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Michael Massaia’s Melting Ice Cream Portraits Capture Fleeting Childhood Moments

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Photographer Michael Massaia has been lauded for his haunting black and white photographs that catch the shadow life of cities at night. In his photo series, Transmorgify, he turns his eye not to a city caught in limbo, but rather a period of time. Massaia captures childhood treats melting into swirls and psychedelic puddles, creating traces of sugar and cream that look almost like wisps of smoke. 

From the classic Neapolitan ice cream bar to more modern fare such as My Little Pony popsicles with gumball eyes, the series shows a simpler time in a moment of transformation. Set against a stark black background, though, the photos aren’t quite portraits; they seem to take a deeper look, as though putting childhood memories on a microscope slide.
More than just sticky remnants between an 8-year-old’s fingers, Massaia’s work seems to allude to something more precious and ephemeral. Viewed from one perspective, the melting ice cream has the same pastel and neon colors as a sidewalk chalk drawing, smudged by fresh rain. From another perspective, the photos speak of decay and something that can’t be revisited, sweeter maybe in memoriam.
Transmorgify is currently on display at Gallery 270 in New Jersey until May 16th.

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Made With Color Presents: Cassandra Jones’ Incredible Geometric Cheerleader Patterns And Lightning Drawings

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Cassandra Jones

Our friends at portfolio site builder Made With Color have teamed up with Beautiful/Decay yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This week we are happy to share the work of mixed media artist Cassandra Jones.

Cassandra Jones uses thousands of found images collected from stock photography
agencies, eBay, and public domain archives to create her dazzling digital collages. Culling through thousands of found images, she compiles these photographs to create imagery that tell stories about human observation and the power of photographic imagery in our snap-happy contemporary lifestyle.

Two standout bodies of works by Jones includes her Good Cheer and Lightning Drawing series. In Good Cheer Jones takes stock photos of peppy cheerleaders performing stunts that flaunt their briefs and transforms them into a mesmerizing geometric patterned wallpaper. This type of photography, a young girl in uniform with one leg up in the air, has a duel connotation of family values and pornography all in one image. Good Cheer surrounds the viewer in this paradox of ethical ambiguity. In Lightning Drawing Jones turns to found images of lightning. Merging “Remix Culture” with traditional mark making, Jones groups and connects stock photos of lightning bolts, end to end, to draw a series of circles. Each of these pieces is executed with a different and distinct line quality, including bold, thin, feathered, overlapping, meandering, and fluid linear scores.

About her work Jones States:

My photography archives and the works I create from them are documents of a banality that have emerged from an over-abundance of common imagery. Led by a desire to create a counter to convention, I am attempting to liberate specific visual clichés by embracing them. I draw connections between theses images to demonstrate that the most prevalent scenes we are compelled to capture, somehow link us. Alone, these photos have diverse meanings but when intertwined and woven together they reveal much larger stories of history, ritual, desire and innate human aesthetics, regardless of author.

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Submit an artist for our blog, win a B/D shirt!

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We want you to contribute to our blog! In celebration of International T-Shirt day June 21st, Beautiful/Decay and Tee Junction are pairing up to dish out an awesome  new contest. Leave a link to an artist’s portfolio you think we should feature on the B/D blog in the comments section, along with a brief description of how you heard about them and why you like their work. If we choose your artist to be posted on the blog, we’ll send you a free Beautiful/Decay Apparel shirt! Submissions are due by Monday, June 8, 9PM PST. We can’t wait to see your contributions!

 

*Sorry guys- this one’s limited to domestic entries- shirts will only be shipped within the U.S!

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Ruud Van Empel’s Modern Surrealistic Digital Collages Awaken The Spirit Of His Flemish Ancestors

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Dutch artist Ruud Van Empel is following in the footsteps of his Flemish ancestors and is creating some pretty confronting portraits. He digitally collages images of innocent, wide eyed children into environments of lush, hyper-colored, tropical forests, ponds and gardens. While his pictures are in no doubt beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, there is definitely something unsettling about them. The children seem a bit out of place – staring a bit too intensely at the camera as if they were possessed or hypnotized. Everything seems a bit too perfect, a bit too beautiful.

