Remember the urban legends that Disney movies had ‘sex’ written in the stars or that Aladdin whispers “good teenagers take off their clothes”? Artist Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros took that imagery to heart, and much further, in his series Dishollywood. The artist depicts Disney characters in rebellion, experimenting with substances, sexuality, or pairs them with pop-culture icons. Ontiveros is trying to show that these characters are ours to experiment with, and that we may appropriate them as we like, and combine them with what we like, to create new and contemporary characters.
“It is a collection of visual curiosities that pushes the audience to reimagine the world of pop as a personalized mash-up with the freedom to merge situations, rewrite the script, and provide new dialogue in alternative scenarios to tell new stories.
DisHollywood is also a barometer for measuring our tolerance and acceptance levels; a new way of observing the “happy ending” that trumpets the time of equality is now. In contrast to the baroque fantasy implied by the original, idealized presentation of these characters, a new context of social vulnerability shows the darker side of our contemporary society.”
Some of it does demonstrate the degenerate side of our culture. Tiana – whose name is suspiciously close to Rihanna’s to begin with – is shown as a mashup with the pop-star, with bruises on her face, presumably post-Chris Brown. In a way the images do a good job of highlighting our sometimes-questionable behavior without lecturing. The characters who are originally totally pure, are defiled, making them more real, and also making our reality seem darker in that contrast. It’s also just hilarious to see Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck taking hits from the bong, though. (Via Huffington Post)
Pennsylvania-based Charles Huettner is a 2D animator who crafts symbiotic relationships between doughy eyed pudges, shapely humanoids, and anything with a blank stare and bulbous limbs. His animations employ seamless transformations and an athletic flow that quickly cuts and softly glides at all the right moments. The blankness and mushiness of the figures make them capable of anything, making them perfect vessels for experimentation with form and motion.
His 2013 short entitled The Jump, is a beautiful glimpse at a spirit world where two teenagers dabble in visionary experimentation with suddenly tragic results. With a sophisticated Akira-esque score, we watch as these teens’ innocent curiosity leads to a dark tragedy, all the while a red ghost stares empty and indifferent. The Jump was a standout in “Ghost Stories”, a recent release from Late Night Work Club. Along with many other animators he contributes to the Late Night Work Club, “a loose, rotating collective of indie animators”, which has been shown to put out some of the most impressive shorts in the online animation community.
Antonio Basoli was an Italian artist who lived between the 18th and 19th century, and was a man with a vision. He created this architectural alphabet engravings called Alfabeto Pittorico (Pictorial Alphabet). The images don’t just depict letters, but elaborate buildings that use letterforms as their structure. It includes every letter except for the j, because it doesn’t exist in the Italian alphabet. They called it i lunga and it’s written with an i.
Soft, monochromatic images are full of intricate details, and we’re able to see every brick of a building in addition to the billowing clouds in the background. With each letter, Basoli creates a different setting and mood. Some landscapes are tranquil and idyllic-looking, filled with lush vegetation. Others are war-torn, and we see giant cracks in the foundation of buildings. Whatever the occasion, each is its own story with a compelling narrative of men versus themselves and also versus nature. (Via Sploid)
Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.
For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.
“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”
Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.
The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)
Kimchi and Chips is a design studio that creates 3-D installations using light in a variety of ways. Their most recent project is Light Barrier, where they project morphing shapes like circles and pyramids on mist. Their aim is to “add to the visual language of space and light” which they deliver. The shapes appear and disappear slowly, fading away into each other in time to sounds. It’s mesmerizing to watch, and you’re conscious that this is truly something you would never be able to see or possibly even envision without the advanced technologies we have today.
