Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard – Pierre and Gilles – have made portraits of Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Andy Warhol, and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. The portraits are sexually charged and totally fantastical. Their subjects are placed under water, surrounded by flowers, or in what looks like a McDonalds ball pen (a not so subtle reference, in the tradition of most of their portraiture). Their kitschy and outlandish aesthetic has had them attain international recognition; they’re included in collections like the MoMA’s and have had a major retrospective at the New Museum in 2000.
Not only do they work together professionally, they have also been together as a couple for the duration of their shared career. Pierre is the photographer, and Gilles does the painting afterward. According to a VMagazine interview, the entire process of one portrait takes them about three weeks:
“We do everything from creating the décor to taking the picture to constructing the frame. We are always inspired by the person’s personality.”
Although their sexual orientation is a large part of their public persona, they say they are cautious not to pigeonhole themselves into what they call the “gay ghetto” and for this reason take portraits of a variety of celebrities they admire, while maintaining their own distinct style.
Their aesthetic is whimsical and edgy. Certainly setting a man up fully nude peeing into a garden of flowers is not an image you will see every day. It’s provocative, but not aggressive, probably because of the teasing, over-the-top nature of the accompanying imagery. They find a way to playfully bring the mainstream out of its comfort zone so it seems like every day should be filled with sexy nuns riding bedazzled horses!
San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.
Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.
Floating high above the sky Patricia Piccinini’sSkywhale hot air balloon is a thing of wonder. Commissioned by The Centenary Of Canberra the massive flying sculpture that is a cross between a turtle, breasts and prehistoric fish will be making the rounds in Australia during 2013.
Here’s what creative director of the COC had to say about this project:
“Observing Canberra’s continuing love of the spectacle of hot air balloons , each autumn gracing the airspace over the national capital, I wanted to offer this highly visible ‘canvas’ to an Australian artist as a Centenary of Canberra commission. Patricia Piccinini is one of Australia’s most successful ‘sculptors’, her work seen in major collections in Australia, and a survey show broke all attendance records for the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery: she has had recent exhibitions in Nashville, Istanbul and London. Her highly imaginative work invites us every time to think about the human condition, and it was this relationship with the very concept of ‘life on Earth’ that made me think of her. Many special shape balloons have started to replicate characters or animals, but they are mostly caricatures and in the realm of kitsch, rather than art.
To my delight, Patricia was immediately responsive to the idea of her work in a new form, and insisted that it would not be a novelty, but a continuation of her ouevre and its years of investigation into the way life has evolved. This is exactly what the new work is, and we are so proud to have been able to find the resources to help this great artist make it happen. That Patricia was educated in Canberra, also makes this a celebration of the fine talent that the national capital has, and continues to produce.” (via)
Watch three fantastic videos with the artist in her studio as well as footage of the Skywhale in flight after the jump!
Each month, Beautiful/Decay will release a new shirt on the Beautiful/Decay shop before they hit any retail stores. The shirts will be printed in unique color ways in a select print run of just 300 shirts. Oh, and did we mention that we’ll be giving you a 33% discount off retail prices, pricing them at just $20 a shirt?
Here’s a rundown of the B/D monthly shirt release:
– Available in advance before the season ships to retailers
– Unique color way printed in a select run of 300 shirts
– 33% discount off retail price, at just $20 a shirt
First Release “Lost Face” by Vladimir (Waldez) Snegotskiy aka Ctrl-V
Vladimir Sengotskiy creates his hypercolor fantasmagoric creations in multi-media, ranging from print, web, motion and beyond. His recent design for Beautiful/Decay apparel is a neo-neon medusa’s head mask, seething with bright purple, yellow, blue and brown snakes and line confetti. Carnival masques meets facepaint!
Jess de Wahls is a London-based artist whose colorful multilayered and multifaceted textile works incorporate feminism, gender equality as well as recycling. Using a variety of fabrics, beads, and other materials, she creates 3D portraits that depict strong, inspirational women of all ages, shapes, and ethnicities. She sees her pieces as a way to raise awareness of gender inequality, explaining to TextileArtist.org, “…all the while celebrating great minds and artists of the past and present.”
