French designer Maud Vantours creates astoundingly detailed works of art from finely cut paper; carving out perfect geometric and organic shapes, she layers page upon page to create deep cavernous holes and intricate surfaces. With paper patterns of midnight blue and desert yellow, she constructs mesmerizing spaces, strange and wondrous terra incognitae, or lands unknown. Flowers sink like caves below the topmost surfaces; gray parallelograms, like mounds of be achy sand, are emerge from the page.
Vantours’s transfixing images catch and trick the eye, which is accustomed to viewing artwork on a single plane; her works exists in a space all its own, caught between sculpture and line. The work is made both from peeling away and adding layers, and we view it like a vibrant onion, unsure of where it begins or where it might end. Colorful, ever-brightening concentric circles seem infinite, and repeated, detailed surface patterns resemble complex cathedral windows. Blue and orange or green and pink, being opposite colors, visual pull apart from one another, creating an illusion of even greater depth within the thin pages.
From a medium as simple as paper, Vantours renders a dreamy world where organic and mathematically precise shapes are celebrated and fully explored. These deceptively effortless collages are a testament to the order of the natural world; neatly aligned, bright and neutral colors emerge from the shadows. Single and double-layered cut-outs occlude one another, forming complex visual structures that necessitate our attention and captivate our imaginations. Take a look. (via Demilked)
Designer and illustrator Allen Crawford has just released a beautifully illustrated and hand-lettered book version of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” an iconic poem included in the collection, Leaves of Grass. Inspired by his friend Matt Kish who illustrated each page of Moby Dick, Crawford completed this project over the course of 1 year in his basement. Crawford didn’t plan his illustrations for the poem he calls “an expression of primal joy”; he improvised each one by letting Whitman’s own words speak through him to create a tangible, visceral, and immediate visual interpretation of Whitman’s classic poem in keeping with the author’s sensibility. From Philadelphia, where Whitman spent his last decades, Crawford is intimately familiar with the settings and places Whitman describes in his work – this connection partly fuels Crawford’s affinity for the author’s writing. Because of Leaves of Grass’ status as a sacred American text that is inspired by Biblical verse, Crawford feels that a transcription of “Song of Myself” through illustrations and hand-lettering is fitting.
In his book’s introduction, Crawford writes, “I try to treat the poem as almost a landscape, in the sense that I’m exploring this unknown territory and I’m taking field notes from the mind of Whitman. He treats ‘Song of Myself’ as this broad, epic sweeping poem where he’s trying to include everything about American life he’s experienced. So it is a kind of landscape, a kind of world. It is a kind of continent in itself. And as you’re travelling through it, you have different impressions, your style will change, the type will change, sometimes the type will take the fore and you’ll get a very pictorial sort of a interpretation, or a symbolic one. Sometimes the image doesn’t necessarily jive, and isn’t depicting something that’s actually in the poem. I’m trying to provide a parallel narrative to Whitman’s in visual form.”
Viola’s plaid suitcase was empty except for this tiny scrap of paper.
When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes area closed its doors in 1995, staff member Bev Courtwright made a miraculous discovery. Tucked away in the attic were a collection of over 400 abandoned suitcases containing the possessions of their original owners before they were committed to the institution. Photographer Jon Crispin began documenting the collections of belongings in 2011, offering a poignant look into the lives of the people who entered this place (and often never left).
The patients and their suitcases arrived at the Center between 1910 and 1960. Since many of them were treated for chronic mental illness, it wasn’t uncommon that patients died while in the hospital and were buried in the graveyard across the street. If no family member came to claim their belongings, they were taken and stored in the room where Courtwright eventually found them.
The suitcases and trunks vary in their contents, of course, and some were more robustly-packed than others. This fascinating series that examines the objects we hold sacred and what we’re personally attached to, as strange as they may seem. Crispin’s website sheds light on the individual stories of each patient, and in a way memorializes those who owned them. (Via Let’s Get Lost. H/T Meighan O’Toole)
Japanese Photographer Hal has crafted a bizarre-yet-eye catching series titled Fresh Love, which features an intimate couple vacuumed sealed together. It’s part of an advertisement for Condomania Shop in Tokyo, and it plays on the idea of what the shop sells, which, if you couldn’t guess, is condoms.
