Chicago artist Mike Rea builds hyper-realistic wooden replicas of objects that have a connection to the culture of a stereotypical heterosexual male. His sculptures are either props from science fiction cinema, or personal memories – made primarily from wood, burlap and Styrofoam. Rea builds things like jail cells, video cameras used for filming pornography, Anaconda snakes, pick axes, robots, strange bits of machinery, Scuba diving tanks, and amplifiers. All are meticulously crafted and are rooted in pop culture. Rea is a self confessed film geek, watching up to 3 films a day and draws a lot of inspiration from the ‘swagger’ and macho attitudes in films like Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.
Rea describes his own take on his practice:
There is a kind of wry sense of humor to the work, but at the same time it’s coupled with this process—this meticulous, very specific kind of over-detailed expression of these contradictions and maybe the most stupid stuff for subject matter. I’ll spend six months on a stupid joke seeing if that makes it better. They’re these large wooden sculptures that are hopefully a little funny and a little bit dark. They’re probably over-built, which is usually just a process of me making lots of mistakes and having to add another layer to cover up where a seam didn’t match. (Source)
Using humor and wit, Rea is trying to see how our desires and obsessions (usually those of a hetero male – weapons, substance abuse and the opposite sex) are tied into popular culture. Whether you are a nerd or not, you will no doubt be delighted by the incredible wooden wonderland Rea creates. See more sculptures after the jump.
Icebergs, while massive in size, are usually seen in one way – as white objects that stick out of the frigid water. But, in rare situations, they take on a different, more brilliant form. When an iceberg is flipped over, it appears as a gem that cloaks itself in the color of the surrounding water. Interface designer Alex Cornell happened upon this phenomenon last month as he sailed through the Drake Passage to Antarctica. He was able to shoot pictures of the iceberg using his Canon 5D Mark II camera.
“We were lucky to see a massive iceberg flip; when this happens, the color is a surreal, alien blue,” he tells PetaPixel. “They don’t flip often, so it was a pretty rare sight to see. It’s hard to tell scale, but this was an epic iceberg.”
It’s often said that 90% of the iceberg itself is below the surface, and this is the cause of it being topsy-turvy. “It was amazing to see the interior. There were air bubbles and flowing water throughout. It looked like an alien artifact.” (Via 123 Inspiration and PetaPixel)
Stumble onto Matija Erceg’s Instagram account — inconspicuously named @seriousdesign — and find yourself immersed in a gallery of delight and disgust. Erceg, a Vancouver-based web and graphic designer, combines images of food — usually raw meat — with everyday objects. Among his hilariously gross “inventions” are shrimp earbuds, pizza irons, ground pork trolls, and sausage vibrators (the latter design taking the “food porn” trend to an entirely new level). The idea emerged when Erceg came across a photoshopped image of sandals with cooked beef as soles; while contemplating the absurd experience of putting them on, Erceg decided he wanted to try and evoke similar reactions among people, discovering as he went that food “lends itself nicely to being a part of an inanimate object” — hence how easily a chicken breast can be made to look like an oven mitt.
In addition to making people laugh and cringe, Erceg’s designs are experiments in context. If food is presented neatly — and properly cooked — on a plate, it is seen as acceptable and appealing; but, as Erceg observes, when the same food makes contact with “your skin (hands, feet, ears, face, etc.), [it] becomes gross or weird” — shrimp, while often considered a delicacy, does not belong inside the ear canal. There are several possible reasons for this discomfort, whether it’s in regards to phobias surrounding the (potential) toxicity of raw meat, or just the idea of dead, cold flesh lying around the house as a useable object. Erceg, however, pushes it further, commenting on how his designs confront us with the unglamorous realities of modern food production: “We admire food, but typically only when we don’t need to get too close to it — [the] raw texture, pre-cooked form, farming, and slaughtering.” His designs remind us of how alienated we are from the foods we eat; food — like sunglasses, housewares, and sex toys — has become grossly commodified.
When I asked Erceg where he aims to take his project next, he said he would like to collaborate with a fake food artist and create real-life versions of his designs. Follow Erceg on Instagram and see what edible objects he dreams up next. But be warned — you may not look at packaged chicken breasts or slabs of beef the same way again.
Using a device which was ahead of its time, Robot Chicken animator, Dillon Markey brings back part of his childhood. Released in 1989, The Nintendo Power Glove was a huge flop due to the fact its associated games weren’t popular. Nintendo has always been known not so much for advancing technology but for gameplay and story lines. In my opinion, the best video games are still the SNES versions of Donkey Kong Country 1,2,3, and Super Mario Bros. These 2D, platform games didn’t need a lot of flashy stuff because the game itself was superior. Like, who doesn’t remember Forest of illusion (the music, *sigh*) or Torchlight Trouble? Both so clever and fun.
The work in stop motion action is similar to creating video games and according to Markey, is extremely labor intensive. He was looking for something to ease the burden, when the glove idea came to mind. He started collaborating with a co-worker’s husband and created a circuit board. This allowed him to control his characters using the same basic function of a SNES controller. With a kind of Dennis Hopperish zeal, Markey explains how the glove works using a program called Dragon. In the background, we catch a glimpse of his cast looking a bit clayish and colorful.
