‘Dirds’ is a series of Photoshopped images that combine the heads and bodies of birds and dogs. We’re not sure exactly who started this new internet craze but we have to admit that we can’t stop looking at these perplexing creatures.
Although they are incredibly cute, you might still find yourself thinking about how these flying pup hybrids are actually quite disturbing.
Photoshop allows us to have more power than ever before. We can literally make anything come to a tangible existence.
Alex Konahin is a draughtsman who works with an almost Maximalist desire to fill a blank page with intricate detail. Working on A3 paper and using fineliners and india ink, Konahin renders with shading and line-work that simultaneously resemble mechanical, architectural and floral drawing styles.
The Latvian-based artist’s most recent series, Little Wings, uses various insects as the starting point for what turn out to be intensely detailed, baroque-esque drawings. Says the artist and graphic designer, ”I’ve been inspired to create this series last summer in the Netherlands. It was a fantastic time living in the countryside away from noisy cities…” Common insects such as flies, bees and dragonflies become the base for the draping hard-edged, and perfectly shaded lines of Konahin’s pen.
To see more of Konahin’s work, also visit his Tumblr. (via from89)
Debra Baxter, You have to believe we are magic, (barf bag)
These four artists are interested in exploring nature through crystals, minerals and natural stones. Toronto-based Carly Waito makes small oil paintings (about 5×6 inches) of crystals and minerals. Inspired by the natural world Waito is interested in geology, geometry and light. With a sense of wonder and curiosity, Waito explores via paint tiny mineral specimens, revealing the beauty and magic nature is capable of creating.
Seattle-based Debra Baxter uses stones and minerals, and their contrasts or relationships to investigate human interactions. To address notions such as human power plays, vulnerability and gender differences, Baxter plays titles like You have to believe we are magic (barf bag), 2010 off visual displays of ceramic, minerals and reflective acrylic. Her sculptures become small visual metaphors replete with symbols and juxtapositions that form ideas and narrative.
Amy Brener works by layering resin, glass and Fresnel lens to create light sensitive sculptures that resemble large crystals or minerals. Brener’s process involves mixing and pouring pigmented resin into wooden frameworks. Only able to control certain aspects of the process, Brener embraces the surprises that happen along the way. The process gives her sculptures a quality that exists between the geological and the man-made.
Jonathan Latiano’s Points of Contention, 2011, was an installation at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore. The piece was made out of plastics, resins and polymers and appeared to be exploding out of the floor. Meant to address the effects the sculpture’s materials have on the geological landscape, Latiano’s work is a visual reminder of our impact on nature.
Melbourne based artist Casey Jenkins is a self-described “craftivist” who founded Craft Cartel, an organization that seeks to combine crafting and political activism, in 2007. “Craft imbues you with power because you’re forced to contemplate the issue you’re addressing. It’s very reflective in a sense of when you put that message out into the world, people know you must really care because you’ve devoted that much time to it,” Jenkins says.
Jenkins’ most recent performance project, “Casting Off My Womb” (Aussie TV calls it “Vaginal Knitting”) involves the artist spending 28 days (the average length of a menstrual cycle) knitting from a new skein of wool that she has placed inside of her vagina each day. Jenkins explains that her performance would not be a performance if she didn’t include menstruation. While she is menstruating, Jenkins says it becomes more difficult to knit because the wool is wet, and she has to tug on the thread a bit harder. Overall, though, she claims the process is slightly uncomfortable, but can also be arousing at times. For Jenkins, she enjoys that her performance associates the vulva – something that can be found offensive or vulgar or invoke a level of fear – with the comfort and warmth that knitting provides and evokes.
“The fact that [cunt's] considered the most offensive word in the English language is a real marker of the time that we’re living and of the society’s attitude towards woman. There’s nothing possibly negative about it. It’s just a deep, warm and delightful part of the female anatomy.”
In artist Diana Scherer’s series Nurture Studies, she used soil, seeds, and photography to produce her work. Letting flowers grow in vases rather than the ground, she matured the plants and later broke the glass, exposing the dense roots that took the shape of their containers. They were then photographed at the peak of their lives; Flowers had bloomed, plants grew tall, and nearly all the flora was green.
