Ondrej Konupcik is a Czech artist offering organic and original watercolor brush strokes and ink splatters on a tattoo. He depicts explosive impressive animals like hawks, foxes and wolves but also other simpler objects. Customers don’t choose from catalogs when they come to Ondrej Konupcik, each drawing has to be almost custom-made.
The artist, who also goes by Ondrash, has to feel a connection to the subject before starting the process of tattooing. That’s the reason why he only takes care of one person per day. He wants to know on a deep level the story behind the tattoo. He traces directly on his customers to embrace their bodies and curves. He illustrates their wishes and desires from what they reveal.
A lot of the time mistaken for watercolor paintings applied directly to the skin, Ondrash’s tattoos has gained the appellation of compositional, figural art and today art brut tattoo. He gets his inspiration by browsing the web, getting ideas from other artists andpainting daily for himself using watercolor and oil. Ondrash also tried to graffiti. Enjoying the way the colors evolve in front of his eyes at a faster pace than when he tattoos, this could maybe his lead to a new project. (via deMilked).
In a darkly poetic new video titled “Quand c’est?” (When it is), singer and songwriter Paul Van Haver (aka, Stromae) sings a chilling address to cancer. The video, shot all in black and white, depicts Stromae performing for an audience of animated alien limbs and nettle-like growths—a creative portrayal of the disease. His words are emotional, bold, and honest:
“Oh yes, we know each other well
You even tried to get my mother
Starting with her breasts
And my father’s lungs
D’you remember then?”
As the video proceeds, Stromae dances across stage, moving in the same strange, articulated fashion as the disease that seeks to devour him. As the music builds, his graceful movements unravel into desperation as one of the limbs seizes him while another—approaching unseen from the back—strikes him dead. The remainder of the video spirals into a fervor, depicting his ghost being his cast into a black pit festooned with the bodies of countless others.
Stromae is known for his videos that touch upon topics of an important nature; the award-winning song “Papaoutai,” for example, explores the experience of growing up without a father. “Quand c’est?” (which is also a homophone for the French pronunciation of “cancer”) explores the trauma of the disease from both an intimate and universal perspective; the majority of us have been touched by cancer in some way, as is expressed by the network of bodies trapped in the alien nest. Weaving together vocals, dance, and animation, Stromae’s haunting performance is an expressive embodiment of human pain and perseverance.
Artist Tsuyoshi Imamura’s latest series of watercolor paintings delivers a dreamlike depiction of the human body. Through the use of black, grey, and various shades of pink, blue, and purple, he creates an abstract view of the human body as a composition of shapes and forms. His series of darkly colored watercolors depict men and women in various sensual positions and bring another angle to perceptions of rigidly defined beauty.
The watercolors are a series of gradients in which light and dark colors work together perfectly alongside the water that is necessary to their composition.The presence of water in these compositions is both essential to the paint on a chemical level and an essential part of the paintings themselves in the sense that it contributes to the fluidity of the paintings and compliments the gestures the figures in the paintings are making.
The dancing figures are reminiscent of Matisse’s Dance in both their physical form and in the ways their bodies are moving. The simple beauty of these bodies, which are almost water spots make Imamura’s work both stunning and original. The ways in which the light work with the dark in his work gives each painting a dreamlike property and enhance the musicality of the human body in motion.
Toshio Saeki (b. 1945) is a Japanese erotic illustrator who creates controversial images of violence and morbid sexual acts. Perusing his collection is like stepping through the various moonlit rooms of a grotesque dream; as silent voyeurs, we witness placid-faced men, women, and demons engaging in strange, lust-filled scenarios that often involve necrophilia, murder, cannibalism, and genital mutilation. Images of sex and death uncomfortably collide as a woman kisses a skull and gropes herself with the corpse’s bony hand, while elsewhere poisonous snakes writhe out of a man’s tattoo during sex. Whether it’s aroused bodies swarming with cockroaches, or glaring eyeballs in the place of genitals, Saeki has an uncanny way of exposing the unconscious and disturbing the imagination in new and surprising ways. As he writes in an interview with Dazed:
“Leave other people to draw seemingly beautiful flowers that bloom within a nice, pleasant-looking scenery. I try instead to capture the vivid flowers that sometimes hide and sometimes grow within a shameless, immoral, and horrifying dream.” (Source)
Saeki’s hallucinatory and alarming style draws on a long tradition of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings from Edo-period Japan. In a variation called Shunga, these pieces depicted erotic scenes; take, for instance, Hokusai’s “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife,” a 1814 woodcut design showing a woman in the erotic embrace of an octopus. Many of Saeki’s works reference this image, incorporating “tentacle erotica” alongside unsettling situations that arrived from a combination of comic books, childhood nightmares, and lewd pictures he drew in high school. Depicting eroticism, power, and lust in startling and depraved ways, Saeki evokes conflicting, visceral sensations that both fascinate and repulse the viewer, making it hard to look away.
