When it comes to fashion, the most groundbreaking and expressive creations aren’t always the most objectively practical. Kermit Tesoro is a designer known for his bizarre high heels, such as one with a backward-arching platform and a skull impaled on the heel. Tesoro’s work caught the attention of Lady Gaga, who commissioned Tesoro to create the iconic (and seemingly gravity-defying) heel-less heels. In addition to covering them with sequins and black “slime,” Tesoro has designed shoes in the likeness of horse hooves and, more recently, a set of writhing tentacles.
For Tesoro, clothing is a physical/mental extension of one’s personality. Instead of using fashion to downplay or conservatize identity, he strives to make it strange and shocking, exaggerating (and thereby celebrating) one’s inner eccentricity. In an interview with StyleBible, Tesoro explains further:
“I want to translate people’s deviations into my own creations. It’s like a fashion interpretation of the biological or psychological deviation of a person. I’ve always been driven to create clothing articles based on inner conflicts or the inability to control one’s inner impulses or failure to structure one’s behavior in an orderly way. These traits are quantified into one as a form of aggression against others due to frustration that ignites nothing but rebellion. If my collections have violated one’s conventional control or if the collection amazed people, either way I’m very grateful with the outcome. There is no agitation without provocation.” (Source)
Earlier in the interview, Tesoro says that when it comes to making original and captivating designs, “one must follow his own instinct, and the trend will follow.” His methodology derives from deeply personal perspectives and inspirations, channeling a variety of emotions — from love and happiness to joy and despair — to create shoes that defy superficial notions of beauty in pursuit of daring forms of self-expression. Follow Tesoro’s work on Facebook and Instagram. (Via Bored Panda)
What looks like a beautiful abstract watercolor painting is something else entirely. Cheeky artist Ross Sonnenberg lets out his inner wild child and lights fireworks in his darkroom to create these intensely colorful one-off photograms. Using photographic paper, gel, sand and light, he sets up the experiment and lets chance take it’s effect on the paper. Interestingly enough, the images he creates resemble galaxies, or close up views of our solar system. Full of different layers and textures, his work definitely looks celestial, and featuring a big bang of some kind. Sonnenberg writes:
I have always been fascinated by the planets and stars, looking through telescopes and wondering what these far off places might look like. With this series I have tried to create imaginary solar systems and super novas using different materials, and fireworks for my light source to make one-of-a-kind camera less images directly onto color and black and white photographic paper. Like the darkness in outer space, I work in the dark to create images that mimic the interstellar places that I always dreamed about going to as a kid. (Source)
His past two series featured the experiment on different scales – Color Bang features the technique on a smaller scale, using pieces that are quite small, and Long Bang involves using larger pieces of paper and stronger fireworks. Have a look at his technique in the video above, and if you are feeling bold, you could try it for yourself.
Back in the 30’s and 40’s a program called the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was an attempt to provide more jobs for people. Those with artistic inclination were commissioned to make a series of public service announcement posters which covered everything from traveling to curing syphillis. Largely stemmed in Bauhaus and modernist traditions they lend themselves to early collage and minimalism. The colors are sparse and the shapes which make up the lettering and images seem cutout from construction paper. Even though these were done solely on a commercial level the artists involved were trained and put their very specific stamp on them. Mainly shown in states such as California, New York, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the artists involved did not sign the work and most of the pieces were discarded after use. Recently, a committee was formed to try and recover some of these posters. The WPA Recovery Program was created in 2001 to try and locate original copies of the 2000 posters made.
Looking back experts have determined that these have become notable pieces of art and a legitimate record of that time. In 2008 a book called Posters for the People was published showing many of the works and identifying artist’s different styles. (via Hyperallergic)
Psychologically dark and a bit grotesque, the watercolors of Montreal based artist Tammy Salzl are meant to be like beautiful parasites. She wants the images of scared children, fragile adults or lonely humans to disturb viewers at first, then slowly over time, delight them with their unique beauty. These emotional studies have evolved from Salzl’s earlier work where she placed the disturbed characters based on Grimm fairy tales in lush, busy backgrounds. Wanting to isolate the figure to exaggerate their state of mind, she has cleared the background and focused on the complexities of skin and the different emotions it can express.
I want the flesh I paint to make a connection between the material of paint and the material of the body, to reflect not only a psychological makeup but to suggest an ‘objectness’ of the body – a medium that is vulnerable to the stresses of life. I want the flesh I make to embody the human condition. (Source)
The figures in Salzl’s art are all suffering from some kind of conflict or anguish. She says she is most interested in expressing the psychological and emotional aspects of human nature, and does it in a personal way rather than in a cliched, way about our society as a whole.
