Miguel Vallinas Second Skins: Fashionably Dressed Animals

Miguel Vallinas Miguel Vallinas Miguel Vallinas Migues_Vallinas4

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

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

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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)

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David Mach And Four Other Artists Who Cleverly Create Creatures

David Mach

David Mach

Marta Klonowska

Marta Klonowska

Kristi Malakoff

Kristi Malakoff

Diem Chau

Diem Chau

Irving Harper

Irving Harper

Because it’s still the beginning of the week, and because who doesn’t love animals, here are five artists who cleverly create creatures as part of their work.

David Mach uses everyday items to create large-scale sculptures and installations.  His cheetah and tiger, for instance, are created solely out of coat hangers.  Laying hundreds of them together Mach created two rather ferocious creatures.

Polish artist Marta Klonowska assembles carefully broken shards of colored glass to create translucent animals of life-like proportion and size.  Influenced by the animals seen in baroque and romantic paintings, Klonowska sought to re-make an old idea in a new way.

Kristi Malakoff is a Canadian artist interested in using animals in her art because of “swarm theory,” or “swarm intelligence,” which suggests that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  In other words, the theory posits that the limits of the individual are overcome by collective intelligence.  This installation consists of 6000 color copies of butterflies on transparency material.

An unconventional use of the medium, Seattle artist Diem Chau works with graphite pencil leads to create intricate and delicate sculptures of animals.  Using a rather common medium to create an uncommon result, Chau’s work touches on the value of storytelling and myth and their ability to connect us to one another.

Industrial designer Irving Harper creates beautiful paper sculptures.  Humble materials for such intricate results, Harper is interested in using brilliant design and craftsmanship to integrate the natural world.

Jan Fabre’s Macabre Remake Of The Pieta By Michelangelo

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I’m sure you recognize the reference here. In case you were in doubt, the Belgian artist Jan Fabre is reinterpreting the most iconic work of the renaissance, Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Michelangelo’s famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

Fabre’s interpretation gets personal, a little macabre, and a bit controversial…

In his rendition, Fabre places himself as Jesus with a butterfly perched on the side of his mouth. The heavy, dead-looking body wears a crisp, classy but torn suite. A closer look reveals a scarab at the edge of his cuff that is slowly drifting off towards the artist’s lifeless hand, which is tenuously holding on to a human brain.

The Virgin Mary’s face is replaced by a skull, which many would say is a reference to the Vanitas, the universal symbol of death.

The work was shown in Venice in 2011. This was in close relation to, but not a part of the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale. Given the place and the country (a very religious one) in which it was shown, you can image the controversy it created. The artist commented on the matter:

“is not to convey a blasphemous or even merely or provocative message. This work represents a “performance sculpture” that illustrates a mother’s real feelings when she yearns to take the place of her dead son.”

(via Exhibitionism and Flanders News)

Katarzyna Majak’s Portraits Of Modern Witches

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Katarzyna Majak‘s “Women of Power” photography series captures the faces and dress of earth-worshipping Polish women who are powerful among their particular spiritual sectors. The vast majority of Poland’s people (90%) are practicing Catholics. When Christianity was introduced to Poland a few centuries ago, it erased most traces of paganism, witchcraft, and shamanic traditions. The women Majak photographs – ranging in age from their 30′s to their 80′s – represent the very small minority of Polish women who practice alternative spirituality. For many of these women, this series depicts their first public display of power. They “practice a wide range of spiritual paths and spiritual systems. A few are traditional healers (so called ‘whisperers’ who mix religion with primeval superstitions to heal and remove spells using prayers) whose traditions survived on the Belarusian border. Some are women who had grandmothers who could ‘see’ or were herbal healers and who are working to revive what would otherwise be dead traditions.”

Porter Contemporary, where Majak’s work was featured in 2012, writes, “When asked what being a witch meant to one of the subjects in the series, she replied ‘A witch is a woman of knowledge who takes a broom and sweeps to cleanse the world.’” (via feature shoot)

Polar Vortex- Andy Goldsworthy’s Ice and Snow Sculptures

Andy Goldsworthy, Touching north, North Pole (1989)goldsworthyIcicles1_op_592x600 goldsworthy-ice_ball_21999_3goldsworthy

Although most of America (currently enduring one of the worst winter cold snaps in nearly two decades) would like to ignore this fact in for favor of bundled layers and heated blankets, sometimes even the dire cold, snow and ice can provide the tools and inspiration for those who brave it’s elements.  Famed land and installation artist Andy Goldsworthy (previously here and here) has often utilized ice, frost, snow and frozen earth to create his trademark land interventions. And rather than avoiding the elements, Goldsworthy is only able to create these delicate and precise sculptures by embracing the cold.

In Goldsworthy’s 2004 documentary, Rivers & Tides, several scenes document the difficulty in attempting to harness the cold’s elements. One scene shows the artist, braving the winter elements for hours at a time in finger-less gloves (so as to be able to properly feel and hold the materials) fusing together icicle chunks together with warm water, holding them in place while they freeze together into naturally-made though unnatural shapes. The smallest temperature changes, light, and even chance cause the ice sculpture to collapse, repeatedly, which is all part of Goldsworthy’s process. Says the artist, “Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that  I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature.”

Goldsworthy’s process is only captured through the use of photographs, and the often detailed notes (below) which the artist uses to document the difficulties and triumphs of each individual piece.

Marge And Homer Simpson Erotica Inspired By Helmut Newton (NSFW)

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson

aleXsandro Palombo - Simpsons erotica

aleXsandro Palombo - Simpsons erotica

You might have never wondered what cartoon character Marge Simpson looked like naked. Or maybe you did. Either way, artist aleXsandro Palombo provides us a glimpse into what this might look like in a series that pits Marge and Homer as an erotic, glamorous couple. Nudity, leather, and gender bending transforms the couple as you’ve never seen them before.

Modeled after the photographs of Helmut Newton, known for his provocative fashion photography, we see Marge and Homer in high-fashion ensembles. Homer dons a debonair suit, while Marge’s dresses are an extreme take on the cut-out trend that’s popular now. And while both don’t shy from nudity, perhaps the most surprising works in the series are of Homer’s outfits where he wears a sunhat and heels. He doesn’t look entirely comfortable, but when considering Homer’s character (the beer guzzling, Bart-strangling, donut-loving Power Plant worker), it’s not entirely surprising.

A lot of you, I’m sure, have grown up with the The Simpsons, and this series is a funny take on the all-American family. It is all set against the cloud background made famous in the opening credits, and acts as some sort of alternate universe. It transforms Marge and Homer from a green dress and white collared shirt, respectively, and shows that everyone has a kinky side. (Via Huffington Post)