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Brian Steinhoff’s Collages Are “Porn For the Whole Family” (NSFW)

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Brian Steinhoff amusingly attempts to turn porn rated-G in his series of collages titled Porn For the Whole Family. He trades human flesh for floral patterns, silhouetting the once-bodies with kitsch designs. Now, we see abstracted shapes on top of beds, in the tub, and against countertops. Steinhoff is more conspicuous about some images than others, and will choose to leave in various sex toys with the masked subjects.

This series raises some interesting observations about censorship. How effective is Steinhoff’s censoring? In some of these images, the mixture of patterns and shapes is confusing and hard to decipher. But other times, the artist’s floral designs do little to shield us from what’s really going on in these photos. He’s keeping us from actually seeing the acts, but we still know what’s taking place and have some idea of what that looks like.

This is reminiscent of bleeping out “bad words” from television shows. Sure, it keeps viewers  from hearing these phrases (which they most likely know, anyways), but it doesn’t change the fact that people are cursing and that you can probably guess what they said.

We recently posted the work of Von Brandis, another artist whose project Obscene Interiors reinterprets sexual content. Instead of patterned bodies, silhouettes replace the figures with a vacant, white shape. Where Steinhoff’s handiwork blends in with the photographs, Von Brandis’ erotic activities are in stark contrast to the rest of the image. This makes them differ in application, but also in context. Steinhoff’s use of these kitschy patterns conveys a homey feeling, whereas the other Obscene Interiors removes this association. (Via Flavorwire)

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Alaina Varrone Skillfully Embroiders Bawdy And Playful Tableaus

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Alaina Varrone‘s embroidery is bawdy, playful, and especially considering thread is the medium, astonishingly technical. Each piece of Varrone’s tells an absurd, humorous, and/or eroticized story. She draw her inspiration from subcultures such as furries, heavy metal, and BDSM, but she’s also inspired by her own life, sometimes inserting herself directly into her work, producing pieces that are part fantasy, part memory. Though some of her work is deeply personal, Varrone executes it with a sense of humor, transforming the serious into the comic. Of her overtly sexual work, Varrone says,

I’ve been doing this for some years now, and this past year or so I’ve noticed more people doing blatantly sexual work, and I actually roll my eyes! I feel like a jerk for admitting that, but I feel like we’re past doing erotic art for shock value.

 

I still get stupid comments about my work because I’m a woman who does erotic art, I still get men who assume I’m easy or promiscuous because I’m open about this subject, and it doesn’t help that I’m buxom either, so some more ignorant folks just see a big titted woman stitching coitus and get a jolly from it.

 

I’m trying to capture moments, I’m not just stitching a vagina to be “edgy”, and I like to think my technical ability and sense of humour help to garner respect. I just keep doing what I want to do, I just trust my instincts, so far it’s worked out pretty well!

You can find purchase Varrone’s work on Etsy, Flickr, and Tumblr. (via evil tender)

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Faig Ahmed’s Glitchy, Distorted Rugs Destroy The Stereotypes Of Eastern Tradition

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Faig Ahmed, a visual artist from Baku, Azerbaijan, reworks the aesthetic of carpets, an “indestructible symbol of the Eastern tradition”, by weaving digital patterns onto the already conventional recurring patterns of the traditional Azerbaijani rug.

“Tradition is the main factor creating the society as a self regulated system. Changes in the non-written rule happen under influence of global modern culture.”

Ahmed’s interest in extending this traditional practice to one that alludes to today’s relevant digital imagery is his way of creating new boundaries. By mixing and matching two different aesthetics, Ahmed creates a rekindling of tradition and progress.

In order to create the illusions of glitchy carpet bits, Ahmed superimposes digital patterns onto traditional weaving compositions, these combinations either create rugs with bold optical illusions and/or generate transformations that leave carpets looking like unconventional sculptures.

“To be honest, things I do are not always right and beautiful. I do things without thinking- it’s my instantaneous expression. Changes in the world are instantaneous as well, and that is what I am channeling-ideas that have been formed for ages are being changed in moments- that is what I hope to do with me work. I just make bold experiments, putting them into the art scene, trusting myself and the viewers of my art.”

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Spilled Wine Stains Made Into Ghostly Artworks With Exquisite Embroidery

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The artist Amelia Harnas creates dazzling portraits from spilled wine, using embroidery thread to trace and refine her crimson-faced subjects. Like delicate watercolor, the wine has an ethereal texture; the artist admits a certain unpredictability and instability in her unique process. Using wax resist on soft white cotton fabrics to set the images, she cannot determine how long the delicate images will last, and the transient images float like ghosts across the page while thread guides the eye.

Art historically, wine is associated with the god Bacchus, the god of drink and sexuality who inspired mortals to drink to the point of confusion, a state where the lines of identity and gender are blurred. Here, the spilled wine soaks the fabric in such a way that only the slightest mark provides a hint into the distinctive temperament of the subject. It is the thread that defines personhood, outlining the divisions between eye and flesh, hair and scalp. Without the meticulous embroidery, men and women become murky, drunken figures.

The miraculous tension between accident and purpose heightens the drama of each face. The cotton foundation is seemingly drenched in reds and pinks, the colors chaotically spreading throughout the image and creating serendipitous halos around the portraits; in stark contrast, the embroidery is distinctly rational and deliberate, forming complex geometric shapes like concentric circles, squares and triangles.