In her artist statement, de Wahls also goes on to say:
Their influence on myself as a modern woman, Feminist and Artist, on Feminism as a whole and on their position as Role models to young girls growing up in a society that has, no doubt, come a long way in liberating its women but has yet a great length ahead of it. Not to mention the work that needs to be done in other parts of our planet, where women are to date still oppressed, belittled and generally treated as second class humans.
So, by creating these pieces, she ensures that their legacy isn’t forgotten.
De Wahls unique style is the product of a self-made called Retex which is short for recycled textile sculpture. She explains:
For the medium of Retex Sculpting, old garments serve as fabric for the works and cushion filler helps me to create a relief that raises the silhouette off the canvas creating greater depth.
The box-frame, in which the work is mounted, is integral to the piece and can be seen as a modern day relic box. (Via TextileArtist.org)
Django Django released their self-titled debut record last fall on Ribbon Music and was not only nominated for a Mercury Prize, but was also listed in Rolling Stone and NME‘s top 50 albums of 2012. They’ve been touring since last January when their album was initially released overseas. I missed them when they performed at Bardot in Los Angeles for School Night last September and they unfortunately had to cancel their Iceland Airwaves appearance due to illness. Lucky for me and you, they are back on the road with dates across the U.S. starting in March including two nights at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg with the last show of the tour arriving on March 23rd at LA’s Fonda Theatre.
Last week they premiered their new video on Nowness for the Hand of Man directed by Bafta Award winner John Maclean, brother to Django drummer/producer Dave Maclean. Way to keep it in the family guys! Check out the video and grab some tickets for an upcoming show via Ticketmaster.
Photographer Cameron Bloom captures the innocence and love in the unlikely friendship between a boy and his bird. His son Noah had found a baby bird alone in the wild around their Australian home. The bird being without a mother, the family decided to take it in and raise it themselves. This bird, affectionately named “Penguin,” was found right after Cameron’s wife, Sam, broke her back. This crucial and difficult time in the family’s life was met with an unforeseen visitor and friend for life. While both Penguin and Bloom’s family was coping with life’s hardships and struggles, a connection between them began and continues to grow into something extraordinary.
Bloom has documented intimate scenes of tenderness between his son, as well as his entire family, and their unique companion. Each image holds radiating warmth that can be felt by the viewer. It is amazing to see a bird share such a strong bond with humans, in a way that we might expect a dog or a human to have. Bloom shows Penguin sitting on Noah’s head, eating at the family’s kitchen table, and even snuggling with them in bed. Each moment is a glimpse of a magical friendship that has been shared with us through the beauty of Bloom’s photography. Beginning this series in 2013, we can see the relationship and closeness grow along with the three sons Rueben, Noah, and Oli. Although Penguin has the freedom to fly out into the wilderness away from her family, their connection is so strong that she never fails to return home every time.
If you love Penguin as much as I do, make sure to follow his Instagram account!
Now that we’re in the dead of winter, Rebecca Louise Law’s installation “Outside In” of 16,000 flowers in the lobby of a Manhattan skyscraper is soundly appropriate. The British artist who grew up in the English countryside says she wanted to create a site-specific work which would give city folk a little breather from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Her installation of 16,000 hanging flowers does the trick. When initially installed the fresh flowers gave the lobby an outdoorsy spring like smell. As the days pass and the flowers dry, the lobby at 1515 Broadway in New York’s Times Square will become a potpourri scent tank.
Some of the specimens used in the installation include roses, chrysanthemums, carnations and baby’s breath. Hung upside down, the different shapes and colors of the flowers resemble paint marks floating in thin air. In some instances, the entire installation looks like a wonderful abstract painting.
Law is known for her flower installations around the world. Some of her more intriguing projects have been “The Hated Flower” UK where she used carnations and chrysanthemums, “Bulbs” UK and “The Grecian Garden” Greece which fused 10,000 plants, herbs and cut flowers of over 27 varieties. She also did a project using 1500 apples methodically placed throughout Fulham Palace Chapel in London. (via the creatorsproject.vice.com)