What at first may look like a Styrofoam Mona Lisa is actually incredibly detailed marble work by Italian artist Fabio Viale. Yes you read that right. Marble. Viale does some incredible work to modernize this “old-fashioned” medium, like re-creating Greek Korus torsos and hands covered in tattoos. He is able to transform this heavy, bulky material into creations that seem light and airy, like old beat up tires, popcorn or crumpled paper bags. Viale even went so far as to create a marble motorboat he called Ahgalla, which remarkably he used to navigate the rivers north of Italy.
The Queen of lush and juicy paint Allison Schulnik opened up her studio to Beautiful/Decay and Visual Creatures to give our readers insight into the world of sad hobo clowns and her painting and animation process. Allison discusses how her paintings inform her animations and vice versa, the long history of artists in her family, and how Los Angeles allows artists to have quiet time in the studio yet have a community.
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In Il Capo (The Chief), Italian filmmaker Yuri Ancarani exquisitely documents the unexpectedly captivating and largely unexplored process of marble extraction.
Set in an Alpine quarry, Il Capo presents the powerful dynamic between the boss and his workers, focusing predominantly on the wordlessness of their dialogue. Using seemingly enigmatic gestures and hand signals reminiscent of a conductor directing his orchestra, the boss silently and gracefully guides two lumbering bulldozers as they claw into the hillside and extract colossal wedges of marble. Juxtaposing the boss’ fluid movement with that of the bumbling machinery, Ancarani successfully conveys the astounding and paradoxical nature of the process: “how he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light.”
In addition to the visual strategies employed in Il Capo, Ancarani has a unique approach to sound. Void of conversation, narration, and soundtrack, the short film offers only the sounds of the heavy machinery and the toppling marble—placing all emphasis on the rawness of the process, and conveying, above all else, the artistic nature intrinsic to a seemingly industrial task. (Via Nowness)
Swiss artist Daniele Buetti’s light box constructions feature punctured holes that emit light from beneath the surface of the image creating a glowing highlight to the images of the distressed models and adding poetic text and musings to her provocative works.
Elizabeth McGrath is a Los Angeles-born artist known for her sculptural explorations of beauty and the grotesque. Her animal figures are both endearing and frightening; with jagged teeth and oozing, bloodshot eyes, they resemble possessed dolls, manifesting horror and fragility all at once. Many of them have been anthropomorphized with human clothing and objects, lending them distinct characters. By distorting beauty into twisted, monstrous reflections of itself, McGrath playfully comments on vanity and materiality and the forces of death and decay that fester right beneath. Her Artist’s Bio elaborates further:
“Inspired by the relationship between the natural world and the detritus of consumer culture, [McGrath] brings forth a new cavalcade of creatures from the darker corners of the streets, the city, the imagination. It is this melancholy interaction between man-made status symbols and suffering specimens of nature that make up her intricate body of work.” (Source)
In addition to her morbid menagerie, McGrath also makes similarly-themed dioramas. Channeling the aesthetics of Tim Burton, tattoo artistry, and the carnivalesque, each creation is a dark miscellany, coupling death with innocence. Visit McGrath’s website and Facebook page to learn more about her work.
Adam Harvey is an award-winning designer and technologist whose work deals with the increasingly relevant topics of surveillance, computing identity and personal privacy. Harvey, whose projects combine fashion and product design, computing science and programming, takes an artist’s approach to problem-solving – identifying a problem, developing experiments and possible solutions, and learning any number of skills to fabricate and achieve a solution that calls into question the nature of the problem.
Harvey, whose company ahprojects is based in Brooklyn, New York explains,”I became interested in spoofing and camouflage when cameras metamorphosed from art making tools into enablers of surveillance societies. This happened gradually over the last decade starting with the Patriot Act in 2001. To me, this document marked the beginning of the end of photography as I knew it from art history books.”