Mike Spears is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose colorful and playful imagery is infused with a provoking — and sometimes subtle — eroticism. To some, this may seem like a dubious statement, for while several of his photographs depict women in various states of undress, others are seemingly innocent landscapes and still life pictures of flowers and fruit. However, there is something enticing about hands cradling a sliced papaya with its glistening, elliptic interior, or two spindly cacti curving around each other in an awkward embrace. Spears eroticizes such objects and scenery by framing them in a focused and particular manner that harnesses our attention and curiosity.
As Spears’ photography explores, eroticism is an unpredictable flow that is not always equated with naked bodies and/or sexuality. It can arise as feelings of alertness, attraction, or even revulsion; the tentacles lolling out of a raised hand, for example, generate both aversion and the suggestive, tactile sensation of wet flesh on flesh. His work follows a line of thinking that views desire as something that influences everything we create and perceive; as Gustav Klimt famously stated, “all art is erotic,” whether it was created with that intention, or whether we unconsciously inscribe our own desiring energy into it. When I asked Spears about the suggestiveness of his work, he expressed that he wants his “provocative photos to be more fun, thought-provoking, mysterious, [and] clever,” and not just “erotic” in the conventional sense (referring to nudes, for example). For him, a good photographer is someone who can skillfully capture an array of subjects while investing them all with a personal, artistic energy. In this way, eroticism is a byproduct of Spears’ work, arousing us via his diverse talent, humor, and attention to curious details.
Whether you read eroticism into it or not, Spears’ work is exciting and immersive. When he’s not shooting photographs in his local haunt of Brooklyn, he features Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Check out his website, Tumblr, and Instagram for more examples of his varied work. (Via Juxtapoz)
Australian graphic designer Filfury (Phil Robson) is a sneaker freak, and it shows in his latest images. He takes photographic details of bright and colorful sports shoes and re-imagines them as new intriguing shapes. His series of images include different objects such as butterflies, beetles, skulls, bats, body organs and guns. Robson takes the textures, patterns and characteristics form classic sneakers like Adidas Originals Superstar, the Air Jordan 4 Retro, and the Reebok Shaq Attack, and chops them up. Threaded shoelaces become teeth in the jaw of a skull; breathable mesh turn into wings of a dragonfly; the Adidas stripes morph into the wings of a bat; the toes of a sneakers are now the body part of an insect.
After collaborating with many many corporate brands such as Nike Basketball, Adidas, Reebok and Sneaker Pimps, Robson is a pro at creating sharp, modern graphics. He has been featured on many top artist lists, and is definitely a talent to track. You can see more of his streamlined aesthetic here on his Instagram feed. (Via Design Faves)
“Corona del Mar High School students Kim Robertson, Pat Auvenshine and Pam Pepin wear ‘hippie’ fashions, 1969.”
“Southern California high school students, 1969.”
“High school teacher Sandy Brockman wears a bold print dress, 1969.”
“High school fashions, 1969.”
In fashion, what goes around comes around. What was stylish 20, 30, even more than 40 years ago can still make a comeback and look en vogue. LIFE magazine documented the 1969 trends of American youth culture, and many traces of them are still worn today.
Hippies and disco culture shaped the way people dressed themselves, and these fashions were considered “counter culture” at the time. Fringed vests, bell-bottom jeans, and miniskirts were part of the new trends and attitude towards expressing yourself through clothing. “The latest rule in girls’ high school fashion,” LIFE magazine wrote in 1969, “is that there isn’t any.”
While the same could be said today, these sartorial choices came from a much different place. The world was seeing a cultural transformation and just getting smaller with the growth of global telecommunication networks. The television become a thing in every household. Liv Combe of LIFE also explains, “The vast and near-visionary national highway system had spread across the country in the post-World War II years; more households than ever owned a car (or two); and for the first time, plane travel was becoming a viable option for many American families.
Denim jumpers, Peter Pan collars, and strappy sandals are all things popular back then which are still seen today. They might’ve seemed strange back then, but as with most things, counter culture eventually goes mainstream. With some of these photos, it might take you a moment to realize they aren’t from 2015. (Via Demilked and Time)
Spain based artist Paco Pomet paints colorful clouds of pink and blue that consume and take over vintage scenes of landscapes. A skilled painter, Pomet uses oil paints to create surreal landscapes where his vibrant colors transform each image into something out of the ordinary. He paints his transformative palette like a wave that will eventually consume everything in its path. Pomet’s work starts out looking like vintage photos of tranquil wilderness in black and white or sepia tones, but then a burst of colored slime oozes and covers the scene. His fluffy pinks and fiery reds cut through the composition to reveal new elements, changing the situation and meaning of each image. Not only does this now distort the circumstance of the painting, but also the setting has become a whole different world where anything is possible. This is a place where tree trunks can glow, the sky can drip, and mountains can break in half. Each color is placed cleverly and adds a bit of humor and curiosity to his work.
Pomet’s paintings show influence of traditional western paintings and landscapes, with their inclusion of desert scenes, covered wagons, and cowboys. His choices of misfit colors do not only break up this traditional imagery, but ads a contemporary, dream-like quality not unlike that of contemporary pop-surrealism. His paintings hint at analogue photography, but with elements of modern design.
