“Chojun (Zhang Shun),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Zhang Shun in the White Streak of Waves” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
“Kaosho (Tattooed Priest),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Takeshi Haguri is an artist from Nagoya, Japan, who creates incredibly detailed wooden sculptures of traditional figures from Japanese art and culture. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Haguri created series of works depicting musicians, “Yankees” (delinquent Japanese youth), and melancholic outlaws. His more recent works, featured here, are modeled after traditional prints from Edo-period (1603-1868) Japan, such as Toyokuni Utagawa’s “Kauraiya: Portrait of an Actor on Stage” and Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden. In a current series titled Otokogi (meaning “chivalry”), Haguri features a cast of men wearing fundoshi (undergarments) while standing proudly and wearing masks of traditional creatures and characters, such as the long-nosed tengu and clownish Hyottoko.
Several of Haguri’s works are covered in beautifully painted tattoos in the style of traditional Japanese art: dragons coil around torsos, koi fish arch over shoulder blades, and sakura bloom across arms and legs. Created by Haguri’s apprentice, Miki Nagasaki, the tattoos signify an interesting reversal of 2D and 3D art; instead of woodblock prints on flat surfaces, Haguri’s wooden sculptures transform the traditional images onto dynamic, wooden “bodies.” Drawn from the rich archives of art, myth, and cultural memory, these characters (and their tattoos) can be viewed and appreciated from all angles. By exploring tradition through a different medium, Haguri reinvests age-old images and artistic practices with his beautiful and contemporary style. (Via Sweet Station)
The porcelain sculptures of Jason Briggs make you want to touch them..in private. Blatantly provocative, Briggs takes all the sexual organs and orafices on the male and female body and fuses them into a protruding grotesque beauty. He touches on things that keep the human race alive. The forbidden fruits of procreation which everyone thinks about but rarely speaks about. Since he uses porcelain the pieces take on an eerie realism which make them appear more flesh like. In some cases they give off bondage signals which is metaphorically correct. You are bonded to the person you are having sex with. The other interesting thing about the work is the intellectual interpretation. This could be met with repulsion to some since mind and body don’t always fuse together, though they should. In his statement, he discusses the obvious but also explains that his interest is in the desire itself more than the fulfillment of it. This might also explain the enlarged forms which make up the work. These pieces according to Briggs usually appear larger than life when living only in the mind. Through his work he tries to make light of this and understand it better.
It’s a never ending summer inside Dan McCarthy’s world. The mirage created by the blue ocean and the red flesh of the bodys on the beach, captivates the eye which is enticed to stare at the warm nuances that the painting is offering. The “dreamscapes” are liberating.
The artist is not only is a painter, sculptor, messenger; he is a poet. Through his art, his desire is to create a memory. The details don’t have to be remembered; the viewer leaving with a feeling of freedom and comfort is the optimal destiny of his work.
The barely dressed women and men are expressing personal emotions and allowing the viewers to feel their fragility. Accessorized by fish, birds, mountains and rainbows they encourage a dialogue in the direction of nature and the world at large. The props such as a guitar, skateboard and surfboard are symbols used to reiterate location; these devices lead the viewer to fill in the gaps based on other clues like paint handling and materiality.
Dan McCarthy works quickly by rinsing and blotting thin layers of washed out pastel tones, allowing the paint to drip down the canvas. It’s a process based largely on intuition and working within the moment. He is stripping it all down to the essential basics, trying to let the sunshine in.
He recently started to work on ceramic sculptures that he calls Facepots. Wanting to express emotion, attitude and humour in his work, he chose faces as an obvious starting point. As Dan Mccarthy once remarked: “I’d like to include in my work something of the living spirit, something positive that can be taken away and built upon by a viewer. Certainly more a feeling than an attitude or ideology”.
The pollution crisis in China is reaching an all time high. With over 500,000 people dying each year from diseases related to the air quality, it’s a time for action. A company in China called Xiao Zhu has decided to educate the public on just how serious the matter is. They have literally shone a light on the culprits – by projecting images of crying children’s faces onto the guilty factories’ billowing towers of smoke and pollution. As most of the victims of air pollution are children, this artistic protest has a hard hitting message. Stop now, or the future generations will continue to suffer.
The faces themselves are quite hard to stomach. Twisted and contorted faces fade in and out of the smoke clouds. Young boys are covering their mouths with masks trying to breathe without pain. It is an emotionally charged subject, and the company normally responsible for selling air filters have tapped into the drama of the situation. Their creative approach to such a huge environmental problem is working – people are noticing and spreading the word.
