Chris Haas is a Colorado-based artist who creates otherworldly skulls embellished with bright paints and flowing sculptural details. Among his ever-growing collection are various mystical creations, from ghostly green bears to devilish, silver-violet rams. Haas has even fashioned his own hybrids, such as a deer skull with mask-like detailing, a fierce beak, and keen incisors. Eyes like fiery orbs or dark obsidian pools peer from cavernous sockets, engaging the viewer with an eerie, beyond-the-grave vitality. In a final gothic-esque touch, each creature is displayed on ornate wall mounts.
Haas’ work is not your typical taxidermy; his is a project of passion and immense imagination. His studio—pictures of which can be seen on his Facebook—looks like it was transported out of a dark fantasy novel. His style is distinct, blending childlike dream imagery with the aura of the mythical undead. Instilling each skull with its own character, he renews them with life while also attending to the faces of death with respect, curiosity, and creativity. Visit Haas’ website, Facebook page, and Instagram to see more of his remarkable creations.
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In a book titled Concrete & Sex, photographer Sasha Kurmaz juxtaposes nude figures against urban and industrial scenes of post-Soviet Kiev. At a first glance, the images may not seem to have a lot in common, other than the similar tones of concrete and skin. One side displays bleak horizons and the hard façades of cold and crumbling buildings; the other takes us inside, to candid moments of warmth, flesh, and bodily expression. By splicing these images together, however, Kurmaz masterfully shakes their emotional and political similarities into relief; both resonate with a sense of alienation and the vying for connection. Bodies (with their faces hidden) and buildings become landscapes of departed dreams, made and unmade again by the social and political conditions that shape them.
However, there is more than desolation in these juxtapositions. In comparing images of sex with devastated urban spaces, Concrete & Sex reverberates with a subtle resistance, a quiet protest against a system that strips the individual of power and evacuates life of meaning and beauty. The book’s description explores this further:
“On one hand, it’s impossible to ignore the political implications of this approach—as in so much of his output, one finds here the blunt advocacy of sex, vandalism, and, of course, artistic expression as meaningful responses to repressive conditions, and it doesn’t feel like a stretch to view this work, at least partially, as a comment on the status of the individual (whose identity within these pages is repeatedly [and tellingly] obscured by anonymity and/or physical distortion) within the broader mechanisms of public ideology and fading history.” (Source)
If the nude body can manifest its oppression and exploitation, it can also enact change. By moving, twisting, and contorting against architectures of despair, the figures in Kurmaz’s photos become enduring signifiers of life and self-expression within a deteriorating system.
Intertwined strips of ceramics escaping from their original form. Haejin Lee’s abstract sculptures blend perfection and fantasy. A flawless object, face or body part suddenly disintegrates into a uncontrolled harmonized chaos. Fascinated by the indefinite loop of the Mobius strip (a surface with a non orientable property), she brings into her art pieces the transformation of a flat surface into a 3 dimensional rendering. The final piece mirrors two essential aspects for the artist: continuity and infinity.
The dichotomy between perfection and confusion reflects the technical difficulties the artist had to face while conceptualizing the pieces. In order to get a steady work of art, she had to anticipate the weight of the strips once dried and heated. Often created in monochromatic tones, the plain colors add intensity to the sculptures. Haejin Lee is inviting us to interpret the passage from reality to surrealism. As if the strips, bandages of our exterior enveloppe had to fly away in order to reveal the essence of our souls, imagination and creativity. By acknowledging that the pieces were ‘almost impossible to balance’, the artist insists on the difficulty yet essential need for individuals to unconsciously or not; define their equilibrium.
The explosive street art of David Hooke, otherwise known as “MEGGS”, moves in waves of color on walls all over the world. His murals harness an incredible energy and force that radiates off the streets in vivid streaks like flames consuming the building. The Australian artist often uses powerful animals such as tigers, snakes, and lions in his work, creating an incredible composition of strong imagery. His use of diagonal lines and composition just add to the already dramatic atmosphere.
