Jay Briggs is a London-based designer who uses unconventional materials and dark, empowering themes in the creation of alternative women’s fashion. The two lookbooks featured here, entitled Malleus Maleficurum and Melusina, draw on witchcraft and folklore as their inspiring influences, the former referring to the book written by inquisitor Heinrich Kramer in 1486, the latter referencing a European myth about a water nymph, which Briggs has given his own dark twist (you can read more about that here). Among his gothic designs are elaborate headpieces and couture that transform his models into dark specters and serpentine creatures, as beautiful as they are fierce. Incorporated into some of the pieces are taxidermied objects — from feathers, to entire wings, to hundreds of iridescent beetle shells — fused so seamlessly with the looks that we perceive the beauty of the designs before the grimness of their reality.
Briggs’ work is a product of extreme dedication and attention to detail. As he explains in an interview with Portis Wasp, the collection Malleus Maleficurum took 5 months of constant work to create, and all the intricate pieces were painstakingly embellished by hand. Beyond the dark details, what makes these two lookbooks so notable is the origin and depth of their influences — the history and the folklore — and how Briggs has reinterpreted them through contemporary, avant-garde fashion, enmeshing everything into a complete and original narrative. His style is consistently stunning, bringing an expressive and often macabre edge into the world of fashion. Visit Briggs’ website, Facebook page, and Instagram and follow him as he creates his upcoming designs.
The photographer for both these series is Fabio Esposito, whose incredible fashion and beauty photography can be found on his website, Twitter, and Facebook page.
Although Anja Rubin’s work is informed by current sociopolitical issues and technology, the process of her painting refers back to older traditions. In a series of pictures done in acrylic and perm enamel she references techniques found in pointillism and expressionism with a twist. The idiosyncrasy at hand hints at graffiti and muraling. These wonderful pictures provoke mind expanding color as Rubin’s palette swirls through the canvas like a million and one white noise dots from an analog tv. Camouflaged within the loosely formed shapes are socio-political figures and symbols which make them relevant and engaging.
In a series called “Digital” Rubin moves with the times and partakes in computer rendering. Using photoshop, she takes a literal look inside a circuit board and uses its structure as background to study man’s relationship to technology in a metaphorical and societal sense. Her palette remains luminous and proves that a painter can be productive with technological advances. The pictures consist of every day scenes to cerebral symbolism which is cleverly enhanced atop a light box.
Her most recent body of work examines the current state of social media through “selfie” portraits. These large paintings consisting of oversized pixellated dots emphasize both the self-deprecating nature and our obsession with being seen. They reference both Alex Katz and Chuck Close proving Rubin’s versatility as an artist who likes to engage with different processes to achieve her overall goal of keeping record of technology’s influence on society.
Photographer Jean Francois Lepage has been recycling. Lepage is a well known fashion photographer who in recent years has been concentrating on fine art projects. One called “Recycle” uses his fashion photography as background to his painting, drawing and cutting. This presents a kind of superimposed painting onto a photograph which has both modernist and classical references. The works hint at Picasso, Calder and Klee, but also finds new ground in the photo image combined with other mediums. Whereas fashion photography mostly projects a self-absorbed glance, Lepage reinvents these same photographs to look within its subject instead of just on the surface.
In some of the pictures, he draws over the faces to hide the features. This turns the picture into a more abstract form and allows the shapes of his subjects to be seen as free flowing objects instead of just perfect physical specimens selling a product. In others, Lepage renders marks which could be interpreted as word bubbles or strange appendages, sometimes outlining and extending beyond the figure. The colors are bold and primary in some while in others he opts to color over in softer pastel shades. The more intriguing works are those with less coloring and just black outlining which lend a sculptural element.
Lepage finds an agreeable shortcut to the painted image. He finds inspiration in the balance of what is real and imagined.
A London Royal College Of Art student named Simin Qiu has designed a water faucet that will dazzle you in more ways than one. By placing specific grooves inside a faucet’s pipe he not only conserves one of the world’s most precious commodities but also manipulates it to pour out in beautiful lattice-like patterns. The project was conceived by Qiu in an attempt to make water use in the home not only more aesthetically enjoyable but also user and conservatively sound as well. The end result not only makes the water look more interesting but it also comes out in a gentler, fresher way from the pipe.
For his efforts, Qiu won the 2014 IF Student award. The prize is awarded annually to students or recent University graduates in 7 design categories including product, packaging, photography and fashion to name a few. It holds not only prestige but awards the winner a generous 30,000 euros in prize money.
