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Studio Visit: Monica Canilao Makes Immersive Installations from Scavenged Treasures

As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Monica Canilao. See the full studio visit and interview with Monica and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.

Monica’s studio is in a huge space in Oakland shared by other artists, performers, and musicians that together have created quite a vibrant, enterprising community. In order to get to her studio we had to go up a set of stairs and climb through an entryway draped with layers of fabric, which then opens up into an attic-like room where Monica works. Crawling through that entryway was like moving through a space-time portal and getting dropped into a fantasy world that can only be described as a mash-up of my glamorous grandmother’s closet and the treasure trove of those renegade dwarves in the movie Time Bandits. I was a bit dumbstruck, to be honest. It took me a minute to gather my wits and to begin speaking in full sentences again, instead of just “oohing” and “aahing” and pointing at things. As we settled in, Monica made us delicious “cowboy coffee” in her makeshift kitchen, and then we got to talking. Essentially, Monica is a doer and not much of a talker— don’t get me wrong, she likes to chat it up, but she doesn’t seem that comfortable discussing ideas head-on, instead she expresses herself anecdotally, weaving stories in and out of conversation, letting you read what may or may not be between the lines. She likes to keep her hands busy and her body moving; she’s definitely action-oriented and is all about joining forces with other artists. When we visited Monica she was busy installing work for her collaborative show with her good friend and fellow artist Bunnie Reiss at Lopo Gallery, and so we visited her at the gallery, too. The work there was truly collaborative, and spoke to what Monica is all about— shared experiences, the re-telling and re-shaping of stories, found materials, and the power of visual terminology.

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Trenton Doyle Hancock – …And Then It All Came Back To Me

The work of Trenton Doyle Hancock is the focus of …And Then It All Came Back To Me, a new solo exhibit currently at the James Cohan Gallery through December 22.  The Texas-based artist is well known for his exceptionally intricate work and the epic narrative that flows through it.  Hancock seamlessly ties together classical, religious, and pop-culture references and styles into emotionally engaging artwork.  His new series veers from his narrative to a more autobiographical theme and his role as an artist.

Trenton Doyle Hancock was also a featured artist in Beautiful/Decay Issue: V.  Be sure to check it out if you’d like for more of Hancock and his work.

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Time in Retrospect: Damien Hirst

Nothing makes you reflect on another year’s passage like the dying flies, decomposing cow’s head, and animals infinitely suspended in their watery glass tombs of formaldehyde like Damien Hirst.

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Kristian Jones’ Ghostly Silhouettes

British illustrator Kristian Jones’ delicately drawn ghostly silhouettes  prey on the innocence of childhood imagination, surreal worlds and fictional creatures.

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Tory Fair

Let’s face it, in this day and age, it’s difficult to be original. Tory Fair carves out her own niche in the art world with her series of semi abstract figurative sculptures. They speak volumes on the relationship between humans and their environment.

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Unbelievable Photographs Of Strangers Who Look Like Twins

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Photographer Francois Brunelle has been studying the human face since he first started photographing them in 1968. His recent project began when he snapped a photo of two North American acquaintances who looked remarkably similar. Brunelle is now set on photographing 200 unrelated couples who look like they could be separated at birth. In the beginning of this project, he took photographs of people he happened to know who looked similar, but since his project has gained media attention, some people have come forward as look-alikes. As of January of this year, Brunelle was still inviting couples to take part and help him reach his goal of 200 photographs.

“It is not about looking like famous people,’ he said. ‘The project is about looking like other people.”

“The fact that two persons, totally unrelated to each other, sometimes born in different countries, share the same physical appearance is really the essence of (it).” (via)

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BJORN CALLEJA Goops On The Paint

Thick and gooey paintings by Bjorn Calleja.

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Nightmarish Illustrations By Alex Andreyev Are Straight Out Of The Matrix

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For the Surrealist digital artist Alex Andreyev, reality gives way to the nightmarish and imaginary; his grotesque urban landscapes are dominated by giant spiders, snakes, and eyeballs. Much like the world of The Wachowshi Brothers’ 1999 film The Matrix, Andreyev’s dreamscape is dystopian, seemingly operated by frightful machines that lurk in dark alleyways and within murky, polluted puddles. Like Neo before the rabbit hole, the artist sits at his computer, delving into his nightmares in search of psychological truths that transcend the laws of reality and escape the revelation of daylight.

By maintaining a graphic comic book aesthetic, Andreyev’s images compose a suspenseful, quick-paced narrative; clearly rendered with computer technology, his subjects appear like online avatars, their experiences symbolic of the human condition without directly mirroring it. Like the Surrealists Odilon Redon and Rene Magritte, the digital artist uses the image of the eye to subvert reality; as eyes wearing grotesquely tall top hats chase a helpless man down a dark, dank underground, we viewers are made to perceive our own eyes as villainous, to assume that what they record might not accurately reflect the world around us. Another sketch presents a man slicing his eyes open with a razor, the implication being that to truly see and to understand, we must endure pain and strife.

In this realm where the inner eye takes precedence over superficial vision, a wondrously dark and lonesome creative space begins to emerge. The spider, a symbol which harkens back to the work of Redon in particular, is used here perhaps to represent the isolation of introspection and of the endlessly complex imagination; as a man retreats into his computer, an arachnid nests in the darkness next door. Similarly, man and beast walk alone in the rain. Take a look. (via TrendHunter)

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