Beautiful/Decay spent the last three days at the Pool Tradeshow in Las Vagas. Throughout our time, we met a lot of fun and interesting people. For me, the one person that stands out the most was probably the nicest. Sacramento Artist Skinner is one hell of a rad dude. His work is insane and his attention to detail is on point. Skinner continues to pump out amazing piece after piece and before you know it, this guy is going to blow up. Make sure to check out his site for some well priced pieces. Keep it up dude!
The artwork of Andrew McAttee erupts from the canvas in an atomic explosion of vivid colors and bold lines. His compositions suck you in like a vortex of cosmic proportion. Like an explosion of atoms, asteroids, fire bolts, and lightning, McAttee’s dynamic, large-scale paintings catch your eye and demand your attention. Each painting is layered in acrylic paint and spray paint in incredible, bright colors. The artist mixes flat lines and shapes like that in a comic book, with a variety of more dimensional elements.
This repetitious explosion present in McAttee’s work hints at themes of cause and effect. Both beauty and destruction can be seen in the breathtaking palettes and the collisions of the color combinations. It is almost as if his painting are molecules ready to erupt. The artist’s comic-pop style combines the occasional action word such as “Smash!” straight across his compositions. He is very apparently influenced by comic books and graphic novels, and also pulls inspiration from pop art and abstract expressionism. Street art and graffiti also has a hand at play in his multifaceted paintings, as he is known as a street artist as “STET”. Andrew McAttee is represented by Stolen Space Gallery in London and works and lives in the UK.
”My aim is to provide the viewer with a colourful riot of gravity-less forms set in highly layered, seemingly endless space with a sense of ambiguity, humour and celebration”
– Andrew McAttee
Julius Hofmann lives and works in Germany. His acrylic on canvas paintings have depth and surface details that harken back to early stop motion puppet or clay animation stills. His work operates like a series of vignettes that may or may not be part of a unifying narrative. Themes of desperation, fear, and paranoia emerge from his muted scenes. Like projected nightmares Hofmann’s brash and haunting works thrill and mystify.
Philip Kwame Apagya is a Ghanaian artist whose color photographs reflect a contemporary twist on traditional West African portraiture. In Apagya’s photos, subjects interact with his brightly painted 2-D backdrops, interiors and exteriors that catalogue the trappings and accoutrement of an affluent international culture. Subjects inhabit faux living rooms showing library shelves or consoles stuffed with expensive electronics, or chat on cell phones standing before home computers, or prepare to board that international flight to happiness. While Apagya’s photographs reflect a young and prosperous generation of consumers, one can imagine that for some, the photographs also present a “reality” beyond their means.
The work of artist Michael Murphy emphasizes personal perspective. Murphy builds upon several layers to construct a larger image only seen from a precise angle. When stepping away from that angle the image descends back into abstraction. Murphy uses this to express the social and political ideas implied several of his pieces. A portrait of Barack Obama diffuses to reveal very many shades of skin tones which accumulate to form a whole portrait. The simple shape of a Christian Crucifix is dismantled into an iconology of the symbol – a visual conversation of contemporary issues associated with the religion.
John Pham is most well known for his Graphic Novel Anthology Sublife as well as his work on Cartoon Network’s Problem Solverz. His personal work consists of vibrant gouache paintings that simultaneously reference modern design ethics and vintage computer imagery. Pham’s Tron –like environments exist as streamlined versions of Atari 2600 graphics.
Seattle artist Kyler Martz is an illustrator, painter, and tattoo artist with an expressionist style so unique within his field that it seems to take the whole concept of tattoo work into uncharted territory. While the work of famous tattoo personas like Ed Hardy has mass commercialized the basic styles of sailor tattoo art and tattoo graphics into a nearly bland generalized version of itself, Martz is pushing the genre forward and taking it back to weird, in the best way possible. Having mastered the basics of line work and image building, what stands out about Martz is his use of layered objects and elements to create a woven narrative that is surprisingly dense within a compact space. Using both abstract and figurative symbology, Martz has found an interesting balance between the literal and the ethereal that makes his work conceptually vivid and involved. Many hidden aspects lie in wait: faces and skulls within landscapes, pocket knives folding open into mountainscapes, and often you can find the Eye of Hamsa nestled within the architecture of the piece. Russian nesting dolls, houses on snails backs, and boats made of sea creatures are other strange metaphorical pockets Martz’s work has inhabited and enlivened. Allusions to the omnipresent spirit of the northwest drift in and out of his work: campfires, trees, The Puget Sound, log cabins, mountains, and wildlife; items detailing the Filson/Pendleton lifestyle that is deeply embedded in the historical northwest culture. These abstract notions add a sense of timeless mystery and allow his work to be interpreted on multiple tiers of thought. It will be really fun to see where he is at and what he is making a few years from now.
Ren Ri is an artist who works with bees to make his contained beehive sculptures. He builds the plastic containers and places the wood dowels inside them to subtly guide the shape of the hive, and also rotates the sculpture every seven days to affect its form. The use of bees is especially relevant with the current affairs of suffering bee populations around the world, which could have a drastic and lasting effect on farming, but also the natural world in general.
Ri employs many strategies to work with bees. He performs with the bees, allowing them to sting his face, and has created a series of maps made of bees wax. According to Hi-Fructose, his aim in using the bees is to remove his subjectivity from the work. Although it certainly does remove a large degree of control, this is slightly problematic as he still intervenes by creating the object within which the bees form their hives, and further affects their process by rotating it. Complete objectivity seems pretty much unattainable in this scenario, as well as a false aspiration for any creative pursuit. Although there are obviously varying degrees of subjectivity, any intervention implies the influence of the author, and without the intervention Ri would be a beekeeper, not an artist. It’s interesting to experiment with degrees of control, but this is not an objective piece.
To me, the most interesting part of this project is the collaboration with the bees, as the final products are aesthetically appealing and call indirect attention to an issue of pertinence in the world today. (Via Hi-Fructose)