Intertwined strips of ceramics escaping from their original form. Haejin Lee’s abstract sculptures blend perfection and fantasy. A flawless object, face or body part suddenly disintegrates into a uncontrolled harmonized chaos. Fascinated by the indefinite loop of the Mobius strip (a surface with a non orientable property), she brings into her art pieces the transformation of a flat surface into a 3 dimensional rendering. The final piece mirrors two essential aspects for the artist: continuity and infinity.
The dichotomy between perfection and confusion reflects the technical difficulties the artist had to face while conceptualizing the pieces. In order to get a steady work of art, she had to anticipate the weight of the strips once dried and heated. Often created in monochromatic tones, the plain colors add intensity to the sculptures. Haejin Lee is inviting us to interpret the passage from reality to surrealism. As if the strips, bandages of our exterior enveloppe had to fly away in order to reveal the essence of our souls, imagination and creativity. By acknowledging that the pieces were ‘almost impossible to balance’, the artist insists on the difficulty yet essential need for individuals to unconsciously or not; define their equilibrium.
The explosive street art of David Hooke, otherwise known as “MEGGS”, moves in waves of color on walls all over the world. His murals harness an incredible energy and force that radiates off the streets in vivid streaks like flames consuming the building. The Australian artist often uses powerful animals such as tigers, snakes, and lions in his work, creating an incredible composition of strong imagery. His use of diagonal lines and composition just add to the already dramatic atmosphere.
MEGGS pull inspiration from an eclectic variety of different sources such as the natural world and socio-cultural issues. His use of bold color and the occasional loud text included in his murals shows a heavy influence from pop-culture. His technique and experimental technique reflects his determination and excitement in his artistic exploration. MEGGS doesn’t just stick to the traditional spray paint. One of murals in downtown LA also includes a glow in the dark stencil layer that creates an eye-popping affect. This piece, along with other of his murals, is based off of a previously done screen print of MEGGS. You can find his work not just in LA, but also in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, Paris, and Tokyo.
“His life manifesto is that the ‘journey is the reward’ and his work reflects his eternal search for balance. MEGGS’ emphasis on constant growth and passion for travel is demonstrated by his continual exploration of artistic techniques and mediums.”
Emily McDowell designs greeting cards for family and close friends of cancer patients. The messages are blunt and direct. As a former cancer patient herself now in remission, the designer got irritated when her close circle stop visiting and calling her because they didn’t know what to tell her.
She is making things simple by putting the right words on a sentiment which is most of the time sincere and honest but comes out awkward to the patient. Loneliness and solitude is, according to Emily McDowell the most difficult part of the illness to endure. Despite the loss of hair, fatigue and the heavy medical treatments, loosing friends and family members as a support system because they are having a hard time verbalizing encouragements and empathy is painful.
The illustrations on the cards are handmade by the designer herself. The pastel color scheme softens the message which can appear straightforward and cynical but which speaks truly to the patient. Emily McDowell believes these cards can make a difference in the way we communicate. In a digital world where motivational quotes are spread out through Instagram and Facebook, these make a difference because they are palpable and create a direct connection between the friends, family members and the receiver.
Find Emily McDowell’s ‘Empathy Cards’ on her eshop. (via Slate)
Li Hongbo is a Beijing-based artist who builds elaborate and flexible paper sculptures that ripple and shift before our eyes. Featured here is “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day,” a large-scale installation currently on display at the SCAD Museum of Art. The work—which spans the entirety of a gallery—involves thousands of small paper objects bound together by honeycomb layers of glue. Close up, the bright shapes align themselves like an undulating, flowery rainbow; step back, however, and you’ll see that together the shapes amass into the greater form of guns and artillery. In a surprising clash of innocent colors and delicate paper with the brutality of war, Hongbo produces a curious (and potentially deceitful) optimism for deadly weapons.
Hongbo’s work draws upon the ancient, cultural tradition of paper-making in China, which dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Inspired by this art form, Hongbo has reinvented it on a grand scale. Other projects include malleable bodies and busts, such as a version of Michelangelo’s David that unfolds spectacularly. The ability to metamorphose is integral to Hongbo’s works; with the politics left aside (or at least ambiguous), his sculptures challenge our perceptions by unsettling solid forms with their built-in fluidity. Whether it’s guns or classical statues, we can’t help but to reconsider the materiality and purpose of objects as they transform before our eyes.
“Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” will be showing until January 24th, 2016. Check out SCAD’s website to learn more. (Via designboom)
There is no shortage of art and creativity in the City of Light. As Louise Fili shows us in her upcoming book Graphique de la Rue, even Paris’ signage has a resplendence that conveys generations of art styles, from Art Nouveau to Art Deco to Futurism. As an esteemed graphic designer, Fili wandered the streets of Paris for four decades, documenting signs that combined art with typography. Among her photo diary are images of ornate metro signs, vintage café signs, mosaics, and of course, the iconic Moulin Rouge cast in its red glow. In the press release for Graphique de la Rue, Fili describes the source of her inspiration:
“From my first visit to Paris at age twenty, just as I had begun to embrace the world of graphic design, my eyes were opened to the spectacular signage that appeared everywhere . . . With each successive visit, I would continue to be struck by the uniqueness of the signs; in no other city had I seen such distinctive typography on the likes of public school buildings, police stations, funeral parlors, and patisseries.”
