The art of cross-stitching is no longer reserved for floral patterns and butterflies. In a curious combination of erotica and a (usually) conservative medium, Brisbane-based artist Leah Emery has embroidered a series of pornographic images. The project began when Emery discovered explicit pictures that had missed the spam filters on her work computer. Imbued with mischief and a good sense of humor, Emery decided to learn how to cross-stitch while putting the images to use. In the above video, Emery discusses her content and “research”:
“[My porn scenes depict] human beings in the throes of carnality, which isn’t always attractive from the outside — it can sometimes be quite confronting and twisted and sweaty and hairy. And I really enjoy depicting those real moments. And doing the research is sitting on the computer looking through porn files on porn sites, which is a kind of funny career aspiration.”
Some of the images are hard to immediately discern — you might notice the gorgeous stitch work and colors before your eyes adjust to what they actually depict. Among masses of blurry skin and spread legs are a variety of sexual acts, from penetration, to threesomes, to voyeurism, to headstand cunnilingus. Somehow, the pixelated “censorship” makes the images more provocative, giving us a decent idea of what’s going on without the full visual satisfaction of high-definition.
Humor and eroticism aside, Emery’s artistic goal with her cross-stitch porn is to initiate conversation and sex positivity. She concludes the video with the following statement:
“It’s not the intention to shock. I just like the idea of contributing to a healthy sexual debate, which I don’t think we have a lot of in the media these days. I think we could all have a much healthier understanding and approach to topics of a sexual nature if we talk about it a little bit more.”
Antic staatsoper makes photographs which reference old religious renaissance paintings. These include themes about love, lust, faith, shame, and betrayal. The pictures created are striking and controversial. The nude and partially nude models are manipulated in such a way that they transform into more painterly forms. Staatsoper uses a technique which blurs the image to produce a hazy mind altering effect. The overall results are violently striking images which bring age old stories to light. The idea of carnal desire is present but not only in a sexual sense. There’s also the notion of an abnormal attraction to food and drugs. And a desire for power. The artist talks about our current state of spirituality which seems compromised from the old way of thinking. This is an astute conclusion as more earthly ways have come to define us and become more prevalent in “current religions”. Still, we are aware of a higher power whether imagined or real it surrounds us with the question of why am I here and for what reason? In that sense, Staatsoper captures the uncertainty we feel in extreme situations which usually define us. From an aesthetic viewpoint the work is powerfully done in its moving and raw depiction of circumstance. Using figures seemingly pulled from greek tragedy we see them in a modern light tracing our historical significance.
There is no real connections between the center pieces of Thomas Jackson’s pictures and the landscapes in the background. We are seeing tutus, magazines, cups and streamers floating candidly in a scenery of virgin mountains, forests and beaches. The artist is offering a dreamlike visual of what can be perceived as the last moments on earth of these peculiar items.
Each image, part of the emergent behavior series, is an experimental coalition of items placed where they don’t seem to belong. This juxtaposition creates at first a feeling of well being; we foremost notice the swirl and the nature. After a deeper glance at what is really going on there’s a hesitation: are these everyday things really the focus of this beauty? The emphasis is made on industrial versus natural; reality versus imagination. Thomas Jackson’s purpose is to come up with a fresh interpretation of our daily routines. Calling for a distress, if we are brave enough to face it, of what is really going on in our ecosystem.
There has been quite a few inquisition about how the pictures where taken. They were in fact photoshopped and kept as realistic as their originals. Thomas Jackson confesses that he photographed the whole thing and then only removed the prop using photoshop: On the spectrum between “retouched image” and “real time image”, I’ve strived to make it closer to the latter”. When a picture can create such a flow of different kind of emotions, there’s no need to question the retouching. What the artist has created is a hazy fantasy that we wish could appear in real life.
Kirk Cheng invites us to stop and smell the roses at his new solo exhibition “Circle of Life” at the Above Second gallery in Hong Kong. Cheng being a floral artist, he constructs fantastical floral sculptures that appear as if they derive from ecosystems from another planet. Flowers, which are often used as just a decoration, are now in full bloom as the main attraction. Cheng uses striking, vibrant colors with unique plants that are arranged in circles, taking over the gallery space in all their glory. Like every plant, these magnificent flora pieces will start to die, whither, and decay. Although this death is bittersweet, the artist intentionally shows this process, hence the title of the exhibition “Circle of Life.”
