French artist Frédéric Fontenoy is enamored with the human form. In his striking photography, he explores different representations of the body and eroticses, or ostracizes it’s different parts. In his new series Metamorphosis, he manipulates his photographic medium and produces images of bodies that are stretched, extended and disfigured. His snaps look like they are of weird aliens passing through earthly landscapes.
Being raised surrounded by artistic and political family members, Fontenoy quickly identified with a particular artist that he felt embodied his own ideals. Hans Bellmer’s The Anatomy of the Image, continues to be a major inspiration for the artist. Here he reflects on his own practice:
I always created erotic work, since I started taking pictures: first more intimate, then evolving into a more conceptual work, a photographic fiction, referring to our collective unconscious. The mindset of my photography is erotic, but a photo itself doesn’t have to arouse lust. (Source)
Throughout his 20-something year career of taking photos, Fontenoy not only works with different narratives that are connected to the body, he also includes himself in the situation and reflects on his own involvement as a fellow person. He sees the relevance of having himself somehow reflected in his images:
[The] crucial point of these “scenes of the darkroom”: the photographer is also in the frame, the main male character. Grand officer of these stagings, this double devilishly imaginative and wicked madness seems to make its most ambitious expression, which is Art. (Source)
In his new series of collages entitled Love is like a Butterfly, artist/musician Wildcat Will delves into the absinthe drenched demi-monde of Parisian cabaret, and uses his own pop art inclinations, and other contemporary elements to create original pieces. This new series in based on the powerful imagery of the butterfly, its transitional phases, and its ephemeral and intense beauty as a parallel for the beauty and tragedy of human life.
His collages combine photographs from the Parisian cabaret Les Folies Bergère with texts. The intricate backgrounds of his collages incorporate elements such as zebra print, oversized flowers and, butterflies. The combination of old photographs with modern typography and colorful, ornate details leave room for the viewers to get lost in his work and examine the world of cabaret from a different perspective.
The clashing of old photographs and typography work together towards creating a sort of punk aesthetic which Will attributes to his cultural upbringing . He equates the ladies of the Folies Bergère to the punk rock movement and, by doing so gives another level of depth to his collages. Through these pieces, Will has created a magical platform for us to meditate on our morals and standards.
The Underexposed series illuminates outsiders of the world, homeless people of our streets. Aaron Draper has made the deliberate decision to literally put in the spotlight a dozen of men and women living on the streets, giving an authentic representation of what could happen to any of us. Not wanting to fall into the cliche of taking black and white photographs or insisting on the harsh features of his subjects, Aaron Draper is applying a commercial tone to the way he envisions their lives, giving the viewers a more positive imagery of scenes not so pleasant to usually watch.
That’s the reason the series has gone viral, the viewer is not in a position of guilt, he doesn’t need to feel bad. He is invited to share that special connection the photographer encountered when meeting his subjects. Inspired by John Steinbeck’s vision on dispossessed families struggling to carve their way into life, he spent a lot of time and money getting to know the personalities behind the facade of their humble lives. Using a camera strobe and a documentary effect, Aaron Draper wants to turn around the false perception one might have about homeless life. He says if he can only initiate that shift, his work will be successful in his heart.
The video below details the photography process of the Underexposed series and shows a passionate Aaron Draper at work. (via Trenf)
What do you get when you combine thousands of toothpicks, glue, and ingenious craftsmanship? You get the work of artist Scott Weaver, who has created a model of San Francisco out of these materials after thirty-five years of creative determination. Nothing more than these two simple materials, toothpicks and glue, forms the intricate layers of this concrete jungle. Scott Weaver began this structure, titled Rolling Through the Bay, in 1974, but has been building sculptures out of toothpicks since he was eight years old. His early work began as abstracts formation, much smaller than his San Francisco masterpiece.
As if constructing such a complex, detailed, city replica out of miniature objects was not impressive enough, Weaver’s piece Rolling Through the Bay is interactive! The structure is kinetic, as it navigates ping pongs balls like tourists through the many infamous sites and neighborhoods that make up San Francisco’s lifeblood. You can see city attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown in his mass of toothpicks, but much more is to be seen. The delicate intricacy of this astonishing sculpture speaks volumes to Scott Weaver’s skill and patience. It is not surprising to know that the artist is a San Francisco native, as is many generations of his family before him. The love and pride of San Francisco can be seen in the time and care that Rolling Through the Bay took to create.
(via Colossal) All Photography by The Tinkering Studio
Hikari Shimoda’s most recent series of paintings blends the innocence of childhood with the fears and challenges od adulthood. By combining cute looking round eyed kids with scenes of horror or despair, she establishes a connection between the carefree days of being a child, and the harshness of the contemporary world in which these children grow up. Although her paintings depict children dressed in superhero outfits, playing together, or surrounded by cute looking objects and creatures; a closer look will allow you to notice the dark details, blank stares and distant fires which are also part of the composition.
