For his breathtaking project “Atypical,” the Warsaw, Poland-based illustrator and graphic designer Pawel Nolbert creates a typeface unlike any other. Composed of globular, thick brushstrokes saturated with dense color, his letters take on a tangible and material form, becoming what he calls “half-realistic, half-illustrative figurative sculptures.” For the series, the artist, who is also an art director, photographed paint splatters, and he later enhanced them and added depth through digital manipulation.
What emerges from Nolbert’s compelling work is a refreshing and visceral take on the written word, which in our contemporary culture can seem stale and lifeless. Here, language becomes physical as the body, writhing and twisting with vivid pleasure. The two dimensions of the page become the three, with thick, textured lines overlapping and creating an unexpected depth of field. Displaying an impressive grasp on color theory, the artist uses cognitive and perceptual tricks to extend the letters and numbers into three dimensionality. Complimentary colors are layered atop one another, creating an engaging visual dynamic: orange is paired with blue, purple with yellow, and green with red.
In a cultural landscape in which we are constantly bombarded with images, language moves to the wayside, and yet Nolbert finds a way to reclaim our attentions and bring us back to the fundamentals of words, letters, and numerals. Dancing about and leaping from the page, spewing paint in unexpected directions, his “Atypical” posters remind us of the vitality and creative potential inherent in verbal expression. Take a look. (via Colossal)
In the digital age and generation of the selfie, a spiraling and often disorienting importance placed on consumerism and commodities permeates even the most remote of regions. Through the billboard jungles and beehive of mass media, images relentlessly promoting youth and sexuality haphazardly depict ideals of femininity. Creating a wormhole of inadequacies, the female form has found itself in a constant tug-of-war in either defending its natural state or scrambling to correct propagated notions of aesthetic shortcomings. As Barbara Kruger famously stated on one of her notorious gelatin silver prints from the 1980’s, “You Are Not Yourself”.
There’s a pervasive sense of childlike fantasy that seems to underline many pop surrealist works. Make-believe animals that don checkered coats, tight rope walkers and re-imagined cats all vibrate within and beyond the confines chosen by each artist at hand.
The alluring world of pop surrealism frequently ushers in a sense of mythical innocence and humor, unifying the superficial world of popular culture with the recesses of the unconscious. With underlying themes of fragility and the macabre delicately hidden beneath a veil of cultural kitsch, saccharine sweet dreamscapes transform and redefine a caustically bright world enamored with packaged goods. The fantastical worlds created through the lens of the following artists explores the relationship between the seemingly pristine and the accompanying bittersweet decay that dwells beneath it. Featured artists include: Casey Weldon, Mac Sorro, Rafael Silveira, Leslie Ditto, and Britt Ehringer.
With rippling, coiled muscles, the sculptures of Masao Kinoshita stand skinned and erect. Working with materials ranging from wood to resin to bronze, the Japanese sculptor uses an aesthetic we normally associate with natural history museums to render athletic, flexing creatures of the sea and land. Save for their multiple heads and engorged limbs, these beasts could easily be ancestors of man.
Kinoshita draws much of his inspiration from diverse mythologies, religions and folklores from around the globe. Fusing narratives across space and time, the horned maenads of ancient Greece live alongside the Yoga Asura deities of Buddhism in a visceral, animalistic universe where fitness reigns supreme. The Hindu god Ganesh poses confidently while a human baby and a small teddy bear develop muscles of similar size and strength.
Given the artist’s knowledge of folklore and spiritual histories, we might interpret his massive, hulking walrus as a nod to the beast mentioned in Alice in Wonderland, who is widely assumed to represent the Buddha. Built from wood, he would certainly seem at home in the story of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” but his soulful eyes maintain a divine dignity that eluded Lewis Carroll’s infamous character.
Throughout Kinoshita’s impressive body of work, the physical and the metaphysical are allowed to coexist. Where modern religions condemn the pleasures of the body and exalt in those of the spirit, these sculptures present a world wherein the gods themselves are proud—even arrogant, as the case may be with those thong-wearing bodybuilders—to live within mortal anatomies. Take a look. (via HiFructose)
With the help of their local Cats Anonymous organization, photographer Jason Houge and his girlfriend have been feeding and caring for a colony of 30 (for now) feral cats that occupy the couple’s rural Wisconsin property. When they first moved into to their home, cats would come and go, but in 2012, one family of cats stuck around longer than a season. Thus began the start of Houge’s cat family, a family that he has recently been documenting via Instagram. “There’s not a lot of understanding of cats, even when they live in your home,” Houge says. “I was mostly interested in seeing how they lived and interacted within a colony.” Houge’s photographs capture the wildness of the feral cats, the use of black and white emphasizing outdoor light and shadows from which the cats emerge. There’s an intimacy to these photographs that could only be captured with the cats’ trust of the photographer.