Scherer’s work is visually very tight. The dirt is packed against the roots, and even out of their containers, the plants hold their shape. Although the plants look highly controlled, there is very little that Scherer can actually manipulate. Aint-Bad Magazine wrote about this Scherer’s photographs, highlighting this fact. They state:
There is an inherent contradiction in Scherer’s working method. Although she is dedicated to the project and keeps a close eye on whether the roots are developing as desired—checking them carefully and with the utmost precision—her ability to manipulate the plants’ growth is limited. She has to accept the impossibility of total control. This contrast between almost obsessive monitoring and an inability to fundamentally influence events becomes an intense, almost ritual presence in her work. Scherer’s photos are carefully rationed, showing a single moment as the culmination of a long process of growth.
Scherer’s presentation of the plants is very straightforward. There is no extreme lighting and the background is devoid of anything but a color. With the a series with the word “studies” in the title, I see Scherer’s work as specimens, the result of an exercise in timing, and, for lack of a better word, nurture. (Via Aint-Bad magazine)
In a series titled Light Rorschach, photographer Nicolas Rivals paints with light in dark spaces. Using a torch light and a camera with a long exposure, the artist draws and contours an arresting image. When I look at these photographs, I instantly see a face. But, Rorschach can refer to a couple of things. There is the Rorschach inkblot test, which is a psychological test. Additionally, a character, the anti-hero in the graphic novel Watchman has the same name. Knowing this and studying Rival’s work, his interpretation seems to be a combination of the two influences.
According to his website, Rival wants us to question the reality of the photographs. Could these things possibly exist? And, if they do, what are they? Rival insinuates that the beings in in Light Rorschach exist, referring to subjects as masks, meaning that they have some sort of identity. And, they observing us as we look at them. He writes:
…turns observer and observed through the eyes of spirited but ultimately see some of your own personality and therefore yourself. Cross between the work and the viewer as an introspection looks these masks seem to shout.
“Tell me what you see and I’ll tell you who you are.”
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the soul of these light masks are serious and demand your attention. The lines of the painted light frame the neon blue, red, and green discs.They definitely aren’t human, and seem like they belong in a sci-fi story.
A visually interesting and literally engaging material many artists are drawn to mirrors and other reflective surfaces for their visually interesting qualities. Based in concept, Dan Graham’s “pavilions” blur the line between sculpture and architecture. Toying with perception the pavilions employ two-way mirrors and glass to engage a viewer and disorient his sense of space.
Inspired by artists like Graham, Danish artist Jeppe Hein is interested in illusion and turning passive visitors into participants. Hein uses mirrors and other reflective surfaces in his work. Finding the place there art intersects with architecture, and technical inventions, Hein often adds an element of humor to his pieces.
With similar interests Alyson Shotz also investigates issues of perception and space by using reflective materials. Often Shotz’s works become visual representations of concepts from theoretical physics (string theory, dark metter, etc). Other times her work exposes changing surroundings. Shotz says of her works such as Mirror Fence, “I’m interested in making objects that change infinitely, depending on their surroundings. The light at different times of day, the weather…what the viewers are wearing, all these are just some of the variables that will make the piece different every time one comes in contact with it. For me an ideal work of art is one that is ultimately unknowable in some way.”
Ryan Everson is a multimedia artist who reveals the sentimentality often associated with an idealized natural world. As he explains, Fear addresses the “abstract emotional states stirred up from specific self reflective moments.” Sometimes apparent, and sometimes camouflaged, Everson’s Fear creates a deeply rich symbolic metaphor for the feelings evoked by fear.
David Altmejd employs mirrors in his works to help him, and a viewer, explore a fantasy world that puts reality into perspective. Depicting mythical creatures, Atmejd blurs distinctions between real and perceived.
British artist Joseph Loughborough creates dark and grotesque , yet delicate and beautiful charcoal drawings that challenge and trigger existential questions and anxieties.
Loughborough’s trademarks an expressive, impulsive and honest style that strikes as vague at first; however, a closer look reveals deep and thoughtful technical decisions that render his concepts fairly well; his choices are simultaneously charming and intimidating.
Through his eerie,whimsical subjects, whose faces are usually deconstructed, Loughborough renders the grim side of human nature: sin, desire, fear and anxiety over one’s own absurdity.
I can understand why my work is considered dark but I have never really looked at it in this way. I have always intended it to be revealing, honest and expressive. Some of the pieces act like a personal exorcism through which I try to express, rather than deny, the emotions I encounter. Through my drawing, I strive to grasp a comprehension of the human condition and question how we interpret our oft-untold fears and desires.