Photographer Julieanne Kost‘s latest project takes a look at the Salt Lakes south of San Fransisco. Treating her photographs as abstract paintings, she chooses a very specific angle of the landscape to focus on. With the emphasis on the graphic nature of the lakes, they become something entirely otherworldly. Sky becomes water, the horizon is in the wrong place, power lines seem to float in mid air, clouds appear unexpectedly, and the colors are all wrong. That being said, these images are the result of something even more surprising – the intense shades are all a part of the salt evaporation process. The ponds can range in color from a rich navy blue to a luscious magenta, and are due to the salinity levels of the water and the micro organisms that live in each pond.
Kost is heavily involved in Photoshop and other Adode photo enhancing programs (and is also the publisher of the Daily Photoshop and Lightroom Tip), but has for a long time had an eye for interesting landscapes and their natural patterns.
She wants her images to be abstract enough to allow viewers room for their own interpretation – to inject images from their own dreams into her snapshots. And she is able to do just that – turning a familiar type of landscape (albeit a very interesting process that is happening there) into something that looks like it is an image sent back to Earth from Rover exploring the surface of Mars.
Beijing artist Wang Ruilin dreams of animal/nature hybrids, surreal and beautiful, influenced by fine art techniques and aesthetics. In his ongoing series, “Pursuit of Dreams,” these unreal images come to life as large copper sculptures.
Some of the animals carry landscapes: cloud lined mountains rest on deer-like antlers; a relief map spreads across the back of a yak; the backs of a crocodile and a whale hold mountain ranges. In Ark, another whale serves as vessel, holding an ocean and icebergs on its back. The play of scale in familiar forms makes these sculptures somewhat whimsical, despite their literal interpretation. The integration of living creature with land mass and body of water lends an added dimension to the idea of “nature.”
“The Ark series is the result of my most recent efforts. Infused with my true feelings and emotions, they send the message that life sustains nature. As I grew older with more life experience, I started to doubt what I used to learn. These works are the denial of our current world and a depiction of an ideal one. I oppose the self-centeredness of human beings and the ruthless exploitation of other species and natural resources. I seek harmony with the nature. Nature’s greatness lies in her inclusion of everything on earth, while man’s greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”
Some of the “Pursuit of Dreams” sculptures are more streamlined versions of actual animals. With their smooth surfaces and self-contained air, the Horse, Rhino and Bird sculptures reveal Ruilin’s life-long interest in animals. His art influences are also long-standing:
“Eastern classical art also gives me inspiration. I like deep and pure Chinese flowers and bright and cool verdigris with rich colors and full of profoundness and uniqueness.”
Seattle’s goCstudio design team has cooked up a dreamy creation that is perfect for the moody weather in the Pacific Northwest. This piece, the “Floating Sauna,” offers a portable, wood-fueled sauna that can be taken and put onto a body of water. This project is nearing fruition as the team is in their final stages of fundraising and will soon begin construction. They have reached out into the community for support and have received an overall enthusiastic response.
GoCstudio was founded in 2012 by architects Jon Gentry and Aimee O’Carroll, who met while they both worked for Olson Kundig Architects.
This team, which has already produced some amazing projects, is moving to embrace a more unique and innovative path. Not only is the technical concept behind the sauna pretty astounding, but the aesthetic presence of it is simple yet elegant. It will add beauty to any horizon it sits on.
As for the logistics of the sauna, they sound pretty spectacular: ” The earliest concepts for the sauna were always focused on the journey to discover this place; creating a unique experience and refuge in the water that would offer a new perspective on the landscape. We imagine people kayaking out to the structure and tying off. The design has a deck, a wood-fired sauna, and a roof platform for canon balls. The rear ladder connects the water, dock, and roof platform. The ‘cool down hatch’ allows hot and sweaty visitors a chance to open the back door and cold plunge directly into the water.
The sauna is designed to fit on a standard size trailer. It can be transported and launched into any accessible still body of water, and when not in use, parked and stored on land.”
As they say on their Kickstarter page, “The sauna is an apotheosis of all experience: Purgatory and paradise; earth and fire; fire and water; sin and forgiveness. It is eternal new birth. You are healed, you are made new.” -Constance Malleson 1936
Photographer Mariell Amélie‘s self-portraits are a bit like playing with an imaginary friend on the borderlands of fantasy and reality. They transport her to a dreamy limbo state, each looking like a snapshot from some noir-ish modern fairy tale. Some are haunting, others playful, but all have a sheen of melancholy, an icy veneer. This sensibility is perhaps explained partially by Amélie’s biography, which places her childhood on “a small island above the arctic circle.” A wind-blown isolation permeates her photography, no matter if the backdrop is breath-taking iceberg mountains or bright dollhouse interiors.
