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Jim Houser Narrates Life Experiences Through Boldly Symbolic Paintings And Installations

Earth Seemed

Earth Seemed

Dosage

Dosage

Blue Dirges (detail)

Blue Dirges (detail)

Andenken/Battalion installation

Andenken/Battalion installation

Jim Houser is an American artist who combines lifestyle, experiences, and visual art into the creation of a personal iconography. Comprised of acrylic paintings on canvas and wood, his works are bold and symbolic: in blood reds and cool blues, images of severed heads and pill cases radiate anxiety, while elsewhere a drummer sits meditatively on the edge of a black pond. By arranging the paintings into installations, Houser narrates an inner dialogue that explores the interrelated joys and challenges of living, speaking to us through his art in poetic and metaphoric ways.

The images featured here are from his current exhibition called HUSH, featured at Andenken/Battalion in Amsterdam starting June 5th. In a recent interview with Hyland Mather, the owner of Andenken/Battalion, Houser explains his personal motivations in the creation of his art, beginning when he was a child:

I like that my art making is therapeutic for me. What is inspiring to me is that it contains a problem that never completely solves itself: me. From childhood on, I’ve used art to escape my reality, to help me define or explain my reality, and to meditate on my reality. […] I sort of lucked into it, making art. I was just as happy drawing as a kid as I was throwing rocks at cars. Anything to get out of my own head for a bit, skateboarding, taking drugs, all that stuff does the same thing to varying degrees of success, but luckily for me I was wired to have art making be the thing that quieted me down the most on the inside. (Source)

Scattered throughout Houser’s eye-catching colors, geometric forms, and clever assemblages are artifacts suggestive of personal means of “escape” — the pill cases and skateboard, for example. The simplicity and fearlessness of these images speaks to Houser’s brilliant distillation of life into one symbolic plane; in a holistic, meditative practice, he has arranged his personal story in a way that is courageously honest. As viewers, Houser’s works inspire us to imagine how we would visually narrate our lives, using pictorial language to explore emotions and unique personal histories.

Check out Houser’s website and Instagram to see more of his works. HUSH is being exhibited from June 5th to 22nd.

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Artist Duo’s Embroidered Photographs Give Off Ghostly Auras

Amanda Charchian and Jose Romussi - Photography and EmbroideryAmanda Charchian and Jose Romussi - PhotographyAmanda Charchian and Jose Romussi - Photography and Embroidery

Two brilliant artists, Amanda Charchian and Jose Romussi, have collaborated and created and incredibly dreamy, breathtaking series. LA based artist Charchian has a very unique style of photography that emphasizes the human body in creative, innovative ways. This combined with Chilean artist Romussi’s technique of embroidery on photograph, brings an entirely new focus on the figure. In their collaboration series, the scene is set in a dramatic black and white, bringing an unearthly white glow to the subjects. A mysterious aura can be seen in each surreal image, with both figures embodying a ghostly feel. One aspect of this series that is so intriguing is the choice in wardrobe and makeup. The subjects both sport little to no clothing, but what little they do have on is somewhat theatrical and reminiscent to a different era.  The makeup is equally dramatic, with each figure having stark white or jet-black eyebrows, with black, heart shaped lips. Each scene mystifies the viewer while intriguing them into the next situation.

Both artists’ indistinguishable style shows through in this captivating, collaborative series. Charchian’s interesting use of aesthetically pleasing positions of the body still ring true, while Romussi’s embroidery adds a whole new element that skews your way of seeing. This hazy, ethereal series often displays a duality of bodies that is reminiscent to the internal and external self. Prints of this stunning series are available for purchase on her website. Make sure to follow her Instagram for more amazing photography.

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Incredible Chewing Gum Sculptures By Maurizio Savini

Maurizio Savini - chewing gum sculptures Maurizio Savini - chewing gum sculpturesMaurizio Savini - chewing gum sculptures

The first question Maurizio Savini is asked about his work is one he hates to hear: does he chew every piece of gum he uses to make his sculptures? He admits this question is very annoying, but if everybody is still genuinely interested, then no – no he doesn’t chew the gum. Instead he has two full time assistants unwrapping each stick of gum and melting the pink sticky stuff into layers of usable material. Savini begins his lengthy process by layering the sheets of gum around plaster molds which give his sculptures stability and shape.

Working with the gum for over a decade, he has created some amazing pieces. One sculpture  – ‘La Lupa‘ (the figure who nursed the founders of Savini’s birthplace of Rome back to health) is made from 14 kg of chewing gum. He has animals bearing different flags, business men clutching pillows, chandeliers and women’s shoes among many other things. His work is usually loaded with some sort of socially and/or politically focused message.

He says chewing gum has a unique cultural context. It is connected to art history, industry and world history, and is a loaded symbol for Savini. He says after being introduced to Europe when WW2 was ending, the material became a symbol (along with Coca Cola and nylon stockings) of a new era.

When Savini began making his chewing gum sculptures, he has the misfortune of several pieces disintegrating. He now combines the gum with formaldehyde and anti-biotics to preserve it, so the high sugar content doesn’t destroy the pieces. You can see some of his new pieces at the upcoming Art-Southampton, July 9-13, 2015, or find out more about how he makes his creations in the video above.

