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Brian Robertson: Exploring Foreign Worlds

PlentyoffishBrian Robertson

Brian Robertson

Brian Robertson

Brian Robertson’s paintings are executed with the precision of a surgeon, but beneath this graphic hard-edged aesthetic is an honest and delicate appraisal of humanity that subtly reveals itself the longer you spend with the work. The human condition could be defined in many ways – our never ending attempts to understand the meaning of life, the ongoing search for gratification, our sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or the innate knowledge of our eventual demise. Robertson’s practice dives headfirst into this existential quagmire with a level of honesty and playfulness that is rarely executed so well.

Oddly familiar (yet simultaneously foreign) worlds showcase a variety of anthropomorphized structures that seem to exist in a place just outside of reality.Recognizable elements in the paintings serve to ground the otherworldly figures as they traverse unknown environments. These moments of certainty establish a point of reference for the viewer, but the tightly organized chaos surrounding these moments forms a whole new set of questions. What are these strange objects? Do they serve a purpose? Where are they? In each case, there is no definitive answer, but the carefully constructed scenes lend themselves toward metaphorical interpretation. Certain paintings evoke a quiet solitude while others maintain a sort of liveliness, as the structures attempt to understand their current environments.

Robertson’s paintings all seem to function as a metaphor of humanity’s ongoing quest to navigate our way through an uncertain world. In that respect, we are very much like the futuristic amalgamations depicted in these works.

The opening reception for Meta-Structures, featuring the work of Brian Robertson and Max Kauffman will be from 6-10PM at Black Book Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

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Light Sensitive Spray Paint Could Deter Drivers From Hitting Cyclists At Night

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Now when the sun goes down cyclists can feel a little safer. A new product developed by Volvo called “LifePaint” is a spray riders can put on their clothes and bikes which will remain invisible until night falls and the headlights of a car hit and then it will turn a shocking white alerting the driver. The spray is currently available only in the UK and can be sprayed on clothes and bikes which will last up to a week. It can be easily washed off if needed. From the demonstrations shown it gives the rider a ghostlike appearance adding to the alert value against the night sky. According to reports free samples have been flying off shelves and those locations where it’s not available have had many inquiries.

There has also been a lot of criticism from cycle advocacy groups who feel the auto industry is putting blame on the victim for creating such a product. They feel these huge conglomerates should focus on making cars safer for cyclists by installing outside airbags and restricting cars to lighter colors. They also claim very little evidence exists supporting the product’s success rate.

Either way, if you do ride at night, always make sure to have front/back blinking lights and proper reflectors on both wheels. Staying on bike lanes, wearing florescent reflective clothing and always wearing a helmet will also ensure better safety.

(via thecreatorsproject)

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Teale Coco Designs Empowering Accessories Inspired By Occultism, Fetish, And Human Anatomy

Teale Coco - Fashion

“Lunar Eclipse” catsuit, “Lucifer” fullbody harness, “Starlight” bloomers, and “Lunar” bralette. Photo: Tasha Tylee | Makeup: Brianna Rourke

Teale Coco - Fashion

“Blackmass” fullbody harness. Photo: Sean Higgins

Teale Coco - Fashion

“Blk Magic” thigh garter, “Cult” bloomers, and “Widows Peak” crop. Photo: Taygan Bassi

Teale Coco - Fashion

Left: “Lucifer” fullbody harness and “Starlight” bloomers. Right: “Cult” bloomers, “Coven” bralette, and “Demonic Possessions” shoulder harness. Photo: Sean Higgins

Teale Coco is a Melbourne-based designer, photographer, and international model who has crafted her own dark and fascinating brand of handmade accessories. Inspired by occultism, fetish, and human anatomy, Teale’s designs are characterized by powerful statement pieces influenced by occult symbols — such as the pentagram and sign of the triple goddess — in addition to harnesses that mold to the body in provocative ways. As a synthesis of dark themes and alternative culture, Teale’s work is a holistic approach to fashion, one that melds personal identity with empowering aesthetics.

