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Studio Visit: Leon Reid IV’s Public Art

I stopped by Leon Reid IV‘s studio in Greenpoint to see what he’s been up to lately. He’s been pretty busy. Last month, he installed “100 Story House” a public art piece created in collaboration with Julia Marchesi. And he released a new sculpture series less than two weeks ago. On top of all of that, he’s in the midst of raising funds for “A Spider Lurks in Brooklyn”, his proposed project to put a giant spider between the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge during October of 2014 (you can get involved with the project here). So I was pretty psyched that he was able to make time to show me around. Leon’s been creating public art in some form or another for eighteen years now, and his studio was full of past projects and concept sketches.

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Bernharda Xilko’s Sexually Charged Stark Nightmares

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Yugoslavian Bernharda Xilko‘s illustrations are stark nightmares packed with active nudes and foreboding giants exploring unfolding landscapes and black-eyed lovers. Xilko’s sexually charged figures climb scaffolding, push open folding screens, and confront over-sized replicas in barren mountain ranges where platforms unstably rest. There always seems to be a sense of teamwork, but it is teamwork that is either ignorant of the task’s ultimate result or work that feels intentionally ominous. When clothing is adorned it often feels as if it is from the decades of black and white television which provides a conceptual link for the lack of color, and the garbs warn feel blue-collar and commonplace, making these figure’s lives and mission feel almost ant-like in its diligence and insignificance. The work shares the vibe that the Twilight Zone often evokes but in a more grotesque and explicit manner.

Bernharda is also a co-founder of NOVO DOBA, an annual Belgrade comix and underground culture festival that shares his aesthetic of dark worlds. You can also see more of his work here.

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B/D’s Best of 2010- Michael Shapcott

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Michael Shapcott is an emerging artist from Connecticut. His paintings and illustrations take traditional portraiture and add elements of folklore and dream imagery, his main source of inspiration. His work is nothing less than powerful, inspiring, and emotional.

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Dustin Yellin Densley Collaged Lifesize Figures Are Beautifully Suspended Between Layers Of Glass

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Glass boxes reveal human silhouettes made out of drawings, newspapers and discarded cutouts of images. Dustin Yellin, an artist based in New York, piles up layers of glass sheets and ripped up medias. It took up to 6 years for the artist to complete this work initially produced for New York City Ballet’s annual Art Series. He was influenced by the movement and the discipline of the dancers.

The artist’s work consists on drawing on slides of glass. He collects newspapers, magazines and cuts out heads and shapes he finds interesting to apply to the character he is working on. He only depicts humans. By stacking up the collages, drawings and the slides of glasses he creates a “window sandwich”. The 3D silhouette designed in the end is poetic, colorful and up close extremely creative. He calls the series of his 12 characters, “Psychogeographies”, or archive in the shape of humans.

His purpose is to redefine the insides of individuals. In order to bring humans together and to evolve together towards a brighter future, we need to make one.
He claims that countries, borders and religions are not relevant when it comes to human kind. Instead of being divided by external elements, Dustin Yellin believes in exchanging as much as we can before the world of differences we produce and live in collapses. (via High Fructose). 

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Ashley Eliza Williams’ Ethereal Geological Paintings Of Human Emotions

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Colorado based artist, Ashley Eliza Williams, creates paintings of geological phenomenons. At first glance, her images appear to be the findings of a microscope, or perhaps, the photographic documentation of some obscure landscape. Her paintings are vibrantly alien, yet convincingly recognizable. Through a “lifelong curiosity about the patterns and biological systems that organize the natural world” she has created a body of work that seems to exist between the realms of science fiction and genuine morphology.

Her choice of titles lift her paintings out of a solely biological and ecological fueled quandary and shift them into a metaphorical, self-reflective, meditative space. The series itself is titled Sentient, directly opening up the work to a channel of emotional conversation, each piece taking the sentiment a little further. For example; The Inner Balance of Things, which features a delicately faded pink rock floating through a soft clouded sky; The Appearance of Quiet Restraint, which focuses on a triumphant looking boulder with small, seemingly measly mountains in the background; or Maybe We Look Like This Inside, which displays a fleshy, internal-organ-esque looking rock hovering over an empty, gray landscape. These titles add a very honest, almost painfully personal aspect to the work, hinting that these pieces act as depictions of an internal space; it is as if she is allowing the viewer into her most personal contemplative thoughts. Through pairing each painting to titles such as these, Ashley Eliza Williams proves her work to be a genuine thoughtful reflection on being human. (Via Booooooom)

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Deedee Cheriel’s Alternative Reality

Los Angeles artist Deedee Cheriel explores narrative and conflict in her paintings, drawing influence from the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, east Indian cultures, temple imagery and the punk rock scene. Her works are filled with horse headed figures encountering any number of strange creatures from humans with bird heads, to mammoth sized owls, bears and magical beings. Each piece draws you farther into her unique world with everything turned inside out, but somehow making total sense.

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Charlotte Cornaton Creates Delicate And Illuminated Books Out Of Porcelain

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Born in Paris and trained in London, visual artist Charlotte Cornaton combines two unlikely platforms—the ancient craft of ceramics and the modern medium of video art—to create multi-faceted, socially-charged pieces. For Insomnio, her latest series, Cornaton focuses heavily on the ceramic side of her practice, creating 21 delicately crafted and hauntingly illuminated porcelain books.

Stunningly handmade and intrinsically dreamy, Insomnio presents and explores the paradoxal nature of clay’s transformation from a heavy, solid medium to a fragile, paper-thin representation of the contents of a book. Created during the artist’s residency in Jingdezhen, China, the pieces—comprised of porcelain and illuminated by hidden LEDS—are directly influenced by ancient techniques and rooted heavily in Chinese culture:

Insomnio is a complication of porcelain sculptural books which explain the symbolism of my nightmares using Jung dream interpretation. The oneiric world is true cerebral storm and the fear of the unconscious is here materialized through the cracks and imperfections of the porcelain . . . I used the three main ancestral Chinese techniques of incised porcelain: carving celadon, cobalt painting and cloisonné glaze. Insomnio thus uses oriental know-how to express western form of thought, incarnating the exchange and symbiosis of cultures.

Adorned with designs and inscribed with text, each book presents the artist’s acquired sense of a culture’s aesthetic and, through both a literal use of light and enlightening symbolism, results in an exhibit based prominently in illumination—literally. 

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CJ Hendry’s Incredible Drawings Of Fashion And Luxury Will Seduce You

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Australian artist CJ Hendry takes the items consumers long for: fashion accessories, high-end labels, designer purses, shoes and luxuriously-packaged perfumes, and spends days recreating them with absolute precision. Although there is precious little information to be found about the artist online (she maintains an active Instagram account, but does not seem to have a website or bio), it is quite obvious that she has an interest in seduction. By using the items which seduce consumers and inspire fashion choices, Hendry in turn makes them more seductive through her large-scale, pen and ink renderings of them, stating “It is all about the object. I am a product person and that is obvious through my obsession with the particular placement of each piece. It starts with the acquisition of the product I am intrigued by or have been obsessing over.” Hatching, shading and intricate line-work are used to entice the eye, an extension of the principles used by the fashion industry, designers, and advertisers to tempt the desires of consumer culture.

When asked to describe her detailed but simplistic rendering style in an interview with Youthedesigner, Hendry stated “There are so many ways to describe my style and I am sure people will have different things to say. I look at finished pieces and feel a strong feeling of simplicity. That might sound strange because most pieces are so detailed in their own right but the intentional use of negative space encourages an uncomplicated reaction with all focus on the object.” (via booooooom and youthedesigner)

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