Last week, BuzzFeed published a video featuring three women who were given complete makeovers based on “diverse traditions of beauty,” transforming them into figures from their cultural, historical pasts. Their backgrounds — which were Indian, English-Irish-Scottish, and Chinese-Taiwanese – were researched, and then clothes, accessories, hairstyles, and makeup were selected to recreate the looks. The women are fascinated and excited by the stylists’ creative interpretations of their heritage, and as one participant expresses, “It’s traditional, but at the same time, there’s an edge to it.”
A possible criticism of this video would be that it risks essentializing ethnic identities and notions of beauty; it’s always important to remember that cultural histories and traditions are infinitely diverse and nuanced. However, BuzzFeed’s goal to creatively explore a range of backgrounds is valuable, in that it aims to celebrate cultural difference and disparate histories. The video provides positive representation to alternative-and-equal cultural understandings of traditional beauty, which is important in a world wherein the media is so often dominated — or at least influenced — by Western standards and ways of thinking.
Check out the video above, and share with us your thoughts. What do you think about these depictions of diverse, traditional beauty? (Via designboom)
Multi-media artist Kip Omolade paints captivating portraits based on realistic African sculptures. His new series Diovadiova Chrome is a collection of hyper realistic, super saturated, luminous faces that are a result of a labor intensive process. Omolade first makes a mold of each model’s face out of plaster, casts it in resin, adds a layer of chrome and extravagant artificial eyelashes. This final version of the sculpture is then used as a model for the oil painting. Omolade says his paintings are:
historically connect[ed] to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury.
He goes on to say that his re-imagining of the masks are a conduit between the spiritual and natural world. He has exhibited the actual representations of the masks as well, as a kind of homage to the history of African culture being on display. His expertise in the African Art genre (gained from working at The Center for African Art in NYC) has fueled his passion for promoting awareness of the indigenous culture. To see more of his impressive images, see after the jump.
Jess de Wahls is a London-based artist whose colorful multilayered and multifaceted textile works incorporate feminism, gender equality as well as recycling. Using a variety of fabrics, beads, and other materials, she creates 3D portraits that depict strong, inspirational women of all ages, shapes, and ethnicities. She sees her pieces as a way to raise awareness of gender inequality, explaining to TextileArtist.org, “…all the while celebrating great minds and artists of the past and present.”
In her artist statement, de Wahls also goes on to say:
Their influence on myself as a modern woman, Feminist and Artist, on Feminism as a whole and on their position as Role models to young girls growing up in a society that has, no doubt, come a long way in liberating its women but has yet a great length ahead of it. Not to mention the work that needs to be done in other parts of our planet, where women are to date still oppressed, belittled and generally treated as second class humans.
So, by creating these pieces, she ensures that their legacy isn’t forgotten.
De Wahls unique style is the product of a self-made called Retex which is short for recycled textile sculpture. She explains:
For the medium of Retex Sculpting, old garments serve as fabric for the works and cushion filler helps me to create a relief that raises the silhouette off the canvas creating greater depth.
The box-frame, in which the work is mounted, is integral to the piece and can be seen as a modern day relic box. (Via TextileArtist.org)
Artist DarkAngelOne has taken a collection of sculptures created by different artists and brought them to life! Using photos of these sculptures, the artist transforms them into stunning, moving GIFs full of energy. The variety of sculptures is incredibly eclectic, ranging from artistic fashion to bronze. Even more diverse and unique, is what part of the sculpture is moving in each photograph. In one photo, buttons seem to endlessly skid across a woman’s face. In another, a crystallized substance is exploding from a person’s body. Sometimes, the fabric of the sculpture itself transforms and morphs back and forth between patterns and materials. What is so impressive about this series is how seamless the editing seems to be. The sculptures really do seem to have gold dripping up continuously or have safety pins eternally sliding across a face. This transformation has truly taken some incredible skill from the artist that created the GIFs.
The movement created in this series not only transforms the sculpture itself, but the mood and the meaning as well. A new sensation emerges from each of these photos as they now pulsate and flow with a new life right in front of our eyes. They become more surreal, magical, and in some cases, a bit unnerving. Several of the sculptures take on a new feeling of anxiety or perhaps fear as they now have new elements added to it due to the movement. For example, one sculpture now has a fluttering iris that moves back and forth out of her skull. Another simulates a threaded face with black string moving across the eyes. Each sculpture is amazingly transformed into a new image full of life and meditative movement. (via Fubiz)
There is something immediately evocative about seeing balloons in unexpected places, a fact that photographer Charles Petillon takes advantage of in his series “Invasions.” Pure white balloons blossom out of weather-worn storage spaces and wreathe sunlit trees in an idyllic forest. They spill from the open door and windows of an unassuming home, looking for all the world like soap bubbles. Riotous and joyful, they remind us instantly of childhood, yet the name “Invasions” seems to hint at something a bit more insidious.
