Ramiro Gomez Paints The Invisible People Who Work For The Rich Into Luxury Magazine Ads

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Artist Ramiro Gomez alters luxury magazine ads and photographs by adding in the often-underpaid workers that make their beauty and opulence possible. He paints gardeners, cleaning ladies, people who maintain swimming pools, and more. They are faceless bodies and appear like ghosts in and in front of mansions and sunny palm trees. By doing so, Gomez highlights the disparity between these lavish lifestyles and the workers who barely make minimum wage.

Gomez experienced this firsthand as a live-in nanny for a wealthy West Hollywood family. In an interview with Fast Company, he states,  “It was interesting the feeling that would happen as I was signing off this purse, that the family had so much already, yet they weren’t able to pay [me] more,” Gomez says. “I took it personally, in a way.” This job was also where he first had the idea for the series. After fishing magazines like Dwell and Luxe out of the trash, he tore out the ads and started painting in figures.

So, what do affluent folks think of Gomez’s work? Those that have seen it actually like it, including his former employers. His paintings illustrate the complex economic system that find ourselves in. Those who can most likely afford Gomez’s work are ones that identify with the luxury lifestyle. But, they are essentially buying work that is critical of their status. That’s part of the point of Gomez’s paintings – to engage with an audience who might otherwise not realize the other side of their privilege. (Via Fast Company)

Angela Kelly Collaborates With Her 7 Year Old Son On Beautiful Photos Of Frozen Bubbles

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Photographer Angela Kelly is yet another creative who is harnessing the current cold to create something special. Her newest photoseries came about when she mixed up a homemade bubble solution (a recipe which calls for dish soap, Karo syrup and water) with her 7-year old son Connor, and braved the early morning cold of Arlington, Washington to see what would happen to the bubbles in the frigid air. Of course, Kelly also brought her camera to document her experiment.

The resulting shots, a combination of high-definition close-ups and macroshots, capture the bubbles as they freeze into glass-like, fragile spheres. While some whither and shrink (like naturally-occurring cold balloons), others gently dropped to the ground like small crystal balls, while others cracked into shards. Says Kelly, “Sometimes in our quest to appreciate beauty, we take for granted even the simplest treasures that can be found in our own back yard.”

“Simply put, I want to encourage others to slow down and appreciate the little things,” she added. “I hope that viewers, when seeing this, are reminded that one is never too old to stop and enjoy the incredible beauty that is around them if they only look and to encourage their children to do the same.” (via huffington post)

Cayce Zavaglia’s Incredibly Real Embroidered Portraits That Look Like Paint

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American artist Cayce Zavaglia considers herself a painter.  “Although the medium employed is crewel embroidery wool, the technique borrows more from the worlds of drawing and painting”, the artist comments on her statement.

Manipulating color, especially paint with a brush, is obviously easier than manipulating color with varying wool strings and needles. That seems kind of impossible, don’t you think? Zavaglia makes it looks like a seamless process, laborious but not too difficult to actually achieve.

“Initially, working with an established range of wool colors proved frustrating.”

Painterly portraits demand for loose brushstrokes and intermingling colors, varying tones, and contrasting hues; creating a technique that would allow her to do this with wool strings was something that Zavaglia struggled with. However, with time, she came up with a system of sewing the threads in a sequence that would ultimately give the allusion of a certain color or tone. The system allowed for the threads to mimic the depth,volume, and form that we are familiar with in paintings and color drawings.

My work unabashedly nods its head to the tradition of tapestry and my own love of craft. Using wool instead of oils has allowed me to broaden the dialogue between portrait and process as well as propose a new definition for the word “painting”.