Her self-portraits are enigmatic. They are, to borrow a phrase from science, a bit of “spooky action at a distance” — in one, she contemplates her skates on a puddle-sized ice rink; in another, she pays no heed to the warnings of Narcissus, leaning down to kiss the marsh waters. The latter photograph is called “Part Time Lover.” All of Amélie’s photographs have similarly suggestive names: “She Had Just Left for Heaven, They Said,” is the name of one; “Alone and Unaware” is the name of another. As she tumbles from the driver’s seat of a car, vacant-eyed, the photograph’s name comments, “Someone Will Be Waiting at the Station.” These names, paired with the in media res nature of her photographs, give the unshakable feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. If only it were possible to look beyond the veil.
At first glance, these creations might only look like small sculptures. But, they’re more than that. UK-based Conjurer’s Kitchen crafted these impressive pieces that are actually cakes. The yummy sponge cakes are shaped like surgeries, skulls, and cross-sectioned bodies. They’re bloody, decrepited, and deliciously disgusting. Conjurer’s Kitchen has expertly colored and painted the tiny details like veins on a skull
Annabel de Vetten is the woman behind these fantastic creations. Not surprisingly, she was trained as a sculptor and previously made a living as a painter. Her foyer into food art started when she made her own wedding cake. Now, she draws inspiration from horror films, alternative art, and more; she has a variety of clients. “It’s great! One day I’ll be working on a full-sized replica of the actor from the TV show Dexter for FOX, then I’ll be doing a wedding cake for a couple who runs an S&M business, and the next I’ll be doing a dragon for a wedding at Warwick Castle,” she says.
The Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has created a new set of work themed around the megalomaniacal aspects of Facebook and social media in our lives. A prized satirical artist, Kuczynski has been winning awards for his work since 2004. Although the statements are not offensive, the themes are comical and instantly relatable, giving the viewer a humorous look at some of the harsh realities of our lives.
He covers a wide range of topics, “Pawel Kuczynski creates thought-provoking illustrations that comment on social, economic, and political issues through satire. The illustrator’s portfolio ranges from criticizing military practices and the incentives behind war, to themes of mortality and reinterpreting the uses of social media as elusive spying platforms. Each image reflects its fair share of serious issues balanced with whimsical illustrations.”
These illustrations highlight how Facebook has saturated our way of living: from bringing us closer together at times, to further apart at other times, to being a way of judging one another, to being a catalyst of the spread of knowledge, misinformation, and gossip, to how it has morphed our entire concept of proximity, intimacy, and communication.
Robin Schwartz’s photo-series Amelia and the Animals documents her daughter alongside animals as Amelia has grown in the past 12 years of her life. Schwartz’s photographic practice is predominantly of animals, but her daughter is the main focus of these photographs. In each one, Schwartz finds creative ways to have Amelia and the animals interact. You can see the ease with which Amelia interacts with the animals, having been surrounded by them her whole life. It’s incredible to see her nonchalance as well. Both mother and daughter feel a deep connection with the animals. In an interview with Science of Us, Schwartz says the first time she saw a chimpanzee she was in love. “We’re intensely drawn to primates because – well, because they are us, maybe.”
In the interview, she was also asked about the dangers of photographing her daughter with wild animals.
This is a question that gets asked so often. Most people ask Amelia, “Weren’t you scared?”You just have to be smart about it. We are as careful as possible. It’s a team effort, with Amelia taking directions from the caretaker. Amelia takes instructions well, and at this point, she does have experience.
The animals that hurt us the most are the mosquitos! We were eaten in Florida.
Joris Kuipers‘ installations are meant to be experienced viscerally. Inspired by bodily cross-sections from MRI scans, CT scans, and even botany, Kuipers’ artwork is alien yet immediately familiar. We are intimately familiar with the vascular bends and twists of his pieces, as well as the palette of reds and purples and blues.
Blown up to the size of huge wall reliefs, these biological artforms are also a little unsettling, particularly because they’ve been deconstructed, unmade, and re-formed into startling configurations. Organic deconstruction, after all, is just a hop skip away from decomposition. Of these twin concepts, Kuipers says: “Loveliness and morbidity; both Eros and Thanatos flow through my red lines.”
In some collections, Kuipers steps away from the blatantly macabre. “Letting Go” contains a brightly colored installation that looks like dreamy clouds or floating alien flowers. Other pieces in the collection involve splashes of color amidst a staid black background and plays with light, flashing and blinking at the touch of a switch. This too recalls the cathode ray tubes and autopsy scans of Kuipers’ other work, but from a subtler angle.
Subtler or not, Kuipers work is, as always, intended to be evocative. “I hope that my work will initially be experienced ‘from the abdomen’,” Kuipers says in an artist’s statement, “to gradually make itself felt in the mind of the visitor.”