Vancouver artist Douglas Coupland has made his head available to be vandalized – well an over-sized fiberglass sculpture of his head at least. In conjunction with his solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Coupland installed a seven foot black resin and polyester sculpture on the lawn in front of the gallery. Called ‘Gumhead‘ and described by the artist as a “gum-based, crowd sourced, publicly interactive, self-portrait“, the striking sculpture has a very imposing Soviet-era aesthetic to it.
Gumhead was unveiled in May, and Coupland invited the public to plaster their chewing gum all over it for the duration of 4 months. He hoped to build up such a thick layer of gum, that his features would become obscured. Here he comments on witnessing the process:
At first the added gum looked like jewels against the black. And then the Excel chewing gum van parked beside it during the Jazz Festival and took the whole head to the next level. And then we had a heat wave and the gum started to weep. And now it has a 24-hours cloud of bees and wasps around it. It’s a dream. (Source)
People have reacted to the piece in many different ways. Coupland was delighted with the interactions:
People went directly to snot. They tried big earrings but they would fall off. During the last month, we’ve had the Ebola outbreak so everyone started doing hemorrhagic bleed-out from the eyelids. (Source)
With plans of washing the gum off the sculpture and starting the whole process again in January, when the show moves to Toronto, Coupland is interested to see what else unfolds. Admittedly, he is a bit unsure about it’s success during the Canadian winter, especially the -10 degree temperatures and if the gum will even stick. (Via Escape Kit)
Ra Paulette has a very intimate relationship with the New Mexican mesas into which he carves intricately embellished caves. He does the work entirely on his own, and walks a mile just to reach the destination. The caves are overwhelmingly beautiful, especially when you imagine the process used to make them.
“My final and most ambitious project is both an environmental and social art project that uses solitude and the beauty of the natural world to create an experience that fosters spiritual renewal and personal well being. It is a culmination of everything I have learned and dreamed of in creating caves.”
Paulette is concerned with social change. He tries to stir deep emotions to instigate that change instead of forcing it through direct confrontation.
“How can we change what we do before we change how we feel?” Its underlying premise is that when through wonder and the sense of beauty we move from the emotional realm of our desires and fears to the more expansive and deeper feelings of thanksgiving and appreciation of life with a sense of its sacredness, our actions will automatically be modified, creating a better world – ‘like magic’.
This is the magic of art, music, theatre, and of the beauty of the natural world. We need for that magic to play a more direct role in our lives.”
He also speaks about his relationship to his process.
“Manual labour is the foundation of my self-expression. To do it well, to do it beautifully… engaging mental and emotional strengths as well as physical strength… Like a dancer, I ‘feel’ the body and it’s movements in a conscious way. I’m fond of calling it ‘the dance of digging’, and it’s the secret of how this old man can get so much done.”
Although the caves are not open to the public at the moment, there is a documentary called Cave Digger. (Via Juxtapoz)
This Friday ALL items in the Beautiful/Decay shop will be 20% off. Our full-color, willd and trippy posters make for great gifts. Plus, we’ve added a second wave of posters to the store, so be sure to check out the whole selection—and get 20% storewide savings this Black Friday. (Trampling sold separately.)
Based in New York, figurative artist Dillon Utter has a penchant for portraits. With a strong focus on urban decay and everyday encounters with others, Utter presents intimate portrayals of people we would otherwise look right past, such as tenants, workers, drifters, and the elderly.
Particularly influenced by his small hometown in upstate New York, Dillon uses real-life experiences as inspiration for his genuine—and often gritty—portrayals:
Binghamton’s rich history and urban decay create an ideal backdrop for my portraits. The city once flourished with industrialization and major manufacturers. Many of these industries are now in ruins and have left economic hardships for the area. I use my street photography as reference for my paintings. This allows me to capture people at a more intimate level, revealing more about them and myself.
While some of his portraits possess titles that reference the scene itself, such as The Corner, Dog Days, or Cold Afternoon on Court Street, others—like Lonely Child and Wounded—poignantly describe the individuals portrayed and focus entirely on their plight.
Unidealized and true-to-life, Dillon Utter’s portraits are unquestionably compelling and exceptionally intimate.
Nasa Funahara recreates iconic artworks, like The Mona Lisa, and Girl With A Pearl Earring out of masking tape. The Japanese artist, who attends Musashino Art University as a painting Major, boasts a collection of around 450 rolls of masking tape. The series originally began as an art project for school, and she received a very good reaction to the work.
The artworks are well-detailed recreations. The patterns of the masking tape create a stimulating visual experience for the viewer. It is surprisingly not overpowering to see tons of brightly coloured roses and polka dots all in such close proximity. What’s astounding is that Funahara is able to find so many different types of tape. Apparently, masking tape in Japan has become an ornamental media, rather than just a tool to block off sections of a painting. According to Spoon and Tamago, each work is around the size of a tatami mat, and each takes about a week to make.
The Van Gogh reproduction of Sunflowers is the most successful work. The tape works well to imitate Van Gogh own style of brushstroke, and the colours are close to the original ones. Even the texture of the tape, sticking slightly out from the canvas, maintains a painterly effect and a kind of weight to the image. (Via Bizarre Beyond Belief)
British set designer and artist Nicola Yeoman creates optical illusions via temporary installations. The complex arrangements use well-scoped vantage points and specifically-lit sets that conjure fantastical scenes. She uses both conventional and discarded objects in her work and places these objects in unexpected locations.
Yeoman combines moody lighting and a variety of textures to make her works appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. This is especially visible in her letter installations. The “D,” for instance, is crafted by negative space with chairs that occupy the foreground, middleground, and background. But, you wouldn’t necessarily realize it unless you looked closely – this photo is shot at just the right angle.
While some of Yeoman’s work is as specific as the alphabet, other installations are more mysterious. Outdoor scenes obscured by fog fill the composition, and paper planes and a silhouetted car on a journey into the unknown. Her work has the power to go in opposite directions – didactic and dreamy – and the well-thought compositions, allow her to take the viewer anywhere. (Via Yatzer)
Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.
Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”
To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)
Street Artist BLU‘s latest mural is just as ambitious and wonderful as his previous projects. Known for his playful murals he paints onto brick walls, gravel paths, water tanks, forgotten corners, construction sites, and abandoned buildings, he turns overlooked spaces into canvases for jaw-dropping paintings and animations. This time BLU has turned his attention to an old military warehouse in Rome and covered it with a couple of dozen colorful, expressive characters. Stretching over 50 old offices, the scale of this mural is as impressive as it is ambitious.
BLU has a talent for creating eye catching, intriguing street art. He first started to paint in the back streets of his home town of Bologna, and from 2001 had developed a distinct style of using house paint and rollers to quickly sketch his ideas on public spaces. Normally painting human figures, or strange combinations of animals and people, BLU’s work is light-hearted and surreal. He had a period of many years traveling from festival to festival and learnt how to use his environment to his benefit. Basing his sketches on the curves of buildings and pre-existing shapes, he made use of the tools he had at hand.
True to the nature of street art, BLU isn’t precious about his creations, and actively erases his own work to create his intricate animations. They fold out on themselves, essentially erasing what came before. This talented Italian artist has a skill for entertaining pedestrians busy running their daily errands and loves to interrupt their routine with comical, sarcastic narratives and figures. With eye-catching murals scattered all around the world (from Mexico City to Los Angeles, Berlin to West Bank), you will no doubt stumble upon one of his pieces. Keep your eyes peeled for his next one! (Via DesignBoom)