There is always something wrong about Yvonne Todd‘s photographs. By utilizing the effects and techniques of commercial photography studios, Todd creates quietly strange images reminiscent of 90s glamour shots, or of head shots that always turn out looking amateur. Full of ill-fitting clothes, cringe-worthy props and awkward poses, Todd pushes the ideas of what is conventional beauty, and how quickly these norms change.
Her palette in itself is very rarely considered beautiful – saturated with sickly pinks, boring beige, flat creams, dull greys and flooded with unflattering light it is hard to find these images attractive.
The subjects appear confident at first glance, but there is an underlying sense of sadness, longing and an unease about themselves.
These people are reminiscent of trophy wives; of people obsessed with vanity and image; of compulsive individuals determined to be the best version of themselves. Men sitting uncomfortably, surrounded by objects they are unsure of; women staring into the mirror, practicing how to be seductive; girls striving to act above their age; amateur dancers trying to appear more skilled than they are. These poses are so often seen in modern advertising, and popular media. Todd says:
“My interest is a bit broader than beauty and artifice; I’m really interested in manipulating the conventional and familiar. I feel compelled to create “revised” photographic conventions drawn from advertising imagery, stock photography, catalogs, brochures, corporate portraits, mass-market fiction, religious cults, soap operas, show business, and the glimpses and fragments that resonate in my memory and imagination.”
These photographs may seem outdated and surreal, but could as easily be a reflection of all that is toxic in our modern day western capitalist society and our focus on image and representation of oneself.
Phillipines-born, New York City-based artist Dominic Mangila is currently having a single-painting show entitled New Republic at Marvelli Gallery through April 4. Also the name of the massive, near-7 by 9 foot painting, New Republic represents a 2 ½ year effort to portray Mangila’s family’s home province of Pampanga which was left in a state of destruction following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.
Designer David Schwen presents some interesting ‘Pantone’ pairings here. Rather than pairing complimentary colors, Schwen combines inseparable snacks. Designers constantly coordinate toward aesthetic perfection. These ‘swatches’ coordinate a much more common but no less perfect pairing. That said, our pursuits may be mundane, but still, we have a bit of designer in each of us.
Not only does Black Moth Super Rainbow make amazing music, they also brought their music videos to a whole new level with interactivity for this Dark Bubbles piece. Like, what? Just move your mouse around from right to left (the webcam activated one doesn’t seem to be working…). The concept is really simple-just a guy jumping up and down on a trampoline, but smart at the same time. I kind of wish there was more variation though.
In her series “Flower Power,” photographer Sophie Gamand has overcome her childhood fear of dogs by photographing Pit Bulls—wearing flower crowns.
“This project started as an excuse for me to discover more about pit bulls, and to see for myself what the debate was about. Were they really all crazy and dangerous? Or were most of them simply the victims of a generalization? … ‘Flower Power’ is about challenging myself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. I invite the viewer to do the same.”
The term Pit Bull designates an appearance, not a breed, and until fairly recently Pit Bulls were considered America’s Dog. What happened? Some states and counties have introduced breed specific legislation and outright bans to make it illegal to own a dog that even looks like a pit bull. They can be killed based on the way they look regardless of their temperament or previous history.
Though Gamand shares her concern with other Pit Bull defenders, for example Pitproject600 which also uses photography to show the gentle side of these dogs, the soft-focus, Photoshopped backgrounds of the dog pictures and the sweet flower crowns are an inventive and charming concept.
“The imagery associated with these dogs is often harsh, very contrasted, conveying the idea of them being tough. In my opinion, this feeds the myth that these dogs are dormant psychopaths. So I decided to take the other route and portray them like hippies, soft fairy-tale-inspired characters, feminine and dreamy.”
Thirty percent of the total dogs admitted to U.S. animal shelters are labeled as pit bulls, and 86.7 percent of pit bulls admitted to open admission shelters end up being killed. With her fairy-tale photos of dreamy eyed dogs, Sophie Gamand wants to give these dogs another chance. (Via Fast Company)
When I dropped by his sunlit Brooklyn studio Aaron Johnson was busy preparing for his show at Stux Gallery in Chelsea, which opens Thursday September 15th. In this new body of work Johnson invites us to chow down on a writhing smorgasbord of Americana: severed heads, demonic Uncle Sams, sausage crucifixes, fried eagles, mashed guts, f-burgers, camel roast, and mutant sea creatures sucking down oil oozing fresh from the rig. His new work is opulent and glitters like jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs despite picturing disturbingly grotesque and violent imagery – totally Beautiful/Decay!