An organic beauty can be found in seeing different stages of the lifecycle of Cheng’s floral arrangements. Death is natural, but it always stems from life. The decaying plants have their own unique aesthetic, as their colors are now dark and their texture changed. Seeing the flowers transform into different colors and their pedals turn hard and crispy is both intriguing and interactive, as the exhibition becomes ever changing. No doubt if you saw Cheng’s work at the end of the exhibition, it would look like an entirely different show than at the beginning. Perhaps displaying the dead flowers next to the thriving ones makes the living flowers seem even more full and vivacious. Seeing such an honest example of the cycle of life holds its own tragic beauty, allowing us to experience the magnificence of life. (via Hi Fructose)
First grade school teacher Russell Powell takes a favorite children’s past time and has turned it into something awesome. Using ordinary acrylic paints, he builds up realistic portraits of celebrities, musicians or cultural icons on his palms, then while the paint is still wet, he stamps them onto paper. He calls the process ‘hand stamping’ and has no doubt developed his skill over the 14 years he has been teaching kids to explore their own creativity.
Powell is able to utilize the lines, textures and indents of his hands to add to the detail of the faces he paints. He has stamped the faces of many – from TuPac, to The Girl With The Pearl Earring; from Kurt Cobain, David Bowie and Gwen Stefani, to the Dalai Lama. Powell has also been working on some original artworks – or rather faces that he creates as he paints. His pieces usually have a empathy about them; it is easy to see the San Jose based artist is a lover of people, characters and their humanity.
The Weather Channel and Toyota have come together once again for their second annual photo contest to find the most beautiful, provocative, and jaw dropping photographs in their “It’s Amazing Out There” competition. Both amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit their most spectacular images that best depict the wonder, impact, and beauty of mother nature.
The Weather Channel recognizes that “weather” is so much more than the forecast or even weather elements. With that in mind they are asking talented photographers (that’s you!) from all over the US to submit works that fall under the categories of nature, adventure and/or the elements. The first prize is a whopping $15,000 with a second prize of $5,000, and third prize of $1,000. That’s a lot of lenses and photo paper so don’t pass up this opportunity to share your work with the world and win some much deserved money for your artistic efforts.
The deadline for the “It’s Amazing Out There” contest is July 16th at noon ET. Read the complete rules HERE And enter your photograph HERE.
Julie Watai is a photographer and contemporary artist whose acid-bright, digitized works draw heavily on the worlds of Japanese manga, anime, and otaku culture. Distorted-yet-realistic, Watai combines images from pop cultural fantasies — from gun-slinging anime girls, to cyborgs, to “kawaii” dolls — with 3D (real-world) imagery, creating a glitch-type portraiture that excites and overloads the imagination. In a fascinating interview with The Creator’s Project, Watai explains how she seeks to unsettle reality using her love for manga and hyper-futurism:
“One thing that all my artwork has in common is that I never try to portray too much reality. I was really influenced by the two-dimensional world of manga as an adolescent, so I always try to get rid of things like pores or the texture of skin. I try to make the models smooth-skinned like dolls. I try to create images that allow people to experience the best parts of photography and 2D or planar art at the same time.” (Source)
Channeling surreal imagery from Tokyo’s digital-culture underground, Watai’s images are also informed by interesting perspectives on the female body, youth, and the “kawaii craze.” In regards to Watai’s choice of female models, she explained to The Creator’s Project that her photography acts as a way to preserve beauty: “you capture that beauty forever, even when it no longer exists” (Source). Many of Watai’s photos feature herself. In these images, she is achieving ownership over an ephemeral moment, converting the fleetingness of beauty and youth — including her own — into digitized immortality.
Watai’s works are also imbued with a playfully critical twist. Highlighting the obsession with youth in kawaii and otaku culture, Watai’s images consciously spill over into the aesthetic realms of excess and the grotesque: colors clash violently against each other, teddy bears overrun bodies, and girls mesh provocatively with machines against hyperbolic, interstellar backdrops. In a postmodern blend of celebration and critique, Watai depicts fantasy cultures with the same passion and power that drives them.
In addition to photography, Watai also expresses her love for computers and gadgets through her work as an iPhone Apps developer, musician, and radio personality. Last month she was invited to attend the Maker Faire Shenzhen in China. Be sure to check out her website and Facebook page to follow her work. (Via The Creators Project)
Portfolios are the only way for designers to be evaluated and picked up for a job. Michael Lester was challenged to get his out there and he did. Literally. His portfolio is the size of a postage stamp, has pages that can be flipped and everything!
He reduced his ideas to only feature the key notions, making his portfolio a synthesis of short sentences facing shrinked illustrations. He conceived the whole thing at home. Testing the format by printing over 100 times the mini book on his home printer and finally hand bounding it himself.
The project originated as a brief from Jelly London for the D&AD New Blood Festival, challenging students to get people talking about their work.
“They say the best ideas fit on a Post-it note,” says Michael Lester “so I decided to take it a step further, seeing how little could tell the most.”
The world’s smallest portfolio went above and beyond Michael Lester’s expectations. The news went viral on the internet, creating a buzz around the portfolio hence his work. As a designer and illustrator he could not have wanted a better publicity. Proving that not only the idea is essential but the guts to actually do it is even more crucial. In a world where being the best at standard tasks is the challenge, standing out by going out of the norms is obviously what works. A superbe lesson taught, thank you Michael.