Melbourne-based artist The Black Math (TBM) changes the meaning of portraits by adding simple line art to the subjects of the photographs. This fusion results in a unique style where parts of a model’s face is completely obscured by black or white shapes and different symbols and markings are drawn over top. It shifts the emphasis from fashion and lifestyle and to something that has an entirely new narrative. Now, there’s something mystical and mysterious as we try to make sense of what TBM has drawn.
All of the photos that the artist altered are of conventionally “beautiful” people, and he transforms them into something we don’t recognize. They’re made especially eerie when the pupils are removed from the eyes. At one point these people’s aesthetically-pleasing appearance probably sold some sort of product. Now, given an entirely new voice and meaning, they are saying something entirely different, which doesn’t necessarily pertain to consumerism.
Browsing through Keith Allen Phillips’ website, I found many sexy portraits of nude women, but with his series Messy, he takes his photography in a different direction. Phillips covers his models with a variety of foods from chocolate to Cheetos to sprinkles and icing sugar, and the results are pretty unexpected. Although some are still quite sexual, like when the model looks out at you from below a layer of creamy and chocolate while licking a finger, most don’t have that ‘food sex’ kind of vibe. By the time I reached the ones with a pink marshmallow mohawk, I realized I was barely processing the food as food, anymore.
Recently I wrote an article about Will Cotton, and Phillips feels like the anti-Cotton. Whereas Cotton’s world of food and women is soft, beautiful, and delectable, Messy has a harder edge, and one that I find more appealing. Once again, I’m drawn to the marshmallow mohawk woman, this time screaming out. She looks like a very intimidating alien. I find that although I have some difficulty with the idea of Phillips smearing food all over these women, the women rock it with a powerful presence, which is more than I can say of Cotton’s work. Each artist is experimenting with food, and beauty and sexuality in women. Phillips takes the viewer somewhere they didn’t expect to go. (Via Lost at E Minor)
In his new show “My God” Qiu Minye presents us with a new way of seeing. Well, he at least offers us a new way of experiencing objects and the recording of those 3-dimensional things with photography. By painting with light, Minye has suggested different forms of objects that could be real, and then photographed them, resulting in haunting, iridescent, airy images. Whether it is an outline of several figures huddled together watching something in the distance, or an ambiguous geological shape, mythological creatures or floating forms of babies, these snapshots all belong to another space and time.
Minye’s playful images all have a gracefulness to them, and more than most photographs seem to have successfully frozen a moment in time. By removing any fussy details (whether it is light, shadow or color) that may anchor an object in the mundane, he has elevated the idea of the object/subject to something majestic and mystical. The fish for example seems to spitting sparks of fire and is caught in an ethereal state – in a way we don’t see our everyday fish. Minye has managed to capture some sort of life force or see-able movable energy and it is a very calming thing to witness. He has a very existential approach to his art. He poses numerous questions when speaking about his past photographic projects:
What part of humanity is lost in time? How can we transform these moments into eternity? There are always two worlds, the world of yesteryear that has collapsed and the real world. Here, it is to travel between the two. (Source)
Minye seems to be coercing a particular response out of his audience – suggesting we look at the things surrounding us in an abstract, philosophical way – where it’s more about the idea of the thing rather than the tangibility of it. (Via Designboom)
At just 24 years old, Ontario-born and Brooklyn-based artist Joey L. boasts an impressive portfolio. Renowned for his diverse collection of portraits ranging from well-known celebrities to tribes encountered during his travels in Ethiopia, his work demonstrates “proof of an artist equally comfortable with the familiar and the exotic.” In his annual “Halloween in Brooklyn” series, Joey L. documents the familiar—locals in Bushwick, Brooklyn—as they don their halloween costumes and transform into a different kind of exotic.
Capturing masquerading adults and trick-or-treating children alike, Joey began this series as a way to “view this local annual tradition through the eyes of a foreigner.” Having heavily traveled and, thus, experienced the unfamiliarity of other cultures’ festivals and celebrations, Joey sought to engage with Halloween in a unique way. Shooting each image in dreamy black and white and setting most of his subjects against a solid, black background, the eerie photographs are simultaneously dripping with drama and laced with playfulness—achieving the photograph’s objective to get “lost in a childish sugar rush of both home-made and store-bought pop-culture costumes of the year.”
We’ve covered designer Gareth Pugh’s funhouse fashion before, and his 2015 ready-to-wear line is no less delightfully deranged. Pugh drapes his models in the regalia of pagan rituals, occasionally borrowing from the mind-expanding sensibilities of modern glitch art.
