Josh Jefferson is a Boston-based artist who paints and draws raw, coarsely layered, and geometric portraits. Viewing the face as the locus of emotion and individuality — as well as a mask we shape to convey our identities — Jefferson’s rough-yet-sophisticated style allows him to represent the structures of the face while simultaneously exploring the symbolic interiority of each portrait; with loose and boldly-colored brush strokes and layered washes of paint, Jefferson gives each portrait a constructed superficiality as well as a deeper, visible core: translucent shapes become thoughts floating around inside a skull, eyes sink into deep vortexes, and mouths smile and grimace all at once. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Jefferson described his style and motivations:
“What really gets me excited is when I see a painting that seems effortless — when an artist has confidence and it appears that the painting came about like one fast whiplash, a slaphappy moment. If I could convey that feeling of loose abandon and control I would be happy. The distortions and geometric interpretations in my drawings and paintings act as structures for me to build on and react to. I kind of need to repeat things to find their meaning, and the structures help with this process.”
Just as our emotions shift, fluctuate, and blend together, Jefferson’s imaginative-yet-structured portraits manifest the complexity of inward experiences — experiences that may seem abstract or unreadable to anyone not enduring them personally. As Jefferson strives for that balance between “abandon and control,” there is a distinct sense of chaos and order, childhood lightness and adult stoicism; shifting between semi-transparent shapes and bold lines, Jefferson’s faces invite and repel us. In showing the imperfections amidst an otherwise bold exterior, the portraits allow us to view identity as a careful construction — a facade — over a complex and vulnerable personal world.
Jefferson’s works will be featured at Head First, an exhibition at the TURN Gallery in New York City running from June 24th until August 16th. The gallery will be hosting the opening reception on the 24th from 6-8pm. Check out Jefferson’s website to see a larger collection of his work.
Milan-artist Thomas Cian merges portraits with nature in his highly detailed drawings. Utilizing graphite and marker, Cian captures delicate expressions in his subjects which range from indifferent to melancholy. His ability to render life-like images of birds, flowers, and landscapes into these portraits create surrealistic drawings that speak as much to the likeness of the subject as it does to their mood and circumstance.
Cian’s skill and style allows him to create works in his sketchbook quite quickly. One example is a highly realistic sketch of a man in front of his computer which was captured by time lapse video, found here. Completed in thirty-minutes, the clip illustrates Cian’s drawing method and his ability to compile very specific details even within the constrained space of a Moleskin. (via artfucksme)
Additional images of Cian’s work can be found at Behance.
If Wednesday and Pugsley of the Addams family were born a little later they might’ve had this Gothic half pipe in their backyard. I could almost imagine Gomez and Morticia smoking in front of this beautiful wrought iron structure. Instead artist Brandon Vickerd has made something for today’s skater goth. The pipe isn’t as deep as a traditional transition but it is truly beautiful. The sides holding up the wooden platform are black and resemble the part of a rollercoaster which holds up the tracks. According to the artist he wanted to make something that spoke to architectural design incorporated with a recreational aesthetic. It achieves this goal by exploring a type which is normally found floating around music and alternative fashion. The gothic sensibility isn’t normally associated with athletics which make Vickerd’s creation more intriguing. From certain angles the iron is constructed to look like a row of church steeples. It also has the feel of old bridges and fancy park benches. It’s not clear if the artist is a skater but judging by the care involved in this project it would make sense.
Other projects the artist has been involved is making models of famous busts and other figures such as ghost rider with Skeleton faces. These reference more traditional figurative sculpting techniques and pop art from the 60’s.
Appealing design and intelligent function come together in Vial’s Fida Folding Mat. The next time you need to sit on the ground, plan ahead and get yourself this mat. Turn heads at the park, and make people jealous of your good taste and better design sense. It’s reversible, sturdy, has a pocket to store your reading materials, packs up easily and my favorite part is that it folds into a backrest. If you have a birthday gift coming up, this would be an awesome thing to get.
Ron Ulicny is a Portland-based artist who creates “viscurrealistic fabrications”, sculptural works that draw their impact from surreal change-ups in material selection. A vintage bowling pin is sliced open, and a nocturnal forest is inserted into its midsection. A hand saw’s blade is replaced by multiple paintbrushes. I wasn’t necessarily surprised, when going through the artist’s portfolio site, to find quotes from Jasper Johns, Magritte, Duchamp, and Rauschenberg, each of whom are pretty clear influences on Ulicny. But, even in emulation, Ulicny’s work is completely singular. He knows his materials so well (where does he find some of these things?), and his execution might be a little cleaner than some of his heroes. You’re gonna want to check out more of the artist’s works, so find a selection below, but hit up his website and tumblr to get the full picture.
Tom Schmelzer, an artist from Germany, has created this amazing headpiece which acts as a direct opposite to the late Alexander McQueen’s butterfly hat (shown below) for Spring 2008. This wearable sculpture was created with using wood, brass, felt, steel, rubber, viscose, and 140 scarabaeus sacers… also known as, 140 dung beetles! What Tom intended to symbolize by creating an antipode to McQueen’s butterfly headpiece, is to communicate the end of the noughties with its “neocons and megalomanians, its butterfly paintings and art market-bubbles.”
McQueen’s butterfly hat instantly resembles a vibrant flower in full bloom, while Tom’s headpiece orchestrates the exact opposite: a dead flower appearing rigid and brittle with time. When you compare the two, noticing the stark difference, we are reminded of the constant cycle of booming and withering of which we are surrounded by.
What can I say, the recurring imagery of the Luck Dragon from Neverending Story is enough to make me die for Matt Furie’s work. There’s also a series of scary characters that are holding/comforting frail and unthreatening rabbits & children, I don’t know. Amazing.
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