British master jeweler Theo Fennell doesn’t just make your average ring. No, his company goes well beyond the typical diamond jewellery by creating accessories that feature doors and secret compartments engineered into them. They open to reveal tiny painted scenes and small treasures that are inspired by popular novels like The Secret Garden and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Fennell and company’s gold rings have astounding and intricate details. Looking closely at their handiwork, you find things like: individual coins in a pot of gold; a rainbow that’s poking above the clouds; and a ring with a side door that unhinges to reveal a yellow-brick road. Of course, these things don’t come without a price – some of them cost around $30,000.
Fennell’s attitude towards his work is that it should be timeless, and so pairing it with classic literary interpretations makes sense. “Jewellry should be something talismanic and precious, beautifully made to last and not at the ephemeral whim of fashion: it should be truly owned,” he says. “Jewellery has that power – it is a very romantic, sexy and emotional thing.” (Via Demilked)
Never has the thought of books and newspapers becoming obsolete been so appealing. Artist Alexis Arnold makes the idea attractive by gathering different National Geographic magazines, Bibles, and discarded phone books and turns them into crystallized sculptures. She dips each book into a Borax solution which, when left alone for a short time, ‘grows’ crystals. The spines and pages harden and freeze, warped and bent out of shape like they have been found in a time capsule.
Arnold’s series The Crystallized Books are a sentimental and nostalgic view of a time slipping away from us, now we are immersed in the world of eBooks, PDFs, Kindles, and portable tablets. As more and more bookshops close everyday, we are seeing the printed page become obsolete and unused. She explains a bit more about the project:
I had been growing crystals on hard objects and was interested in seeing the effect of the crystal growth on malleable and absorbent objects. Conceptually, the series addresses the materiality of the book versus the text of content of the book. The crystals remove the text and transform the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. The books, now frozen with heavy crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use and nostalgia. (Source)
Arnold says even though she primarily uses the laundry detergent ‘Twenty Mule Team Borax’ in boiling water, and other Salt Crystals, you can use a number of different household products to try it yourself. You can even check out how to experiment at home with the help of this video. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Gregori Maiofis is a Saint Petersburg-based photographer who stages elaborate scenes that illustrate the follies and mysteries of human existence in ironic and fatalistic ways. Many of his works are based around literary and philosophical traditions, such as proverbs and fables. This particular series, created in 2003-2004, uses tarot cards as its theme, pairing dark and absurd imagery with written titles to humorously encapsulate a facet of life and/or identity. The “Fool” card, for example — the prototypical image from a deck Maiofis imagined would be called Public Sanitation — depicts a man in a ludicrous bird costume as he prepares to jump off a roof. The “Empress” card — traditionally signifying fertility, femininity, and beauty — displays a taxidermied primate. Much of his work is produced via the bromoil process, a challenging photographic process that was popular in the early twentieth century that involves ink being painted over a black-and-white photograph printed on bleached paper. Maiofis’ resulting images have both photographic and painterly qualities, appearing historical and artifactual while satirizing human existence on a trans-generational, cross-cultural scale.
Born in Russia into a family of artists and architects and further trained in new art practices in Los Angeles, Maiofis fuses his international experiences into works that explore the strength of the image to overcome boundaries of nation and culture. While those knowledgeable about Russian history, identity, and traditions may have specialized insight into the significance behind Maiofis’ dark and clever imagery, there is still a lot of meaning left for the rest of us to identify; the figure of Justice — usually depicted as a stately figure — is naked and blindfolded, straddling her double-edged sword in a sexual manner, satirizing (perhaps) the representation of justice as a “fair” and purely objective entity. What makes Maiofis’ images so mysterious and intellectually engaging is that their meanings are never directly provided. It is up to us to divine their significance (as well as their playful, biting critiques of humanity) just as we would interpret our own lives with real tarot cards.
More of Maiofis’ clever and thematic works can be viewed on his website.
Looking like a scene from Lord of the Rings, the Ice Castles of Lincoln, New Hampshire are the result of some very talented artists. Their work has been captured by Filmmaker Julian Tryba in collaboration with time lapse artist Michael Sutton in a new documentary called Frozen Fortress. The film features not only the amazing work of the ice sculptures but an innovative technology which captures the activity in a sped up time lapse format. In the film, we first witness the ice castles at dawn sparkling like gigantic petrified crystals. Once night falls and under multi-colored lights, the glass-like structures change dramatically. The hyper lapse technology enables us to see the same environment come alive as ravers flock to the scene at dusk to experience the castles’ unique beauty in a club-like setting.
