Polish artist Olek not only treats her crochet practice as an art form, but also as a catalyst for social change, or at least political and societal commentary. As a part of the St+art Delhi street festival in Delhi, she chose a homeless shelter to decorate with her colorful and energetic woolen pieces. Enlisting the help of fashion design labels in India to not only donate fabric and materials to her community project, but also volunteering helpers, she was able to cover a huge space. Paying homage to India’s infamous textile economy and bright culture, Olek stitches vivid patterns of purples, blues, reds, yellows and oranges together.
She normally recreates anything in stitches that crosses her way – from text messages to medical reports to found objects; she has even covered an entire studio apartment and a life-size dinosaur with her signature crochet. She says of her intention behind her work:
My work changes from place to place. I studied the science of culture. With a miner’s work ethic, I long to delve deeper and deeper into my investigations. My art was a development that took me away from industrial, close-minded Silesia, Poland. It has always sought to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to the living space. I intend to take advantage of living in NYC with various neighborhoods and, with my actions, create a feedback to the economic and social reality in our community. (Source)
Always working with the public in the back of her mind, Olek has produced work in some pretty interesting settings, from Brazil to Brooklyn, and for some interesting causes. For more of her projects, see here. (Via Hi Fructose)
Artist Beomsik Won collages images of different architectural works to form one unified structure. The photographs feature a gray wash over the disparate features to increase their sense of cohesion. Won calls this the Archisculpture Photo Project, writing:
René Descartes viewed as beautiful the order and coherency of structures designed by a single architect; the purpose of the Archisculpture Photo Project, however, is to create architectural sculptures by collaging photographs of diverse architectural works from various architects. In this way, Archisculpture Photos are both similar and different to the organic romanticism of old cities built through the works of myriad architects, for they represent the artist’s subjective interpretation and decisions regarding various architects’ numerous designs.
Won’s assemblages create the illusion of a metropolis. “Like collectors who arrange and classify their acquisitions with great care, artists analyze selected city fragments gathered from here and there and with them create their sculptures.” He goes on to write, “What exist[s] now as disparate structures are reborn as beautiful sculptures which retain their diachronic or synchronic histories, or else encompass it all.” They should be looked at as the sum of their parts. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
For over one hundred years the Faberge egg has been a symbol of wealth, status and beauty. Originally created by Carl Faberge for the Russian Tsars to gift their wives during easter time, its exquisite makeup consisted of the finest jewels, metals and motifs. Its structure depicted scenes of historical and domestic value which the Russian Royal family deemed significant. Over time, these precious objects d’art became unusual records of lavish beauty which consisted of coronation scenes and portraits of kings and queens.
Incorporating the same idea with a modern twist, artist Jonathan Monaghan creates Faberge eggs in a digital format which combine pop culture, human anatomy, luxury items and historical architecture. His vision produces an egg-shaped utopia which comments both conceptually and sociologically on world tradition. Through a kaleidoscopic view of the past, present and future, his narrative breaks down what we deem important and questions our desire for material wealth. In one piece, the egg is replaced with Starbucks logos instead of jewels. It metaphors the brand we hold near and dear to us today and creates an egg-shaped universe that speaks to the viewer with a utopian ideal that places worth on things opposed to ideas and individuals.
Only fifty of the original Faberge ‘Imperial’ eggs were made and only forty-seven survive. The first Faberge heirloom, known as the Hen Egg was a replica of an actual white egg that disclosed a solid gold yolk inside. This in turn stored a golden hen which further possessed a tiny diamond replica of the Imperial Crown from which a ruby egg pendant hung. Unfortunately, these last two surprises were lost.
Sebastian “Seb” Lester is an English designer and calligrapher whose flawless pen-and-ink drawings of famous logos have recently gotten him some much-deserved attention on social media. Visit his Instagram and you will find a plethora of remarkable time-lapse videos wherein Lester recreates — with machine-like precision — the marks of iconic cultural and commercial brands, such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Adidas, and Google. Watching his steady hand “doodle” out the lettering with grace and apparent ease is both captivating and addictive.
On his website’s About page, Lester attributes his skill and passion to his fascination with the Latin alphabet, which he deems “one of mankind’s most beautiful and profound creations” (Source). His masterful work with lettering has gained him a prestigious name and career; Lester has developed typefaces for world-famous companies and publications including NASA, Apple, The New York Times, British Airways, and H&M. Watching him recreate these logos on Instagram fosters an appreciation for the delicate nuances of letterforms, as well as how such nuances can come to represent a brand’s particular ethos and world-wide influence.
Photographer Cameron Bloom captures the innocence and love in the unlikely friendship between a boy and his bird. His son Noah had found a baby bird alone in the wild around their Australian home. The bird being without a mother, the family decided to take it in and raise it themselves. This bird, affectionately named “Penguin,” was found right after Cameron’s wife, Sam, broke her back. This crucial and difficult time in the family’s life was met with an unforeseen visitor and friend for life. While both Penguin and Bloom’s family was coping with life’s hardships and struggles, a connection between them began and continues to grow into something extraordinary.
