In “Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers,” artist Adam Mars creates all-caps slogans for the lost MTV generation. Spraypainted in boldface, each piece could be read any number of ways. Is it tragic? Judgmental? Ironic? How many different ways can you read a phrase like “Gluten Free Cunnilingus”?
In the past, Mars has taken online concerns offline, painting “000,000,001 Views” on a brick wall. The meaning there is clear: The virtual has no context in the real life. A clipped “Good Lay Bad Texter” highlights skewed priorities, and “Your Sex Tapes Need Some Sriracha” is absurdity writ large.
Mars’s latest exhibit seems to take on a different tenor. Though just as cheeky as before, there’s also an underlying nostalgia and a critical eye toward modern predilections. “I Stand By My Uninformed Opinions,” one says mockingly, starkly painted in black on white. Another pronounces, “The Last Offline Lovers” on a speckled candy orange background. In blue, almost sadly: “Longing For Your Divorce.”
Written out in so many words, Mars’s words are a declaration. He’s the man holding cardboard next to the subway, saying, “Apocalypse Tomorrow – 3 PM!” It’s also hard to argue with his sharp-eyed truth. After all, some of us were the last offline lovers.
“Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers” is on display until December 20, 2014 at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles.
Sandro Giodarno‘s photographs are like Saturday morning crime scenes. The victim? Dignity, mostly. His carefully choreographed pictures show a snapshot of cartoonish tragedy.
According to Designboom, Giodarno says of his photos, “The instinctive reaction is bewilderment and awkwardness towards the unlucky fate of the character, but then that same awkwardness breaks into a liberating laugh. This is the effect I want to recreate through my photographs: tell tragedy through irony.”
While the photos are at times baffling, they’re also increasingly absurd and comedic. One woman’s grocery trip ended in a gruesome mishap with a tomato sauce blood splatter. Another is wearing a halo of pottery shards instead of flowers. The body count reads five in one photo of a dinner party that went down like the TItanic. Truly, Giodarno’s characters are a series of unfortunate people.
“My photographs are short stories about a falling-down world,” Giodarno says, describing each scene as a “black-out” moment where each character simply gives into an existential malaise and flops down, unable or maybe unwilling to go on. They just lie there, clutching whatever material possessions they happen to have with them, that happens to define them whether deliberately or through happenstance.
On first glance, it might seem a little sad. But the name of the collection, “In Extremis (Bodies with No Regret),” is reassuring, like maybe they’ll get up again — or maybe they are fine just where they are. (h/t Designboom)
Photographers Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida(previously here) found love through photography while attending art school, but they also found a way to combine their interests in gourmet food and miniature worlds by combining them all into playful scenarios. Their most comprehesive series, MINIMIAM, has been an exploration of visual solutions in miniature since 2002. Says Ida, “We’re both food photographer in our daily work, and we’re both quite crazy about cooking, eating and everything about food. So when we started this small people series, naturally we created the stories related to the food.”
The series (a portmanteau from mini and miam, meaning yum! in French), sets miniature figures in whimsical settings, opening up the possibilities of food photography and creating stories from visual puns. The figures are found from model train set kits (usually 1/87 scale), and seen sledding through icing like snow, blowing air into raisins with a handpump to explain the origin of grapes, and recalling Michelangelo by carving away the shell of a peanut to set free the trapped sculpture (peanut) within.
These images are from the design studio of the architecture and design firm Choi + Shine. The concept is to transform simple power line pylons into massive sculptures. The firm says, “Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable.” The figures would be designed to interact with their function as well as the landscape. Some figures would appear to be climbing up hill. Others would crouch for increased strength as if to bear the weight of the wires on their shoulders. All would serve to enhance the landscape while also serving a utilitarian purpose.
My friend over at Champagne Valentine recently designed this out-there website for Lost Planet studio. Not your typical web 2.0 approach, the result is instead a more abstract, intuitive and interactive experience. Is this the future of the net? Will the days of Twitter icons and blogs be gone, replaced by ethereally floating moon-orbs surrounded by hands? In their own words, the site “is an experimental online video channel and porfolio showcase for the Lost Planet editing studio. The site is an otherworldly portal into the psyche of Lost Planet where visitors can explore a porfolio of work via a bizarre planetary interface. “
This picture of Morgan Freeman is not a photograph. It’s actually a hyperrealistic digital painting by Kyle Lambert. Using an iPad, the app Procreate, and over 285,000 brush strokes, the artist recreated a picture of the actor (the original photograph is by Scott Gries). The result makes you do a double and then triple take. Lambert’s painting is nearly identical to its source. The entire thing took over 200 hours, and he created a four minute time-lapse video that details the process.
Touted as “The World’s Most Realistic Finger Painting,” Lambert approaches the construction of his piece in a traditional way. He prepares a solid ground to paint on and works in layers, building up volume and texture. He refines details with each stroke. Just when you think the portrait is nearly done, Lambert continues to add highlights and details to the tiny hairs in Freeman’s beard. Here, the his fingerprint works to his advantage, as he uses light pressure to make subtle, light strokes.
There’s no denying that technology has changed painting. With apps like Procreate and the ease of holding an iPad, it’s possible to create something like Lambert did with enough practice and skill. You don’t necessarily have to know hold a paintbrush, or have knowledge of traditional methods of painting. You just need to know how to use the program. Working digitally gives an artist the chance to zoom into their piece, adding fine details that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It’s also very forgiving. Instead of having to cover up part of a painting with more paint, they can simply undo their last moves. Whereas a covering up an oil painting will show some evidence of what’s beneath, in a digital work, no one is the wiser. (Via Twisted Sifter)
Damien Hirst is often known for his menagerie of carefully curated animals. You may have seen his cow, somewhat deconstructed, or his 14-foot tiger shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde. In his new exhibit, “Schizophrenogenesis,” Hirst turns to a different kind of preservative: the kind that humans use to maintain a delicate mental balance or for the good of our health — or so we have been told.
“Schizophrenogenesis” is a tongue-in-cheek homage (or opposite thereof) to the sleek contemporary design of pharmacology. These IKEA-worthy pills are shown in neon prints or as sculptures, much larger than life. “Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art,” Hirst says. “They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty.”
Though out of the ground indeed did they come, the modern-day herbs and remedies Hirst depicts are anything but natural. Viewers are asked to contemplate their artificial curves and edges and the distant bold-faced type of a prescription (“Take SIX capsules FOUR TIMES DAILY,” one says urgently). One bubblegum pink capsule declares, “PFIZER.”
Etienne Bardelli, also known as Akroe, was a graffiti artist before he became a well respected graphic designer. Twenty years later, on his own time, he can still be found painting empty walls in the less populated parts of France. (Although he admits: “Actually, I don’t really know why I’m still doing it!”) Graffiti may be illegal, but surely this counts as beautification?