Austrian artist Stefan Zsaitsits draws portraits in pencil that are simultaneously nostalgic and strange. The alluring images often feature surreal moments that are from a child’s point of view and a deranged mash-up of characters, places, and frantic mark-making.
There are small comforts in Zsaitsit’s work, like the warm-toned graphite coupled with moments that highlight the joys of growing up. Some characters play with toys and imagine pleasant, beautiful things. Other times, Zsaitsits depicts children and their nightmares. Dark combinations of desolate scenes are ravaged by scary animals and enemies.
Through visual layering of these characters, the artist indicates that many of these images are seen in the mind’s eye. In the drawings, they’re contained within the body or its direct gaze. Zsaitsits’ symbolic works are a darker, more modern-day version of a child’s Boogie Man, and ripe for interpretation by the viewer. (Via Faith is Torment)
The incredibly multifaceted and complex sculpture by artist Sterling Ruby is in a realm between veins filled with dripping blood and stalagmites forming inside a cave. Sterling creates massive and intricate installations using ceramic, paint, collage, and urethane to form his uncomfortably oozing sculptures. Although the striking reds combined with the system of lines used primarily in his work resemble veins and arteries, they possess an attractive quality that draws the viewer in. It’s seemingly endless drips demand your constant attention as it keeps your eye moving across the entirety of the installation. Often installed along with his sculptures are red drops referencing blood created from Formica, wood, spray paint and fiberglass.
This Germany born artist, currently based out of Los Angeles, has a wide range of influences that are apparent in his all-encompassing body of work. Influenced by graffiti and street art, many of Sterling’s sculptures are purposely defaced with “graffiti” by the artist himself. He also pulls inspiration from the punk movement, accounting for the chaotic and bold nature of his work. Sterling has a wide range of style, as he does not always create dripping installations. Many of his sculptures are modeled after soft, plush items resembling everyday objects such as a stack of pillows. His soft sculptures are no doubt the influence of infamous and controversial artist Mike Kelley, who Sterling worked under during his graduate studies. His unique take on installation allows him to completely transform a space, taking the viewer into another world. Sterling’s talent has made him widely successful as he continues to exhibit his work both nationally and internationally in galleries, festivals, and biennales.
Paul Parker‘s video “Seagull Skytrails” shows a living map of bird flight, charting their paths like free-wheeling weather patterns or miniature time-lapsed jet planes. In some parts of “Seagull Skytrails,” the birds almost look like patterns on a zoetrope or frames of some life-sized GIF. The effect is playful, as though we’ve been allowed to look behind the scenes.
Parker also uses After Effect, a piece of video editing software, to blur the birds’ paths into pulsing dark ribbons, looking almost like ocean currents transposed onto the sky. These “skytrails” offer us a peek into the transit system of another world: the freeway of birds.
Jackie and her brother together. On his first day in the world, and a few years later.
60mg methadone + heroin.
Jackie Dives is a Vancouver-based portrait and documentary photographer who has bravely followed her brother’s recovery from heroin addiction. The project began nearly a year ago, when her brother asked her to capture his progress. Jackie agreed, explaining she “wanted to do it as a record for him, hopefully [as] a way for him to remember the severity of his addiction, and prevent him from relapsing.” The images are unfailing in their honesty, capturing fluctuations of strength, hope, pain, and vulnerability. We see him smiling, looking healthy, and sitting beside his girlfriend (who bravely accepted that Jackie take her photograph post-breast augmentation, thus adding another dimension of fearlessness and candidness to the series). In other photos, he looks troubled, his face lined with pain and sadness. The emotion emanating from these images is palpable, and even though Jackie’s brother may be unknown to us, his portraits of struggle and hope inspire a profound sense of empathy and acceptance for individuals enduring the trials of drug addiction and recovery.
What makes this series even more significant is the fact that, for Jackie, her love-infused photographic ambitions began with her brother. Eight years his senior, Jackie began documenting him as soon as he was born; as she writes in her Artist Statement, “Because of our age gap, photography was a realistic way for us to connect that didn’t require us to have much in common, other than being in the same room.” He was not an easy subject; “he moved fast,” and was uninterested in the art she was trying to create. As a result, Jackie became adept at working on the fly, less concerned about refinement and perfection, and interested instead in snapping the purity of a moment. These experiences documenting her brother have developed the core of her artistic objectives and philosophies; while working in the fields of family, event, and travel photography, true portraiture is always her primary focus:
“What’s important to me is simply a moment in the life of my subject. It is not forced or artificial. I want to show my subject truly. […] Ultimately, it’s about letting people continue to be themselves, and not stopping the moment, but letting it flow on, and being adaptable to it. I only want to capture what is actually happening, and in doing that, take a true portrait.” (Source)
Visit Jackie’s website to see more images from this powerful series, as well as many other beautiful portraits and projects. Her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page are also up-to-date with her most recent and ongoing work, so be sure to check out those as well. More images of her brother’s recovery after the jump.
