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Cesar Santos’ Paintings Artfully Blend Imagery From Disparate Genres

Cesar Santos Cesar Santos Cesar Santos cesarpainting2

Cuban-American artist Cesar Santos thoughtfully blends disparate styles and elements in a series he calls “Syncretism.” Santos’ amalgamations present representations from Renaissance, Modern, Classic, and Contemporary work, all blended together to create a pastiche of imagery. While combining genres, forms, and time periods is not a necessarily unique approach, it is Santos’ execution that is most impressive. Skilled technically in multiple painting styles, Santos is able to render images that appear uncannily similar to their references. Recontextualizing these images demonstrates the evolution of painting techniques while maintaining the universality and persistence of particular themes.

“I develop a painting by first working on an idea in a sketchbook, a simple drawing. Then I go to Photoshop and start composing the painting. In a way it’s [how] a classical artist would do it: constructing a color study. Once I have everything composed, tweaking the colors, it will almost look like the final piece. Using oils on linen, I go about painting that image. During the process things change. When I start applying the colors, I start with a raw umber underpainting, and block it in with local color. Even though I’m using modern tools, the process is very classical.” (via juxtapoz)

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Chaim Machlev’s Stunning Op-Art And Geometric Tattoos

chaim machlevGeometric Tattoos Geometric Tattoos  chaim machlev

Israeli artist Chaim Machlev is a Berlin-based tattoo artist, otherwise known as Dots to Lines. Working primarily with black ink (“I believe that black is the nicest color for tattoos; it is closer to our source than any other color,” he said in a recent interview), Machlev’s designs are complex line-based works that weave across skin with fluid, stunning precision. Incorporating mandalas, insects, and other images into his geometric tattoos, Machlev’s work go beyond simple designs into minimal, extraordinarily detailed works of permanent art. It makes sense, then, that Machlev bristles at the idea of grouping his work into any kind of predetermined genre. “I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorize tattoos and other art forms. I could say that I have that split in my designs, just like in my personality; I make those art-minimalistic lines — the computer kid inside me — and very detailed mandalas, the spiritual man inside me.”

That spiritual motif makes way for some of Machlev’s most beautiful designs, such as symmetrical forearm mandalas and Joy Division-riffing chest designs of warped seismic waves. Machlev draws from his experiences traveling in India for the spiritual imagery in his designs, but for the more symmetrical designs, there is a prominent mathematical sense to the work. His line and dot work flows seamlessly over flesh in a way that looks similar to vectors on a computer, sprawling across chests and ribs with stunning exactitude.

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Dollhouse Scale Rooms By Leanne Eisen Miniaturize Sex Trade Spaces

Leanne Eisen - Play

Leanne Eisen - Play

Leanne Eisen - Play

The world of dollhouse miniatures is dominated by sweet structures with period-perfect furniture and impossibly tiny accessories. Leanne Eisen subverts all expectations with “Play” her photo series of 1/12th scale brothel, strip club and other sex trade sites. Eisen makes the pieces of these meticulously detailed scenes herself, having found difficulty in sourcing ready-made miniature condoms, porn magazines and sex toys. The spaces have a seedy, disreputable air enhanced by the details—a used washcloth hangs haphazardly over the sink, sequined shoes are abandoned on the strip club stage, and a forest of egg timers sits under posted house rules. Although Eisen had not been in an actual brothel, she researched films, documentaries, books, and photographs to create her voyeuristic spaces.

The photographs in “Play” are enlarged, playing with scale to disorienting effect. Scenes that are rendered in miniature are suddenly life-size again, with no referent of scale in the images. These are realistic spaces but they are also fantastical. No woman will ever spin on the golden pole. The cow clock in the kitchen will always read 10:10. These abandoned rooms tell their stories through their contents. She says:

I am very interested in residential spaces; the artifacts that we accumulate and leave behind, and how they tell our stories in our absence. I also find the idea of a space that is seemingly a workplace as well as a residence intriguing. In these photos, the viewer takes the role of voyeur, and can take the time to analyze the setting at a perhaps more manageable, less intimidating scale.

The series also serves as a commentary of the accepted social roles for women in a residential space. Where a traditional dollhouse might have a domestic mother figure keeping house, these spaces are intended for women as sexual objects. Whether in the sad paneled room with the pink-clad single bed or in the black walled sex chamber with its red X and metal cage, these are spaces intended to commercialize women.

Through detailed conceptualization, deliberate craft and artful photography, “Play” blurs the lines between whimsy and menace, making pointed observations about the place of women in this world.

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The Facebook Cover Photo Made Into A Hilarious Art Form

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Facebook cover photos don’t just have to be a photo of your grandma or a view from your last vacation. When done correctly, they’re an art form. Like user Nikki, for instance. She’s taken these images to the next level and combined her cover photo and profile picture into often-hilarious pairings. Nikki takes on personas like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, Daenerys of Game of Thrones fame, in addition to appearing Jurassic Park, and throwing a football with Johnny of The Room (a personal favorite).

