There is an unnerving quality to Shi Mohan‘s paintings, as though they are capturing daydreams, complete with all the surrealness and subconscious metaphors that come with the territory.
According to Art Seasons, a gallery in Singapore and Beijing that has previously shown her work, “Shi Mohan jocularly calls herself a life Illustrator. Pleasantly and sensitively, she documents the nity-gritty of her own life, portraying many bizarre and outlandish thoughts and desires on the canvas.”
There is a certain playfulness to Mohan’s art, though the off-kilter imagery can make it seem more sinister. Her paintings are snapshots of a more innocent yet stranger time: the weird days of youth. (via Supersonic Art)
Jordan Westre (Living Couch) is a Canadian artist who creates beautiful and critically engaging collages from amalgams of modern and vintage print media. While Westre’s works are all highly unique and nuanced, many of them share recurring imagery, including landscapes, space travel, war, and the feminine body. From a broader aesthetic perspective, her collages are seamless and evocative; Westre has a brilliant ability to weave together seemingly disparate images in a holistic way. The more you look, however, the more a deep — and often dark, or disconcerting — social commentary emerges, one that examines cross-generational anxieties regarding the state of society and its relationship to human sexuality.
Westre’s artistic process begins with a self-impelled assembly of aesthetically-pleasing images. As she explains: “I don’t set out with a definite vision, I just flip through magazines […] or books with vintage photographs or illustrations, [and] pull out anything that might serve as a good subject, background, or element.” From there, she lays everything down and seeks compelling combinations — “and that’s where the inspiration comes about.” Currently, she uses liquid glazes on canvas or canvas board, but is planning on experimenting with hot and cold-pressed papers and spray adhesives.
When it comes to the meaning behind her work, Westre says that most of it unconsciously materializes as “anxiety-riddled observation[s]” of society. The collages depict the world in an oscillating utopic/dystopic state; or indeed, as an oft-idealized place that is festering at its center. In Westre’s words: “[My work is] grappling with the awareness that a lot of our society and the path we’re on is utterly fucked — for lack of a better phrase — while we’re all smiling and laughing and consuming […]. Polish & the rot beneath.”
Westre also brings human sexuality into these critiques, exploring what she identifies as the “ultimate vulnerability and ultimate power” of sex. Desire — which is represented here by eroticized images of the female body — vacillates between states of seduction, submission, and destruction. It is unpredictable; hence why it might contribute to Westre’s fear of a world slipping into chaos. Check out Living Couch for more of her incredible work.
If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite world leaders would look like as hipster, ponder no more. Illustrator Amit Shimoni reimagines presidents, prime ministers and radicals into modern day trendsetters in Hipstory. With an overall, uncanny resemblance to Mad Magazine’s Alfred E Neuman, Shimoni’s portraits of dignitaries such as John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, and Ghandi give new meaning to nose-rings and Ray Bans. His lighthearted link to the past, just another reminder of our voracious appetite for turning the old, cool again. Even in jest, his subject’s hairstyles remain constant. Who knew JFK’s windswept wave would be in style 50 years later, or that Ghandi’s baldness would be a current fashion statement for both male and female? A few inside jokes include Kennedy rockin’ a Marilyn tee and a tropical patterned baseball jacket on Nelson Mandela.
It’s lighthearted and fun to imagine these historical figures in youth of today clothing and accessories, but deeper meanings prevail. It’s no secret that fashion has the power of showing what side of the fence you’re on. A visual signifier that immediately lets the world know who you’re with. In Ghandi’s portrait, the passive resistance peacemaker is painted in Grateful Dead rainbow t-shirt. If he were alive today, he would most definitely be pro-vegan protesting police brutality. Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, looking rebellious in riot grrrl gear, could be fronting a punk rock band singing political injustice. The only sour apple of the bunch is Honest Abe. Appearing uncomfortable and moody in rockabilly jacket and gold chain, his apparent awkwardness might mean this trend can only be recycled back so far. The portraits are available for sale on the artist’s site in various incarnations including prints, t-shirts, cell phone skins and more. (via Fubiz)
Australian artist Justine Khamara embeds portraits of people in fractured wood sculptures. By cutting the photographs into pieces and then assembling them either on plywood or weaving them through one another, Khamara changes the experience of the portraits. Taking what is usually one dimensional and making it approachable in a whole new level, Khamara brings a sense of life to the pictures she takes.
