Fellow Angelino and UCLA Alumn, Liz Craft, really encapsulates what I believe to be the spirit of Los Angeles. Motorcycles, Middle Fingers, Cacti growing amongst discarded tires, and let’s not also forget about those swanky rollerskaters over on Venice boardwalk–all very LA. Her work has multiple reads that oscillate between serious and humor. Liz Craft also happens to be featured in our latest release, Beautiful/Decay Book:5 “Psychonauts”. And like finding parking in LA, Book: 5 is scarce (Less than 200 copies left). Be sure to pick up your copy today and discover 20 full color pages of Liz Craft plus other amazing Psychonauts.
These amazing sculptures of swallows are the work of artist Jeremy Mayer. Like his other sculptures, the swallows are entirely composed of parts taken out of typewriters. Mayer doesn’t even use glue or soldering to keep his swallows together. He says of his art and process:
“I’m very interested in assembly, particularly in nature. I pay very close attention to the strong current in science and technology flowing inexorably toward an emulation of natural systems.” [via]
Text phrases, words and letters abound in contemporary art, ranging widely from direct witty phrases to text that has become illegible in its adaptation. With increased crossover between different fields of art, the craft of editing text in literary arts is a skill and practice that has been incorporated into the visual arts more frequently. Jenny Holzer is an artist who comes to mind in this regard.
However, in this article I am examining the other polarity of text in art. As an artist who regularly uses text in my own art work, I am always interested in discovering the ways in which other artists step beyond the all too prevalent witty-one-liner on the wall into an artistic language that is far more expansive and uniquely cultivated. The artists included here demonstrate the beautiful grey area that emerges between abstract painting, graffiti, constructivist painting and the written word, to name a few. Here text becomes a vehicle for additional forms of communication, used as a foundation to expand upon with the artist’s particular vision or agenda.
Wendy White, Feodor Voronov, Glenn Ligon, Annie Vought, Jose Parla and Jel Martinez are all artists whose work takes text and language and pushes way outside the box. Wendy White’s use of the lines and structure of letters themselves is deconstructed and echoed in lines that emerge within her abstracted and color washed work. In the images of her work shared here, I particularly love the way in which she goes beyond the canvas in architecturally reconstructing the text-like elements along the border.
KHUAN+KTRON is a three person design studio based in Belgium, though its members come from all over – Japan, Russia, and, uh, Belgium. Their varying backgrounds is clearly a boon to their work, which shows a lot of influences. Actually, KHUAN+KTRON have helpfully listed some of these influences on their site, so we don’t have to guess at what they are – medieval torture techniques, people with monstrous sideburns (not counting women), and free jazz are just a few. Check out the full list on their site!
Fantastic work by English illustrator Adrian Dutt. They feature exceptionally beautiful, detailed line work and a wonderful (slightly twisted) sense of humor.
Sarah Small’s The Delirium Constructions series is an ongoing body of work exploring disassociated themes and characters brought together into the same space. Small brings models into improbable, close interactions to examine the social and graphic contrasts of youth and experience, hysteria and discipline, tragedy and hilarity, and sexuality and desexualization.
Cari Vander Yacht animates old photographs she found in thrift stores located near her hometown in Portland, Oregon. For the Amsterdam-based art director’s side project, TGIMGIF (Thank God It’s Monday Graphic Interchange Format), she breathes humor and new life into photographs that have been abandoned. Vander Yacht says she stares at the photos until she finds herself giggling over her animation ideas; she then scans and digitally manipulates the images until they become the animation she envisions. Her only rule is that she has to use the elements already in the photograph. Of her acquisition of these old photos, Vander Yacht tells Fast Company, “At a certain point, one must justify their creepy acquisition of other people’s pasts. Either you make up stories about how you’re related to the people in the pictures or you animate them.” Vander Yacht’s website is currently down for maintenance, but you can view more of her work on Tumblr. (via fast company)
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