Sally Hewett is a UK-based embroider who gives new meaning to a sculptural approach to the craft. Instead of stitching subject matter like flowers, puppies, and generally happy scenes, she fills embroidery hoops with butts, breasts, and genatalia. The circular compositions rise from the surface and Hewett uses well-placed stitches to give form to these bulbous shapes. In addition, she’ll use dangling threads to simulate public hair, both trimmed and natural.
In her artist statement, Hewett states that she’s interested in ideas of beauty and the things that people do because of it. She writes:
Men and women almost ritualistically shave and remove hair from their bodies – beards, underarm hair, pubic hair, leg hair etc, whereas other hair – hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes – are valued and encouraged to flourish. But there is other hair which not everyone has. Sometimes this special hair seems to be reason to feel ashamed. A large number of women and men submit their bodies to extraordinary procedures in the name of convention or beauty – liposuction, implants, scarification, surgery, laser treatment, electrolysis etc.
Embroidery is often see as an innocuous craft, and part of the reason that Hewett works this way is to see how the medium affects how the content is seen. Is it more shocking, amusing, or beautiful simply because it’s portrayed with a needle and thread?
Corso Zundert, the famous flower parade, takes place every September in Zundert, a small town on the Belgian border. Known as the world’s largest flower parade, participating districts work arduously to out-do the other competitors in creating the most wild and unique float possible. There is no set theme for the parade, but competitors must adhere to two parameters: their floats must be made entirely of dahlia flowers and be smaller than 20 by 10 meters. Included here are photographs of floats from this year and past years as well. With the huge crowds surrounding the floats you can really see just how immense and outrageous these structures really are.
Starting in 1936, Corso Zundert is an ongoing tradition within the Netherlands. Using an unimaginable number of dahlias, people painstakingly construct and adorn these gigantic floats. The twenty floats, once completed, make their way through the city, everyone hoping to win first place. For the 2014 parade the prize went to a horse-themed float called Horsepower. What would your float look like?
Ukrainian illustrator Vasya Kolotusha has a great eye for pattern, texture and color. Taking inspiration from fashion blogs and models, she captures a playful essence in her sketches and animations. With a clean aesthetic, and a slight 80s twist, her images are cool, stylish, classic and quietly humorous. Illustrating for magazines, bands, and posters, Kolotusha’s lux style is a popular one.
Her latest experiments with adding neon light tube details to her sketches are a good match. They are reminiscent of 80s hairdressing signs, a piece of art from a time when sign writing was champion. She has a very simple yet effective technique of isolating her subjects and placing them inside a very graphic background. Her drawing style is so detailed and rich, they succeed in being intriguing, and translate well into animations.
Experimenting with the GIF format, Kolotusha is exploring the process of sketching – making visible to us viewers the preliminarily lines, the building up of color. We can almost see her hand adding background detail and extra flair and then continue on to edit everything we have seen her create. By exposing the whole drawing exercise, she captures our attention, rather than boring us with fussy detail.
Following on from her previous series of people wearing helmets, this series of illuminated girl portraits are a promising sign of things to come. This illustrator is one to watch!
Sabato Visconti is a photographer, visual artist, and digital puppeteer. He fine-tunes his art on an atomic level by using a number of techniques that manipulate code and scramble pixels into what is often surprising results. “Glitch art,” as the aesthetic is called, uses a palette of static, snow, and other shadowy artifacts to create art that is, despite its hi-tech nature, exceedingly organic.
The intense colors and bio-rhythmic patterns that emerge from Visconti’s glitched-out photographs are raw and still retain an emotional connection to their subjects. Some are more abstract, emerging like clouds of texture that seem by turns woven and crumpled and, when it gets particularly noisy, crunchy. Though it might be counterintuitive, it makes sense that glitch art is organic; after all, artifacts in old-school photographs and film footage have always occurred spontaneously. Now, artists are harnessing that force of microcosmic nature and using it creatively.
“You’re trying to find this really fine balance where something doesn’t break fully, but breaks just to the point that you can see it breaking,” Visconti explains. The tension between form and disintegration is palpable in his work; at times, it’s like staring into a digital void or a watching a snapshot of an identity crisis. He takes it one step further in a collection called, “Vertigo by Alfred Glitchcock,” which takes stills and remixes them into evocative visual mayhem.
Do androids dream of electric sheep? If they do, then this is what they see when they close their eyes.
Looking at these paintings out of context, you might not know that they are very small. In fact, sometimes these works are no larger than a coin or someone’s fingernail. Artist Lorraine Loots says that she creates “paintings for ants,” but you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first because of their intricate details. They have as much visual information as paintings 10 times their size.
