Cathy van Hoang, owner of PetitBeast, is a California-based artist who has cleverly designed a new and eye-catching way to display your air plants: by placing them in sea urchin shells — which Cathy has painted in gradients of beautiful pastel hues — and suspending them. Her creations are aptly named “Jellyfish Air Plants,” because there is no denying that their domed heads and trailing “legs” are redolent of those elegant sea-dwelling invertebrates. Their gravity-defying appearance will also likely appeal to any Metroid fans out there, as Cathy’s designs do slightly invoke your favorite parasitic alien species — although these particular specimens are less likely to seek galactic domination, and instead hang gracefully in your room as beautiful conversation pieces.
These “little beasts” are affordable and unique additions to your space. Each set comes with hanging and care instructions. And if you’re not plant-savvy, the good news is that air plants are easy to maintain. As Cathy writes on her Etsy, “all they require is watering twice a week and a nice, bright room with indirect sunlight (or your desk lamp in the office) to thrive in” (Source). Custom colors are also an option.
Etsy is an exciting venue for independent designers who want to share their creativity with the world, and it is always exciting to come across artists like Cathy who are hand-making such imaginative pieces. Check out her website and Etsy page to learn more about her Jellyfish Air Plants. The product photography featured here is also by Cathy. (Via Colossal)
Adam W. Hill is a photographer whose work centers on the creation of alternative portraiture. This particular series, titled Dollface, explores the effect of doll-like makeup on people of various ages; with heavily rouged cheeks, thick eyebrows, and contoured lips, his subjects are a magnetic (and eerie) combination of adulthood and infancy. Hill has done an excellent job highlighting the brightness and color of their eyes, giving life and vibrancy to an artificial aesthetic. It is fascinating, too, how the models have chosen to express their doll-identities; some look passive and innocent, others playful and mischievous, the rest serious or melancholic.
Peruse Adam’s website, and you’ll see that all of his series explore portraiture in an unconventional way; his subjects are youthful, playful, and sometimes a bit absurd. In his portfolio’s “About Me,” he expresses his views on the historical significance of the portrait, stating how it has traditionally been used “for people of privilege and power, and as a means of affirming the authority of certain individuals” (Source). While he resists this sort of elitist representation, he is also fascinated by the aesthetics of formal portraiture; as a result, his work displays alternative subjects in a quasi-traditional way by infusing them with an appearance of “power and privilege, […] decadence and despair” (Source).
Dollface is an amusing and fascinating example of Adam’s manipulation of photographic tradition. By posing his models in conventional ways, but dressing them with hyperbolic, doll-like makeup, he “plays” with and subverts the elitism behind formal portraiture, thereby producing a commentary on the artificiality of the genre. Check out Adam’s website for more examples of his work.
Artist Peter Kogler takes ordinary spaces and converts them into optical illusions with little more than paint and projections. His installations completely encompass the gallery room or public space in which they inhabit and cause it to appear warped, stretched, distorted and twisted. These eye-tricking spaces devour the viewer in their endless lines and pattern while they creates a disorienting effect. Each strategically placed line is created by paint, but also sometimes by a projection onto the walls. Because Kogler’s patterns and lines are often on every side of the space, including the ceiling and floor, they create a powerful and overwhelming environment. The wall-to-wall spaces are completely taken over by lined grids, tubes weaving around each other, and swirling scribbles that create funhouse walls.
The settings for Kogler’s elaborate and impressive installations vary from gallery rooms to subway tunnels. One can truly get lost in these complex compositions trailing all over each wall. Each installation is like a beautiful labyrinth that entraps and engulfs the viewer. Kogler’s work uses mostly bold colors like white and black, and sometimes red. This creates a harsh, stark contrast that allows the optical illusion to be more apparent with a highly dramatic feel. The artist’s talent does not only lie in his incredible installations, but also his sculpture and two-dimensional work. His use of geometrics and line is similar in his other work, which makes them look absolutely stunning when they are exhibited within his installations. Kogler’s multifaceted style compliments whichever medium he desires.(via Illusion.scene360)
Artist Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz uses unlikely elements to construct his unbelievable and complex photographs of superheroes, or Splash Heroes. However, unlike normal superheroes, his heroes are not wearing ordinary uniforms, but outfits created from splashes of colored milk. Each constructed photograph contains a confident, strong superwoman posed in a capable and superior pose. Even more impressive, the liquid was not just simply digitally edited onto all of the models, but actually thrown onto them during the photo shoot. Wieczorkiewicz created this liquid clothing with splashes of milk with food coloring. Splashes are thrown in different places of the body in order to fabricate multifaceted outfits to mimic how real clothing may fit. This process demands an extreme amount of time and patience in order to create such a flawless result. In fact, each photograph is created from layering and editing together about 200 images. These many photos are layered over each other to form the finished photograph.
