In the depths of East London, artist Lucy Sparrow ambitiously converted an abandoned, rundown store into a majestic, playful and fully functional corner shop. The only catch is that every single object in this store, including the cash register and the functional pricing gun, is made out of felt! Everything has been stitched and created by Sparrow herself out of nothing but felt, thread, and the occasional stuffing. Last year, when The Cornershop was “opened” it was filled to the brim with normal, everyday items that a grocery shop may have in stock, but instead, made of felt. The items included ice cream, cans of soup, Doritos, beer, and even cigarettes, just to name a few. The variety of items that were sold at the store was endless. The best part about this corner shop is that it functioned as a real store. A customer could enter the store, shop, purchase the felt items, and take them home. Sparrow’s felt creations became so popular that she even opened up an online shop where anyone in the world can purchase his or her own soft food and cigarettes.
Each grocery store product looked impressively similar to its real-life counterpart, in spite of being made out of felt, with the exception of Sparrow’s vegetables with eyes, of course. While The Cornershop was opened, it contained over 4,000 soft, plush items. The painstaking task of creating each individual grocery item out of felt and embroidery speaks volumes to the artist’s patience and artistic talent. (via The Jealous Curator)
Welcome to Musii, an island of emotion where you can play, feel and listen. Feel like you need a hug? Musii will give you one! This instrumental blow-up stands for Multi-Sensory Interactive Inflatable. A device that lights up and provides a sense of comfort for anyone who interacts with it. Large, soft nylon spires make up its body and extend upward. Pressing down on them creates a spectacle of feeling, brushing all emotion.
Beneath the milk white exterior is an audiovisual system equipped with LED sensors and vibrating speakers that radiate music from a selection of more then 50 sounds. Musii was specialized with the intentions of providing sensory therapy for children with special needs. The inflation and deflation of the spires creates a “humming bird” musical of sound accompanied by rays of changing color. The adjustment of light, sound and volume can be accessed through a touchscreen remote.
The stereotype of your average biker is probably not the first thing you would think of when looking at these images by London based photographer Bex Day. She manages to capture a personable, jovial and charming side to the bikers associated with the infamous 59 Club of London. Wanting to recreate scenes of the subculture from the 60s and onwards, Day cast different characters in certain poses that are endearing and humorous. She says:
I wanted to explore the renowned biker café, the Ace Café and explore the lives of the bikers who hang out there and get to know them better; but most importantly to investigate their take on the 50s/60s movement.
Trying to keep the scenes as realistic as possible, and true to the spirit of the 59 Club, it is important to Day that she captures the bikers how they really are – wrinkles, blemishes, hairy backs and all. She goes on to say:
I wanted to recreate the era to illustrate it in a timeless manner, which is what I try to do in all my photographs, but also to emphasize how the subjects viewed the era we were trying to portray and their take on it was crucial to the photographs.
Day wants to challenge our views of conventional beauty and to destroy the guidelines of what is and what isn’t aesthetically pleasing. A subject that isn’t normally seen as beautiful, in Day’s hands, is treated as something equally as attractive as a traditional fashion spread. Who would’ve thought long haired men wearing too-tight dungarees and ‘pimp’ glasses straddling motorbikes could be so appealing?
Photographer Eolo Perfido’s series Clownville is a place where nightmares are real. In this series, Perfido photographs a hodgepodge group of bloody, cackling, and all together demented-looking clowns. What makes this set of clowns so horrifying is the incredible attention to detail the photographer has taken into account when developing such a dark, desolate atmosphere. We are able to see each crusty hair on the clown’s body, every white, chalky flake of skin. They have become just as grotesque as they are unwanted. The clown, who can be thought about in a cheery, amusing way, is often a subject that many people fear. Among all of the classic, cult horror films lies the infamous and terrifying clown. It has been appropriated to suit every child’s nightmare. Still, there is something incredibly sad about the clown, even in some of the characters in Clownville. Although frightening, many of Perfido’s clown seem worn out and used, as if they are just misunderstood and unfortunate. This sense of hopelessness can be seen in the photograph exhibiting a fairly large-sized clown smoking on a couch. Another representation of this is found in the face of the big, teary-eyed clown staring straight into the viewer, with no smile. The entertainers are perhaps tired of entertaining us.
Eolo Perfido’s heavily stylized approach to photography is very apparent in his series Clownville. Many of his photos have a very staged look, almost like a play, while at the same time feeling genuine. Others have an old, classic flavor due to their grainy quality and black and white tones. There is something different that can be found in each clown as their creative make up and poses reveal bits of their character. As unnerving as this series may be, we cannot look away from these unforgettable, chilling faces.
