The group 1,600 of exquisitely crafted papier-mâché panda bears have already travelled to and occupied cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome, and TaiPei; next month, they will overtake ten Hong Kong historical landmarks and tourist sites. As part of the Pandas on Tour project, these cuddly creatures are crafted from recycled materials by the French artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, PMQ, and All Rights Reserved. Each sculpture has an important statement to make: there are less than 1,600 pandas living in the wild. Grangeon’s small creatures, with their wide eyes and round bodies, are easily be displayed side-by-side, providing a halting vision of the endangered species.
Human forces have forced the panda bears in a state of emergency; mining, tourism, and global warming have all contributed to the distraction of animal habitat in Chinese forests. Wild panda conservation is crucial, as the animals can rarely be convinced to mate in captivity.
Believe it or not, humans have a biological impetus for wanting to protect the species. Pandas have proven to be the most beloved animal for their resemblance to human babies; they too have wide eyes and their paws contain a “pseudo thumb.” Grangeon’s touching creatures are imbued with the tender hearts we recognize in the animals they represent. With poignantly cartoonish eyes, round ears, and emotive facial expressions, the papier-mâché figures inspire a whole lot of empathy. To learn how you can help the panda bears, visit WWF or the Smithsonian’s Giant Panda Conservation Fund. (via HuffPost, Time, and Design Boom)
This exhibition themed around sex will definitely separate the prudes from the promiscuous. Aptly titled “Sex Monsters”, 10 different artists explore the topics of gender bending, prostitution, fetishism and vice. A combination of photography, illustration, collage and assemblage, we get the chance to view some light erotica while questioning our accepted norms of sexuality.
Explicit drawings of sexual acts, photos of exposed bodies or advertisements for sexual encounters ask us to consider what is “slutty”, “indecent”, or “perverted”. More than just a simple display of modern sexuality, “Sex Monsters” is an exhibition showing something other than the normal heterosexual depictions of sex we are surrounded by. Photos of large amounts of condoms, strip clubs, and rows of newspaper listings shows the extent of the sex industry and how easily mundane these things can become in a world over-saturated with suggestive innuendo.
Encompassing genres like Sexploitation, Pornography, Soft-core, BDSM, this exhibition is intended on titillating and exciting us viewers. Aimed at the inner voyeur in us all, “Sex Monsters” will most definitely capture your attention. Unfortunately the exhibition has just closed at No Romance galleries, but you can still satisfy your curiosity by looking up the artists involved in the privacy of your own home…. Mike Krim, Pietro Cocco, Jennifer Calandra, Lorenzo Fariello, Amy Hood, Jonathan Leder, Sean Maung, Chelsea Nyegaard, Robert Farber and Kilroy Savage. (via Huffington Post)
Although most of America (currently enduring one of the worst winter cold snaps in nearly two decades) would like to ignore this fact in for favor of bundled layers and heated blankets, sometimes even the dire cold, snow and ice can provide the tools and inspiration for those who brave it’s elements. Famed land and installation artist Andy Goldsworthy (previously here and here) has often utilized ice, frost, snow and frozen earth to create his trademark land interventions. And rather than avoiding the elements, Goldsworthy is only able to create these delicate and precise sculptures by embracing the cold.
In Goldsworthy’s 2004 documentary, Rivers & Tides, several scenes document the difficulty in attempting to harness the cold’s elements. One scene shows the artist, braving the winter elements for hours at a time in finger-less gloves (so as to be able to properly feel and hold the materials) fusing together icicle chunks together with warm water, holding them in place while they freeze together into naturally-made though unnatural shapes. The smallest temperature changes, light, and even chance cause the ice sculpture to collapse, repeatedly, which is all part of Goldsworthy’s process. Says the artist, “Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature.”
Goldsworthy’s process is only captured through the use of photographs, and the often detailed notes (below) which the artist uses to document the difficulties and triumphs of each individual piece.
“Your childhoods belong to me now,” says the concept artist Dan LuVisi of his terrifying portraits of beloved cartoon characters turned grotesque and murderous. LuVisi’s chilling series, titled Popped Culture, holds a scathing mirror to Hollywood ethics, to the exploitation that goes on behind the scenes of even the most innocent movie productions. Accompanying each of his images on his blog, the artist, who has a background in comic books and has illustrated for DC’s Batman and Superman, includes short stories outlining Tigger and Goofy’s tragic path to corruption.