“Khamara says she used to cut up photographs and rearrange them into montages that she would rephotograph, ‘but I eventually found the montages to be more interesting as sculptural objects,’ she explains. The act itself, slicing up photos and piecing them back together, has always been something Khamara relished. ‘I loved the butteriness, the physicality of the photographic paper a quality that reveals itself when one slices into the surface of it with a very fine, sharp blade,’ she says.” (Excerpt from Source)
Russian photographer Ilya Naymushin, based in Krasnoyarsk, has been capturing daily life around Siberia over the past few decades. Starting his passion for photography at the ripe old age of 10, Naymushin has developed quick reflexes and a sharp eye for the unusual. This past December he happened to be passing something that was quite odd indeed – an upside down house in his home village. The house was constructed as an attraction for local residents and tourists. Grabbing the opportunity to record something interesting and historical, he produced a series of images capturing local’s experiences of the unusual installation. Naymushin says of his inspiration:
I like shooting stories about people who belong to the “one in a million” category – unusual people doing unusual things. They can be amateur artists, builders, extreme sportsmen, winter swimmers, or people who live in difficult conditions in the modern world and manage to survive. (Source)
His passion for photojournalism has enabled him to experience and present both the sensational and mundane aspects of life. From snapping pictures of Putin’s tiger crossing the Russian border into China, to an 87-year-old Jewish Red Army veteran of World War Two, to harvests in the fields outside of Svetlolobovo, and now including this upside down house of Krasnoyarsk, he likes to celebrate all sides of Russian life. He says:
I take pictures for people all around the globe. I am one of the few journalists living in the vast territory of Siberia who have the chance to show life here to the whole world – something I have been doing for almost 20 years. (Source) (Via Fubiz)
It might be winter where you live, but the cold that you experience probably doesn’t compare to this. New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple went on a two-day journey from Yakutsk, the coldest major city on Earth to Oymyakon, the coldest village on Earth. Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature is -67.7°C (-90°F) in 1933 while the average for January is -50°C (-60°F). Despite the intense weather, people have forged homes and lives in these places, and Chapple captures them in an unfiltered, documentary-style way. Just looking at them will send chills up your spine.
Residents of this extreme climate adapted to these conditions with little indoor plumbing. Vehicles that are outside heated garages must keep running to avoid freezing. And, their subsistence is meat because the ground is too cold to grow crops.
Chapple gives us some idea of just what this cold felt like, and he tells Weather.com “I was wearing thin trousers when I first stepped outside into – 47 °C (-52°F). I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs, the other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips.” And for him, the hardest part of the experience was not the cold, but that his camera’s focus would freeze into place! (via Bored Panda)
Taking her football player series and combining it with a product usually reserved for the masses, artist Asja Jung has found a clever, new way to market her work. She has created a limited 40 edition set of calendars featuring tightly drawn renditions of NFL players. Admittedly not a big football fan, Jung first became intrigued with these brutal ballerinas when she patroned a local sports bar in her Queens, NY neighborhood. Images in the following day’s papers of Mark Sanchez, Eli Manning and Geno Smith grabbed her attention and she started incorporating the stills into her narrative. Another series which she had been working on just prior to finding the players, entitled “Neighbors”, placed subjects in an elaborately detailed background similar to a dense, tropical forest. Her thoughtful rendering produced a positive/negative space offset by vibrant color. The figures in these, which have included chimpanzees and reptiles, acted as buffer points to highly imaginative designs. Jung proceeded to use the same aesthetic in staging her football drawings. The dramatic nature of sport provided a rich source of information and the players soon replaced the creatures in “Neighbors”. To arrive at a final draft, dozens of studies were made, showing countless variations of mid-air tackles, high catches, scrimmages and close up personals. The finished drawings feature a nice balance between unique draftsmanship and mainstream accessibility. To date, pieces have been shown in the VIP section of Jets Stadium, and The National Art Museum of Sport.
If you’ve ever wanted to sext using regular emojis, you might’ve found this prospect difficult. Well, sexting in pictures got way easier thanks to the new Flirtmoji, a visual language designed to empower people of all sexualities to communicate their desires, concerns, and of course, flirtations. The often NSFW icons include anatomically accurate genitalia, whips, chains, fuzzy handcuffs, and even some sexually-suggestive fruit. There are also special, specific collections like BDSMS, Snow Bunny (holiday appropriate), and Safe Sext.
Flirtmoji was created by a group of designers and developers whose mission is to give people playful, inclusive, and functional sex emoji. In an interview with The Verge, artist Katy McCarthy explains: “I wanted the Flirtmoji to be sexy,” she said. “Even if it’s not my thing, necessarily … it’s someone else’s thing and it’s sexy to them.”
Regular emojis are criticized for their lack of diversity, and McCarthy and her friends were cognisant of that when designing. “My friends and I are not accurately represented in emoji,” she said, “and it’s frustrating. And particularly with sex, we felt that it was so crucial that everyone feel sexually represented.”
You won’t find these emojis in the app store. Instead, via their website, Flirtmoji has a selection of free emojis as well as themed collections for $.99 each. So, whether you’re an avid sexter or not, it’s worth checking out their icons simply from a design perspective. They show just how much can be said with relatively little visual information.
Nowadays, as more and more people express sexual desires through non-verbal, electronic communication, Flirtmoji is valuable. It’s a straight-forward, explicit, and fun way to have clear communication about this important topic. (Via Bustle and The Verge)