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Damien Hirst’s New Pill-Shaped Jewelry Line

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Artist Damien Hirst is a polarizing figure in the art world. Hugely prolific, Hirst has been called both an inspiring innovator and a wealth-obsessed marketer. His new collection of jewelry, Cathedral Collection, from Hoorsenbuhs and Other Criteria supports both of these roles: with prices up to £43,200 ($68,000) for a single piece, buyers are paying for the materials and the concept.

The Cathedral Collection consists of “Pill Ring,” a cocktail ring of piled precious metal pills, some visibly filled with rubies and black and white diamonds, and “Pill Rosary,” a variation of the traditional Catholic string of beads. Where the cross would typically sit is instead a Hirst pill, opened and spilling out its literally precious contents. The collection is a limited edition of 25 pieces per design.

Hirst’s focus over the years has continually returned to pharmaceuticals and their role, literally and symbolically, in our lives. His first Pill Cabinet in 2007, “Standing Alone on the Precipice and Overlooking the Arctic Wastelands of Pure Terror,” includes thousands of resin pill replicas displayed on its shelves. He pursed this topic through at least 17 more Pill Cabinet installations, removing the pills from their therapeutic context in order to make new connections with content.

The aesthetic allure of the pills is rendered useless in the face of their unknown medical purpose; Hirst’s suggestion being that their power relies on an unquestioning belief that somehow our ills will be cured.

In 2007 Hirst re-imagined the pills from the cabinets as a limited edition Pill Charm Bracelet, which he sold through his website. 2011 saw Pill Cufflinks.

In this newest collection, the Pill Ring could be a cocktail party conversation starter. The Pill Rosary, though, with its co-opted religious overtones, begs the question: What are we revering? Is it science, bringing medication to placate the world? Or is it Damien Hirst? 

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Russell Powell Paints Detailed Portraits On His Hands And Then Stamps Them On Paper

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First grade school teacher Russell Powell takes a favorite children’s past time and has turned it into something awesome. Using ordinary acrylic paints, he builds up realistic portraits of celebrities, musicians or cultural icons on his palms, then while the paint is still wet, he stamps them onto paper. He calls the process ‘hand stamping’ and has no doubt developed his skill over the 14 years he has been teaching kids to explore their own creativity.

Powell is able to utilize the lines, textures and indents of his hands to add to the detail of the faces he paints. He has stamped the faces of many – from TuPac, to The Girl With The Pearl Earring; from Kurt Cobain, David Bowie and Gwen Stefani, to the Dalai Lama. Powell has also been working on some original artworks – or rather faces that he creates as he paints. His pieces usually have a empathy about them; it is easy to see the San Jose based artist is a lover of people, characters and their humanity.

He can see more of his people studies on his website Pangaean Studios. (Via Bored Panda)

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Compelling Nude Bodies Walk The Line Between Ordinary and Strange (NSFW)

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Dutch photographers Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm depict both sexes simultaneously in a series entitled Best of Both. It appears in Baron magazine for their The Future of Sex issue. The images feature nude male and female figures posed in different yoga-esque positions on the same gray carpet, with one half a man and the other a woman. Bodies are twisted matched up perfectly to create one whole person.

The combination borders on ordinary and strange. On one hand, these figures are nude, which is nothing new; we’ve seen it throughout our lives and plenty of times within the context of art history. But, at the same time, its creates a person whose extreme twists and distorted views (we see the butt attached to the front of a chest) immediately reads as something amiss. It subverts any sort of preconceived notions we have of the individual in a simple but effective manner. (Via It’s Nice That)

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Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s Cinematic Photographs

Canadian brothers and collaborators Carlos and Jason Sanchez‘s dramatic photographs have moved cinematic photography into a new, much darker realm. Staging each piece takes months of production, from constructing sets to casting characters; the result however, is worth the painstaking attention to detail with bold images that explore the underside of society and human desire. Want to see more work from the Sanchez brothers? Why not check out their exclusive article in Beautiful/Decay Issue: N!

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Unbelievable Photos Of Hong Kong’s Cramped Slums

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Hong Kong’s Society for Community Organization (SoCO) has created this birds-eye-view series of unbelievable pictures documenting some of the poorest living conditions in Hong Kong, one of the richest cities in the world. These cramped spaces, many no bigger than a small bathroom, serve as their inhabitants’ bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and pantries and represent the homes of a growing number of underprivileged Hong Kong inhabitants. One of the most densely populated areas of the world (426 sq mi and a population of seven million), Hong Kong’s high rent costs and public housing waiting lists force many people to live in these incredibly small spaces. These spaces are so cramped with stacks of living essentials that it takes an observant eye to capture everything represented in the photographs. These particular images were taken in the districts of Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City, but is representative of the slums in the city’s 18 regions.

SoCO’s director, Ho Hei Wah, told MailOnline: “Hong Kong is regarded as one of the richest cities in the world. However, lurking beneath this prosperity is great inequality in wealth and a forgotten group of poor people. Hundreds of thousands still live in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles, while the unemployed, new-arrived families from China and children in poverty struggle for survival. SoCO’s underprivileged clients are increasing in numbers – while the city’s wealth continues to accumulate.”

Hong Kong has long been a center of international trade and manufacturing, but in the 1980s, it witnessed a shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based industry, which has become the driving force of economic disparity in the region. Since 1997, when China regained control of Hong Kong, it has operated under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems.” This has allowed the city to retain some independence from China, including the retention of a capitalist system that has been widening the gap between the rich and the poor. These photographs document the small-scale density of the lives of individual citizens and families in order to draw attention to the large-scale problem of population density and economic disparity. (via the daily mail)

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Three Studio Slices And Dices

Interesting sculptures and paintings by Three Studio of sliced and diced acrylic figures. It’s kind of like a kids version of Damein Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

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Bernadinism Will Melt Your Brain.

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These are some shots from Bernadinism, the most insane, awesome, mind blowing, infuriating flash website I have ever seen. It is the portfolio of artist Alva Bernadine and features photographs, film, writing, and some of the most intense flash action I’ve ever seen.

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Eiko Ojala’s Cut-Paper Illustration

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Estonian artist Eiko Ojala expertly creates illustrations using paper.  His complex collage pieces are at the same time simple in execution.  His background as an illustrator is clear in each of these pieces.  Ojala is able to communicate a considerable story with minimal imagery and medium.  Whether a series of trees interacting through different seasons, or portraits, Ojala weaves interesting narratives using simple poignant scenes.

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