It’s Tuesday which means it’s time once again for our exclusive partnership with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you the best contemporary art and design from around the world. Our friends at Made With Color help creative people from all walks of life build sleek and user friendly websites in minutes, allowing artists to use their spare time doing what’s important, making art! This week we’re excited to bring the work of London based artist and Made With Color user Anja Priska.
Since 2009 monkeys, one of the most common and ambiguously-loaded animals in the history of art, occupy an increasingly important role in the work painter and sculptor Anja Priska. Mixing elements of hard edged abstraction, pop culture, and humor, Priska creates wonderfully bizarre worlds where our DNA sharing cousins run amuck, kick back, and most of all make us humans take a closer look at ourselves.
Constantly developing the primates in her work into metaphors of the intuitive process of being, Priska gives them the suggestion of a voice on humanity’s fate as well as their own. By performing caricatured roles of humans the monkeys hold up a mirror to their audience, making us aware of how much we mimic ourselves and others in order to be.
2009 has been a challenging year for all of us at Beautiful/Decay. We’ve switched formats, weathered the global financial meltdown, and moved to a new office (we’re almost unpacked!). Even with all these changes and challenges we have a lot to be thankful for. I wanted to take a second a our loyal and dedicated readers (that’s you!) for the constant feedback, participation, and support over the last year.
We have lots of exciting projects and ideas up our sleeves for the coming years and can’t wait to share them with all of you. Have a great thanksgiving everyone!
ps. My mom cooks the meanest Tofurky ever. Thanks Mom!
Franz Thues and Dirk König AKA Anarchy Alchemy are two art directors based in Düsseldorf, Germany. They make pictures harnessing the magic of generative design. All of their illustrations are generated by programs they write for each specific illustration series, allowing them to create a potentially endless stream of pictures on the press of a button.
Detective Jason Harvey, a forensic sketch artist who has worked for the NYPD for over 10 years, draws fun and flamboyant portraits using the same techniques as he employs in his police work. His drawings might be recognizable to some New Yorkers, as it they are featured on “wanted” posters hung all around the city. However, Harvey has been given the opportunity for his work to be seen in a new light. Adam Shopkorn, owner of Fort Gansevoort Gallery, noticed Harvey’s work on the NYCAlerts Twitter and wanted to put it on display, allowing Harvey to jump from detective to artist. The NYPD wouldn’t consent to showing the actual sketches (as they are criminal evidence), so instead, Harvey has created a series he calls Fantasy Composites. Within this body of work, Harvey uses the same renderings and facial feature creation process as he would sketching up potential criminals, yet this time he is depicting imagined faces. Harvey explains the difference between this body of work compared to his detective sketches; he states, “when I’m interviewing an eyewitness and drawing from their memory, I have to strictly adhere to what they’re telling me about the person’s face.” He notes that the forensic work is “not creative at all.” Nonetheless, his imagined series is full of creativity and exuberance. Each work truly has it’s own character — there is a real sense that Harvey has seen it all. Nothing is too obscure or obscene, every portrait seems absolutely genuine, if not almost recognizable. The caricature quality adds a playful element to his work, allowing them to exist between the realms of cartoon and reality, between satire and actuality. (via booooooom)
French art duo spectaculaire Zim & Zou create dazzling paperscapes that are full of lush colors and imagination. With intricate snips and folds and other sorts of wizardry, they bring to life a series of candy-colored dreams populated with a flock of birds of a multitude of hues: sizzlingly bright red, rich bronze and gold, and aquamarine. There are no dull spots in the land of Zim & Zou: theirs is a technicolor wonderland that is fully and brightly realized.
The detail in their work is incredible, making their paper birds almost look like mechanical nightingales. Other denizens include a bright orange and navy lobster that looks like it’s been gift wrapped and a spider fully decked out in metallic splendor. It’s not just the natural world that gets an unnatural makeover: A neon machine, delightfully mysterious, stands in a spot marked by caution tape. Its bright colors pop and it promises all kinds of treats and cotton candy concoctions that are simply out of this world.
It’s amazing that Zim & Zou’s works are all entirely handmade. According to their bio,
“Their favorite material is the paper they’re cutting, folding and gluing to give rise to intricate and colorful sculptures. Paper inspires them for its versatility, infinite range of colors and unique textures. The flat sheets turned into volume are giving an installation the poetry of ephemeral material.”
Fashion photographer Diego Diaz and hat designer Federica Moretti collaborated on this project, “Sickhead,” featuring an all black collection of bold, graphic, and whimsical creations by Moretti. It’s hard to believe that these are actually supposed to be hats, and the photographs seem to suggest sculpture rather than fashion. Either way, these “looks” are exciting and dramatic.
Leslie Ann O’Dell is a self-taught photo-illustration artist from Denver who creates hauntingly surreal portraits of women. Recurring throughout her works are washed-out figures overgrown with flowers and foliage; patterns sprout and undulate in the place of eyes, and everywhere you look subtle details unravel through hair and across skin. Charged with an arcane darkness, O’Dell’s works summon the chilling, seductive beauty of vampires and forest spirits. With nature, the psyche, and the subconscious as some of the central themes, the portraits shift gracefully between reality and dreams.
O’Dell’s subjects are specters of both beauty and death: flowers bleed and adorn the women’s heads like funeral offerings, bodily contours putrefy into weeds, and sightless eyes gaze into an unseen abyss. In a figurative representation of death-becoming-life (and vice-versa), a bird stretches its wings inside an opened chest cavity (see “Hope”). Some of the images confront us with a more somber beauty — observe the ethereal and aloof figures in “Contemporary Monster” and “Sleepwalk.” Vacillating between delicacy and intense emotion, O’Dell’s works seduce and seize the imagination.