Los Angeles has always held a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans, but for most it exists in an almost fictional capacity. Hollywood isn’t a real place – it’s a postcard, a huge sign on the side of a mountain bracketed with strategically placed palm tree silhouettes. Certainly not a place to call home, but for artist Justin John Greene that’s exactly what it is. Hollywood is a part of his heritage, and the work reflects that. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Greene’s work is strongly imbued with the history of the most romanticized industry in American culture. In his most recent solo show at Actual Size (an exhibition space he co-runs in the Chinatown gallery district of east L.A.) the influence of the film industry is in full focus. You Oughta Be In Pictures is a comprehensive installation that utilizes painting, sculpture, and video to create a truly immersive experience for the viewer. Installation may seem like a bit of a leap from Greene’s primarily two dimensional practice, but a closer look into the artist’s process bridges the gap seamlessly. His work is a distinctly enjoyable blend of sly historical references, direct compositional tactics, and cleverly applied humor. If you have the opportunity to see the work in person I strongly encourage you to do so.
Mike Harvey was a taxi driver in Swansea who began ferrying passengers around on the night shift to fund his trips overseas. Since beginning the job in 2010 he shared his car with so many strangers, each one with a story as varied as the distance they were traveling, he decided he would document them with his DSL camera. Harvey would take a snapshot of his customers at their final destination in return for waiving their payment for their trip. He said out of around 130 journeys, only 9 people refused their photograph being taken.
During this type of job, Harvey would have many different types of adventures and experiences. He would find out a lot about his passengers in a very short time, and would discover things they wouldn’t divulge to their friends. He found himself in a very sticky situation one time:
I was driving out of Swansea at about 3AM, and this girl who was full-term pregnant – you know, ready to go – was sat at the side of the road, barefoot, flagging me down. So she got in and… it’s a bit of an impromptu counseling service sometimes, driving a taxi. I said that maybe getting hammered when you’re pregnant isn’t such a good idea, but, you know, we had a nice chat. Then, when I dropped her off, she legged it. I’d usually chase after someone, but she was fully pregnant, you know? She was the one that got away, but I let her get away. (Source)
Harvey has without a doubt managed to capture all walks of life in Swansea, and his images portray all types of people essentially existing in the same way – whether it is getting a ride to or back from a hard day’s work, or on their way to celebrate or commiserate something. Harvey’s photographs are on exhibit now at Monkey Cafe in Swansea. (Via Cultured Vultures)
Cedric Vella shows us what happens when your Facebook page comes to life to perform in the biggest and baddest musical collaboration between you and your 1,000 closest friends. Watch the full video after the jump!
Australian artist Buff Diss brings an interesting medium to the spray paint dominated world of street art: tape. Intricately cut and stuck, Buff Diss’ often large scale pieces can be astoundingly complex. Some of his work intentionally interacts, even plays with the surrounding environment. At other times his work seems to reference classical sculpture and painting. However, he consistently works in this peculiar medium. Regarding the reasons for using tape in his process he says:
“The functional or practical nature of tape is one of its best aspects as a medium; you don’t have to walk into a snooty, over-priced art store to find it. The linear quality of tape also makes it a quick medium to work with. Only drawback is looking like you’ve got a stationery fetish when you open your bag.” [via]
Decontruct. Reconstruct. Gabi Trinkaus’ collages make for portraits that, at a distance, look like paintings of gorgeous people. On closer inspection, they bring details of chopped up textures, words, and logos.
Bryant Park, located about a block East of Times Square in Manhattan, has been home to a several fun contemporary/public art projects recently. Right now, they’re hosting the “Battle of the Brush.” Which happens to include alumni of the Beautiful/Decay Studio Visits: Alison Blickle and Tom Sanford. It’s based around the idea of a civil war reenactment, except instead of the North and South, it’s between abstraction and figuration. Bryant Park was a campground for soldiers during the Civil War, so that’s where the whole Civil War thing comes in. Personally, I just like the paintings… It’s coming down this Wednesday, Feb 2nd, so get over there asap. The show was curated by Corporate Art Solutions.
Leonard Greco has a way of portraying people in his portraits, defiantly capturing each person’s personality in a mindful way. He has already built quite a portfolio, working with the Arctic Monkeys and Yeasayer to name a few. He currently works in New York.
Since my last post about Street Art Utopia’s “Best List” took off and caused a decent amount of response, I think it is important to involve the Cult’s own selection. Here you will find a carefully curated and crafted list of every imaginable kind of public form of expression and their respected historical contexts. More after the jump.