Graphite artist Frank Magnotta creates absurdist Americana-inspired images that are heavily saturated with symbolic elements and a farcical outlook on the modern world. Magnotta’s work is strongly influenced by pop culture and the attributes of branding; he has referenced magazines such as Time and Self in his work, and phrases such as Take Off Your Mask and Century 21 come from brand identities that he was intrigued by. Magnotta recognizes the significance of pop culture on his drawings:
“I think you can tell by my drawings that it is a big influence. I’d have to say it is an inevitable influence on our daily lives whether we like it or not. I think pop culture is a double edged sword, it gives and it takes too. I’m not interested in pure pop, but dirty pop, pop that has been consumed and processed by the individual. I think that is more intriguing.”
Some of his drawings involve structures made of their elements: the rough shape of the United States comprised of detailed words and media logos. Yet he has a lot of crude portraits that, from afar, are recognizable, and up close gain another layer of meaning:
“I had been working on the mega-structures for a bit and wanted to invert the process. What if the logos and graphics made individuals that would inhabit the structures? For each portrait in the series I collected logos from a different societal institutions. So, the “Bank Dick” is constructed from financial logos, and “The Diagnosis” is comprised of morphed medical logos. “The Bank Dick” is also the great title of a W.C. Fields movie. On a personal note, for some reason I think that drawing is the closest thing to a self portrait I’ve done. Maybe it is the bugged out look in his eyes. I’m keeping that one for my personal collection.”
Magnotta was previously featured in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 1: Supernaturalism.
Filmmaker Dave Altizer’s short mini-documentary Porcelainia features Bobby Jaber, an educator, scientist, and artist. After Jaber retired from teaching chemistry, he was able to focus his energies on porcelain work, specifically geometric designs based on molecular shapes. Jaber’s approach to his work is inspired by his scientist/artist predecessors, most notably Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome. Though he’s had a little financial success with some of his work, Jaber is clearly motivated by love and dedication to his craft. Be sure to stick around after the credits to catch Jaber’s priceless reaction to current technology.
Since 2003 Judith Ann Braun has been experimenting with a new artistic medium and a set of rules: Symmetry, abstraction, and a carbon medium (usually charcoal or graphite). Braun’s work, Fingerings, entails the use of her fingers in lieu of more traditional tools in order to create intricate and bilaterally symmetrical designs, sometimes covering an entire wall. The details of her sweeping landscapes are also all perfectly symmetrical. For some of these works, Braun will use both hands simultaneously to help create the symmetrical effect she wishes to execute. Braun lives in New York City and was a contestant on Bravo TV’s “Work of Art” in 2010.
There’s a lot to look at in Stephanie Kunze‘s illustrations. Minnesota-based Kunze draws with pencil and colors with Photoshop for an overall style that is contoured and slightly textured. The compositions are feminine and detailed and should feel busy, but the dream-like subjects still seem rested and calm. Worth a look is Kunze’s personal blog for a clearer picture into her thought and execution processes.
It’s difficult to tell if it is performance art, a design project, or just a weird way to date. However you classify it, graphic designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have flung themselves into the project straightforwardly titled 40 Days of Dating. Exasperated with the New York City dating scene, the designers turned to each other. Each deals with the opposite problem – Jessica jumps in too quickly, Timothy’s reluctant to take the plunge. The two good friends decided to date each other for forty days – the amount of time often thought required to quit a bad habit. However, the dating project entails a bit more. First, there are six rules:
We will see each other every day for forty days.
We will go on at least three dates a week.
We will see a couples therapist once a week.
We will go on one weekend trip together.
We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.
The daily dating adventures of the couple were then uploaded to their in fashionable design style. Would love and dating be redeemed or their relationship irreparably ruined? 40 Days of Dating was set to find out.
Beautiful/Decay has teamed up with MSTRKRFT & SPRFKR to present a creative giveaway. All you have to do is send us your COOLEST drawing of two dudes sporting mustaches and shades! You can draw MSTRKRFT if you want- or any other two guys sporting this incognito look. Three lucky winners will receive a MSTRKRFT prize package of a SPRFKR poster & MSTRKRFT’s latest cd, “Fist of God.” Winning submissions will also be featured on the Beautiful/Decay blog! So get creative- submissions can be digital, painted, crocheted, Bento boxes, whatever!
A message from The Savants Collective: There are images found in the human unconscious that mean similar things to all of us. By understanding these images, it is possible to analyze our dreams and to learn from them. Our life experiences influence our interpretation of these images and as a result each person’s dream is unique to them and can only be truly understood by them.