If you ever wondered what it would be like to occupy the same room as the sun, try Nasa’s Solarium. Currently making stops throughout the U.S. the show produced by a division of the space agency known as Solar Dynamics Observatory or SDO, is actually a spacecraft that has been taking pictures of the sun for the past five years. It brings findings using photographs taken over the past year, into an intimate space documenting the blistering star’s movement per second. The material collected is the first of its kind and splices together incredible footage into a series of HD gifs and stills giving you an idea of what it might feel like landing at the gates of hell.
Not surprisingly, most of the photographs portray a round star with several thousand fires burning at once. Constant explosions accompany the flames making you wonder how planets in the solar system don’t disintegrate immediately by her immense power. Other interesting shots capture the mother star in a dormant state depicting a series of smoldering smokestacks. In another unexpected and humorous portrayal, the sweltering star looks like a flame-grinning jack o lantern. Very cool, (or hot) indeed.
The sun is at the center of our solar system and approximately 130 times larger than earth in size and 330 times larger in Mass. It’s mostly made up of hydrogen and helium. Without the sun, all planets in the solar system including earth would die. Despite what might appear to the naked eye, the sun is actually white not yellow or orange in color. The reason for the false hue is atmospheric scattering. This is when molecules are diffused by the solar beam into the earth’s atmosphere changing the sky’s color. (via citylab)
Using discarded inner tubes and a needle and thread, South African artist Hannalie Taute embroiders portraits onto rubber. She takes cuts the abandoned material and cuts them apart to stitch together and form a “canvas.” Often, this means that her subjects have a subtle honeycomb pattern as their backdrop. “Besides the durability and availability of rubber from inner tubes found in car tires, I also decided to embroider on rubber because I find the contrast of working with needle and thread on these inner tubes fascinating,” she says in an artist statement.
As you might imagine, rubber is a tough surface to embroider on. Every stitched line is shown, and Taute isn’t able to seamlessly blend together the different hues. The results are fractured areas of color that abstract her portraits, although not to the point of unrecognition. And, this is partially the idea – to subvert materials. The rubber’s coarse texture is offset by the delicate thread, but at the same time the thread can seem rough with its choppy arrangement.
The artist’s inspiration comes from a number of places, but boil down to identity. She writes:
Titles, words, phrases from books, music, stories, sayings and toys play an integral part in conveying meaning and biographical info about me as a mother, wife and artist in society. Relationships between people and objects are something I prefer to explore using my chosen medium.
Israeli artist Ron Arad has a thing for the Fiat 500 car. Ever since his father was almost struck by a garbage truck while driving a Cinquecento, the Italian automobile played an important part in his life. Arad tells the story of how he came to own his first Fiat to W Magazine. While stopped at a red light in a taxi, a Fiat pulled up next to him, and he
….opened the door of the taxi and shouted to the driver, ‘Are you selling?’ The next day, his car was [his]‘. (Source)
That car was used to cart his family around for a number of years, and even housed a homeless man for a short period. After looking at it every day, he decided he wanted to immortalize the car like the cultural icon it is. Using a metal press at a shipyard in Groningen, in the Netherlands, he managed to squash and squeeze the cars into a 12cm thick plate. After spending a while trialing with smaller cars and a variety of presses, Arad found the perfect way to flatten the frames while still keeping the integrity of the shape and design. It is quite a bizarre sight seeing something which is normally such a full shape being hung on the wall like it is a colored cardboard version of a car. Arad has indeed preserved the idea of the Fiat 500 for all to gush sentimentality over.
His exhibition “Ron Arad: In Reverse” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street in New York City, until March 14, 2015.
Artist Takahiro Iwasaki is a master when it comes to constructing elaborate, miniature landscapes. However, these small-scale scenes are not formed from Lego’s, but from much more unlikely and unstable items such as cloth fiber, dust, and human hair. This Japanese artist takes the most miniscule, seemingly insignificant materials and uses them to create something incredibly complex and enchanting. His newest installations, which are part of the series titled Out of Disorder, contain mini-scenes of recognizable landmarks such as Coney Island, ferris wheel and all. Inspired by painted landscapes on Japanese folding screens, Iwasaki comments on his work in relation to its inspiration.
“Just as the artist of the screens did, I would like to revisit a commonplace everyday scene from today’s Japan, and just as the screens embody a smooth flow from one season to the next, I hope to capture, in my work, the graceful transition of a Japanese landscape from past to present.”
Each tree, building, factory, and rollercoaster in Iwasaki’s work are brightly colored and fragile, as many of them are enclosed in a glass case. This glass reveals one of the most captivating elements of the landscapes; the layers of clothing that make up the earth in many of the installations. Each cloth is filled with diverse colors and clashing patterns, revealing a mishmash of layers that resemble section of sediment in the soil. They form the rolling hills and steep slopes that make up the miniature environments. However, not all of the artist’s creations are constructed from recycled cloth, but from toothbrushes, as well. Telephone towers sprout out of Iwasaki’s toothbrush bristles in this strange yet familiar installation. Out of Disorder is on display now at Takahiro Iwasaki’s first solo show Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus at the Asian Society Museum in New York. (via Spoon & Tamago)