MEGGS pull inspiration from an eclectic variety of different sources such as the natural world and socio-cultural issues. His use of bold color and the occasional loud text included in his murals shows a heavy influence from pop-culture. His technique and experimental technique reflects his determination and excitement in his artistic exploration. MEGGS doesn’t just stick to the traditional spray paint. One of murals in downtown LA also includes a glow in the dark stencil layer that creates an eye-popping affect. This piece, along with other of his murals, is based off of a previously done screen print of MEGGS. You can find his work not just in LA, but also in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, Paris, and Tokyo.
“His life manifesto is that the ‘journey is the reward’ and his work reflects his eternal search for balance. MEGGS’ emphasis on constant growth and passion for travel is demonstrated by his continual exploration of artistic techniques and mediums.”
Emily McDowell designs greeting cards for family and close friends of cancer patients. The messages are blunt and direct. As a former cancer patient herself now in remission, the designer got irritated when her close circle stop visiting and calling her because they didn’t know what to tell her.
She is making things simple by putting the right words on a sentiment which is most of the time sincere and honest but comes out awkward to the patient. Loneliness and solitude is, according to Emily McDowell the most difficult part of the illness to endure. Despite the loss of hair, fatigue and the heavy medical treatments, loosing friends and family members as a support system because they are having a hard time verbalizing encouragements and empathy is painful.
The illustrations on the cards are handmade by the designer herself. The pastel color scheme softens the message which can appear straightforward and cynical but which speaks truly to the patient. Emily McDowell believes these cards can make a difference in the way we communicate. In a digital world where motivational quotes are spread out through Instagram and Facebook, these make a difference because they are palpable and create a direct connection between the friends, family members and the receiver.
Find Emily McDowell’s ‘Empathy Cards’ on her eshop. (via Slate)
Li Hongbo is a Beijing-based artist who builds elaborate and flexible paper sculptures that ripple and shift before our eyes. Featured here is “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day,” a large-scale installation currently on display at the SCAD Museum of Art. The work—which spans the entirety of a gallery—involves thousands of small paper objects bound together by honeycomb layers of glue. Close up, the bright shapes align themselves like an undulating, flowery rainbow; step back, however, and you’ll see that together the shapes amass into the greater form of guns and artillery. In a surprising clash of innocent colors and delicate paper with the brutality of war, Hongbo produces a curious (and potentially deceitful) optimism for deadly weapons.
Hongbo’s work draws upon the ancient, cultural tradition of paper-making in China, which dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Inspired by this art form, Hongbo has reinvented it on a grand scale. Other projects include malleable bodies and busts, such as a version of Michelangelo’s David that unfolds spectacularly. The ability to metamorphose is integral to Hongbo’s works; with the politics left aside (or at least ambiguous), his sculptures challenge our perceptions by unsettling solid forms with their built-in fluidity. Whether it’s guns or classical statues, we can’t help but to reconsider the materiality and purpose of objects as they transform before our eyes.
“Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” will be showing until January 24th, 2016. Check out SCAD’s website to learn more. (Via designboom)
There is no shortage of art and creativity in the City of Light. As Louise Fili shows us in her upcoming book Graphique de la Rue, even Paris’ signage has a resplendence that conveys generations of art styles, from Art Nouveau to Art Deco to Futurism. As an esteemed graphic designer, Fili wandered the streets of Paris for four decades, documenting signs that combined art with typography. Among her photo diary are images of ornate metro signs, vintage café signs, mosaics, and of course, the iconic Moulin Rouge cast in its red glow. In the press release for Graphique de la Rue, Fili describes the source of her inspiration:
“From my first visit to Paris at age twenty, just as I had begun to embrace the world of graphic design, my eyes were opened to the spectacular signage that appeared everywhere . . . With each successive visit, I would continue to be struck by the uniqueness of the signs; in no other city had I seen such distinctive typography on the likes of public school buildings, police stations, funeral parlors, and patisseries.”
Fili’s book comes at an important time, when such original signs are being replaced by their cheaper, poorly designed, and mass-produced versions. Sadly, many of the art pieces documented in Graphique de la Rue have already been destroyed. Fascinated by vernacular design—that is, the designs that give Paris its distinctness as an epicenter of art and history—Fili’s book is a “typographic love letter to Paris,” one that will both immortalize these signs and inspire the imaginations of designers and travellers alike (Source).