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Alexis Arnold’s Crystallized Literature

 

In applying borax crystal to books and magazines, Alexis Arnold turns functional reading material into sculpture. The naturally geometric planes of crystal adhere and warp pages, simultaneously marring and preserving classic and lowbrow titles alike. And hey, if nothing else, crystals are pretty cool. If you’re not afraid of inhaling some chemicals, turns out you can make your own at home.

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Crystal Wagner’s Paper Sculptures Explore The Realm Between Familiar And Strange

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Encased in white-framed boxes are Crystal Wagner’s intricate cut paper sculptures. Like specimens meant for studying, parts of textured tentacles and honeycomb-esque patterns wrap around themselves as well as non-representational wavy shapes. Wagner’s work is meticulous, and each scalloped edge has its own slightly-curled edge. It’s reminiscent of a dragon or a reptile, but not one that we’ve ever seen before. The vibrant colors feature jewel-toned gradients that push her sculptures from quasi-reality into full-blown fantasy.

These works first made their appearance at the Hashimoto Contemporary gallery in San Francisco in 2014. Her exhibition was titled Synesthesia, and the intention was to explore the psychological realm between the familiar and strange. The gallery writes, “…combining screen printing, cut paper and various dollar store items, Wagner meticulously assembles her sculptures with a sense of organic growth. Allowing her materials to build upon themselves, layer by layer, each structure swells into a mass of movement, as if grown from the soil of another planet.”

If you’re a fan of Wagner’s work, check out her large-scale, site specific installations.

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Emily Stoneking Hand-Knits Dissected Frogs To Cuddle With

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If you ever dissected a rodent or amphibian in science class and found it nauseating, then Emily Stoneking’s knitted anatomy might agree with you. Art and science intersect through her Etsy shop called aKNITomy, and she hand-knits artwork featuring dissected frogs, rats, and pigs. The cute and cuddly are pinned (not glued) using T-pins and framed for display on your wall.

Stoneking knits the body of the animal/figure using a kid mohair and silk blend, and then she needle-felts the innards by hand. These adorable creations are the result of the artist’s larger interest, which is using cozy, crafty materials to create objects that usually make people squeamish.

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Revenge is Sweet

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Revenge is Sweet is the collaboration of the creative duo Angelique Piliere and Lee Owens. They combine black and white halftone images with a limited but bold color palate to create striking images and type. Their use of disembodied legs and lips, and their eclectic mix of seemingly random imagery makes for a quirkiness that I love.

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Miguel Vallinas Second Skins: Fashionably Dressed Animals

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Interested in the idea of anthropomorphism, Madrid-based photographer Miguel Vallinas retouched animal photographs and made it appear as though they were wearing human clothes.  Though an initial reaction may be to dismiss Vallinas’ images as something of a cliché, the richness of the photographs combined with the humor have a charm to them that is alluring and endearing.  Segundas Pieles (Secon Skins), is an ongoing project that explores notions beyond anthropomorphism.  In fact, Vallinas’ photographs seem to accurately investigate concepts such as psychology, stereotyping and personality.  The images of the primly dressed swan, or the melancholy donkey portray emotion and narrative beyond simple humor.

Attempting to depict the way he imagined different animals would dress if they had the ability to, Vallinas plays off our preconceived ideas of what our clothing choices signify and what we may, even subconsciously, believe about certain animals, certain people and ourselves.   (via Colossal and dailymail)

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Winston Chmielinski

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New York – based painter, Winston Chmielinski creates an incredibly striking collection of work that may appear a little washed out, but, oddly enough, works to contribute to the powerful execution.

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frieke Janssens’ Smoking Kids

Frieke Janssens’ dramatic photographs of kids smoking stopped me dead in my tracks as I was going through various projects on the talented Belgian Photographers website. Here is more on the project in her own words.

“A YouTube video of a chain smoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, “Smoking Kids”. The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity. Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer’s focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act. Coincidentally around the time of the “Smoking Kids” gallery opening, a law was passed, and smoking has been banned from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of “Mad Men,” when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of “Smoking Kids,” – Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal – there is a nod to less attractive aspects, on the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking.To assure you of the safety of the children, there were no real cigarettes on set. Instead, chalk and sticks of cheese were the prop stand ins, while candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke.”

Watch a video of the photo shoot after the jump and let us know what you think about this series.

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A Tribute to the King of Pop

Alright I’m doing it…We at Beautiful/Decay are sorry to see you go, Michael Jackson. And you will never know of the times I, personally, used to watch your music videos in VHS form on repeat while making PB&J sandwich towers while talking to myself, but you will live on forever in our hearts! And also in the form of a gold sculpture by Jeff Koons. This further proves my agreeing with the apocalypse taking place in 2012: Michael Jackson would definitely not stick around for that. The King of Pop also exists forever around in the form of wax figures that our lovely intern Greg posted about earlier (foreshadowing today’s events??). But you will no longer be able to purchase his memorabilia that was set to be auctioned off in April.

Despite my joking tone, I am truly sad- a certain part of me has died along with him : (.

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