Montreal based mural artist Jason Botkin loves to paint large, strikingly colorful abstractions of faces doing weird things. And bodies doing weird things. He likes to paint hands out of scale, eye brows quivering, bird faces animated, alien shapes in bright bold shades and cartoon characters who are larger than life. Recently returning from the Festival Internacional de Arte Público in Mexico where he collaborated with Jeremy Shantz on a series of weird masks and faces, he is no stranger to combining his distinctive pop style with other artists’, to create unforgettable imagery.
Botkin is not only a master of street painting and graffiti-style work, but also of installations and drawings – all which have a surrealistic twist. His work in Cancun is a natural progression on from his more figurative work which is aptly described here after the success of his second solo show in 2008:
Figures turn inside out, dressed in their emperor’s finest; bodies unwrapped to explore inner worlds, emotions, and ideas; vapors and clouds permeate architectural structures of unknown purpose; buildings chart impossible perspectives, cities in chaos; geometric forms emerge from and are swallowed by the imagined inner workings of internal landscapes. These various elements form a tapestry of self divined utopias and personal myths. These offerings are made with the belief that change is possible, when we reinterpret social identities and then test deeply entrenched, and often flawed social realities. (Source)
Leading on from that, Botkin leaned toward painting more cartoon-like heads complete with their own personalities. He adds a healthy sense of humor to his work and enlarges it, places in it a public sphere and allows people to enjoy it at their own leisure. See more of his paintings after the jump. (Via Hi Fructose)
French photographer Benjamin Bechet’s series “Je suis Winnie l’Ourson” explores the marginal side of life where illegal workers, the homeless, the poor, and the transient are replaced by pop culture icons such as Batman and Disney characters. (via gaks)
Alex Wein is a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. The photography work on his site is really diverse, but I’m particularly into these smoke-swathed figures in black and white. (via)
Anthony and other boxer connecting punches. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
The crowd consisting of a large number of Charlie’s friends celebrate as Charlie wins his match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Two boxers pair up before their match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Ring girl entertaining the crowd in-between rounds. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
Photographer Devin Yalkin points an unflinching eye to the underground world of illegal fight nights, capturing their raw intensity. These “Friday Night Throwdowns” happen in secret locations and venues all over New York City. In Yalkin’s series The Old One Two, this hidden world is revealed through intimate, black and white photographs with a Film Noir flavor to them. This powerful series gets you up close and personal to the fighters and the erupting crowd cheering them on. The compositions in this series can be as hazy and chaotic as the fight itself, capturing the true atmosphere of these fight nights. You can see the unrefined aggressiveness and brutality between the fighters, but also feel the excitement and energy from the audience.
Devin Yalkin allows us to take place of the spectator, seeing every bead of sweat and drop of blood on the skin of the fighters. The high tension and motion happening during these Friday Night Throwdown’s can be felt in each photograph. It is as if we are standing next to each eccentric character; the screaming fan, the eager fighter, or the elusive woman in lingerie whose role is somewhat unknown. All of the individuals shown in Yalkin’s series seem to come from all walks of life, having only the love of the fight connecting them.
Make sure to check out Devin Yalin’s new strange and beautiful series Abductions, which captures ominous scenes of which we cannot place, mysterious and alluring.
The Connecticut-based artist Dalton M. Ghetti carves mind-glowingly small sculptures atop the tips of pencils. Bored with carving larger objects, the sculptor invented this delightfully miniature medium to draw the eye to the pleasures of the minuscule; in a world where bigger is generally thought to be better, his work reminds us that sometimes the most magical things can spring forth from right under our noses. Ghetti uses sewing needles and razor blades as carving tools, and he works by holding the pencil steady beneath a direct light source like a lamp. Due to the required precision and effort, a single piece may take months or even years to finish.
Ghetti’s work contains a charming childlike curiosity and innocence, one that is maintained in part by his staunch refusal to sell or profit financially from his creations. The pencil is an artistic medium in itself, and by carving it, the artist shifts our perspective and subverts our understanding of what constitutes fine art. Furthering this whimsical challenge to the visual arts cannon, Ghetti avoids fancy pencils, using only recycled or discarded pencils that he finds on the street. The subject matter of his sculptures is also delightfully regular; by carving these everyday objects—a saw, a hammer, a spool of thread— he elevates the seemingly mundane.
Ghetti’s most ambitious piece is his 9/11 memorial. For the project, titled 3,000 tears, the artist carved 3,000 tiny teardrops from pencil graphite. Each tear took approximately an hour to make, and the entire work was in progress for a decade. Together, the tears form one large drop. Take a look. (via KoiKoiKoi)
Beautiful/Decay is thrilled to announce the grand reopening of the B/D Shop! At first look you’ll notice a bolder, brighter layout and big crisp photos. Our books, posters, and back issues of the zine are – of course – still available for purchase. In addition, we are very excited to now start releasing limited edition prints and other products on a regular basis.
Our plan is to do multiple releases every month, beginning this month. Each release will be an opportunity to own ( and support ) an artist’s work that has moved and mesmerized you. A generous portion of the sales goes right back to each of the artists we work with.
Stay tuned for more information and announcements, and sign up for the mailing list to get updates on new print releases.