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Danny Ghitis Delves Deep Into The BDSM World With His Camera

Danny Ghitis - photograph Danny Ghitis - photograph Danny Ghitis - photograph Danny Ghitis - photograph

Photographer Danny Ghitis started to take these photos of the BDSM and fetish subculture in New York City with a particular goal in mind. He wanted to know more about his own sexual identity, preferences, gender, and social norms by contrasting them with those of his subjects. He decided to seek out and connect with people on a social network called Fetlife. Described as being “similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me”, Ghitis found himself meeting people through this site he normally wouldn’t get the chance to encounter.

He became familiar with the world of transgenders, dominatrixes, submissives, and kinksters, and proceeded not to exoticize or eroticize them, but rather to familiarize his viewers with them. Ghitis says:

“Something I accomplished through meeting these people and getting invited to their homes was seeing them as real people living in New York and not as stereotyped 2-D caricatures that I think are often portrayed. I wanted to contribute to a positive dialogue about the complexities of sexual and gender identity. I felt somewhat a sense of a responsibility as a journalist to do that, though it was sort of secondary to the primary goal of wanting to learn about this for myself.”

He wanted to accurately document the sexual preferences of these usually very alienated people and to normalize them. He was very inspired by these everyday people accepting themselves fully and truly for who they are and what they want, and aims to live his own life in a similiar, honest and unhindered way. Ghitis tends to hunt out individuals with complex and fascinating histories and documents them for the benefit of us all. “He believes that challenging social norms with self-aware imagery can spark the curiosity needed for open dialogue in the average person.”

(Via Slate)

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The Clayton Brothers Visit The Same Thrift Shop For Four Years For Their Latest Exhibit

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Artist duo Christian and Rob Clayton, who exhibit as The Clayton Brothers, found their muse at Sun Thrift, inspiring their latest show “Open to the Public.” Three to four years in the making, the artists visited the shop almost every other day to browse and people watch. Rob Clayton says:

“There are two aspects to this show: one side of it is the store itself and the employees that run it, and more importantly, the other side is the people that go there to get things they need.” (Source)

A third aspect could be said to be the pieces that the brothers purchased and brought into their studio, and sometimes into their finished works. Drawn to the handmade and personal the artists speculate on the embedded stories the objects can’t tell. They see the store itself as a curated collection of sorts, where the employees determine the exhibition by making connections and creating categories. Christian and Rob, inspired by this method of organization, say it inspired the way they worked for this show.

When creating, the brothers have an interesting method of collaboration. They work simultaneously in the same studio, leaving unfinished pieces out for the other to be inspired by and often to add to.

Rob elaborates, “At the studio we don’t say, ‘This is mine, that’s yours.’ We refer to the drawings that haven’t made it into the process yet as carcasses. If a painting sits around for a while, one of us will usually grab it all of a sudden and change it in some way. It’s a constant give and take.” Christian adds, “When do get into a heated spot with a piece, we know each other well enough to let things stew.” (Source)

Their different approaches and techniques are evident in this collection, and it is particularly apt. The varied stylistic choices — assemblage, drawing, collage—speak to the patchwork merchandise in the store as well as to the diverse shoppers.

“The characters that inhabit Open to the Public are overall a sweet bunch. They might look disjointed and fractured, or some might say disturbing, but our overall intent with these drawings was to gain an honest understanding of ourselves as humans. The objects that are discarded or donated to the thrift store become a direct reflection on us as people. We look at the objects like archaeologists, and there is narration attached to all of it. The stories of peoples lives, creative heartfelt moments, messages left for loved ones, forgotten memories… this is what has been driving our characters.” (Source)

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Asia Kepka Tells A Beautiful Animal Love Story Through Photographs

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Boston-based photographer Asia Kepka did not have a master vision for where her horse and squirrel photos would go, but she didn’t need one: once she began shooting, they quickly took on a life of their own. This project, now titled “Horace and Agnes: A Love Story by Asia Kepka,” has become a beautiful collaborative project between Kepka and writer Lynn Dowling, both of which play the characters. Since the projects inception the cast has grown as they have added friends and other characters into their story.

“Once we gave them identity, their story began to unfold. They met through random circumstance and their love for each other is literally blind. They exemplify a fairy tale of what would be like to fall in love with the right person…just because.