Old magazines and documents are given new life in Mark Powell’s work. Instead of using a blank piece of paper he incorporates a used surface with one of his drawings. This adds a bit of nostalgia and makes his sketches unique. He created a series of animal portraits on the covers of 1940′s National Geographic magazines. These were done in Powell’s ultra realistic style, where he used a common bic ballpoint pen to create dramatic renderings. In this instance, the wild animals offer the viewer a striking view of not only Powell’s expertise as a draftsman but a certain comfort level in seeing a familiar title.
A series of map drawings by the artist cleverly uses historical and literary figures. Mostly portraying old men, Powell fuses the lines on their faces perfectly with the map borders adding an interesting element. The idea itself preserves a time and place. Birds, insects and chimpanzees create another body of work that incorporates more reappropriation. The intricately drawn specimens appear on anatomy text book pages, old letter envelopes and historical editions. These are rendered with scientific precision similar to botanical studies. Their placement on the used surface opens up a collage sensibility.
Powell uses a tool that also holds historical significance. Before the bic biro pen was invented only cumbersome fountain pens were used. These were messy and inconvenient. A newspaper editor named Lazlo Biro noticed that newspaper inks dried quicker and with his brother Gyorgy, a chemist, created the first ballpoint writing pen. Because of the moving ball at the pen’s end the inks were allowed to dry making it easier to use. (via faithistorment)
Last week, BuzzFeed published a video featuring three women who were given complete makeovers based on “diverse traditions of beauty,” transforming them into figures from their cultural, historical pasts. Their backgrounds — which were Indian, English-Irish-Scottish, and Chinese-Taiwanese – were researched, and then clothes, accessories, hairstyles, and makeup were selected to recreate the looks. The women are fascinated and excited by the stylists’ creative interpretations of their heritage, and as one participant expresses, “It’s traditional, but at the same time, there’s an edge to it.”
A possible criticism of this video would be that it risks essentializing ethnic identities and notions of beauty; it’s always important to remember that cultural histories and traditions are infinitely diverse and nuanced. However, BuzzFeed’s goal to creatively explore a range of backgrounds is valuable, in that it aims to celebrate cultural difference and disparate histories. The video provides positive representation to alternative-and-equal cultural understandings of traditional beauty, which is important in a world wherein the media is so often dominated — or at least influenced — by Western standards and ways of thinking.
Check out the video above, and share with us your thoughts. What do you think about these depictions of diverse, traditional beauty? (Via designboom)
Multi-media artist Kip Omolade paints captivating portraits based on realistic African sculptures. His new series Diovadiova Chrome is a collection of hyper realistic, super saturated, luminous faces that are a result of a labor intensive process. Omolade first makes a mold of each model’s face out of plaster, casts it in resin, adds a layer of chrome and extravagant artificial eyelashes. This final version of the sculpture is then used as a model for the oil painting. Omolade says his paintings are:
historically connect[ed] to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury.
He goes on to say that his re-imagining of the masks are a conduit between the spiritual and natural world. He has exhibited the actual representations of the masks as well, as a kind of homage to the history of African culture being on display. His expertise in the African Art genre (gained from working at The Center for African Art in NYC) has fueled his passion for promoting awareness of the indigenous culture. To see more of his impressive images, see after the jump.
Jess de Wahls is a London-based artist whose colorful multilayered and multifaceted textile works incorporate feminism, gender equality as well as recycling. Using a variety of fabrics, beads, and other materials, she creates 3D portraits that depict strong, inspirational women of all ages, shapes, and ethnicities. She sees her pieces as a way to raise awareness of gender inequality, explaining to TextileArtist.org, “…all the while celebrating great minds and artists of the past and present.”
In her artist statement, de Wahls also goes on to say:
Their influence on myself as a modern woman, Feminist and Artist, on Feminism as a whole and on their position as Role models to young girls growing up in a society that has, no doubt, come a long way in liberating its women but has yet a great length ahead of it. Not to mention the work that needs to be done in other parts of our planet, where women are to date still oppressed, belittled and generally treated as second class humans.
So, by creating these pieces, she ensures that their legacy isn’t forgotten.
De Wahls unique style is the product of a self-made called Retex which is short for recycled textile sculpture. She explains:
For the medium of Retex Sculpting, old garments serve as fabric for the works and cushion filler helps me to create a relief that raises the silhouette off the canvas creating greater depth.
The box-frame, in which the work is mounted, is integral to the piece and can be seen as a modern day relic box. (Via TextileArtist.org)