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Interview: Deb Sokolow

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Deb Sokolow creates a vertiginous world of invented narratives. Her large-scale, ink on paper installations are hung in a kind of methodized-madness that call to mind police investigations bulletin boards, a mad scientist’s chaotic formulas and revelations, or the bedroom of an obsessive-compulsive conspiracy-obsessed fanatic. Sokolow leads viewers into the tangled web of an information-saturated schematic, leaving viewers at once disoriented and exhilarated. Sokolow talked to us about her creative process and sent us a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots, including her “research binders” detailing subjects such as “Ghosts, Email Scams, Pigeons & Squirrels.” Full interview after the jump.

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The Street Art Heaven At Les Bains

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Despite its 130 year history Paris’ building known as Les Bains was declared unsafe in 2010.  The building will undergo renovations and reopen in 2014.  In the meantime, however, the building’s owner has opened it up to street artists.  The residency program, known as One Day One Artist, allows artists to work in the sprawling building. The result is a kind of street art heaven.  A small selection of the artists involved are pictured here: (respectively) The Atlas, Seth, Sambre, Jeanne Susplugas, SWIZ, Philippe Baudelocque, ZeeR, Thomas Canto, and STEN LEX.   [via]

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Margi Geerlinks

Margi Geerlinks’ work is concerned with the ways the human species creates an identity for themselves, and the forces that seem to govern this process. She takes four of the Ten Commandments and digitally imprints them on children. She portrays the ageing process by commenting on the ways modern society tries to slow that same process down. The directness of these images may come across as quite blunt, but every visible detail is there to warn us not to jump to conclusions. The children may bear these condemning moral codes on their chests, their pose and actions display a very human insecurity.

Being deeply physical, her art confronts us with the many things that literally mold our beings into shape. Displaying the effects of science, religion, morality and time, Geerlinks photographs are a timeless testament of the human condition. Taking the body as a canvas she tries to show both the current identity of the person photographed and the things that make her become someone else. She seems to categorize the different stages of a human life by representing them symbolically, but at the same time she makes us question the necessity of an age divided society.

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Alejandra Villasmil’s Eyes Wide Shut

Self-taught artist from Santiago, Chile, Alejandra Villasmil creates visually stimulating collages. Her work questions the notions of desire, beauty, sexuality, as well as gender binaries.

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Prosthetic Limbs as Art: Sophie de Oliveira Barata’s Alternative Limb Project

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Sophie de Oliveira Barata’s Alternative Limb Project applies an artistic approach to prosthetic limb design, seeking to create unique and personalized prosthetic limbs for amputees. With her degree in Special Effects Prosthetics for film and television from London Arts University and 8 years of work for prosthetic providers creating realistic limbs, de Oliveira Barata has now established her own studio working as a specialist consultant alongside prosthetists to create alternative prosthetic effects with direct input from clients. She also collaborates with other artists – designers, laser-cutters, metal, plastic, and wood workers – in order to maximize the potential for a unique prosthetic. In addition to her “surreal” and “unreal” prosthetic designs, she is also highly skilled in crafting realistic looking limbs.

The experience of losing a limb, often under intense and strenuous circumstances, can be alienating and disempowering. Through her work, de Oliveira Barata offers a creative form of empowerment, one that is both functional and fashionable.

“Generally the whole technology is moving towards trying to recapture a lifelike limb that looks realistic and also acts realistic in motion,” says de Oliveira Barata. “In this instance I’m doing the complete opposite and I think it does capture that whole childlike imagination — it’s like being a superhero with super powers.”

“It’s drawing attention to their disability in a positive way…Rather than people seeing what’s missing, it’s about what they’ve got…Having an alternative limb is about claiming control and saying ‘I’m an individual and this reflects who I am.'” (via cnn)

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Fashion Brand KOFTA Forms Leather Into Gothic Anatomy Inspired Bags

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KOFTA is the brain child of Kiev based designer Konstantin Kofta. In his collections Hug, Born, Roots, he experiments with leather manipulation to produce surrealistic and elegant garments, accessories and wearable items. His pieces imitate body parts and look like they are extensions of the person wearing them. Including backpacks that mimic torsos, bags with raised vertebrae, straps with hands attached ‘holding’ onto the wearer’s shoulders, and shoes that look like feet, Kofta’s designs are delicately gothic. He describes his inspiration for the Hug collection further:

From birth, we try to stand up and take our first steps. We yearn to touch and be touched and to feel sensations for the first time. We can perceive objects with an unclogged consciousness. Pure perception without comparison. We know nothing other than that which we can see and feel… Spirit does not have form, but some forms can have spirit, vibration does not have a color but color can have vibration, mood does not have a texture, but textures can have a mood. In this collection we focus for the first time more on feelings than just on physical forms and we have created forms, colors and textures according to these sensations… (Source)

Designing with a emphasis on sensuality, Kofta loves to tease out an emotional response to his designs. He combines the unintentional and unexpected to produce durable, unique and wearable pieces of art. Kofta designs with the intention of adding unusual components to a person’s lifestyle, not just their wardrobe, and I would say his pieces achieve a lot more than that.

Via Demilked

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Ross Racine

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I was quite surprised when I found out the work of Canadian artist Ross Racine was completely hand-drawn. While some compositions are more realistic than others, all of them could pass fairly easily as documentary aerial photography of yesteryear, perhaps taken from government planes after the great post-war suburban explosion. Some of his drawings are minimal, some much more complexly textured; all present an interesting fictional view of suburban and rural America.

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The Perfectly Grotesque Paintings Of Peter Saul: Shaking Down Politics Since The 1960’s

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Peter Saul’s perfectly grotesque; strangely cartoonish paintings are filled with political and anti-political content. Having been born in the 1930’s, he has lived through an immeasurable amount of political turmoil. His highly illustrative paintings come bursting with endless social commentary, with more than just a bit of humor. Associated with the Chicago Imagists and the west coast Funk Artists, Saul’s style contains heavy influences from pop culture and surrealism. His distinctive style is harshly cartoonish due to the brilliant colors and flattened space. The characters in his paintings have bizarre, exaggerated features such as big, bulging eyes that pop out of the person’s skull, and tentacle-like appendages that bend and stretch clear across the composition. Although this may remind you at first of the cartoons you watched as a kid, examine the paintings longer and you will see enormous nude body parts and plenty of oozing bodily fluids. These hilarious and misshapen characteristics further express his thoughts on these characters; some real, some fiction.

Although Saul’s style is derived from sources many may see as lowbrow, his skills as a painter and an artist cannot be denied after seeing his complex, multifaceted compositions. Saul is a master at taking silly, iconic imagery from pop culture and mixing it with the grim, violence of reality. Experiencing his paintings is a journey through time, as they include imagery of the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan. However, the messages and situations depicted in these scenes still ring true today. Peter Saul’s long art career is memorable to say the least. You can see his powerful work in person at Venus Over Manhattan gallery in NYC where his exhibition From Pop to Punk will be on display until April 18th.

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