Horace and Agnes, along with their friends, are inspired by people and stories from our past and present. Sometimes by family members and sometimes by strangers we have encountered. The photographs are memories brought to life once again- recreated with as much detail possible to make the viewer become immersed in this magical and unique world.”

Opening on September 25th, this photo series will be on view at the Griffin Museum at SoWa in Boston.

(Excerpt from Source)

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“Exquisite Corpse” Exhibition Explores What It Means To Be Human In the 21 Century

Alfred Steiner

Alfred Steiner

Michael Shaw, Dan Attoe, Austin Eddie

Michael Shaw, Dan Attoe, Austin Eddie

Exquisite Corpse Book

Tom Sanford

Tom Sanford

MASS Gallery in Austin, Texas recently opened its newest exhibition, Exquisite Corpse. The group curated by Beautiful/Deay’s founder Amir H. Fallah features a myriad of artists, with many that we’ve featured in Beautiful/Decay publications and on our site: Dan Attoe, Jay Davis, Bill Donovan, Austin Eddy, Amir H. Fallah, Chie Fueki, Joshua Hagler, Adam D. Miller, Kymia Nawabi, Christopher Pate, Max Presniell, Colette Robbins, Maja Ruznic, Tom Sanford, Alfred Steiner, Michael Shaw, and Dani Tull. In their own way, each artist explores the body and what it means to be human in the modern world.

Exquisite Corpse refers to the collaborative game whose origins are rooted among the Dadist writers as a poetic exercise and the Surrealist later turned into a drawing game. You might’ve played it before; when each person does their part well, it creates an alluring, sometimes grotesque body that was completely unexpected.

This exhibition brings together artists working in both Los Angeles and NYC. As MASS Gallery poetically describes:

A central problem of 21st century life is that the old, psychologically fortifying myths are fading.  Philosophers and scientists have described us as wet robots and biological algorithms, which is perhaps an intentionally shocking way to describe humanity, but these descriptions also seems to get close to a dangerous truth that contains a kernel of abject horror.  It is the artist’s job to create psychologically coherent images which look forward.  It is now a matter of viewpoint whether, when it is all said and done, you are a dead body or an Exquisite Corpse.

In addition to the show, the gallery also produced a full-color catalog that showcases all of the work and an essay by Bill Donovan. The limited-edition, 102 page publication features a beautiful spot UV with fluorescent cover. If you can’t make it to Austin for the show (it’s up until October 25), then the inexpensive-yet-high-quality catalog is totally worth it.

More work by the featured artists as well as sample spreads from the publication after the jump.

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The Surreal Landscapes and Labyrinths of Rafaello Ossola

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Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola vibrant dramatism and invented landscapes create an exciting space for the viewer to explore and ponder. Each one offers an opportunity to imagine yourself in his universe, wandering through mazes or floating around trees. Although Ossola takes liberties with his compositions, ultimately they retain the verticality/gravity that we are familiar with. Where he leaves the laws of our world more readily are in his pools. They seem to be reflecting a cloud, moon, or other objects in the sky, but the eye reads it more as if the elements mentioned are situated in an environment within the water. The surface of the water appears more like a penetrable glass casing than a body unto itself. It’s mesmerizing to see.

Though most of his paintings don’t contain living creatures, occasionally Ossola will include a part of or even a whole figure, bug, or animal. His ability to render invented landscapes is more convincing than these living subjects, but it’s an interesting attempt. Sometimes the living creatures break the illusion of the scene, and they tend not to engage with the environment in a very natural way. On the other hand, these environments are very barren to begin with, and it may be for this reason that living creatures appear foreign or perturbing in some way. I enjoy the idea of seeing a person trying to scramble up the side of a tilting pool or interacting with the glassy water. I know also, though, that it might set stricter boundaries for my own imagination and experience of the paintings.

Visit his website to see his more recent maze paintings. (Via Melt)

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Julieanne Kost’s Hyper Color Aerial Photography Of Salt Lakes Looks Unreal

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Photographer Julieanne Kost‘s latest project takes a look at the Salt Lakes south of San Fransisco. Treating her photographs as abstract paintings, she chooses a very specific angle of the landscape to focus on. With the emphasis on the graphic nature of the lakes, they become something entirely otherworldly. Sky becomes water, the horizon is in the wrong place, power lines seem to float in mid air, clouds appear unexpectedly, and the colors are all wrong. That being said, these images are the result of something even more surprising – the intense shades are all a part of the salt evaporation process. The ponds can range in color from a rich navy blue to a luscious magenta, and are due to the salinity levels of the water and the micro organisms that live in each pond.

