Based in Amsterdam, photographer Aisha Zeijpveld specializes in conceptual portraiture and works as a freelancer for myriad commercial magazines. Characterized by an interest in presenting her subjects’ “nakedness and vulnerability yet simultaneously their potency and pride,” her photographs evoke quirky surrealism and capture the absurd while boasting simplicity and maintaining clarity.
By placing her models before color-blocked backdrops of muted pastel and neutral tones, the subjects remain the focus of her dreamlike photographs. While each subject is situated in a pose typical of traditional portraiture, Zeijpveld transforms each piece with her eccentric editing; hair is replaced by twisting smoke or scattered dirt, individuals sprout extra limbs, and eyes become shrouded in listless clouds. While the exquisite level of detail and precision in her work suggests that these alterations and additions were carried out digitally, Zeijpveld’s illusions are crafted entirely by hand using scissors, found objects, and other tangible elements. Ultimately, through these techniques, Zeijpveld successfully “aims for the absurd, allowing her photographs to be positioned on the interface of reality and dream-world.”
Marc Sinaj has such an eye for detail and dedication to quality, that his sculptures have observers constantly mistaking them for actual people. Strangers often try to interact with the figures, talk with them and even complain when they don’t receive any response. Born and based in Milwaukee, Sinaj often spends anywhere from 6 months to a year on a single sculpture (although usually working on multiple ones at the same time), and the hours he invests definitely show in the finished piece. He chooses to replicate figures with stories; people and characters with many wrinkles, pimples, blemishes, pores, stretchmarks, ingrown toenails and grey hairs.
…the vast majority [of the sculptures] are of all shapes and forms, some scrawny, other obese, some old, some young, some weak, some burly, the gamut of humanity. Sijan is like a superb writer in that regard who writes not only about the rich and famous, but instead about all facets of life on earth. (Source)
Working for over 40 years, Sinaj has perfected his skill of realistically reproducing the human form. Carrying on from the traditions of Roman and Grecian marble sculptors, Sinaj is a true modern master of bodies. Painstakingly building up layers of paint, and placing every individual hair, goose bump and freckle exactly where they should be, he shows of the extent of his talent. He never replicates someone without their permission, and always asks before taking their photo, as he is, in a way, cloning them.
Sinaj not only creates unbelievably realistic sculptures, he is effectively turning a mirror back onto ourselves – showing us in such a blinding light, we can’t ignore that humanity (with all of our flaws) is a strange and wonderful thing. He is celebrating the ugliness of reality. (Via Ignant)
Tyler Spangler’s digital collages rehash old portraits to uncanny effect. He mixes faces like batter or melts them like wax. Of course this would be much more gruesome were it not for the joyful neon colours he employs. His artwork has the distinct aesthetic of the internet age. Wild patterns and powerful colours are overload for the eye, providing a high level of stimulation pretty much required, now, to incite a strong reaction in the viewer.
In some cases, the overabundance of pattern and colour has the viewer process less, or otherwise require us to take much more time to do it. When there is so much to take in, the options are either to skim over it, or take much more time to engage with it. Spangler has a great range of intensity. Some of his works have 5 or less elements, where other have 20 or more different textures.
Spangler works digitally, and creates all of his graphics himself. Whereas in aesthetic the works can be called collage, he uses a minimum of recycled imagery. In this way, Spangler is more like a painter than a collage artist, creating his own imagined imagery. He is a digital painter easily able manipulate familiar imagery. (Via Hi Fructose)
Micah Ganske received his MFA at Yale and has exhibited widely, including in Art Basel Miami. His gorgeous, thought provoking painted works are featured here, along with images of class demos. As an accomplished professional artist whose goal is “to make work which inspires and engages the viewer in what I truly believe is important and what drives me,” Ganske passes his insights and technical skill onto his students in an interactive online class that students can take at their own pace, anytime, anywhere.
Aptitude, a digital agency based in Bedfordshire, U.K., pays cheeky homage to the (lost?) art of the album cover. They’ve picked an array of such album covers, some more tongue-in-cheek than others, and played around with the design by showing what’s been left out. On their site, you can scroll over each photo and “zoom out” to view the imagined bits from the cutting floor.
“Album cover art used to be meticulously created to portray some kind of message that the band or artist was trying to convey,” Aptitude says. In a way, that sums up their mission with this project as they set out to turn that message on its head. Their designs also function as a retrospective as they add a time traveler’s souvenirs into the mix: Justin Bieber’s My World pans out to reveal his untimely arrest; Bubbles glares balefully from a jail cell on the outskirts of Off the Wall.
Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Born in the U.S.A. zooms out to show the rock star approaching food truck serving — what else — burgers. In the foreground is a stereotypically hefty American. A bit on the nose? Maybe, but all in good fun.
“We all have a favourite album,” the agency says. “One that means something to us more than others.” (via Demilked)
Korean-born Brooklyn artist Timothy Hyunsoo Lee creates 3D escapades in a 2D format. The paper is both painted upon and sculpted: acted on as a canvas for gouache and watercolor, then the paper is cut into and reformed, creating shapes and 3D sculptures which the paintings move across.
Primarily intending to pursue medical school, Lee changed his mind after graduation and instead found a studio and continued working on his other passion, art. You can see traces of his past ambitions in the technical precision of his paintings. The symmetry is scientific.
Some shapes are forming, some dissolving, some reforming. Matter shifts between sections of his work, created in one area and destroyed in another. Rectangle cut-outs fan inward from the edges of the paper like waves of autumn leaves kicked up from the ground, like a school of fish flickering in unison. He paints with gradients, running in and out of them, some color, some grayscale. Faces and eyes are a prominent feature of his work. The Sabrina Amrani Gallery, where Lee has shown work, summarizes his technique rather aptly:
“Hyunsoo Lee’s works are inspired by themes of social stigma, identity, psychological disorders, and more recently, of spirituality and religion. He explores these themes through a novel vector – paintings and sculptures consisting largely of cell-like marks that vary in size, color, and saturation. His works are seen as ethereal and delicate, but the extremely labor-intensive compositions, marked by intensely obsessive repetitions, quickly betray that initial perception. Exploring his own history of anxiety disorders through his art, Timothy confronts and manipulates his tics and compulsions and channels them into his works. In responding to his anxiety with art, he has developed a novel system of mind-mapping – “a cartography of his psychopathology” – to study a part of himself that initially drew him to study developmental biology and neuroscience in college.” (Excerpt from Source)
Given the prevalence of new technologies and the endless possibilities associated with digital programs, it is no surprise that most contemporary artists working in collage seldom create works entirely by hand. To Argentinian artist Larissa Haily Aguado, however, fabricating collages manually has become an integral aspect of her practice, as “the possibilities of fixed manual collage in the digital age provide exciting opportunities to engage with craft, materials, analysis and outcomes.”
With mesmerizing compositions, dream-like subject matter, and a “sharper, more immediate, and more human dynamic than is possible with computer software,” Aguado’s collages combine photographs, illustration, found materials, and elements of graphic design to form surreal yet seamlessly cohesive scenes. By attaching inanimate objects to human bodies or placing retro furniture in scenes of nature, Aguado creates works that are both tongue-in-cheek and aesthetically appealing.
Representative of her wide range of artistic experiences and clearly influenced by her multi-faceted career (including major music industry projects, fashion campaigns, movie poster designs, and TV commercials), the diverse nature of her collages undoubtedly conveys her inventive imagination and eye for design.
Swiss-Italian photographer Christian Tagliavini’s contemporary antique photos blend fine arts and craftsmanship seamlessly into “1503,” his captivating portrait series. 1503 is the birth year of Agnolo Bronzino, an Italian court painter for the Medici family of Florence, whose realistic paintings had an enormous influence on portraiture.
Though Tagliavini’s photos may appear to be historically based oil paintings, they are more than just a literal translation of antiquated art through new technology. The clothes and body positioning echo Bronzino and the light in these portraits is tender and perfect, but it’s the details of the photos that emphasize the modernity of the work-the stylized outfits, exaggerated necks, translucent skin and clear directness of the models’ gazes. Unlike the bold colors of the paintings, the photographs are printed in pale, unsaturated tones, which work to make them feel more contemporary.
“Christian Tagliavini loves designing stories with open endings (requiring observer’s complicity) on unexplored themes or unusual concepts, featuring uncommon people with their lives and their thoughts made visible. This rich and exciting collision of circumstances results in photos as a final product.”
Tagliavini is impressively skilled-not only is he the photographer, he is also the costume designer, set builder, and casting director. He says, “I’m fascinated by the fact that I don’t simply release the shutter, but that the real fun for me is before I take the pictures. I say that I’m not really a photographer, but a workman of photography.”