Using an off key palette in his latest series of paintings The Inevitable, Hong Kong based artist Simon Birch fuses gestural marks with the figure. His pictures of young subjects twist through various painted emotions trying to break free of youthful angst. In the process they achieve a rebirth witnessed through thickly impastoed swatches. All the faces in Birch’s paintings seem disguised and obscured by paint thus suggesting an inner life. He depicts his subjects as breaking loose or apart from something. The marks obscuring the faces seem to be attacking Birch’s figures and become powerful metaphors concerning age and maturity. The underlining violence in his work can be taken a number of ways. It can be viewed as the violence we bring upon ourselves due to insecurity and peer pressure. Since most of the work in his current series either focuses on the nude body or just the head, we are reminded that the brain rules the body not the other way around.
Birch is a British born artist that has lived in Hong Kong for the past twenty years. He has had a long career engaging in everything from painting, video to installation. Along with visual art he has been involved with urban dance music, organizing club nights in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong where he showcased the scene’s most prominent DJs. An interesting fact about Birch is that early on in his art career, he took a job in construction as a way to make money helping to build the Tsing Ma, the world’s ninth largest suspension bridge. (via myampgoesto11)
Daniel Aristizábal is a graphic designer and illustrator who creates incredible digital works of art that are surreal and transport the viewers to a topsy-turvy Rube Goldberg-esque world. His Huevos series is playfully inspired by Dali’s “Eggs on the Plate without the Plate,” showing colorful variations on the common egg.
In some of Aristizabal’s work, the 3D elements pop out, almost like digital sculptures. Other works, such as his “Glitched Cubism” piece, utilizes the 2D GIF format to play with the dimensions and perspective of cubism. In an interview with Instagram, he says that his work is a “retro, colorful, geometric bonanza.” His art seems to draw on a palette that is by turns neon and sherbet but always whimsical.
Aristizabal continues to say:
“My main sources of inspiration are random thoughts that pop in my mind, like memories of dreams and places that I used to imagine when I was a child. I think the term ‘pop surrealism’ works well for me. My work is full of simplicity and organic shapes. It is nostalgic in its essence.”
Nathalie Croquet is a French stylist and journalist who has cleverly recreated high fashion and beauty advertisements in an Instagram series entitled “Spoof”. Having once worked as Biba’s fashion editor and Jean Paul Gaultier’s photo director, Croquet is deeply familiar with the types of imagery that have defined such marketing campaigns, from Eric Bompard’s pink-toned whimsy to Isabel Marant’s sultry and pseudo-dishevelled aesthetic. The lighting, makeup, and styling are remarkably similar between the originals and their spoofs (the studded plaid shirt in the Eleven Paris parody appears near-identical, for example), with the critical differences lying in the models themselves: they encompass a diversity of body types and ages.
Playful and light-hearted, Croquet’s imagery reminds us of the theatricality of fashion advertising; lighting, makeup, and costumes are carefully arranged to appeal to marketed notions of high-end beauty. The “Spoof” models do a great job recreating the postures and facial expressions to reveal both the parody and the construction of the original campaign imagery. Visit Croquet’s Instagram and website to learn more. (Via AnOther)
Marcelo Monreal is a Brazilian collage artist who cracks skulls in the most beautiful way possible. Digitally splitting parts of models and celebrities faces (Christopher Walken and Kate Moss are among them), he fuses beautiful blooms with the broken shapes. Small, colorful flowers grow from behind eye sockets, in the place of noses, and out of mouths. This surreal series is called Faces [UN]bonded.
In Monreal’s opinon, people don’t often tell us who they really are. Instead, they keep parts of their real selves hidden. He opens them up with his collages and reveals the rare moments in which we see the beauty that’s behind their appearance. (Via Art Fucks Me)
South Korean artist Jihyun Park creates incredibly complex images by burning minute holes in rice paper with incense sticks. He then mounts the finished ‘drawings’ onto varnished canvases. The final results are beautifully serene images of trees, mountains, clouds, forests and branches. As a kind of reverse pointillism, Park is interested in the contrasts between empty space and positive space, or by taking something away (parts of the paper, and the incense stick) to create something new (the image).