Amanda Burnham’s Fractured Installations Of An American City

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When artist Amanda Burnham first moved to Baltimore, Maryland, she didn’t know anyone. So, she spent a lot of time in her 7th floor apartment that had interesting views of the city. The time spent observing and recording her surroundings later informed her temporary, site-specific installations that are a patchwork representation of Baltimore. Burnham draws and paints street signs, fire hydrants, architecture, and store fronts, piecing them together in a manner that’s fractured yet cohesive. Taking elements of a neighborhood (or neighborhoods), she fashions her own view of the city, creating work large enough for a viewer to walk around and between. In an interview with Dwanye Butcher of Visual Baltimore, Burnham explains why she chooses to work this way (and why she reuses paper and boxes):

The idea of things being layered and pieced together is important to me. I see this city, and really all cities, as these giant ad-hoc organisms – collectively authored, chop-a-bloc, joints exposed – an ongoing melange of edits, adjustments, negotiations. I hope to suggest that with the deliberately collage-y, visually dense, maximalist aesthetic of my drawings.  I also love paper and what it does when treated as an object – the shadows it casts, the way tears and cuts are line. Most of the paper I use is really cheap stuff – low grade drawing paper that comes in rolls, kraft paper, packing materials. Boxes. That’s important because I’m not rich, but also because I see it as conceptually significant – resourcefulness is an ethic I sometimes see evidenced in the forms of the city, and it’s one I really respond to.

Burnham not only takes the outdoors indoors, but creates a whole new environment in a matter of a few days to a week. Lighting, astro turf, and electrical tape craft an ambience that’s unique to the city.

Adrian Esparza Transforms Mexican Serape Blankets Into Intricate Geometric Thread Installations

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Texas-based artist Adrian Esparza uses nails and the thread from Mexican sarape blankets to weave colorful geometric patterns. Growing up in El Paso, Esparza encountered these blankets on a daily basis. Using his background as a painter, Esparza observed that the blankets contained painterly qualities that he sought to deconstruct. The result is an unraveling of a Mexican cultural symbol into a new form, a multi-dimensional landscape of color and shape. Esparza’s deconstruction and transformation of this cultural symbol reflects the displacement of identity that many Mexican-Americans experience as a result of migration. The wall pieces Esparza constructs from the serapes, though completely transformed, recall macrame and other handcrafts from the artist’s culture. Through his work, Esparza reinvents the ordinary and asks the viewer to embrace the potential for creative transformation that can be found in the familiar and the mundane.

Esparza’s work – titled “Wake and Wonder” –  will be on view at Pérez Art Museum Miami as part of the exhibition, “Americana: Formalizing Craft,” until May 2015.(via design boom)

Miguel Vallinas Second Skins: Fashionably Dressed Animals

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Interested in the idea of anthropomorphism, Madrid-based photographer Miguel Vallinas retouched animal photographs and made it appear as though they were wearing human clothes.  Though an initial reaction may be to dismiss Vallinas’ images as something of a cliché, the richness of the photographs combined with the humor have a charm to them that is alluring and endearing.  Segundas Pieles (Secon Skins), is an ongoing project that explores notions beyond anthropomorphism.  In fact, Vallinas’ photographs seem to accurately investigate concepts such as psychology, stereotyping and personality.  The images of the primly dressed swan, or the melancholy donkey portray emotion and narrative beyond simple humor.

Attempting to depict the way he imagined different animals would dress if they had the ability to, Vallinas plays off our preconceived ideas of what our clothing choices signify and what we may, even subconsciously, believe about certain animals, certain people and ourselves.   (via Colossal and dailymail)

Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival Is The World’s Largest Winter Wonderland

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Every winter, nearly two million people from all around the world venture to Sapporo, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, to celebrate all things winter for one week at the Sapporo Snow Festival. The festival, which has its roots from when the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972, has been taking place since the early 1980′s. From enormous buildings, temples and slides to more intricately detailed and finely-sculpted statues, the city’s streets are full of all types of snow and ice works to celebrate the natural beauty of the winter season.

Now the festival draws sculptors and competitors from all around the world for its famous annual competitions, taking place in several different sites around the city. The event has set several World Records, including the audience-participatory construction of the most snowmen ever made in one place (over 10,000 – a record which still stands). The next installment, now the 65th Sapporo Snow Festival, will be held this February 5th through 11th in 2014. (via weirdtwist)