Bloom has documented intimate scenes of tenderness between his son, as well as his entire family, and their unique companion. Each image holds radiating warmth that can be felt by the viewer. It is amazing to see a bird share such a strong bond with humans, in a way that we might expect a dog or a human to have. Bloom shows Penguin sitting on Noah’s head, eating at the family’s kitchen table, and even snuggling with them in bed. Each moment is a glimpse of a magical friendship that has been shared with us through the beauty of Bloom’s photography. Beginning this series in 2013, we can see the relationship and closeness grow along with the three sons Rueben, Noah, and Oli. Although Penguin has the freedom to fly out into the wilderness away from her family, their connection is so strong that she never fails to return home every time.
If you love Penguin as much as I do, make sure to follow his Instagram account!
Illustrator, craftswoman, and designer Helen Ahpornsiri has incredibly steady hands considering the scale she works on. She assembles tiny dried, pressed ferns into shapes based on natural history collections, sometimes no bigger than a coin or a pencil stub. Managing to place flakes of foliage into beautiful patterns, she creates weevils, butterflies, seahorses, owl skulls, dragonflies and moths.
Ahpornsiri initially studied illustration at the Falmouth University and then went on to work successfully for commercial projects including greetings cards for Marks and Spencer, paper flowers for Harrods Knightsbridge and bespoke menus for Coach. Interested in paper cutting and collage, she decided to branch out and try something a bit different. She says in an email:
When drawing a Fern Weevil in ink one day, just for a personal project, I wondered if I could create one with real fern. I already had some beautiful fronds from a Japanese Painted Fern pressed and waiting to be used for something. I have been collecting, pressing and making ever since! (Source)
The pressed fern collection is not the only thing Ahpornsiri has used to show off her precise cutting abilities. She has also created intricately crafted birds from stamp collections. You can also see just how Ahpornsiri puts her work together (the Tiny Robin in this case) in the video after the jump. (Via This Is Colossal)
The intensity and electricity in Mickael Jou’s photography can only be matched by his equally immaculate dancing skills. In his series Air Through my Ashes, Jou captures the precise positions of his dance through the lens of a camera. Each movement, leap, and bend is shown being done not on a stage, but through city streets, in breathtaking nature, and even in a grocery store. Jou, now living in Berlin, was trained as a dancer, and started out dancing through the streets of Paris. He got the idea to photograph himself after so many tourists began taking pictures of him as he danced. He then taught himself how to use a camera and turned his dancing into frozen moments in time where he can levitate and defy gravity.
Jou’s dance positions are turned into still statues that pulsate with energy in each photograph. The incredible scenery of the images is almost as breathtaking as Jou’s suspension in mid air. The series has a kind of magic to it that transports the viewer into a world where your feet never need to touch the ground. What makes each composition so dynamic is not only the sheer power felt in the dancer’s stance, but also the addition of a scarf in the dance movements. This scarf that often appears adds color and balance to the rhythm of each photograph as it floats alongside this multi-talented dancer. Jou combines these two art forms harmoniously to create ethereal and graceful photographs. He explains how using these two mediums further his creative vision and expression:
My self-portraits help me express the emotions that I feel while dancing. Dance is a very powerful art form, and I try to translate my emotions into my photography.
Lee Bul’s transformative installations pull you into a fractured space of infinite mirrors. The Korean artist, both well versed in illustration as well as installation and sculpture, forms complex, maze-like structures with interiors made of mirrors that reflect in all different directions, creating a disorienting effect. Bul takes seemingly small, secluded spaces and magnifies its size by making the space seem never-ending, keeping you exploring each layer of the multi-faceted structure. The highly industrial installations create such intricate depths and perspectives that allow you to fall into a place of vertigo. Each fractured mirror bounces back color and light in a way that transforms and bends the space around you into an intense kaleidoscope. Bul’s interactive artwork gives way to a fractured universe of distorted shapes and space.
The artist, being multi-talented, mixes elements of architecture in her work to design the sleek exteriors of her installations. Adding to the lustrous, reflective surfaces of the interior walls are the reflective floors of the exhibition, creating even more confusing space perception. This unique work creates a range of emotions from the anxiety caused by the ambiguity of depth, to the overwhelming awe from the beauty and sublime of the endless space around you. Each installation is a portal to another world, absorbing you in its abstracted images that include your own reflection. This unearthly theme is present in much of Bul’s work, as her illustrations often include unknown beings and aliens. Bul’s stunning mirrored labyrinths are now on view at the Museé d’Art Moderne in Saint –Eitienne in France. (via Design Boom)