James Charles, pop culture and dollar bills. A strange combination for an astonishing result. The artist transforms traditional portraits on bills into random movie characters, singers and artists. He only uses ink and paint to trace and re-write on the bills. The result is witty and fun to watch.
It all started out with random doodling on a couple of dollar bills. James Charles was not even aware of the treasure he was carrying in his pocket as he was spending the bills. He therefore decided to store them in a magazine, using it as a safe. The more he drew, the larger the magazine got. The mutant bills have their president’s faces changed into male and female pop culture inspired characters. James Charles added a script below the faces, naming or giving hints in case we miss them. Yoda, Einstein, Mister T, Willy Wonka, Princess Leia, Spock, Iggy Pop, Kiss and many others are altering the seriousness of the symbolic of money.
The artist drew on 5 dollar bills as well as on 100 dollar bills. The value of money is put aside here to focus on the true meaning of a paper bill components: paper and ink. So little and meaningless elements for such tremendous stakes. By associating easy recognizable pop features, James Charles is aiming to reach the mass. He has done it again more recently in Monstro Eyegasmica, a mix of popular iconographies such as The Kiss by Klimt or the use of sarcasm with some of the Disney characters. A series of paintings and collages blending pop culture and vibrant colored characters.
James Charles’ Monstro Eyegasmica series will be displayed at the Joseph Gross Gallery in New York until November 25th 2015.
Rory Dean deserves to be as prolific in the arts scene as pop culture references are within his work (read: very prolific). Dean, who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2006, wields his brush and pencil with great acuity, throwing the world we’ve created for ourselves back into our faces with merciless black humor and insight. His colorful yet maddeningly dark paintings and drawings pull no punches in shedding the current state of affairs in an honest, and concurrently scary light. But cultural context aside, Dean’s work is mainly fun, quality stuff. You really can’t go wrong here.
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Architectural artist Alex Chinneck has turned heads this week in Covent Garden by making it look as if the top part of the Market Building in the piazza is floating in mid air. From all angles it seems as if the building is hovering above it’s foundations, not joined to any part of the base. Not only is it an impressive optical illusion, but also a display of amazing technical ability. Taking over 8 months to plan and involving at least 50 people, this project has been a logistical feat. The actual materials used in the replication includes digitally carved polystyrene that has been distressed by scenic artists and attached to hidden beams. Chinneck’s technical team worked over 4 days to help install the trickery, cladding plaster around structures to look like stone columns and inspecting the finish on the paintwork.
Playfully titled Take My Lightning But Don’t Steal My Thunder, Chinneck makes sense of the installation in this way:
“there are things which always come together but are always slightly apart….the shape of the crack was reminiscent of the lightning bolt. It’s a very cataclysmic scene.” (Source)
Known for his gravity-defying architectural projects, Chinneck also created an awe-inspiring installation last October in Margate. Called From The Knees Of My Nose To The Belly Of My Toes, that project involved a brick facade that appeared to separate from it’s roof and slide down into the garden in front of the apartment block. He has also “flipped” old livery stables in Southwark – recreating the windows and door frames, but around the wrong way. Chinneck seems addicted to talking on these overwhelmingly complex projects, but thinks of them in quite a different way:
“The idea itself is actually quite simple. I don’t get too bogged down in concept or meaning or message. It is what it is. It’s playful and fun.” (Source)
Shawn Smith’s sculptures investigate the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically Shawn is interested in how we experience nature through technology. When we see images of nature on TV or on a computer screen, we feel that we are seeing nature but we are really only seeing patterns of pixilated light.
For the past few years, Smith has been creating a series of “Re-things.” These whimsical sculptures represent pixilated animals and objects of nature. Finding images of his subjects online, he creates three-dimensional sculptural representations of these two-dimensional images. By building his “Re-things” pixel by pixel Shawn hopes to understand how each pixel plays a crucial role in the identity of an object. Through the process of pixilation, color is distilled, some bits of information are lost, and the form is abstracted. Making the intangible tangible, Smith views his building process as an experiment in alchemy, using man-made composite and recycled materials to represent natural forms.
In an attempt to finally stop the social stigma surrounding HIV, the German magazine Vangardist has printed over 3000 copies of their latest issue in a special ink infused with HIV+ blood. The blood was taken from 3 different volunteers who are living with the virus, and combined with printing ink at a ratio of 28 parts ink, to 1 part blood. Scientists at Harvard and Innsbruck Universities have come up with a unique way of mixing the two substances, and are certain the hard copies of the magazine carry no risk of infection. Even with all the assurances of the paper being perfectly safe to handle, the concern surrounding HIV is still worrying some critics. It would seem the attitude to the HIV virus is not so different to those of 30 years ago.
Julian Wiehl – the Publisher and CEO of Vangardist recognizes this and thought they could help inform people on the touchy subject. He says:
The editorial team at Vangardist is committed to dealing with a wide variety of topics affecting our readers. We believe that as a lifestyle magazine it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today. With 80% more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50% of HIV cases being detected late due to lack of testing caused by social stigma associated with the virus. This felt like a very relevant issue for us to focus on not just editorially but also from a broader communications stand point. (Source)
The launch of the Spring issue was designed to coincide with the Life Ball – one of the most important HIV events in the world, held in Vienna. The magazine has been available to subscribers since April 28th, and there is an online campaign that aims to breakdown the taboo. Be sure to read more about it here. (Via Fastcodesign)
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Serena Cole‘s work bridges fashion and traditional portraiture. Showing a mastery of her medium, Serena transforms watercolor and gouache into pieces that feel effortless. Some of her earlier works incorporate gold leaf as well, which feel reminiscent of medieval altar paintings where the face and gesture are key. Her take on fashion portraiture is full of emotion, often unseen in the stoic nature of fashion photography. Being such a busy time with her graduation from CCA, she was sweet enough to answer a few questions about her work and life.