Jason Borders has been collecting different animal skulls from before he started school. Always looking for more objects to add to his cabinet of curiosities, he explored his local neighborhoods picking up bits of bones and cartilage. Years later, he has turned that obsession into an art form, showcasing his talent in galleries, shops and collections around the country. He carves patterns and designs that resemble traditional Mehndi tattoos. He usually lets the shape of the skull or bone that he is working on dictate the design he carves. He then covers the work in ink or a striking color.
Borders remembers the day his hobby turned a bit more serious with amusement. After discovering the carcass of an elk while in the desert, and loading it all into his car – an action that almost got him arrested, took it back to his garage. There he cleaned the bones and noticed something that helped him take his craft to the next level.
Looking at the Dremel and looking at the bones next to each other, I picked it up and started working on it. The garage was right underneath my house, and I ended up filling the house with bone dust, and made myself really sick and made my wife really angry. Then I did it another four years, but I’m much more careful these days. (Source)
Borders also paints and carves other items, but has a particular affinity toward skulls. He treats his work as a way of overcoming his fears – particularly ones concerning mortality. He says because he is always working with the idea of death – quite literally, it helps him live his life with intent and purpose. And what a great purpose he has found. (Via Faith Is Toment)
Australian artist Elspeth McLean takes ordinary ocean rocks and turns them into colorful, geometric Mandalas. Through intense detail and repetitive patterns, the artist finds meditation in painting these found stones with endless acrylic dots. The acrylic paint used on her pocket-sized creations allows her to add an element of dimension in her already layered colors. These intense colors create a palette so crisp and brilliant, it is as if the stones are encrusted with jewels. Painting dots has become so embedded in McLean’s art process, that she even coined the term “Dotillism” to describe her unique style. Each dot that is painted to create her intricate, endless patterns takes an incredible amount of patience and focus. Although completing these Mandala patterns may seem like a difficult task, McLean describes this process as a grounding experience where she can find enjoyment and experience reflection.
The Mandala is a spiritual symbol in Eastern religions that holds meditative properties. It is no wonder McLean has chosen such a strong, healing symbol in her work, as she believes in the healing nature of color and art. She pulls influence from seasons, cosmos, mythology, and ancient art to create her hand-held Mandalas. Her interest in the cosmos can be seen in her stones that are painted not as a geometric pattern, but instead as incredible constellations, still painted in her dotted signature style. An avid traveler, the Australian artist is now living in Canada, gathering inspiration from the new landscapes she perceives throughout her journey. (via Demilked)
Using an off key palette in his latest series of paintings The Inevitable, Hong Kong based artist Simon Birch fuses gestural marks with the figure. His pictures of young subjects twist through various painted emotions trying to break free of youthful angst. In the process they achieve a rebirth witnessed through thickly impastoed swatches. All the faces in Birch’s paintings seem disguised and obscured by paint thus suggesting an inner life. He depicts his subjects as breaking loose or apart from something. The marks obscuring the faces seem to be attacking Birch’s figures and become powerful metaphors concerning age and maturity. The underlining violence in his work can be taken a number of ways. It can be viewed as the violence we bring upon ourselves due to insecurity and peer pressure. Since most of the work in his current series either focuses on the nude body or just the head, we are reminded that the brain rules the body not the other way around.
Birch is a British born artist that has lived in Hong Kong for the past twenty years. He has had a long career engaging in everything from painting, video to installation. Along with visual art he has been involved with urban dance music, organizing club nights in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong where he showcased the scene’s most prominent DJs. An interesting fact about Birch is that early on in his art career, he took a job in construction as a way to make money helping to build the Tsing Ma, the world’s ninth largest suspension bridge. (via myampgoesto11)
Daniel Aristizábal is a graphic designer and illustrator who creates incredible digital works of art that are surreal and transport the viewers to a topsy-turvy Rube Goldberg-esque world. His Huevos series is playfully inspired by Dali’s “Eggs on the Plate without the Plate,” showing colorful variations on the common egg.
In some of Aristizabal’s work, the 3D elements pop out, almost like digital sculptures. Other works, such as his “Glitched Cubism” piece, utilizes the 2D GIF format to play with the dimensions and perspective of cubism. In an interview with Instagram, he says that his work is a “retro, colorful, geometric bonanza.” His art seems to draw on a palette that is by turns neon and sherbet but always whimsical.