His first “glove” project, is a scene featuring Nintendo founder Shigeru Morimoto. Mario’s creator jumps into a small, backyard jacuzzi.. secret mushroom style. Bill Gates is there waiting to give him a low key “Windows 90″ high five. Radical. Just Radical. (via BOOOOOOOM)
If you thought the goofy family photo in your holiday cards was original, then you’d better think again. Nick and Martha Desbiens recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for Fahz, a unique take on the usual 3D-printed decor. Fahz is a 3D-printed vase that features customized silhouettes in the negative space along the sides, a la the famous optical illusion.
“The vase begins with facial profile photos that are converted into vector geometry,” the Desbiens’ Kickstarter page explains. It continues: “The outlines from the photos become the scaffolding for a 3D model that merges the distinct profiles into a seamless sculptural form.” In other words, if you send the Desbiens a photo of the side of someone’s face, they can incorporate that into a new item for your mantelpiece.
An architect and computational designer, Nick originally conceived of the idea as a Mother’s Day gift for Martha. After friends and family began showing interest, however, the two of them expanded the project. (via This Is Colossal)
If you ever been intrigued by the world of Samurai, now’s your chance to learn more about the life and culture of these ancient warriors and the artisans that made their decorative armor. In Los Angeles until February 1st, one of the most comprehensive collections of headgear, masks, weapons and even horse trappings used by high ranking Japanese warriors from the 14th – 19th centuries in on display at LACMA. Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection is a fine testament to the artistry and functionality of Japanese battle art. Described by the curator Robert T. Singer as more than just a one dimensional cultural display, he says:
My story is not about the samurai. My story is more about the art, the idea that a samurai, a warrior class, would be so interested in such fantastic symbols and mixing together Buddhism, Shinto, and things which would not mix together outside this culture. (Source)
He also talks about his fascination with helmets in particular. To Singer they are a perfect example of the blend of utilitarian decorative art. They include symbols ranging from mythical figures to abstract motifs. The helmets include things like demon birds and eggplants, and all parts are made from precious materials like bear fur, iron, gold, silver, copper, bronze, and silk. Singer explains the complexity of the symbols a little further:
Animals, Buddhism, Shinto, they’re all mixed up. We really don’t understand why. This is performance, ceremonial, processional armor, and they’re showing off, they’re trying to be, sort of, outside the normal world. (Source)
If you are lucky enough to be in Los Angeles, you should definitely take the time to see these cultural artifacts, or you can purchase the catalog here.
Mickey Artworld is a self-taught French artist who works in SFX makeup, prop design, paint, and sculpture to create highly imaginative characters in the styles of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His project Fragile, featured here, hails from this latter category; emerging out of a twisted mass of what appears to be rock or clay is a hideous creature, what Mickey identifies as a “tortured soul.” Featureless except for a raw, lipless mouth and snarling teeth, the alien-being writhes blindly about, howling in pain (or in some other indescribable, unidentifiable emotion). As it crawls and twists over the rocky mound, its skin appears to crack and crumble off like sand, giving it a corpselike appearance and adding to its expression of living hell. To create this frighteningly realistic piece, Mickey made the mask out of latex and the body a combination of water-based clay and makeup.
Mickey explains that the source of inspiration for Fragile was Silent Hill, the Japanese survival horror video game series known for its creepy, slow-burning aesthetics that disturb the psyche; instead of gore for shock value, imagine eerie, unfamiliar sounds in a dark room and grotesque monsters with strange, mutilated bodies — the types of illogical and horrifying things you would see in a nightmare. Fragile has the same emotional and psychological effects, producing fear through confusion and doubt. In confronting spectators with Fragile‘s macabre scene, Mickey hopes to transport them into “another world, a world of beauty and darkness,” where monsters like this one access the deepest recesses of our subconscious, eliciting complex feelings of both fascination and fear.
Check out Mickey’s website and Facebook page for a stunning collection of his beautiful and stylistically varied work. The photography for Fragile was done by the talented Warped Galerie, whose work will appeal strongly to anyone interested in horror, fantasy, and dark beauty. The model is San Keaton.
It’s no secret that Melbourne-based artist Phil Ferguson is fond of food. After all, giant slices of crocheted pizza, cracked eggs, bacon, hot dogs, and much more are strapped onto the top or side of his head. They take the form of decorative hats and costumes that frame the wearer’s face, and their larger-than-life scale makes them a delight. Ferguson posts as @chiliphilly on Instagram where he has 14.2K fans (at the time of writing).
The artist is originally from Perth in Western Australia, and he started crocheting the food and sharing on Instagram as a way to connect with other artists in the area. It all began with a burger that was inspired by Tuck Shop Take Away, his place of work. “From that point onward I thought about how to do food hats,” he told Daily Mail. “[Food] has been the most accessible thing people can relate to and it will stay that way until I’m bored.”
Depending on the design, Ferguson is able to complete a piece in two to three days. The artist describes himself as a self-taught crocheter (he watched instructional YouTube videos) who has never learnt to read patterns. Even so, he’s crafted 24 delectable creations so far. (Via Daily Mail and Milk Made)