Noting how quickly a cat population can increase, Houge explains, “It’s likely most people have heard stories of hoarders who live with hundreds of cats. It only takes two intact cats and two or three years to get to that point. A female can have an average of five kittens three times a year and can become pregnant at about six months of age.” (via feature shoot and lens)
Argentinian artist Agustina Woodgate creates these colorful and complex rugs made out of the skins that once belonged to a few hundred abandoned stuffed animals. Originally inspired by Eastern Culture’s symbolic use of rugs [as they often depict the spiritual and mental world in woven form], Agustina was looking to ultimately deliver an alternative memory object that displays and references personal histories.
Woodgate’s idea started by her relationship with her own old Teddy bear, Pepe. On an interview with Sight Unseen, she says:
It was simply an object. But I also didn’t want to throw it away. That’s when I decided wanted to do something with the bear. In the beginning of the process, I had no idea what was going to happen. I went to a thrift store, got another bear, and started playing around. I looked at all the components that make up a stuffed animal: the stuffing, the fabric, the stitching. I wanted to approach an everyday object in the hopes of making something new.
Woodgate was recently awarded the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. The $20,000 prize was accepted by Woodgate last Friday at the Orlando Museum of Art, which established the award this year. “She was chosen based on the quality and significance of her overall body of work and contributions to the field of contemporary art”, said museum curator Hansen Mulford.
The Slap, a totally fresh video by filmmaker Max Landis, is a clever response to the famous First Kiss video that went viral three months ago and has been making all of us go awwww up until now. Landis’ video features 40 randomly paired people in a fairly uncomfortable situation – the goal for them was to slap each other in the face. Even if it’s the first time they had met.
According to the author, none of the participants were pressured to do so and all of them were “hit as hard as THEY asked to be hit”. The beauty of this project lies in the contrast between a somewhat violent action of hitting other person and the intimate feeling the participants develop towards each other.
Though Landis really was aiming to mock the famous First Kiss video (which is obvious from the black and white color palette and similar upbeat music), he did go beyond just that. His explanation video called Point Of Impact explains the reasons for him to make “The Slap” in the first place.
“What is violence? It’s really just a label, isn’t it, if you let your mind go to a dark place. I decided to define violence as “non-consensual physical interference;” <…> What is trust? Do you trust someone not to hurt you? Are you even thinking about it? Do you care if they hurt you if you trust them? <…> The theory was: A slap, robbed of its violating context, is more intimate than a kiss. My theory, as it turned out, was right.”
Btw, did you notice the cherry on top? At 1:48, there’s Haley Joel Osment (yup, the kid from The Sixth Sense) being slapped straight into his lush beard.
We’ve all seen the “Before and After Photoshop” versions of photographs, displaying the ways in which various media distort our perception of ideal beauty. But what would these images look like in other countries? With her series Before & After,Esther Honig, a radio journalist based out of Kansas City, asked just that. With the help of Fiverr, a website for freelancers, she got in touch with artists from forty different countries; emailing each a self-portrait, she wrote, “Hi, my name is Esther Honig. Make me look beautiful.” When they did not understand the assignment, she simply told them to make her look like the most popular fashion models.
When artists from twenty-seven countries replied, she was astonished with the results. Some edits were so dramatic that she yelped aloud; others, like the image from Morocco, in which she was given a hijab, stole her breath. Some cultures favor a bare face where others apply makeup. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the work is the overwhelming presence of Western feminine ideals: pale white skin, pink cheeks, a dainty nose, and wide eyes contoured with trimmed brows.
In the end, the series expresses the extend to which often oppressive beauty ideals are meaningless; where a woman is declared beautiful in one culture, she might be plain in another. Yet for all women, regardless of ethnicity and background, the pressure to be beautiful remains, propagated by the whims of the contemporary media. Writes Honig, “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.” (via Buzzfeed)