The official name of Qiu’s product is “The Swirl Faucet” and in the last week or so word of it has gone viral on several prominent design blogs. (via boredpanda)
Artist Ryan Salge’s monochromatic drawings are of surreal scenes that feel like dreamscapes. The tightly-rendered compositions feature expansive outdoor worlds and figures that traverse through them. Often times, the men and women in them are as curious as we are. Their backs are turned towards us, and it’s as if we’re on the journey right along with them.
There’s always something a little strange or alluring in each of Salge’s drawings. A woman looks up to dark, swirling sky as a small patch of light shines through. Another work features bodies rising upwards into the atmosphere. And, in an especially eerie piece, a barefooted man peers down as a spotlight shines onto a desolate field. (Via Lustik)
Erik Jones paints a blend of vibrant, colorful, graphic-orientated paintings with hyper realistic, disconnected parts of women’s bodies. Originally from St Petersburg, Florida he moved to New York with $81 and took different jobs in the comic industry – an influence to which he owes his distinct graphic style. They are a original mix of pop styling with hard lines and distinct patterns, sporadic mark making and illustrative details of the female form. High fashion magazine-style renderings of faces, breasts and limbs are broken up and disjointed by digital-like patterns.
Realizing his passion for illustration and figure rendering, Jones initially was drawn to animation and creating stimulating visuals. Not completely satisfied by just animating, he applied the techniques he learnt to painting. He starts his creative process with a photoshoot, or various inspirational photos, then adds the figure reference and refines it digitally. He explains more:
I build on top of the figure as if they were wearing these shapes. I’ll also create patters with the shapes to move your eye around in a structured way. Despite all the clutter and chaos in these newer works, there is something soothing and comfortable in each piece, at least I feel there is. I believe it’s the patterns that you’re subconsciously finding that keep it from being completely chaotic and overwhelming to look at. (Source)
Jones uses several different types of media to build up a textured, layered, collage look. Even though his work is a blend of so many different elements, he tries to give equal weighting to each of them. He says most importantly for him is to keep a harmonious balance, and not to glorify the figure.
“Deep Water” (2006). Acrylic on canvas, 56” x 50”.
“Dare Devil” (2004). Acrylic on canvas, 29” x 42”.
“Brother’s Keeper” (2012). Acrylic on canvas, 60” x 60”.
“Incredule (redux)” (2010). Watercolour on paper, 26” x 36”.
Daniel Barkley is a Canadian artist who explores the physicality of the human figure and its relationship to mythology and the history of art. Recurring among his paintings are nude, predominately male bodies depicted in scenes of both visceral power and stunning vulnerability. Whether drawing in the dirt, lying prone on the ice, or anointing themselves with mud or paint, the characters appear to be engaged in profound rituals of unknown meaning. Barkley’s work captures the emotion of the event, as well as the role of flesh and muscle in the enactment of human spirituality.
By presenting his characters nude, Barkley explores narratives that are powerful and mythological in their appearance, but open to analysis and extrapolation. “Clothes denote social class, profession, period, gender, age, etc.,” Barkley states in his website’s Artist’s Statement. “By eliminating them, paring down the mise-en-scene, the interpretation of the narrative is broadened to hopefully include the viewer’s own speculations.” Caught between states of intimacy and theatricality, Barkley’s nude figures operate as metaphorical expressions of the pain and passion that has shaped Western mythology.
More of Barkley’s incredible work — spanning over a decade — can be found here. (Via Juxtapoz)
Pop Round Vessel Sink, Randall Vessel Faucet, Transitional Floor Mount Bathtub Faucet, St. George Freestanding Soaking Tub
John Currin, Thanksgiving 2003
Pop Round Vessel Sink, Randall Vessel Faucet
St. George Pedestal Bathroom Sinks, Landfair Widespread Bathroom Faucets, Fitzgerald Two-Piece Elongated Toilet
DXV by American Standard is a landmark product line that represents the company’s storied history spanning 150 years. The collection spans four broad movements: Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today). Each piece in the carefully curated collection harkens back to the era it was inspired by and combines it with modern sensibilities, technology and performance. Although each fixture is inspired by a distinct era, the entire collection has a dialogue and the ability to cross over and create a remix of eras in one space. The pieces in the Classic Movement by DXV echo the curves, details and flair of times passed while integrating the technology of the present. Whether you’re a restoration buff who wants true-to-period pieces or someone who loves modern finishes with a nod to the past, the Classic Collection has something to round off any design. The designers working with DXV created timeless spaces with a nostalgic flair that feel both traditional and contemporary. Artists like John Currin, John McAllister and Cecily Brown all take cues from classical periods in art history, while recontextualizing them into modern color schemes, subject matter and treatments.