German painter and photographer Sigmar Polke (1941 – 2010) died yesterday from complications of cancer, according to Gordon Veneklasen, the artist’s main American representative. Polke invigorated the world of pop art and beyond with his parodic examinations of consumerism and politics, especially those concerning post-war Germany. The artist resisted artistic conventions by expanding on ideas of “what art is” with his multi-faced, mixed media pieces.
“We cannot rely on it that good painting will be made one day. We have to take the matter in hand ourselves,” Polke once said. A bit of an understatement, but I’ll allow Polke’s “good painting” to speak for itself. Check out more of my favorites after the cut.
We all know that kids are the best artists. Unlike adults kids are free to let their imaginations run wild to create artwork that is unique, unrestricted, and fiercely imaginative. They aren’t restricted by societies rules and in their world coloring outside the lines is much more fun. So it should come as no surprise that one of the leading car brands in the world Toyota would hold the ultimate kids art competition, The 8th Toyota Dream Car Contest!
The contest invites kids between the ages of seven to fifteen to use crayons, pencils, watercolors, paints and more to create a unique 2D image of their dream cars as well as their ideas of what transport will look like in the future. The more imaginative and creative the better. Flying cars, vehicles with their own Bio Domes, skyscraper cars, and sports cars powered by smiles are all fair game. No idea is too out there when it comes to your dreams.
Last year the contest received an outpouring of entries from 600,000 kids from over 70 countries. So make sure you stock up on lots of paper, pencils and paint and get your kids ready for the ultimate creative dreams contest!
Artist Chris Wood likes to exploit the magic of light, and more particularly, the light that passes through glass. Working specifically with Dichroic glass (meaning two color), she installs pieces or shards of the material on walls at different angles, allowing the different color and reflections to play off each other. Arranging the glass in usually geometric, or circular forms, they take on the appearance of futuristic mandalas, or some complex physics experiment. The installations are wildly varied in color, at times the glass is completely transparent and subtle, or can be densely rainbow colored, or even entirely opaque and metallic.
Dichroic glass was actually developed by NASA in the late fifties to protect against harmful effects of direct sunlight and cosmic radiation, and is a very unique material. Due to it’s unique nature, it is a captivating material to work with with unlimited potential. Wood says of her interest in it:
Glass is a material which allows me to exploit the aesthetic potential of light. Minimal structures, support simple arrangements of glass, which interact with light to create complex patterns of light and shade, which change depending upon the position of the viewer and the angle of the light source. (Source)
Wood also works with the Dichroic glass outdoors, setting up quiet installations that play off the reflections and colors of the environment. Favoring water and greenery, she is able to make us look twice at the nature we take for granted around us.
Mike Ruiz presents us with the ultimate (and completely not real) luxury collaboration. The funny thing about this is that it isn’t too far fetched. I can see it now, hundreds of sneaker heads waiting for days in line around their Mercedes dealership for the chance to drive the Michael Jordan Jumpman.
Using recycled objects like board game pieces, party straws, and paper fans, Swiss artist Marie Rime created a fantastic set of masks and armor. The separate-yet-similar series are composed of multi-faceted objects that cover the subjects’ entire face and part of their body, forming silhouettes made from the likes of chess pawns and popsicle sticks. It recontextualizes kitsch and transforms the use of these tiny individual elements into a cohesive veil that obscures its model’s face. In both bodies of work, the emphasis is on power and competition. Rime explains her mask project and writes:
In this series, the notion of game is being questioned. I tried to express my fascination with the relationship between the players. I asked myself what the participants are looking for and whether they are trying to disturb, seduce or intimidate opponents. These reflections led to a series of pictures of a female model wearing masks inspired by primitive tribal art, yet created from elements of the games being played in the championships.
Likewise, with the armor, she states, “These costumes, realised with everyday objects, are the starting point of a reflexion of the relationship between power, war and ornament. These women lose their identity and become the support of their clothing.” (Via La Monda)
Whispery sweet images from brooklyn-based photographer Erin Mulvehill. She’s also the brains behind “The Camera Project,” a magnanimous exploration into how children perceive their environment. Erin believes that beauty will save the world, and she’s doing her best to help speed up the process.
Valerj Pobega is an Italian-born, LA-based designer who brings powerful imagery and detail-focused art into the world of fashion. Crafted entirely by hand, Pobega’s pieces comprise unique cuts and painted fabrics instilled with hybridized, subcultural references. Her style could be described as sophistication with a resounding edge, and operating under the mantra “you’re wearing Art, and Art is timeless,” Pobega seeks to reinvigorate couture as a creative outlet that defies the doldrums of mass production and consumerism (Source).
Featured here is Pobega’s “Bondage Collection,” which debuted in Spring/Summer 2010. In true trendsetter fashion, Pobega introduced the runways of high fashion to fetish-inspired wear when it was still largely underground. In bold contrasts of black and white, each ensemble is somberly daring and awakens the imagination like thunder. One of the main inspirations for this collection was Nobuyoshi Araki’s controversial bondage photography, as seen in the ropes, tassels, and braids adorning and harnessing the models. The lightweight, kimono-style couture also resonates with a Japanese influence. Pobega, however, is careful not to isolate such references, and has seamlessly blended these aesthetics with a dark, Western punk style.
Another inspiration behind the “Bondage Collection” was the movie Trainspotting and its soundtrack—in particular, Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” which accompanied the runway show. With their shadowed eyes and unlaced shoes, the models reflect a subtle state of dishevelment. All of these influences come together into a narrative that Pobega composed to inspire the collection, which she described for Beautiful/Decay:
“I thought of [the Trainspotting influence] as very connected with the Araki theme as the movie depicts the life of a group of friends addicted to drugs—and if you think about it, drugs addiction is really like being in bondage, tied up in ropes, unable to move or make decisions.”
In oscillating images of power and powerlessness, the originality of the series derives from a compelling synthesis of its influences and details. The runway show was likewise as impactful, with a male dancer clad in one of her hand-painted gowns closing the event with a dramatic pirouette. With Pobega, shock value and emotion are integral to exploring the capacities of fashion as an embodied art form.
Pobega’s unique couture has been widely recognized, attracting the attention of celebrities such as Madonna, Selena Gomez, and Ozzy Osbourne. Her work has also been featured in the publications Vogue, Elle, Bite, and more. Visit her website to view more of her compelling and art-driven collections.