This series cleverly references a tightly-encased object and the aesthetics of a condom in all of its shrink-wrapped glory. We see an abstracted and visceral view of people, distorted by both the plastic, proximity towards each other, and the lack of space. Flesh is pressed against the surface and every hair and blemish is visible. It’s partially disgusting to see flesh that contorted, but creates a fascinating effect.
Due to the limited air supply, the couples could only be left inside the sealed bag for about 10 seconds. If you’re curious about the photographer and his creative process, check out the video after the jump. It explores the ways in which he achieved his vision and the feelings of the couples involved with the project. (Via designboom)
Unlike most sandcastles, Sandcastle Matt’s creations appear wholly organic; as if birthed from the sea, his structures resemble organisms composed of some primordial tissue, emerging like great unknown beasts from the deep. The artist uses wood, sticks, or vines as a base for these abstract visions. Later, he covers the sculptures in sand using a special technique you might recall from your own childhood: mixing sand and beach water, he creates a sort of paste, which he allows to fall from his hands in drips, which eventually dry and harden.
The artist must carefully construct the bones of the structure according to mathematical law so as to prevent it from toppling over when weighted; the arresting marriage of calculated geometry and unpredictable, organic-looking dribble results in a uniquely seen vision, one that is not easily discerned as either natural or manmade. It is, in fact, both, though one of Matt’s images was circulated on the blogosphere as a meme and mistakenly identified as the startling result of lightning hitting sand.
Like any good sandcastle, Matt’s architectural monuments allow for imaginative play. Viewers are invited to wonder, to make up stories (viral meme or no): are these the relics of some ancient, tiny civilization? The bones and flesh of a sea monster? Seen through the archway of one of Matt’s distinctive structures. the entire Boston skyline is dwarfed, silhouetted as if reflected in some strange mirror; seemingly against all natural law, his castles balance effortlessly, stretching out to the waves before them. (via Colossal)
The photographer Xavier Lucchesi doesn’t use a camera to capture his portraits; instead, he penetrates the human body with an advanced x-ray machine, revealing organs, arteries, and bones. The artist adds color to the medical images, highlighting the intricacies of the human body in electric blues and deep, bloody reds. For Luccesi, the act of seeing is active and passionate; a passing glance is insufficient, and to truly view another truthfully is to dissect and peel away exterior layers.
Lucchesi’s portraits are perhaps those of our deepest human core: when our superficial features are stripped back, a more primal self emerges. Lucchesi’s sitters are laid completely bare; though they might pose or strain, their bodies betray secret inner worlds and open them up to a profound vulnerability. A triptych presents a man in three stages of undress: clothed, then nude, then uncovered and unprotected by skin. As he lays with his arms crossed, the x-ray bears down on him, and he becomes increasingly naked, at the mercy of our eager, inquisitive eyes.
As we reach new levels of intimacy with our own bodies, they reveal themselves like brightly colorful and graphic foreign roadmaps; red blood vessels line the figure like highways, leading to pale geometric bone or grassy green lungs in either direction. Like an intricate maze of machinery or a small, delicate cityscape, the miraculous pieces of the human being—the flesh, the lungs, the ribcage— function autonomously, just beneath the surface of our gaze. Take a look. (via Design Boom)
Polish photographer Maciek Jasik creates blurry, colorful compositions that feature both female and male nudes. Jasik’s subjects exist in a surreal, hazy and colorful landscape, one that nullifies their identity but exposes their natural state of being. The artist is particularly interested in conveying privacy, expression through a medium [photography] that, for the most part, focuses on revealing detailed and realistic portrayals.
Inspired by the emotionally charged impressionist painting of the 19th century, Jasik insists in creating work with photographic techniques that more or less do the same as a loose brushstroke on canvas.
“I began experimenting with an in-camera technique to dissolve the focus and saturate the space with color. There were several post-Impressionist paintings there that stunned me with how emotionally powerful they were, with scarcely any detail, I wanted to evoke that same feeling in photography by emphasizing color and movement.”