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The Spotless Worlds of Norah Stone’s ‘Artificial Utopias’

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Using narratives and visual genres found in art, combined with the clean aesthetics of design and contemporary product advertising, the work of Norah Stone is representative of a generation which has seen both art and design coexisting, flattened by the computer screen, and has no use for their separation. The classic art vs. design question is something that comes up a lot in my daily life but I often find it to be a futile discussion, says the Minneapolis-based Stone, “I guess I just don’t think it’s important to set up boundaries just for the sake of boundaries.”

Norah Stone’s most-recent series, Artificial Utopias, creates thoroughly modern still life scenes, which despite their alluring hyppereal-quality (reminiscent of advertising and pictorial), the distinct sense of disconnect between these spotless digital worlds and our own is unsettling.

Says Stone,

“In a culture where most of our daily routines and habits have been replaced by a digital screen, the scroll, the pixel, and the ability to retouch has ultimately changed our ideals of perfection….As I was working on this project I was thinking a lot about how growing up in the digital generation has subconsciously molded me to be attracted to a certain cleanliness that can only be achieved on screen. Artificial Utopias was a culmination of my own personal experience with the digital world and also the research I was doing on still lives. The super clean, almost surreal aesthetic came from trying to recreate the visceral experience that comes from staring at a screen for a long period of time.”

This play between perfection and illusion, the real and the empty, eventually manifested itself into twin video works as well. “In the video works (below) I was trying to recreate the process of eliminating imperfections through the clone stamp tool. In post production, I spent a lot of time retouching these photos to achieve the cleanliness of a stock photo. I wanted to capture the mundane process of retouching and erasing over and over again until you’re left with something completely different,” says Stone, who perhaps quite telling concludes, “or nothing at all.”

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Mind-Blowing Lifelike Sculptures of Your Favorite Movie Stars

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The Michigan-based artist Bobby Causey breathes life into his astonishingly realistic sculptures of iconic movie stars and characters. As if ripped straight from the silver screen, his latex figures of Heath Ledger as the Joker and Jack Nicholson in The Shining appear to be frozen in a moment of passion and suspense. Some of the meticulously-crafted characters are built on a one to six scale, but their miniature frame hardly detracts from their ability to express the thrill of a memorable cinematic moment.

Without any formal training, the self-taught artist has developed a craft uniquely his own; for each piece, he carefully studies photographs of actors, memorizing their every trait. Amazingly, he plugs each strand of hair into the heads of his creation individually. While he has done some work for TV shows, his heart remains with classic film, and he prefers to send his work to children’s charities like the Make-a-Wish foundation. For his own daughter, he built a Na’vi from the movie Avatar.

Though he ultimately hopes to explore original sculptures, Causey narrows his current focus on replicating well-known and well-loved characters: Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Kiefer Sutherland as David in The Lost Boys, and Batman from The Dark Knight. These hyperrealistic models remind us of the joys of the cinema, fleshing out the figures who have haunted the collective conscious of movie-goers for decades. Causey’s body of work is much like the famed wax figures of Madame Tussaud’s museum, but they are somehow less campy, emanating a lovely sense of earnestness. Take a look. (via Oddity Central)
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Bus Stop Made From 100,000 LEGO Bricks Pops Up In London To Celebrate The Year Of The Bus

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With Britain celebrating the Year Of The Bus (#YOTB), three major companies teamed up to build an amazing life-sized LEGO bus stop on the Regent Street in London. Constructed from over 100,000 LEGO bricks, it features even the most intricate details and has a personal hashtag (#LEGOBusStop).

Opened to public just a few days ago, this bus stop already received huge attention from city’s visitors and locals. On Sunday, it served as a checkpoint for vintage bus parade and showcased models from the 1820′s up to the most modern Routemasters. According to the TfL spokesman, the bus stop was meant to stay in place until July 15th but the term may be prolonged.

“Many thousands of people pass along Regent Street each day and we hope the new shelter will bring a smile to the face of even a hardened commuter”,–Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport.

The LEGO bus stop project was initiated by Transport for London and developed together with LEGO and Trueform, a company that specializes in public transport hardware. It took around two weeks to build and appears on the outside of a legendary toy store Hamley’s.

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Florian Beaudenon Invites Us To Relish Voyeurism In His Photos From Above

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French photographer Florian Beaudenon’s series Instant Life invites the viewer to relish their voyeurism as we spy on people caught from above. The intimate photographs features a variety of women living their everyday lives; they fix a bike, eat on the couch, and write in a notebook. Although we’re invited into their homes, we never see their face.

