Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.
A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture. “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
Hello blog readers, the above image is a microscopic view of Feline Herpes. It’s also my icon for commenting on blogs. If you don’t like the random icon that our website automatically gives you, you can create your own avatar at en.gravatar.com . Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Y’all can go crazy with icons now.
In 2001 I was in art school, trying to make sense of how one gets into shows, sells art, and gets press. It was a daunting task for my peers and me–none of us knew where to start. Running into the art world’s countless closed doors, however, became the inspiration behind creating Beautiful/Decay. My dream was to expose and support all the great art that I was finding by unknown, young artists. I wanted to celebrate these “underdogs” and give them the credit that they deserved.
It’s been almost a decade since then and our mission hasn’t changed. We still strive to shed light on work that is underrated and unknown. So in the spirit of Beautiful/Decay’s dedication to emerging art, we present to you our first annual edition of “The Underdogs.” Each year, we will open up the magazine to you, our readers, so that you can have a chance to participate in Beautiful/Decay. For this issue, we asked artists to interpret our theme, “The Underdogs,” as they saw fit. Some literally interpreted the theme, while others imagined the concept abstractly to create their works. With just under 100 slots, and over 500 submissions, figuring out who made the cut was anything but easy.
Some of the artists you may have heard of, and others have never been featured in print before. We selected our cover artist, Allison Schulnik, for her beautiful depictions of anonymous, unsung heroes. For all their tragedy and isolation, Schulnik gives form to the world’s “fools and rejects,” who in turn transcend the page to become icons in and of themselves. This process of transformation and redemption, of attaining the spotlight against all odds seemed the perfect concept in which to encase Book 3.
Get your copy of Book:3, the ultimate inspiration/resource of emerging art at the B/D Shop!
Environmental and seasonal artist Nicole Dextras is no stranger to using ice as a medium. For her series, “Iceshifts,” Dextras combines ice and clothing to create deconstructed wardrobes frozen in time, then photographs them up close and within natural settings. Often, the clothing has been frozen over several winters, creating layers and layers of ice. When Dextras composes her photography, she positions the blocks of ice to effect beautiful light refractions, giving the work a haunting and ethereal glow. The clothing appear to be specimens, ready to be excavated and studied. Sometimes, Dextras will include plants or leaves when creating her pieces; she’s even used stockings for arms and bras as wings to illustrate the many layers of the self .
Dextras explains, “This frozen wardrobe acts as a metaphor for the multilayered affinities between the self and the environment. On a deeper level, the mercurial aspect of ice alludes to the transient nature of the environment and of the inherent poetic beauty of the ephemeral.” (via my modern met)
Photographer Brian McCarty combines the innocence of childhood with the horrors of war in his series WAR-TOYS. Violent scenes are reenacted with toys; Bombs are dropped on a pink plastic house, while toy soldiers gun down a giant-headed doll. McCarty’s source material is the drawings of children who live in war-torn areas like the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.
The artist travelled to the sites where the children had been, which adds another level of sadness to these images. This project is not just the undertaking of McCarty, but he pairs with other aid workers as well. From his artist statement:
Employing principles of expressive art therapy, my process begins with observation and guided interaction with children under the care of humanitarian organizations operating in areas of active conflict. Specialized therapists and caregivers conduct art-based interviews on my behalf, inviting children to draw pictures about their lives and experiences. The resulting illustrations serve as art direction and basis for photographic exploration.
McCarty tries to involve the tiny artists, too, and uses toys that are acquired locally. You’ll see that a Disney Princess is in the line of fire. He writes:
When possible and under the guidance of specialists, I invite the children to actively participate and use the photographic process as a form of therapeutic play. The resulting photographs provide an interpretive document of witnessed events and context for the children’s accounts.
McCarty plans to continue this project and travel to Afghanistan, Sudan, and Colombia. (Via Huffington Post)
“Paintings from an ongoing series involves the application of four exhausting layers per canvas: first “an inchoate space,” as he calls it — “not bright or dim, not shallow or deep” — intended to mimic a blank television screen; then a film still, rendered precisely as it appeared on a television in his studio; then the reflection caught on the surface of that screen; then a splintered layer of thick, gestural oil paint made with a stencil derived from a historical painting that relates in some way to the film still. The underlayers — all airbrush — are soft, gray, smooth and ghostly, whereas the oil paint is chunky, brightly colored and seemingly haphazard, with only the slimmest hints at imagery. The effect is that of two entirely different paintings that just happened to brush against each other while wet.