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Japanese Designer Fangophilia Molds Silver Into Edgy, Armor-Like Accessories

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Japanese designer Fangophilia (Taro Hanabusa) creates edgy silver accessories made from molds of isolated body parts: teeth, ears, cheeks, kneecaps, fingers, and more. Some of his more frequent designs consist of custom-fit fangs and claw-like finger extensions, but his oeuvre also consists of gauntlets and face-plates redolent of medieval armor. Trained in dentistry and fascinated by body modifications, Hanabusa became curious about what would happen if dental molds were used to alter the appearance of the body, and in June 2012 he started his own brand, Fangophilia.

Each silver accessory is molded to an individual’s form. While ears and knees might generally look similar, all have their own anatomical deviations, making Hanabusa’s creations as unique as the bodies they adorn. In a fascinating interview with Tokyo Fashion, Hanabusa discusses the effect of working so closely with his clients and their unique bodies, saying it makes him feel “connected with [his] customers,” more so “than those who only sell their items only through shops.” In this way, he is very much like a tattoo artist or a piercer, consulting his clients directly in the achievement of their desired look.

The aesthetic impact of Fangophilia’s work is dark and powerful. It’s alternative fashion with a vampiric edge. And even though Hanabusa is no longer a dentist, there is something intriguingly “clinical” or “surgical” about his designs: sharp metal is placed in intimate proximity with the skin, creating an effect that wavers between cold sterility and the shining beauty of silver. Furthermore, as the name “Fangophilia” suggests, there is an element of fetish in his work; by accessorizing (or armoring) a specific detail on the body, you bring attention and erotic curiosity to it. Plates of metal on the cheeks, for example, accentuate the sensual curve of a jawline. This allure is not to be taken lightly, however, for like suits of armor, Hanabusa’s designs exude both beauty and tremendous strength.

Fangophilia was in Los Angeles last November, so follow his Facebook page to keep up with his latest work and see where he tours next. His website can be found here. Tokyo Fashion’s article is another great resource, and it provides an exclusive, behind-the-scenes video showing Hanabusa’s shoot for his first lookbook, the photos from which are displayed on this page. (Via Tokyo Fashion)

Credits: Photographer: KIRA. Models: Hirari Ikeda, Hidemi Tsukata, Sioux, Shunsuke Okabe, Machiko.

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The Wonderful And Hedonistic World Of Don Pablo Pedro

Don pablo pedro paintingdon pablo pedro paintingdon pablo pedro paintingdon pablo pedro paintingDon Pablo Pedro’s work flutters on the edge of libido insanity. It embodies grotesquely beautiful scroll paintings featuring twisted hermaphrodites in kama sutra type positions, marked with multiple genitalia. Playing tantric wizard, Pedro takes us for a hedonistic ride through all of his rosy, maladjusted conquests. Along the way, we see fine line work and light acrylic washes on muslin. Muslin is the light cottony material used by designers to fit models before cutting a pattern. Here, the artist uses it to attain a flat surface which compliments his precise drawing ability. It seems appropriate, as the artist’s work is easily suited to T-shirts and canvas bags. It holds a pop element near, yet references the old religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.The narrative, taken directly from multi-armed Kali, the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shows work that is happily consumed with variations of her likeness. Substituting arms for male and female genitalia, the appendages pile on top one another turning into “third eyes” and “fourth arms”. Newer studies, concentrate on multiple partners more than parts. Also portrayed in hedonistic positions, subjects mimicking, love, lust, faith, and dreams materialize. Comparisons to Surrealism, Japanese scroll work and comic books have been made. There is a Crumb association, but Pedro goes to further lengths. He takes the psychedelic yogi route, opting for freak show characters instead of urban myths. His mysterious subject matter holding true to the power of sexual desire.