Every day, Loots posts a new small picture to her Instagram, @lorranieloots. It’s always of an impossibly tiny subject and the caption features information about what they are and what we’re looking at. Loots realistically-rendered cars, landscapes, boots, birds, statues, and much more. The small scale is a nice twist on what we’ve seen before, and here the short explanation helps, too. “Paintings for ants” is an amusing thought, and one that’s entirely possible given the size.
Johann Bouche-Billon’s photo-series Photos of my Grandfather Dying is daring in its intimacy and complete honesty. When his grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Johann used his artwork in an attempt to wrap his head around what was going on. Of all his grandparents, he was closest with this grandfather, and had never experienced a death so close in his family. Although death is a reality of life, many if not all of us have difficulty accepting it, and Johann experienced anxiety attacks and confusion at the fact of his grandfather passing. The series provides an opportunity for healing and understanding, not only for Johann, but presumably anyone experience the death of a loved one. Originally, Johann was nervous that people would take offence at such a personal subject, but has said that the series has been received well.
His photo-series is extremely revealing, and it requires a great deal of bravery to show it to an audience. The photos show his grandfather at various stages of his deterioration, with loved ones or alone, but there are also a great deal of what you could call b-roll interspersed in between. The b-roll – consisting of photos of a food spread, a television, a painting of jesus, etc. – allows moments of contemplation or rest, for the viewer and probably for Johann himself. It makes the process seem more natural, instead of only presenting chronological photos of his grandfather, he lets you breath and wander through traces of his family and the scenes surrounding the events. The series itself is 107 photographs, and so the selection of images I’ve curated for this article is disproportionately weighted towards photographs of Johann’s grandfather. In the end, he is the subject of greatest importance, but I highly recommend checking out the entire series here, it’s extremely moving. (Via Vice)
“Nighttwins” Laura and Kindra have been helping keep the New York nightlife scene alive for over seven years. Better known as Daughters of Devotion, this pair originally from Seattle, dress up, act out, perform, inspire and create installations. Combining their interests in romantic/fetish fashion and showroom/glam drag, these two extroverts quickly bonded over a mutual love of creating twin-themed costumes.
Setting out to be more than just colorful characters, Daughters of Devotion have created a brand and an unusual type of business for themselves. They have performed with Cher, been nominated for a Glammy, featured on the cover of Next magazine and have even lain on the beach in Hawaii with Carmen Electra. Proving to be much more than just part of the ‘club creature family’, DOFD have surpassed their own expectations of where their flamboyant passions would lead them.
“We draw inspiration from so many sources. Couture designers through the ages, vintage patterns, showgirl pageantry, Dolly Parton, John Willie, nightlife artists present and past, fetish, cartoons — you name it…. The looks we conceptualize, create and present to the world are living works of art to be admired for just a moment in time; especially because we rarely repeat looks. “
Loaded up with jewels, face paint plastered on, eyelashes applied, belts buckled tightly, and stockings hoicked up high, Daughters of Devotion are a celebration of the wonders that go on after dark. Equal parts entertainment, and artistic expression, these two women are their own subculture, their own art genre, and certainly are a sight for sore eyes.
(Via Huff Post)
Dave Engledow is the world’s best father. He even has the book to prove it. Engledow’s ongoing photo series “documenting” life with his daughter Alice Bee is dangerously charming. Initiated in 2010, when Alice Bee was about six weeks old, Engledow has Photoshopped the pair into absurd, perilous, and touching scenarios. His wife Jen helps with every shoot, sometimes entering the frame.
“It’s funny-my initial intent with these images was to create something a bit darker that subverted the cutesy, overly-poignant clichés you see in a lot of traditional baby portraiture. I never intended for this project to be a heartwarming, feel-good story. Ironically, what a lot of people tell me they take away from these images is the obvious love that I have for Alice Bee-people see beyond the silly, satirical character I portray in these images and instead see a father who has decided to spend his precious free-time creating something special and unique for his daughter. I guess that’s pretty cool, if unintended and unexpected.” (Source)
To create the images, Engledow shoots Alice Bee first, a process that can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. He then photographs himself and digitally combines the images, which takes between 5-15 hours depending on the complexity of the shot. The series first gained attention in 2013 when Kickstarter featured his campaign to turn the photos into a calendar. Confessions of the World’s Best Father, the book, followed in May 2014.
“The character I portray in this series is intended to be a parody of the father I hope I never become–distracted, self-absorbed, neglectful, clueless, or even occasionally overbearing.” (Source)
Part perplexed, part demented, Engledow commits to his role as bumbling dad. The result is a labor of love that captures the unique bond between father and daughter.