A strange new campaign has started in St Pauli, the party district of Hamburg in Germany. In order to deter drunken party goers who have a habit of peeing on walls, doorsteps, playgrounds and in alley ways, local activists have coated the surfaces in a substance that will change where visitors go to the toilet. This wonder substance is a superhydrophobic coating which causes any substance to hit it to rebound and splash back more than it normally would. Some areas are marked with warning signs, some are not. Most importantly they don’t mean to be unfriendly toward tourists, it acts more as a strong message.
Such a simple, novel idea thought up by a community group will have such a wide reaching impact, and will make a whole lot of local businesses happier, cleaner and a lot less stinky.
The group also plans to roll out a program in which people using the restroom at bars can get a stamp on a special card that can be redeemed for a shot on the house after the sixth restroom trip. One thing is for certain: if you pee in public in St. Pauli, “urine” trouble. (Source)
The campaign is a tongue-in-cheek approach to a serious issue for the area. And proves that St Pauli can defend itself. So far the idea has made waves around the internet and perhaps will encourage other areas to do the same. (Via Bored Panda)
Photographer Robert Landau captured stunning rock ‘n’ roll billboards in the late ’60s and ’70s. Primarily inspired by album art, the billboards were massive monuments that took on a life of their own. Reigning over the Sunset Strip, which was at the time the lifeblood of the music industry, the billboards became more than just advertisements. They were physical embodiments of a vibrant scene populated by colorful rock stars and tantalizing music idols.
In an interview with Collectors Weekly, Landau says, “There was a whole scene going on along the Strip, but it was really focused on rock ’n’ roll. The billboards captured all that energy, and also some of the excess of money and drugs.” The billboards themselves were anything but flat; at the time, they were hand painted using specific techniques to ensure they could be read from a distance.
Around the time billboards roamed the streets was also the height of some true album art artistry. “It was a joint process,” Landau says of the intersection of the two, “… in most cases, the musicians had already commissioned amazing artwork for their albums.” The tricky part was then translating the album art from a square sleeve to the more traditional rectangular frame of a billboard. The solution was to add an extra dimension to it, enabling figures and objects to burst out of the picture and become almost 3D in effect. Billboard artists got creative, lighting up 3D lampshades and creating silhouettes that seemed to loom like titans.
“It wasn’t about getting somebody to a cash register to buy something,” Landau says, commenting on the uniqueness of these everyday artworks. “It was about creating an image, and about a trust between the artist and the record companies.”
Even as people bemoan the death of the album, at least there are photos like Landau’s that remind us of a time when music was larger than life.
Micaela Lattanzio creates works of art that go beyond the traditional forms of photography. This collection, called “Frammentazioni,” shatters photos into bits and pieces, enabling Lattanzio to play with space and texture. Her mosaic-esque pieces contain a sort of kinetic energy, suggesting form and movement in a subtle way.
Like other types of art that use human features, it’s hard not to assign emotion to Lattanzio’s work. She literally uses human images as jig saw pieces, evoking a sort of psychological depth that could be read as anxious or even playful.
Some of Lattanzio’s works are use the various pieces of photographs as pixels, rearranging them around each other but maintaining some semblance of the original shape. Other pieces lace together long stripes, looking like the result of two inkjet printers communing (via Hi-Fructose)
David Emitt Adams beautifully captures the landscape of the Southwest on the surface of discarded tin cans along with other debris he finds in the desert. Growing up in Yuma, Arizona, he is no stranger to the desert and the objects inhabiting it. Adams explains that deserts, naturally being so barren, are often used as a dumping site for garbage. This is where he finds all of his materials, with some tin cans being up to four decades old. He combines classic and iconic Southwest imagery with the reality of the state of the land today. Although the present day desert still holds immense and vast beauty, it is not without the remnants of urban sprawl left behind.
Throughout history, the West has long been photographed and documented due to its breathtaking and often unbelievable, natural landscapes. Adams not only pays homage to this tradition, but to its traditional processes as well. Inspired by the history of photography, the process he uses was one of the first methods of photography invented. Adams chosen method of photography is not your everyday digital photograph. He uses a labor intensive process invented in the mid-19th century called “wet-plate collodion.” This complicated process not only takes time, but an impressive amount of skill. Adams’ technical talents are only matched by the creativity of his body of work. Each tin can’s rich, red patina is still intact as they bend and twist around their lids, which hold the delicate image of the desert. This series, Conversations with History, is just one of several series in which Adams uses this traditional method of photography to express his artistic vision.
Chinese artist Ye Hongxing tries to bridge the gap between the ideas of East and West; traditional and contemporary; spirituality and commercialization. She plays these different ideas off of each other in her new work called Prajñāpāramitā. This new piece is a reinterpretation of the traditional art form of a Mandala, but made from mass-produced plastic toys, beads and stickers. The title Prajñāpāramitā actually means the Buddhist concept of Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom, and is a fitting cynical commentary on just how bizarre our worlds have become, filled with shopping and consuming commodities and objects.
