Christopher David White has the ability to freeze living elements. He offers the possibility for the viewer toendlessly admire and contemplate at any given time the details of a piece of wood. In this series, he blends a camel, chocolate color scheme with grey and concrete tones. The artist uses symbols to express underlying feelings about life and death. “Neither good nor bad, decay is simply a natural process of our world that at times can produce deeply moving and beautiful effects”.
Two symmetric hands reaching out to each other, linked by an unsteady, disappearing bridge. A twisted root punching through a wall, struggling for its life. A human face looking at the sky and what seems like back blood spreading from its head and its open mouth.
The sculptures create mixed feelings of empathy and serenity. Wood is mystical and symbolic. It represents a tree’s strength, wisdom and eternal life. What we see in Christopher David White’s ceramic sculptures are the reflection of what will eventually happen to us. Eventually we will die too, and sitting next to a deteriorating piece of wood that once belonged to a majestic and awe-inspiring tree is less frightening. “Through the use of trompe l’oeil, we look closer; we rediscover the amazement, joy, and tranquility that come from our environment. At the same time, we witness our impermanence by evenhandedly dialing in on decay”. (via TRENF)
Dan Quintana is a Los Angeles-based artist who paints eerie, goddess-like figures immersed in figurative and ethereal worlds. Featured here are works from “Diffused,” a solo exhibition of Quintana’s work that is currently being shown at the Hashimoto Contemporary gallery in San Francisco. These particular paintings take on a dark and macabre tone; female figures with haunted eyes peer at the viewer from a symbolic plane infused with images of death and decay. One painting features a ghost horse plummeting earthward with its demonic, also-rotting human companion. Using overlapping shapes and translucent layers, Quintana strips away flesh from his subjects, revealing grisly anatomies of muscle and bone. With his eclectic style and masterful attention to detail, Quintana channels the otherworldly imagery of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch while also blending in modern motifs and geometric patterns.
Color and light play important roles in Quintana’s work. Most of his recent paintings are muted in shades of gray and brown, invoking a look that’s both antique and corpselike. As the word “Diffused” implies, light is distributed in an exploratory fashion in these works. Often the figures’ outlines are obscured and partially dissolved, making it unclear where their forms begin and end; in the artist’s own words, “we see the light in these figures dispersing faintly into the open vast space until it ceases to exist” (Source). For Quintana, light is a symbol of life. Used in fluid but contrasting ways with the shadowy, cadaverous imagery, Quintana’s work seems to explore a symbolic co-relation between the forces of life and the stark realities of death.
Mikael Takacs hand paints blurry portraits, distorted by a paper marbling effect. The outline of the portraits are clean and clear. From far, what’s inside the shapes seems messy and confusing but if we take a closer look it appears structured, almost forming a pattern. There’s a fine line between Mikael Takacs’ paintings and digital rendering. The diamond shaped patterns and the perfectly balanced and harmonized colors lead to confusion.
The artist applies acrylic painting onto an horizontal canvas with droppers to prevent the liquid from overflowing. He then painstakingly drags paint with small tools like sticks and combs in order to distort the portrait. The intricate work creates regular lines and shapes. If we look closely, we can see feathers, spirals and regular waves. The colors used are a blend of dark turquoise, camel and fuchsia. A color scheme that makes the series identifiable.
Mikael Takacs knows all the people he is depicting. He prefers to blur the lines and to present an abstract artwork. According to him, abstract art makes the dialogue between the viewer and the piece of art more interesting. The artist paints just enough for us to begin to have a idea of what we are looking at and leaves us halfway. To follow our imagination and introspect is the purpose of these paintings as they can lead to a million different interpretations.
Artist Erika Lizée re-imagines reality in twisted, magnificent forms that bend through our world and into the next. In her incredibly installations, she uses acrylic on Duralar, a translucent kind of film that allows light to pierce through some of the work. They are paintings that have sprung into the third dimension. Lizée’s sculptures are like otherworldly beings, shifting in and out of our world’s outer boundaries. By using Trompe l’oeil painting technique, she creates an illusion that you can see this other being behind the wall of the gallery. It is as if there is a magical world that we now have the chance to peer in to.
The mysterious and ominous mood that is created from Lizée’s large, flowing installations reflects her intent to express the beauty and mysteries of life. Her work seems to be in a state of flux, shifting back and forth, expanding and contracting. The artist explains that this shift is like the collective consciousness that is continuously altered by scientific discovers and new experiences. The way in which we think of the world and understand our environments are constantly being redefined
All of this combines with the complex ways in which we internally create our own notions of reality based on perceptions, beliefs, and filter.
Erika Lizée’s breathtaking installations pull us in to a foreign space of flux and transformation.
The installations serve as a metaphor for the journey of our personal and shared life experiences.
