Ikeda Manabu creates visual labyrinths with only pen and ink. His illustrations are so elaborate that they can take up to three years to craft. Not only are they incredibly detailed, but they’re enormous as well: His latest project, which he began in 2013, will be 10 x 13 feet.
This size of Manabu’s work is necessary to capture the scope of what he depicts. His work is often kinetic, with waves crashing and giant spires of land rising up like towers from the abyss. He often explores the tension between nature and technology, and the result contains immense power and a sense of raw inevitability.
In an interview with Hi-Fructose, Manabu addresses one of his artworks in particular: an incredible roiling picture of a tsunami called “Foretoken.” After recent natural disasters in Japan, “Foretoken” has been called “prophetic.” Manabu tells Hi-Fructose: “The correlation with the tsunami was surely just a coincidence, but I feel prophetic as one aspect of this work is a warning that civilization is about to be swallowed by the vast power of nature.” (via Hi-Fructose)
French artist Celine Artigau is never really alone. In her series of manipulated photographs, “Goodbye Childhood”, she inserts spectral neon figures into photos of places with personal resonance. She says:
“These luminous characters are the souls of these places and ghosts of my childhood. They are like some lonely and abandoned imaginary friends that still follow me and haunt my life.”
Sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, the figures are simple outlines rendered with a neon glow. Their simplicity is what makes them work. Photoshopping “ghosts” into images—copying and pasting figures from one photo to another and lowering the opacity—has been done and done. With Artigau’s lost souls, the artifice is intentional; these wandering ghosts are meant to look illustrative and not realistic.
“Concerning the process, I use Illustrator to create my character and then Photoshop to integrate it into my picture. For my light effects, I use a mixture of layers and blur effects but the precise process is always different from one project to the next.” (Source)
In this series, Artigau has resurrected her childhood imaginary friends, allowing them to live in the in-between places and shine their light.
You may have seen Alex Seton‘s previous work: lightweight pieces of clothing, heaped casually in a corner, draped on a pair of hangers — and carved from marble. Seton’s sculptures are incredibly hyper-realistic, creating an illusion of malleability and texture that insists on a closer look. In his latest exhibit, “Someone Died Trying to Have a Life Like Mine,” Seton again uses cold, hard marble to replicate objects that would float rather than sink: inflatable rafts, palm trees, and life jackets.
This contrast is part of what Seton is exploring with his art; the depth and contradiction of the objects he portrays and their actual substance. In an interview with the gallery Sullivan+Strumpf, Seton says, “There’s no easy read on these objects. They are both an optimistic and shining series of objects, but they’re also sardonic, they also have a darker side.” The installation addresses the complex topic of those who seek asylum, largely by risking death by sea or other means, only to be turned away.
“Each of these is both inflated and deflated; each of these is welcoming and unwelcoming. How do you justify shattering a life?” Seton asks. “Or a desire or a dream? How do you do that? And what are the long-term impacts of that?”
The objects around him, which appear in a kind of memorialized limbo, have no answer for him. They are frozen by stone and time.
“Someone Died Trying to Have a Life Like Mine” can be seen September 16th to October 11th, 2014 at Sullivan+Strumpf in Sydney, Australia. (via Design Boom)
Jim Darling’s paintings use tromp-l’oeil airplane windows to frame picturesque though abstracted landscapes. The windows create a consistent context for the imagery, which otherwise might not be as recognizable. I’d hazard to say many of the people reading this article have had the compulsion when on a plane to take a photo of the view below, but rarely if ever does it turn out as what you see. Darling’s paintings manage to maintain the feeling of what you’re seeing out your window. They are abstracted views of farmland divided into squares and circles by roads, or blocks of suburban houses with pools and green yards of grass.
It’s especially interesting to see the very realistic rendering of the window beside the loose and impressionistic landscapes. Each window responds to the painting within it. The windown accompanying the New York skyline, depicted in sandier colours, maintains the same colour themes and scratchy technique, but still appears much more meticulously realistic than the loose style the city is painted in.
These paintings are rather subdued in contrast to some of Jim Darling’s other works. Recently he’s been creating large-scale installations and even what you could call sculpted paintings. His installations are made of discarded items and junk to create a giant yellow robot, or a curved X in the middle of a church in Detroit. For his painted sculpture he made a head puking water with a motorboat riding through it, all out of wood and painted in simple colours. Check it out on his website. (Via I Need A Guide)
Photographer David Waldorf seeks to capture the truth in people’s eyes, and his series Trailer Park documents the people that live in these types of places. The slice-of-life images are in Sonoma, California and are partially what you’d expect from a place like this: double-wide trailers, faux wood panelling, and fake astroturf are visible. There are some peculiar elements to them as well. We see a picture of a woman in a wedding dress with a fire blazing in the foreground. She’s holding a shirtless man’s hand, and the scene is bizarrely reminiscent of the iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.
