James Charles, pop culture and dollar bills. A strange combination for an astonishing result. The artist transforms traditional portraits on bills into random movie characters, singers and artists. He only uses ink and paint to trace and re-write on the bills. The result is witty and fun to watch.
It all started out with random doodling on a couple of dollar bills. James Charles was not even aware of the treasure he was carrying in his pocket as he was spending the bills. He therefore decided to store them in a magazine, using it as a safe. The more he drew, the larger the magazine got. The mutant bills have their president’s faces changed into male and female pop culture inspired characters. James Charles added a script below the faces, naming or giving hints in case we miss them. Yoda, Einstein, Mister T, Willy Wonka, Princess Leia, Spock, Iggy Pop, Kiss and many others are altering the seriousness of the symbolic of money.
The artist drew on 5 dollar bills as well as on 100 dollar bills. The value of money is put aside here to focus on the true meaning of a paper bill components: paper and ink. So little and meaningless elements for such tremendous stakes. By associating easy recognizable pop features, James Charles is aiming to reach the mass. He has done it again more recently in Monstro Eyegasmica, a mix of popular iconographies such as The Kiss by Klimt or the use of sarcasm with some of the Disney characters. A series of paintings and collages blending pop culture and vibrant colored characters.
James Charles’ Monstro Eyegasmica series will be displayed at the Joseph Gross Gallery in New York until November 25th 2015.
Every year, during the celebration of Eid-ul-Azha, camels are given “makeovers.” Eid-ul-Azha, also known as The Feast of Sacrifice, is a Muslim holiday celebrated in the fall. During this holiday, it is tradition to buy and sacrifice an animal in honor of Ibrahim, who was commanded by god and then willing to sacrifice his own son, Ishmael. Usually, the meat from the animal is then separated into three parts, one third for the immediate family, one third to friends and family, and the last third to the poor.
During his trip to the largest cattle market in Asia, a place he and many families go every year in order to prepare for Eid-ul-Azha, Anas Hamdani was able to meet “camel stylists” and photograph the art in the making. Hundreds of camels are brought to this market every year from the rural area of the south east region Sindh in Pakistan. However, usually only a few camels have been styled, making them potentially worth much more to buyers, as they are looking for the most beautiful camel. Anas Hamdani was able to speak with an artist named Ali Hassan, whose family has passed down camel styling through the generations. Hassan stated that he can make 15 different designs, and choses which design to use based on what he feels would best suit the camel. The process takes about four hours and is performed with just a mere pair of scissors. (Via Dawn)
A tragic love story interpreted and represented in real life. Georgian sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze has created in real life the two characters who, despite their love, cannot be together. The sculptures are made out of metallic discs and are moving daily, embracing each other and parting in different ways.
Tamara Kvesitadze’s ‘Man and Woman’ installation depicts Ali, a Muslim boy and Nino, a Christian Georgian princess. It’s a symbolic representation of the Soviet Russia invasion which forces the two lovers to separate and leave for opposed directions. This tale is inspired by a novel by Azerbaijani author, Kurban Said.
The sculptures are 8 meters (26 foot) tall and are moving every day at 7pm for 10 minutes in the seaside city of Batumi in Georgia. If we look at the video above, we notice that as the sculptures move the metallic discs fit together and the bodies merge. The purpose behind this installation is to illustrate how elements, within a world where everything and anything is moving, can be synchronized and create attraction. (via Juxtapoz)
730 liters (193 gallons) of white paint were needed to cover the 1625m2 (2000 yards) rooftop of an old chocolate factory in Moscow. Pokras Lampas and his team manufactured 4 big brooms of 1 meter long each that he used to ‘write’ on the floor. During 2 days, the artist designed and producer Sergey Valyaev filmed the experience. (See the video above) Alternatively showing the talent of Pokras Lampas, the huge surface he used a his canvas and the passion and wonder which transported the young artist. The whole team a.k.a. Smokin’ Heroes, risked the possible rain and the potential delay of the paint delivery coming from another city to achieve the colossal artwork.
The entire surface of the rooftop is covered in calligraphy in concentric circles in a language ‘dedicated to the moments of inspiration and creativity’. The aesthetic and the style is close to artist Retna’s work which, at a smaller scale, also covers walls. The cursive letters and the urban locations used by artists who calligraphy create a modern approach to a traditional art. Behind the performance, there’s a desire to trigger visual excitement for the eyes.
