Published in 2011, Ricardo Cases‘s stunning photo book Paloma al Aire (Pigeons In the Air) depicts colorful and unusual moments from a unique form of pigeon racing that takes place in Valencia and Murcia, Spain. This “sport” involves the release of one female pigeon and dozens of painted male pigeons – the winner of the “race” is decided by how much time the male spends with the female. Each male pigeon is painted by his owner, in much the same way color is used to distinguish teams. The pigeons’ breeders, mostly older retired men, invest lots of time and money into their birds – some of the pigeons are worth thousands of euros in addition to the amounts placed during bets on these flighty contestants. For these retired men, these birds are emblematic of their later-life hopes and dreams – each painted pigeon becomes a projection of the pigeon-keeper, representing sportive, economic and sexual success or failure in the community. Be sure to check out Cases’s other work, including his similarly colorful series of the 2012 Florida Republican Presidential Primary for TIME Magazine. (via foam magazine)
Azuma Makoto creates elaborate floral installations, and has now added an impressive new endeavor to his portfolio. The artist’s most recent project sent a bonsai tree and an arrangement of orchids, lilies, hydrangeas, and irises into space! The results are breathtaking. The bouquet is full of colour, and floats free, contrasting against the deep darkness of space and the effervescent blue glow of the earth. It’s an extremely poetic gesture, and somehow it feels like no matter how skilled someone might be in photo editing, they could never build these images synthetically to have the same impact. Maybe this is because the images that document Makoto’s process are of almost equal interest. Seeing the plants from start to finish – as they are bought, assembled, and rise to the sky – reveals the unimaginable procedure to be almost within reach of anyone. It’s still completely awe inspiring, either in spite of or as a direct result of this transparency.
Makoto has a great deal of interesting projects with plants, many of which involving bonsai’s. One is a bonsai tree made of lego, which is an uncharacteristically playful creation, although it still holds much of the seriousness present in his other works. In another sculpture project, Makoto created two containers each with a bonsai inside. In one the tree was completely submerged in water and in the other the tree was burned. As in the space project, Makoto seems interested in the subjections the plants may endure, and experimenting with containment and environment. (Via Fastco Design)
Everyones favorite chocolate wizards Lindt has just opened its newest – and highest shop (3,466 meters /11,371ft above sea level) on top of the Jungfraujoch on the Aletsch glacier, against the backdrop of the Bernese Alps!
What started as a friendly banter on Twitter between athletes turned quickly into the ultimate challenge when Swiss pro tennis player Roger Federer invited American World Cup Alpine Skier Lindsey Vonn to a game of tennis atop the Alps to celebrate the launch of the new Lindt shop. The winner would of course get the best prize of all, a stash of tasty Lindt chocolate to be eaten in one of the most spectacular places on earth! Watch the video and get ready to be introduced to the ultimate Chocolate Heaven!
This post is sponsored by Lindt.
Visual artist Kalen Hollomon, recently titled the “cut out king of New York”, is blurring the lines between the social conformity and taboo with his mixed media artworks. His collages feature mundane city life moments, high fashion editorials and old advertisements blended with clippings from vintage pornography scenes.
“I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface – with relativity, perception, sexuality and pop culture. My images are reality manipulation, manipulating other people’s identities. The idea of and ability to alter the value or meaning of an image or object by adding or subtracting elements is really exciting to me – adding or taking away elements from something until it becomes the sexiest it can be at that moment.”
Holomon is christened to be the child of the iPhone generation. Snapped with a smartphone camera, his creative collages started gaining exposure thanks to the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter. However, the same attention has forced the artist to censor some of his works. Hollomon says he “had accounts shut down and posts removed for as little as butt cheeks”.
Beyond the absurdity and wit, Hollomon’s work also represents the new trend of privacy-lacking public photography. His instant iPhone images from New York’s streets and subways rarely deal with any permissions for public use. That unawareness is exactly what turns such works into powerful socio-documentary messages. (via Dazed)
At first glance, it looks like these embroideries by artist Sula Fay pair thread with your average stitching techniques to depict body parts, words, and ancient sculptures on circular vintage Victorian-era doilies. That fact alone makes them unconventional in the traditional sense of the craft. But, the artist adds one more special touch to make these works all her own – strands of her hair. Fay threads a needle with her locks and passes it through the aged fabric. She describes her reasons and process:
As an adolescent, I struggled with my hair. Being of half African and Puerto Rican descent I inherited very naturally curly hair. Alongside my white skinned, long straight haired friends, I felt different and unattractive. I went through many gruelling hours brushing, combing, and straightening. That process was very difficult and tedious, just like the process of my embroideries. To embroider with my hair I have to straighten each piece separately. (Via Booooooom)
Life is an inextricable combination of beauty and awfulness, good and evil, and Japanese artist Daisuke Ichiba captures these dichotomies in his highly detailed, densely populated drawings. Drawing is just one of the media that Ichiba has mastered — he is also a painter, filmmaker, and photographer. No matter the form, though, his content grapples with the reality of life and its grotesqueries.
“Choosing to create work that is only beautiful feels artificial. Thus I paint both. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. In my work I project chaos, anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd, and the irrational. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).”
At first glance it’s possible to miss the disturbing elements of Ichiba’s work. The Indian ink compositions are dense and unusual for Japanese art, which tends toward clean lines and minimalism, although they do include Japanese iconography such as the schoolgirl and cherry blossoms. Influenced by his early admiration of comic book art and manga as well as the loss of his mother at age 8, his works fuse vile, often many-eyed, monsters into domestic scenes. Figures are missing features—an eye here, a mouth there—and the occasional introduction of color feels threatening, reminiscent of spreading blood.
He meditates on sexuality and death and the intangible cord that ties them together. Ichiba’s haunting tableaus are a type of contemporary shunga (Edo-period erotic scrolls), in which beauty navigates chaos with one eye closed. (Source)
The impassivity of the deformed figures is striking in the work. Both human and monster accept their fates. The faceless children and severed heads represent the darkness in all of us, ubiquitous and unquestioned.
Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.
The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).
Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.
“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”
According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)
Alberto Sevesos creates turbulent digital images of nude female figures. Colours swirl inside the elusive bodies that appear and disappear with a hint of nipple or goose bumps running down a torso. The movements within the nudes are so compelling it becomes difficult to bring yourself out to view the images as a whole. The viewer’s eye becomes lost in the gestures, especially as you try to make sense of the forms. In parts the figures seem as though they are glass, filled with swirling paints, but then they fade into nothingness where just beside is a definitive form.
The positions of the bodies themselves also create movement in the work. They bend, extend and caress in a dancerly manner. Sometimes the bodies are surprising, as they seem only to be deconstructed and not reassembled. A hand appears without sense, transforming the texture of the swirls that are like liquid in one moment, and smoke in the next. The hot and cold oranges, blues, and whites add an elemental aspect to the work, complemented by the natural skin tones and clean bright lighting of the original photograph. The work is airy and also haunting as the tantalizing figures ghost in and out of existence in plain sight. (Via Illusion Scene 360)