Four years ago, photographer Jamie Diamond bought a hyperrealistic doll known as a Reborn baby off eBay, and this purchase lead her to a project spanning nearly two years. Called Mother Love, the series blurs the lines between real and unreal, living and the inanimate.
To make this project possible, Diamond collaborated with an outsider art community called the Reborners. They’re a group of self-taught female artists who hand-make, collect, and interact with these dolls. They hold them, dress them, wash their hair, and take them for walks in the park. “After spending a year investigating and recording their practice,” Diamond writes in an artist statement, “I chose to become a Reborner to gain a better understanding of the community.” Diamond continues:
In Nine Months of Reborning, I reborned dolls and constructed a working nursery in my studio and on eBay, called the Bitten Apple Nursery. Before putting the dolls up for adoption on eBay, I photograph each one using a large format camera, the image becomes the remnant of this exchange.
Creating the dolls was a laborious process. Some required up to 80 individual layers of painting, veining, blushing mottling, and toning, cured with heat. Strands were individually attached to the scalp. The dolls were weighted properly so that they feel like a real baby when held in someone’s arms.
The Amy Project followed this construction. “I invited celebrated Artists from the community to individually interpret and idealize the same doll,” Diamond writes. “I then photograph each doll mimicking vernacular school portraits. Each of the dolls are unique to their maker’s hand, but share an uncanny similarity through their common origin.”
Diamond no longer calls herself a Reborner, and plans to sell the remaining dolls on eBay (although she might keep one for herself).
Working with the Reborn community has allowed me to explore the grey area between reality and artifice where relationships are constructed with inanimate objects, between human and doll, artist and artwork, uncanny and real. I have been engaged with this community now for four years and while working and learning from these women, I’ve become fascinated by the fiction and performance at the core of their practice and the art making that supports their fantasy. (Via Hyperallergic)
Jarmila Mitríková and Dávid Demjanovič are a fascinating artistic duo adding spice back into a traditional form of art-making. They hail from Slovakia and employ a technique called pyrography, which involves burning into plywood and shading the images with wood stains. This particular way of mark making was popular with people mostly during socialism in former Czechoslovakia. A style with is linked with folk art, domestic crafts and cultural traditions, the pair tap into their own history and national identity.
In their hybrid style you can see christian traditions, folklorism, pagan rituals, superstitions, myths, local legends with links to WWII and socialistic history, all with the backround of real slovak scenery. (Source)
Mitríková and Demjanovič play to their strengths of storytelling and creating very strong, personal images. We see very graphic scenes being played out – hunting rituals, exorcisms of some type, sacrificial set ups, and masked people involved in cult-like activities. With titles like Guardians of National Spirituality, Procession With Nazi, Cult of Goddess Morena, Dance Plague and Evacuation of Slovakian Elites, they focus on a time of secret societies and unknown mysterious behavior; they speak of a time when not everything was understandable, or explainable.
Typical for their practise is working with mystification and creating thematic series, where they focus their attention on one subject from our present or history….. when they work with real slovak subjects, using their style of storytelling, they create absurd, comic situations and new contextual reading. (Source)
This talented couple manage to recreate a sense of wonder, secrecy, ambiguity and riddles. They put a contemporary spin on an ancient art of wood burning and telling campfire-stories.
We’ve all seen them – those romance novels with the dramatic covers featuring love-struck ladies collapsing into the arms of a hyper-masculine heart-slayer, while some dramatic scene — such as a leaping horse, or surging ocean — occurs behind them. As fetishized and erotic as these images intend to be, most of them are quite silly in their portrayals of unrealistic desire and impossible bodily standards. As a response to this, Cosmopolitan magazine recently created a series where they playfully reenacted romance novel covers by inserting real people into the excessive, escapist scenarios; throughout the images, lovers pretend to collapse into beds of roses, and others are doused in water (simulating the seems-better-than-reality waterfall kiss).
What is best about these remakes is that the participants are clearly indulging in the absurdity of the exotic scenes. Many of them appear to be suppressing laughter with their awkward, exaggerated embraces and pseudo-seduced expressions. While it may be fun sometimes to indulge in fantasies of being “swept away” by a phantasmal lover of cosmic erotic proportions, Cosmo’s series reminds us that such images are just that: fantasies. Real-life romance and desire (and the pleasures thereof) quite often derive from playfulness and openness — no vested swashbucklers, billowing hair, or voyeuristic unicorns needed.
You probably have at least a photo (or two) that’s just too painful to look at. Whether it depict deceased loved one, a failed relationship, or be a symbol of a time long past, the sight is an unwelcome reminder of something (or someone) that’s gone. Since 2010, photographer Jason Lazarus has archived these images that are “too hard to keep” by their owners. He accepts the anonymous submissions and gives them a new life in the form of art exhibitions and books. Although their ownership has changed hands, their past isn’t forgotten.
These are a selection of photos that Lazarus has received over the years. With some of the images, you can immediately understand why they’re painful. One features dying cat laying on a cold metal table. Another is part of photobooth image of a couple that’s been torn into pieces. It’s also accompanied by a handwritten note.
With other photographs, it’s harder to understand why it was too hard to keep them. A seemingly-innocuous lush green landscape and a smiling snowman are another two submissions that Lazarus received. But, regardless of what they are, they meant something to someone at one time, and that’s the appeal of Lazarus’ project. It’s easy to relate to the feelings of loss, anger, and longing that these photos conjure to their original owners. These submissions are a reminder that we all hurt.
Ari Weinkle has created an extremely unique and bizarre typography, titled Feelers, that moves and squirms with each carefully constructed letter. This is no ordinary alphabet; each letter is formed from different animal appendages. Weinkle designed his somewhat creepy typography to be explore and interpret the movements of animals and their body parts. It is hard to believe that these odd colored squiggles were once part of animals, especially since they look like amoebas, worms, or insect parts. The way the ends of the letters taper in at each end and sways back and forth closely resembles aquatic life such as seaweed moving in the water.
One aspect of this typography project that makes its concept so interesting, is trying to determine what appendage could have possibly made the type of movement that the individual letter is making. Even more intriguing, is that not every part of the letter moves. Some stand still while others whip back and forth, spread apart, or jump quickly away from the viewer. The movement is so organic, it is almost as if these alphabet creatures are pinned under a microscope and we are watching them squirm. Although the letters are hard to determine once they begin to wiggle, you cannot deny the unique creativity behind this mesmerizing typography. Make sure to check out Ari Weinkles Tumblr to see every single letter of his alphabet in its still form, and then again as 26 organically moving organisms.
The Brazilian duo Bicicleta Sem Freio (‘Bicycles without brakes”) have broken away from murals and are now concentrating on some fine art work. Its two current members Douglas de Castro and Renato Perreira first met while attending art school in Goias, Brazil and started collaborating on large scale outdoor and concert poster projects. This led to a series of street art and other prominent commissions all over the world. They recently had their first gallery exhibit in London at “Just Kids” art space. This allowed visitors to see the work on a smaller scale in a white box environment.