Sydney based photographer Petrina Hicks produces large scale, hyper-real, glossy images reminiscent of advertising catalogs or billboards. Simple, graphic and highly stylized, her work is sensual and glamorous. Her latest series called The Hippy And The Snake explores the relationship between women and snakes throughout literature and art, but with a decidedly Australian twist. She has placed women either smoking behind a wall of unnaturally bright foliage, lying in a tropical rainforest, hiding behind dripping wet leaves, or floating on a background of unbelievably bright blue, and scattered snakes throughout. The whole atmosphere of the series is one of a sweet teenager meandering through a sugary dreamworld, but one where there is always danger lurking behind the next leaf. It is a seductive setting and Hicks uses this unease purposefully.
There is a tension between the organic and synthetic. Ambiguity and duality is something I often aim for. On the surface, I use images that have an advertising aesthetic to explore its own language and codes, but it is the subtext in the content that works in opposition. (Source)
Hicks uses her background as a commercial photographer to her advantage. The models have blemish-free perfect skin, not a hair out of place and clean silhouettes. Using simple compositions, minimal props, and no unfussy details, Hicks’ aesthetic is as seductive as the snake is in her narrative.
Matthieu Bourel creates surreal collages that, despite their dream-like qualities, feel somehow rooted in reality. It might have something to do with his use of black and white photos, summoning up a specter of the past and lending a sort of mythic quality to his art.
In some of his pieces, it almost feels as though they’re still frames of a tall tale as opposed to utter fiction. They feel historically relevant, which, according to Bourel, is part of the intended effect. “When successful, all the elements fall together with irony and tension while all other realities are obliterated, leaving the viewer as participant inside the picture, with his own codes and connections,” Bourel explains. “The image then carries the weight of a personal reality.”
The phrase “personal reality” aptly encapsulates the quiet strangeness of his collages. Bloodless cross-sections of torsos and bodies are more contemplative than gruesome, as though they’re textbook diagrams.
Bourel describes his process as finding pictures and photographs that spark inspiration. He’s drawn to pictures that “evoke a fake history or inspire nostalgia for a period in time that never truly existed.”
“A piece often becomes about the search and desire to combine those emergent narrative symbols that seem charged with a familiar yet distant emotion,” Bourel says.
Barcelona-based graphic designer Alex Trochut is one of the most innovative typographic artists we’ve ever seen. In his work, he takes all states of matter–– liquids, solids, gases–– and turns them into eye-catching type. His aesthetic style has been tapped by clients ranging from Nike to The Rolling Stones. For fans of sculpture, check out Alex’s Dalí-inspired collaboration with Xavier Mañosa, Skate Fails.
Get your hands on three different prints by the inimitable Alex Trochut, including Chains, Eggs, and Spaghetti at the newly relaunched B/D Shop. In addition to the posters, his art was featured on the cover of Issue T. The same issue features an interview and more full-color spreads of Alex’s work. In it, he had this to say of his design philosophy:
“I think there’s always to be a balance between your work and the time you are living, something you call ‘yours’ in your design and something that is ‘ours,’ as the work should be a reflection of our present moment, too, the cultures that surround us.” (Source)
To bring you all some holiday cheer we’re having a big holiday sale on all of our posters, books and magazines. Now you can get the work of Alex Trochut and other talented artists for a fraction of the price. Simply use promo code “beautifulposters” during check out and save 15% off everything on our shop!
Both base jumpers and highliners gather in the Moab desert every fall to play with heights, but this year a 400 foot high hammock installation brought them closer than ever. The construction of this net, called the Mothership Space Net Penthouse, was headed by Andy Lewis and completed with the help of 50 base jumpers over a period of three days.
“Highliners attempted to walk across the five different legs of the net, varying in lengths up to 80 meters long (262 feet), BASE jumpers leapt daily from the human sized hole in the middle of the net and paragliders made several flybys while dropping world-class wingsuit pilots from high above so they could buzz by over groups of friends hanging out in space. This upgrade of size to the space net concept was a massive scale up from the 2012 three sided “Space Thong” design, which was also shared by both groups but with less cohesiveness.” (Excerpt from Source)
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Australian artist Paul Yore uses colorful applique, sequins, weaving, and more to depict a world that seems cheerful, but is the opposite of sunshine and rainbows. Instead, Yore’s materials tell us that things are much worse. In one work, he welcomes us to hell. Vibrant hearts and yellow smiley faces still opposite to skulls and erect penises in these tapestry wall hangings.
Upon initial glance, your eyes are drawn to all the colors under the rainbows. It feels jubilant and even innocent. But, as soon as you start to study Yore’s work, you see that these choices are his form of biting commentary on political and social issues. Often, leaders will try and sugarcoat serious issues, to be dismissive of victims or even blame them. The artist exposes this type of hypocrisy (and more) by putting it all out in the open so that you can’t look away.
The dazzling satire is at times overwhelming, as if the artist has so much to say that he wants to fit it within one dizzying piece. Here, it’s akin to the epic paintings Hieronymous Bosch in terms of of a compositional frenzy. Where you look for a long time, finding new small moments every time that you look. (Via Collection Department)
Artist Sheida Soleimani has translated her frustration with her home country Iran and it’s politics into a captivating and symbolically complex photographic series called National Anthem. Her parents fled the country in 1979 after the revolution that overthrew the pro-western Pahlavi dynasty took place. (Both parents were targeted for actively opposing the regime – her mother tortured, and her father escaping across the border.) As a political refugee in America, Soleimani observed her country transition through several fundamental changes and decided to express her disdain visually. Each photographic scene is an exploration of cultural themes and symbols all representing different aspects of the last 35 years in Iran, and the many different dictators and leaders the country has seen. Soleimani says:
In my photographic scenarios, cultural symbols and signifiers are appropriated to create a narrative in regards to my position as an Iranian-American viewing the Middle East from an outside lens. The usage of specific colors and political figures form a symbolic lexicon that runs throughout the series, while party supplies hint at the doctrines of ‘political parties’. Each of the photographs addresses a specific time in Iranian history, while alluding to how both the East and West have responded to societal occurrences. Through incorporating multiple layers, the lexicon can be read and refashioned by the viewers’ ideologies, creating images that remain coeval, while acknowledging former origins. (Source)
Combining collage, installation, performance and object assemblage, Soleimani creates powerful, emotional art-as-activism. The fierce mark making, scrunched up images, burnt candles, and mutilated cultural objects all have the hand of an aggrieved survivor. Managing to turn her deeply personal history into a series of clever, sarcastic visual puns, Soleimani’s artistic therapy is beneficial to us all.
Photographer Kenji Shibata‘s latest exhibit, “Locked in the ether,” is full of contradictions. The flowers he photographs are dead but their last breaths are immortalized in ice. They’re floating in limbo, lost somewhere ineffable, blushing still with color and life.
Shibata arranges them carefully within their icy tombs, with as much care as any botanist would. Choreographed by an expert hand, the flowers become more than themselves: alien landscapes, abstract smears of color, stunning centerpieces veiled by frost.
Yet as tenderly as he gave them new life, Shibata also lets the ice thaw. He photographs the blossoms’ descent, depicting them as vulnerable, exposed, dying once more. It’s elegant but also a little tragic. It’s gorgeous maybe because it’s ephemeral — the transition from vibrant summer to autumn to a long, quiet winter.