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From Pop To The Pit: Photo Exhibition Chronicles The LA Music Scene In The 1980′s

Van Halen at the Forum. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Van Halen at the Forum, 1984. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Anthony Kiedis and Flea. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Anthony Kiedis and Flea, 1989. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Dickies show. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Dickies show, 1989. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Southern California, thanks to its diverse landscape, has always enjoyed a wide variety of musical genres. Los Angeles in the 1980’s saw a kaleidoscope of tunes, and different beach communities, the Valley, South Central, the Inland Empire and East LA each had its own form of local music. Plus, since the late 60’s, a growing number of major record labels had/were setting up their headquarters there. Coupled with an abundance of clubs, Los Angeles become the epicenter of the music industry.

So, not surprisingly, major rock groups did very well in Los Angeles – devoted fans packed their venues. While the alternative scene got less coverage, the free press such as L.A. Weekly, the L.A. Reader, BAM, Rock City News, and Music Connection provided the recaps and nightly gigs around the town.

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) culled from their Herald Examiner photo archive and worked with the Gary Leonard Collection, LAPL and Photo Friends to present From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989. The images show the diversity of the decade as well as the different groups who had hit singles, infamous moments, and thrilled countless fans.

If you’re local to Los Angeles, stop by and see the exhibition at the LAPL History & Genealogy Department from January 8  to June 28, 2015. In addition, there’s a companion catalog available for purchase on Amazon.

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Luis Lorenzana’s Paintings And Sculptures Mock The Insanity Of Excess In Contemporary Culture

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Luis Lorenzana is a Filipino artist who uses surrealist painting and sculpture to tease and reflect upon the state of consumerism and technology in the present-day world. His style is decidedly “lowbrow” — it is playful, and rich with satire and humor — but his works involve explorations of elitist cultural trends and re-interpretations of classical, “highbrow” art. This particular series is called instanity, a combination of “instant” and “insanity,” which reflects the idea of material excess and immediate gratification: we need to have everything, and we need to have it now. The fact that Lorenzana bends artistic temporalities (by painting Angry Birds into a classical landscape, for example) further shows an insane desire to compress time and space into one material instance — even the result is a little bit strange.

The characters in Lorenzana’s paintings are intentionally ugly. His painting of the Venus — recalling of course, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus — is portrayed with an over-sized head and asymmetrical breasts, unsettling her status as a venerated artistic figure. Lorenzana’s sports-car-driving characters are likewise strange and hyperbolic, with their striped suits, cigarettes, stacked mustaches, and cavalier attitudes, all of which denote a level of excess and materiality that has turned into madness and ludicrousness. These unpleasant representations of culture poke fun at our own “instanity,” and, more generally, at the sheer monetary/aesthetic value and elitism often associated with fine art.

Lorenzana’s instanity recently exhibited at the Silverlens gallery in Singapore. Visit Artsy for a collection of his works currently available for sale.

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Elana Pritchard Draws Enlightening Comic Strips While Locked Up In Jail

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When Elana Pritchard was sent to the women’s division of the Los Angeles County jail for two months in July 2014, she decided to document her experience using only the paper available to her and a golf pencil. She witnessed strange, horrific, even threatening situations, but was able to turn the time into something productive and enlightening for her readers. Even right from the first moment on the bus from the court hearing to the jail, she observed some unbelievable things.

I saw some ugly things on that bus: prostitution, nudity, profanity. A group of male prisoners ganged up on me and thought they could pressure me to show them my breasts — in exchange for crystal meth. I tried telling them to mind their manners, but it didn’t work. I just had to sit there and wait for it to be over. Even though they were all in handcuffs and blocked off by a barrier, they still succeeded in making me feel uncomfortable. I’m not sure if the guards knew what went on in the back of the bus, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t care. (Source)

Subjected to a squat and cough every time upon re-entering the jail, along with 40 other people in the room, Pritchard fast learned to forget about any sort of dignity. Humiliation and verbal abuse were everyday occurrences for the inmates. Hygiene standards were questionable, and the ladies were supplied with used underwear to put on each week.

