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Valerie Blass Reimagines The Human Figure By Abstracting Its Structure and Space

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Artist Valerie Blass reimagines an age-old subject in art, the figure, and uses her distinctive artistic vision to create her intriguing sculptures. She manipulates and abstracts the human form until some of her subjects look like entirely different beings. By constructing her artwork from an eclectic variety of different materials, each figure becomes highly stylized and unique. Ceramic, Styrofoam, paint, plaster, and even artificial hair are just some of the materials that can be found making up Blass’s artwork. Referencing material culture, one can see the many textures and elements transforming each figure.

Valerie Blass’s figures hold in intense, psychological quality due to their lack of identities. Although there are many fine details in her work, Blass often leaves out the figures’ face. Sometimes, even part of the body is gone. These aspects are replaced by surreal characteristics such as a heap of black hair or a colorful, organic mass. Each piece of Valerie Blass’s takes on a life of their own, with their own, unique textures and colors forming a new kind of creature. Her work is both bizarre and beautiful all at the same time, leaving you puzzled about what exactly it was that you saw. This Canadian artist has an impressive body of work, with her art being owned in both public and private collections around the world.

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Tomás Saraceno Explores Our Environmental Impact By Creating A Massive Hot Air Balloon Out Of Plastic Bags

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Tomás Saraceno is an Argentine artist who creates pieces that explore alternative, sustainable ways of viewing and interacting with the environment. Previous works include floating iridescent and geometric installations that affect the way we perceive the relationship between the earth and sky. In this project, titled “Becoming Aerosolar,” Saraceno has woven together a patchwork of plastic bags into a massive hot air balloon. Trapping the heat of the sun in a greenhouse-like effect, the plastic canvas lifts majestically into the sky, transforming stigmatized, non-biodegradable waste into a work of liberating beauty.

Exploring the creative crossover between environmentalism, history, art, and human perception, Saraceno notes how the hot air balloon “came about as a means of escape and protection in the late 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. It is significant that during these times of uncertainty, people looked to the sky to escape the reality on earth” (Source). As an innovation deriving from crisis and a longing for freedom, the plastic bag balloon takes on a contemporary significance: in an age of environmental turmoil, when the planet we inhabit verges on irreparable damage, the sky (and beyond that, outer space) becomes the frontier of hope. However, beyond signifying that upward glance of salvation and survival, “Becoming Aerosolar” optimistically reminds us how repurposing our materials and shifting our perspectives could lead to changing our trajectory on Earth.

“Becoming Aerosolar” is currently on exhibition at the 21er Haus in Vienna through to August 30th. Visit Saraceno’s website to explore more of his works. (Via Junkculture)

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Renato Garza Cervera’s Thought Provoking Work Turns Gang Members Into Gruesome Hyper Realist Skin Rugs

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You may remember the murder of French filmmaker/ photojournalist Christian Poveda in 2009, following the release of his documentary La Vida Loca, which depicted the lives and inner workings of gangs in El Salvadore. These very same gang members are now the subject of artist Renato Garza Cervera’s latest work “Of Genuine Contemporary Beast” depicts the MS-13 and MS-18 gangs in a series of hyper realist skin rugs. In this series, he depicts gang members in such a way that we are accustomed to seeing animals such as bears and, by doing so, he plays upon the notions of beasts and fear of such beasts.

His work offers a series of harshly realistic rugs and severed heads whose accuracy makes you question their nature. The “skins” of the gang members are splayed out, wit the heads included in order to make a sort of “gang skin rug”. His depiction of members of these specific gangs comes with a deeper ethical message in the sense that it allows us to determine the parameters of our definition of “beast”, such as we do with regards to wild animals and other aspects of nature.

In this thought provoking series, Cervera is underlining what he refers to as the “ world-wide scapegoating process”, and by this he aims to point our the ways in which certain minorities and groups are viewed as “dispensable people”.He allows us to examine a societal problem and, to a larger extent the ways in which we blame and sometimes demonize the things we do not understand.

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Pantone Café, Where You Can Devour A Delicious Palette For Your Palate

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Are you always in search of the perfect color palette? Well, Pantone Café has not only given you just that, but their brilliant hues are available now on a platter. Finally, food that is worth snapping a picture of! Now, the food you eat can match your mood or even your outfit. Each serving tray, cup, napkin, slushy, and food item has been matched with its Pantone color equivalent. Even the espresso machines hold incredible, eye-catching colors that are impossible to ignore. The menu at the Pantone Café is a masterpiece in itself, with the food and beverage choices being grouped in palettes that are to die for.

This minimalistic café provides an incredibly modern, aesthetically pleasing atmosphere down to the last napkin. Each colorful edible has its appropriate Pantone color name, with delicious hues such as pistachio green, canal blue, strawberry pink, and dazzling blue. Each meal contains such amazing color that it is almost too beautiful to eat. The café is a perfect little Pantone universe where color and design meets culinary beauty. This is a place where you can truly taste color and create delicious palettes for your own palate. This pop-up restaurant is located at the Grimaldi Forum and will be open only until September 9th. (via The Creators Project)

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Liz West Creates A Fantasy Room Filled With Mirrors And A Rainbow Sky

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A rainbow colored sky as a sole view. This is the dream-like scenery imagined by English artist Liz West. In a room where nothing else can be the attraction other than a multitude of colored neons reflected on mirror covered floor and walls. A place where senses and emotions relay thoughts and worries.

