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Hiroshige Kagawa’s Series Of Memorial Tribute Paintings To Distasters Caused By Man And Nature

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The costliest natural disaster ($285 billion) ever recorded by the world bank, an earthquake called Tokohu and Tsunami in the northeastern prefecture of Japan, is the inspiration behind the behemouth watercolor paintings of Hiroshige Kagawa. Spanning 54 feet across and 17 feet high, the artist began devoting his time and energy four years ago to making these works and remembering that fateful day March 11th, 2011. Prior, Kagawa had spent his time creating large scale canvases of solar systems and enchanted forests. After the disaster he had a clearer vision of where he wanted to go and for the last several years worked on three large scale Tokohu memorial paintings featuring affected areas.
“Fukushima” depicts the now abandoned structure of the Tedco nuclear reactor. Done in an eerily twisted metal hue it peers inside the demolished building. What we don’t see is the meltdown of nuclear waste leaking into the ocean. A solution which has yet to be solved. Next in Kagawa’s series is the skeletal remains of a building in Minamisanriku Miyagi Prefecture a town that got wiped out. The building currently only a metal shell appears to be in an abandoned wheat field where people once lived and worked. Illuminated by an orange hue it eventually turns into something else which might appear on a hot imaginary planet near the sun.
A snowy scene of ruins accounts for the third piece. The part of Japan hit by the disaster is known for long brutal winters and Kagawa’s painting metaphorically references nuclear or atomic winter. The term is usually associated with nuclear warfare, where the fall out from bombs turns into a radioactive soot affecting the stratosphere and sun’s ability to promote the healthy growth of plants. When the earthquake struck the whole island moved 8 feet and the earth itself was moved off its axis by a few centimeters. There is still debris from the Tsunami floating onto US waters today four years later. (via Spoon & Tamago)
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Photos of Hyperrealistic Dolls And Their Mothers Blur The Lines Between Real And Unreal

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Four years ago, photographer Jamie Diamond bought a hyperrealistic doll known as a Reborn baby off eBay, and this purchase lead her to a project spanning nearly two years. Called Mother Love, the series blurs the lines between real and unreal, living and the inanimate.

To make this project possible, Diamond collaborated with an outsider art community called the Reborners. They’re a group of self-taught female artists who hand-make, collect, and interact with these dolls. They hold them, dress them, wash their hair, and take them for walks in the park. “After spending a year investigating and recording their practice,” Diamond writes in an artist statement, “I chose to become a Reborner to gain a better understanding of the community.” Diamond continues:

In Nine Months of Reborning, I reborned dolls and constructed a working nursery in my studio and on eBay, called the Bitten Apple Nursery. Before putting the dolls up for adoption on eBay, I photograph each one using a large format camera, the image becomes the remnant of this exchange.

Creating the dolls was a laborious process. Some required up to 80 individual layers of painting, veining, blushing mottling, and toning, cured with heat. Strands were individually attached to the scalp. The dolls were weighted properly so that they feel like a real baby when held in someone’s arms.

The Amy Project  followed this construction.  “I invited celebrated Artists from the community to individually interpret and idealize the same doll,” Diamond writes. “I then photograph each doll mimicking vernacular school portraits. Each of the dolls are unique to their maker’s hand, but share an uncanny similarity through their common origin.

Diamond no longer calls herself a Reborner, and plans to sell the remaining dolls on eBay (although she might keep one for herself).

