In 1995, artist Bryan Lewis Saunders decided to create a unique self-portrait every day for the rest of his life. In 2001 he committed to taking a different drug or intoxicant every day before making his daily portrait, calling this sub-series “Under the Influence.” From absinthe and cocaine to cough syrup and computer duster he sniffed, swallowed and smoked his way through interesting art and into mild, but reversible, brain damage.
Though these are only a small fraction of the collection of over 8,600 self-portraits, they have received the most attention, resurfacing in the media over and over throughout the years. Saunders has mixed feelings about this, telling Fast Company:
“To be honest I’m not proud to be on any drugs in any pictures. I think drugs make me look really ugly. And I’m really a six trick pony, but the world only likes one of my tricks. Each year 500,000 kids around the world discover drugs and so the virus never dies.”
The portraits themselves are fascinating. Is it possible that one day of a psychotropic medicine would have such a clear effect? Are some of these images influenced by Saunders perception of the drug, and not the actual effect of the drug itself? Does it even matter?
“For hundreds of years, artists have been putting themselves into representations of the world around them. I am doing the exact opposite. I put the world around me into representations of myself as I find this more true to my Central Nervous System.”
This is art, not a science experiment. If the idea of the drugs has more of an effect on the art than the drugs themselves, that’s Saunders’ artistic prerogative. The work is provocative and often more than a little bit haunting. The brain spilling Saunders on Abilify and the dark, isolated, limbless Saunders on Nitrous Oxide/Valium represent disturbing and disturbed states of mind. Though he no longer takes drugs in the pursuit of art, the self-portrait series continues, and continues to fascinate.
Russian artist Dmitry Morozov has found a way to make sound from tattoo ink. Working to unite robotics with his passion for art and sound, he created a machine that makes music based on the reading of a tattoo on ones’ body. This is Morozov’s way of bringing objects and ideas he cares about closer to one another, as opposed to the distance that the natural world places between such distant and distinct genres.
“In essence, Morozov, also known as ::vtol::, has created a tattoo capable of producing music when scanned with a special instrument. He has one on his own body — an eight-inch long design that appears like a mysterious barcode on his forearm, featured in the video above. With the slide of an eerie, cyborg-like machine, the design produces avant-garde noise appealing to the most highbrow of listeners.
So how does it work? According to The Creator’s Project, the scanning instrument consists of “arduino nano, a metal railing, hand controllers, and a black line sensor (on the tattoo).” A motor guides the mechanism along the inked design, with the lengths of each bar equaling the duration of various sounds. The addition of a Nintendo Wii controller equipped with Open Sound Control enhances the sound possibilities; if he moves his appendage, an accelerometer transforms the movement into distortion.” (Excerpt from Source)
Boston-based artist Jenine Shereos who we’ve featured in the past for her amazing series of leaves made from human hair. her amazing series of leaf forms made from human hair. Her more recent work revisits the idea of human-manipulated nature with “De/constructed Lace,” a site-specific installation series of knit-lace that mimics spiderwebs.
In Marnay-Sur-Seine, France she draped the knit threads in windows and doorways, looking like massive, delicate spiderwebs, echoing the white lace curtains in many local homes. The works are not perfect, Charlotte’s Web creations, but looser, more organic forms. Shereos says on her website:
“This installation of knit-lace is suspended in a state of unraveling. The process of its making and unmaking are one and the same.”
In Boston, she worked with black thread and crystals, allowing her web-like art to cast filigreed shadows on the wall amid flickering rainbows from the hanging crystal. The webs are more ominous in black, connecting to walls and windows and floor with fine strands.
“Some of these site-specific works are installed for a period of weeks for viewers to interact with, and others function as a sort of ephemeral, private performance existing afterwards in documentation. Oftentimes, collaborations intended or unintended arise within the environment; a spider spins its delicate webs from the white strands of thread suspended in an unraveling knit curtain, fibrous fragments of seaweed become embedded within a structure of knit fibers, or an array of rainbows flicker amidst white walls and black curtains.”
By co-opting the aesthetics of the natural world, Shereos creates a conscious interaction with the structure of the landscape or the architecture surrounding her art, uniting real and surreal, natural and constructed, fluidity and stillness.
The Singh Project is a wonderful, celebratory look at a modern, multicultural Britain and features members of the Sikh community. British photographers Amit and Naroop are exhibiting 35 very different portraits as a visual exploration of faith, style and identity. These intimate images highlight two very important symbols of the Sikh lifestyle – the beard and the turban (Dahar). The turban in particular is a representation of honor, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. Sikh men (and women) wear the turban to cover their long, uncut hair (kesh), and are also seen in this series brandishing a traditional Sikh sword (kirpan).
Originating in South Asia – primarily in India, Singh was a popular middle name or surname for lords and warriors. Meaning Lion (from the Sanskrit word Simha/Sinha), it was later adopted by the Sikh religion, and today is compulsory for all baptized Sikh males. The sense of pride connected with the history of the name Singh is evident on the faces of these men. They obviously are very proud of being Sikh and enjoy their religion outwardly.
