Illustrator Isobelle Ouzman upcycles would-be discarded books into sculptural works of art. She cuts back the pages and draws nature scenes that together, create an alluring new narrative. The primarily black-and-white images have spots of color added to them, and they hearken the viewer into this special place.Ouzman calls her creations Altered Books.
Using an X-acto knife, Micron pens, watercolor paint, and a lot of love, Ouzman breathes new life into these objects. “Every book that I alter was found by a dumpster in Seattle, a recycling bin, a thrift store, or was given to me by someone who no longer wants it,” she writes. “Rather than have these discarded books sit out in the rain or in some store to gather dust, I’m striving to make good use of them. I love books very much and would never carve into one that was valuable. I just want to give them a new life and a second chance to mean something again.”
In San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood sits Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, a small, windowless locale that’s the only remaining gay bar in an area once known for its nightlife LGBTQ attractions. It features an evening-length drag queen show, which is the subject of photographer James Hosking’s intriguing images.
Hosking first visited Aunt Charlie’s in 2009 after moving to the city from New York, and he was drawn to the older entertainers there. What was their connection to drag when it was “illicit and less accessible,” and why do these people continue to perform? “They open themselves to ridicule because of their age, yet they seem to relish the opportunity for provocation and confrontation,” the photographer told Slate.
Hosking’s curiosity played out by photographing three performers at Aunt Charlie’s during 2013 – Collette LeGrande, Donna Personna, and Olivia Hart. He also teamed up with journalist Jeremy Lybarger for a story published in Out Magazine, and completed a documentary about the drag queens titled Beautiful by Night.
It’s in these gritty candid photos and film that we see just how laborious performing is. Putting on makeup, wigs, and costumes can take time a lot of stamina that only gets harder with age. And with all that effort, audience members can sometimes be disrespectful, Hosking tells Slate, “But, for the most part, I think the joy comes from the audience’s excitement and pleasure, which creates a feeling that everyone is there to have a good time together. I imagine that makes all the bullshit worthwhile. The tips don’t hurt either.”
Check out the documentary to hear the drag queens talk about their experience and to see the transformation process take place.
kelly Falzone Inouye’s Sitcom series are part of an ongoing series of watercolors depicting sitcom characters from the 1970s and 80s. They highlight the archetypal, quirky characters mythologized through syndication. The medium of watercolor is extremely nostalgic and sentimental. In using this medium in its loosest, most watery form to depict fictional characters, Kelly examines issues of portrayal vs. portraiture.
DeChazier Stokes-Johnson has relaunched The Marma Spot, a collection of interviews done with a wide range of known and unknown creatives from around the world. From design here Stefan Sagmeister to Run Athletics sneaker designer Rashid Young. Some good reading for those trying to find creative inspiration.
Constance Mallinson‘s large-scale paintings merge the man-made world and nature literally by constructing figures from images of leaves, twigs, and decaying organic material. They are grotesque meditations on both the mortality of humans and the world in which they live. Her full-figured “nature people” reference both the works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th-century Italian known for paintings in which still life objects are used to form surreal portraits, and famous paintings, such as Edouard Manet’s 1863 seminal painting “Olympia.”
In examining her recent paintings created from decaying matter, L.A. Times critic Christopher Knight wrote that “after painting savvy landscapes for more than twenty five years”… the current “imagery suggests the way in which we project ourselves on conceptions of nature, creating the natural world even as we go about assuring its destruction.”
It takes some serious skills to make photorealistic watercolors, but that’s exactly what Christopher St. Leger has going on in his work. He’s rendered a series of skateboarders kick-flipping and cruising which are particularly fluid, along with a range of impressive cityscapes. Like a looser, more colorful Richard Estes, St. Leger will trick you into thinking your looking at the real thing.
Judy Miller’s Imaginary Dioramas series is the kind of work that makes you think, “Wait, what?” The famous faces in the photos are recognizable, but off in some subtle way. The backgrounds are ambiguous, and the combinations of celebrities and scenes, “Outakes” as they’re titled, create curious narratives.
It’s almost a relief to find out that these artists and celebrities, whose faces we’re so familiar with, are actually wax figures photographed at Madame Tussaud’s and Photoshopped into scenes. The strangeness abates, but only briefly. It’s not only the waxy visages that are uncanny, but the situations as well. Most of the celebrities are not named or tagged, which presumes a certain amount of pop-culture familiarity in the viewer. Some photos only include a part of a face or body, making the identification even more difficult.
Robert E. Knight, Executive Director of the Tucson Museum of Art, writes, “Judy Miller does not create her work in the isolation of a studio. She researches, travels, photo¬graphs, and then brings her images back in-house for final editing. Culled from the photo files of celebrity wax figures the artist has compiled over the years, Miller cleverly inserts her figures into fantasy settings with the finished composites ranging from humorous to odd, and compelling to camp. … Resembling excerpted film stills, the discordant emotional separation of Miller’s figures are in¬triguing in their awkward uncertainty. They truly have become actors in her play, and they’re just waiting for their cue. Even titling her images as “outtakes” references the artist’s interest in, and respect for, the influence films have had on our society.
What, for example, are Einstein and Picasso doing dressed alike, deliberately avoiding eye contact in a round room with many windows in “Newton’s Nightmare”?? Seemingly less bizarre is “Outtake #22, Exit Left”, which shows Jacqueline Kennedy facing front in the foreground and Marilyn Monroe’s red sequined back in the background. It’s easier to find context for this work but no less thought provoking. What if the two women really did meet? Each image poses unanswerable questions, which is Miller’s intention.
My goal is to create a dynamic juxtaposition of elements that spark individual interpretation.
I’m not sure if Uffie is a rapper, a pop artist, or permanently drunk, but she is interesting. Here’s a video of her walking down an endless trippy hallway while barely mouthing her lyrics. The best part is at the end where she runs with her back at you like a toddler.