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Collaboration Between Artist And Photographer Yields A New Brand Of “Digitally Handcrafted” Images

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Michael Cina has created a world-renowned career by fusing elements of both design and art into a signature style of technically-sound, visually striking, and uniquely glossy works. This approach has brought massive clients ranging from Facebook to Coca-Cola to MTV, as well as fine-art success. His latest efforts involved opening up control of his personal practice, however, as Cina worked side-by-side, though miles away, with a collaborator. For over a year, Cina and New York-based photographer John Klukas worked together to create a new body of work, which they began to call “digitally handmade” – a true synthesis of each creator’s respective styles. This collaboration yielded some twenty works, which are collected in the exhibition, She Who Saw Deep, at Minneapolis’ Public Functionary.

Beginning their complicated collaborative process with photos of the exhibition’s singular muse in Klukas’ New York studio, Cina then took the images and digitally overlaid his handmade paintings in his Minneapolis studio. Working the files back and forth between the two several times, the finished files were often so large and dense that they were as large as 16GB. These pieces were then printed and mounted, where Cina made final edits by hand – embellishing, spraying, drawing, and painting each piece to give them their own unique finish.

The digitally handcrafted images in She Who Saw Deep are then titled around the loose parallel of the Epic of Gilgamesh, “where the hero passes through the absolute darkness of grief, fear and death to be reborn into the light…the resulting works in this exhibit are both a visual and conceptual interpretation of this classic and universal human story.” Public Functionary, which offered support for the printing and creation of the works, is offering unique, limited-edition prints of these collaborative works, which can be purchased here.

She Who Saw Deep is currently on view now through July 13th at Public Functionary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. 

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A Hole In The Place Of Heart

When the violence of individuals generates the birth of a strange collective monster, anything is possible… A surrealist vision of inhumanity.
PS. this was all done with sand animation!

PSS. By David Myriam

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Studio Visit: Alexandra Grant’s Bold Text Paintings

As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Alexandra Grant. See the full studio visit and interview with Alexandra and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.

Alexandra’s studio is in the historic West Adams district of Los Angeles, just a short distance from Koreatown and Downtown. From the outside her building looks like a non-descript, kind of funky commercial space that in no way expresses how big her studio actually is. The place is huge with a cavernous feel to it— cold, shadowy, and resounding with echoes, it heightened every one of my senses. Everything I took in seemed exaggerated: the damp air, the bright fluorescent lights, the vibrant colors of Alexandra’s paintings, and the steady rhythm of her voice. Long after our visit those impressions continued to linger, as did much of my conversation with Alexandra. She is a force to be reckoned with— her brain is agog with ideas that she expresses in a continuous flow of conversation, often jumping from one thought to the next as they wildly run through her mind. Her energy is infectious and inspiring, and makes you feel like the world is in fact full of promise, insight and adventure. Many of Alexandra’s paintings are collaborations with writers and their ideas, which makes sense because she appreciates the complex nature of dialogue: the exchange of both concepts and language, the act of deciphering and interpreting, the twists of subtext, and the inevitable losses in translation and how we make up for them. By borrowing writers’ poetic language she utilizes the format of dialogue to create “conversation” between image and text. In engaging text and image this way, the work then becomes a liminal space that challenges the viewer’s ability to perceive and hold both elements at once.

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Elif Varol Ergen

By now you know I have a soft spot for illustrators that delve into the dark side so it should be of no surprise that I’m posting the blood covered, head splitting, and eye popping drawings of turkish illustrator Elif Varol Ergen. Not only are these works delightfully grotesque but they are beautifully drawn with an iconic color palette of red, black, and baby blue for good measure.

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Thom Puckey at Museum Centro Pecci

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Sculptor Thom Puckey has a new exhibit on now at the Museum Centro Pecci in Prato, Italy, called Extreme Beauty. The unexpected combination of classically-sculpted figures paired with implements of death are a definite comment on where society has taken us since Neoclassicism. “The presence of modern weapons in the sculptures makes them seem contemporary in a cheap kind of way, this I realise. I like this suggestion of cheapness, I play into it. Chicks and guns,” explains the artist. Puckey makes “cheap” look pretty amazing, don’t you think?

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Li Hui’s Cage

The exhibition “CAGE” by Chinese artist Li Hui will be shown at the Ernst Schering Foundation’s Project Space on Unter den Linden. In his works, Li Hui creates unreal situations that have a dreamlike quality. In the exhibition room, the visitor is temporarily and randomly surrounded by a cage made of laser beams. Hui uses the cage, which encloses but does not harm the visitor, to explore individual boundaries and demonstrate how people are influenced by purely optical though physically irrelevant barriers. Visitors are confronted with both a liminal and a powerful visual aesthetic experience. The installation not only makes the visitor “inside the cage” examine his or her feelings, the “outside” observers, too, can watch the experiment and behavior of “those trapped inside.”

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Minimal With A Dash Of Pop

 

 

Stas Volovik  paints some nice minimal abstract paintings that have just a hint of pop to them. There’s a few good collages on his portfolio site as well but the paintings take the cake.

 

 

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Sexual Experience Deconstructed In Erotic Photos (NSFW)

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The photographer Sarah Anne Johnson snaps shots of the most intimate kind, asking friends and acquaintances to sit for her while engaging in sexual activity: intercourse, foreplay, kissing, masturbation. Later, the artist enters into a new kind of dialogue with the erotic photos, covering her portraits in glitter and gold plate or scratching away their emulsion in strategic places.

The form of Johnson’s series, titled Wanderlust, brilliantly echoes its content. In penetrating the materiality of the photographic medium by altering its surface, Johnson makes as much of a statement about artistic or creative lust than she does about human sexuality. The gently cracked, ashy layer of a burnt chromogenic print mirrors a lover’s tender caress; similarly, a halo of scratches parallels a couple’s orgiastic pleasure.

Despite Johnson’s unconventional process—perhaps even because of it—Wanderlust seems a powerfully honest rendering of sexual intimacy. At times, human closeness becomes cosmically infinite, a moment of love solidified in gold plate or starry glitter. But many of the photographs complicate the notion of what it means to be truly vulnerable; often, her collage work obscures and flattens one lover, leaving his or her partner alone, isolated in the frame and utterly naked.

Johnson’s work relies on this tension between connection and isolation, a theme which serves to imbue the series with a palpable sense of sexual tension; for instance, two bodies are deconstructed in Puzzle Pieces, formatted to appear unified under one complex and paradoxically disjointed aesthetic. Simultaneously penetrating the viewer and and leaving us to gasp for air, the body of work is a must-see. It is currently on view at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery. (via Art in America and Feature Shoot)

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