As 2013 draws to a close, it becomes easier to see the trends in art, design and visual storytelling that attracted especially popular interest over the year. Among them were the use of superheroes, which only decades ago were confined to a mythology only ‘nerds’ spoke of. But with superheroes becoming ever-more popular and Geek culture no longer a source of shame, comic book and science fiction heroes have become instantly recognizable forms of pop symbolism for many. Beautiful/Decay featured the work of Andreas Englund’s aging superhero paintings, Alex Lukas’ referential superhero screenprints and Antonio Strafella’s comic heroes as saints, all who took these mythologies and blended them with updated styles, forms, perspectives and techniques.
Josh Lane (Ln) took the same cues with his perfectly titled Hero-Glyphics series, combining a variety of classic comic book (the X-men, Spiderman, the Avengers) and sci-fi (Star Trek) heroes, and re-imagining them in the style of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Ln expands on the classic heroes as well, also casting 90′s nostalgia (in the form of the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as well as newer comic and movie characters (Kick-Ass).
The holiday season is all about giving. Giving presents to friends and family, giving back to your local community, and giving to worthwhile organizations that you believe in and who are making a real difference to make the world a safer, happier, and healthier place. The American Cancer Society is the perfect example of such an organization. For 100 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has worked relentlessly to save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Together with millions of supporters worldwide, they help people stay well, help people get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer. Sixty years ago, 1 out of 3 people diagnosed with cancer survived. Today, thanks in part to the work of the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 will survive. The ACS has funded groundbreaking research in nearly every major cancer research breakthrough in recent history, provides a variety of support services for cancer patients, and promotes cancer prevention far and wide.
One of the most important tasks that The American Cancer Society takes on is providing lodging for patients and caregivers. Last year alone they provided lodging for over 50,000 people.
Having a place to live shouldn’t be the difference between life and death for anyone. Let’s continue to make sure that everyone who needs a room gets one! Join the American Cancer Society and make noise to finish the fight against cancer once and for all.
This post is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
Perhaps one of the best street-art interventions of the year comes at the very end. Daniel Siering and Mario Shu developed a unique strategy for their site-specific public project in Potsdam, Germany. By wrapping a tree and covering the wrapping with incredibly detailed spray-paint, the duo manages to perfectly capture a stunning sinhle-point perspective which gives the illusion that the tree is bisected, with the top half mysteriously floating above the fields and horizon in the background.
As this is a developing story, there are precious few pictures to properly show the project (including proper links to the artist, or previous works) but check out this video (which as of now has less than 300 hits) to see the simple yet effective trompe l’oeil the two artists created, and hope that the two release more pictures, and more fantastic public projects, in 2014. (via streetartutopia)
You might use emoticons/emojis in your everyday texting or in your tweets, but have you ever really looked at them? Designer Liza Nelson studies their pixelated idiosyncrasies and recreates them in her series EMOJI IRL.LOL. Using vegetables, props, paper mache, and more, she crafts the emojis we all love/hate. Nelson then photographs them and publishes on Tumblr, with the emoji accompanying it. Her opinion of emojis are simultaneously low and high. Appreciative, yet disparaging at the same time. She writes,
Emojis mean everything and they nothing at the same time. They’re completely personal and completely universal. They’re really quite stupid. And they’re the best thing that ever happened to our generation. They deserve to be observed and worshiped individually. By finding, posing and sculpting emojis in real life I’ve created a set of shrines to the individual characters because somebody had to do it.
In a Wired article by Liz Stinson, she describes how Nelson begins the IRL emojis. Stinson writes, “Nelson begins each of her images by analyzing an emoji to the point of deconstruction. ‘I’d take screen shots and zoom in and in until they were super pixelated,’ she explains. ‘I’d study them, really trying to figure out the facial expressions or the color or the details you don’t notice when they’re so tiny.’” Since starting the project, she’s gotten quite a few requests for the emoji poop icon. Nelson says she will be constructing it out of clay. (Via Wired)
While teaching at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite National Park in the 1970s Roger Minick began photographing sightseers. Interested in this American activity Minick wanted to capture the “cacophony of clicking shutters” and waves of tourists seeking photographic proof that they had made it to a famous vista.
