Brooklyn artist James Blagden isn’t worried about offending you with racial stereotypes. Or rather the aim is to offend to get the point across. Fusing together a myriad of influences and topics found in African American popular culture, the artist pokes fun at the ideas and images we accept on a regular broadcasted basis. Whatever the common conception, the nerdiness of Asians in mainstream cinema, African Americans and basketball, gold teeth and bling, he’s done it all. Check out an interview Format Mag did on James.
Whoa, seriously psychedelic work from artist Tofer Chin. I’m not always the biggest fan of all things Op-Art, but I really like the way Tofer pushes the boundaries of a somewhat tired act. In particular, his “Discus Thrower” caught my eye as being an especially impressive and imaginative reinterpretation of both a traditional piece of art, and an avant-garde style of painting. His show “Alex” closes tomorrow at Fecal Face in San Francisco, so go quickly before it’s too late!!
A smart new campaign launched on Earth Day (April 22) in Hong Kong has ambitious plans aimed at changing the littering epidemic the city is facing. Called ‘The Face of Litter’ and developed by The Hong Kong Cleanup, in partnership with Ecozine and The Nature Conservancy, it is a multi-media attempt to curve people’s messy habits. Groups of scientists have targeted certain areas around the city, and with the help of DNA phenotyping and specialized software, an image of the litter culprit is developed. Then by considering the type of litter found, and where in the city, an even more accurate description of the person and their demographic can be developed. The faces of the guilty litterbugs are then displayed around the city, in different bus stops, on billboards and on social media.
By publicly shaming people who drop their rubbish, The Hong Kong Cleanup hopes to drastically change their citizen’s habits. China and Indonesia are among the top polluters around the world, and now many people are acting to change this sooner rather than later.
95 per cent of marine refuse in Hong Kong comes from local sources, with over 80 per cent originating from land-based activities. Additionally, more than 70 per cent comprises plastic and foam plastic items. (Source)
Lisa Christensen, Founder and CEO of The Hong Kong Cleanup, says:
We are thrilled to be part of this innovative campaign, which is sure to have a positive impact on people and the community. Last year, during the six-week Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge, 418 teams comprising 51,064 participants, collected a total of 3,894,000 kilograms of litter from city streets, coastal area’s and country trails. Sadly, we suffer from a serious ‘pick up after me’ mentality, and this simply must change. (Source)
While the professional portfolio of photographer Claudia Gonzalez is comprised of portraiture spanning classic high-fashion shots and intimate boudoir photos, her personal work presents a much more touching focus. In her series, Reassign, Gonzalez teamed up with CENESEX, Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, to offer a glimpse into the country’s transgender community through before-and-after portraits of individuals undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Comprised of two photos—one depicting the individual as they appear pre-procedure, and the other presenting the “after”—each piece in Reassign speaks to the complexities and astonishing results of this life-changing resolution. Since the differences between the photos that comprise the pairs are remarkable, it may surprise you that each was taken on the same day; most of the before-and-after sets are merely representative of these individuals’ journeys, and do not document the literal, typically years-long process.
Clearly, the changes in clothing, addition of make up, and styling of hair indicate an obvious change in gender identity. However, it is the individuals’ expressions—often somber and aloof in the “before” shots and self-assured and radiant in those that follow—that truly demonstrate an undeniable shift in confidence, elevated happiness, and, poignantly, an uplifted sense of self. (Via Feature Shoot)
In the ongoing iPhone/Blackberry feud I must admit I sit comfortably in the Blackberry camp. Nevertheless, I like iPhone – especially when I see it’s full, non-game potential come shining through the front lines. That being said, Joey Reyes, a photographer in NYC, has taken some particularly spectacular images, shooting and editing them on his iPhone in a collection called LOMOSNAPS.
Working with only “earth, fire and emotions,” Kathy Ruttenberg’s fairytale-like ceramic sculptures create a world that is immediately captivating, but the viewer might be surprised by what’s down the rabbit hole. Her violent and devastating visions are disturbingly peaceful, idyllic and sustainable. Erasing the boundary of the metaphorical and the literal, Ruttenberg’s world is filled with lush foliage, woodland creatures and puzzling, slightly grim yet open-ended reveries of gender relations. Men are always portrayed as animals in gentlemen’s clothing, and women are always well-groomed and dressed in rounded skirts. On one hand, men are literally animal-like savages, but at the same time they are native creatures of the woodlands and the earth itself, whereas the female figures are the outsiders, if not intruders. It is hard to tell if they are men masquerading as animals, or vice versa. Death, in works such as “The Moment After”, is the stark aftermath of failed love, but also an opportunity to blossom imaginatively and become one with earth.
See Kathy’s work in person in NYC at STUX gallery on view now until May 5th.
Parallel worlds are familiar to Noemie Goudal. She actually recreates them for us on monochrome photographs, using all sorts of artifice to convey our minds to her land of imagination. She connects pure subjects and abandoned sets, to recreate her vision.
In her “Observatories” series she builds models in paper and cardstock and unifies it in an empty landscape of water. Evoking history and civilization, the stark monuments float like undisturbable icebergs, powerful and dominating the picture. The motionless water reinforces the concept of stability, making one with the buildings.By juxtaposing two pure existing elements in a same location, the artist duplicates reality and enables the viewer to question the limitation of reality and fantasy. “I don’t think that my pictures invite anyone into a fantasy world but rather a place made from the real that questions the fantasies, desires and fragility of the viewer.”
There is a feeling of nostalgia in Noemie Goudal’s pictures. As if we were to enter an abandoned site, a deserted battlefield. Time has stopped and here we are stuck in a two dimensional world, between an iceberg and its immobile water. The silence is palpable, anguish is nearby yet the situation is bearable. The notion of communication failure between landscape and human beings is another emphasis of the artist’s photographs. Despite the conception of familiar surroundings, a gap of misunderstanding can occur wherever we are. In order to travel into Noemie Goudal’s work, one has to first understand the creation process to move on to reflections of another type.