In another of their projects, Lunar Surface, they create orbs of light that look like moons. The moons are imposed on photographs of industrial room (maybe within the Kimchi and Chips studio?) so it looks as if they exist within those spaces. The moon shapes are created using an interesting approach. A sheet is set up with fans on it so it will move. A projection of the circumference of a circle is set up on the sheet, and a sensor picks up the movement of the sheet so that they create the shape of the moons. Once again, the shapes create a new visual language. They seem like jellyfish orbs floating in air. (Via Artlog)
Multimedia artist Todd Baxter has created a retro futuristic image series inspired by narratives of science fiction utopia. Long fascinated with the technology and physics of the Space Race era, with “Project Astoria: Test 01,” Baxter tells a story that revolves around the experiences of children growing up in a an Earth-like world that has recently been colonized. Baxter’s wife, Aubrey Videtto, is writing the story that the two created together. They hope to collaborate with other artists for the project, including a graphic novelist and musician, to further execute their concepts and designs. Of this project, Baxter writes, “With Project Astoria, I wanted to play with that childlike hopefulness — that anticipation of humans finally mastering our existence and our technology. Especially as we were reaching such new and magical realities as landing on the moon, the late 60s was the perfect period, in my mind, to add in this alternate history where we all get together and say, ‘Hey! We could go colonize this other Earth-like place and really do it right this time. It could be perfect. Utopia!’ Of course, it doesn’t go perfectly, which is good. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make for a very fun story.”
Baxter’s process is quite involved, but it starts with him pulling out sketches for ideas he’s had. He then browses the images on his computer for environment and landscape images he’s shot, and begins to weave together these environments with Photoshop. Baxter then plans the next elements based on these general compositions, producing photo shoots of his subjects that he continues to compose and retouch with Videtto until each image is fully realized. The result is a playful narrative with an almost kitschy aesthetic, evocative of the likes of Wes Anderson. (via behance and bleek magazine)
Double exposure portraits by Spanish-based artist Antonio Mora (a.k.a. Mylovt) blend human and nature worlds into surreal hybrid artworks. Mora works with images he’d found browsing through online databases, magazines and blogs, and then fuses them together using skillful photo manipulation techniques. His seamless way of mixing various concepts together leaves the viewer with mind-tricking illusions.
“I want people to feel inspired when observing my artworks, and that is what I long for. I often look at images hundreds of times without finding anything, and then the spark just arrives. It’s a bit like fishing, a matter of patience and intuition.”
Mora describes his artworks as cocktails, mixtures of ordinary elements merged into forceful and expressive daydreams. According to the artist, his inspiration is provided by the limitless Internet itself and he feels as a medium between the two parallel worlds: real-life and the Web.
Antonio Mora originally graduated from graphic design. Right after his studies, he started a personal design studio which turned him into an art director for 15 years. Gradually, artist decided to concentrate on his art solely. Mora is one of the artists whose instant fame relies on social media: “Social networks, especially Pinterest, have been an important vehicle to spread by artworks”.
His mind-bending photo manipulations are very accessible to the public, as Mora offers anyone the chance to have their own portrait turned into an astounding work of art. (via Writeca)
Shaolin Kung Fu, developed in China beginning in 495AD, has infiltrated popular culture in the West. Depending on your age, you might be familiar with the 70s TV show “Kung Fu” or Mortal Kombat : Shaolin Monks. Neither captures the essence of Shaolin Kung Fu. Based on Buddhism, its major forms of expression are martial arts and techniques. Shaolin emphasizes meditation, development of the body through rigorous training, and pain endurance.
Training in Kung Fu is mostly done without an opponent, as it was never meant to kill, and the poetic names of the moves imply that it is more of a meditation than a fight. However, the only difference between breaking a clay jug and smashing a human skull with one’s bare hands is consciousness of will. Despite the commercialization, Kung Fu retains a mystical character closer to a monastic discipline than to the performances of modern gladiators.
Tomasz Gudzowaty captures the monks in artistic black and white. The classical composition of these photographs only serves to enhance the amazing strength, endurance, and concentration of the monks as they train. Gudzowaty doesn’t use effects or manipulation to increase the impact of the images—he doesn’t have to. The monks provide all of the interest themselves: walking up walls, standing on their heads, balanced on a foot and an elbow. They seem fully immersed in their training—oblivious to the camera, wholly in the moment.
“Sports fascinates me as a spiritual practice, which is not readily visible today in mainstream events. I made it my long-standing quest to photograph peripheral, exotic sports.”
This series is a masterful match of content and form, skilled subjects and talented artist.