Brooklyn-based artist Leah Yerpe‘s charcoal drawings depict the true beauty and joy of movement. Her work somehow captures the both the constrains of human anatomy, and also the freedom we can experience in our own bodies. Her figures are twisted, but graceful; tightly bound, but free. Her figures’ faces are typically obscured, which leaves their expressions and emotions a mystery. Their poses could represent pain or ecstasy. They could be falling or flying. They overlap like elements in a collage, but the larger image is one of cohesion as bodies blend together to create beautiful new forms.
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.
Chuck Close is best known as a photorealist painter, but he is also interested in photography. Close achieved amazing results as a hyperrealist portrait painter working from gridded photographs. Suffering from a condition known as Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, Close is unable to recognize faces. Because of this condition Close was drawn to painting and photographing portraits. A seizure left him partially paralyzed in 1988 and after that he continued to paint, but had to adopt new techniques.
Recently Close created a series of portraits for Vanity Fair. Close decided to use poloroids so that his subjects could immediately see the image. After every shot he and his subject viewed the photograph so they could decide what to change for the next one. “No hair, no make-up, no wardrobe, comb your own hair,” were the guidelines Close gave his subjects. He didn’t want to produce “glamour shots,” and it was important that his subjects played an active role in the process, and moreover, that they trusted him. Seeking to show the “humanity” in each of his celebrity subjects Close wasn’t concerned about flattery or status, but rather with accuracy. The results are a series of distinguished and honest portraits. Check out the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair.
A while back, we posted Takeuchi Taijin’s amazing Wolf & Pig stop motion animation. His latest clip for Olympus PEN Giant follows a young man navigating an urban city-scape in a similar stop-motion journey through 355 stunning photographs printed billboard size! No tricks or computer animation…just good old fashioned hard work. Check it out!
We discovered Madeline Hagy and her boldly bizarre work on Format’s Spotlight page. Her portfolio elegantly displays her variety of work, from collages and illustrations to posters and prints. With her hallucinogenic forms and intriguing (and oft-grotesque) combinations of images, the clean and minimalist theme provided by the portfolio-building website Format is vital in showcasing the audacious complexity of Madeline’s work. With its fast-loading pages, Format is the perfect website for an artist’s portfolio, as you can scroll and view Madeline’s work without interruption. Another great feature that Format offers is the ability to sort work by category: you’ll notice you can view Madeline’s collages, sketchbook works, and prints separately.
Featured here are the works under the “collages” category, which provides an enticing sample of Madeline’s style and work. Among the images you’ll see a mash-up of recurring motifs, such as weeping eyes, raw meat, and deranged cartoon monsters. Adding to the series is a grotesque flavor of parody, mixing stylish, high fashion images with strange headwear, fleshless body parts, and googly eyes. In one way, Madeline’s work can be seen as a creative evolution of the magazine covers we disfigured with pens as children; going more in depth, we can read her collages as playful “dissections” that rearrange and distort magazine images to poke fun at the beauty industry. In either case, there is a lot to be seen and enjoyed on Madeline’s website, demonstrating that Format is the easiest way to make a portfolio that looks great and won’t distract from your work.
We’ve put it off for as long as possible but you can now follow me and see all the awesome, random, and random stuff I photograph all day long. I can’t promise a few occasional shots of the adorable B/D mascot Mr.Baxter but I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. What you can expect is lots of art, design, street art, studio visits and more. So jump on your phone, ipad, and any other Instagram compatible device and follow your favorite art publication at @beautifuldecayofficial !
Beata Wilczek is an artist and photographer living in Wrocław, Poland. Through her photography work and her collages, she mixes old and new whilst retaining a feminine edge. Check out more of her work below.