The key to Nikki’s success is believability. Not that she’s actually Jesse or that she’s affiliated with Sherlock, but that between cover photo and image, they both line up. She took the time to get the colors and costumes correct, and it’s seemed to have paid off. Nikki has won the admiration of the Internet with her unique spin. (Via Gizmodo)

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Lola Dupre’s Collages Get Long In The Face (And Body)

Lola Dupre - Collage Lola Dupre - Collage

Lola Dupre - Collage

Lola Dupre’s collage visions can make Hilary Clinton look like Jaba the Hutt and Virginia Woolf look like a camel. Dupre cuts and pastes her pieces by hand, stretching or shrinking features of the face and/or body of politicians, celebrities, and anonymous characters. Strange though this may sound, her approach to collage seems so obvious it’s almost surprising no one’s thought of it before. This is what makes her work so strong. A really great idea can often seem familiar because it makes so much sense.

In her most recent work, Dupre has been transforming nude figures into unexpected (and sometimes ‘Human Centipede’-like) forms. Whereas in most of them she multiplies limbs and genitals, she throws you a curveball in Osa Desnuda, where she sticks a the top half of a teddy beat head on a nude woman with an ample drooping breast and strange proportions throughout. This one in particular is reminiscent of Wangechi Mutu’s work. She also creates hybrid forms with women’s bodies: confusingly erotic while also disturbing and unexpected, though Mutu’s work is more extreme than Dupre’s.

Although the images are made manually they don’t escape the digital. They reference (accidentally or intentionally) a computer screen that has frozen up where the user has tried to drag the image across the screen, only to have all the repetitions of the image remain as it is moved along. Though similar imagery could probably be made on photoshop, the handmade aspect is essential. The images would loose the sensual textures of skin achieved in the overlapping paper, and the process itself is more mysterious.

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Rafael Gómezbarros’ Giant Ant Installations Shed Light on the Plight Of Migrant Workers

Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
 Rafael Gómezbarros

Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.

When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.

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Tongue In Cheek: A Photo Series Of Couples French Kissing

Rankin - PhotographyRankin - PhotographyRankin - Photography

Ever wonder what it actually looks like when you’re making out – really going at it – tongue and all? One photographer took it upon himself to shoot couples doing just that. Often tongue on tongue action can be kind of grotesque, and rarely are we given the chance to examine it closely. Participating is always a good time, but witnessing from a relatively objective perspective – as someone not really invested – is kind of odd, and definitely uncomfortable if you linger too long watching. In film, if you’re lucky, you see a big juicy tongue slide its way in between hungry lips, but just for a second then it’s gone. Whether in public or in document, it’s hard to get up close and personal with a kiss when you’re not one of the ones doing it.

Rankin, a publisher, director, and commercial photographer living in London, set out for closer inspection of the French kiss in his series Snog. The most compelling of the images is one where you barely see the faces of the couple, just a hint of nose, some stubble around the mouth, and some foundation overtop the occasional blemish. You can feel the intensity of the kiss, as one lip lifts the other to reveal a bit of tooth, and the tong in front veers right as the other presses against it.

What Rankin achieves that others don’t is a balance between staging and reality. He maintains an appealing aesthetic while still staying true to the sentiment of french kissing. The funniest is the older couple both staring back at the camera. It looks on the one hand totally unnatural, but then it also seems to be something so appropriate for the character of the couple. It looks like their tongues are holding hands. (via Feature Shoot)

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Marcelo Daldoce’s Origami Watercolor Works Conceal And Reveal The Human Figure Between The Folds

In Memory of You Watercolor on Paper 19"x43"

Here Comes the Sun Acrylic on Paper 24"x18"

Here Comes the Sun (detail)

35-year old artist Marcelo Daldoce is literally bringing a new dimension to art with his folded portraits of women. A native of Brazil now living in New York, Daldoce is a self-taught artist who began painting at 16. Daldoce’s previous work included large scale nudes incorporated with sophisticated typography, as well as portraits using wine as a medium. His early employment as an illustrator in an advertising agency left him with a distaste for the conventional and a need to make work that is expressive and innovative.

In his current work, geometric patterns conceal and reveal the women beneath, contorting their bodies into impossible shapes. He says:

“In bringing to life a flat surface, I strive to create a puzzle between what is real and what is illusion, what is painted and what is manipulated, turning paint to flesh, paper to sculpture.”

Daldoce’s primary medium is watercolor, which he has modernized through his technique and style. Color, pattern, image. It’s almost too much to process, which is where the origami-like folds come into play. The shadows cast obscure parts of the artwork, giving the eye a place to rest. “It’s mathematic, a process of folding, folding, folding,” he says. “Folding is actually the biggest job now because it takes more time. It’s more complex than just paint.”

In the portraits, the sharp edged paper is paradoxical to the soft curves and valleys of the women’s bodies, and this contrast is carried through the diverse elements of his work: hidden/exposed, abstract/figurative, flat/peaked, colorful/neutral, traditional/contemporary. The paintings leap off the wall dimensionally, but the bold display doesn’t overshadow the beauty of Daldoce’s captured women. (via Hi-Fructose)

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