This is not the first series of milk-covered women that photographer Wieczorkiewicz has done. He has also created a similar series containing pin-up girls dressed in splashes of white milk. In this most recent series, Splash Heroes, Wieczorkiewicz’s work is pushed to a more dynamic level full of energy, movement, and dramatic color. The deep, glossy colors of liquid add a powerful vibe that gives the women a demanding presence. Each woman superhero is in mid-motion as their milk-suits swirl and travel around their bodies, creating a force field of milk. Wieczorkiewicz has all of his Splash Heroes available in a calendar, one for each month. (via Faith is Torment)
A designer/civil engineer named Saurabha Datta has developed a prototype for a device that can teach you how to draw. The machine aptly named “Teacher”, wraps around your hand and guides it to the perfect line. The project developed for Datta’s thesis at Copenhagen’s Institute Of Interactive Design, first came about when he made a series of devices that guided people through simple tasks such as hitting a few piano keys or drawing a geometrically correct shape. The breakthrough in Datta’s research is taking a concept once thought of as sci-fi fodder and bringing it into reality.
“Teacher” looks similar to the old lie detector tests that would record a person’s pulse rate when asked a series of intimidating questions. It doesn’t say how heavy it is or what the projected weight would be but to be successful it would have to be lightweight. Some of the other projects Datta has worked on include making an interactive car seat that can respond to your insecurities and a program called “moment” which records your feelings at different times of the day.
Machines and computers are known as aids in making our lives easier and less stressful. With this latest development we can witness their evolution as was predicted some 50 years ago in Stanley Kurbrick’s 2001 a space odyssey. Who can forget the calm voiced computer “Hal” who eventually takes over the ship and responds with emotional vengeance against the crew when it learns they were going to “disconnect him.” If they can teach people how to draw what could be next on the horizon? Teaching you how to be a neurosurgeon or a concert pianist? Only time will tell. (via Juxtapoz)
Looking like a set of architecture models for a Gaudi building, Richard Sweeney‘s paper sculptures are organic, poetic, intricate, and mostly made without the aid of glue or tape. Taking his inspiration from the shapes and forms that occur in nature – like clouds, mounds of snow, he folds paper into beautiful geometric pieces. Not confined to working on a small scale, Sweeney also constructs wonderfully complex forms that hang from the ceiling to the floor.
He was recently part of a show called Above The Fold, and is a part of a group of talented modern day origami masters. Taking the ancient art of paper folding to a new level, Sweeney and his contemporaries are redefining the limits of what can be done with paper. Biological structures, and the essence of form and function are Sweeney’s inspirations. He talks to Design Museum more about what motivates and inspires him:
As I have mentioned, architecture is a great inspiration to me, but aside from the man-made, I am also inspired by natural forms. It is not so much the organic shapes, but the means by which they are generated that interests me. It makes great sense to borrow from elements from biological structures, as these forms demonstrate the pinnacle of material, structural and functional efficiency. (Source)
Like a true designer, Sweeney is giving the humble piece of paper new life and function. You can even attempt his paper folding technique at home by watching this short tutorial here. (Via Exhibition-ism)
New York-based photographer Josephine Cardin’s poignant images examine the beauty of the human body as well as the complexity of the mind and emotions. Cardin’s series, featuring self-portraits, is titled Between Lock and Key . It explores “the dichotomy of how we have both the ability to mentally imprison ourselves, while simultaneously holding the key to unlocking our freedom,” she writes. Muted, vintage-esque compositions showcase her donning a long, black dress in elegant poses (she’s a trained ballet dancer). Cardin is surrounded by expressive, distressed marks and multiple hands that read as both soothing and troubling.
The marks that surround Cardin’s body are visual representations of the mental blocks that we all face from time to time. Thoughts clouded with anxiety prevent us from moving forward with life and seeing things clearly. Cardin draws scribbled clouds around her head and crosses out her eyes using short, energetic strokes.
While there’s a lot of visual strife in Cardin’s series, there’s hope, too. The same lines that hold her down lift her up. It’s as if she’s overcoming adversity and doubt to rise to her true potential. (Via Asylum Art)
Sculptor Eva Jospin constantly reinvents the idea of what a forest is over and over again. She cuts, layers, arranges, glues and builds cardboard into different interpretations of The Woods. Her pieces range from smaller 2D pictures compiled from dense sticks, branches and flaky bits of wood, to life size 3D installations that you are invited into, and can move around within. For Jospin, cardboard is just the medium for a larger message; these trees express many things:
The forest – an incarnation of nature in the wild – is above all the setting in traditional storytelling of tests of courage, and can be a gloomy or initiatory place. The forest is also where one encounters oneself. This walk through the forest initiates the visit to ‘ Inside’, which is also an inner journey. (Source)
Jospin uses a material that is not only durable, robust, strong, and supportive, but also fragile, impermanent, raw and insubstantial. She plays on these two points of view – they mirror the actual qualities of trees, nature and our relationship to it. These poetic attachments to Josie’s Forest pieces isn’t lost on her critics either:
To look at a forest is an optical experience that challenges the typical laws of perspective in western representation. Facing visually the depth of a forest means to forget the horizon, it means to get lost. And is not the danger of getting lost the only risk tied up to that natural labyrinth that is a forest? (Source)