Hongxing’s stickers are otherwise seen as disposable and ephemeral objects—a comment on the disposable nature of contemporary culture. The sheer volume of the stickers echoes the overload of information that we are presented with on a daily basis. (Source)
Based in Beijing, Hongxing is frequently reacting to the ever-changing culture surrounding her, and the pace of which it happens. Using opposing traditions and systems to comment on each other, she draws our attention to our own actions. By methodically placing thousands of plastic, secular, pop-cultural, commercial objects down in a systemic fashion to build a spiritual motif, she brings two very different practices together in a head on collision. We are reminded of the Buddist traditions of meditation and repetition, but instead of being geared toward serenity and peace, this time it is in the name of glitz, glamor and garishness.
Hongxing’s other projects include fusing Chinese and Western artistic practices together – creating luscious oil paintings filled with decorative Chinese porcelain patterns; making marble sculptures of kitschy blow up animal balloons; and layering hundreds of glittery stickers on each other to form surreal, OTT interpretations of modern day life. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Javier Galindo, an artist of many talents, uses ready-made objects to create an interesting narrative that comments on possessions we value. By nature, humans are collectors. So much so, that we even have an entire T.V. series dedicated to this hoarder phenomenon. In Galindo’s series The Incomplete Tour, he creates objects that mimic, question, and alter keepsakes and mementos often collected by travelers and tourists. Specifically, he references “The Grand Tour,” a trip that many youth would take during the 18th century across Europe. The purpose of this journey was to gain knowledge of the Western world’s cultural history and to be exposed to its many treasures, such as classical antiquity. To preserve their memories, as we often do today, they would collect souvenirs. Galindo’s question is, what is this memento actually worth? It is by no means an original; it is just a fragment or a trace of what was experienced.
Influenced by classic antiquities, Galindo’s series transforms and skews these fractures of remembered treasures. The series is comprised of a wide variety of mediums including cast plaster and oil paint, as it also is included two-dimensional and three -dimensional works. Focusing on portraiture, the once traditional portraits and busts are now sliced and stacked, skewed by paint, or literally cut out of their frame. In a world where we are obsessed with documenting every moment through digital photos, it is interesting to see a reference to a time where the only way to keep the moment with you, was through collecting physical souvenirs. A photograph is like a still memory, a fragment of an event that can often warp the true memory. Just like a photograph, Galindo’s mementos are just fragments of the whole; they are hints of a narrative further skewed by Galindo’s artistic eye.
Han Xiao‘s portraits show people with garbled faces, expressing themselves with thick swirls of paint instead of a pleading frown. Citing Francis Bacon as a major influence, she channels her inspiration through the tangled emotions and shocks of color in her paintings.
“The major themes I pursue include life, conflict, confrontation of odd shapes in the social environment, and the contradiction behind the reality,” Xiao says. The contradiction she seeks to portray seems to come from within her subjects, their identities marred by some kind of disconnect between their inner and outer selves.
Xiao’s work has been described as having “a kind of loneliness and faint anxiety,” but the sense of violent desperation is offset by the fact that these people seem to want to be heard. The brushstrokes are frenetic and intense, but they are also trying to communicate something — ultimately, they are trying to connect. (via I Need a Guide)
American artist Robert Wechsler is a bit of a trickster. He takes everyday objects and transforms them into unexpected oddities and puzzling sights. He alters things and spaces, changing our understanding of the most understated and mundane item/place. His latest ‘practical joke’ Money was commissioned by The New Yorker and involves him cutting notches into different coins and slotting them together to look like atoms or complex cube shapes.
He has a fine sense of humor, and has practiced it extensively through previous projects. He has welded nine bikes together to create a giant carousel, re-plumbed a public drinking fountain that fooled thirsty members of the public, and instead of quenching their own thirst, watered nearby plants. Wechsler has also worked with currency before – he has cast a penny 30,000 times it’s size and replaced a manhole cover with it. He explains his motivations:
My focus is necessarily on the familiar. Comfortably accustomed to everyday objects and spaces, we are blind to their unseen beauty and elegance. Who looks at a shopping cart or a toaster for the object itself? This state of static expectations is fertile ground for surprise. It is a conscious re-examination of my subjects that re-instates the novel back into the familiar. This is the moment of surprise, the moment we discover what is unseen in what is always seen. In reverence for what initially appears modest we get a small glimpse of the boundless elegance of our world. (Source)
Adding another conceptual layer to the project, the Money series is exhibited on Cointemporary – the online gallery where you can purchase artworks with bitcoins. (Via Fubiz)