The world of Chu Teppa is magical. She recalls memories from her childhood and from those she creates mythological goddesses. Among the seven dolls forming the family, there’s Cîz, Goddess of light, predictions and hope riding her swan and leading a bottled frog; Dvü, Goddess of inspiration and fertility with her cat nose and Hyê Goddess of maternity, kindness and antics holding two pigs and wearing a pig nose herself.
Each doll is white, a color dear to Chu Teppa which, according to her, brings peace and comfort. Interested in the expression of feelings and emotions, she uses white as a mask, a layer that helps forget worries. In opposition, the touch of vivid colors symbolizes life as joy and pain. Wanting to design tender sculptures, the artist nevertheless claims that imperfection is part of being human and that it shouldn’t be forgotten. If color has a strong meaning in the art of Chu Teppa, the 3 lettered names of the goddesses are even more relevant. The number three, according to the artist, is an expression of artistic expression, vital optimism and abundance.
The artist is sensible to the duality between clarity and darkness. Two concepts that are identified by almost everyone and part of their mission “to transcend into eternal light as we evolve”. Through her fantasy universe, her goddesses and her symbols, Chu Teppa suggests an introspection of the combination of agony and its polar opposite, pleasure.
In 2002 Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada moved to Barcelona where he began his ‘Identity Series’. Gerada was drawn to the beauty of old surfaces and wanted to blend photo realistic images of anonymous locals to question the controls imposed in public space, and the use and abuse of iconic faces to sell us products and ideas. He decided to apply the same approaches used by advertising, such as strategic positioning and size, but with the intention of creating a poetic counter commentary that fades away with beauty. The Identity Series is about initiating a dialogue with a local community through art. These portraits transformed local, anonymous residents into social icons, giving relevance to an individual’s contribution to the community and touching upon the legacy that each life has to offer.
Gerada chose charcoal for its transparency and ephemeral quality. He involves the visual narrative of the textured wall instead of covering it. These time-based portraits gradually deteriorate. They become a metaphor of the fading of life, of fame and of the things we first thought were so important. The creation of the “Identity Series” is also an act that is environmentally sound and at the mercy of the natural world. The pieces fade away like the warmth after an embrace. The photo realistic drawing is only an aspect of the piece. The importance of the piece is the whole process of creation, destruction and memory. Watch a video of Gerada in action after the jump.
Sean Yoro (aka, Hula) is a globetrotting artist known for his tranquil murals that merge human figures with urban and natural environments. In a new project called A’o ‘Ana (The Warning), Hula traveled north, to an area with icebergs that had broken off a glacier nearby (for legal reasons, the exact location must remain undisclosed). There, using the icebergs as a canvas and the sea as a frame, he painted serene portraits. In the following statement, Hula describes his experience:
“In the short time I was there, I witnessed the extreme melting rate first hand as the sound of ice cracking was a constant background noise while painting. Within a few weeks these murals will be forever gone.” (Source)
Hula’s project is one of ephemerality, both beautiful and disturbing; the paintings, much like the state of the “frozen” north, will one day vanish into the rising sea. As he describes in a statement to The Creators Project, he doesn’t simply wish to forewarn of impending disaster, but rather shed light and urgency on the fact that people are already being affected by climate change (Source).
Polish photographer Pawel Fabjanski serves up a nice blend of commercial/fashion aesthetics and personal input within his work. He brings a mysterious, postmodern edge to everything he does, whether it be a portrait of a girl with red pyramids attached to her face, or a troop of nondescript people in weird, pink lab attire (above). Touching on themes of alienation and “man’s response to the environment”, each photo gives you just the right amount of chills. Fabjanski also spends time teaching at the National Film School in Lodz.
For American Asylum, photographer Jeremy Harris captures the abandoned interiors of American mental institutions that operated during the 19th century. With the increased presence of psychiatric hospitals, the mid-1800s were characterized in part by a growing fear of the mentally ill. State-funded hospitals were often overcrowded, and there existed a widespread panic that sane people were being wrongfully institutionalized. Nearly two centuries later, Harris hauntingly presents these hospitals, these strange sites of psychological trauma, in decay.
Harris’s soft natural lighting is startling reminiscent of Francisco de Goya’s early 19th century painting The Madhouse. Emptied of its residents, the space seems darkly oppressive, colored in sickly greens and putrid browns. Shot with a profound depth of field, endless hallways house tiny rooms like some perverse dollhouse. The curved ceilings, now in ruin, frame the photographs in currents of claustrophobia.
Even in the shots in which we are offered some escape—the relief of an open door or wide-set window—viewers are compelled to stay within the confining space. Amidst chipped paint and rotting walls are signifiers of some ancient humanity, long forgotten by time: a rusted organ, a tilted chair, a message on the wall. The traces of life and bodies persist in old sinks and forgotten parcels. Somehow, these haunted spaces are beautiful, bathed in light. The people who lived here, once removed from and silenced by society, speak out in the ruins of the building that once contained them, as if to say, “This happened. We were here.” (via Lost at E Minor)
John Miller’s representations of urban planning and architecture reminds me of childhood games with mud and found objects belonging to my parentals. And though children no more…we’re all still unable to let go of decadence and blissful ignorance…
Light painting is a photographic technique created by moving a hand-held light source, or the camera, to create images via a long exposure. Artists experimented with the technique beginning in the early 20th century. One artist who uses light in performance is San Francisco artist Eric Staller. He creates and captures vibrant images. Michael Bosanko is another artist who uses light to create art. Using colored torches the way one might use a paintbrush, he captures the images using a long exposure.
Taking the idea to a new level, contemporary graffiti artists are also experimenting with light technology. Lichtfaktor is a collective of light painting artists, performers, photographers and media artists who are constantly pioneering into new territories of expression. Lichtfaktor artists use light, painting photography, media art installations and interactive media performances that blend into an exciting experience. Daniel Lisson, for example, is a designer, illustrator and artist from Cologne, Germany. His Monster Show consisted of a selection of light paintings done at a factory in Cologne. Also in Germany, Graffiti Research Lab is another collective that uses technology to create street art. Using objects like “LED throwies,” these artists engage new media for urban communication.