Robert Mapplethorpe’s Early Polaroids, 1970-1975

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Robert Mapplethorpe, the timelesss American photographer most active in the 1980′s, was mainly known for his highly stylized black and white flower series. However, his most iconic and prolific works, various series of photographs dealing with homoeroticism and sadomasochistic BSDM acts between men of diverse cultural backgrounds, fuelled national debate in the NSA over the public funding of controversial artworks.

Some of these photographs, made visible by The Mapplethorpe Foundation, were part of his first solo gallery exhibition, ‘Polaroids’, at the Light Gallery in 1973.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. Two years after his Polaroids exhibition, he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

Polaroids © The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation (Via Vice and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation)

An Amusing Look At Behind-The-Scenes Playboy Photoshoots (NSFW)

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If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to photograph for Playboy, ponder no further. Dutch photographer and art director Patrick Van Dam has the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the infamous magazine in his book, Playboy Behind The Scenes. Published in 2011, it’s full of images that capture the awkward and unsexy moments that comes with the making of every sexy centerfold.

Seeing these images takes some of the allure and fantasy out of Playboy photos. Pulling back the smoke and mirrors, it reminds us they have their share of unflattering moments, too. It takes the proper lighting, strategic positioning, and even water pouring to make things appear just so. Nothing is as glamorous as it seems.

Van Dam directed nude photo shoots for Dutch Playboy for seven years, so he has no doubt seen it all. He even had Hugh Hefner write the foreword for his book:

In these compelling images, Patrick has captured the soul of the Playboy shoot and offered a true celebration of, and homage to, the people who make these beautiful things happen. Vividly here is the intimacy, the fun, and the dedication it takes to create the very best in contemporary erotica. And along the way, true to his calling, he gives the reader a peek behind the curtain of the Playboy lifestyle. (Via Featureshoot)

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Zoonzin’s Little Lost Project Gives Items A Second Life

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I remember when my mom first told me that the dryer ate socks.  I immediately ran and took all of my socks out of the hamper because I wanted to save them.  Playing with this idea that inanimate objects have a life of their own graphic designer Yoonjin Lee started the “Little Lost Project.”  Lamenting when we lose our iphone, or our wallet, Yoonjin, who calls herself Zoonzin, wondered about the smaller things that go missing.  What happens to that lighter that seemingly just walked out of our pocket?  Does it miss us?  Do we miss it?  Does it belong to someone else now?

Giving these small objects a voice and a personality Zoonzin picks up lost objects she discovers on the streets of New York City.  She takes them home and makes them little signs.  Some forsaken objects are sad, others angry that their owners could be so careless with them, but each has a distinct personality.  Zoonzin then takes them back out onto the streets and arranges them; a unique kind of street art.  Holding their signs as if they were protesters, or homeless, Zoonzin’s little lost and found objects draw attention and a smile from passersby.  Giving a story and another life to those small things we might not even notice we lost, Zoonzin’s Little Lost Project is funny, but also engaging in its commentary about our culture, what we value and how we treat our possessions.  You can follow the ongoing project on her facebook or tumblr.

Stop Putting Off Launching Your Portfolio Site!

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Like all artists you probably dread having to spend months creating our portfolio sites. You can spend endless hours dissecting code and troubleshooting plugins until you go cross-eyed and once you get done you’re so traumatized that you’ll put off updating your site for as long as possible. There has to be a better way right? Well our pals at Made With Color are here to save the day!

With just a few clicks you can get your custom website launched using the Made With Color platform. They have a host of new designs to make your site look sleek and professional and have recently launched three new stylish layouts: Corbusier Ocean, Wright Noir, and Wright Paynes. If that weren’t sweet enough, now you can choose their new square thumbnail gallery for showcasing your work.

As always their portfolio sites are responsive and optimized for viewing on a desktop, tablet and smart phone, so your work looks great where ever you view it. And did we mention that their services are affordable enough even if you’re a starving artist? So stop putting off launching your site and sign up with Madewithcolor.com!

Georgia Theologou’s Morose And Glittery Portraits

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Georgia Theologou (or Georgia Th as she is also known) is a self-taught Greek artist who paints hauntingly beautiful portraiture. Created by combining traditional and digital media, Theologou’s intentionally limited palate and trademark visual rendering gives both a soft lushness and a harsh reality to her subjects, like mascara tear trails being transformed into softly dabbed paint glitter.  In a conversation with Beautiful/Decay (and with the help of Google Translate), Theologou explains what inspires her symbolic subjects,

“Creating something is a way to express the feelings that are inside me that I maybe didn’t even know about before. It’s a way to explore myself and what I have on my mind, so when I am making my work I feel like I find something new about me and about how I see things that I did not even realize was present.”

Theologou’s internalized subjects are taken from many sources of art research and random bits of internet ephemera, and blended with other imagery that gives each portrait an allegorical depth and visual tension. Noting themes of nature ranging from human and animal, the stars and the cosmos in many of her colorful works, Georgia explains these combinations, saying

“I don’t paint people but the existence of a person. The subject of my paintings is the feelings of this existence or the situation they experience that moment. All of the objects I use in my paintings are random, but this helps me to create the right place and mood, so I choose objects that are common on fairy-tales and dreams. Nature and space are also places with the same strong sense of vitality, so the person can feel closer  to his/her inner world. My paintings are not about a story or a specific idea or symbol, I think about painting “that” moment.”

Etienne Lavie Replaces Public Advertising With Classic Art Masterpieces

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French street artist and photographer Etienne Lavie‘s photography series, “OMG, Who Stole My Ads?” envisions the city of Paris without advertisements, replaced by stunning classical works. Lavie photographs the street scenes and paintings separately, and combines them later with digital editing. The result is a beautifully effective and realistic utopian city where people aren’t surrounded by images that encourage conspicuous consumption, but are instead living among masterpieces that decorate their chaotic urban world. (via huffington post)

Andrew DeGraff Draws Maps Of Journeys Taken In Star Wars And Other Famous Films

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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

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Illustrator and film lover Andrew DeGraff crafted a series of maps to help us navigate some of our favorite films. In long, epic journeys like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and even goofy comedies Wet Hot American Summer, it’s easy to forget where we’ve travelled over the course of the story. DeGraff highlights some key events, like Luke Skywalker’s trek in The Empire Strikes Back. If you are big fan of any of the movies that he’s illustrated, then the painstaking details will delight you.

Using gouache, the illustrator carefully draws spaceships, architecture, and foreign lands. While they are clearly maps without being the conventional road map, DeGraff’s limited color palette offers the most important information in vibrant colors, while the secondary (but still interesting) details remain less conspicuous. (Via Flavorwire)

Ji Yeo Questions Female Beauty With Photo Series Of Women With Eating Disorders And Hollywood Models (NSFW)

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Brooklyn-based photographer Ji Yeo  creates Somewhere on the Path, I See You, a project in which the photographer captures two different types of women: one with extreme self-regulation and distorted notions of beauty that suffer from eating disorders, and the other women are aspiring actresses and models living in Hollywood, California, who are interested in the process of being represented because they carry dreams of fame.

By carefully selecting various body and personality types ,Yeo creates a sample of photos (and people) that further examine larger societal issues regarding ideas of beauty, self-definition, and self-respect.

By forcing viewers to confront images of women who by definition had been judged continuously by themselves, it brought focus to the viewers natural impulse to judge. In doing so it implicates them in the complex relationship we have with making aesthetic judgments.