Every jail has it’s myths and legends, and Pritchard does a good job of accurately confirming or dismissing even the most outrageous ones. Read more about her experience and see more drawings here. (Via LA Weekly)

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Street Artist No Touching Ground Depicts Social Conflict In Greece, US, And Worldwide

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Traveling all over the world, street artist No Touching Ground wheat pastes compelling imagery amidst various cities architecture that adds depth to the context of our time and place. Recently, in Greece, he posted work concerning their social political climate under the title “Ingredients Of An Uprising”. In one of them, an Axe body spray bottle, re-worked to say “Anarchy for Him” floats over other graffiti on a busy street.

No Touching Ground creates a nearly optical illusion as his work is so photorealistic that it blends into its surroundings in an uncanny way. He began by working around images of animals from the wild, and people dressed up like animals. His work has since become more political, ranging from symbolic elements indicative of social tensions, to portraits and quotes of protestors met at a demonstration. In Seattle he voiced many of the emotions surrounding the tragic death of John T. Williams at the hand of a Seattle police officer. His work is aesthetically lush and important for our social consciousness.

A rather mysterious artist, No Touching Ground has work all over the world. Alaska, Seattle, South America, Europe, and now Greece, there is no saying where his work will show up next.

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The Chaotic Poetry Of Lori Nix’s Post-Apocalyptic Dioramas

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The altered visions of Lori Nix have led to the creation of transfixing dioramas, which she photographs to look like reality. Often building an entire scene around one object or piece she finds compelling, these worlds are pain-stakingly intricate. The body of work featured, City, offers glances into a post-apocalyptic city, one devoid of human life and beyond collapse. Vegetation and foliage crawl into the scenes, taking over the man-made aspects. Debris everywhere, the rooms appear untouched from how they were before. All the details and minutae indicating human life is there, strewn about.

The dioramas are a time-consuming creation; Nix spends about seven months constructing and photographing a single work. Each diorama is built only to be photographed from a single angle, and she controls and manipulates all of the lighting until she arrives at her desired outcome. A film purist, Nix shoots on an 8×10 large format camera, allowing her to make massive prints of her work.

“Since my earliest days I have always worked with fabrication, either through darkroom manipulations or even room sized installations. My strength lies in my ability to build and construct my world rather than seek out an existing world. Inspiration comes from reading the daily newspaper The New York Times, science fiction paperbacks and magazine articles. I get most of my ideas during my morning subway commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan to go to my day job. Something about the morning light, the rocking of the subway, seeing the cityscape pass by opens my mind up to inspiration.”

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How Music-Loving Dissenters Made Pirated Records Out Of X-Rays In Soviet Russia

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In a sociopolitical environment wherein Western music was banned, music-lovers in 1950s Russia (who were called stilyagi, similar to our modern-day “hipsters”) found an ingenious way to pirate the popular tunes they loved: by printing the music on exposed x-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins. The process was unrefined, but subversive; as writer Anya von Bremzen explains,

They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan — forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens. (Source)

The name given to these bootlegged records was, appropriately, “Bone Music.” The sound quality likely wasn’t excellent, but such piracy was as much a political act as the desire to listen to one’s favourite Western jazz or rock ‘n’ roll — it was a way to cleverly challenge a system that sought to regulate entertainment and youth culture. The Bone Music phenomenon was discovered by the authorities and made illegal in 1958.

The Bone Music records today are curious works of art; you can see the grooves and the circular shapes of the discs superimposed over the bones and viscera of some long-dead stranger. The concept is morbid, and beautiful. As József Hajdú intriguingly points out, Bone Music has a “double function of being both [a] sound record as well as [a] record of the internal human body; images of ribs, skulls and limbs [are] broken by sound waves and shattered by music inscribed onto the surface” (Source). What this macabre association ultimately explores is how we use our material bodies in the creation of art and self-expression, and how, after we are dead, such art becomes cultural artifacts for future generations. We imprint our historical, bodily subversion onto the art we make; and therein lies the beauty of Bone Music.

Check out Hajdú’s page for more scans and insightful thoughts about Bone Music. NPR’s article is also an excellent resource, and it explores many other ways in which people discretely dissented in Soviet-era Russia. (Via Colossal)

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