Stockholm, Sweden based artist Joakim Ojanen works in mediums as diverse as sculpture and zines. His paintings, however, particularly standout. Familiar snippets of cartoon characters, body parts, and shapes congeal as a hallucinatory mass. Normally lighthearted characters appear to be in a paranoid panic or a manic giddiness. Eyeballs peek from oddly placed holes or simply roll on the ground. Ojanen’s portraits don’t seem to depict monsters as much as characters mutated by abstraction.
“Gay Men Draw Vaginas” is exactly the project it sounds like. Three years ago, Keith Wilson and Shannon O’Malley were eating at a restaurant with a group of homosexuals when the topic of vaginas came up. This led to O’Malley asking Wilson to draw a vagina on the table with a crayon. This inspired more conversation and more drawings from the gay men at the table. A few months later, the duo decided to explore this idea even further, setting up a “vagina collection booth” at gay establishments across San Francisco. While they were given a few sneers here and there, most of the gay men who participated were excited to dive in and contribute to the project.
O’Malley observes, “In casual conversation, at surface level, I knew asking gay guys to draw vaginas was funny because it zeroed in on what some people might have perceived as ‘opposites.’ What I kept to myself were my navel-gazing meditations on ‘queer identity’ and ideas people (and the culture) hold about women and bodies.”
The duo recognize that the drawings range anywhere from misogynistic to celebratory to puzzling and enigmatic. They hope to eventually get people like Dan Savage, Neil Patrick Harris, Perez Hilton, John Waters, and/or George Takei to participate. “Ultimately, though, we hope people do a lot of things; we hope they’ll laugh, we hope they’ll think about what it means to identify as a ‘gay man,’ we hope they’ll think about ideas our culture has about bodies and body parts. Their responses are part of the study, part of the art,” they explain.
O’Malley and Wilson are currently running a Kickstarter for their book project. With 3 days to go, they have raised $56,500, exceeding their projected goal of $37,000. You can follow their project on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. (via huffington post and vice)
Ceramicist Matt Wedel continues to make strong headway in the gallery world while maintaining an impressive creative autonomy in Athens, Ohio, where he builds, glazes, and fires each larger than life sculpture on his own terms . . . by himself . . . without assistants.
“Sheep’s Head,” his most recent exhibit at LA Louver, proves to be a wonderful example of what a little focus, patience, and isolation can create. Each cumbersome piece collects to convey a vibrantly glossy world: renderings of a twisted contemporary animal kingdom and its surrounding vegetation.
Of this particular series, David Pagel notes, “Cookie jars come to mind, as do centerpieces for fancy dinners, elaborate candle holders, ships’ figureheads and decorative figurines. So do works by Picasso, Botero and Baselitz, as well as ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan statuary, Cylcadic sculpture, Olmec totems and carved saints from medieval churches.”
From everyday objects to art history and human artifacts, Wedel’s healthy dose of contemporary dreaming bends the familiar into something imaginatively powerful. On view, we encounter angelic mutants who have been hardened over time, perhaps altered by a sorcerer’s wand or depicted to honor one final futuristic freeze. Likewise, while roaming the floor, we meet flora and fauna which structurally blooms in a childlike manner, but not without a bitter taste of science gone awry with color dripping and drooping.
Piece after piece, a creative storybook of bright possibility or dark youthful mystery unravels, and this is exactly why we strive to look deeper- it’s a hoping to engage not only with the work, but with our own innermost children.
Check out the video after the jump to see the artist at work and meet his 3-year-old inspiration.
Recently, a completely fantastical portal of swirling stars and lights dazzled thousands of Norwegians who happened to witness this astrological phenomena. The spectacle was, for lack of other words, divinely unreal. Calls flooded the Norwegian Astrological Society shorty later…what was it? Of course, the media called it a “failed Russian missile launch,” which was never confirmed, (the best “rationalization” of this irrational event was by CBS: watch here) leaving me filled with wonder at the potentialities of our forever amazing infite universe. Was it a portal opening to take us back to the mothership? The unexplainable beyond materialized? Black hole? Worm hole? Are we just tiny sea monkeys swimming in a crystal-skulled reptilian-humanoid’s fish tank? Was this him tapping on the glass of our little bowl for amusement, to watch us scurry about? Are we just dust in the wind? Who knows. Check out videos of the phenomena after the jump…careful, it’ll probably blow your mind.
