Artist Bailey Henderson creates intricate sculptures depicting fantastic beasts that have been portrayed in medieval maps. Each creature is stylized and made to detail the original image accurately. The texture found in her sculptures mirror the lines in an illustration, like the mythological beings actually jumped right off the pages of a medieval map. These monstrous creatures are often hybrids of two real animals, such as a whale and an eagle, or a dragon and an iguana. Henderson is deeply interested in mythology as well as cartography, which influenced her to make her series Monstorum Marines. Each sculpture is named after its given mythological name, such as Ziphius, the creature that resembles an orca whale, and Porcus Marinus, who is a cross-breed of a boar and a fish. Henderson goes on to describe what the creatures were believed to be and even how they did to kill their victims. Her narrative of the sculpture titled Cockatrice, is both fascinating and entertaining.
A cockatrice is a mythical beast, originating in the 14th century. It the hind quarters of a serpent or dragon, and the front quarters of a chicken. It was believed to deliver a deathly stare, or kill by breathing on its victims.
Henderson’s incredible skill in sculpting is only matched in her painting talent. Cast bronze is the material used to form each claw, tail, and beak in this magnificent series. Acrylic paint and powdered pigments is used to transform the cast metal into majestic beasts full of color and life. Each layer of scales, feathery hair, and powerful wing is created with such attentive detail, that each of Henderson’s unimaginable creatures truly come to life.
Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, famous for his paintings of small children and animals, has a new solo exhibition in Hong Kong called Life is Only One. It recently opened at the Asia Society, and the title of the show comes from Nara’s artwork of the same name. This painting features a child holding a skull and contemplating existence. Conceptually, this isn’t foreign territory for Nara. In an interview with Asia Society, he explains, “When I was a child, the word “life” itself, of course, was a foreign concept. After turning 50, however, and with the deaths of people close to me and with the recent earthquake, I started to think about life more realistically — the limits of life, and the importance of what one can accomplish during that time.”
The children seen in Nara’s works represent what’s inside his head. He describes to Asia Society:
The children were not something I had sought or thought out, but in trying to capture what was in front of my eyes, they appeared as I tried to capture what was formless in my mind. I think, therefore, that my world expands upon my past experiences and memories, and the speaker for my own mind appears as a child. But really, if anything, those children appeared very naturally on the picture plane.
Life is Only One is on view until July 26 of this year. (Via Hi Fructose)
Talk about impressive craftsmanship. In a stunning feat of virtuosity, the Chinese artist Ch’en Tsu-chang carved an astoundingly complex scene into a single olive pit in the year 1737. The tiny sculpture is complete with eight exquisite human figures enjoying a serene ride in the furnished interior of a boat with movable windows. To construct the piece, the artist, hailing from Kwangtung and having entered into the Imperial Bureau of Manufacture during the reign of emperor Yung-cheng, allowed his eye and hand to be guided by the natural shape of the olive pit.
Measuring 1.34 inches in length and .63 inches in height, the work was inspired by a poem titled “Latter Ode on the Red Cliff,” written by Su Tung-p’o some six hundred and fifty years before; it depicts the poet and his seven companions on one of his two journeys to Red Nose Cliff, the site of an epic battle that proceeded the poet-official by eight hundred years. On the helm of the boat, the artist meticulously engraved 300 characters from the beloved poem, whose moving lines served as an artistic theme well into the Qing Dynasty. Somehow, the delicate and intricate composition elevates the epic subject matter, making it all the more precious and highlighting its worth as a narrative worth careful representation. What better way to honor a poem about a natural landscape than by rendering its speaker in an organic substance?
Metal splashes of water twirling around space. Chinese artist Zheng Lu is suspending his favorite element in the air. He is also imprinting calligraphy letters onto the body of the sculptures for an extraordinary result.
The artist uses a plaster base to carve the shape of the spatters. He laser-cuts the thousand letters on the stainless-steel metal and and heats up the whole structure. This process allows the metal to be distorted and the different parts to be assembled. The rendering are 3 dimensional large-scaled water splashes with intricate traditional calligraphy Chinese letters spread out onto the surface.
Zheng Lu has been fascinated with water explosion since little. And he was introduced during his upbringing to the art of calligraphy. He has been nourishing his passions through his art since he was able to make art. The spatters are extremely detailed. From the voluptuous circular shapes to the micro drops of water, the artist depicts water as close to reality as possible. The sculptures can either be suspended or laid on the floor.
The artist’s pieces are esthetically beautiful. They also are telling a story. The letters he is depicting onto the sculptures are texts inspired by literature and poems. The world of art of Zheng Lu is synonym of harmony. It’s a world where movement and stillness are contrasting concepts yet one cannot survive without the other.
Ladies and Gentlemen! The latest issue of Beautiful/Decay is upon us! Sent to the printers in the last weeks, there will be only 1000 copies produced (all of which are ad-free) and only subscribers will receive their copy before it ships out to stores. You also save 33% by subscribing versus going to the newsstand (plus you don’t have to go past your mailbox to get it!). Subscribe today and secure your newest addition to the Beautiful/Decay series.
To get you ready for the release of Book 5 dust off your tablets and fire up your copy of Photoshop because today we continue the contest to give away a free copy of Beautiful/Decay Book: 5 to the fastest gun in the wild west. Each Tuesday for the next 3 weeks we are going to be releasing a new piece of Beautiful/Decay cover to get you guys ready for the upcoming issue. The rules are simple: Be the first person to piece together the cover of the Book:5 and email the completed image to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your speed of hand will be rewarded with a free copy of the book you just solved. In case you are just tuning in, be sure to check out the B/D blog for the previous missing pieces. So wrangle up your magic lassos and get busy winning!
Photographer and pop surrealist Dina Goldstein’s large-scale project titled Gods of Suburbia features a collection of deities and religious figures set within the context of modernity. Buddha, Mohammed, Satan, and others exist alongside technology, science, and secularism as it relates to living in the (anywhere) suburbs. Goldstein explains:
The series plays with narrative and religious iconography in order to communicate how organized belief has become twisted within a global framework driven by consumerism and greed. The project challenges the viewer — religious or secular — to embark on a journey of self-reflection as they contemplate the relevance of dogma in modernity.
Goldstein’s moody images highlight some less-than-stellar facets of our modern culture. Lack of compassion, unwillingness to learn/accept other beliefs, and bullying are just some of the themes that the photographer touches on. The series, while strange, is poignant and relatable as we read more and more bad news everyday.
Each photo in Gods of Suburbia features thoughtful and interesting explanations of how every figure relates to contemporary society. Read it on Goldstein’s website.
Noah Sheldon’s well rounded portfolio has a little bit of everything for everyone. My favorite photos are his landscape shots. Although they are images of familiar places, the composition and perspectives make them feel like worlds from a far away galaxy. Noah also has a hilarious series of cat photos wearing human clothes for those of you who need a good laugh during the work week. All of this and more after the jump!