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Christopher Blackstock Hallucinates Through The Desert In Search Of Redemption

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Oakland based artist Christopher Blackstock creates the ‘The Lone Stranger’ a series of illustrations that explore the life of an imagined character who finds himself experiencing the ultimate journey of self-discovery in a hallucinatory, post-apocalyptic remote desert area. The vibrant, cartoonish aesthetic puts emphasis on the surrealism of it all. Finding yourself in a desolated space can become lonely but exciting all at once.

According to the artist, the stranger, the recurring character, has experienced his fair share of tragedy and is now in search for answers, and maybe some sort of redemption through a spiritual quest. His tale, one of existential turmoil, redemption and self-discovery coincides with the collapse of the ecosystem as climate change reaches a more advanced stage and renders California completely arid.

Blackstock, a muiti-media artist who works in painting, sculpture and illustration, rendered these as digital drawings first and then turned them into laser-cut panels which were then placed onto canvas and hand-painted with acrylic and spray-paint.

Blackstock’s ‘The Lone Stranger’ will be on view at Oakland’s Loakal, starting July 4th through July 30th, 2014.

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Bob Egan Superimposes Iconic Film and Music Images Onto Their Corresponding Shooting Locations

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Van Morrison, Too Long In Exile

Van Morrison, Too Long In Exile

Billy Joel, 52nd Street

Billy Joel, 52nd Street

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver

Bob Egan, a real estate agent during the day, becomes a “pop culture detective” by night. Egan’s PopSpots features images of album covers and television and film shots superimposed on and lined up with a photo of the shooting location as it appears today. Though Egan has researched images that were shot in other places, most of the images he researches have been shot in New York City, with many in Manhattan, a part of the city that is continuously in flux. Accompanying each superimposition are details of Egan’s research, including maps and resources he’s used, such as the New York Public Library’s digital archives, to deduce exact locations based on image details and correspondences surrounding the creation of each iconic image. Egan’s project began with his curiosity of where Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” cover was shot, a place he has yet to discover. He has been able to find other Dylan album covers, however, and cites classic rock as his “music comfort food,” something that is not surprising based on the particular albums Egan has so far superimposed. Over time, Egan’s project evolved to include television and film stills, as well as other iconic photographs from the same era. (via open culture)

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William Hundley’s Mysterious Invisible Floating Figures

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“Entoptic Phenomena” is an ongoing photo series by Texas-based multi-media artist William Hundley. The project features people jumping under colorful pieces of fabric and creating mysterious floating sculptures. The final photographs are then edited to remove the subject and leave the viewer with nothing but the ephemeral cloud-like figure hanging in the air.

“My work started with the influence of Erwin Wurm and Maurizio Cattelan, these absurdists. I love the practical-joke nature of it; if I can make humor and beautiful aesthetics come together, that’s the biggest powerhouse I can imagine.”

The name of the project comes from the term entoptic phenomena, meaning “visual effects whose source is within the eye itself”. In simpler words, it’s those dots and wrinkles that sometimes appear in our sight due to bright light or pressure applied to closed eyes. Entoptic images have a physical basis and are not considered to be illusions. However, they share one common feature: the observer can’t share a specific view of such phenomena with the others.

By merging real and unreal – the scientific explanation of entoptic phenomena and his own visual representation of it – Hundley introduces disguised absurdity to his project and proves our knowledge of the world is only a matter of perspective.

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Justin DeVine Creates An Amusingly Strange Mashup Of The Muppets And Twin Peaks

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Our society, by and large, seems to love mashups of popular culture. Adding to the growing list of amusing combinations is Justin DeVine’s illustrations of Muppets as Twin Peaks characters. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear take the roles of Special Agent Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, and the Log Lady, respectively. DeVine’s watercolor drawings include the clothing, scenes, and quotes from David Lynch’s cult classic television show but whose characters are replaced with the gregarious Muppet clan.

If you aren’t familiar with Twin Peaks, it’s a surreal drama that follows the investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper into murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. It takes place in a small town, and explores the facade of small-town values and the seedier layers that lurk beneath it. Pairing this with the happy-go-lucky Muppets creates some strange imagery; not necessarily in the same way as Lynch crafted Twin Peaks, but odd nonetheless.

All of these illustrations are available as prints in DeVine’s InPrnt shop.

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Heart-wrenching Burial Photos Of Dead Animals Abandoned On The Road

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For her series Natura Morta, the Russian photographer Maria Ionova-Gribina gives burials to dead animals. Much like fellow artist Emma Kiesel, she finds her deceased subjects abandoned on roadsides. Biking to the sea in summer, she was confronted with roadkill and creatures who had died of natural causes.

Where most might avert their eyes, she examined the called bodies, adorning them with fresh blossoms tenderly picked from her own garden or nearby flower beds. Yet she does not remove or bury the remains; instead, she allows the process of photographing them to stand in for funerary rites, poignantly preserving them in her lens instead of in the earth.