Inspired by the books Gulliver’s Travels, Utopia, and Erewhon and after seeing the Japanese animated movie Castle in the Sky, Park became interested in the ideas of utopia and harmony. He expands these connections in his work further:
My recent work, Incense Series, focuses on this relationship while searching for the promised harmonic balance that utopia brings. Ironically, the word “utopia” in Korean is “Yi Sang Hwang” and “Hwang” means “incense”. (Source)
Park also talks about the ideas of positive and negative further. He says the shadows created by the holes in the paper are playing off of the light reflected from behind them. To him this is a fine example of Yin and Yang and two opposites who complicate and strengthen each other. He also chooses to outline his subjects or to fill them in – working with reverses in an aesthetic sense as well.
The subjects addressed in my work range from the natural world to memories of the past, reflecting the constant physical and emotional changes in our environment. It is my hope that the “moments” I captures of my subjects are ones when they are at their most ideal– true utopias. While drawing them with the incense, I am “holding” a split moment of harmony in my hands. (Source)
Sipho Mabona reinvents traditional origami practices. In a series called vectorgraphics he creates forms where the paper is kept flat. Both aesthetically and spiritually it recalls stained glass windows and resembles colorful panes you might see in a new age cathedral. He furthers the conversation by mixing the pigment with sugar water and achieves a result that improves upon the medium transforming it into something else. There’s hesitation to say ‘new age’ but it does embrace qualities beyond this world.
Mabona started working with paper at a young age making traditional airplane designs. When he was a teenager he turned to origami and has since engaged in many different projects using the material. Besides graphically inspired work and traditional origami figures he has made a life size elephant. All white and made out of folded paper it is a feast for the eyes. His origami has been used to tell the Asics sneaker story. In a short entitled “Origami: in the Pursuit of Perfecton” it traces the company’s history through Mabona’s models.
Origami is the traditional art of making sculptures out of paper without glue, tape or staples. It has three distinct origins dating back to the 16th century. In China, folded paper was burned during funerals as currency for the deceased into the next world. In Japan, the first reference appeared in a short poem where a paper butterfly design was mentioned at a Shinto wedding and in Europe napkin folding became popular with 17th century nobility eventually replacing it with porcelain. (via designboom)
Alana Dee Haynes is a Brooklyn-based artist who turns the bodies of her photographed subjects into illustrated surfaces, transforming blank skin and clothing into undulating patterns and shapes. We featured some of her works a couple years ago, but since then, Haynes has been continuing to create intricate and whimsical pieces. Peruse the flowing imagery and you will see kneecaps split open into eyes, collarbones overlain with lips, and torsos swarmed with circular, overlapping patterns that transform models into scaled, serpentine creatures. In a fascinating interview with Juxtapoz, Haynes explains how she uses individual physical characteristics to inspire her illustrations, thereby exploring alternative forms of bodily representation:
“Everyone has a certain way they see the world. Some things jump out at people, while others pass them by. I see faces and patterns everywhere. When I look at people, I connect their beauty marks, and find faces in their knuckle lines. It’s just the way I live. So, naturally, I see these things in photographs too. It is not synesthesia, but it is a similar way of viewing multiple layers in things.” (Source)
Fashion also plays a significant role in Haynes’ work. Just as clothes can be creatively worn to signify individuality, her illustrations transform the models’ entire bodies into expressive surfaces. “When it comes down to it, I believe fashion should bring out emotions and be relatable, as if wearing your own skin and mind,” Haynes explained to Juxtapoz. “And my skin is definitely full of faces and patterns” (Source). Whereas the face is so often read as the sole locus of emotional and cognitive display, Haynes’ brilliant line work illuminates the dynamism and individuality that exists everywhere: in our arms, legs, hands, clothing, and more.
At first glance, the artwork of Alexandra Bastien appears to be photographs of a nude woman with a variety of skulls. However, the artist unbelievably renders her hyper-realistic drawings from layer upon layers of color pencil. Bastien’s astonishing ability to create such incredibly detailed drawings allows her to beautifully show the human body in a state of transition. The heavy symbolism that has long been attached to the skull in art history represents death. Bastien illustrates this concept in contrast to the soft, warm body of the nude woman. The women in her work are holding the skulls, embracing whatever darkness they may bring. In one drawing, both skull and human have even merged together in perfect balance. This balance of life and death is shown in a state of transition and transformation, exploring themes of rebirth and the afterlife. Seeing the many different skulls amongst a human in its natural state may be reminiscent to human origins and ancestry.
Bastien’s incredible, artistic skill and talent can be seen in this photorealistic series titled Taming the Beast. She finds inspiration in her natural fascination with the human body and form. The accomplishments of this Canadian artist are just as impressive as her skill. Her work has been included in several publications and magazines as well as been exhibited all over the world.