Melissa Smyth’s photo series, Lay Lady Lay, portrays a set of eighteen self portraits taken with Fujifilm FP-100C instant film. Each picture is preluded by lines from Bob Dylan’s classic love song, Lay Lady Lay, and subtitled with text messages from her rapist. At first glance, her images seem like whimsical coming of age depictions of confused and painful love. Yet, while further committing to the work and understanding each image within its context, the series begins to unravel a intricate, subdued truth. There is a raw honesty that allows the viewer to enter into a realm of undeniable complexity. The work almost allows the viewer to follow a stream of psychosis and true disillusionment as he or she grasps the words written by the rapist. While entering back into the portraits, the viewer must then re-imagine those words not just from him, but then through her, who, despite being the victim, has been forced to address blame. There is a constant shift of consciousness in the work, truly getting to the heart of an endlessly difficult subject. Even further, Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, allows her to illustrate another layer of convolution. When re-appropriated into this series, the love song begins to take on new meaning. Through the isolation of the lines, a subtle forcefulness is revealed, noting that there is a dark, perhaps unspoken, overlap between love and obsession.
Melissa Smyth‘s series acts as a genuine representation of a deeply complicated issue, that regrettably, is not uncommon and often not spoken about. She uses her work not only as a means to create a discourse on the topic, but also as a means for self recovery and empowerment. She states;
“I use photography to understand and express the ways in which looking and desiring can make an object of the body, and the ways in which images can be used to resist this. To photograph my own body allows me to not only reclaim control over my self-image, but also to comment upon the objectification that occurs though forceful violence and emotional manipulation. The project ultimately is not about my rapist’s actions, but about my strength and growth. I’ve been inspired by other survivors of sexual abuse and gender-based violence, and hope to add to the voices speaking in solidarity and in strength for all of our liberation.”
A myriad of cut-out patterns invading a newspaper layout. Myriam Dion creates intricate motifs using a scalpel and newspapers she chooses according to their images. This French-Canadian talented student has already been acclaimed for her work. The art pieces she designs are airy reconstructed poems.
Myriam Dion picks front covers from the Herald Tribune, Le Devoir, Cape Cod Times or FT Weekend and selects images which speaks to her. She then creates negative space by hand cutting minuscule patterns. The entire page is cut-out. Generating a halo of waves and starbursts. The ornaments she designs at the edges and around the original shape of the newspaper mimic Arabic patterns and add fantasy to the layout.
The artist has invented her own organic way of transforming a simple medium into an art piece. By cutting and perforating the thin and fragile papers, Myriam Dion is making the rendering even more delicate than it originally was. The colors, thanks to the placement of the cut-outs, twirl and whirl sporadically on the surface. The pieces, placed on a white background and revealing the negative spaces are treasures meant to be contemplated and used as a mean for evasion. (Via The Jealous Curator)
Texas born artist, Teri Haven, documents a collective of outsiders in her series, The Last Free Place. Her photographs seem to capture moments from another era, or perhaps, where time in of itself has ceased to exist. Haven spent three years, 2006 – 2008, living part-time in a squatters community in southern California known as Slab City. Beautifully cinematic, her images draw parallels to Harmony Korine’s Gummo, acting as the aesthetic truth behind his fiction. The carnival-reminiscent, dream land of Slab City is a barren landscape located in between the Salton Sea (a man-made lake accidentally created in 1905) and an active bombing site. Beginning shortly after World War II, Slab City became a safe haven for “drifters, dropouts, artists, outlaws and other cultural dissidents who settle alongside the addicted and the elderly.” During her time spent amongst the Slab City dwellers, Haven set out to document the struggle that exists between the boundaries of freedom and isolation. Each portrait reflects its own unique identity, as the inhabitants of Slab City seem to have created personal selfhood through means alien to societal norms. She states:
“Slab City is a collection of fiercely independent, utterly original individuals. Cast out of, or just drifting away from, the “American Dream,” they come here seeking freedom from rules, rent, and the assaults of a society often unsympathetic to the underclass. Some are victims of poverty, of bad choices and bad luck. Others have renounced the “material world,” refusing to trade their time for money; many simply yearn for the sense of freedom that comes from vast open spaces. And though desert life can be extremely harsh, and in truth there is little freedom in poverty, here they find love and strength within a community that accepts and nurtures the individuality of its members.”
Gil Batle is an American artist who spent over 20 years in Californian prisons for fraud and forgery. He endured some of the state’s most infamous facilities, including San Quentin, Chuckawalla, and Jamestown, living in racially segregated conditions under the constant threat of gang violence. During that time, Gil’s astounding ability to draw and tattoo with extreme precision gave him an esteemed reputation among the inmates, thus protecting him from harm and intimidation.
In an exhibition titled “Hatched in Prison,” which will be featured at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th–January 9th, 2016, Batle presents viewers with a fascinating, sensitive, and detailed glimpse into the hardship and abuse endured in prison by carving these experiences onto the surfaces of ostrich eggs. Brutal images of isolation, beatings from security guards, and chain gangs cover the delicate, ivory-colored surfaces. Barbed wire, gang symbols, and shivs create an ominous symmetry.
In this unique medium, Batle reveals scenes that are usually hidden away from the public eye. There is a special significance to carving trauma onto an egg—an object which Ricco/Maresca’s press release describes as “nature’s most perfect creation and manifestation of life and birth” (Source); Batle’s creations seem to convey vulnerability as well as a sense of hope, renewal, and redemption.