Working with the Reborn community has allowed me to explore the grey area between reality and artifice where relationships are constructed with inanimate objects, between human and doll, artist and artwork, uncanny and real. I have been engaged with this community now for four years and while working and learning from these women, I’ve become fascinated by the fiction and performance at the core of their practice and the art making that supports their fantasy. (Via Hyperallergic)

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Slovakian Artist Duo Burn Spooky Pagan And Ritualistic Motifs Into Hardwood

Jarmila Mitríková & Dávid Demjanovič Jarmila Mitríková & Dávid Demjanovič Jarmila Mitríková & Dávid Demjanovič Jarmila Mitríková & Dávid Demjanovič

Jarmila Mitríková and Dávid Demjanovič are a fascinating artistic duo adding spice back into a traditional form of art-making. They hail from Slovakia and employ a technique called pyrography, which involves burning into plywood and shading the images with wood stains. This particular way of mark making was popular with people mostly during socialism in former Czechoslovakia. A style with is linked with folk art, domestic crafts and cultural traditions, the pair tap into their own history and national identity.

In their hybrid style you can see christian traditions, folklorism, pagan rituals, superstitions, myths, local legends with links to WWII and socialistic history, all with the backround of real slovak scenery. (Source)

Mitríková and Demjanovič play to their strengths of storytelling and creating very strong, personal images. We see very graphic scenes being played out – hunting rituals, exorcisms of some type, sacrificial set ups, and masked people involved in cult-like activities. With titles like Guardians of National Spirituality, Procession With Nazi, Cult of Goddess Morena, Dance Plague and Evacuation of Slovakian Elites, they focus on a time of secret societies and unknown mysterious behavior; they speak of a time when not everything was understandable, or explainable.

Typical for their practise is working with mystification and creating thematic series, where they focus their attention on one subject from our present or history….. when they work with real slovak subjects, using their style of storytelling, they create absurd, comic situations and new contextual reading. (Source)

This talented couple manage to recreate a sense of wonder, secrecy, ambiguity and riddles. They put a contemporary spin on an ancient art of wood burning and telling campfire-stories. 

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10 Amusing Reenactments Of Romance Novel Covers Featuring Real People

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1. Warrior’s Woman: In a universe at war, theirs was a love that burned hotter than a thousand suns.

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2. Savage Thunder: Theirs was a passion that would never be tamed.

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3. Enchant the Heavens: Their love would set the world on fire.

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4. Gentle Rogue: She was meant to marry a king, but fate had other plans.

We’ve all seen them – those romance novels with the dramatic covers featuring love-struck ladies collapsing into the arms of a hyper-masculine heart-slayer, while some dramatic scene — such as a leaping horse, or surging ocean — occurs behind them. As fetishized and erotic as these images intend to be, most of them are quite silly in their portrayals of unrealistic desire and impossible bodily standards. As a response to this, Cosmopolitan magazine recently created a series where they playfully reenacted romance novel covers by inserting real people into the excessive, escapist scenarios; throughout the images, lovers pretend to collapse into beds of roses, and others are doused in water (simulating the seems-better-than-reality waterfall kiss). 

What is best about these remakes is that the participants are clearly indulging in the absurdity of the exotic scenes. Many of them appear to be suppressing laughter with their awkward, exaggerated embraces and pseudo-seduced expressions. While it may be fun sometimes to indulge in fantasies of being “swept away” by a phantasmal lover of cosmic erotic proportions, Cosmo’s series reminds us that such images are just that: fantasies. Real-life romance and desire (and the pleasures thereof) quite often derive from playfulness and openness — no vested swashbucklers, billowing hair, or voyeuristic unicorns needed.

Click here to see the original article. I’ve included the captions from the Cosmopolitan feature to add to the humorous effect. (Via Art Fucks Me).

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Jeff Muhs Paints Slipstream Sunsets Of Color

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Painter Jeff Muhs‘ latest series “Slipstream” features bright smears of color birthed from newsprint chaos. According to a press release, the series tries to bring the viewer to a “crossroad of intention and chance, where color and motion are freed from an objective context and becomes the subject itself.” The result is what feels almost like a vortex of hues that is floating in space, devoid of any real world shape or form.
According to Muhs’s biography, he draws much of his inspiration from the natural world. This influence is clear in the jewel-toned colors he uses and the organic way he allows the shapes to emerge from the background. Though there isn’t anything fabulously new about Muhs’s art, there is a meditative quality to it that makes you pause and take a moment to simply appreciate the colors of his work, much as you might do for a sunset. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)