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The Paintings Of Adrian Cox Illuminate Fantasy Landscapes With Out Of This Flora And Fauna

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Daydreams And Dark Wanderings: The Hazily Beautiful Photography Of Lunakhods

Lunakhods - Photography Lunakhods - Photography Lunakhods - Photography Lunakhods - Photography

Lunakhods is an art collective comprising two Toronto-based photographers. Drenched in color and filled with a luminescent haze, their images resemble daydreams experienced beneath the heat of a midday sun. With a touch of surrealism, otherwise familiar landscapes are made unearthly: glowing wells appear in deserts at twilight, and eerie fogs cloud out distant views of mountains and trees. There is a competing sense drowsiness and vitality, transcending consciousness and materializing an alternative reality.

Lunakhod’s photography conveys an emotional and almost cinematic experience of the world. Human behavior is turned into a bizarre and deeply metaphorical reflection of itself; like muses of our solitary, dream-wandering selves, masked figures haunt dark roadsides and rooftops. Elsewhere, someone holds aloft a garden flamingo in an act of both absurdity and reverie. Time is suspended; past and present collide in images aged with dust. In the world of dreams that Lunakhods creates, temporality and concrete meaning become irrelevant — instead, their images explore the spirit, eternity, and subjectivity of a semi-lucid moment.

Visit Lunakhods’ website, Facebook, and Tumblr to view more of their sensorial images. Their work will also be on display at The Keystone Gallery’s exhibition Less is More in Toronto starting June 5th.

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Garbage Pail Kids- Where Are They Now

Jake Houvenagle and Brandon Voges - Digital PhotographyJake Houvenagle and Brandon Voges - Digital Photography

You’ve heard of  “Where are they now?” stories about child stars, but what about the Garbage Pail Kids? Art director Jake Houvenagle and photographer Brandon Voges have combined their creative talents to construct a fictional photo series portraying specific Garbage Pail Kids characters as real human beings, thirty years later. This lovably crass band of misfits from your childhood has come to life, thanks to these two artists. Not only are we able to see what each kid has grown up and become, Houvenagle and Voges has also provided us with a complete back-story, making the situation even more comical.

This hilarious series features such bizarre characters as Armpit Brit, who still has her dreads of armpit hair, and Barfin’ Barbara, who’s name speaks for herself. The artists cleverly match each Garbage Pail Kid with a suitable occupation that matches their unfortunate, gross personality trait. For example, the unholy Bony Tony, who has the ability zip off his skin, is now, thirty years later, a stripper! The finished photo features Bony Tony on stage as a full adult, stripping his skin off in his underwear while dollar bills are thrown at him. This series is both nostalgic and well done, with an amazing sense of humor. Houvenagle and Voges have created a throwback masterpiece with this wonderfully entertaining series.

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Fiona Roberts’ Visceral, Surreal And Bodily Creations Might Gross You Out

Fiona Roberts - sculptureFiona Roberts - sculptureFiona Roberts - sculpture Fiona Roberts - sculpture

Fiona Roberts‘ new show Intimate Vestiges is a collection of wonderful and weird objects. She loves taking mundane items and adding creepy details to them. Items that we are used to seeing in our house everyday now seem to be encroaching on our personal space, and even seem to be a bit threatening. Roberts has transformed a simple chair into an anthropomorphized Frankenstein creature: the leather sections now feature tiny pink gaping mouths, baring their teeth and ready to chomp at whatever touches them. The menacing orifices are bordered by shiny plaited strands of hair; the legs of the chair wrapped in the same hair. The chair seems to have murdered the occupant of the house, and now wears the attributions of it’s victim on the outside.

Intimate Vestiges deals with questions of the ‘other’ – what is human, and where do our human bodies, memories and experiences end? We undoubtedly transfer these emotions into the objects around us – but what keeps them as foreign bodies? As writer Stephanie Lyall asks:

What can constitute humanity? At what point does a collection of disparate parts become a being? How much of a body can be rearranged before becoming something ‘other’? (Source)

Roberts’ sculptures have a beautiful philosophical poetry embedded in them. She has pillows made from plaster frozen in the middle of a kiss. They seem frozen and unable to enjoy their passion. They pillow lovers are able to extract empathy from us immediately. She has a rug made made from hundreds of ceramic fingers that might make us think twice about treading so heavily on our own carpets at home. Roberts has the power to make us re-evaluate the inanimate objects around us we take for granted and combines our outside worlds with our inside worlds.

Her exhibition is on at Kick Contemporary Arts in Cairns, Australia until June 13th.(Via Design Boom)

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Benedetto Demaio Creates A Vibrant World With A Cool Sense Of Color

Benedetto Demaio - Digital PhotographyBenedetto Demaio - Digital PhotographyBenedetto Demaio - Digital Photography

Have you ever loved a color so much that you wish you could paint everything in it? Well, artist Benedetto Demaio has immersed his entire photography in a color that he so deeply enjoys. The brilliant artwork of Italian artist Benedetto Demaio completely engulfs you in a world of specific color. Photographing simple subjects like deflated balloons and crayon shards, he transforms the ordinary into a perfectly constructed photo, complete with a curated palette. Although his images include a wide variety of subjects, they all hold a certain, cool blue that ties them all together in a way that is unmistakably intentional by Demaio. This hue is the artist’s signature. It is amazing how many different ways a color can be expressed, in so many different textures. Demaio’s blue is shown in soft, puffy material, in torn paper, and in places that are true to nature, like an ocean wave.

Each photograph, carefully constructed and thought out, contains beautiful compositions of an inviting, cohesive color palette. The artist’s sense of playfulness is apparent in his experimental use of color, as he often applies his favorite color in places that it may not normally be found, like in color swatches on the beach. Still, you cannot help to be charmed by the repetitiveness of the blue hue. There is a fun, triumphant spirit of creativity in Demaio’s work that is such an irresistible breath of fresh air. (via Honestly WTF)

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