Saeki is now 70 years old and currently lives in rural Japan. Known as the “godfather of Japanese erotica,” his works have gained him fame and notoriety alike at home and abroad (Source). (Via Cvlt Nation)
In her series of paintings entitled After Caravaggio, artist Jamie Vasta gives Caravaggio a kitsch makeover. Endearingly reminiscent of cat themed embroideries one might find in a dank second hand shop, Vasta’s series is a perfect definition of modern. She has taken well known models and themes and completely reappropriated them in such a way that they have been given new meaning, without straying too far from the original “text” of Caravaggio’s work.
She uses “contemporary props and costumes to create new narratives” and, by doing creates not only a new artwork, but also pays homage to Caravaggio and his influence in the art world. The use of glitter in these paintings underlines the contemporary nature of Vasta’s creations and contributes vastly to the kitsch aspects of her work. The balance between the baroque and the kitsch fits perfectly together and the glitter gives something of a humoristic element to the compositions.
The dramatic themes addressed in these paintings are not undermined but somewhat lightened by the use of glitter. The color contrasts and playful expressions of the subjects give the paintings a touch of humor and a somewhat cheerful nature. The overall originality of Vasta’s work is both intriguing and has somewhat of an edge.
Martin Roth’s installation (untitled), debris, re-creates a site of war-torn Syria. Through scattered debris and rescued animals, he allows the viewer to experience a sense of destruction on a more personal note. He aims to materialize a war that, despite its large spanning presence in the news, is still quite intangible for those in the Western world. The physicality of the installation, absent of the gory images often presented in the media, explore a means to understanding the conflict on a more tangible, yet subtle manner.
When entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted by a visually familiar, but perhaps physically unknown territory. The space has been covered in dirt and rubble directly taken from the border areas of Syria and Turkey. The experience of discomfort is furthered by a reverberating ambient noise; the sound of a siren blaring in the distance. The downstairs room has been flooded in three inches of water, smelling of mold.
However, there is more to this work than just a presentation of the wreckage. Roth has also allowed his installation to become a platform for the living. Within the main installation site, the viewer is greeted with the flight and chirps of small green parakeets that have been rescued from abandoned pet shelters. The downstairs is inhabited by toads that were to be sold in Chinatown to be consumed.
The presence of animals take us out of the realm of the polarized, politicalized war, and bring us into a softer, yet more complicated truth. Here, we see a quieter realm, without images of death. The removal of human reality, somehow, speaks even more frankly about the true human condition; without the complications of ideology, scenes as these would not exist. What do sites of war really mean, free from philosophy, ethics and misunderstanding? (via: The Creators Project)
Kris Aaron and Andy Walker are slightly modifying the purpose of fine China dishes. It’s now decorated with messages and gay illustrations. “Shit again”, “Cock monster”, “I’m going to fuck you” and pornographic images are hand drawn onto plates and kitsch ceramic ornaments. They either paint slogans or sexual images on small objets such as a tiger or a swan or desert plates. The couple just wanted to check “how cute it would be if they were more gay.”
All the pieces in the Pansy Ass ceramics series are one of a kind. Already collectors of similar items, they redoubled their research in thrift shops and vintage flea markets to find the perfect antique China dishes for their collection. Their intention was to accentuate the kitsch side of plates and objects. “For instance, we have this swan that’s the gayest thing I’ve ever seen,” Aaron says, “and we thought it’d be funny if we painted ‘masc’ (like masculine) on it.” The result is a weird combination of classic patterns and graphic scenarios.
Ideally, the artists would want their embellished dishes to be displayed at Macy’s. From porno chic to porno kitsch there could a part of the market interested in inviting their grandmother to a fancy cucumber sandwich tea party. (via Lost At E Minor).
X-Ray photographer Roy Livingston’s latest series is at the junction of retro and modern. X-Ray Visions is series of electric x-ray photographs which radiate neon colors. His series is composed mainly of photographs of toy robots and toy guns brings a sort of eerie atmosphere to the compositions regardless of the heavy use of neon. The fact that the inner workings of the objects are visible makes them all the more captivating and fascinating to look at. Being able to see the cogs and gears of the toys in the photographs gives them a sort of scientific feeling.
The process behind theses colorful x-rays is also interesting in its own respects: Livingston starts off with black and white xrays which he then edits digitally ino order to achieve the final neon result. Livingston is not only about the final product of his work but also focused on the process itself and what he refers to as an “artistic joyride” .
X-Ray visions is the product of a well thought out process, fueled by Livingston’s fascination for industrial design and the digital manipulation of photographs. His combination of both old and new media makes for a captivating project that speaks to the audience, not only with regard to the process but also the symbolic nature of retro-futurism and the neo 80s mindset.