Angela Boatwright Documents The East Los Angeles Backyard Punk Scene

Angela Boatwright

Angela Boatwright

Angela Boatwright

Angela Boatwright Angela Boatwright

Documentary filmmaker and photographer Angela Boatwright spent about six months recording the punk-rock scene in East Los Angeles. The series, titled East Los, takes an in-depth look those who are active in it. This not only includes shows, but delves deeper to showcase the individual lives outside of the mosh pits. We see this facet of the Latino community in their homes, with grandparents, and their unique personal styles.

This project uses still images as well as video footage from various events. East Los gives us a glimpse into a probably unfamiliar “backyard” music scene; It champions and explores youth, catharses, and the idea of family. We see love, friendships, injuries, and ice cream. It’s not just something that these people do on the weekends, but is a lifestyle that is a framework for how to view the world. (Via Feature Shoot)

Banned Photographs Of Gay Couples Kissing In Catholic Churches

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For the series “Trialogo,” the Catholic photographer Gonzalo Orquin captured images of homosexual couples kissing in centuries-old Italian churches; beneath the ornate ceilings, the lovers’ embrace harmonizes with the architecture, elevating gay love to the religious beauty and devotion normally associated only with heterosexual marriages. By locating each shot within a religious and cultural context that has opposed marriage equality, Orquin courageously asserts the sacred validity of same-sex love.

The artist deliberately positions each pair at the church alter or in the center of the frame, visually uniting them under gilded crosses, vivid paintings of the crucifixion, and engravings of biblical passages. Like the churches themselves, architecturally built around the sacred concept of symmetry, the lovers are powerfully balanced, each assigned equal visual weight. Where one leans in for the kiss, the other braces to accommodate the movement. Heightening this notion of harmony and equilibrium, each couple is linked by similar clothing choices: two leather jackets, two dark suits, two soft cardigans.

Orquin’s lovers are seen as fully realized unit, unified under the Christian ideas of balance and wholeness. They complement and nurture one another as they bask in a golden glow, lit by radiant daylight steaming into the sacred spaces. Upon seeing these moving images, viewers might recognize the virtue and spiritual value that romantic love affords humanity, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Sadly, an exhibit of Orquin’s images, set to open last fall at the Galleria L’Opera, was legally threatened and ultimately shut down by the Vatican on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. In the eyes of the Catholic church, the photographs would “offend and infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith.” Orquin has articulated his outrage against the decision, and the work continues to spark passionate debate. What do you think? (via HuffPost)

Orquin’s beautiful photographs will be on display in New York’s at the Leslie+Lohman Museum this May.

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Vik Muniz And Marcelo Coelho’s Microscopic Etchings On A Single Grain Of Sand

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In a rather intense bit of wordplay, artist Vik Muniz (whose fantastic illusory work has previously featured several times here) has teamed up with Marcelo Coelho to create intricate and near-impossibly detailed sandcastles. Taking a single grain of scan, the duo has spent four years perfecting a process of microscopically etching fortress-like castles into single grains of sand. Each piece of sand measures less than one half of a single millimeter are created using an incredibly focused ion beam (FIB – typically used to create microchips) and documented with a scanning electron microscope, later enlarged to show the incredibly fine detail of the the project.

Muniz explains why the duo uses sand, as opposed to post-photographic editing (such as photoshop), “When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means.’” Adds Coelho, “I think photography is just re-starting. There’s a whole new kind of photography emerging now. A lot of it is happening because of this combination between computers and cameras, and story telling and narratives can emerge as a result.” 

These pieces are part of retrospective of Muniz’s work at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, now through August 2nd, 2014. (via designboom)

Artist Interview: Facebook Censored Photographer Gracie Hagen’s New Book

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If you were following us back in December, you may remember a post we did about Gracie Hagen‘s project, “Illusions of the Body.” This proved our most popular post to date, and was even flagged and banned by Facebook as inappropriate, something I covered in a separate post. Since the December post, Hagen has finished putting a book together of full color images of the project, including 17 never before released images. The book is available for pre-order on sale for $50 (regularly $60) to be shipped on May 1st, and each advance purchase will be numbered and signed by Hagen. What better way to show your support of work like Hagen’s, work that shouldn’t be censored by social media just because it features nude bodies, than to own your very own collection of these powerful images?  Hagen was able to answer a few questions about the ban and her work via email.

Alicia Martin Lopez’s Nightmarish Paintings Imagine Our Inner Demons, Secret Fears

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The artist Alicia Martin Lopez gives form to her emotional demons through her darkly seen paintings; imagining the shapes and tones of oft-repressed memories and desires, her work dares to plunge into the depths of human fear. With their infinitely cavernous black eyes, Lopez’s disquietingly amorphous characters invite viewers into the nightmarish dreamscape of our own psychological narratives.