Aristizabal continues to say:
“My main sources of inspiration are random thoughts that pop in my mind, like memories of dreams and places that I used to imagine when I was a child. I think the term ‘pop surrealism’ works well for me. My work is full of simplicity and organic shapes. It is nostalgic in its essence.”
Nathalie Croquet is a French stylist and journalist who has cleverly recreated high fashion and beauty advertisements in an Instagram series entitled “Spoof”. Having once worked as Biba’s fashion editor and Jean Paul Gaultier’s photo director, Croquet is deeply familiar with the types of imagery that have defined such marketing campaigns, from Eric Bompard’s pink-toned whimsy to Isabel Marant’s sultry and pseudo-dishevelled aesthetic. The lighting, makeup, and styling are remarkably similar between the originals and their spoofs (the studded plaid shirt in the Eleven Paris parody appears near-identical, for example), with the critical differences lying in the models themselves: they encompass a diversity of body types and ages.
Playful and light-hearted, Croquet’s imagery reminds us of the theatricality of fashion advertising; lighting, makeup, and costumes are carefully arranged to appeal to marketed notions of high-end beauty. The “Spoof” models do a great job recreating the postures and facial expressions to reveal both the parody and the construction of the original campaign imagery. Visit Croquet’s Instagram and website to learn more. (Via AnOther)
Marcelo Monreal is a Brazilian collage artist who cracks skulls in the most beautiful way possible. Digitally splitting parts of models and celebrities faces (Christopher Walken and Kate Moss are among them), he fuses beautiful blooms with the broken shapes. Small, colorful flowers grow from behind eye sockets, in the place of noses, and out of mouths. This surreal series is called Faces [UN]bonded.
In Monreal’s opinon, people don’t often tell us who they really are. Instead, they keep parts of their real selves hidden. He opens them up with his collages and reveals the rare moments in which we see the beauty that’s behind their appearance. (Via Art Fucks Me)
South Korean artist Jihyun Park creates incredibly complex images by burning minute holes in rice paper with incense sticks. He then mounts the finished ‘drawings’ onto varnished canvases. The final results are beautifully serene images of trees, mountains, clouds, forests and branches. As a kind of reverse pointillism, Park is interested in the contrasts between empty space and positive space, or by taking something away (parts of the paper, and the incense stick) to create something new (the image).
Inspired by the books Gulliver’s Travels, Utopia, and Erewhon and after seeing the Japanese animated movie Castle in the Sky, Park became interested in the ideas of utopia and harmony. He expands these connections in his work further:
My recent work, Incense Series, focuses on this relationship while searching for the promised harmonic balance that utopia brings. Ironically, the word “utopia” in Korean is “Yi Sang Hwang” and “Hwang” means “incense”. (Source)
Park also talks about the ideas of positive and negative further. He says the shadows created by the holes in the paper are playing off of the light reflected from behind them. To him this is a fine example of Yin and Yang and two opposites who complicate and strengthen each other. He also chooses to outline his subjects or to fill them in – working with reverses in an aesthetic sense as well.
The subjects addressed in my work range from the natural world to memories of the past, reflecting the constant physical and emotional changes in our environment. It is my hope that the “moments” I captures of my subjects are ones when they are at their most ideal– true utopias. While drawing them with the incense, I am “holding” a split moment of harmony in my hands. (Source)
Sipho Mabona reinvents traditional origami practices. In a series called vectorgraphics he creates forms where the paper is kept flat. Both aesthetically and spiritually it recalls stained glass windows and resembles colorful panes you might see in a new age cathedral. He furthers the conversation by mixing the pigment with sugar water and achieves a result that improves upon the medium transforming it into something else. There’s hesitation to say ‘new age’ but it does embrace qualities beyond this world.
Mabona started working with paper at a young age making traditional airplane designs. When he was a teenager he turned to origami and has since engaged in many different projects using the material. Besides graphically inspired work and traditional origami figures he has made a life size elephant. All white and made out of folded paper it is a feast for the eyes. His origami has been used to tell the Asics sneaker story. In a short entitled “Origami: in the Pursuit of Perfecton” it traces the company’s history through Mabona’s models.
Origami is the traditional art of making sculptures out of paper without glue, tape or staples. It has three distinct origins dating back to the 16th century. In China, folded paper was burned during funerals as currency for the deceased into the next world. In Japan, the first reference appeared in a short poem where a paper butterfly design was mentioned at a Shinto wedding and in Europe napkin folding became popular with 17th century nobility eventually replacing it with porcelain. (via designboom)