Fili’s book comes at an important time, when such original signs are being replaced by their cheaper, poorly designed, and mass-produced versions. Sadly, many of the art pieces documented in Graphique de la Rue have already been destroyed. Fascinated by vernacular design—that is, the designs that give Paris its distinctness as an epicenter of art and history—Fili’s book is a “typographic love letter to Paris,” one that will both immortalize these signs and inspire the imaginations of designers and travellers alike (Source).
The paintings of artist Jeff Soto are nightmarish and captivating, as they seem to glow iridescently in cool colors of greens and purples. As if from another planet, Soto’s artwork shows landscapes of an extraordinary nature, covered in shiny crystals, mossy skulls, and unforgettable owl-like creatures that stare at you with hypnotizing eyes. Each painting is a world upon a world, as many of his figures and forms sprout out from even more bizarre, living things. Even his frequently repeated spiky, happy heads contain an eerie quality. Each painting seems to have a story behind it, perhaps representing a mythical fable.
The Los Angeles based artist is a triple threat; a painter, illustrator, and muralist. As you may have guess by his surreal style, his technique is influenced by traditional painting methods, but with a razor sharp edge. Inspired by graffiti and street art, Soto’s otherworldly landscapes heavily embody a pop-surrealist, contemporary style that appears almost futuristic; like a window into the future when our planet is transformed into a whimsical landscape with foreign creatures. This is a place both frightening and beautiful, full of strange magic. His work leaves us filled with a sense of wonder, wishing that we could travel and explore these unusual places and meet these frightening creatures. Jeff Soto’s amazingly adventurous body of work draws inspiration from youthful nostalgia and pop-culture. With an ominous and haunting palette, Jeff Soto’s unique style exudes originality and imagination. (via Hi-Fructose)
Throughout mythology, the moon has represented the visible unknown, a mysterious force whose own phases influence human behavior and identity in subtle-but-powerful ways. In a series titled Luna Tabulatorum, which will be featured at an upcoming exhibition at the Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn, artist Rithika Merchant has painted esoteric scenes that express the enigmatic and transient nature of the moon, conjuring up compounded images of spirituality, occultism, and femininity. Whether it’s a pack of howling wolves, bodies sprouting organic matter, or vulva-like orifices opening to dark, forested scenes, her paintings represent layers of reality that unfold into multiple meanings, with the feminine body as the empowered source of these transformations. Merchant explains her inspiration for the series in the following statement:
“The moon and the sun are the foundations on which many of the world’s ancient religions have been founded. […] The monthly cycle of the moon has also been linked to the menstrual cycle by many cultures. There are links between the words for menstruation and moon in many languages. I see the moon as a meaningful universal object that links humanity by its importance, its presence, and its significance. Being particularly interested in creating links between cultures, the moon has been a very enlightening muse.” (Source)
The moon is also known for its duality—like the werewolf who shifts between states of humanity and bestiality, the moon represents a dichotomous relationship of darkness and light. This dualism is at constant play in Merchant’s works, representing the cycles of life and death; in one image, a skull-headed she-figure is borne skyward in the embrace of raven, in another, prone bodies surrender their hearts to a celestial being. In all of these images, creation and destruction are part of the same process, with the moon as the uniting force. Neutrality is key to Luna Tabulatorum—there is no good and evil, only a series of overlapping metamorphoses and becomings that defy stable notions of morality and identity.
Luna Tabulatorum will be running from September 3rd until October 15th. Visit the Stephen Romano Gallery website to learn more.
Matt Kaliner is a sociology lecturer at Harvard University with a fascinating side project: the construction of elaborate, beautifully strange sandcastles. “Although I study the sociology of art, amongst other things, I have not worked up anything particularly deep about sandcastles,” he told The Atlantic. “I am motivated entirely by the sheer joy of playing on the beach, and making something out of what I can find that day” (Source). Despite his modesty, Kaliner’s creations are remarkable works of art with imposing presences; fortified with sticks and underground braces, they rise powerfully from the sand, twisted and knotted like ancient geological formations.
Despite the tenuous, ever-crumbling nature of sand, Kaliner’s castles are surprisingly formidable; most of them are swallowed by the rising tide rather than knocked down by it. “Curious kids are the No. 1 killers of my sandcastles, which I certainly sympathize with,” Kaliner says good-humouredly. “I would have done the same at that age!” (Source) Whether by nature or meddlesome child, the inevitable destruction of Kaliner’s works makes them transitory works of art; their limited lifespans heightens their beauty and intensifies their presence.
Check out Kaliner’s work on Flickr. More gravity-defying castles after the jump. (Via Booooooom)