Caitie, throughout your stay here at Beautiful/Decay, we have shared so many heavy and introspective philosophical conversations revolving around alien life, true paranormal ghost photos, and calorie counting. Who will I share my innermost feelings of awe and wonderment at the universe and its production of such things as…..diet sodas? Is life really that strange and magical? From the bottom of all our hearts here at Beautiful/Decay (and in Ziggy’s case, his stomach) we’d like to wish you a big THANK YOU for all of your positive energy and hard work. We are really going to miss you (and in Ziggy’s case, your blue “lap top bag” aka his bed.) You’re officially in our intern superstar hall of fame.
Caitie is also an extremely talented illustrator- check out her bright & bold illustrations after the jump. They are all laced with Caitie’s characteristic sense of wit, style and irreverence. Check her portfolio, hire her, and keep an eye out for her because she is destined for great things!
Alzheimer’s Disease is sometimes called The Long Goodbye, a gradual loss of memory, self, and eventually, life. When artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he began to make a series of self-portraits that would continue for five years. Looking at the pictures in chronological order is looking at a life diminished by degrees. As his technical skill ebbed, so did Utermohlen’s apparent sense of self. Still, the urge to create persisted.
In an essay about the self-portraits, Utermohlen’s wife, Pat, wrote:
“In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness. The great talent remains, but the method changes. He sometimes uses water-colour and paints a series of masks, perhaps because he could more quickly express his fear. In both the oils and water-colours these marvellous self portraits express his desperate attempt to understand his condition. There is a new freedom of expression, the paint is applied more thickly, art-historically speaking the artist seems less linear and classical, more expressionist, and I see ghosts of his German heritage.”
Worldwide, nearly 36 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia—almost everyone will be touched by Alzheimer’s in some way during their lifetimes. Although Pat Utermohlen told the New York Times, “It’s so strange to be known for something you’re doing when you’re rather ill,” it was also a testament to William Utermolen’s ability as an artist that he was able to transcend his own experience, even unknowingly, and create work that was at once profound, heart-breaking, and universal.
If you had a sad childhood and wanted to make art about it look no further. Urusla Sokolowska has already done it for you. Taking child-sized mannequins and projecting images of her young face onto to them she explores the displacement and alienation she felt as a kid immigrating to the US from her native Poland. In her series The Constructed Family her messages are subtly and darkly humorous. By placing the figure in locations which do not hold cheerful memories for Sokolowska, we are reminded that art does indeed have cathartic powers and is a positive way to confront our demons. Her locations speak for themselves; a basement, a lonely street corner, a neighbor’s house, an alleyway, a bed. These domestic scenes which provoke unhappy memories are powerfully done from the perspective of an innocent child. Displacement is a serious feeling and perhaps even worse for a child who doesn’t have much control over their situation.
In moody dim lit photos, Sokolowska projects what she remembers from that time. Titles give hints but to the observer it’s clearly obvious what she’s thinking. We always hear about happy childhoods or outright abusive childhoods. Rarely do we hear about sad childhoods caused by normal occurrences that happen to families every day. Sokolowska brings this new dynamic to life with her powerful thought provoking images.
Canadian Melissa P. maintains Mafia-Hunt which documents neat findings via the Internet, but it should also be known that she has an online portfolio devoted to her own fantastic work! I especially love her kooky characters and equally fun, hand drawn geometric shapes. More great drawings and collages after the jump!
Cédric Bouvard, code name Virassamy, has so many drawings that he should publish a book. It would be a nice heavy brick of a book, too, full of strangeness and colors, not unlike the back of your high school notebook.
The work is made out of 40.000 plastic bags that move in the wind. The slugs are ascending this steep city staircase that leads up to a huge Catholic church, essentially signifying their slow crawl towards death. The work reminds us of religion, mortality, natural decay and the slow suffocation of commercialized societies.
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman recently completed “Giant Slugs”, the installation pictured above, in Angers, France. (via)
Julia Fox, artist and head designer of Franziska Fox, recently released a graphic, autobiographical art book titled Heartburn/Nausea. The book acts as a character sketch, exposing flashes of intimate details that add up to mold a vision of a troubled girl. There is no hesitation between honesty and story telling, as this book is a collection of literal documents from the artist’s life. The book is extremely raw and almost devastatingly personal. She invites us into her own past, for just a moment, allowing us to truly have an experience through her memories.
RH: The book is autobiographical, extremely graphic and exposes probably the most intimate moments of your life. What made you want to share these moments?
JF: I believe that when you share something with someone it is no longer yours. I was tired of carrying it so I gave it away.
RH: Do you feel like the book falls under confession, warning, or exposé? Or perhaps, none of those. Maybe its something entirely different.
JF: I don’t know… It’s just a picture book of artifacts and stuff I have collected over the years. I’m not sure what the message behind it is. I guess since my life is so different now and I’m somewhat successful and happy, the message is that it’s ok to be fucked up. It’s ok to have a past.
And more importantly it’s ok to show your vulnerability and your weaknesses. And if you are fucked up and able to use it to your advantage, you are probably more interesting and insightful than most. So just like don’t be ashamed of yourself.
RH: Does the work aim to address mental illness at all?
JF: I think indirectly it does. I am bipolar. I think being untreated as an adolescent had a huge impact on my life. I’m very impulsive. I do what I want, when I want and when I want something, I want it now. I live in the moment and never take into consideration the consequences. I’m more or less still the same, the only difference is that the things I want have changed.
RH: It seems the book touches upon the borders between love, intimacy and obsession. Can you talk, just briefly, about these relationships at all. Do you believe healthy love, or love in of itself, exists?
JF: I do believe in healthy love. I just think it’s boring. To be completely honest, I have such a good time on my own that for me to want to be with someone else it better be one hell of a ride. I better feel everything and I better feel pain and in turn learn something new. Otherwise I’m ok being with just me. I’m a good time, in my opinion.