Chad Wys is an artist, designer, and writer from Illinois. Inspired by postmodern thought, Wys’ works examine the reproduction of the image, and the way plural images—as superficial iterations of an original object—operate on us to suggest a sense of meaning and worth.
This theoretical approach is brilliantly exemplified in Wys’ Readymades series, featured here. The Readymades consist of found busts and ceramics that Wys has adorned with eye-popping colors, bold gradients, and silvery tears. By re-contextualizing objects of “antiquity” with garish, modern color schemes, Wys compels the viewer to contemplate their feelings and values in relation to such objects. He explains further on his website:
“By retooling the object and then re-presenting it for the viewer I intend to elaborate on the conversation that takes place between the observer and the reproduction in its ‘initial’ state. Through the reclamation and manipulation of these objects I mean to acknowledge, to underscore, that our possessions can, and often do, manipulate us.” (Source)
Wys observes how, as markers of class and income, art pieces and knickknacks signify arbitrary measures of personal worth. By “disfiguring” the cherished objects, Wys produces a visual, mental disparity that deconstructs their value; the clownish colors show the tenuousness of their “high status.” While subversive in intent, the finished Readymades are curious and beautiful art pieces in and of themselves, at once celebrating and critiquing contemporary art practices and embracing imperfection. The ultimate significance of the works, however, is the viewer’s cognitive responsibility; as Wys states, they are “meant to mean different things to different people who are at different stages of understanding” (Source).
Jansson Stegner’s work could easily have turned into your typical figurative work but the strange elongation of the figures gives the work a bizarre psychological twist. It’s kind of a mix between Balthus and John Currin.
My good buddies at Two Rabbits Studios have recently updated their site and online store. If you haven’t heard of these fellas, you should put your ears to the ground more often. Though they may be named after a small gentle animal, they are a stampeding herd of buffalos who will trample you with their design and printing skills. They’ve done concert posters for all of your favorite musicians and probably your mother’s favorites as well. (P.S. They silk screened one of the inserts in Book 2).
KOFTA is the brain child of Kiev based designer Konstantin Kofta. In his collections Hug, Born, Roots, he experiments with leather manipulation to produce surrealistic and elegant garments, accessories and wearable items. His pieces imitate body parts and look like they are extensions of the person wearing them. Including backpacks that mimic torsos, bags with raised vertebrae, straps with hands attached ‘holding’ onto the wearer’s shoulders, and shoes that look like feet, Kofta’s designs are delicately gothic. He describes his inspiration for the Hug collection further:
From birth, we try to stand up and take our first steps. We yearn to touch and be touched and to feel sensations for the first time. We can perceive objects with an unclogged consciousness. Pure perception without comparison. We know nothing other than that which we can see and feel… Spirit does not have form, but some forms can have spirit, vibration does not have a color but color can have vibration, mood does not have a texture, but textures can have a mood. In this collection we focus for the first time more on feelings than just on physical forms and we have created forms, colors and textures according to these sensations… (Source)
Designing with a emphasis on sensuality, Kofta loves to tease out an emotional response to his designs. He combines the unintentional and unexpected to produce durable, unique and wearable pieces of art. Kofta designs with the intention of adding unusual components to a person’s lifestyle, not just their wardrobe, and I would say his pieces achieve a lot more than that.
Any information regarding the details of Brandon Jan Blommeart’s existence can not be found- his current info page is a self reminder to put up some kind of blurb and maybe an animated gif. I like these sculpture/collage things he did with recycled material, though I can’t tell if they are made in a 3D modeling program or out of physical materials (a comment on his in-progress post mentions the former). These abandoned beasts struggling in the wild remind me a little of characters from Miyazaki’s Nausicaa.
Edit: I just got an email back from Brandon (who lives in Canada) with some details breaking somewhat his shroud of mystery. These sculptures are indeed made out of garbage and created for a public arts commission. The final forms will be large vinyl prints wrapping the side of a building. Can’t wait to see photos of when they’re actually up!
“Your staff are the nicest pooch lovers in the world. Penny, my precious little wiener…is looking forward to her next stay.”
“Quality of toilet paper could be better…3-ply minimum…otherwise it was a great room and enjoyable stay.”
“I had just given an unflattering review to a volatile pop star’s latest album and heard through the grapevine he was staying at the hotel. I was certain he was going to exact some kind of revenge…after many anxious phone calls…one of your staff kindly offered to stay up with me until I calmed down.”
For the holidays, the Standard Hotels produced a 2014 calendar that details a look back at 2013. In a collaboration with advertising agency and publisher KesselsKramer, the hotel chain reviewed and recreated moments from 2013’s favorite guest letters, comments, and special requests. From all of the bizarre things they had received throughout the year, they narrowed it down to 12 that were reenacted by the hotels’ staff.
If you’ve ever worked in the retail or service industry, you know how weird or picky some people can be. The comments and requests that the Standard Hotels receive is no different. One customer claimed their TV was possessed. Another believed that the hot tub had melted their prescription lenses. One guest was a music journalist (directly above) so anxious about recent scathing review he published that hotel staff stayed to keep him company until he calmed down. He was very appreciative.
Antic staatsoper makes photographs which reference old religious renaissance paintings. These include themes about love, lust, faith, shame, and betrayal. The pictures created are striking and controversial. The nude and partially nude models are manipulated in such a way that they transform into more painterly forms. Staatsoper uses a technique which blurs the image to produce a hazy mind altering effect. The overall results are violently striking images which bring age old stories to light. The idea of carnal desire is present but not only in a sexual sense. There’s also the notion of an abnormal attraction to food and drugs. And a desire for power. The artist talks about our current state of spirituality which seems compromised from the old way of thinking. This is an astute conclusion as more earthly ways have come to define us and become more prevalent in “current religions”. Still, we are aware of a higher power whether imagined or real it surrounds us with the question of why am I here and for what reason? In that sense, Staatsoper captures the uncertainty we feel in extreme situations which usually define us. From an aesthetic viewpoint the work is powerfully done in its moving and raw depiction of circumstance. Using figures seemingly pulled from greek tragedy we see them in a modern light tracing our historical significance.
We love DIY art and design here at B/D, so it goes without saying that home made Strange Cams certainly caught our eye. An ongoing project initiated by Los Angeles artists Aurelia Friedland and Michael Manalo, Stange Cams investigates the affordances of defamiliarized, modified, low technology instruments, and how those instruments can shift a user’s perspective (literally) on the community and environment around them. I love the sketchy approach the artists took in designing these new cameras – who would have thought a good ol’ roll of duck-tape, a can of spray paint, and some CVS brand disposable cameras would lead to a whole new genre of photography? Check out more of the resulting photographs, and some of the Strange Cams themselves after the jump.