If you aren’t familiar with a trailer park or have never been to one, Waldorf’s series offers a fascinating look into the goings-on. The plots where people live are technically mobile, but are decorated with performance. Some of the images detail the struggle of the working class – like the family of four that lives in these small spaces – while other photos are just plain odd, and seem like a throwback to the 1980’s except in present day. Time moves slower there. (Via Boingboing)
Mr. Bean as Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Mr. Bean as Vanity by Frank Cadogan Cowper.
If you are a fan of Mr Bean, beautiful paintings, internet memes, stupid expressions, or laughing out loud, you will love what caricature artist Rodney Pike has been up to lately. Basing this series on the skit from the TV show when Mr Bean sneezes on a painting (Whistler’s Mother), and ends up replacing her face with a cartoon one, Pike decided to take the joke one step further.
Who knew that Mr Bean’s dark eyebrows, large eyes, swollen nostrils and chin full of stubble would fit so well under a fair maiden’s headscarf? Or that he could so effortlessly turn Mona Lisa into a nosy neighbor peering over the fence, or into someone who is so smug with themselves it is repugnant? Not only are these Photoshopped images a display of Rowan Atkinson’s theatrical talent, but also of Pike’s vision to imagine what would fit together. Combining two very different styles and eras, Pike is able to re contextualize many historical paintings that no longer have relevance to our contemporary lives.
Adding Mr Bean’s face into these Renaissance and Medieval paintings, Pike has re awakened the art lover in all of us cultural-meme-obsessed fans. He tells the Daily Mail
“I think it just adds to the absurdity when working with such serious source material and Rowan Atkinson can make any situation funny no matter how absurd. He’s always lots of fun and it is good therapy and a welcome break to the stresses of work sometime.”
You can see more of his hilarious faces on his website here.
New York based fashion photographer Shae DeTar has made a dazzling collection of work by hand painting printed photographs. Her style of painting is colorful and playful, adding a touch of eccentricity reminiscent of the 1960s. A few of the photographs feel like work inspired by Salvador Dalí, and one or two look very reminiscent of paintings by Henry Darger.
Starting out as a model, DeTar would do experimental visual work on the side. Eventually, praise for her early collage work led her further in the experimentation of painting photographs.
Hand-painting was popular prior to the release of color film, which did not happen until the mid-20th century with Kodak’s release of Kodachrome. Until that point, photo retouchers used dyes, oil, crayon, and/or watercolor paints to add life to black and white negatives, and later on moved on to paint the actual photographs as well. This process originally served an important purpose: to heighten the realism of the photograph and/or to illuminate an artistic aspect. In this case she fulfills both, by creating a warmth within the composition that seems to radiate. DeTar makes you feel like you could almost touch the image, while complementing and enhancing the shot. Her work draws the viewer into the foreground of the picture. Her use of off-coloring; pink skies, rainbow rocks, psychedelic mountains, make the images spark and pop, grabbing the viewers eye.
The marriage of old and new technology creates the illusion of an eternal epoch. A time that is not now and not then, and has an ethereal presence.
Qwill, 20, Northfield, MN, I feel like my gender is kind of a pendulum. Sometimes I feel more feminine, sometimes I feel more masculine, but I definitely swing somewhere between the genders. I don’t really have a pronoun that I prefer, so people just always use female pronouns. It’s kind of complicated if I say I want people to use all the pronouns.
Patrick, 18, My father and I had one talk about me being gay, when I was bringing the trash to a recycling place. He told me, “I used to think that way when I was your age until I met the right woman, and then I never looked back.” He thought he was gay and then one girl asked him out. He never had a boyfriend.
Maya, 18, New York, NY, I was just elected student council president. My platform is that the school is not as perfect as we think. Some people are racist. Some people are like, “She’s black and a lesbian and she’s our president.” Some people are really up in arms. There are a lot of people who have been against it. The kids who don’t really like me wrote “secession” on their Facebook status. If prep schools are like the houses in Harry Potter, I’m friends with Gryffindor and those kids are Slytherin.
We Are The Youth is a photo-documentary and essay project that compiles the stories of LGBTQ youth from around North America. It’s a simple project that packs an honest punch. Each story is personal and demonstrates the completely different experiences of the participants. They speak about the need for role models or their role in becoming one, about their own struggles with their identity, where they situate themselves on the gender/sexuality scale, and how that can change from day to day. The project is a collaborative effort between Laurel Golio who takes the photographs, Diana Scholl who writes the biographic essays, and of course, the LGBTQ youth. (Via Lenscratch)