One of the advantages to the window seat of an airplane is the view below. Flying 35,000 feet above the sky, you see a miniaturized landscape that’s a combination of mixtures of shapes and textures. It’s devoid of the finer details and has the appearance of an abstract painting. Photographer William Rugen captures these type of fractured scenes in his series of images titled Here > There. The monochromatic photographs show roads, fields, and cities in an up-close way that they don’t immediately appear as what they actually are.
We’ve recently seen the dystopian, dizzying effect that aerial photographs have on highways. Rugen’s photographs are disorienting at times, but there is a semblance of structure in the haphazard-looking scenes. Lines of the road fracture and corral the different (yet similar) shapes of the ground and break them up like a cubist painting. They reveal a patchwork of stories, development, and planning, which is inevitably the same wherever you travel, no matter what the physical differences might be.
Artist Ryan Salge’s monochromatic drawings are of surreal scenes that feel like dreamscapes. The tightly-rendered compositions feature expansive outdoor worlds and figures that traverse through them. Often times, the men and women in them are as curious as we are. Their backs are turned towards us, and it’s as if we’re on the journey right along with them.
There’s always something a little strange or alluring in each of Salge’s drawings. A woman looks up to dark, swirling sky as a small patch of light shines through. Another work features bodies rising upwards into the atmosphere. And, in an especially eerie piece, a barefooted man peers down as a spotlight shines onto a desolate field. (Via Lustik)
British artist Tom Phillips released the first edition of A Humument in 1970. To create this stunning book, Phillips illustrated and/or collaged each page of a found Victorian text – WH Mallock’s A Human Document – leaving parts of the original text exposed and uncovering a new story line with a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name appears only when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in Mallock’s original text. Of the text and his project, Phillips says,”It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.”
Over the years, Phillips has revised and replaced pages of the text, resulting in updated editions. The most recent 5th edition was published in 2012. In 2010, A Humument made its digital debut as an app for the iPad and iPhone. Assisting in its develop, Phillips is very pleased with his work’s transition to the digital realm. For Phillips, a bright screen enhances his illustrations, lending them a glow his pens and paints couldn’t achieve, “almost like church windows at times.” After Phillips started working on the book in the 60s, he dreamed that it could one day be used as an oracle. Forty years of technology later, Phillips’ dream has been realized, and he’s become his own consumer: “Each night after midnight I consult, somewhat furtively (even though alone), the Oracle I have made. I’m often surprised by pages made long ago and almost forgotten, as well as by the sometimes uncanny predictions they offer their maker.” (via the guardian)
Photographer Brittany M. Powell has an ambitious project worthy of your support. She has embarked on a project of taking portraits of people that have incurred debt. Having already taken at least 15 photographs of different individuals, she has a Kickstarter project to help realize her goal of 99 different portraits. After losing her own job in 2008 and facing severe financial hardship, Powell decided to find others in a similar situation, to tell their stories and to dispel the social stigma surrounding bankruptcy, debt and talking about money issues in general. She says this about her project:
This [project] spurred my interest in investigating the role debt can play in our identity and how we relate to the world. Debt is publicly enforced and highly stigmatized, but is almost always privately experienced. It is in many ways an abstract form without material weight or structure, yet with heavy physicality and burden in a person’s everyday life. (Source)
Her subjects include James Riggs Davidson III who is an electrical contractor with a total debt of $52,335.63, Grace Ragland a family support worker with $75,000 in debt after her ex-husband was incarcerated and she became the sole carer of her family. She ended up working 2-3 jobs 7 days a week for 7 years. The range of people Powell profiles is so varied she really shows how common this problem is today.
My goal is to bring people together to recontextualize an abstract, often shamed experience. It is my hope that by having a platform to discuss this issue, it will encourage the viewer and participants to question and reframe our perception of debt and how we contribute to it’s power and role in our social structure. (Source)
To support her project visit her Kickstarter page here.
Today I was perusing the website of Proyectos Ultravioleta, a Guatemala based gallery, and found the work by Radames “Juni” Figueroa. Besides a sweet painting of a mustachiod Dracula rocking a cape and a Misfits shirt (dream babe, hello!) I found the above readymade installation. Lo and behold, I discovered a Beautiful/Decay apparel shirt we did with Rob Thom shirt we did from four years ago! Sweet! While we’ve since sold out of that shirt, Radames, if you’re listening, we did a re-make of the Bad Brains classic cover art work (now re-christened Decayed Brains) which is for sale on our online shop. If you care to make another installation work out of our T-shirts. Really great work….check out more after the jump!
The detailed paintings of Shawn Huckins portray common, day-to-day imagery while flawlessly integrating it into what seems to be miniature paint swatches. Although you may think that the artist paints directly on tiny paint cards used as color samples at hardware stores, but they aren’t actually small at all. In fact, these are not real paint cards, they are fairly large paintings that, thanks to Huckins’ finely crafted skill, are made to replicate exactly the different hues and segments of a paint card. If this was not impressive enough, the realistic imagery included in this series titled The Paint Chip Series, seem to fit perfectly into their settings. He creates a breathtaking mountain range on top of ”Cool Jazz” blue, and a “Pacific Sea Teal” has a pool splash erupting from its color patch. However, not all of Huckins’ imagery perfectly matches their chosen color. Many of the swatches have an unexpected twist, as his “Spring Moss” yellow has a car melting and sinking into the rich tone.
Huckins’ work is inspired by the beauty in the everyday, along with influential artists like Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. His work explores common imagery, like people sitting in chairs and an employee pushing a shopping cart, and their role in our lives. Even the paint cards are familiar objects that one might find in any home improvement store. Huckins explains these universal commonalities as a way to connect to our everyday surroundings and explore their meanings.
Mimicking the exact proportions, font, layout, and hues of miniature paint cards found at a nation-wide home improvement store, bands of color we may choose for our most intimate spaces—bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms—are an ideal stage to examine the everyday people and objects that occupy our world.