‘An Additive Mix’ installation is part of the group show Light Fantastic: Adventures in the Science of Light at the National Media Museum in Bradford, UK. It is a tremendous piece of art comprised of 250 fluorescent lights and 199 different colors. Aware that she has chosen to express her creativity through a rare medium she is proud to have found her signature in using light and colors. The large scale installation reflects the genuine palette the artist wanted to use in order to design an astonishing environment for the public.

An aesthetic Liz West has been nurturing for a long time. Fascinated by colors, and the way they mix together, releasing beams and streams of perfect white light. She wished the viewer could be amazed, tip toeing before entering and being part of the art itself. The purpose being to place the body into a foreign context, powerful and mysterious.
‘I have designed An Additive Mix to be an overwhelming, intense, immersive experience.’

Liz West’s ‘An Additive Mix’ is currently being shown at the National Media Museum in Bradford, England until November 2015. (via The Creator’s Project)

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Sponsored Post: Sleeklens And Lightroom – Take Your Pictures To The Next Level

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If you are a Lightroom user and never heard of Sleeklens then you are missing out some of the best presets available for photographers these days. Lightroom presets are groups of parameters defined on Lightroom’s tools and sliders, therefore, they make user’s routine a simpler task by accomplishing many adjustments in only a few clicks. But what does really make a preset stand out in such a competitive industry?

First of all, quality. If a preset is really good made, then it won’t add Film Grain or Noise to your picture unless is your intent to do so. The preset has to work for what is meant to; if it is a Clarity filter, then it will affect only parameters linked to Clarity slider, same for other tools.

Next comes creativity, a killer skill for every artist, and we as photographers are artists as well. Enhance your pictures with creative effects: lomographic effects, stunning B&W for making your pictures look like old time classics, etc.

And finally variety… Presets must apply to every kind of situation that we find in our daily life. Imagine you took a trip to a nearby beach and took stunning pictures, what can be your best pairing for it? A good set of landscape presets. These amazing features Lightroom gives us enough room to explore must be cataloged and defined for different scenarios: Food, Portrait, Landscape, B&W, Nature, Film, Cross Processing… the list can be really large.

Sleeklens has all of those features and more. Created by and for photographers, it doesn’t matter if you are not skilled enough with Lightroom for using them; regardless of your proficiency as a user, they will freshen up your pictures, bringing more life out of them.Stop wasting your time and get ready to transform your pictures into beautiful works of art!

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Tania Hennessy Uses Her Background In Biotech To Create Stunning Drug Themed Jewelry

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The relationship between drugs and art has always been a place of mystery and creation, however, Tania Hennessy’s series of necklaces is a fresh take on these two elements. Her series of “molecular necklaces” combine her knowledge of biochemistry with the art of jewelry making in order to create wearable drug molecules. For this, she uses a 3D printer to laser cut her necklaces from lightweight stainless steel. The 3D printer cuts the material finely thus respecting the intricate patterns of the individual molecules. The necklaces are available in various finishes such as silver, gold, and black.

Her necklaces are simply beautiful at first glance, but they also carry a story: each one represents the molecules that make up different drugs, or chemical elements, amongst which are Ketamine, Cocaine, THC, MDMA and Heroin. She has even created an “Overdose” necklace which stacks up a bunch of different molecules into a magnificent yet deadly cluster of LSD, cocaine, and DMT amongst others.. Hennessy’s necklaces are all the more fascinating because they are both a display of science and aesthetics.

The combination of biochemistry and 3D technology make s for an individual and original form of expression. To those who are well versed in biochemistry, they may look like an inside joke while they may look like a set of pretty shapes to the rest of us. Either way, Hennessy has created a clever work for art that can be both fun to decrypt and to wear.

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Michael Dyrland Photographs Surfers In Hazmat Suits To Raise Awareness About Polluted Waters

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In an effort to raise awareness about environmental degradation and decreasing water quality, Washington-based photographer Michael Dyrland turned some botched plans to go surfing into a series of disturbingly prophetic images. In October 2014, he traveled to Los Angeles to take photos for a friend who lives there. “I was really looking forward to this trip because I wanted to make the most of it and try my hand at surfing,” he explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay. After a night of heavy rainfall, Dyrland asked when they could head to the beach and his friend was aghast. Apparently, following a storm, the 10 billion gallons of runoff contains “sewage, garbage, oil, and shit” — the types of human-derived waste that transform the ocean into a cesspool of disease.

From this unsettling experience, Hazmat Surfing was born. Dyrland wanted to show the world in a creative way what a future of continued environmental abuse and neglect would look like, and how it would impact our lifestyles that we take for granted. Coordinating through email and Google maps, Dyrland chose LA’s famous Venice Beach for the shoot location. A lifeguard was posted to keep an eye on the surfers, and out they went, garbed in gas masks and full-body suits that glisten a sickly yellow against the storm-bruised sky. Capturing the surfers treading water, riding the waves, and gazing seaward, Dyrland has instilled sport photography with a quiet-but-powerful social message. It is not unrealistic to believe that our relationship with the sea might one day look as dark and alienating as this.

Dyrland hopes to continue Hazmat Surfing at different locations in the US and beyond. His next shoot is aimed for Rio, where he hopes to “focus on the water quality issues and let [his] photos speak louder then words.” Visit his website, Facebook, and Instagram to follow this fascinating project.  (Via Feature Shoot)

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