P.s. If you’re into Skwaks work you might also want to get Issue: J which features our exclusive article and cover art by one France’s very best illustrators!
Sean Fader’s background in performance had a heavy hand on the focus of his photography. His consistently conceptually strong pieces of work usually deal with the identity of his self, and the self perceived by those around him. What originally drew me into his work was his series, I Want To Put You On, where he explores the idea of becoming the people he personally admires.
We’ve covered designer Gareth Pugh’s funhouse fashion before, and his 2015 ready-to-wear line is no less delightfully deranged. Pugh drapes his models in the regalia of pagan rituals, occasionally borrowing from the mind-expanding sensibilities of modern glitch art.
One design harkens back to the scarecrows of ye olde corn fields, complete with a material reminiscent of burlap; at the same time, another figure is shrouded in geometric mystique like a Magic Eye illusion.
“I wanted it of the earth, rather than landed from a spaceship,” Pugh said of the collection. To do so, he draws on raw textures of chiffon thistles and gauzy silk, and for inspiration, he reimagines a time when masquerades and ritualistic sacrifice were still a thing. One of his designs calls up the image of a court jester, reincarnated as something slicker and more sinister. A woman stands under the brim of what brings to mind a stalk of wheat, dressed in virginal white. Some of them are crowned with papier-mâché skulls.
The result, even with the modern twists, is nothing short of raw occultish charm, a wonderful mixing of the ethereal and the profane. (via Style.com)
Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.
A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture. “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
Paco Peregrín is an international photographer who creates experimental characters out of high-fashion images. This particular series is entitled Beautiful Monster, which Peregrín directed with the intention of exploring the effect of makeup on identity:
All photos that integrate Beautiful Monster allude to a very particular concept of beauty (sometimes unusual, alien or even beautifully monstrous), to its ephemeral nature and the passage of time. Naked men and women are on a neutral background where makeup comes great prominence, even avoiding the recognition of the models, thus reflecting on the idea of identity and a proposal for the makeup as a contemporary mask that protects us, on the one hand like a camouflage, [and on] the other helping us to build a super-ego. (Source)
Peregrín’s “Monsters” are fascinating, radiating with acid-bright color and cryptic eroticism. Most often nude, their faces are bound and adorned with rope, tape, paint, and jewels. Something happens when their features are obscured — their expressive bodies appear almost inhuman. In a style best described as hyper-real futurism, the images speak directly to a postmodern society so obsessed with beauty and constructed identities that it slips into beautiful absurdity.
Given that fashion photography is often criticized as being wholly commercialized and thus heavily restricted, Peregrín’s unique style is doubly surprising; he has worked with big names such as Chanel, Diesel, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, but still manages to bring his own creative and unconventional vision into his works. Check out his website for a gallery of his immersive and consistently experimental projects. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Alana Dee Haynes is a Brooklyn-based artist who turns the bodies of her photographed subjects into illustrated surfaces, transforming blank skin and clothing into undulating patterns and shapes. We featured some of her works a couple years ago, but since then, Haynes has been continuing to create intricate and whimsical pieces. Peruse the flowing imagery and you will see kneecaps split open into eyes, collarbones overlain with lips, and torsos swarmed with circular, overlapping patterns that transform models into scaled, serpentine creatures. In a fascinating interview with Juxtapoz, Haynes explains how she uses individual physical characteristics to inspire her illustrations, thereby exploring alternative forms of bodily representation:
“Everyone has a certain way they see the world. Some things jump out at people, while others pass them by. I see faces and patterns everywhere. When I look at people, I connect their beauty marks, and find faces in their knuckle lines. It’s just the way I live. So, naturally, I see these things in photographs too. It is not synesthesia, but it is a similar way of viewing multiple layers in things.” (Source)
Fashion also plays a significant role in Haynes’ work. Just as clothes can be creatively worn to signify individuality, her illustrations transform the models’ entire bodies into expressive surfaces. “When it comes down to it, I believe fashion should bring out emotions and be relatable, as if wearing your own skin and mind,” Haynes explained to Juxtapoz. “And my skin is definitely full of faces and patterns” (Source). Whereas the face is so often read as the sole locus of emotional and cognitive display, Haynes’ brilliant line work illuminates the dynamism and individuality that exists everywhere: in our arms, legs, hands, clothing, and more.
Lauren DiCioccio uses a simple needle and thread on cotton muslin to mummify and honor an endangered artifact– the printed newspaper. In each piece, as The New York Times’ text fades, its correlating cover portraits puncture the surface with pockets of strung together color, reminding us of a certain tactile human unraveling as we adaptively wave goodbye to the Industrial Age.
Of her craft, DiCioccio states, “The tedious handiwork and obsessive care I employ to create my work aims to remind the viewer of these simple but intimate pieces of everyday life and to provoke a pang of nostalgia for the familiar physicality of these objects.”
Stacy Kranitz focuses on the multidimensional character of Leni Riefenstahl, whose focused vision and murky set of morals greatly inspired Kranitz. These grey areas spoke to her desire to understand people beyond the constraints of good vs. evil.
During Pennsylvania’s yearly reenactments of the Battle of the Bulge, Kranitz portrays Leni Riefenstahl and behaves with soldiers as she would. Kranitz examines how the photograph documents and shapes history, since much of our conception of history is based on images. The 500 reenactors base the authenticity of their looks on images and, in particular, on Riefenstahl’s film Triumph of the Will. Kranitz focuses on how these historical images have been filtered through both the media and propaganda, becoming history as generations pass and memories fade. Photographs and film become the dominant forces that shape the public imagination.