For fans of pop-culture mash-ups, Rocky Davies has an amusing throwback for you. The artist takes iconic villains of the 1980’s and fuses them with the music of the same era. Its outcome is a bizarre series of fictional album covers. Using fonts and colors that are reminiscent of the time, Davies creates slick designs that channel a darker version of Lisa Frank art.
The stark black backgrounds give way to fluorescent accents, and nearly all of his designs feature his subjects wearing Wayfarer sunglasses. Looking impossibly cool, these characters intermingle with bold, geometric patterns and a lot of lens flare. Lyrics from songs like the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)are designed around the floating head portraits and take on a new meaning.
Davies’ series comes at the right time. It’s no doubt nostalgic, and it speaks to those who were coming of age in the 80’s. There’s enough time between their popularity and present day for people to realize how borderline cheesy these things were. These fake album covers are both an homage and poke fun at an era of visual excess. (Via Brother Tedd)
Acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson is a master of creating creepy scenes that have an air of mystery, violence and drama about them. He sets his images in small town America, but not as we know it. He presents scenes laden with loneliness; scenarios that are surreal; moments that are unnerving. Taking stylistic cues from Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and Diane Arbus, there is a strong narrative to Crewdson’s work. He repeatedly visits certain locations and waits until a particular moment presents itself in his mind’s eye, and then he tries to represent that as accurately as possible.
His photos are moments of people in a strange sort of limbo, or some state of reflection, all bathed in a dramatic, cinematic light. A woman lies submerged in a flooded living room, it isn’t clear whether she is dead or contemplating what went wrong to cause the disaster in her house; a young girl sits up in bed at night time, either going over some sinister, violent plan, or deciding whether her nightmare was real or not; a woman stands in the middle of an empty street, taxi behind her, door still open and driver waiting. All of Crewdson’s images are filled with heavy subtext, something that is left unsaid. He talks about the mysterious worlds he creates in an interview with The American Reader:
I think that’s really kind of a beautiful point, that at the core there is something very childhood-like about the whole activity of building and constructing a world. My mom just recently reminded me that I used to build these little miniature worlds outside at our country house and populate it with little figures. That whole thing about trying to create a world – there’s something very connected to childhood and reverie and daydreaming and fantasy. (Source)
See more snapshots of his dreamlike worlds after the jump. (Via We The Urban)
Martin Strauss is a Berlin-based photographer whose artistic imagination knows no limits; whether he is shooting high fashion, lingerie, or creative portraiture, he always aims to “push the boundaries of photography a bit further” (Source). His images are consistently beautiful and surreal — two words which describe this particular series, entitled Irresistible. Throughout the images, models wearing leather and couture dresses pose in front of gothic backdrops; with their faces ensconced in masks suggestive of barbaric torture devices, they resemble predatory machines. The result is a set of photographs that are both realistic and fantasy-like, beautiful in the danger they pose.
As a long-time admirer of fashion photography, Strauss wanted to create his own vision of it by adding a new, experimental dimension: a style that he identifies as “dark beauty.” At the core of his concept was a biomechanical theme, a violent and industrial aesthetic in harsh juxtaposition with the soft beauty that often characterizes fashion photography. Strauss was not alone in the creation of this dynamic and narrative-rich series; working alongside him was Fercho Ma Do — an artist known in Berlin for his theatrical and SFX makeup — who helped design the masks and also provided ideas of his own. “Our creative work was kind of irresistible,” Strauss explains, speaking of their collaborative effort, and also of the reasoning behind the title, which was well-chosen; the series’ brilliant combination of beauty with dark eroticism and the macabre makes it visually and mentally engrossing.
The dresses featured in Irresistible were provided by Nicole Hellrung from Struppets, an avant-garde German fashion label. The model was Deborah Frey, who played the role of the biomechanical “mistress” perfectly. Check out the rest of Strauss’ work on his website and Facebook, and more images after the jump.
Designer Ignacio Canales Aracil has created delicate floral sculptures that recall the garden and home. Aracil doesn’t use any adhesives; he dries and presses the flowers for months at a time and then lightly sprays them with varnish. The resulting works are fragile yet strong enough to stand on their own.
“The flowers of these sculptures have been collected in the private gardens of the most renowned landscape designers of Europe,” Aracil says. He also says that a key part of his work is to “show the plants and flowers which represent the better the spirit of the garden in a different place where you wouldn’t expect to find it.”
Aracil acknowledges the history of the art of pressing flowers. “Tradition is a very important value in my work,” he says. Just as traditional or long-lived as the medium, perhaps, are the themes that Aracil seeks to tackle.
“Working with flowers trying to preserve their beauty, faces directly the fears that we share in the society about time,” Aracil says. “Life and dead are confronted in a piece which celebrates beauty, sexuality and time.”
Street artist Pejac uses trompe l’oeil to fool our eye in everyday places. The Spanish creative paints realistic-looking doors and windows that’ll make you do a double take while walking by. His skilled artworks perfectly blend colors and textures to give them the appearance that you could reach out and touch them.
