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Artist Interview: Jeremiah Maddock

Jeremiah Maddock is a hard guy to pin down. Many have spoken of him as some sort of ghost- a shadowy figure that passes through bars and cafes with a suitcase full of muted drawings, and an unknown past. This legend surrounding the artist, who lives -most of the time- in New York City, creating richly patterned mixed media works populated with ghoulish creatures and tramps, is likely a product of his obvious lack of desire for external validation. It’s clear that Maddock, who has no personal website, maintains a very pure process; he is interested more in the act of creating -and the motivations behind such an act- than any finished product.

I caught up with Jeremiah in-between his extensive travels throughout the interior of the country. Read the interview after the jump, which includes the artist’s thoughts on steez-biting Mayans, art fairs with Josh Keyes in high school, and collaborating with the dead.

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Niche Of Wonders: Dan Bannino Photographs Fun Still Lifes Based On Musicians’ Unique Hobbies And Passions

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Grandmaster Flash

Grandmaster Flash

Jack White

Jack White

Dan Bannino is an Italian photographer who translates ideas into visual stories, often through the creation of eclectic still lifes. Featured here is a new series titled Niche of Wonders, which explores the lives of musicians throughout history. From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Alice Cooper to Taylor Swift, Bannino has constructed “shrines” that explore their individual quirks and hobbies. We discover (among many other things) that Roger Daltrey is an avid fisherman; Nikki Sixx uses photography as a creative outlet; and Grandmaster Flash collects mugs as souvenirs.

Niche of Wonders makes us wonder how musicians live every day, outside of the talent and stage presence that has made them famous. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Bannino encourages us to imagine what they are like “when the show is over,” so that we can consider them as unique individuals who channel their personas and ambitions into other projects. If we imagined niches for two recently-deceased artist, for example,  we would perhaps see chess pieces for David Bowie, and a collection of Nazi memorabilia for Lemmy. In a playful call to curiosity, Bannino states, “Be prepared to change your thoughts about your favorite rockstar, and perhaps next time you could even consider to buy them the right Christmas present.”

Visit Bannino’s website, Facebook, and Instagram to follow his work.

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Faig Ahmed Reimagines Traditional Azerbaijani Carpets

Faig Ahmed Faig Ahmed Faig Ahmed

With a serious understanding of classic carpet-making techniques, Azerbaijani sculptor Faig Ahmed is able to stretch, distort and reinvent an iconic symbol steeped in tradition and cultural significance. “The carpet is a symbol of invincible tradition of the East, it’s a visualization of an undestroyable icon,” Ahmed states, noting that the manipulation of the woven medium gives visual form to ideas he has relating to “destroying the stereotypes of tradition to create new modern boundaries.” The rug, as a medium, works well for Ahmed, helping to deploy a deeper message about the stretching, bending and restructuring of physical and political boundaries in the Middle East. His technical mastery is evident in the movements of each thread, and his generous use of color gives the work an overall vibrancy—perhaps hinting at the artist’s sense of optimism in a time of great uncertainty and turmoil.

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Sam Wolfe Connelly

SamWolfeConnellypainting
Animals are popping up everywhere in Sam Wolfe Connelly’s digitally enhanced illustrations. Some are just lounging around while others are dressed up like circus performers. He also does clothing design, so track him down if you need a canine adorning your new t-shirt.

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Transmormon – The Story Of A Transgender Mormon Woman

The short film “Transmormon” is the story of Eri Hayward. Born into a Mormon family and assigned male at birth, Eri struggled with her gender identity as early as five years old.

“When I was explained to myself that I was a boy, it was because God had made me that way, which didn’t make a really great relationship, as a five year old, between me and God.”

In many ways, this is what “Transmormon” is really about. Eri and her family describe her struggles growing up in a religious community in Utah where her search for identity included a time believing she was a gay man, and her pain and despair led her to try to cut off her own penis. Her family’s love eventually led to their acceptance of her as female and they supported her trip to Thailand for a sex-change operation. But though her family embraces her as a woman, her religion does not.

According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Handbook, as a transgender person, Eri cannot get married in the temple or raise children in the faith. Because Eri sought to align her birth-assigned sex and her internal sense of gender identity, she has been marginalized. And yet, her belief in God, so problematic when she was five, has been strengthened even as her religious community has closed to her. This hasn’t caused her to become bitter, though, although she is wistful.

“It’s hurtful to someone who wants to have a relationship with someone but also have a relationship with God and the Church. But, my personal opinion is while it might be nice of them to approach things in a way that is a little more kind, it is their church. You can go find another one. … I looked at my life and I looked at the things that were important to me and I found a way to have family in my life and have a lot of the cultural aspects of my LDS upbringing and still find a way to be happy.” (Source)

“Transmormon” takes a sincere look at gender and belief, God and acceptance, family and faith.

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Marvelous Tiny Worlds Made Inside Toilet Paper Rolls

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For her project Rouleaux, the French multimedia artist Annastassia Elias builds tiny world within single toilet paper rolls. Lit from behind, her delightful cardboard scenes appear like stills from a mysterious work of shadow puppetry. Here, the roll, most commonly a piece of trash associated with the mundane rituals of domestic life, becomes elevated to the realm of high art. Elias’s visual narratives span time and space; as surely as summer swings fade to frigid snowmen, we move from an underwater universe to the barber shop around the corner.

Caught between the circular borders of the toilet paper roll, Elias’s characters seem to emerge from the cardboard of their own volition. Each racehorse and dinosaur is constructed from cut pieces of paper that share their color with the naked roll itself. The artist chooses not to paint either the rolls or the scenes that emerge from within them, allowing the textured, sand-hued paper to maintain a uniform circularity; ultimately, each tiny world appears to be eternally collapsing into itself. Horses run in circles, and a weary man and his donkey, who lowers his head in exhaustion, appear to trudge forward down a path that will only lead to the start.

Fitting in the palm of one’s hand, Elias’s delicate pieces remind us of the preciousness of even the most banal moments. Beneath sheets of toilet tissue, we might discover secret universes, available only to those with a childlike imagination and a thirst for adventure. Rouleaux is now available as a book, and the pieces are currently on view at the National Museum of Singapore until August 3, 2014. (via Demilked)

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Best Of 2012: Stephen Ives’ Mr. Dictator Head

I’m absolutely loving this series of of dictator sculptures by Stephen Ives’ based on everyones favorite toy Mr. Potato Head! Saddam Hussain, Stalin, Kim Jong II, Lenin, and even Hitler call all be made with the removal and addition of a few pieces. Now you can have playtime and pretend to be an evil dictator all at once!  More dictators and other amazing sculptures based on toys after the jump!

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The Unsettling Women of Troy Brooks’ Paintings

Painter Troy Brooks creates curious and unsettling canvases.  Painting in a Pop surrealist style, Brooks depicts scenes where something terribly strange has just occurred or is about to unfold.  Each piece is dominated by a female figure, all similar in appearance but clearly different in personality – some bored, some subversive, other outright violent.  Brooks makes use of a sort of symbolism transforming each setting into an allegorical scene.

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