Van Empel sometimes spends weeks collating images from multiple sources to build one digital portrait. The reason his portraits seem so weird is because they are pictures of people that don’t really exist. This is a bit of an insight into his process:

First he collects all the features he needs by shooting a variety of young models in his studio and by subsequently wandering through Dutch forests, in search of fine leaves, perfect branches and the right waters. Only to tear it apart and spend weeks reconstructing it all until both the person and the setting match his desired standard of photo-realism. (Source)

It can also not go unnoticed that a majority of the kids in Van Empel’s photography are black. The artist himself grew up in a small Dutch village with a large white population. He speaks more about this influencing his work:

I grew up in a small Catholic town in the south of the Netherlands. There was only one black boy in my primary school class. In the portrait Generation 1 I expressed this situation. It shows a white class with just one black pupil. With World#1 I decided to work with more black children. It set off a whole new series of work. First I thought of portraying a girl in a dirty, old and torn-up dress, as if she were very poor. I suppose this idea popped up in my head because of the image we westerners are often given. I didn’t really like that idea though, and decided to give them the clothes my generation wore when we were kids, especially because those clothes looked very innocent to me. (Source)

Van Empel is currently exhibiting at Wagner + Partner Gallery in Berlin, Germany, until June 13th.

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Some Remote Sea

Some Remote Sea’s collage work infuses  vintage photographs with surreal themes.

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Alicia Martín’s Cascading Book Installations

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Alicia Martín

Alicia Martín

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Alicia Martín (formerly featured here – as well as in our Best of 2012) has kept busy this year, expanding on her signature style of cascading book installations that we first saw in BiografíasEach installation begins as a wire and aluminum structure, to which hundreds and thousands of books are attached, creating the illusion of waterfalls of pages and spines wrapping around objects, wrapping around themselves, and pouring from windows and underneath walls.

In works such as Singularidad, the Madrid, Spain-based artist focuses her waves of books into a more circular shape, resembling a vortex rather than a waterfall. Playing with the idea of a black-hole, or naked singularity, the collective swathe of books consumes itself, rather than bursting forward. In Contemporaneos, Martín plays with the idea of the books being the background, the support, or what’s behind the object, pouring out of (or cracking through) a wall – engaging in a dialogue with more indoor, site-specific contemporary installation. However, Martín continues to re-imagine her waterfalls, with newer pieces expanding on previous work’s pouring from buildings, as well as running down streets, through windows and around trees, with pages blowing in the wind at each amazing installation. (via mymodernmet)

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Contribute To The Beautiful/Decay Blog!

Attention Cult Of Decay! Do you know thousands of artists and designers who need to get some well deserve exposure? Do love writing about art and want an outlet? Do you want over a million monthly readers from around the world  reading and hanging on your every word? Do you want to join Beautiful/Decay in our quest for all things groundbreaking and creative? If so then send a few short writing samples or links as well as a cover letter about why you want to join the Beautiful/Decay blog contributor team to contactbd(at)beautifuldecay.com.

We are looking for smart writers and contributors in all corners of the globe who have their hands on the pulse of the contemporary art world and want to join our independent group of writers, critics, and art enthusiasts. Writers must be able to commit to a minimum of two or more articles per week. These positions are unfortunately unpaid but hey who needs money when you have the power of influence and press?

 

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Zoonzin’s Little Lost Project Gives Items A Second Life

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I remember when my mom first told me that the dryer ate socks.  I immediately ran and took all of my socks out of the hamper because I wanted to save them.  Playing with this idea that inanimate objects have a life of their own graphic designer Yoonjin Lee started the “Little Lost Project.”  Lamenting when we lose our iphone, or our wallet, Yoonjin, who calls herself Zoonzin, wondered about the smaller things that go missing.  What happens to that lighter that seemingly just walked out of our pocket?  Does it miss us?  Do we miss it?  Does it belong to someone else now?

Giving these small objects a voice and a personality Zoonzin picks up lost objects she discovers on the streets of New York City.  She takes them home and makes them little signs.  Some forsaken objects are sad, others angry that their owners could be so careless with them, but each has a distinct personality.  Zoonzin then takes them back out onto the streets and arranges them; a unique kind of street art.  Holding their signs as if they were protesters, or homeless, Zoonzin’s little lost and found objects draw attention and a smile from passersby.  Giving a story and another life to those small things we might not even notice we lost, Zoonzin’s Little Lost Project is funny, but also engaging in its commentary about our culture, what we value and how we treat our possessions.  You can follow the ongoing project on her facebook or tumblr.

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