A dreamy voyage through a cold, dark, mysterious snow filled planet courtesy of Misha Shyukin.Watch the full video after the jump.
The playfully colorful and innocent world of Brooklyn based photographer Amanda Jasnowski is completely irresistible. The compositions in her photography are filled with brilliant colors, clashing patterns, and minimal settings. Each one is stranger than the last. Cropped just at the right spot, hiding just enough content, her photography seems familiar to us, but leaves a strange yet lovely taste. Jasnowski is tricky in setting up compositions so intriguing and sublime, they leave you wanting more. Because her photography does not allow us to see or make sense of exactly what is going on, they create a playful suspense, similar to a film still. Not surprisingly, this whimsical artist is a big believer in fun and the importance of never taking yourself too seriously.
Because much of the focus in her works is on the meshing of pattern on clothing, Jasnowski’s photography style holds the flavor of a high fashion photo shoot. Of course, the focus is not just on the clothing worn in her photo shoots, but on the whole, wonderfully surreal compositions. Jasnowski holds an amazing power of experimentation over her creativity. She is constantly pushing and transforming her own technique to create more complex composition by combining stunning colors, busy patterns, and flattened space. Her palette is not just restrained to her beautiful, shallow backgrounds or props, but she also envelopes the models in her photographs with her signature pastels. This was done in her series titled Greetings From Utopia in collaboration with fellow artist Jimmy Marble. (via IGNANT)
It’s Tuesday and time once again for our exclusive artist feature in partnership with premiere website building platform Made With Color. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most compelling artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and elegant websites. MWC is helping artists everywhere build beautiful looking websites without any coding, helping every artist get the maximum exposure for their work. This week we are happy to share the film noir influenced paintings of Frank Ryan.
Most of us walk past billboards, drive through city tunnels on our way to work, and don’t think twice about our messy bed that we just can’t seem to make in the morning. However Los Angeles based painter Frank Ryan see’s these mundane scenes as incredible moments to freeze in time through the magic of painting.
Focusing on the everyday, Ryan wields his brush and elevates the mundane to new heights in his psychologically charged and sometimes somber images. Using a direct style of painting Ryan’s process is economical, maximizing the effect of each brush stroke to create dreamlike states for us to get lost in and contemplate.
Photographer Alex John Beck uses photo manipulation to explore the idea that symmetrical faces are the most beautiful in his series “Both Sides Of”. After taking portraits of a diverse collection of people, he digitally divides them. He then duplicates each side, matching right half to right and left to left, creating two new portraits of perfectly symmetrical faces. The original portrait is not shown.
It’s not a new idea—Julian Wolkenstein’s 2010 series “Symmetrical Portraits” is very similar. Wolkenstein’s website, echoism, also allows users to upload their own pictures to be made symmetrical by an open source program on the site.
Turkish photographer Eray Eren does a version as well, though his include a third, non-manipulated shot for comparison.
Still, the quality of these images is excellent, and they continue to evoke questions relating to beauty and character. It’s tempting to create a narrative for the “people” in these portraits—so similar but not the same—to look from one image to the other and measure attraction and interest. Both created faces are absolutely symmetrical, theoretically proving the commonly held belief that symmetrical faces are the most appealing. And yet, they’re not. The artist says on his website:
“The less symmetrical they are initially, the more different the characters suggested by each face. The more symmetrical faces betray their owners more subtly, however, one side proves clearer, the other more inward looking.”
Movie and video game animators have long struggled with the issue of how to make a realistic human face that can hold up to high definition viewing. It’s incredibly difficult to create faces that look different from all angles, in different moods, on different days. Often it’s the overly symmetrical features and consistency of appearance that make the characters obviously unreal. The asymmetry in our faces is what makes us human. (via Feature Shoot)