I use allegory and metaphor to to express my particular anxieties and what I perceive to be a generalized psychosis in society. Instead of portraying dead Afghanistan civilians or animals that are going extinct at exponential rates, I paint people with gnarled, anguished flesh and and haunted faces that place them in conflicting settings that are familiar yet foreign. (Source)
Common movie scenes are showing us police mug shots, incognito faces in crowds and wanted killer posters. None of these seem unnatural or chocking anymore, we are tamed by cyberculture and technology. We could not imagine having to go through an identity check other than with our passport, signature or a police officer physically present in front of us. Yet, we’ve already left those ancient methods and engaged with facial, retina and odour recognition; fingerprints and hand geometry. We’ve entered the biometric data era. Not always conscious of how fast the world evolves around us, Tony Oursler has set a mission to “invite the viewer to glimpse themselves from another perspective that of the machines we have recently created”. He has been exploring the link between the growth of our technological dependance and its effect on our psychology.
The artist has created magnified face images, some of them coated with a stainless steel panel embeded with video screens and others marked with geometric patterns of algorythmic facial recognition mapping. He is embarking us with a dash of humor into the disturbing technology’s effect on the human mind. Tony Oursler plays with the face. Starting with the eyes and going down into the neck, he is suggesting that technology will use every bit of skin and organ to study the daily behavior, emotions and rituals of humans in order to categorize them. The viewer when facing those giant profiles is left with the strange feeling of being watched. The artist wants to highlight how uncanny is the process of teaching machines how to observe only the external appareance and to pretend, from there, to understand human’s true nature.
It’s a girl’s world in these scenes of playful mischief created by an eclectic array of delicate materials by Amanda Michelle Smith. Rendering tiny girls full of energy and angst, the artist uses oil paint, golf leaf, and ceramic pieces to construct her highly textured work. Smith’s talents in painting spritely girls are only matches in her ability in ceramics. Her light and airy palette combined with the rich glazes of the ceramic creates incredibly eye-popping aesthetics. The surface texture and detail in each leaf, tree, and flower jump out at you as they are formed from ceramic, creating a relief.
Although Smith’s work is full of little girls in dresses and bows, things are not always giggles and tea parties. Except, when there is actually a tea party, there are strange ghoulish guests dining in front of a black sky. Each scene has a bizarre flare that is both whimsical and somewhat dark. These are places where grumpy girls hide in a house while tons of little people seek to get inside. Proportions are skewed, size doesn’t matter, and little girls have a mind of their own. These feisty young ladies get into peculiar situations that are so beautifully and intricately constructed. Smith’s use of clay is flawlessly blended into her painting style, creating finished pieces that are begging to be touched. This California based artists creates three dimensional ceramic pieces as well, make sure to check them out on her website!
(via The Jealous Curator)
Adam Friedman celebrates the unchanging mystery of nature in his surreal, hybrid paintings that dissect landscapes from the real world. His newest body of work is bold in color and line, as he portrays scenes of glorious mountains and unwavering glaciers. His unique style depicts scenes of tremendous natural beauty, transformed them into something even more stunning. Plates of the earth seem to shift and glaciers are mirrored in a reversed world that Friedman so skillfully creates. The artist experiments and warps perspective in his paintings, like an M.C. Escher drawing toying with our mind. Sections of mountains are divided and manipulated into geometric patterns and shape that make you question exactly what it is you are looking at. Friedman describes his artwork’s intent.
“Millions of years are compacted into a single instant and rocks become fluid. I strive to present a moment that defies human intervention in the landscape, and pays homage to the potential in the inexplicable.”
Friedman explains that his work celebrates the unknown that the natural world possesses. Society attempts to explain, examine, and make sense of our environment, but there are some things we cannot understand. The beauty in the unknown can be felt in Friedman’s powerful series that radiates with intensity. Mirus Gallery in San Francisco, California currently has a solo exhibition of Friedman’s work on view until July 11th. If you have the chance to see this exhibition, titled Into the Aether, make sure to check out his compelling paintings in person.
Sometimes reflection is more powerful than projection. In Shirin Abedinirad’s mirror installations reflection means seeing the sky change into something else or enhancing an ancient setting by expanding scale and perspective. By showing these in a different light an alternate reality is born. In “Evocation” Shirin fills the barren desert with round mirror discs reflecting the sky which become reflected pools of imaginary water. The precious commodity is shown with laser like precision in its alien environment. As the light and environment change at different times so does the liquid mirage depending on how the sand and wind blow over the mirrors.
In “Heaven on Earth” ancient architecture provides impetus to another reflection. It prompts the viewer to recognize shape and its relation to space. The reflective material is placed on a staircase which makes something grander than what it already is. It turns an already spiritual place into more using the mirror’s ability to expand and see upward as a symbol for the great unknown.
Shirin can be considered a conceptual artist since most if not all of her work is steeped in ideas that transport and transform. She’s also a great illusionist by how she uses the real to create something ethereal and imaginary. (via bored panda)