Paco Pomet is represented by Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, CA and currently has a solo exhibition on view until February 15th. Make sure to see the artist’s incredible work in person while you have the chance!
Loris Cecchini explores the nature of structure. His amorphous forms resemble the most basic element of life which is a cell, and with that basic shape the artist comments on human experience. His interdisciplinary installations have appeared worldwide garnering him praise and interest. They have been called visual poetics because his work prefers to be seen and experienced opposed to talked about.
Some of Cecchini’s grander projects have included a series called Intro. Environments. In this work the artist created large, site specific installations with forms that look similar to broken tree branches, natural sponges and cell structures. He placed these organic items randomly throughout a space and attached them to electric power lines, on trees or connected to flying wires. The impression here is that life is all around us. Even if we cannot see it we should always be conscious that something is growing and living nearby.
Another piece called Extruding Bodies created wall relief structures studying sound waves. These visual vibrations appeared to be moving and in some cases ear forms could be seen within the structure. Putting the pieces directly in the wall allowed for an optical illusion to occur which turned cinematic. Since sound waves are invisible the attempt to give the viewer an idea what they might look like is the type of question Cecchini answers and why his work is significant.
The artist was recently commissioned to design a class one watch for Chaumet. Only 300 of the special edition were made and the exclusive jewelry company used one of his wall wave structures on its face covered partially in diamonds. (via fubiz.net)
Nancy Liang‘s GIFs and illustrations are peaceful and full of quiet wonder. Much like the imaginings of Chris Van Allsburg in his book “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick,” Liang’s work captures moments from larger stories. They depict scenes of midnight contemplation as well as magic of a subtler flavor: an upside down house surrounded by snow floating up toward the moon; a boat drifting down an empty street; a small child accompanied by a ghostly spirit animal. These are only ghosts and flights of fancy that evoke the shape and landscape of a wider fantasy world that intersects with ours in the shadows.
According to her artist’s statement, Liang “often explores social and cultural narratives in an ironic, metaphoric and emotive way.” These narratives are especially clear in her illustrations that shine a light on suburban life and escapism. The paper textures and lines of graphite bring a storybook quality to her artwork that makes them seem childlike and gives them a kind of universal accessiblity. (via I Need a Guide)
The work of photographer Nadia Lee Cohen is a stimulating, modern take on vintage American and British style. Her diorama-esque compositions — with their nude, cigarette-smoking femme fatales and garish 1950s/60s/70s iconography — explode with color, attitude, and fetishized, retro-suburban life. Scattered throughout are bold insertions of cultural, consumer artifacts, from packs of Marlboro cigarettes, to Coca-Cola bottles, to lip-shaped telephones, which further emphasize the images’ glossy and style-saturated appeal. David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock fans will certainly be able to identify a few crafty allusions; whether it is red curtains, or birds hovering menacingly in the background, Cohen has seamlessly meshed her own cinematic style with that of influential film directors, thereby creating a clever and campy pastiche of Western arts and culture.
When I asked Cohen what drives her work, she expressed that she primarily hopes that people enjoy the aesthetics of her photography, which is a “humorous, tongue-in-cheek” response to the way she views the world. And, aside from creating fascinating portraits of what she identifies as “strong, quirky, dark characters,” Cohen’s exploration of retro aesthetics through a modern lens provides a visible commentary on the way styles and cultural tastes have shifted over the decades — all from an alternative and progressive point of view; her work represents a range of personal styles, as well as a variety of body shapes and sizes. “I hope to convey a wider message of changing our perception of taste in terms of modern beauty ideals in fashion,” she explains, “which is why I tend to look to the interesting people around me rather than casting from agencies.”
Cohen has recently finished her MA in Fashion Photography at the London College of Fashion, and judging by her success and the in-depth nature of her style, she will be creating a lot of exciting work in 2015. Be sure to check out her website and Instagram. More adventurous (and amusingly retrospective) images after the jump. (Via Huffington Post)
British artist Mike Nelson‘s installations feel a bit like you’ve stumbled onto a movie set. He sets up eerie scenarios that are very minimal, but impactful. His piece To the Memory of H.P Lovecraft (1999,2008) saw him bashing holes in the pristine white gallery walls and freestanding plinths, as if some creature had torn it’s way through the room. Leaving the narrative vague and bare, Nelson leaves it up to the viewer to react to his installations as they want to. Nelson plays with simulation, representations of the real, replicas and objects placed in new contexts. By recreating something quite simple, but in a new and unexpected way, he is able to make us feel at odds with the space.
Nelson rebuilds interior scenes as well as destroying them. In The Projection Room (Triple Bluff Canyon) in 2009 he blocked the access to a replica of a typical south-London Victorian terraced house and forced the visitors to peek through a window. Objects spewed out of one tiny split in the wall in a very bizarre fashion. Nelson talks about his practice:
I’ve always had a slight fear of piles of junk that function purely as decorative ephemera but only act as a signifier of a certain type of installation…I think it’s a constant worry that you’ll make this amount of effort to have something that just becomes spectacle, as opposed to something which moves somebody or encourages somebody to empathize with what you’re trying to lure them into, or coax them towards. (Source) (Via Sweet Station)