“Many religions determine the way their followers look, but none have such a dramatic and definite ‘look’ as Sikhism. And yet, with 30 million Sikhs in the world, there are almost as many ways to wear the turban and beard as there are Sikhs…The men who feature in this project are businessmen, boxers, IT professionals, doctors, fashion stylists, temple volunteers, magicians and a host of other occupations all adapting and interpreting the Sikh traditions in their own way.” (Source)
The appeal of the beard is still proving popular – after successfully raising 10,000 pounds through Kickstarter (see video here), Amit and Naroop are hosting a free exhibition of the prints opening at The Framers Gallery in Central London from 3rd-15th November.
From far away, you might not realize what’s on these porcelain pieces by Evelyn Bracklow for LA philia. But, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that there are tiny painted ants that look like they’re travelling across plates, cups, saucers, and more. The German artist has permanently implanted this pest onto the very places that we don’t want them to be.
Despite someone’s potential aversion to the ants, these pieces are clever, unique, and beautifully crafted. The playful works are handmade in her studio, signed, numbered, and fired between 160 and 180 degrees. Glossy, gold rimmed, and vintage, the addition of these critters marrs the glossy white porcelain. But, that seems to be the point. Bracklow wants them to be unusual and catch the eyes of passer by, and she certainly does it. While some designs only feature the ants, other pieces have food on the plate and the ants hovering around it. Sounds appetizing, huh?
The pieces featuring food are part of a partnership between Bracklow, Rijks Museum in the Netherlands, and Etsy.
Set up by the BBC and the Arts Council of England, The Space is a non-profit platform to explore exciting new art and design. Through a series of regular open calls and partnerships The Space invites users from all over the world to submit projects to be funded by them.
So by now you’re thinking “hey I’m super talented and have lots of great ideas. How can I get a commission through The Space?” Well here is you’re chance.
The space is currently looking for the great digital artists of the future who are pushing boundaries and furthering our understanding of digital art. Starting now until Friday November 14th anyone in the world over the age of 18 can submit original and groundbreaking ideas that exist on the internet and can be experienced on mobile and tablet devices.
Just shoot over your idea to The Space for a chance to be one of the winners to have your project funded and published. Funding isn’t where it stops. They also will help creatives with training and mentorship to help develop their expertise.
Don’t let this incredible opportunity pass you by. Submit your project to The Space and get your innovative project funded and published today!
Join in on the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #TheSpaceOC
Ryoji Ikeda’s Test Pattern project, which was first shown in 2008, converts any data – from text to photo to sound to film – into barcode visualization and binary patterns of 0s and 1s. The visuals are set to a soundtrack, creating an overwhelmingly impactful experience with stunning black and white video. Throughout October, Ikeda’s project will be on display on five screens in Times Square from 11:57 to midnight each night until the 31st.
There have been many iterations of the Test Pattern project. This is the U.S. premier. Ikeda works primarily in Kyoto, Japan and Paris, France and is internationally renowned. His artwork is highly mathematical, and divided equally between sound and imagery. For all of the complex programming and equations that go into Ikeda’s work, the final product of Test Pattern is refreshingly simple in presentation, though monumental in scale.
In contrast to Test Pattern, Ikeda’s most recent work, Supersymmetry examines particle physics, a far loftier subject to tackle. Although it is beyond my own comprehension I’m going to have a go at it anyway. Apparently supersymmetry is an extension of The Standard Model, and helps to converge two types of elementary particle models, to explain how particles have mass. These two models have explained basic elements of our physical universe, but cannot explain everything, which is where supersymmetry helps to fill in the gaps. Ikeda’s installation is an experience that allows the viewer to witness his artistic vision of this phenomenon (I think…) (Via Papermag)
We are big fans of artist Jake Fried here at Beautiful/Decay (original post here), and yet he continues to impress us. He is a prolific drawer/painter/animator, creating epically complicated short clips that he calls “hand drawn experimental animations”. Watching these pieces is quite the experience. His style is so complex, and each frame packed with so many textures and details, you must be careful to blink at the right time, so as not to miss anything!
Even more impressively, he creates such hypnotizing animations from the simplest materials – coffee, water, ink, gouache, and white-out. With titles like Brain Lapse, Head Space, Down Into Nothing, The Deep End, Fried is inviting us into his own mind, and we soon see just how dense it is inside there. Layers of mathematical lines build into a background scene and reveal a head peering out from behind them. This then transforms into some other domestic space, or rather a non-space, where objects appear and disappear into the jungle of lines and cross hatching. Eyes, hands, heads, plants, moons, triangles, and landscapes feature heavily in Fried’s work. He says of his own work:
‘Raw Data’ took about four months from the first drawing to the final film. My work is not truly narrative – the medium is the message – but for this piece I knew I wanted to experiment with metallic-gouache, technological imagery and sustained head-on portraiture. I would say it’s generally about man vs. tech and a sense that the animation watches you as you watch it. My work is not really pre-planned; it becomes itself through the process of making. I fundamentally believe that art making should be a “discovery” process; otherwise I’d have no interest. Rather than just executing a plan, I want to learn something new or follow some unknown path. (Source)