You’re probably thinking “Why is Beautiful/Decay posting about children’s puppets?” Well that’s a good question. Usually we leave Sesame Street for the toddler and mommy blogs but over the weekend I happened to watch Being Elmo, a documentary about Kevin Clash, the long time voice and puppeteer of Elmo. Since the age of 10 (check out the above image of young Kevin performing for local kids in 1975) all Kevin wanted to do was to be a puppeteer. With tons of ambition, hard work, and creativity Kevin not only became a professional puppeteer but also one of the most famous and iconic figures in the field right along his life long idol Jim Henson.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story but I will say that every artist, designer, and creative person should watch this documentary. You will be touched, inspired, and moved to work harder, push the limits of your craft, and to never give up on your dreams. Watch the trailer for the documentary after the jump and run out and go out and buy the DVD. It will be the best money you’ll spend all week.
Jon Almeda creates miniature glazed ceramics which could easily be misunderstood for a pretend tea set play party, the average size of a piece being 1” scale. He designs cups, pots, tea kettles and bowls that perfectly resemble normal sized items. All the details are there: furrows, textures, handles and lids. In order to attain this meticulousness, he had to come up with the instrument that would allow him to get thorough so he built his very own pottery wheel, which is called “curio wheel”. Despite their fragile appearance, the small ceramics are nonetheless solid and able to resist the high temperature of glaze fusing.
The artist doesn’t seem to care about what’s normal. He prefers to juggle between the extremes; he goes from creating huge ceramics to sculpting macro pieces. The time he spends on doing so is more enjoyable. He compares this time to a meditation cession where he can focus on the creation and nothing else.
Jon Almeda’s inspirations are soothing and flowy. He says he likes to drift away thinking of calm dark waters and luscious flora from places where he spends most of his time. His creativity seems to be coming when his mind is somewhere else, daydreaming and meditating when his hands create beautiful little gems.
Javier Galindo, an artist of many talents, uses ready-made objects to create an interesting narrative that comments on possessions we value. By nature, humans are collectors. So much so, that we even have an entire T.V. series dedicated to this hoarder phenomenon. In Galindo’s series The Incomplete Tour, he creates objects that mimic, question, and alter keepsakes and mementos often collected by travelers and tourists. Specifically, he references “The Grand Tour,” a trip that many youth would take during the 18th century across Europe. The purpose of this journey was to gain knowledge of the Western world’s cultural history and to be exposed to its many treasures, such as classical antiquity. To preserve their memories, as we often do today, they would collect souvenirs. Galindo’s question is, what is this memento actually worth? It is by no means an original; it is just a fragment or a trace of what was experienced.
Influenced by classic antiquities, Galindo’s series transforms and skews these fractures of remembered treasures. The series is comprised of a wide variety of mediums including cast plaster and oil paint, as it also is included two-dimensional and three -dimensional works. Focusing on portraiture, the once traditional portraits and busts are now sliced and stacked, skewed by paint, or literally cut out of their frame. In a world where we are obsessed with documenting every moment through digital photos, it is interesting to see a reference to a time where the only way to keep the moment with you, was through collecting physical souvenirs. A photograph is like a still memory, a fragment of an event that can often warp the true memory. Just like a photograph, Galindo’s mementos are just fragments of the whole; they are hints of a narrative further skewed by Galindo’s artistic eye.
One of the most iconic artists of our time Mike Kelley passed away today at the age of 58. With over four decades of activity within the international art world spanning dozens dozens of museum shows, several art noise bands, and multiple Whitney Biennial inclusions, Kelley will be sorely missed by the art community. Watch an interview with Kelley about his work after the jump.
The above video was created by Adam D. Miller, and was screened at an event at the Hammer Museum Los Angeles.
He battled dinosaurs. He conquered hell. He raped aliens. He cannibalized social icons. He enslaved the human race, and we loved him for it. Yet, the Grim Reaper proved to be one foe that the mighty Oderus Urungus could not defeat. This was a week to remember as Dave Brockie, the lead singer of metal band Gwar, died unexpectedly.
His passing almost seems like the plot of a movie. Gwar had made a healthy comeback and gained a new following of teenage fans with their ever improving last five albums (in my opinion by far the best music they ever made). In 1999 I saw Gwar playing at a relatively small club in northern California after having nearly faded into obscurity, but in 2012 they were playing to a sold out crowd of screaming maniacs at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Only a few months ago they released what ended up being their final album, Battle Maximus (a tribute to another departed scumdog Flattus Maximus, also known as Cory Smoot who died in 2012). They finished a tour in support of the album and then Dave Brockie died. I never thought the singer for a band like Gwar would live to be ninety in a retirement community, but I didn’t expect him to die so suddenly in the midst of being so active.
We’ve seen innovative art made from tape before. The work of Monika Grzymala, though, is ambitious, seemingly chaotic, and even violent. Using over three miles of black tape, Grzymala inundate’s the gallery space. The tape wraps around corners and seems to splatter on to the wall as if it were liquid. Grzymala’s work adds dimensionality to a usually flat material in a way that is surprising and nearly disturbing. By appearing to forcibly occupy the gallery space, the installation compels the viewers to interact with the space in a new way.
Netherlands-based artist John Breed uses a myriad of materials in his work, and mannequin legs and womens’ shoes are on that list. He paints the individual body parts and their accessories, arranging them so they form an eye-catching design from afar. Depending on your vantage point, you might not even realize what you’re looking at. His all-gold piece titled Medusa’s Shoes features the different heels placed closely together so that they collectively resemble the monster’s wild hair instead of separate parts.
Breed’s other large-scale installation, titled Shoe Salon Breuniger, features an undulating, rainbow-colored collection of heels that sprout from a wall. Bent at different angles and cut at various lengths, each can be admired individually for its detail and accessorizing. It looks as though it was eventually installed somewhere with an escalator, like a mall. This candy-coated display seems like the perfect way to bring some fresh artistic air into a space that can seem stale.