Russian artist Salavat Fidai creates miniscule sculptures with a ubiquitous yet unusual material – graphite pencils. Their tips are fashioned into figures of pop culture like Yoda, Bart Simpson, Batman, and many more. The amount of detail that Fidai achieves is impressive considering the scale of these figures. Eyes, feathers, and the draping in Yoda’s robe is all expressed through angular carving. Considering how dark the graphite is and all of the characters’ tiny features, Fidai might’ve used a softer lead for his work. A pencil in the “B” would probably be easier to cut and form.
It’s possible to buy one of Fidai’s creations. He has them for sale in his Etsy shop. In addition to these unconventional sculptures, the artist also sells paintings on pumpkin seeds. (Via Demilked)
Nail artist Hatsuki Furutani has combined the love of designing incredible patterns for nails with her interest in cute narratives and scenarios. She has applied her active imagination in this new project to take her nail art designs next level. The Japanese manicurist has teamed up with a talented group of animators and software engineers to produce a few short animations telling beautiful little stories. After designing the nails on computers planning out exactly what parts of the nail would move, and in what way, the team processed the designs through a 3D printer. Over 500 nails were then printed out and applied to human hands. The fingernail creations were shot frame by frame and edited together.
Furutani likes to show the beauty and attraction in the things around us. She says there is mystery and charm in everything, in all
Living things, dead things, objects, phenomena, men’s mind, soul and imagination… Inorganic and organic matters, works of art… (Source)
Her animations see origami birds coming to life, colorful fish flapping around, wheels spinning, balls and blobs bouncing from nail to nail. Her video is full of life, joy and positivity. For more of her uplifting designs, be sure to check out her website, and maybe go and get a manicure afterwards – it will surely raise your spirit. (Via Design Boom)
Tomohide Ikeya is a Japanese photographer whose underwater nude portraits walk the line between serene beauty and the terror of death and drowning. In three series, titled Wave, Breath, and Moon, Ikeya explores the body interacting with the ocean in various ways: struggling on the shore, reaching for the surface, and surrendering to its darkness. The images are disturbing in a poetic way, depicting people expressing the primordial will to survive, while others curl up and quietly succumb, turning the surrounding water into a simultaneous womb and deathbed. Breath — that vital act — often goes unnoticed, but Ikeya’s work makes it visible in the form of bubbles, open mouths, and deathly stillness. “Perhaps the essence of life, granted to everyone, is to live while struggling against death,” Ikeya writes in his description of Breath. “Life is not just about visible beauty, but also about true strength, which we have from birth” (Source).
For Ikeya, the neutrality of water makes it the ideal medium in which to explore the rhythms of survival. Water gives life, and also extinguishes it. “Water is not the Mother of Creation or the Master of Destruction,” Ikeya states; it simply exists as an essential but unfeeling element (Source). By photographing the body in a physical struggle against water, Ikeya’s works are dark portraits of the value of life and the concurrence of death. The boundaries between unforgiving “nature” and the indestructible “human” are literally subsumed, washed away into emotional and physical gestures of life-defining resistance against — and fatal integration with — the ocean. The moment of struggle becomes the affirmation.
In the series Paint Job, Spanish art director Nico Ordozgoiti infuses some color onto Renaissance statues. He digitally paints them in a hyperrealistic style and brings them to life. Iconic sculptures like David and Venus de Milo are now fair-skinned with chestnut brown hair instead of their usual off-white exterior. The visual effect is similar to the colorization of black-and-white photographs, and Ordozgoiti’s vibrant colors are offset by a gray base.
Ordozgoti writes, “When Renaissance masters discovered and copied the hyper-realistic sculptures of ancient Greek and Rome, they didn’t know that some of these works had originally been painted to make them even more life-like.” Ultraviolet light reveals how these pieces really look. He goes on to explain, “This made me think about how adding color to classic and neoclassical sculptures could give us an interesting look at what some of those artists might have had in mind.” (Via Ufunk)
Artist Ana Strumpf uses creative color schemes and patterns to redesign fashion magazine covers. In her series Recover, trend-setting magazine like Vogue and Vanity Fair are transformed into whimsical worlds with eye-popping patterns complete with quirky make-up added on to the models. Striking, beautiful women posing for the camera are given pink hair, rosy cheeks, and green eye shadow, turning them into silly, fun characters. The primary colors and simple shapes are reminiscent of childhood and dress up games. Although her clashing patterns and neon colors at first may remind you of doodles, they all somehow look amazing. The interesting color palettes Strumpf chooses to add work beautifully in their own unique way.
