I know it wasn’t easy for you. That is, those inevitable years, often landing around middle school, when we all seem to exude an uncontrollable weirdness. While doing our best making our way through that awkward phase, it often seems like it’ll never pass. However, designer Merilee Allred offers proof that it does indeed pass. Her Awkward Years Project captures not-so-award looking people showing off their awkward years photos. While the project does illustrate that us nerds, geeks, freaks, fashion illiterate, and all around weirdos do pull out of it, it points out something more important: when it seems like no one will go easy on you, perhaps especially when things seem this way, own it.
G-Shock and RESPECT. magazine have teamed up to showcase the work of some top, emerging art makers from across a variety of disciplines. The video series interviews four innovators: artist/sculptor Christophe Roberts, industrial designers Aaron Stathum and Eliot Coven and photographer Kareem Black. These individuals are exploring their own imaginations and finding new ways to their visions to life through their respective art forms. From sculpture, to photography to developing concepts for industrial design and products that improve our every day lives.
First up is Kareem Black, a Philly-bred photographer who burst onto the New York City photography scene at the tender age of 18. Kareem has shot everyone from Nas to Jenna Jameson and Leonardo DiCaprio in between. He has a gift for creating both bright, saturated images that capture the pop-culture personas of the people he’s shooting, and timeless, moving images that get to the very core and soul of his subject. No matter what the subject, setting or the mood you know that Kareem will deliver a stunning image that sends a clear message.
His unique perspective through the camera lens breathes life into his subjects, objects and surroundings. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Kareem’s pictures are worth millions.
Trapped behind glass cases, the miniature human subjects of Lisa Swerllng’s Glass Cathedrals unabashedly perform daily rituals normally veiled from the outside world. The stunning pieces afford viewers with a whimsical type of voyeuristic indulgence. Like children before a set of dolls, we are invited to examine the many mundane moments that compose adult life, breathing life and meaning into each dollhouse-like setup with our own imaginations.
With its feet firmly planted in childlike curiosity, the series is unafraid to veer into tragic emotional spaces; caught staring into endless amounts of white space, many of the figures appear lonesome and fully aware of their smallness. A woman scrubs at a dizzyingly vast array of tired floors and walls, incapable of completing her work for her own tininess and permanently fixed position. Similarly, a man stares at his cow, a sole companion who does not return his gaze.
Though humorously seen, Swerling’s models are at times bitterly unaware. A group of people stand before a glass case containing the figure of a generic ghost labeled “god” with a sign stating, “In case of emergency break glass,” not noticing that they themselves are encased in glass, searching for meaning in the touchingly absurd. The viewer, in turn, is forced to face his or her burning existential yearnings within this magically adult dollhouse.
The idea of domesticity as it relates to femininity shines through in Swerling’s work in unexpected ways. A piece titled “A woman’s work is never done” features a woman sweeping pink glitter, erasing the suggestion of the usual portrayal of the home as unfulfilling; here and in a piece that features a woman serving dinner at the head of the table, glitter serves as a surprising and ecstatic symbol of female self-actualization. From the woman who examines herself before a mirror to an unwaxed redhead standing nude before circle of nuns, Swarling’s women embrace their activities unabashedly.
Hitting poignant notes that remind us of the power that lies beneath human smallness, isolation, connection, and actively defined identities, Glass Cathedrals serves as an alter at which we may worship our own condition. (via Foodie Bugle, Catto Gallery, and Lost At E Minor)
Bráulio Amado, better known as I Use Comic Sans is a Portugese designer who has a thing for playful typography, bright colors, and hand drawn illustrations. Check out his work and see his plans to take the design world by storm one Comic Sans logo at a time.
Ghada Amer is an Egyptian-born artist who speaks assertively about feminine depiction in her paintings. In earlier work, she used soft-core pornographic reference images for her large-scale thread paintings. In an interview with Border Crossings, Amer explains her decision to use thread as her primary medium. “I didn’t invent embroidery, but I wanted to paint with embroidery. I was speaking about women in a medium for women, and it made the speaking stronger and more present.” Embroidery, weaving, and other traditionally female mediums are often categorized as craft, in many ways as a dismissal of the expression as inferior to painting, sculpture, and other ‘high art’ mediums. Amer decided to reappropriate the media, and has made a very successful career out of it. Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls was the artist’s most recent exhibition, showcased at Cheim and Read, certainly not low-hanging fruit in the commercial art world.
Amer has branched out from pornography, originally a means for her to rebel against her family. She’s made sculptures and borrows feminist slogans like: “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition” in text-based work. Her colours can be sever with a black ground and an abstract explosion of thread or bright and playful, which is also reflected in her approach. Her intention is serious, but like the thread she embroiders, she is also loose and celebratory of the feminine condition.
Tabloid is everything you want in a documentary, a wacky, eccentric protaganist, engaging visuals and a few twists and turns. Errol Morris (GATES OF HEAVEN, THE FOG OF WAR) brings us a story that’s “the kind of thing where he finds an article in the newspaper about something weird or quirky, then gets interestedin it and investigates.” And if you’ve ever wondered about a snippet you read in passing, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Tabloid- about Joyce McKenna, the world’s first Tabloid Femme Fatale, a beauty queen with a high IQ and a bone to pick with the Mormon Church.
These impressive digital sculptures were created by Melbourne-based graphic design student Casey Richardson. Richardson uses 3D software to illustrate installation scenes that could be mistaken for real-life sculptures. Richardson implements simple and oft-used sculptural subjects, but places them in new contexts. His images are bright and cheerfully colored, though the subject matter itself usually conveys the opposite.This creates an interesting juxtaposition of form and content within each scene’s composition. Most intriguing to me is the way Richardson has implemented wall color in each imagined installation. This has me wondering when I’ll start seeing more gallery walls painted as part of a sculptural installation, and how installation design and implementation will continue to be affected by advances in technology. (via art ruby)
Artist Matt Barton graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 2006, spending his time there setting up mechanized taxidermy animals in strange and colorful situations. In “Time-O-Rama: Electric Infinity with Real Plastic,” made in 2006, there were 20 of those said motorized animals, two video projections, 5 sound cd’s, flowers blooming, leaves falling and changing colors, lightning and thunder, wine was dispensed from a nozzle sticking out of the deer’s ribs…and a partridge on a pear tree. That last one I added myself. Matt has also collaborated with Extreme Animals, hyper bitmosh-rock-band of artist Jacob Ciocci (Paper Rad).