Artist Takumi Kama is trying to confront and conquer his fears of high school girls by turning them into strange reptiles and animals. By anthropomorphizing teenage girls, he makes them less threatening and harmful. The Japanese drawer has imagined one girl as a snobby, gangly giraffe, holding it’s head up high and standing displeased with everything around it. He has drawn another one as a frightened armadillo huddled in the fetal position, looking terrified and uncomfortable. He has sketched the girls he would see on the train as a group of primates, absorbed in their cellphones; the book nerd in the school corridor is now an awkward frog beast holding her book in her weird hands, furry tail wrapped around a bottle of soda pop.
Kama has studied both the poses and mannerisms of the girls and also the beasts he has turned them into – combining them into one and the same. His immaculate pencil renderings create a convincing impression of these strange creatures, and it is easy to see them the way he does every time he encounters the demographic. Kama admits:
I am terrified of high school girls. If I encounter a group of them on a train there is a high possibility I will escape to another car. (Source)
This certain sub culture is often dissected, or referred to in popular Japanese culture. Called Joshi kōsei (女子高生) they feature in manga comics and videos as well as being fetishized in pornographic videos. Kama is also obsessed with the idea of this social group, but in his series Schoolgirl Animals, they are seen as something a bit more imaginative and humorous than the usual schoolgirl fantasy. The collection of his pencil drawings were on show at BAMI gallery in Kyoto until May 31, 2015, but you can still enjoy more of the images after the jump. (Via Spoon Tamago)
French artists Zim and Zou, comprised of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann, took Spain by storm this May during EXPO Milan 2015 with their elaborate, thought provoking artwork. In store windows in the streets of Milan, the talented pair installed displays of intricate, three-dimensional work bursting with color and environmental messages. Created mostly out of carefully cut paper, Zim and Zou’s series illustrates the harmful effects GMO’s and aggressive farming can have on the environment, our own bodies, and the food industry as a whole. This fell in line with this years EXPO Milan theme for 2015, which is “Feeding the planet, Energy for life.”
The series in the display windows, titled Edible Monsters, reveals an array of sterile looking plants and animals, complete with mutant-like features and unnatural colors. Although these seemingly bright and cheery scenes evoke feelings of warmth and pleasantness at first glance, they all hold a bizarre aura, showing how the path that we currently are on can lead to terrible and irreversible effects on nature. One scene displays brilliantly colored, happy flowers that devour insects. In another window, one can see a fish swallowing harmful pills and a rabbit with a mutated third ear and crazed eyes. Each installation is beautifully done, but has a dark undertone of what effects chemical use and genetic manipulation can possibly have on our future. These eye-catching window displays shed light on the important subject of the world’s dietary habits and sustainability in a fantastical way. (via Design Boom)
Kirk Weddle known for his underwater photography is probably best known for his cover shot of Nirvana’s groundbreaking second LP Nevermind. Weddle’s cover shot of the naked baby swimming after a dollar bill is synonymous with an album that changed the face of music forever. Now over twenty years later out takes from the infamous shoot has surfaced and it’s interesting to hear the back story behind this one professional moment in the band’s early career and also see the trio captured on the brink of both superstardom and tragedy.
Perhaps the most prevalent thing apparent in these photos is the exhaustion and frustration of a touring band having to do the mandatory marketing tactics put forth by their record label to sell the next album. It’s unclear who decided that the best selling point for the album’s photos would be underwater shots but that was the call for the day and to see Kurt and the guys in these ridiculous shots is both endearing and bittersweet.
According to Weddle the band even though exhausted from touring was good natured and didn’t pull any rock star moves. They look tired but in good spirits for most of the photos. Nevermind was released in September 1991 and would become one of the most successful alternative rock albums of all time. To date it has sold 30 million copies worldwide. (via Juxtapoz)
Lea Anderson is an American artist who creates beautiful and “propagating” wall-mounted installations. Exploding and evolving like particles, individually crafted parts (or “pods”) made of soldered tin cans, socks, wire, and flowery digital prints merge into beautifully flowing units, enveloping walls with an ecstatic, quasi-infectious fervor. Inspired by the unstructured nature of memory, thought, and hope, Anderson’s works represent the free-flowing multiplicities that compose our emotional lives. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, she explained her process:
My work is fertilized by personal fascinations with the parallels found between the tangible, biological world, and the world of ideas, thoughts, and emotions. My work begins with a question about how a particular unseen reality might present itself if it were actually re-produced in physical form: What surprising form would the energy of ‘creative intention’ take on if it were visible? How might your memories flex and intermix with one another if we could see them all at once? What does the cumulative energy of one’s entire life look like when, through the grief of loss, it is transformed into love?
Many of Anderson’s works emerge from pain as projects of healing. “Matters,” for example, is a tribute to the enduring memories and influences of her late mother and father; “Rebirth of a Life” grew as an artistic response to the possibility of never having another child. In each case, Anderson dismantles mazes of pain by “sprouting” matter in infinite directions; as in the natural world, there is always a way to initiate healing and renewal by embracing the ebbs and flows of uninhibited thoughts and ideas. Without a predictable structure, Anderson’s works provide visual environments for highly subjective interpretations:
I hope the works stimulate curiosity and resonate on both the most fundamental and highest levels. The meaning I personally infuse in the work isn’t required for a link to be established. The language of color, shape, and form are powerfully unifying and universal ways of communicating. Responses reflect who each individual is in that moment. In that way the ideas are germinated within the mind of another, and the evolution continues.