One design harkens back to the scarecrows of ye olde corn fields, complete with a material reminiscent of burlap; at the same time, another figure is shrouded in geometric mystique like a Magic Eye illusion.
“I wanted it of the earth, rather than landed from a spaceship,” Pugh said of the collection. To do so, he draws on raw textures of chiffon thistles and gauzy silk, and for inspiration, he reimagines a time when masquerades and ritualistic sacrifice were still a thing. One of his designs calls up the image of a court jester, reincarnated as something slicker and more sinister. A woman stands under the brim of what brings to mind a stalk of wheat, dressed in virginal white. Some of them are crowned with papier-mâché skulls.
The result, even with the modern twists, is nothing short of raw occultish charm, a wonderful mixing of the ethereal and the profane. (via Style.com)
Tattoos, historically, have been on the bodies of sailors and prisoners. It’s only in relatively recent years that they’ve entered mainstream society and lost some of their negative social stigma. Arkady Bronnikov collected photographs of tattooed Russian prisoners between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s. The amount he obtained was massive – 918 images worth – thanks to his position in the government. As a senior expert in criminalistics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for over 30 years, part of Bronnikov’s duties involved visiting correctional institutions of the Ural and Siberia regions. He interviewed, gathered information, and photographed convicts and their tattoos, which gradually helped him build this comprehensive archive.
The images were later acquired by FUEL, a London-based design group, in 2013. Some of the photographs and official police papers authored by Bronnikov from the Soviet period will be published by FUEL in two volumes, the first of which was just released. Now, they are part of a current exhibition titled FUEL present: Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Filesat Grimaldi Gavin in London until November 22 of this year.
When these photos were taken, Bronnikov wasn’t concerned with composition or style. They were meant to act as a record and served a purely practical purpose. The gallery explains, “Their bodies display an unofficial history, told not just through tattoos, but also in scars and missing digits. Closer inspection only confirms our inability to comprehend the unimaginable lives of this previously unacknowledged caste.”
With Halloween just around the corner, costumes don’t have to be the only spooky things you you do to celebrate the holiday. We’ve been introduced to the lifelike, creepy cakes of Conjurer’s Kitchen, and they aren’t the only ones turning delicious treats into something sinister. So, here are a couple of other food artists having some ghoulish fun with conventional desserts.
Christine McConnell is an artist, photographer, and baker who makes elaborate delicacies like screamberries, a life-sized facehugger pastry, and chocolate-covered spiders. The details on these foods are incredible and so convincing that they don’t appear like they’re edible (though they are!). But, they look so impressive that you wouldn’t want to. (via Who Killed Bambi and Laughing Squid)
Ruth & Sira created their own version of the sugar skull by opening the top of the heads and sticking things like berries, nuts, and gummies. The walnuts look like a strange, dried-up brains while they’ve also created the more traditional-looking organs. Their creations look very sweet, and easy to pop skull after skull (as strange as that sounds) into your mouth. (via Who Killed Bambi and Boing Boing)
When vegetal artist Duy Anh Nhan Duc and photographer Isabelle Chapuis collaborate, the resulting images of people and flowers are anything but cliché. The series “Etamine” (stamen) and “Dandelion” are elegant and surreal, beautifully conceptual and expertly shot.
In “Etamine” a somewhat androgynous man is adorned in black and red and purple and yellow. “Fragile compositions of thousands of petals: carnations, anemones, irises and chrysanthemums merge with the skin.” The petals resemble feathers, as if these are sensual and captivating birds preening for the camera.
“Duy Anh Nhan Duc is an artist who handles vegetal art in a very singular way.… He merges plants with human bodies, integrates them with objects, combines them with his drawings or stages them though his short-films. Through his work, he weaves a poetic world where plants rule as masters.”
Like its seed head, “Dandelion” feels more fragile, suspended in time, as if the female model is holding her breath. Shot against a black background, the dandelion seeds are as impossibly delicate as snow or fog. Where in “Etamine” the petals have merged with the male figure, the seeds in “Dandelion” are ephemeral, pausing for a moment before floating away on a breath or a breeze.
Chapuis says, “I’m very inspired by the aesthetic movement in painting, Tim Walker. C’est l’art pour l’art. Art for its own sake. It’s only about emotion. I don’t want to accomplish anything beyond appealing to peoples’ senses”. (Source)
These series are proof of the magic that can happen when two extremely talented artists combine forces to make captivating work. (Via Ignant)