Minick’s photographs portray unique narratives of what is mainly America’s middle-class. Poignant and humorous all at once, the images show varied individuals with intriguing and sometimes seemingly strange stories. What is interesting is that, so far as a viewer can tell, all the subjects have only one thing in common: their desire to be in famous places in nature. Sometimes stereotyped Minick’s images successfully portray the American tourist as being wholly distinct.
Moreover, set against iconic backdrops the images become more than just portraits. They demonstrate a juxtaposition of nature and culture. As David Pagel wrote in the LA Times in 1997, “these supple works use the discomfort most people feel when confronted by nature’s inhuman scale as a metaphor for the precariousness of culture in a democratic society. Awkward and uncertain, sometimes fun and at other times frightening, this quiet anxiety is a big part of these pictures’ power.”
Renegades, a photographic series by Frank Marshal, captures the Heavy Metal subculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As we know, Heavy Metal audiences have traditionally been Caucasian and Eurocentric. All of these things, however, are not an obvious description of Sub-Saharan Africa. Marshall’s portraits offer a vision of an unlikely Heavy Metal subculture in Botswana, his subjects are an anomaly, a reaction to a strictly occidental genre. Marshall aptly labels his subjects as renegades, as he renders portraits of rebellious individuals who form part of “an ulterior, emergent rootedness where traditional identities and political histories in Botswana are subverted”. Furthermore, Marshal’s portraits break down established archetypes of ethnicity, cultural identity, and ideology. These individuals are on the fringe of a society that is already situated within the ‘geographical and ideological’ space of the Other, meaning that they are already viewed as exotic by the Occident.
The peculiar thing here is, that we see the ‘Other’ under an completely unpredictable light.
Tribe-like, Heavy Metal possesses an unconscious sense of brotherhood that transcends race and nationality in the context of Renegades. So too, Marshall’s renegades unpack popular stereotypes, transcending traditions, blurring the boundaries between liberty and fraternity, helping to delineate the power structures inherent to Heavy Metal, which may be misinterpreted as a trace of an oppressive past. This is in keeping with the extremism of Heavy Metal ideology, embracing anything that popular culture finds unacceptable.
Jan Huling‘s beaded sculptures are inspired by a continuous fascination with indigenous and popular cultures, as well as world religions and mythologies. Her meticulous work combines found objects with surface design, recontexualizing recognizable objects by adorning them with colorful patterns and infusing them with wonder and whimsy.
“Certain themes continue to resonate for me. The dolls I frequently include in my constructions explore dreams of childhood while removing them from the realm of cherished playthings.” Ultimately, Huling’s work seeks to “transform the mundane and allow us to imagine the magic within the familiar.”
Walking the line between fashion illustration and fine art these fashion designers are capable of creating beautiful drawings. Whimsical and fanciful, each artist is able to transfer images from imagination to paper in a way that is unique and dramatic.
Langley Fox’s beautiful graphite drawings are surreal and poetic. Sometimes purely beautiful and sometimes borderline bizarre Fox captures her subjects, often times figments of her imagination, with impressive precision and detail.
Intrigued by ancient Greek mythology, particularly the legend of the Moirai, Inès Katamso’s illustrations are enchanting and narrative. In the legend, the Moirai, or Fates, were white-robed incarnations of destiny. Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (unturnable), controlled the metaphorical thread of life for every mortal from birth to death. Katamso became interested in the idea of the “thread of life” and the line itself. Her beautiful illustrations capture this interest in the line, gracefully weaving lines together to create amazing compositions.
New York designer Katie Gallagher’s sketches are moody, dark and evocative. Telling a story that is at once about fashion and something else—something more serious and haunting—they transcend mere fashion sketches and become fantastical stories.
Helsinki-based illustrator Laura Laine’s characters are serious, sometimes frightening, but ultimately incredible. Each has a distinct personality that exudes attitude. Her quasi gothic, certainly poignant images are intriguing and lovely.