Shimoda’s use of cheerful, bright colors and manga inspired drawing giver her pieces a mistaken air of simplicity. The beauty of her work lies in the details and, in taking the time to look closely at what she puts in her paintings. Little things like sparkly stickers, and little messages scrawled in round handwriting to piles of toy rabbits, hospitals and burning homes. Through her candy colored scenes she addresses issues of emotion, identity, existence and, our relationships sith others. The children in her pieces are both the messengers and the creators of this message. She has created a magnificent combination of the carefree aspects of childhood and the worries and challenges of adulthood in a mixture of bittersweet portraits.
Chicago-based photographer Evan Baden has captures the world of adolescent sexting in his series cleverly titled Technically Intimate. The word “sexting” was officially added to the dictionary in 2012—that is how common this word and action is. Selfies and nudes being sent back and forth to people via smart phones has become commonplace. The fact of the matter is, these explicit photos never truly disappear. Evan Baden shines light on the privacy issues at hand concerning digitally sent photos, especially ones that are meant to be intimate or private. Interestingly enough, the title of this series, Technically Intimate, refers to a level of intimacy that is perhaps supposed to be felt between the people doing the sharing of sexual photos. Although the intention of these photos may have started out as intimate between two lovers, they remain forever in the public sphere. Therefore, no intimacy can be achieved.
Evan Baden starts each photograph with an image from real life, found online. He then hires a model to pose in a similar way, in a similarly adolescent environment. The final result is a re-imagined version of the original photos that has been shared online, accessible for anyone to see. In this uncomfortably close series, we are a fly on the wall, looking into a both private and public situation. For more amazing photography with an eye on pop-culture and its digitalization, Evan Baden is in an exhibition that will be on view September 19th until January 17th at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf Contemporary Culture Center titled Ego Update: The Future of the Digital Identity.
Baden delves deeper into his intriguing series explaining this incredibly relevant topic. (via FeatureShoot)
“The poses in my images emphasize the repetitiveness of the sexual images that pervade our society while the rooms that the scenes are staged in and the ages of the room’s occupant clash with those highly sexualized poses, causing an unease in the viewing of those pictured and reminding the viewer that with every leap we take in technology and convenience there is an equally deep crevasse into which we can fall.”
Whether we imagine the world as a futuristic dystopia or a charred wasteland, post-apocalyptic images weigh heavily on our cultural imaginations. In a stunning series of illustrations, Russian artist Yuri Shwedoff has created an intensely atmospheric vision of the “end of days,” one that blends fantasy imagery with science fiction. Among his scenes are sword-wielding warriors, blasted roads, alien architecture, and falling skies; as vestiges of the lost world, animals seem to take on a symbolic significance, communing with the human figures in moments of intensity and reflection. Pulled between oscillating states of violent destruction and quiet despair, Shwedoff’s images are bound together by a powerful atmosphere that emanates from the brooding, ash-filled skies.
While many of Shwedoff’s artworks feature otherworldly phenomena — such as the telekinetic gladiator — what makes them most evocative are their ties to the world we know. The space shuttle, for example, sits dormant on its launch pad, embedded in dust and waste. Perhaps it was prepared to escape the world; now, it becomes aged scenery for the lone horseman who regards it on his journey. Similarly, the alien pods in “Cradle” suggest a landing with no escape plan; now, the structures are merely shelters for those who survive. Instilled with imagination and emotion, Shwedoff confronts us with powerful images of a lost humanity that has surpassed its technological limits and reached an inevitable end.
A million little pieces stitched together shapes a large moving tapestry. The waves of the installation, similar to chainmail, create a voluptuous presence. Artist El Anatsui is mesmerizing our senses and attracting our curiosity. He designs from simple materials complex compositions, using all sorts of tools to merge modest means into powerful and impressive pieces. In between sculpture (for the structure) and painting (for the way colors drop from different angles), the delicate and monumental pieces cannot be categorized.
El Anatsui’s work emphasizes the fact that art is a sixth sense, an add-on and a value that’s indescribable. From liquid bottle caps, iron nails, driftwood or cassava graters the artist creates morphing mosaics that are hung up the walls of monuments and museums in major cities. Seen from far away, the meticulously assembled little pieces become an accumulation of gems. Each installation is non fixed and can be moved from one place to another without ever having the same appearance. Just like fabric, the piece is creased, folded and adjusted to its in-situ set.
The artist’s impact on one hand is for the viewer to reflect on obvious key topics such as consumption, waste and environment. The bottle caps or the tin lids that he uses represent simultaneously garbage and manpower, thinking of that while he creates helps him give a spiritual dimension to his art.
On the other hand, the pieces help make a connection between America, Africa and Europe. The fact that the installations are hung questions the part of a wall as sequestration, protection or deprivation from freedom.
“Artists are not dictators”, El Anatsui claims loud and clear next to his pieces. He doesn’t want to impose an idea because everyone’s point of view is valid.
The artist was awarded in April 2015 at the Venice Biennale with a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Watch the video below of one of the greatest artistic influencer amongst two generations of artists working in West Africa.