Kost is heavily involved in Photoshop and other Adode photo enhancing programs (and is also the publisher of the Daily Photoshop and Lightroom Tip), but has for a long time had an eye for interesting landscapes and their natural patterns.

In her work, Julieanne combines a passion for photography, a mastery of digital imaging techniques and knowledge gained from a degree in psychology, in order to construct a world similar enough to appear familiar, yet obviously an interpretation of the physical reality that surrounds us.

She wants her images to be abstract enough to allow viewers room for their own interpretation – to inject images from their own dreams into her snapshots. And she is able to do just that – turning a familiar type of landscape (albeit a very interesting process that is happening there) into something that looks like it is an image sent back to Earth from Rover exploring the surface of Mars.

(Via This Is Colossal)

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Whimsical Animals Sculpted From Dreams By Wang Ruilin Carry The World On Their Back

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Beijing artist Wang Ruilin dreams of animal/nature hybrids, surreal and beautiful, influenced by fine art techniques and aesthetics. In his ongoing series, “Pursuit of Dreams,” these unreal images come to life as large copper sculptures.

Some of the animals carry landscapes: cloud lined mountains rest on deer-like antlers; a relief map spreads across the back of a yak; the backs of a crocodile and a whale hold mountain ranges. In Ark, another whale serves as vessel, holding an ocean and icebergs on its back. The play of scale in familiar forms makes these sculptures somewhat whimsical, despite their literal interpretation. The integration of living creature with land mass and body of water lends an added dimension to the idea of “nature.”

“The Ark series is the result of my most recent efforts. Infused with my true feelings and emotions, they send the message that life sustains nature. As I grew older with more life experience, I started to doubt what I used to learn. These works are the denial of our current world and a depiction of an ideal one. I oppose the self-centeredness of human beings and the ruthless exploitation of other species and natural resources. I seek harmony with the nature. Nature’s greatness lies in her inclusion of everything on earth, while man’s greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”

Some of the “Pursuit of Dreams” sculptures are more streamlined versions of actual animals. With their smooth surfaces and self-contained air, the Horse, Rhino and Bird sculptures reveal Ruilin’s life-long interest in animals. His art influences are also long-standing:

“Eastern classical art also gives me inspiration. I like deep and pure Chinese flowers and bright and cool verdigris with rich colors and full of profoundness and uniqueness.”

(via This is Colossal)

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Design Team Creating Portable Floating Sauna For Lake Goers

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Seattle’s goCstudio design team has cooked up a dreamy creation that is perfect for the moody weather in the Pacific Northwest. This piece, the “Floating Sauna,” offers a portable, wood-fueled sauna that can be taken and put onto a body of water. This project is nearing fruition as the team is in their final stages of fundraising and will soon begin construction. They have reached out into the community for support and have received an overall enthusiastic response.

GoCstudio was founded in 2012 by architects Jon Gentry and Aimee O’Carroll, who met while they both worked for Olson Kundig Architects.

This team, which has already produced some amazing projects, is moving to embrace a more unique and innovative path. Not only is the technical concept behind the sauna pretty astounding, but the aesthetic presence of it is simple yet elegant. It will add beauty to any horizon it sits on.

As for the logistics of the sauna, they sound pretty spectacular: ” The earliest concepts for the sauna were always focused on the journey to discover this place; creating a unique experience and refuge in the water that would offer a new perspective on the landscape. We imagine people kayaking out to the structure and tying off. The design has a deck, a wood-fired sauna, and a roof platform for canon balls. The rear ladder connects the water, dock, and roof platform. The ‘cool down hatch’ allows hot and sweaty visitors a chance to open the back door and cold plunge directly into the water.

The sauna is designed to fit on a standard size trailer. It can be transported and launched into any accessible still body of water, and when not in use, parked and stored on land.”

As they say on their Kickstarter page, “The sauna is an apotheosis of all experience: Purgatory and paradise; earth and fire; fire and water; sin and forgiveness. It is eternal new birth. You are healed, you are made new.” -Constance Malleson 1936

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