Blood Mirror is a collection of various works of art composed of blood donations from gay, bisexual, and transgender men which have been rejected by the FDA. The mixed media exhibit is made up of a short film by Leo Herrera which traces the story of nine gay men who have chosen to “donate their blood for art” given the FDA ban on donations from MSM( men who have sex with men). Their donations have been placed in a large cube through which light reflects on a panel painted with blood. The exhibit will include a sculpture, “Untitled”, composed of the blood collection tubes and blood bags of the nine men from Herrera’s short film. A “Blood Flag” will also be a part of the exhibit.
Aside from the vastly controversial aspects of using human blood as an artform, Blood Mirror has a strong political stance and strives to generate a dialogue surrounding the FDA’s regulations on blood donations. The use of blood in such an aesthetic manner provides not only strong visuals but also underlines a situation present within the medical world. The merging of the science and art worlds displays the necessity and beauty of elements such as blood give us the chance to think about the importance of speaking about things such as the right to donate.
Blood Mirror will be on display at the American University Museum from September 12th to October 18th.
Designer Bilge Nur Saltik creates stunning objects that magnify beauty by playing with light and geometry. Featured here is Op-vase, a series of glass vessels crafted in Istanbul that are cut to produce kaleidoscopic effects. Once a flower is placed inside, its image is dispersed across the concave, faceted surfaces; a single rose is transformed into an illusory bouquet that shimmers and proliferates behind the glass. With human perception as the catalyst, each angle produces a unique and subjectively experienced pattern. Watch Dezeen’s video above and see how the flowers magically change as the vessel turns.
Saltik’s fascinating oeuvre includes similar works that create enchanting effects by distorting and multiplying reality. In 2014 she created a wall light containing layers of textured panels that reflect light and warp patterns as they rotate; similar to the Op-vases, Saltik also crafted a collection of glass objects carved with geometric surfaces that trigger optical illusions as they move. With a keen eye for contemporary design and a knowledge of the seemingly limitless capacities of human perception, Saltik’s work unfolds worlds of mystery and hidden beauty.
SKWAK is a French illustrator who draws elaborate crowds of what he calls “maniacs”: colorful characters who skitter and dance together with a look of celebratory absurdity. SKWAK is no stranger to Beautiful/Decay; over the past few years he’s collaborated with us on various projects, using his signature style to design kooky merchandise for our shop.
SKWAK is our cover artist for Beautiful/Decay Issue J, a magazine that focuses on groundbreaking artists with offbeat styles that oppose the elitism often associated with mainstream art. Also featured in the issue is Michael Scoggins, who draws nostalgic and self-exploratory images on crumpled pieces of notepaper, as well as Misaki Kawai, who creates expressive craft art with a raw, intentionally “amateur” aesthetic. As one of our most popular magazines, Issue J is sure to delight you with its curated collection of artists that strive to do things their own way.
We interviewed SKWAK in 2011, giving us fascinating insight into his art. Featured here today are some of the pieces he’s produced in more recent years. Among the works are the eye-catching, jittering throngs of his maniacs; wide-eyed and grinning, they mesh together amongst vibrant patterns and cartoon images of eyeballs and snakes—as well as more subtly sinister depictions of skulls and dismemberment. Among these mad assemblages are a couple of individual character drawings, wherein he focuses on illustrating the bodies of his maniacs with the same colorful, psychedelic fever. In the past few months, SKWAK has also embellished classical busts with his undulating line work.
Immerse yourself in the eccentric world of SKWAK and similar artists by picking up a copy of Beautiful/Decay’s Issue J, available here.
Monique Schreijer makes prodigious, multi-colored and wearable wigs. So far, six samples have been designed by the artist in her NYC studio. Each one has a theme and a story leading to dreams and fantasies. Monique Schreijer has created wigs that, aligned together, resemble to a world of tales. Inspired by Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, braiding her own hair and playing with Barbie dolls when she was a child, she brings something innocent yet symbolic in each wig.
Almost everything including the jewelry is hand made, except for the birds and butterflies. Monique Schreijer uses mixed medias such as of Kanekalon hair, tinted powder, faux pearls, hot glue, feathers, rubber bands, found sticks, wire, glitter, toys, and scraps. She has come up with six wigs over two years. Each wig has a name, a color assigned to it and a detailed theme, narrated on the hair and which is taking most of the space:
‘1.Black – Plague of Marseilles, 2.Red – Queen, 3.Pink – Cotton candy/unicorn, 4.Green – Valley of Cocora, 5.Multicolored/sailboat/dog – California. 6.Blue – Dreamy girl’
Monique Schreijer uses symbols to express what moves her. Ladders to reveal escapism, black skeletons and rats for darkness and evil, flying birds and a flourishing nest for freedom and fertility. Not only are the wigs beautifully crafted, they are a source of creativity and imagination.