As the volatility of wine stains collides with the reason and order of human craft, Harnas presents a startlingly complex vision of the human condition. As illustrated in this work, art, like man, is governed by both passion and sound intellect, doled out in equal measure. Take a look. (via Colossal and Oddity Central)
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Split Screen Portraits Of Drug Addiction Show Subjects Before And After

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The photographer Roman Sakovich has gotten some heat for his project Half, a series of images detailing the effects of drug abuse, particularly with respect to methamphetamine addiction; his subjects stand, face forward, their lefthand side polished, even proud, while on the right, their bodies are ravaged by scars and scabs characteristic of addiction. The jarring split-personas are achieved not through photoshop but with expert make-up and styling.

The artist has been criticized for his simplified portrayal of drug dependency; by his own admission, the images, in their shocking nature, exclude a more nuanced exploration and rely in part stereotypes. Problematic for some is the fact that the non-addict self is styled professionally in suits and crisp button-downs, while the addict wears more urban attire, the implication being that class and drug use are profoundly connected.

Regardless of the controversy (and perhaps even because of it), the shocking series inspires much-needed and critical discussion on drug addiction, an illness that plagues tens of millions nationwide. Avoiding blaming and scapegoating individuals, the artist provides an intimate approximation of selfhood torn by addiction, one that inspires empathy, not disgust or prejudice.

Sakovich’s subjects, their identities split in two, are as you and I, lead by hopes, fears, and complex yearnings. A doctor, stethoscope slung over her shoulder, hair in a tight chignon, directs a placid glance comfortingly at the viewer; only after allowing our eyes to drift across the print do we see this figure of heath and safety cruelly overtaken by substance abuse, her eye downcast and purpled, a dried lip furrowed and lined. We read these bodies from left to right like strange texts, imagining personal and intimate narratives in order to reconcile the two faces before us. Ultimately, we are left with the powerful warning, “This could happen to you.” What do you think? (via My Modern Met and Feature Shoot)
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Photo Series Documents What People Around the World Eat in a Day

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Tersius “Teri” Bezuidenhout, a long-haul trucker delayed by paperwork at the Botswana-Namibia border.

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Shahnaz Begum, a mother of four, outside her home in the village of Bari Majlish.

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Shashi Kanth, a call center worker in Bangalore, India.

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Bruce Hopkins, a Bondi Beach lifeguard in Sydney, New South Whales, Australia.

Photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio (who is also his wife) spent three years traveling to 30 countries to document what different people eat over the course of a single day. The resulting photographs are compiled into a book, What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Menzel’s fascination with our relationship to food. Previously, we’ve featured his series about a week’s worth of groceries for families around the world.

Each image of What I Eat is accompanied by a detailed breakdown of the meals. The couple featured diverse profiles such as a Japanese sumo wrestler, a Maasai herdsman, an Arctic hunter, a Tibetan yak herder, and a Bangladeshi factor seamstress.

All of the diets, of course, vary by location and availability of food, but also profession. Shashi Kanth (pictured above), an AOL call center worker, relies on fast-food meals, candy bars, and coffee to keep him going throughout the long nights as he talks to Westerners about their technical issues. This stands in stark contrast to Bruce Hopkins (also pictured above), a Bondi Beach lifeguard in Sydney, New Whales, Australia. He eats moderately and hardly ever enjoys fast food or alcohol. (Via Amusing Planet)

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Patrice Letarnec’s ‘Head Over Heels’ Photo Series Turns The Human Body Upside Down

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French art director and photographer Patrice Letarnec combines his two talents when he devised this cleverly simplistic photoseries. Having his subjects switch their top and bottom clothes, Letarnec then has them stand on their hands, walking about upside down on their daily routes. Thus the title of the series, Head Over Heels, which is taken quite literally.

The results are subjects which look familiar at first, until a general unease sets in to the missing head, arms which are too long, and legs that are far too short. The orangutan-like subjects are more comedic than disconcerting, another win for Letarnec’s eye (who also deserves a bit of credit for finding subjects who can balance on their hands so well while blindfolded).

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Exhibition Explores Parallels Between Design And Cloud Data

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A recent exhibition in Minneapolis investigates the inherent desire to organize and structure our world, and the ensuing clutter and confusion when we become increasingly influenced by the sprawling technologies we’ve invented to helps us. Eddie PerroteLeanna Perry and Bill Rebholz conceived Scategories as a display to highlight ordered chaos.  “We’ve enabled our minds to perceive more information, decrease our mental clutter and externalize our memories,” reads the press release, which explains why the exhibition feels a bit overrun, offering too much to process, even when the looking is enjoyable.

Each of the artists has one foot firmly planted in the design world, which is perhaps the ideal middle ground to view the changing landscapes of art and design, and how technology is rapidly altering them. The group explains, “Through organizing the brain we present windows into the cerebral wold of structure, chaos, habitual patterns, and seemingly infinite layers of content. It’s these informalities that create vivacious energy, and eccentricities that feed the visual cacophony of information ever gathering within our minds.”

The exhibition itself is presented with this visual cacophony in mind. Colorful, typography-inspired murals covering several walls, while the remaining white-walls are densely covered with 2 and 3-dimensional works. Recurring motifs, such as simplistic cloud shapes, puzzle pieces, mirrors and stairs connect their works; an unplanned phenomenon, which was not surprising considering their shared influences and interests, claims the group. Perrote, Perry and Rebholz even shared a specific color palette for the show, using the same magenta, teal, and yellow paints, both for visual cohesion and “to highlight the gap between colors that exist in reality and the RGB colorspace of computer screens” says Perrote.

At the heart of the exhibition is a paradox, highlighted by the significant gesture that each painting, drawing and screenprint was made by hand. Even in a time when we can create, share and store an unlimited amount of data, the information must still be processed slowly, through our hands, eyes and minds in order to be appreciated, an appreciation which is key to good design.

Scategories is currently on view at The Abstracted Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The closing reception will be Friday, April 11th, 2014, from 7 to 10 pm.

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