Strumpf is a jack of all trades in the arts, as she designs and fabricates chairs, couches, lamps, and pillows on top of being an interior designer. Based out of New York, the artist studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which accounts for her love of high fashion magazines! Her cover redesigns are funky enough to be album covers, with the models now radiating lines and shapes along with the occasional third eye. Her wild stripes and spots form fresh new designs that really look like they belong on the cover of a magazine, like they are the next big trend in fashion. (via Honestly WTF)
Kehinde Wiley‘s impressive painting career is being celebrated at the Brooklyn Museum in a grand exhibition that is open right now. For fourteen years, he has been painting bold, decorative oil paintings that are reconfiguring the way African American culture is portrayed in art. He takes the techniques from the old European portraiture masters and turns them into modern and fresh images, relevant to a post-colonial culture. Old stuffy aristocrats and patrons wearing flouncy blouses and ridiculous wigs from centuries gone by, are replaced by black subjects with a certain street style to them.
Wiley asks different people – most of whom are regular passer-bys on the streets in Harlem, to sit for his portraits. They are given different art history books full of ornate backgrounds to choose from to complement their portrait. Wiley then paints them reenacting certain poses, imitating the European subjects and places the chosen embellishments behind and over their image. His style is a fusion of many different elements – French Rococo and the High Renaissance, Islamic architecture, West African textile design and urban hip hop, and is a result of his own mixed heritage.
Wiley later went on to create a series called The World Stage, where he traveled to Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro to portray different cultures and traditions in his work. He explains more:
One of the reasons I chose Brazil, Nigeria, India and China is that these are all the points of anxiety and curiosity and production that are going on in the world that are changing the way we see empire. As I’ve been traveling, I started to notice that the way many people in other parts of the world interact with American culture is through black American expression. It’s an interesting phenomenon. (Source)
In this day and age of digital and high tech art, painter Matt R. Martin looks to redefine the traditional nude. An honorable task since the human figure has been painted in hundreds maybe thousands of positions. For Martin it means looking for new ways to paint an age old subject matter using oil with the expertise of a skilled draftsman. His marks produce mysterious settings which depict dual bodies tangled upside down on a torn leather recliner or snuggled up to a large window. The faces are partially covered lending more intrigue to the stark atmosphere. In one painting a dozen or so male clones are in the ocean with their backs toward the viewer. The figures are standing up to the waist in water and soon starts taking on various metaphysical nuances. A purgatory narrative eventually emerges making you wonder if the souls are half saved or half damned.
Technically the paintings are exquisitely made. They take influence in sheer luminosity from the great Andrew Wyeth. Like him Martin is able to paint skin where you can almost see the blood pumping through veins which is pretty remarkable. There’s definitely something to be said for pure technical skill and Martin should be noticed for his ability. The artist claims in his statement that he has been influenced by film, Surrealism and representational art. (via artfucksme)
The dissecting cuts and lines shooting across the work of artist Jason Thielke create incredible images of figures full of expression. His incredible, illustrative art is made by laser cutting wood panels, with acrylic paint and ink to add color and highlight details. Many of his pieces have so many lines etched into the work; it is difficult to tell the negative space from the positive. Thielke makes great use of negative space in his etchings, forming intricate and dynamic shape and composition. Each figure contains so many marks streaking across their body, adding shapes and patterns that form constellations within them.
Thielke’s lines seem organic, swirling around the figures hair and face, forming expression. However, the etched lines are also highly geometric and architectural, building a blue print for the body. Such drastic, harsh angles create a dramatic atmosphere with striking faces filled with piercing eyes. These intersecting lines express,
“conflict between one’s ability to implement self control and compulsion to manipulate and constantly self-gratify.”
Thielke’s fragmented bodies cut through you with a powerful emotion as they keep pulling you deep under their spell, inviting you to examine every cut in the composition. The artist does not only uses the technique of laser etching to create his figures, but has also inked his cut wood panels like a woodblock and then used them to make prints. Thielke has exhibited all across the U.S. from Boston to San Francisco. His work can be found at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, Colorado, where Thielke currently lives.