Each winter, thousands of icicles are grown and carved into amazing sculptures. Through a process which sprays water on metal, the frozen material is transported daily to build the magnificent site-specific collection of motifs, paths and caves. Artists continue building on the structure during the run and ultimately create an incredible Matterhorn-like structure. The scope is deceiving and in Tryba’s film takes on a much grander scale.
The castles are visited daily by hundreds of people during the winter months in four U.S. states (New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah and Minnesota). They have been the unique setting for music videos and now a well made documentary. (via creators project)
The iconic pizza pie gets a fun twist in this series titled Pizza Is the New Black by the Paris design studio called Black Pizza. It features 10 different iterations of the dish, all set in a different color and that use some food as well as inanimate objects. Designers had the help of Chef Julie Bassett with support from Erwan Fichou, and together the team came up with “pizzas” that included pacifiers, ping pong balls, iPhone cases, and more on them. The dough was even dyed to match the color scheme. It all results in these visually appetizing images that are beautiful if not slightly repulsive.
Black Pizza describes the project, saying, “In a riotous culinary color scheme, Black Pizza pays tribute to the pizza, the symbol of sharing and pop culture.” The entire project only took a couple of days. (Via Miss Asphixia and UFunk)
Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos created a military vessel that holds the sun—well not really but beyond its moon exterior is an illuminating golden life-size sculpture made by Brazillian artistic duo Os Gemeos. It’s small lemon peep hole is difficult to avoid as it entices you to look within.
The magnificent glow and brilliant tones of sharp cheddar and canary yellow draw you to the hidden figure inside by its projection of warmth. It’s like discovering an oyster with a pearl. The flame of color that shines from the tiny circular barred glass on the vessel’s exterior allures the viewer to take initiative and discover what’s beyond its walls. Opening the door exposes the true color from within and a human sculpture who’s physique is slender, expression content and dressed in a golden glimmer buttoned up top with floral patterned bottoms—carefully constructed from head to toe, visit site.
His shirt is detailed with hundreds of gold pieces mended together one by one. Surrounding him are unique sketches and disheveled illustrations; from the back of the vessel is another glass window to take a look in from behind him. (via design boom)
Celebrity photographer Blake Little has taken his love of portraiture to new heights. Pouring honey all over his models of different ages, races and genders, he has created a series of dramatic images that look like photos of wax models. While he normally snaps pictures of famous faces like Kevin Spacey, Tom Cruise, Glenn Close, Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow, this time he placed a Craigslist ad asking for some not-so-familiar faces. Seeing over 90 people, all ranging in age from 2 – 85 years, he asked them to take their clothes off and get covered in a thick gooey layer of honey. Little talks about his process:
Preservation began through a process of experimenting with honey. Initially, I started shooting the way it pours and drips on just the face or specific areas of the body. After several sessions, it became clear that completely covering the figure as much as possible and with varying thicknesses created a quality that I had never seen before. The honey has a way of diffusing the personal qualities of the subjects, often making them unrecognizable and democratizing their individual traits into something altogether different and universal. (Source)
The result of the intense studio session is hypnotic. The models look like they have been frozen in amber, or resin, or caught in the volcanic eruption of Pompeii. All of the subjects in his new book Preservation look like they are in a deep slumber, and all have lost any idiosyncrasies they may have had. It seems like Little has compiled a reference of what is it to be human – a kind of catalog of frozen specimens where we can, in the future, look back and compare similarities and differences between us all.
His show accompanying his new monograph opens at Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City, CA from March 7.
The landscapes of photographer Martin Vlach emanate a mysterious and melancholic energy. Characterized by ghostly human figures silhouetted against an impenetrable mist, it is like witnessing somebody’s passage into the afterlife; with their backs turned and postures calm, the stoic, nameless people seem to be on the edge of something, hesitating between worlds, gazing into that all-engulfing void beyond which we — the dreaming bystanders — are not permitted to see. As you will notice, Vlach has seamlessly blended surrealist imagery into his photography: whales emerge from the fog, and bodies plummet from the clouds. These surprising elements enhance the series’ theme of liminality and otherworldliness, merging reality with an intangible, heart-wrenching dream.
What makes Vlach’s work so consistently engrossing is the atmosphere. His images are landscapes of emotion and sensorial experience; by empathizing with the distant figures, you can taste the chilled mist in your lungs, smell the rain-wet earth and sea, feel the grass and sand shift beneath you as you traverse the lonely terrain. There is a sense of movement and stillness, solitude and comfort. With the contours of the “real” world obscured in the fog, Vlach creates immersive landscapes that foster our own deeply personal interpretations and emotional engagements.