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Ayano Tsukimi Replaces The Dead With Doll Sculptures In Shrinking Japanese Village

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The village of Nagoro is remote location hidden in the valley of Shikoku, Japan. Its small town charm remains enchanting, but its lack of work possibilities has driven its residents to leave for big cities in search for a better life. Nagoro is slowly shrinking.

“When I was a child there was a dam here, there was a company, and hundreds of people used to live here.”

In hopes that she could bring back life to her now desolated hometown of Nagoro, Japanese artist Ayano Tsukimi comes up an unexpected solution.

Tsukimi has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

“I don’t like making weird dolls, but people who blend into the scenery.”

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, director Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi’s doll-filled world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. (via The Verge)

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Michelle Fleck’s Pointed, Minimalistic Paintings of Man’s Effect on the Environment

San Francisco-based artist Michelle Fleck creates slightly minimalistic acrylic paintings that deal with the “relationship between man and the landscape”. In the paintings, decaying natural environments are sullied by the trappings of construction work and neglect. What’s great about these, in addition to Fleck’s nice illustrative sense of texture, is the artist’s intelligent handling of her subject matter. It’s so common, whenever drawing on environmental themes, to be heavy-handed. To sort of say, “I’m talking about the environment now, and it’s very important so look at what I’m doing.” Instead of taking that route, Fleck just paints what she sees (of course taking care to include pointed compositions and visual appeal). Some situations don’t need extensive commentary, just a skilled storyteller to show you just enough of what you need to know.

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Amy Santoferraro’s Sculptures Assembled From Everyday Objects

Amy Santoferraro - Assemblage Amy Santoferraro - Assemblage

Amy Santoferraro - Assemblage

You know those silica gel packets? The kind you find in a new pair of shoes or in a coat pocket? As a kid, Amy Santoferraro used to collect them as if they were something precious. She would organize and catalog them, which was a sign of things to come. Today, collecting is the heart of Santoferraro’s sculptural work.

Some interests never die; they just find new ways to reinvent themselves in our lives. Just as Santoferraro coveted tiny packets of poison as a child, as an adult she’s amassed objects that would usually be discarded. She has built a body of work around something that’s her natural inclination. From her artist statement:

Like every toddler, I play with what I am given. Fascinated by numbers, colors, objects, and shiny things, I rowdily rummage through thrift stores and flea markets like toy boxes tearing through objects whose usefulness has been exhausted and awaits deliverance to a new imagined life.


Santoferraro’s series, BaskeTREE, uses cheap, everyday items and transforms them into small landscapes and scenes. She hand picks objects that resonate with her, either because of nostalgia, beauty, or usefulness. She tinkers with them until the sculpture feels right. The result is a transformation and change of context. Because these cheap items went from being discarded  (one man’s trash is truly another’s treasure here), and placed in the realm of art object, their perceived value is much greater. These assemblages now exist on a higher level of craft and concept than just a plastic flower, basket, and fly swatter has individually.

Santoferraro describes her work as “silly connections that develop from my making and thought processes.” That’s part of the appeal; they might remind us of childhood.  Even if they don’t, the parts of the sculpture reveal a lot about socioeconomic status, and about how and where we grew up. The sum of each sculpture is not only a playful scene, but a snapshot of a society.

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Erik Parker Paints Subversive, Psychedelic Visions In B/D’s Magazine About The “Public Enemy”

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Erik Parker is a German-born, New York-based artist who paints mashed-up characters in psychedelic landscapes; from graffiti, to comic books, to hip-hop, his work represents a synthesis of subculture that has taken on a rebellious life of its own. His work is part of Beautiful/Decay’s Issue O: “…Is the Public Enemy,” a magazine dedicated to artists who critique—through different mediums—mainstream structures. Other featured artists include Anthony Hernandez, a photographer who documented over 40 years of marginalized people and disregarded places in Los Angeles, as well as Imaad Wasif, a singer-songwriter whose passionate, eclectic style traverses the realms of folk and psychedelic/postmodern rock.

Parker’s approach to the “public enemy”—normative society—is to animate cultural expressions of dissonance into grotesquely expressive beings. Order is twisted into madness; human bodies are melted into sensation-filled lava pools of eyeballs, mouths, and viscera; and playful, biomorphic shapes swell into the suggestively sexual. In true graffiti style, many of Parker’s works include words resonating with rebellion and discontent, such as “rize,” “torn,” and “sink/swim.” With their amorphous and infinitely unpredictable shapes, Parker’s paintings signify a fluid form of resistance that undermines structures of constraint.

To learn more about Parker, check out B/D’s Issue O, which includes a feature-length interview with the artist. Limited copies can be purchased in our shop.

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Taravat Talepasand


Taravat Talepasand’s work is anything but subtle. As a dual citizen between Iran and the US, Talepasand work deals with both contemporary and traditional issues of both nations. Talepasand work puts symbolic and iconic images in new contexts, forcing you to view them in a new ways. “I had my own way of depicting things,” she explains. “I wanted to work on my own terms.” Beautiful and thought provoking. If you like what you see, Talepasand’s work will be featured in Beautiful/Decay’s upcoming issue!  Subscribe today to view more works by her, as well as other great artists!

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A Sculpture That Breathes- John Grade’s Weather-Reactive ‘Capacitor’

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John Grade

John Grade sculpture

John Grade’s Capacitor is a site-specific installation which reacts to the climate of the site it inhabits. Located within the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, this enormous coil is roughly 40′ x 20′ x 20′ and slowly reacts to the changing wind directions and temperatures of the outside environment. Physically behaving according to statistics collected outside the institution, a mechanized controller within the installation powers the enormous coil’s shape. According to Grade, “the whole of the sculpture will appear to be very slowly breathing”. Capacitor also changes the brightness of the lights within the construct, giving an entire reaction to outside elements. (contemporist and artist’s site)

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Heiko Mueller


Germany based artist Heiko Mueller’ art is like a fairy tale with a dark spin to it. He is fond of the country side, and is fascinated by the dark side of nature, the hidden machinations of the animal kingdom.

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B/D LA Movietime This Wednesday!

Make sure to come early to grab a seat as this event will fill up!


The Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary kicks off a month long series of free outdoor screenings at Space 15 Twenty, hosted by Beautiful/Decay Magazine.


The screenings are projected on the large outdoor screen located next to the Snack Bar. Seating is limited so arrive early to secure a chair, but if you get there late, no worries you can always sit on the floor or bring your own chair!


We kick off with Loic Prigent’s behind-the-scenes documentary, “Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton” (2007) delving into Marc Jacobs’ busy creative life, and featuring appearances by Victoria Beckham, Uma Thurman, Demi Moore and Sofia Coppola and other fashion-forward Hollywood starlets. This documentary is not to be missed if you are a fan of fashion.


Drinks, Snacks and Popcorn are available at SnackBar.



Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton – Wednesday May 6th
Space 15twenty
1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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