“Fashion is art,” Teale wrote in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay. “I don’t have boundaries with what I create, and I set no limitations. […] Human anatomy is one of my biggest influences. The shapes, sizes, lumps, bumps, bone, flesh: everything is derived from a natural source — even our technology today was first inspired by the mystery that is nature.” And, referring to how her “Medusa” full leg harness is an evolution of the garter (a time-honored fashion item), she goes on: “I am expanding these traditions and creating something unearthly.”

At the core of most subcultural fashion is a dissenting spirit that seeks expression beyond societal norms and limitations. The same energy drives Teale’s work as she endeavors to create pieces that foster individual empowerment. Following designer Yohji Yamamoto’s perspective on the seemingly paradoxical beauty of black — a “modest and arrogant” “color” that says “‘I don’t bother you, don’t bother me’” — Teale’s versatile pieces are both assertive and romantic, and can be hidden under clothes or displayed over top (Source). Furthermore, the harnesses are gender neutral and made to adapt to all body types, placing no restrictions on who can wear them. “I want people to love themselves, feel good, wear what they want to wear, and not judge themselves,” Teale wrote, explaining how body positivity was important to her project. “It’s not about what other people think about you, it’s how you feel about yourself — and my designs are here to help liberate you.”

Teale Coco the Brand is a passionate project that is destined to go far. In just over a year, after transforming her Etsy store into its own company, Teale’s work has gained an impressive, international following. All of the styling, designing, editing, creative direction, makeup, and social media are currently done by Teale herself, with a team of artisans sewing the designs. Check out the brand’s website, Facebook page, Tumblr, and Instagram to learn more. 

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Seth Casteel’s Adorable Underwater Baby Photographs Capture The Large Personalities Of Tiny Humans

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Seth Casteel has done it again. He has come up with a great sequel to his widely successfully photographic series of dogs underwater with crazy faces and curious poses (previously featured here on Beautiful/Decay). This time around we have an equally cute subject matter – babies. Full of lively little bodies twisting and turning in the bubbling water, Casteel captures the large personalities of the kids in his new book Underwater Babies. We see the full range of human emotion on their little faces – from surprise, to glee, to terror, to mischievousness, to serenity and everything in between. Beautifully lit and dramatically staged, the kids faces will capture your heart immediately.

As a huge fan of dogs, puppies, and all things canine, Casteel wanted to raise awareness of animal abuse with his first series. After his Underwater Dogs photographs went super viral all over the internet, and then went on to sell over half a million copies around the world, he realized the power of images and applied it to another worthy cause. He explains more:

Through advocating water safety for pets, I became aware that water safety for children was also a very serious issue. Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death of children under the age of five in the United States. Infant swimming lessons can help to reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. By creating this book, I hope to encourage and inspire parent to consider swim lessons for their children, with the ultimate goal of preventing tragedies. (Source)

You can purchase his Underwater Babies book here through Amazon.

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Michael Beitz’ Ties Tables And Couches In Knots To Comment On Miscommunication In Domestic Settings

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Taking the idea of a dining table and adding a twist, Michael Beitz constructs some pretty amazing furniture. Instead of a flat surface he creates a friendly wave and some distance between the two sides. Normally dining tables are associated with friends, family and connection. Beitz’ work on the other hand is related to keeping a few feet away from the other person either through length or an obstruction in the middle. If it weren’t for the titles you might not know why the artist would make what he does except for aesthetic reasons. However, since he defines his sculptures we’re given clues as to why his work is made. The underlining current points to communication or lack of. Another is domestic space. “Not Now” is his latest table with a huge wave type loop in its center. It recalls roller coasters and skater loops. The construction itself is done with an old fashioned wood oak or mahogany. He documents the work with two people sitting on each end and visually defines its purpose. Other recent projects have been “Picnic Table” which takes the traditional picnic bench and turns it into a swirling dervish of wooden proportions. Another is “Knot” where instead of a table he creates a huge knot between two couches.