Flicking through Colin Crane‘s photography is like playing a game of hide and seek. It’s joyful, light-hearted, flirty, a bit adventurous, and will make you smile. Crane has the knack for capturing the happiness in his subjects and images. It may sound so simple, but the effect is not to be underestimated. His photographs are like a celebration of many different aspects of life, but mostly about curiosity, enjoyment, wonder and inhibition (or lack of).
Crane’s series Dreaming In Color is a collection of intimate, dreamy moments caught on camera. Coquettish girls lie basking in a meadow, zoned out in a blissful state. A grown adult is engrossed in a pair of binoculars as if they were discovering them for the very first time. We see a figure mysteriously emerging from colored lights placed in a forest – and can only dream about what they are up to – where they have come from and why. Adventurous faces are captured, ready to create another memorable experience that they will no doubt tell around the next campfire. Friends are profiled in surreal light, flares, and orbs, sharing something magical with each other.
Crane has a naivety to his work – but most certainly not in a negative way. It’s almost as if he is experiencing the world for the first time, with virgin eyes, and we get to share in his astonishment. His work has titles like Life Is Elsewhere, A Dream That Could Come True, and Nicaraguan Afternoon – and it certainly feels like we have entered a fictional, surreal reality when we enter the world of this young talented photographer.
Michael Pietrocarlo is a photographer whose solemn photos of abandoned buildings capture the beauty of ruin and the renewing power of decay. Three series are featured here: Rust Belt, Forlorn Faith, and Unmanned Posts. Rust Belt explores the communities of Buffalo, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, which struggled during the economic turbulence of the 1980s; Forlorn Faith shows us vast spaces of spiritual worship left in decline; and Unmanned Posts guides us through the dust and stillness of the Bethlemhem Steel Admin Building, which closed in 1982. In his images, Pietrocarlo both shocks and stirs the imagination by revealing what happens when places once invested with love, energy, and hope are neglected; windows break, ceilings crack, paints peels. They become breathless ghost spaces, engraved with memory and mystery, breaking down and moldering in silence.
As these photos show us, however, there is beauty in deterioration; skeletons of industry and worship become tangible links to the past, signifiers of a passion and a hope that has preceded us. Decay becomes the passage to renewal, both personal and shared. As Pietrocarlo explains further:
I am drawn to the mystery of spaces where longevity has defied significance: forlorn constructs ravaged by nature, time, and the boundaries of ruin. I discover and appropriate these “found places” in my photographs to expose the brutal beauty of their (inevitable) decay, exploring contrasting themes of transience/permanence, deterioration/renewal, and abandonment/reclamation.
[…] Above all, these acts of discovery and documentation help me confront my own struggles with mortality in an attempt to illustrate artistry in dereliction, hope in obsolescence, intimacy in emptiness. (Source)
Perhaps taking some influence from the Hindu god Shiva, Korean artist Ahn Sun Mi creates self portraits depicting herself as some type of all seeing entity. In a surreal sense the photographs Mi creates depict the many emotions and feelings one experiences throughout the day. It conveys the complexity of human behavior by showing multiple eyes or arms. These represent the many things we see and do throughout the course of our lives. The numerous changes we undergo each day become in Mi’s work another mark in our psyche which is visually or literally depicted in her work.
While studying in Paris Mi became interested in the concept of metamorphosis which resulted from her being away from home in a strange land. Some of her photographs resemble a moth about to turn into a butterfly. Others have her struggling out of a cocoon like a covering made out of her arms. It helped her deal with all the emotions which stemmed from her new surroundings and mirrored how growth is good even though somewhat painful. By using herself in the photos we not only experience the ideas she’s trying to communicate but also get to see the biographical side in a literal visual sense. Historically Mi’s work finds reference to artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Rene Magritte. (Via faithistorment)
Like looking into the private thoughts of a diary, photographer Adeline Mai creates narratives of intimacy, portraying poetic scenes of human interaction. In her body of work, she creates ethereal images of profound closeness between her subjects. With titles like J’ai Embrassé L’Aube D’Été, French for I Embraced the Summer Dawn, Weightlessness, and Dirty Weekend, the names of each series are just as lyrical as the photographs itself. The Parisian artist captures stunning images of contorting bodies, displaying breathtaking views of the human body. In her series I Embraced the Summer Dawn, each photograph contains a stark emptiness except for the two, nude figures beautifully entwined as if they are attempting to become one body. This same sense of intimacy is embodied in her series Dirty Weekend. Only instead of gracefully posed, flawless bodies, we are now given a view of a more natural nudity, out in the woods and in more candid positions. Mai not only captures a playful kind of nakedness, but a shared closeness between clothed subjects as well. She is a master at capturing tender moments between her subjects and laying them out for all to see.
Mai having the ability to brilliantly capture light on her subjects, her series Weightlessness includes floating figures with soft, warm light consuming their surroundings. These figures appear to be floating, but they are actually underwater! The photographer has turned this normally cool-colored environment into a glow of yellows, reds, and oranges. Adeline Mai’s entrancing photography pulls you in to its intimate scenes of magnificent nudes being swallowed up by a sea of color or by human embrace.