In addition to the optical illusions, Pejac also paints playful and serious scenes, often using silhouetted figures. A young girl – a giant – uses the power of a magnifying glass and the sun to set tiny figures on fire. Another person attempts to deface a wall, but the splatter features Manet’s iconic The Luncheon on the Grass. And, in a more poignant piece, a portrait of the world appears to run down a sewage drain.
The common thread of Pejac’s work is that it is all clever – in its execution and concept. Even though the imagery is disparate, you can tell it’s his signature. (via WETHEURBAN)
Sculptor Jonathan Brilliant builds universes using the residue of coffee. Not the natural kind but the recyclable paper stirrers and holders millions throw away each day after ordering their morning joe. These common conveniences end up as swirling dervishes in Brilliant’s work, referencing everything from musical rhythms to Andy Goldsworthy. Like Goldsworthy, who takes items from his natural surroundings and builds site specific installations, Brilliant does something similar using the coffee shop instead of a rural location, signifying a place today where a lot of our organic interaction takes place.
His process oriented storytelling has a viral mentality. Rows and rows of sticks (sometimes as many as 40,000) invade staircases and ceilings throughout his installations. The effect likens itself to looking inside a grand piano when notes by Mozart or Beethoven are being played. Dozens of sounds spiraling off each other entwining into a grand design. The free form technique makes the work interesting and gives it a profound quality. A product that was manufactured by man from a natural resource on earth that goes full circle to rejoin with similar material in a recycled format.
Brilliant stands as a new type of environmental artist. Another that works in this style is Wade Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh creates structures out of measurements taken from motion such as running or walking and creates patterns with this information, mostly in rural environments. He also collaborates with painter Stephen Nguyen to build viral structures some as large as trees made out of recycled paper and other found materials.
The Amsterdam-based company NL Architects has proposed a beautiful and “slightly insane” project: a series of luxury hotels resembling amethyst geodes. The unique buildings would all vary slightly in their shapes, sizes, and forms, but their layout would be similar: hallways along the periphery (or shell) of the building that connect to rooms adjacent to the violet, crystalline center. The architects describe this project as “a mutation of the innovative hotel typology as developed by the architect and real-estate entrepreneur John Portman: hotel rooms lining a sensational void” (Source). Portman — who has designed hotels for Hyatt, Westin, and Marriott — is known for his high-rise buildings with interior atria. The Amethyst Hotel is similar in structure, only it has been bisected, thus revealing a spacious and awe-inspiring interior.
The goal of the Amethyst Hotel chain would not only be to produce structures of stunning (and arguably utopian) beauty, but to replicate and harness the well-known positive energies of the violet mineral. Deriving etymologically from an Ancient Greek word meaning “without drunkenness”, amethyst was thought to prevent intoxication. Today, it is still attributed with natural healing powers, and is believed to detoxify the body and mind, helping to cleanse the consciousness from “drunken” (delusional) thoughts. It is also seen as an aid in the treatment of stress, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. While the concept may seem somewhat idealistic and far-fetched, should these effects be simulated in the Amethyst Hotel, NL Architects will have designed a space wherein the geodic form matches and manifests the building’s function: a hotel that fosters both “hospitality and well-being” (Source).
The first Amethyst Hotel would be located on China’s Ocean Flower, a man-made island currently in development. Check out NL Architect’s website for a slideshow explaining their concept and goals for this project. (Via designboom).
Quite often the saying of fact being stranger than fiction is true, and this story is no exception. Photographer Arthur Drooker has been attending the most unusual conventions around America and compiling the images into a series called Conventional Wisdom. He recently attended a celebration of mermaids and mermen at The Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, North Carolina. Over 300 Merfolk attended Merfest this year, and Drooker was there to capture this wondrous and enchanting subculture.
This year the participants were able to attend workshops on breath-holding, underwater modelling, talk to a professional mermaid, and purchase different mermaid accessories – tails made from fabric and silicon (and ranged in price from $80 – $4000 for a custom made tail).
For many attendees, the desire to be a mermaid was spawned in childhood after seeing a movie, reading a book, going to the beach or an aquarium. A mermaid embodied an idealized self: beautiful, graceful and confident. To emulate a mermaid one developed a mersona, akin to the fursona that a furry at Anthrocon inhabits to model an animal character s/he aspires to be like. (Source)
For most Merfolk the transformation that happens when they either pull on their costume, or the moment they enter the water is something that cannot be compared to in any other way. Christian Obrocki, a merman from Baltimore tells Drooker of his experience:
It’s a rush. What better way to be in touch with your love for the water than to be kind of a part of it. When the tail goes on, the human side goes out the door. (Source)
Drooker’s other series include his visits to Clown conventions, gatherings of Santas, an assembly of Ventriloquists, a meeting of Furries, and a Bronies meet-up. See the other sets here. (Via Cool Hunting)