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Shamus Clisset Renders Morbid And Humorous Versions Of Reality In B/D’s Book 8: Strange Daze

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Shamus Clisset (aka, Fake Shamus) is a digital artist who uses 3D modeling software to construct bizarre and often humorous scenes that multiply reality and critique consumer culture. His work is featured in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 8: Strange Daze, a curated collection of talented artists who explore the realms of the uncanny: parallel universes, psychedelic dream states, supernatural activity, and more. Also included in the book is the work of Neil Krug, a photographer who drenches his shots in hallucinatory colors, bending time and reality to invoke the nostalgia and liberatory zeal of the 1960s. Andrea Wan, a Berlin-based artist, also brings her own flavor of absurdity to the book in the form of surreal illustrations of masked and multiple-headed beings. Strange Daze is ideal for those art lovers and dreamers who wish to challenge everyday banality by exploring alternative visions of the world.

We featured Clisset’s work in 2011, when he was making insane (and often violent) mashed-up universes of trash and cultural signifiers. Since then, Clisset has rebirthed his artistic identity as “Fake Shamus,” a “digital golem” formed out of 3D-rendered objects (Source). The shapes this humanoid beast can take are limitless; in one image he is a mystical being upholstered in grass who summons a collection of empty beer cans; in another he is an industrious builder, his muscular body made out of what appears to be lumps of brightly-colored Plasticine. And while Clisset’s works may appear to have photographic elements, do not be deceived; everything in his images is created in a digital, 3D space. By mimicking reality, Clisset brings up fascinating questions of “authenticity” versus “fakery,” unveiling in the process that the entire world is a strange construction subject to our perception.

To see our feature on Clisset and similar artists, check out Book 8: Strange Daze. Copies are available at a limited quantity in our shop, so grab yours today.

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Ash Thayer’s Raw Photographs Document Her Years As A Punk Rocker Who Lived In NYC Squats

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Ash Thayer photographs are the reflection of her life. Portraits, landscapes and places that represent the beginning of her life as a young woman braving the intense city of New York. ‘Kill City’ is her memoir through those years. It’s a compact diary comprised of photographs taken when she was living in the See Skwat squat after she got evicted from her first apartment in the city. The pictures are raw and incredibly emotional. It’s not a wish to uncover a way of living, it’s a desire to extract the beauty that lies inside the characters and scenes she witnessed.

At 19 years old, Ash Thayer found herself evicted. With no resources and no family, she found in a Lower East Side building a shelter, a roof to call home. She surrounded herself with a new family, punks surviving just liked her. Soon realizing that she was deeply touched by social activism and protest movements she took part in defending and documenting the subculture she was living in.

The subjects of her photographs are simple and honest. People from her daily life posing naturally under the dim lighting of the squat. There’s no intention in claiming a harsh living situation or showing off extreme conditions. In her pictures, the artist depicts vulnerable sincere souls supporting each other. “On the street [people saw us as] street hustlers, trouble makers, vandals—that just wasn’t really the case. We were hanging out, drinking and watching 90210 around one TV, like 15 of us”.

Ash Thayer’s photographs will be exhibited at Superchief Gallery in Los Angeles starting September 19th 2015. The ‘Kill City’ book is available for purchase here.

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Johnson Tsang Sculpts Bulbous And Bizarre Babies That Melt Infancy With Adulthood

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In a collection called Inner Child, Hong Kong-based artist Johnson Tsang has sculpted bulbous, porcelain-skinned babies with a surrealist twist. With their enlarged heads, bright eyes, and wrinkled faces, they are painstakingly detailed to capture their emotions. From teary-eyed angst to pouting petulance, they seem to behave like normal infants, but each one is infused with elements of the absurd; one baby laughs manically while sitting on a gilded throne inside a birdcage, and another, dressed in a suit, looks pensive while a fish leaps into his head. Whereas babies are ordinarily known for their heart-melting cuteness, Tsang’s sculptural offspring almost repel us with their bizarre conflations of infancy and adulthood.

Inner Child was displayed last month at K+ Curatorial Space in Singapore. In the press release for the show, Tsang explains the playful motivations behind his sculptures:

“Every adult has an inner child deep inside our soul. It is what keeps us curious, urges us to pursue happiness . . . and above all, gives us courage to embrace our truest selves.” (Source)

Tsang’s work, then, is an observation of the youthful drives that persist within all of us. Because age is often viewed as a linear process—from innocence and emotional expression to maturity and stoic intellect—“childish” traits or behaviors in an adult context may seem odd or even off-putting. Tsang wants us to enjoy his sculptures, however, and to reflect on our own inner children—then maybe we can accept and explore those feelings of unbridled glee, frustration, need, and discontent. After all, these are feelings we will experience again to that “unsophisticated,” childlike degree; as Tsang states humorously, “some day, we will all be old enough to start acting like kids again.” (Source)

Visit Tsang’s website to see more of his work, and click here for a fascinating making-of video. (Via The Creators Project)

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Maxine Helfman Tackles Complex Racial Issues By Taking Photographs Of Black Models Posing In Flemish Traditional Costumes


Black models dressed up in traditional Flemish costumes. Maxine Helfman takes photographs the way Old Masters would have portrayed high society in the 17th century. In this series called “Historical Correction”, the artist offers the option of a reverse history. She wants to create a past that never existed. Her purpose is to create a dialogue with the viewers.

