Have you ever wondered what a modern day Bacchus would look like? Or where Hercules and Hera would make out if they lived in a city? Well now you get to visualize it thanks to the imagination and talent of Ukrainian art director Alexey Kondakov. In his series The Daily Life Of Gods, he has photoshopped different classical gods, nymphs, angels and cherubs into various settings and locations we are all familiar with in our age.
We see Romans who sit in the middle of subway stations wearing laurel wreaths and playing the harp, like it is just another ordinary day. A forlorn damsel sits in diner pining over a lost lover, drinking a hot cup of coffee. A scantily clad couple make out on a sidewalk, in the dim street lamp light, surrounded by nosy cherubs. The different scenarios Kondakov has created are oddly surreal. Although they are far fetched, the scenes are not too unfamiliar. The figures, who would appear graceful and ethereal in Renaissance paintings, are, in their new settings, distasteful or tacky. The groups of these mythical figures are almost like drunken party tourists in any modern metropolis; looking like they are causing trouble and up to no good after a Friday night pub crawl.
Kondakov talks about his project a bit more:
….Then I thought, ‘What if I invite these [gods] into our reality and imagine they are on streets of modern Kiev?’ Then I wanted to transform a noisy company of cheerful kids who gathered to spend time together in the city or go to the movies. And in these heroes I saw the work of other artists. ….My project is about life. I really want to avoid talking about the social commentary. (Source)
But however they may seem, Kondakov’s fictional scenarios are definitely amusing, entertaining, and perhaps let us see the street dwellers of our own cities in a different light. (Via We The Urban)
The dark, mysterious painting and drawings of artist Constantine Lianos are full of psychological paradoxes and allegories. This Greece-based artist creates windows into a strange world where troubled beings and mythological creatures exist. Devoid of color, Lianos sets an unnerving mood appropriately complimenting his equally disturbing individuals that appear to be in a never-ending struggle. Each figurative narrative he illustrates portrays fable-like characters that are in a personal crossroad or inner struggle, contemplating their own fate. The artist himself draws inspiration from his own personal reflections. The internal struggle that is represented in Lianos’s work is something relatable to everyone. What makes this so captivating is the bizarre and surreal situations that we find depicting this turmoil. You can see conflicting emotions in the faces of each character. Doubt, fear, indecision, and even anger can be found in his peculiar circumstances.
A talented figure painter, Lianos is not interested in rendering reality, but instead a more abstract idea with less restraints. The artist’s work pulls influence from a large range of sources such as street art, comics, and imagery from classic art movements. Interested in paradoxes, he believes art is a place where illusion and reality meet, where a new construction of the world can begin to form. The artist explains this in relations to his process. (via Hi-Fructose)
“The painting process is for me the ultimate introspection process, where the rational and the emotional are inseparable, where the method meets the random.”
Although she is more known for her weaving and looming, artist Kai Sekimachi has shown she can branch out into other areas of expression with her impressive bowls made from leaves. Defying the very nature of the materials she works with, Sekimachi has come up with a way to make a flimsy leaf into a structure that can support heavier objects. By adding Kozo paper, watercolor and Krylon coating to the leaves, she is able to turn a skeletal transparent leaf into something that isn’t those things at all.
Having written numerous books on arts and crafts with her husband, Bob Stocksdale, she is an expert on many areas of handmade items and objects. The pair’s practices are both anchored in nature, and show their extensive knowledge as pioneers of American Craft.
Sekimachi creates distinctive pieces from natural materials such as linen, decaying leaves, shells, and grass, and pairs them with nature inspired motifs. (Source)
Sekimachi is not afraid to try her hand at new things, and proves repeatedly that she is a fast learner. After seeing a group of students weaving at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1949, where she was also enrolled, the very next day, the curious artist spent all of her savings on a loom of her own. She then went and perfected her craft over the next few years.
Combining fiber art, sculpture, and fashion, artist Hsiao-Chi Tsai creates beautifully designed wearable art using a variety of different textiles. He uses brightly colored fabric to construct intricate pieces that can be worn on your head and around your neck. The materials used are cut into floral-like shapes that flow organically around the person who is wearing it. A designer by nature, the artist bases these creations off his own illustrations. Because Tsai constructs his designs with such soft material, they appear comfortable despite their non-functional shape and placement. Each piece is creatively designed, utilizing asymmetrical forms and a unique color palette. Although this series, titled Wonderland, is not likely to go with anything in your closet, wearing one of Tsai’s pieces would definitely be a statement!
Creating sculptural, wearable art, this textile designer also forms brilliant installations using the same technique and style as his fashionable art pieces. Using the same textile material, Tsai builds large installations that loops, swirls, and hangs; completely transforming the spaces they are in. These pieces are much like his wearable art, using some of the same elements and cut-out fabric. Each installation is an explosion in its space, with endless gushing patterns. The surge of color in Tsai’s installations can turn any sterile space into a wonderland of cascading fabric flora. Both his wearable textile art series and his installations are uniquely sculptural and are created cleverly with an unlikely material.
Surprising, colorful patches have been appearing on the scarred roadways in Chicago. In an effort to bring art and beauty where once there was neglect and deterioration, artist Jim Bachor embarked on a project to fill potholes with mosaics of ice cream. Named “Treats in the Streets,” each lighthearted piece blends seamlessly into the cracked asphalt. The best part is, as sturdy pieces deriving from an ancient (and enduring) art practice, the mosaics will likely stand up to the test of time. Bachor speaks on his passion for the medium:
Using the same materials, tools and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice. My work locks into mortar unexpected concepts drawn from the present. By harnessing and exploiting the limitations of this indestructible technique, my work surprises the viewer while challenging long-held notions of what a mosaic should be. Like low-tech pixels, hundreds if not thousands of tiny, hand-cut pieces of Italian glass and marble comprise my work. (Source).
“Treats in the Streets” is also occurring in Finland. In a similar project, Bachor covered potholes with mosaics of flowers. To see me more of his clever and contemporary work, check out Bachor’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.
Jen Mann‘s oil paintings are sublime, dreamy, quiet and hypnotizing. They are awkward, special moments of men and women turned into striking portraits. Her luscious brushstrokes and amplified colors are able to turn a mundane moment into something ethereal and magical. Mann also celebrates the flaws and imperfections of her models. Instead of smoothing them over, she embraces them, even exaggerating them – whether it is the freckle under an eye, or the wrinkles in someone’s lips. And that is the thing that elevates the moment into something timeless. Mann says about her paintings and the moment frozen within them:
[They represent] something that is kind of ….lost. [Something] we don’t really look at in our society – we only look at perfect moments, like a manicured facade. (Source)
She explores the idea of identity, how we present ourselves, and who we are. Her paintings represent a ‘lost reality’ rather than the actual reality. They are more about the moment we share together in the world outside of ourselves, and less about the actual person. In a way she is trying to capture the existential image of her subjects – perhaps they are more like a spiritual portrait. She continues:
I’m trying to imagine how I would see an image or a moment as a child. And how hyper saturated and amazingly fun everything was when I was little. The days were longer, the summer was better. Everything was just fantastic… as we grow older, we are less naive. (Source)
Her portraits do feel like recalling a happy memory – like watching an old friend or sibling playing in slow motion in the orange light of a sunset. They are sensational images – emotionally charged, hyper-real and almost surreal. Make sure you continue to get lost in the dreamworld of Jen Mann in the images after the jump.