoots across many fields, including editorials, portraits, and reportage photography. His style is always distinct: high flash, casual poses, and accentuated body parts. Skillfully capturing the energy of his models and their intimate gestures, Birkle’s works allude to eroticism, rather than overtly display it.

Two series from his portfolio are shown here, Fruit Salad and Personal. The former features fruit in erogenous situations: a banana anointed with a thick, creamy liquid; apples strategically placed over breasts; a plum resting on someone’s tailbone. The sexual imagery of fruit has been explored before in art (and our imaginations)—i.e., the phallic resemblance of a banana—but Birkle does an excellent job accentuating the eroticism in a clean and simple manner. The skin texture and individual hairs of his models lend the images an honesty that heightens the viewer’s curiosity.

The Personal series has the same lighthearted tone, but with a softer, more sensual edge. These images are like viewpoints into private moments, buzzing with the after-burn of intimacy. Events such as twilight window-gazing and partially dressed bodies are documented in his fragmentary style, enticing us with a piece of the story and allowing our imaginations to fill in the rest. Birkle captures the nuances of physical expression in clever and unique ways.

Birkle is currently studying photography and media at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld. You can view more of his works on his website, Instagram, and Tumblr. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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Frances Waite Turns Strangers Nude Selfies Into Playful And Empowering Illustrations

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It was a unique call for submissions: “Please send me your best nudes so I can draw them while I figure out my next move.” Seeking inspiration, Brooklyn-based artist Frances Waite posted this message on her Instagram, along with her phone number. Men and women responded enthusiastically, sending her intimate nude selfies of themselves sprawling on beds and squatting over mirrors. Choosing the images she found especially playful and unique—or rather, the nudes “where people [were] being themselves and posing in a way they [thought was] sexy and beautiful”—Waite began recreating them as illustrations, translating mischief and bodily expression into skillfully-drawn portraits (Source). The result is a fun, provoking, and ongoing series titled NUDES.

Waites’ project is one of empowerment, seeking self-expression beyond voyeurism, objectification, and the boundaries of heteronormativity. “I do think that I give people an opportunity to perform a part of themselves they might not display otherwise,” she explains in an interview with The Creators Project. “I’m some weird girl on the internet that wants to draw naked strangers, and I already have a repertoire of images that, I hope, make people feel comfortable doing whatever the hell they want.” (Source) She seeks to create a safe space where people can celebrate their bodies and sexual identities with agency and anonymity.

You can learn more on Waite’s website and Instagram. She has also put out a call on Tinder. Waite currently works from ASH LIC Art & Space, an interdisciplinary studio. (Via The Creators Project)

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Melissa Smyth Powerfully Juxtaposes Self Portraits, Bob Dylan Lyrics, And Texts From Her Rapist

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Melissa Smyth’s photo series, Lay Lady Lay, portrays a set of eighteen self portraits taken with Fujifilm FP-100C instant film. Each picture is preluded by lines from Bob Dylan’s classic love song, Lay Lady Lay, and subtitled with text messages from her rapist. At first glance, her images seem like whimsical coming of age depictions of confused and painful love. Yet, while further committing to the work and understanding each image within its context, the series begins to unravel a intricate, subdued truth. There is a raw honesty that allows the viewer to enter into a realm of undeniable complexity. The work almost allows the viewer to follow a stream of psychosis and true disillusionment as he or she grasps the words written by the rapist. While entering back into the portraits, the viewer must then re-imagine those words not just from him, but then through her, who, despite being the victim, has been forced to address blame. There is a constant shift of consciousness in the work, truly getting to the heart of an endlessly difficult subject. Even further, Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay,  allows her to illustrate another layer of convolution. When re-appropriated into this series, the love song begins to take on new meaning. Through the isolation of the lines, a subtle forcefulness is revealed, noting that there is a dark, perhaps unspoken, overlap between love and obsession.

Melissa Smyth‘s series acts as a genuine representation of a deeply complicated issue, that regrettably, is not uncommon and often not spoken about. She uses her work not only as a means to create a discourse on the topic, but also as a means for self recovery and empowerment. She states;

“I use photography to understand and express the ways in which looking and desiring can make an object of the body, and the ways in which images can be used to resist this. To photograph my own body allows me to not only reclaim control over my self-image, but also to comment upon the objectification that occurs though forceful violence and emotional manipulation. The project ultimately is not about my rapist’s actions, but about my strength and growth. I’ve been inspired by other survivors of sexual abuse and gender-based violence, and hope to add to the voices speaking in solidarity and in strength for all of our liberation.”

 

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