If you love people watching and interiors, then Beaudenon’s photographs probably pique your interest. The compositions are zoomed in enough so we can admire the fine details of their dwellings. Collections of books, sex toys, and shoes are all featured in the wood-floored homes. It doesn’t matter that we can’t fully see what these people look like – we learn enough about them through just the items they own and how they organize where they live. (Via Fast Co. Design)

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Made With Color Presents: Anja Priska Is Monkeying Around With Humanities Fate

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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time once again for our exclusive partnership with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you the best contemporary art and design from around the world. Our friends at Made With Color help creative people from all walks of life build sleek and user friendly websites in minutes, allowing artists to use their spare time doing what’s important, making art! This week we’re excited to bring the work of London based artist and Made With Color user Anja Priska.

Since 2009 monkeys, one of the most common and ambiguously-loaded animals in the history of art, occupy an increasingly important role in the work painter and sculptor Anja Priska. Mixing elements of hard edged abstraction, pop culture, and humor, Priska creates wonderfully bizarre worlds where our DNA sharing cousins run amuck, kick back, and most of all make us humans take a closer look at ourselves.

Constantly developing the primates in her work into metaphors of the intuitive process of being, Priska gives them the suggestion of a voice on humanity’s fate as well as their own. By performing caricatured roles of humans the monkeys hold up a mirror to their audience, making us aware of how much we mimic ourselves and others in order to be.

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Stephen Wilkes’ Cleverly Captures The Transition From Day To Night In One Photograph

Presidential Inauguration, Washington, D.C.

Presidential Inauguration, Washington, D.C.

Wrigley Field, Chicago

Wrigley Field, Chicago

Santa Monica Pier, California

Santa Monica Pier, California

Western Wall, Jerusalem

Western Wall, Jerusalem

Stephen Wilkes‘ “Day to Night” series captures the day-to-night transitions that occur in familiar cityscapes. Each image represents a collection of moments, not just a singular moment in time. About 50 photographs out of around 1,500 shots taken over the course of 12-15 hours comprise each single resulting photograph. During his shoots, Wilkes doesn’t allow himself bathroom breaks and when he eats, he eats meals brought to him in a bucket because it’s imperative that the photographer pay careful attention to the emptiness or potential overlaps of each shot. Wilkes’ composite photographs document movements within the same space from sunrise to sunset, each image capturing the transitions these spaces undergo on a daily basis.

For Time, Wilkes offers a descriptive caption of many images. Of his Wrigley Field photograph he explains, “This photograph was taken during the course of a Day/Night double header, a rare occurrence these days in major league baseball. Wrigley Field is the Grand Temple of baseball parks. It will change dramatically within the next year, as large jumbotrons will be installed into the stadium, forever changing this view. While the morning was sunny and clear, the afternoon made for a real challenge photographically. We had rain showers on and off throughout the day, and into the evening.”

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While Visiting Uganda, Photographer Stumbles Upon A Bizarre Set Of Faceless Portraits

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While visiting the town of Gulu in Northern Uganda, Italian photographer Martina Bacigalupo discovered a very unusual set of studio portraits. Despite being perfectly composed, none of them featured a subject’s face as they were all cut out leaving blank rectangles in the photograph. Oddly enough, it appeared to be a common practice in Gulu for taking ID photos.

Bacigalupo visited Uganda searching for ways to document this community, which was suffering from violent conflicts. The first faceless photograph she had stumbled upon lead her to meet Obal Denis, the owner of the oldest photography studio in town, the Gulu Real Art Studio (est. 1973).

“The portraits were well composed, with subjects seated on a chair or on a bench, with a blue, white or red curtain behind them, in various poses and modes of dress. Obal <…> told me the secret behind those pictures: he only had a machine that would make four ID photos at a time, and since most of his clients didn’t need four pictures, he therefore preferred to take an ordinary photograph and cut an ID photo out of it.”

For Bacigalupo, these ‘leftover’ images were the purest form of representation of Gulu’s society. She gathered the unused prints and interviewed clients of Obal’s studio. To most Ugandans, who suffered from more than two decades of war, taking new ID photos marked important changes in their lives: getting a driver’s license, starting a new job or applying for a loan. The value of such events is perfectly conveyed through the subject’s pose, gesture, clothing and other subtle details.

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Jim Lambie’s Stunning Geometric Floor Installations Create With Tape

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With regular vinyl tape, Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie transforms any given space into a colorful, mesmerizing landscape that often create optical illusions. There is no beginning and no end, no contraction and no expansion- in turn, Lanbie says that his construction “somehow evaporates the hard edge off and pulls you towards more of a dreamscape.” Much like the iconic, giant works of the Abstract Expressionists, its composition is hypnotic, abysmal, and sometimes spiritual, but always bit disorienting at first.

The labor intensive intallations take up to several weeks to complete, but that is no excuse to stop making them. As a former musician, the artist draws on musical references as inspiration. Often time, the titles of his pieces refer to iconic bands or songs, including The Doors, Morrison Hotel (2005), and Careless Whisper (2009). The design of his installations  depend on the architecture of the space; each and every one of these are unique and transient installations that cannot be exactly reproduced anywhere else.

(via My Modern Met and Web Exhibits)

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