Xiao Zhu write this statement to accompany their video on Youtube:
We decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium…. Clean the air, let the future breathe again. (Source)
Not only is this a message for the whole nation, and world, but most specifically for the industry that is causing the damage. And I’m sure they won’t be able to avoid looking up at their own factories and see the mess they are creating. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Julio Le Parc is the precursor of op art. Originally from Argentina, he moves to Paris, France after his art studies to discover what the city has to offer. Today, he is displayed next to Vasarely’s immersive art pieces. The artist uses fourteen pure colors to create combinations on its paintings. This starting point allows him to work around real movement, multiplication of images, transparency, coloring, space and light. Experimentation is how Julio Le Parc likes to work, that includes making mistakes and taking risks. In another black and white series where he uses spray paint he is looking to experiment with multi surfaces, dynamic visuals and different levels of shades.
Behind the numerous studies of light and movement there is a need for Julio Le Parc to search for a shortcut between the creation of a piece and the experience of the viewers. By rejecting psychology, his aim is to reach the mass with no third party involved. He is taking his political message, his “general analysis of the situation” directly to the eyes of the viewers. He condemns the government method to impose its vision and to leave aside the ideas and opinions of the people. Ideally, he wants a new method to acknowledge ideas wether it’s by a State or an art gallery. For Julio Le Parc, people don’t appreciate art in its time and that’s the fault of galleries and museums imposing their opinions and deciding who will be the next “famous and hot” artist instead of letting the people decide.
Julio Le Parc’s art pieces will be displayed this week at Art Basel and sixty of his work will be printed on silk scarves in collaboration with Hermes.
Josh Jefferson is a Boston-based artist who paints and draws raw, coarsely layered, and geometric portraits. Viewing the face as the locus of emotion and individuality — as well as a mask we shape to convey our identities — Jefferson’s rough-yet-sophisticated style allows him to represent the structures of the face while simultaneously exploring the symbolic interiority of each portrait; with loose and boldly-colored brush strokes and layered washes of paint, Jefferson gives each portrait a constructed superficiality as well as a deeper, visible core: translucent shapes become thoughts floating around inside a skull, eyes sink into deep vortexes, and mouths smile and grimace all at once. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Jefferson described his style and motivations:
“What really gets me excited is when I see a painting that seems effortless — when an artist has confidence and it appears that the painting came about like one fast whiplash, a slaphappy moment. If I could convey that feeling of loose abandon and control I would be happy. The distortions and geometric interpretations in my drawings and paintings act as structures for me to build on and react to. I kind of need to repeat things to find their meaning, and the structures help with this process.”
Just as our emotions shift, fluctuate, and blend together, Jefferson’s imaginative-yet-structured portraits manifest the complexity of inward experiences — experiences that may seem abstract or unreadable to anyone not enduring them personally. As Jefferson strives for that balance between “abandon and control,” there is a distinct sense of chaos and order, childhood lightness and adult stoicism; shifting between semi-transparent shapes and bold lines, Jefferson’s faces invite and repel us. In showing the imperfections amidst an otherwise bold exterior, the portraits allow us to view identity as a careful construction — a facade — over a complex and vulnerable personal world.
Jefferson’s works will be featured at Head First, an exhibition at the TURN Gallery in New York City running from June 24th until August 16th. The gallery will be hosting the opening reception on the 24th from 6-8pm. Check out Jefferson’s website to see a larger collection of his work.
There’s a change happening in a small, rural community in Costa Rica. Latin American satellite company Claro has joined forces with local artists to help housewives advertise and grow their own businesses. In a place where few luxury items can be afforded, every household is certain to have a TV – and also an accompanying satellite dish. So, with the help of creative agency ‘Ogilvy & Mather Costa Rica’, Claro have come up with idea of how to better utilize those dishes for the local residents.
Painted with as many different logos and themes as you can think of, the bright, folksy designs are grabbing all the right kinds of attention. Now, instead of having to rely on word of mouth, or neighbors stopping by occasionally, the women can advertise their goods and services much easier – and to more people. The charming designs advertise making tortillas, ice cream, piñatas, selling flowers, strawberries, eggs, or offering sewing alterations, or haircuts. Now, not only are the women attracting more customers, they are also empowered to think bigger, and to perhaps change their own financial destiny. (Via Lost At E Minor)
According to photographer Ismael Moumin everyone has two sides to their personality. In his cleverly crafted collaged pictures he renders a kind of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde narrative. In portrait style pics he explores dual sensibilities. Some are traditionally made with happy/angry faces while others are left more open to interpretation. The flawless models are aesthetically pleasing to view and in some Moumin cuts parts of their faces to fit perfectly into another, thus making comment about the interchangeable definition of beauty. In one an Asian model is split with a Caucasian lady. Again a subtle reference to what appears on the outside might not necessarily coincide with what is on the inside. Then there are some where he erases the face altogether except for the silhouette and fills it with cosmic looking substances. These become scientific planetary like images which recall mood rings and heat sensitive substances which change at the touch.
Moumin makes his living as a professional photographer. He has done shoots for Rue Blanche, Cacharel, Sage, LESinrocks and Hero Magazine. He is represented by Frenzy Picture in Paris.(via Ineedaguide)