Using the same white collars, hats and black tunics. Even the poses are similar, mostly directly looking into the camera, only portraits and a use of lighting which features the faces. She doesn’t use a frame in order to keep the focus on the portraits. Maxine Helfman confirms that she was very careful on how approaching this project. Being a white women herself, she didn’t want to create confusion around a sensible subject.

By creating fictional narratives, she gives another outlook on history and culture. She directs the issues of race by looking at a different society in another time. The photographs are an indirect testimony that race and class are nowhere to be parted. Using art as a mean to express an idea, to make a statement; her series is not to be looked at as a final fact. She opens the door to a discussion about race, equality and how these issues are dealt within their country, wherever the viewers are. “All of my projects begin with that concept….it is the conversation that is generated that is fascinating…..positive and negative”.

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Meredith Woolnough Embroiders Complex Patterns Found In The Fragile Beauty Of Coral, Lily Pads, And Flower Petals

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Australian artist Meredith Woolnough uses embroidery to create her delicate and intricate depictions of different plants. With some thread and a sewing machine, she forms different complex patterns found in nature, such as the veins of a leaf, patterns found in coral, and even lines and shapes found in red cabbage. Each fragile piece displays the small beauty found in the fine details of nature. What would be small, fragile beauty that the average person may overlook, Woolnough finds inspiration. Patterns from shells, petals, and lily pads are given new life in each breathtaking piece. The artist treats her artwork like specimens, as she carefully pins them under glass in shadow boxes for display.

Using vibrant colored thread, she builds up a density of embroidered patterns that become almost three-dimensional. In some cases, like in her embroidered bowls, the work really does have volume as it holds the shape of a bowl. Because of the method in which the artist creates her work, it demands an intense patience that can be seen as meditative. The repetitive patterns and natural quality of Woolnough’s work is like that of a Mandala, holding sacred qualities.

The work maps the frameworks of the various veining systems found in nature to create work that explores the balance, harmony and connectivity of life on Earth. Inspired by the patterns, structures and shapes found in plants, coral, cells and shells Meredith’s embroideries represent both the robust beauty and elegant fragility of life.

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Thai Instagram Sensation Creates Extraordinary Eclectic Fashion Out Of The Mundane Materials

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Fashion’s new Instagram sensation is a 15 year old Thai boy. ThaiBan fashionista gained popularity through his Instagram account of the same name on which he posts photos of himself posing in outfits he has made from everyday items ranging from kitchenware and balloons to plants. These objects are reworked into an assortment of creative and eye-catching pieces that are at the junction of creativity and sustainability.

His pieces are a true sign of the times in the sense that they are made of excess materials, which underline the issues concerning consumerism and waste which we are faced with today. On top of this, the fact that he is gaining attention via Instagram gives social media a valid role in the fashion industry. ThaiBan’s is both of a combination of absolute beauty and strong social significance. The intense creativity of using everyday items in a fashion setting makes his pieces powerful and original in a way that can be seen as a strong contribution to the fashion industry.

The bursts of color and imagination present in his pieces make for a sensational series of intricate and intriguing items. The colorful photographs on ThaiBan’s account are a reminder of the infinite possibilities that arise from the combination of DIY, creativity and social media.

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Stunning Timelapse Drawing By Marvel Film Studios Artist Karla Ortiz

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Karla Ortiz is a San Francisco-based illustrator who currently works for Marvel Film Studios. In the timelapse video featured above, Ortiz draws a beautiful shrouded woman surrounded by her feathered familiars: owls, ravens, and more. Her artistic process is fascinating to watch. After framing the paper with tape, she works from the shadows outwards, building her figure slowly and using highlights to create movement within the piece—the flexing wings and the withdrawn hood. The result is an image that commands our attention with its mystery and presence. This piece is part of a show called “Omens,” on exhibition at the Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City from September 12th until October 3rd.

As a concept artist with over six years of professional experience, it is no wonder how Ortiz’s work has the reputation it has today. Her entire oeuvre is nuanced and expressive, depicting creative characters in positions of otherworldly power and emotional vulnerability. With fantasy and science fiction as her realms of expertise, Ortiz’s other notable clients include Wizards of the Coast, Ace Books, and Tor Books. Lovers of these genres should visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more. (Via Colossal)

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Nathalie Lagacé Renders Delicate Creatures Stuck Between Human And Beast

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Nathalie Lagacé renders hybrid creatures that are both beautiful and hideous, half human and half beast. Her beautifully rendered drawings display tenderness and anguish, as she lovingly creates these intriguing creatures. However, they are stuck somewhere in limbo, between two beings as they cry out. Highly skilled at drawing, Nathalie Lagacé forms very believable creatures, which make them all the more disturbing. These seemingly cute babies become alarming with their pig heads and rat-tails. Perhaps the most shocking image is Lagacé’s drawing of a baby with bird legs, but they appear to be cooked, ready for you to pick right off the body. Lagacé has created a series that will not soon leave your mind, as the strange images of these bizarre creatures are unlike any that you will ever see.

This series, titled Legacy, points a stern finger at the way we impact the world around us. Much of her work is strongly environmental, displaying what our actions could possibly cause in the future. These crossbreeds of animals like zebras, pigs, and rabbits with humans represent our “legacy,” what we leave behind. The artist’s work reflects upon nature and our relationship with it, the positive and negative. Her art is full of harsh contrasts, whether it is between two conflicting creatures or the dark graphite against the stark white background. Make sure to check out her other black and white, graphite drawings, which have a similar environmental message. (via Hi-Fructose)

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