After having these powerful post-mortem portraits taken, the animals are once again vulnerable to the decay and ravages of death, but in this single magnificent instant, their humble yet miraculous existences are celebrated and revered. Juxtaposed against bloodied muzzles, open wounds and limbed stiffened by death are ripe, vibrant flowers symbolizing life and rebirth. On these breathtaking beds of pink, blue, and deep red hues, the creatures appear to be simply sleeping.

Over these dead bodies, we are invited to mourn the individual as well as the fact of our own lost innocence. The series itself is inspired by Ionova-Gribina’s childhood, when she and her brother would bury dead animals they discovered in their paths. Where the adult gaze scans over reminders of death, perhaps the child’s engages with them, and grieves the inevitable hold of mortality. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

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Carl Jung’s Surreally Illustrated “The Red Book” Documents The Therapist’s Psychospiritual Journey

Carl Jung Carl Jung Carl Jung jungillustration13
If you’re familiar with ideas about art therapy, the intersection of Eastern and Western spirituality, personality attributes and assessments like Myers-Briggs, New Age philosophy, or Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey,” you have Carl Jung to thank. Best known for his work in psychotherapy and psychiatry and as the founder of analytical psychology, (distinct from Freud’s psychoanalysis), during his life, Jung also contributed to a beautifully illustrated personal journal between the years 1914-1930 known as The Red Book, or Liber Novus (Latin for New Book). This journal chronicles a deeply personal voyage of self-discovery that Jung did not wish to be published while he was alive for fear that the book could ruin his professional and personal life, and that people would think him mentally unstable. However, it’s the belief of Jungian scholar Sonu Shamdasani that Jung intended for this work to eventually be published. Shamdasani points to the fact that Jung’s journal is addressed, “dear friends,” and that that he would often lend the journal to friends and patients during his lifetime. After Jung died in 1961, his heirs were reluctant to release the contents of the book, and kept it stored away in a bank vault in Switzerland. It took Shamdasani 3 years to convince his heirs to allow The Red Book to be published, and an additional 13 years for the entirety of the calligraphic text to be translated from German to English.

 

Published in 2009, The Red Book contains Jung’s self-explorations, representing the source of many of Jung’s theories regarding the collective unconscious, archetypes, psychological types, and the process of individuation. “The overall theme of the book is how Jung regains his soul and overcomes the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. This is ultimately achieved through enabling the rebirth of a new image of God in his soul and developing a new world view in the form of a psychological and theological cosmology.” Accompanying the calligraphy of Jung’s text are incredibly controlled surreal illustrations of psychologically and spiritually thematic images.


Art critic and 
Huffington Post contributor Peter Frank considers The Red Book a great work of art, writing, “It is an endlessly fascinating and staggeringly luxurious artifact, a thing of beauty and of magic. It could pass for a Bible rendered by a medieval monk, especially for the care with which Jung entered his writing as ornate Gothic script. It just happens that his art is dedicated not to the glory of God or king, but to that of the human race.” Frank also identified the presence of a small egg within every image included in The Red Book, explaining that “the egg starts to give off light and then to explode out.”

Jung writes at one point in The Red Book, “There is only one way, and that is your way. You seek the path? I warn you away from my own. It can also be the wrong path for you. May each go his own way. I will be no savior, no lawgiver, no master teacher unto you. You are no longer little children. … May each seek out his own way. The way leads to mutual love in community. Men will come to see and feel the similarity and commonality of their ways.” You can read the entirety of The Red Book as an ebook over at the Internet Archive. (via npr and independent)

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Chris McMahon And Thryza Segal Turn Old Thrift Shop Paintings Into Pop-Surrealist Gems

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Thyrza Segal

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Don’t we all love to hate those kitschy landscape paintings at the local thrift store? I know I do. But what if we can make them became exciting again?

Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal  give thrift shop paintings new life by embedding monster-like creatures. The finished product resembles a pop-surrealist version of Nickelodeon’s Aaahh! Real Monsters.

Both artist carefully blend the monsters into the original scene as if they were always there. The process can be tricky, since it can be a challenge to match the original textures and colors, but it can be said that their attempts have been a success. They are pretty awesome.

(via Twisted Sifter)

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Pieter Hugo Documents South Africa’s Scars Of Colonialism

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Pieter Hugo’s “Kin” is the photographer’s closer look into his motherland and a personal approach to the incredible human diversity surrounding him. Hugo’s photo series from South Africa depicts the issues of race, social status, economical despair, sexuality and his own place in such “fractured, schizophrenic, wounded, and problematic place”.

Despite being complicated in content, Hugo’s photographs carry a distinctly serene, calming style and the sense of connection between the photographer, camera and the subject. Regardless of who’s in frame, an unknown homeless drifter, domestic servant, or his pregnant wife, Hugo captures their essence and tension in a simple static shot.

“[Kin] is an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood. [South Africa] is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow.”

Based on his photographic approach, Pieter Hugo raises questions to himself and searches for answers through his work. How should one live in this diverse society? Should one accept the historical aftermath for granted or try to change it? How to raise a family in these circumstances?

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