However, Petillon’s intention seems not to portray a sinister presence in our everyday lives; rather, he seems to want to create a metaphor that can change from scene to scene. The photograph set in a forest is named “Mutation 2,” exploring the way natural and manmade elements interact with each other. Another photograph, this time with balloons draped over a basketball hoop, is called “Play Station 2,” and poses the question of how the pastimes of youth have evolved in modern society.
“Invasions” can be seen at Maison Européene de la Photographie in Paris, France starting on February 20 until March 22, 2015. (via Design Taxi)
A young designer named Teresa Lim uses a centuries old tradition to remember her trips to exotic places. Instead of a shutter and lens she threads needle and yarn to embroider her memories. The idea first evolved when she wanted more than just a photograph or postcard as a memento. She used her training and expertise as a textile designer/illustrator and concocted the embroidery idea. The labor involved in the project satisfied Lim’s taste and was a positive way to imprint these unique places into her memory.
The work itself is not much larger than a photograph and round in shape. On her website (teeteeheehee) she shows a picture of the finished piece against the actual subject matter. Most are uncannily accurate and quite beautiful. She chooses an array of colorful, natural destinations to sew which work well with the bold, vibrant yarns. Some of the places she’s embroidered have been Vietnam, Berlin, Prague and Tokyo. She has also done other projects in embroidery which depict girl power topics and are less traditional in the sense of technique.
Embroidery has been in existence since the early 3rd century B.C. Since that time it has changed very little. There are a few different types of stitches and that’s it.
It differs from needlepoint which uses a stiff open weave canvas opposed to embroidery’s soft cloth which requires a loop to create a border. (via boredpanda)
Mike Spears is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose colorful and playful imagery is infused with a provoking — and sometimes subtle — eroticism. To some, this may seem like a dubious statement, for while several of his photographs depict women in various states of undress, others are seemingly innocent landscapes and still life pictures of flowers and fruit. However, there is something enticing about hands cradling a sliced papaya with its glistening, elliptic interior, or two spindly cacti curving around each other in an awkward embrace. Spears eroticizes such objects and scenery by framing them in a focused and particular manner that harnesses our attention and curiosity.
As Spears’ photography explores, eroticism is an unpredictable flow that is not always equated with naked bodies and/or sexuality. It can arise as feelings of alertness, attraction, or even revulsion; the tentacles lolling out of a raised hand, for example, generate both aversion and the suggestive, tactile sensation of wet flesh on flesh. His work follows a line of thinking that views desire as something that influences everything we create and perceive; as Gustav Klimt famously stated, “all art is erotic,” whether it was created with that intention, or whether we unconsciously inscribe our own desiring energy into it. When I asked Spears about the suggestiveness of his work, he expressed that he wants his “provocative photos to be more fun, thought-provoking, mysterious, [and] clever,” and not just “erotic” in the conventional sense (referring to nudes, for example). For him, a good photographer is someone who can skillfully capture an array of subjects while investing them all with a personal, artistic energy. In this way, eroticism is a byproduct of Spears’ work, arousing us via his diverse talent, humor, and attention to curious details.
Whether you read eroticism into it or not, Spears’ work is exciting and immersive. When he’s not shooting photographs in his local haunt of Brooklyn, he features Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Check out his website, Tumblr, and Instagram for more examples of his varied work. (Via Juxtapoz)
Australian graphic designer Filfury (Phil Robson) is a sneaker freak, and it shows in his latest images. He takes photographic details of bright and colorful sports shoes and re-imagines them as new intriguing shapes. His series of images include different objects such as butterflies, beetles, skulls, bats, body organs and guns. Robson takes the textures, patterns and characteristics form classic sneakers like Adidas Originals Superstar, the Air Jordan 4 Retro, and the Reebok Shaq Attack, and chops them up. Threaded shoelaces become teeth in the jaw of a skull; breathable mesh turn into wings of a dragonfly; the Adidas stripes morph into the wings of a bat; the toes of a sneakers are now the body part of an insect.
After collaborating with many many corporate brands such as Nike Basketball, Adidas, Reebok and Sneaker Pimps, Robson is a pro at creating sharp, modern graphics. He has been featured on many top artist lists, and is definitely a talent to track. You can see more of his streamlined aesthetic here on his Instagram feed. (Via Design Faves)