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Jon Rafman

The embedded video above comes from the latest project by Montreal-based media artist Jon Rafman. Kool-Aid Man in Second Life offers to give Internet users free guided tours of Second Life by Rafman’s avatar, the Kool-Aid Man. The aforementioned video is a promotional video showing scenes of the tour (by the way, apparently some of this may not be NSFW, though I watched the first minute or two and didn’t really notice anything bad). The subtlety of the video, and the entire project, is what makes it so engaging. There are all sorts of questions raised here: about the role of crafted pop culture icons in the new era of user generated content, about the nature of scenic beauty, about our interaction with kitsch. Someone take the tour and let us know how it is!

PS: Check out this essay Rafman wrote on Google Street View. Very compelling stuff.

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Breathtakingly Ephemeral Portraits Created With Flowers And Seeds

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When vegetal artist Duy Anh Nhan Duc and photographer Isabelle Chapuis collaborate, the resulting images of people and flowers are anything but cliché. The series “Etamine” (stamen) and “Dandelion” are elegant and surreal, beautifully conceptual and expertly shot.

In “Etamine” a somewhat androgynous man is adorned in black and red and purple and yellow. “Fragile compositions of thousands of petals: carnations, anemones, irises and chrysanthemums merge with the skin.” The petals resemble feathers, as if these are sensual and captivating birds preening for the camera.

“Duy Anh Nhan Duc is an artist who handles vegetal art in a very singular way.… He merges plants with human bodies, integrates them with objects, combines them with his drawings or stages them though his short-films. Through his work, he weaves a poetic world where plants rule as masters.”

Like its seed head, “Dandelion” feels more fragile, suspended in time, as if the female model is holding her breath. Shot against a black background, the dandelion seeds are as impossibly delicate as snow or fog. Where in “Etamine” the petals have merged with the male figure, the seeds in “Dandelion” are ephemeral, pausing for a moment before floating away on a breath or a breeze.

Chapuis says, “I’m very inspired by the aesthetic movement in painting, Tim Walker. C’est l’art pour l’art. Art for its own sake. It’s only about emotion. I don’t want to accomplish anything beyond appealing to peoples’ senses”. (Source)

These series are proof of the magic that can happen when two extremely talented artists combine forces to make captivating work. (Via Ignant)

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Marc McAndrews

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Marc McAndrews’ simple and relaxed style lends a sense of familiarity to his portraits. It’s almost as if you could look in your family photo albums at home and find these people staring back at you. The motel owners, waitresses, and every day folk he makes his subjects are often haunting. At the same time, their gazes even more piercing than trained models.

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Faig Ahmed Reimagines Traditional Azerbaijani Carpets

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With a serious understanding of classic carpet-making techniques, Azerbaijani sculptor Faig Ahmed is able to stretch, distort and reinvent an iconic symbol steeped in tradition and cultural significance. “The carpet is a symbol of invincible tradition of the East, it’s a visualization of an undestroyable icon,” Ahmed states, noting that the manipulation of the woven medium gives visual form to ideas he has relating to “destroying the stereotypes of tradition to create new modern boundaries.” The rug, as a medium, works well for Ahmed, helping to deploy a deeper message about the stretching, bending and restructuring of physical and political boundaries in the Middle East. His technical mastery is evident in the movements of each thread, and his generous use of color gives the work an overall vibrancy—perhaps hinting at the artist’s sense of optimism in a time of great uncertainty and turmoil.

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Beautiful/Decay Book 1: Supernaturalism Video Preview

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We finally received the long-awaited advance bound copy of Book 1 and we are thrilled with how it looks.

We made a virtual video tour so you can get a sense of how the book will look! Click the link above to preview it. Just a reminder, there are only two weeks left until the July 1st deadline to reserve your copy. We’ve had an overwhelming response (especially since each book features a unique piece of artwork from featured artist Kyle Thomas) and supplies are very limited. So, to ensure you receive this special inaugural copy, please subscribe as soon as possible.

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Made With Color Presents: Lost In The Paintings Of Edith Beaucage, With A Ballerina And Her Entourage At A Rave

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Beautiful/Decay is pleased to introduce online website building platform Made With Color, which empowers artists artists to build a professional website in minutes. Made With Color allows artists to build a sleek website and share their art without having to code and spend hours on lay-outs. The simplified and responsive navigation is made to be functional. Giving both the artists and the viewers the possibility to explore some of the best contemporary art in a pleasant environment. This week, we are sharing Edith Beaucage’s latest work ‘Chill Bivouac Rhymes’ series.

California based Edith Beaucage translates an atmosphere onto the canvas, using the painting as a snapshot. Her work involves characters, a scenario and a scene. Allowing the imagination of the viewers to go beyond the painting and envision their own story. The ‘Chill Bivouac Rhymes’ series is built as a loose leaf narrative. A ballerina, her entourage, her Russian lover, a rave and a specific, yet invented location: Yellow Boa Canyon.

The paintings depict the characters interacting with each other in the fantasy land created by the artist. Edit Beaucage’s strokes are ‘broad, fluid and relaxed’. Translating a world of floating moments and effortless motions. The characters are blended with the landscape. The same tonality of colors and the same brushstrokes are used for each of them. The artist captures a couple kissing, a girl dancing, a men smoking and a teenager sleeping. Never omitting to add-on the wandering, lingering rhythm which ends up altering the mood and spirit of the viewer.

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Flora Borsi “Distouches” Portraits Of Fashion Models Creating Surrealist “Little Monsters”

Hungarian photographer Flora Borsi digitally “distouches” images of models. After analyzing fashion portraits, the artist took note of the overt emphasis on perfection the images took. She then decided to play with the process to perfect by attempting the opposite. Her images wink to the classic artist portrait, perhaps even take their composition from what looks like could be a model or actor’s headshot, yet instead of aiming to portray women at their most beautiful, her mission was to create something truly unusual. Her portraits highlight distorted faces of women that tend to have three eyes, peculiar brow lines, and lips that droop, giving an almost absent chin. With a thread of shiny hair and dramatic lighting, this body of work almost acts as a portrait series of genuine alien beings. The artist explains the project in her own words:

“In this project I’ve been analyzing some fashion portraits, how perfect they are. So I made the opposite of retouching, somehow I distouched these pictures of perfect models. This project is connected to surrealist painters point of view: beauty wasn’t enough to give me interest. I love imperfections as much as I love surrealism. These pictures are my little monsters, no one wants to look like them, because they are totally unique.”

Borsi’s work uses digital manipulation in order to explore her fascination with surrealism. She focuses on issues surrounding identity, relationships, emotions, and dreams with the aim to  investigate the complexity of the human psyche.

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Ripo Visuals

When people observe art, the try to find a purpose, a message behind the whole thing. In many art pieces, the message may not be obvious or clear. Within the work by Ripo Visuals, their clear, easy-to-read, simplistic messages are powerful. Catchy, funny, truthful, clever phrases have been left on buildings all over Europe and South America. Courtesy of Ripo Visuals.

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