Beitz has documented some of his larger projects on video. These include folding, slapping and fan houses. (via ignant)

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Niyoko Ikuta’s Elegantly Layered Glass Sculptures

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Niyoko Ikuta sculpts with glass, creating elegant layered shapes that seem at once severe and inviting. There’s a glacial quality to Ikuta’s sculptures, imparted by both the ocean blue palette of soft blues and marine greens as well as the brittle edges of each layer of glass.
In an interview with V&A, she says, “In creating my pieces it is like imagining an architectural space when viewing blueprints, deciding on an image by reading into the intentions of the architect, or imbuing a space with dynamic energy to bring it to life.”
Her sculptures do seem almost like three-dimensional blueprints. They could be compared to a wire model, implying the way a shape might take up space or giving us a sense of motion without actual movement. The result is ethereal: delicate curves and swirls that seem like they could evaporate at any moment.
Ikuta says of her work,
My motifs are derived from feelings of gentleness and harshness, fear, limitless expansion experienced through contact with nature, images from music, ethnic conflict, the heart affected by joy and anger, and prayer.” (via This Is Colossal)

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Photographer Giorgio Cravero’s Color-Seeping Fruits And Veggies Express The Pain And Perseverance Of Nature

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Giorgio Cravero is an Italian photographer who has combined food photography with social criticism, producing a series of surreal images that metaphorically explore environmental degradation and the perseverance of nature. The color seeping from each fruit and vegetable represents humankind’s brutal exploitation of natural resources, as our unsustainable practices seek to strip nature of its very essence. In a vampiric fashion, like lifeblood drained from a body, the fruits and veggies blacken where the color filters down. However, hope remains, as the top holds its pigment. As Cravero explains:

“Men are poison for the earth. […] Nature will outlive us: in the fruit and toxic vegetables, where color slides away, there’s the upper part which firmly holds the color of life. Do we really think that we can make a difference? Do we really think, in the age of technology, that we can lay down mankind’s law to the extent that we dominate the law of nature?” (Source)

At the core of Cravero’s series is a message about the inevitable pitfalls of human arrogance. As our technological capacities have increased, so has our pride, and so we manufacture our own destruction. “The blackened chicory, the abandoned carrots are the clear images that, okay, we needed a knife to tear the meat off our prey, therefore we are technical beings for survival,” he writes, explaining where the inflated sense of confidence and self-importance came from, “but Earth had also imposed on us to be humble.” Cravero maintains that, for us, this is a fatal type of arrogance, but nature itself will survive in some form. “Nature defeats us in silence, or in any case, it will stay here for longer than us, it will be run-down, but it will still be there. […] Nature doesn’t give a damn about our pain or our profit logic” (Source).

Visit Cravero’s website, Facebook page, and Behance to see more of his work. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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African American Artist Stacey Tyrell’s Powerful Self-Portraits Portraying Her As Her White Ancestors

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At first glance, this series by photographer Stacey Tyrell seems to portray nothing out of the ordinary, just portraits of white women living their lives. At closer inspection, however, you realize all of the women look the same; they share uncanny similarities with just a few differences in hair, eye, and skin color. In reality, Stacey Tyrell has staged these scenes representing depictions of Caucasian women using herself as a model. Interestingly enough, the artist herself is black. The title of Tyrell’s deeply memorable series is Backra Bluid. Backra, originating from West Africa, means white master or person. Bluid is a Scotch word for the blood of men or kin. These two words combined represent two different points of origin in the artist’s family heritage. Tyrell explores her ancestry in this series, which includes English, Scottish, and Irish.

Most everyone in post-colonial societies, especially in the Western world, is the descendant of a diverse range of ancestry, producing many individuals with what may appear to be ambiguous ethnicities. These individuals may identify with one, multiple, or even none of their racial or cultural identities. However, by nature, humans want to make sense of their surrounding and tend to place others in categories. Stacey Tyrell has experienced this first hand. She explains the significance of this experience in relation to Backra Bluid.

Upon viewing my physical features I am automatically assigned a racial identity by whoever is looking at me. Skin color often obscures and over-rides the features and markers of other races that may be present in my genetic make-up. By simply changing my skin color and making subtle tweaks to my features I wish to show that if someone were to take a closer look at my face they would see that it might not be that much different from their own.

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