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Jason Lazarus Collects Anonymous Photos Deemed “Too Hard To Keep”

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You probably have at least a photo (or two) that’s just too painful to look at. Whether it depict deceased loved one, a failed relationship, or be a symbol of a time long past, the sight is an unwelcome reminder of something (or someone) that’s gone. Since 2010, photographer Jason Lazarus has archived these images that are “too hard to keep” by their owners. He accepts the anonymous submissions and gives them a new life in the form of art exhibitions and books. Although their ownership has changed hands, their past isn’t forgotten.

These are a selection of photos that Lazarus has received over the years. With some of the images, you can immediately understand why they’re painful. One features dying cat laying on a cold metal table. Another is part of photobooth image of a couple that’s been torn into pieces. It’s also accompanied by a handwritten note.

With other photographs, it’s harder to understand why it was too hard to keep them. A seemingly-innocuous lush green landscape and a smiling snowman are another two submissions that Lazarus received. But, regardless of what they are, they meant something to someone at one time, and that’s the appeal of Lazarus’ project. It’s easy to relate to the feelings of loss, anger, and longing that these photos conjure to their original owners. These submissions are a reminder that we all hurt.

Vice is currently collecting photos that are too hard to keep, and they’ll publish a selection of the images. If you’re interested in participating, find out more here.

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Ari Weinkle’s Squirming Typography Made From Animal Appendages Will Make Your Skin Crawl

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Ari Weinkle - Digital Typography

Ari Weinkle has created an extremely unique and bizarre typography, titled Feelers, that moves and squirms with each carefully constructed letter. This is no ordinary alphabet; each letter is formed from different animal appendages. Weinkle designed his somewhat creepy typography to be explore and interpret the movements of animals and their body parts. It is hard to believe that these odd colored squiggles were once part of animals, especially since they look like amoebas, worms, or insect parts. The way the ends of the letters taper in at each end and sways back and forth closely resembles aquatic life such as seaweed moving in the water.

One aspect of this typography project that makes its concept so interesting, is trying to determine what appendage could have possibly made the type of movement that the individual letter is making. Even more intriguing, is that not every part of the letter moves. Some stand still while others whip back and forth, spread apart, or jump quickly away from the viewer. The movement is so organic, it is almost as if these alphabet creatures are pinned under a microscope and we are watching them squirm. Although the letters are hard to determine once they begin to wiggle, you cannot deny the unique creativity behind this mesmerizing typography. Make sure to check out Ari Weinkles Tumblr to see every single letter of his alphabet in its still form, and then again as 26 organically moving organisms.

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Brazilian Design Team Bicicleta Sem Freio Thrill Us With Color

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The Brazilian duo Bicicleta Sem Freio (‘Bicycles without brakes”) have broken away from murals and are now concentrating on some fine art work. Its two current members Douglas de Castro and Renato Perreira first met while attending art school in Goias, Brazil and started collaborating on large scale outdoor and concert poster projects. This led to a series of street art and other prominent commissions all over the world. They recently had their first gallery exhibit in London at “Just Kids” art space. This allowed visitors to see the work on a smaller scale in a white box environment.

The duo create imagery that combines rock and roll with sexy women and animal hybrids. Their bright colors depict figures drawn in similar likeness to action style figures which reference Wonder Woman and Flash Gordon. Most of the pictures take on a fantastical sensibility where shape and color are used to dramatic effect. The two illustrators aren’t afraid to combine loud off key hues to create a funkiness which strikes you with energy and power. Normally when street art is brought down to a smaller scale it loses some of its grandeur but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Bicicleta Sem Freio. Instead the smaller scale work is even more detailed and at times even borders on abstraction.
Some of their significant campaigns have been for The Life Is Beautiful Festival, Coachella, Nike, SubPop and Absolut. (via booooooom)

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