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Eric Zener – submerged

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The beautiful paintings of Eric Zener explore the great unknown beneath the water’s surface. Some of his underwater images are haunting, while others feel like an endless summer vacation. Either way his art will leave you anything but dry.

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The Everyday Lives of “Furries” Photographed by Tom Broadbent

At Home With The Furries

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As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Sophie Chapman-Andrews’ article on Tom Broadbent.

Zuki, a Gargoyle at home. Zuki lives in Milton Keynes and works in IT. Zuki owns a few suits, the gargoyle is just one of them.

First rule of Fur Club: don’t reveal your identity. Second rule of Fur Club: don’t talk to journalists.

British photographer Tom Broadbent has been getting to know various “Furries” throughout the UK for the last few years. Furries are everyday people, from bank managers to project managers to actors, who dress up in elaborate furry animal costumes and meet up to chat and hang out. Furry groups have been spotted walking around London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and Millennium Bridge.

At Home With the Furries is Broadbent’s ongoing project, born from a desire to capture the personal, everyday side of their lives without breaking that first Furry rule. Broadbent plans to exhibit and publish this unique series, so keep an eye out for that.

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Deb Sokolow

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Chicago-based illustrator Deb Sokolow is a conspiracy theorist. Or at least that’s what her work seems to suggest. Creating long, linear, installation-based drawings which look similar to the kind of thing your typical movie serial killer has on his wall, Sokolow pays tribute to the great American tradition that is the modern conspiracy. Her work always has a strong narrative, usually featuring a nameless narrator uncovering some kind of sinister plot; plots which may involve anything from office life to the government (of course) to gangster movies to Barbara Walters.

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Rooms Become Massive Balloons in the Installations of Penique Productions

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The Spanish collective Penique Productions creates massive installations that at the same feel nearly weightless.  Using fans and colored plastic the collective entirely covers a selected space in a bright hue.  Though the concept is relatively simple, the space feels totally transformed.  The space and its furnishings are stripped of all their details and reduced to a set of shapes.  Penique’s Productions create an interesting way to investigate familiar places.  Interestingly the collective says regarding the installations:

“It works the relationship between fullness and emptiness, creating a dialogue with the space it temporarily inhabits.”

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Bart Erkamp’s Photos Prove That Pole Dancing Is A Sport

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In recent years, the rising popularity of pole dance fitness has probably conjured up images of darkened strip clubs rather than a serious workout. Netherlands-based Bart Erkamp thought the former, but during the summer of last year, his attitude changed. He dated a woman involved in the sport and learned about its inner workings. It’s a physically demanding activity that’s much more than just an erotic dance. His series titled Pole Fitness highlights the strength and talent needed to complete the moves, which are often suspended in air.

After learning about the sport, Erkamp attended a championship pole fitness competition in Amsterdam. The power and agility of the athletes impressed him, and this struck him as comparable to “artistic gymnastics,” that highlights physical prowess and self expression.

In addition to their athletics, Erkamp was enthralled by the dedication of the participants. They’ve installed poles in their bedrooms, living rooms, and even next to their kitchen. Location doesn’t matter. He highlights this in his subjects’ clear, neatly-kept homes. Contorted legs, torsos, and arms are wrapped around bright silver poles.

It’s not all women, either. Erkamp explains that in 2014, several men completed at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. And, there’s even a possibility that it’ll be an official Olympic sport in 2016. (Via Feature Shoot)

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The Radical Portraiture Of I Must Be Dead Challenges Conventional Representations Of Identity

I Must Be Dead - Photography

I Must Be Dead - Photography

I Must Be Dead - Photography

I Must Be Dead - Photography
I Must Be Dead (Mckay Jaffe) is a Pheonix-based photographer who challenges conventional representations of identity through experimental portraiture. Rich with narrative and exploding with color, his works are consistently enrapturing and unsettling, in that they collide sensuality with horror, beauty with death. The faces of his bizarre models are intensely expressive, and usually obscured in some way, such as with paint, masks, and/or deep shadows. Breaching the line between fantasy and reality, his works are evocative yet alien, begging the question: “is this real?” Some of Jaffe’s work comes from the Burning Man festival, where he captures subjects befitting to his oeuvre: people actively inhabiting alternative identities and lifestyles.

On the I Must Be Dead Facebook page, Jaffe’s tongue-in-check biography reveals his counter-cultural approach to art and societal expectations. He claims that he has excelled in “unprofessional photography since 1845” and has won “5 Nobel peace prizes,” poking fun at conventional understandings of “success” and thereby marking his work as subversive. “Being human is a program,” Jaffe wrote to me, when I inquired about the social commentary present in his work. “You are designed to act and feel relative to the life you are given.”

For him, the “way out” of repressive structures is to test the possibilities of identity. Life is an evolving, experimental process; as Jaffe writes, “[You must] learn to learn, learn to grow, learn to accept, learn to see things from the other side, learn to laugh, learn to love, learn to live your life.” His photographic ventures into the realms of beauty, intensity, and absurdity are very much part of a learning process — one in which the limits of selfhood are explored in the development of an open self-understanding. (Via Beautiful.Bizarre)

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Caktus & Maria’s Fluid Watercolor Portraits

Italian illustration duo Caktus & Maria bring a powerful and fluid flair to their juicy watercolor portraits. Each piece is frozen in time like a river of color that was stopped exactly at the precise time that a face emerged out of it. (via)

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Izziyana Suhaimi’s Embroidered Drawings

Izziyana Suhaimi blends pared down drawings with ornate embroidery in her seductive illustrations. Using craft based techniques, she is attracted to the evidence of the hand and its time-consuming aspect, which runs counter to the instant gratification and mass-production centered age of today. (via)

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