If you remember, Alex Trochut was first featured in Issue: T of Beautiful/Decay with both an in-depth interview as well as an amazing cover graphic. (You can still get a copy here!) Since our interview, Alex’s career has exploded with interviews across the globe in some of the best art and design publications! Watch the video and see why he is one of the most interesting and most sought after typographers and illustrators in the last decade.
Kyle Thompson is the artist behind these haunting photographs. His image are darkly surreal, seemingly caught in the middle of a or sinister or tragic situation. An autumnal palette adds a slight chill to each scene. What may be most surprising about the work, though, is its creator. Thompson’s biography states that he’s only been photographing work since he was 19 years old – the young photographer is now only 21! Further, Thompson is a self-taught artist with no formal training.
Louise Despont explores drawing as abstract meditations, balancing and integrating symbols and forms to link her art to the inscription of narratives and to mystical or literary concerns. Employing and recasting a vocabulary of elements and constructions found within a set of architectural stencils and compasses, the artist renders her drawings on the pages of antique ledger books.
Despont has borrowed the geometries of Indian labyrinths, gardens, architecture, vessels and ancient Buddhist and Jain caves to offer balanced forms – particularly masculine and feminine principles—that engage past and present as indicators and provocations. While leaning towards strong poetic and lyrical translations, these drawings unlock a spatial perceptual field to reveal the formal qualities of surface, texture, scale and form.
While reinvesting introspection and the metaphysical into tropes of abstraction, Despont’s drawings are notable for their levels of sincerity, intricacy and refinement. Even in her larger works, the artist evokes an intimate experience with fine lines and subtle hatch marks revealing themselves only when viewed up close. The resulting works, charged with alternative legacies of cultural and personal, confront the binaries of abstraction and figuration through their encoded compositions.
The work of artist Ted Lawson reveals a persistent interest in the human body. Though his work is attractive to look at, or at least hard to pull away from, there is clearly a deeper fear being expressed. His art investigates processes related to the physical body such as growth, its needs, its decay and death. Really, these sculptures are physical representations of modern psychological concerns. The tenuous relationship between the body and the mind has been a highly scrutinized theme throughout much of contemporary art. Lawson’s work, though, has a way of striking an especially carnal chord.
I’m absolutely loving these photorealistic paintings by Audrey Flack from the 1970’s. The paintings saturated color patterns scream 1970’s with its over the top disco sparkles all over and it’s kitschy psychedelic tendencies.
Michael Gaughan represents a new breed of hyper-creative talents whose work spans an absurd amount of media. Known for a variety of projects (including city-wide scavenger hunts, his chat-roulette in a mock-dorm room rapping identity Ice Rod, and for renting out his apartment for couples needing a romantic getaway on Valentine’s Day), Gaughan creates with an almost child-like glee. Despite the playfulness in the work, however, there is a sophistication and consistency that separates it from most. This is particularly evident in his highly-technical watercolor paintings, where art-world in-jokes exist seamlessly with pop-culture rimshots. In an exclusive talk with Beautiful/Decay, Gaughan summarizes his motivations, “Humor is not my main medium, but definitely a consistent theme in my life and my artwork. I think that putting yourself out there in a vulnerable way is really uncomfortable and nerve-racking. It is a lot easier to do things as a joke rather than take yourself seriously, and simultaneously I am equally motivated by the possibility of brightening up someone else’s day. I ultimately want to bring joy to other people.”
Gaughan’s work references “(art) history…obscenity, pop culture, absurdity, personal experiences, fears, feelings, misunderstandings, language, human experience, and creativity as well. Skate culture is great too!” When asked about the obvious amount of time spent on each work compared to the relatively short amount of time to elicit a humorous response (and if that adds to the joke), Gaughan responds, “Ha ha I hope so. It is also important to remember that punchlines can stay with you… Just because the audience can “get it” in seconds, doesn’t mean that they won’t revisit again it in their mind. I think art-work that takes longer to understand doesn’t necessarily mean that people will remember any longer than something that took only a second to get...”