LuVisi’s spare text reads quite like a noir mystery novel, filled with darkened, moody diners and mugs of bitter coffee. The characters that we associate with our own youths age, hardened by years out of the limelight. The residents of Sesame Street are seemingly evicted, cast out into a generic urban cityscape simply called “THE STREET.” Seduced by industry executives, Kermit takes a role in a brutal adult film. Those who refuse to compromise themselves for the sake of the industry are defeated, as is the case with poor, piteous Gonzo.
The Disney cartoons fare worst of all, transformed from lovable animals into nightmarish ghouls. Mickey Mouse’s gaunt body grows saggy with age, his small, round ears torn and his slimy tongue dripping hungry drool. Donald Duck’s beak opens to reveal rows of teeth, emerging like claws and cruelly lining a mass of tissue; a tiny drop of blood stains his collar. In these disturbing images, we find both humor and pain, forced to reconcile our nostalgic hopes with the realities of Hollywood corruption. (via Demilked, Huff Post, and Elite Daily)
Because it’s still the beginning of the week, and because who doesn’t love animals, here are five artists who cleverly create creatures as part of their work.
David Mach uses everyday items to create large-scale sculptures and installations. His cheetah and tiger, for instance, are created solely out of coat hangers. Laying hundreds of them together Mach created two rather ferocious creatures.
Polish artist Marta Klonowska assembles carefully broken shards of colored glass to create translucent animals of life-like proportion and size. Influenced by the animals seen in baroque and romantic paintings, Klonowska sought to re-make an old idea in a new way.
Kristi Malakoff is a Canadian artist interested in using animals in her art because of “swarm theory,” or “swarm intelligence,” which suggests that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, the theory posits that the limits of the individual are overcome by collective intelligence. This installation consists of 6000 color copies of butterflies on transparency material.
An unconventional use of the medium, Seattle artist Diem Chau works with graphite pencil leads to create intricate and delicate sculptures of animals. Using a rather common medium to create an uncommon result, Chau’s work touches on the value of storytelling and myth and their ability to connect us to one another.
Industrial designer Irving Harper creates beautiful paper sculptures. Humble materials for such intricate results, Harper is interested in using brilliant design and craftsmanship to integrate the natural world.
Joining 3D printing and digital textile printing, the idea of a sprayable, wearable and fabric has the inventors of Fabrican LTD imaging the possibilities which go beyond its initial usage in the fashion industry. Fabrican’s ‘Euraka!’ moment came from another famous canned sprayable, Silly String. The science of the process involves the creation of a liquid suspension which is then applied using a spray gun or aerosol canister. The resulting sprayed fabric has natural, synthetic and recycled fiber options, and when applied typically feels like a breathable suede.
Practical applications have ranged past fashion shows into automobile interiors, furniture upholstery and even entire rooms (the material is easily washable). The fabric can be embedded with a variety of supplements and additives which make separate colors, patterns and (which also opens up the possibilities of quick-creating medical applications such as casts, bandages and even antiseptic-wound cleansing).
According to Fabrican-inventor, Spanish fashion designer Manel Torres, “As a non-woven material, Spray-on Fabric offers possibilities for binding, lining, repairing, layering, covering and moulding in ways previously not imaginable.”
Watch a slightly NSFW video of Fabrican LTD in action after the jump!
Artist Peregrine Church creates a special brand of street art. Instead of wild colors and sprawling compositions, you can only see his handiwork when the ground is wet. Otherwise, his clever paintings are invisible. Church calls these pieces Rainworks, and it’s part of an ongoing series of over 25.
A quick demonstration shows just how inconspicuous Church’s works are. A dry sidewalk reveals nothing, but as soon as a bucket of water is poured on it – magic. The secret is hydrophilic chemicals. Once they’re activated, the clandestine designs reveal uplifting messages, hopscotch, and funny sayings. They last anywhere from four months to a year. (Via The Creator’s Project)