A curious emptiness permeates the work of painter Chris Ballantyne. Pulling inspiration from the flat, graphic façades of industrial buildings and cookie-cutter suburban streets, Ballantyne merges elements of the banal with the absurd. Upon closer inspection, the vibrant, delicately rendered landscapes reveal strangeness that showcases the artist’s wry, observation-based humor. A giant cavern appears between bright, friendly row houses, surfers ride breakers down a peaceful mountain stream and a tiny footbridge spans a huge geological tear through a grassy plateau—shifting the viewer’s expectation of what “should” appear in the context of each frame.
His subdued, sophisticated color sense marries well with the stark, simplified structures Ballantyne creates. He intentionally omits visual information in the hopes that viewers will instead focus on the subtlety of each scene, their attention swallowed by the strange beauty of each place. The empty, isolated nature of the subject matter also quietly points to our own relationship to space, built structures and contemporary landscape.
Not only does Belgium produce amazing french fries but they also have some extraordinary painters like Laurent Impeduglia. Laurent’s paintings are full off alternative worlds where castles are erected for paintings, crocodiles know how to party, and dooms day is celebrated like its 1999.
The title of Lilly McElroy’s photo series “I Throw Myself at Men” could not be more literal. The photos, taken by her partner in the project, capture her mid-air as she lunges at various men. She throws herself into the air with abandon and trusts that these strangers will catch her. It’s an act of immense bravery captured on film. No, she’s not saving lives or fighting demons, but McElroy is risking rejection and public humiliation in the name of art, and that takes a strength of conviction that I find breathtaking.
Initially, McElroy arranged the photo sessions using Craig’s List, but found that the spontaneity of going to a bar, asking a physically large man to participate by trying to catch her at the very last moment, letting the bartender know what was happening, and then tossing herself in the air resulted in better images. The other bar patrons weren’t in on the project—the sight of the airborne McElroy and the flash of the camera were the signals that something was going on.
“I am, at the moment, part projectile and part foolish romantic. These images are documents of a hopeful and violent gesture, a demand that the possibility of a connection exist. The men often look terrified or at least slightly surprised. My role as aggressor is clear and I think my leaps acknowledge the basic human desire for contact.”
The awkward position of her body, the stoic tension of the male catcher, the illuminated bar scenes—all work together to make a captivating yet uncomfortable tableau. When they’re pictured, it’s the onlookers that make this series for me, though. Outside of the art making they smirk and gape—McElroy’s unexpected grand gesture of connection misunderstood and unappreciated. This spectacle of literally throwing herself at men mimics the small, sad desperations of women figuratively throwing themselves at men. By exaggerating the impulse, McElroy regains the upper hand. It is a supremely feminist performance, one that takes chances but never relinquishes power.
“The photographs, videos, and installations that I produce, while trying to interact, acknowledge the possibility of failure — that someone might not catch me, that a connection might not be made. It is that possibility that keeps things interesting. In the end, I want to make the viewer laugh, but I want them to understand that there is more at stake, that everyone is implicated – including me.”
Ben Wu and David Usui of Lost&Found Films take us on a journey into the world of John Coffer, a wet plate photographer who lives in a small log cabin that he built on his 50 acre farm in New York. John abandoned the hustle and bustle of the city over 20 years ago to live a simpler life where ones life isn’t ruled by a punch clock and where the only one that you have to answer too is the rooster crowing at the first site of sunrise. Watch the full video after the jump.
I believe I just took in my daily needed intake of design, color, typography, and humor in Adam Simpson’s wonderful collection of illustrations. My favorite has to be Trapped in an elevator for 41 hours. I’m sure you all remember that video. Terrible, terrible situation turned into a charming, funny illustration. My giggles are echoing around the B/D office as we speak.
Joining 3D printing and digital textile printing, the idea of a sprayable, wearable and fabric has the inventors of Fabrican LTD imaging the possibilities which go beyond its initial usage in the fashion industry. Fabrican’s ‘Euraka!’ moment came from another famous canned sprayable, Silly String. The science of the process involves the creation of a liquid suspension which is then applied using a spray gun or aerosol canister. The resulting sprayed fabric has natural, synthetic and recycled fiber options, and when applied typically feels like a breathable suede.
Practical applications have ranged past fashion shows into automobile interiors, furniture upholstery and even entire rooms (the material is easily washable). The fabric can be embedded with a variety of supplements and additives which make separate colors, patterns and (which also opens up the possibilities of quick-creating medical applications such as casts, bandages and even antiseptic-wound cleansing).
According to Fabrican-inventor, Spanish fashion designer Manel Torres, “As a non-woven material, Spray-on Fabric offers possibilities for binding, lining, repairing, layering, covering and moulding in ways previously not imaginable.”
Watch a slightly NSFW video of Fabrican LTD in action after the jump!