Lopez’s frightful beings inhabit a space outside the confines of time; day and night blur together as light pours in and leaks out of the scene without cause. The monsters are wildly unbound, floating in midair, drifting on water, or holding desperately to rock formations, toes clinched with uncertainty. Like thoughts that flood the darkest corners of the human psyche, the beasts may appear at any time in any place, haunting the mind’s eye without warning.

As soon as they rear their heads, however, the creatures are woefully repressed; one octopus-like animal sits confined in a cell, his crooked neck craning to accommodate a sickly grey face. Like our own private demons, Lopez’s creatures are starved of attention and psychic nourishment, kept bottled in the murky depths of subconscious memory. They each stare downward as if collapsed by the space above them, their bodies bracing against the weight of repression. A flying squid’s wings appear as if crushed by exhaustion; sea creatures’ bearded faces droop into impossibly still water, their sorrowful expressions reflected back at them.

These animals are a tangible reminder of memories and sufferings that refuse to stay buried; collapsing in upon themselves, they beg for our recognition. In granting form to formless worries, the artist suggests that our psychological demons are perhaps less fearful than they are beautifully, mournfully sympathetic. Take a look. (via Hi Fructose and Juxtapoz)

Marcel Christ’s energetic photographs feature colorful powder explosions

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Marcel Christ creates a series of photographs in which he tries to deviate from his usual commercial photographs. With clients like Sony, Nokia, Samsung, Evian and L’Oréal-Chirst is used to photographing still lives, essentially objects arranged in interesting and appealing but static ways. In his latest artistic series, Christ extends his modern, clean lighting and sense of composition (characteristics that resonate with his commercial photography), but takes it to the next level. Christ aims to transform what would be a static representations of colorful powders to something that is undeniably energetic- everything moves, jumps, and flies.

Christ succeeds at photographing unpredictable action. The powder’s movement and expansion are the main characters; they sporadically spread throughout the composition.

I think my work has some heritage from Dutch tradition, in its choice of props for instance – the vase. But different in its own way at the same time. Because it is not ‘still’ at all. It’s frozen in time, but very energetic in its appearance.

(via TreadHunter)

Grotesque Paintings Of Toddlers And Tiaras Are Both Alluring And Revolting

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Toddlers And Tiaras

Toddlers And Tiaras

Toddlers And Tiaras

In “Honey Boo Boo’’s Amurrican Starquest” and “Beautimous,” the painter Ingrid V. Wells creates saturated candy-colored portraits of the young stars of TLC’s reality television series Toddlers And Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The hit show follows the world of child beauty pageants, filming in homes and hotel ballrooms across the country; Wells’s paintings remove these made-up living dolls from this context, hurling them into an unsettling space where dreams and nightmares collide.

In many ways, the work is fantastical and wondrous; painted in watercolors and “girly-girl” tones, the figures are as fanciful as pages of a picture book. In the world of pageantry, the toddlers are shown as princesses, gifted with an endless supply of jewels, unicorns, sunny days, and balloon animal pinkness. The sit enthroned and proud, hoisted to the highest heights by fame and fortune.

Upon closer inspection, though, the pageant girls are seen through a lens of despair and disgust. Their saccharine smiles melt under the sweaty pressure of thick paint, mascara and lipstick desperately oozing from their pores. Wells transforms the medium of watercolor, using the normally delicate, ethereal paint in heavy, unappealing globs. The unicorn is revealed to be a pig, an animal symbolic of excess; her gleaming, swollen utters hang, and she, like the girls who awkwardly bear their midsections, is suddenly cast in a profoundly uncomfortable sexual light.

Here, prettinesss becomes both revolting and dangerous; beneath their bedazzled cupcake dresses, the girls are defeated, their eyes cast down in sorrow, still tragically yearning for a judge’s approval. (via BUST and Huff Post)

Collaborative Team’s Chandelier Shadows Room With Trees

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Forms in Nature from Yeray Lopez Portillo on Vimeo.

Artists/design team Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz collaborated to create, Forms in Nature, a chandelier which, when alight, creates shadows in any (reasonably sized) room that appear to be intertwined tree branches or entire root system. Describing their collaborative process as combining “existing cultural icons and basic elements, which they transform and modify to tamper with the common perception”, the duo essentially reconnects modern technology to more primitive, natural elements.

The creators say of the piece, “The shadows engulf the room and transforms the walls into unruly shadows of branches, bushes, and gnarled trees. Mirrorings are thrown out upon the walls and ceilings and provide weak Rorschach-like hints of faces, life and flow of consciousness.” (via mymodernmet)