As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Jennifer Kaye’s article on John Mdgley.
Cosmetic giant MAC put their in-store makeup artists to the test this Halloween to create the most compelling looks. Artists from stores in Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York will be judged by MAC’s facebook followers for their annual “Halloween Face-Off.” The portraits, which range from glamorous to macabre, were shot by photographer John Midgley. “The passion of each of the artists was a lot of fun, and it was infectious,” says John. They lived for it—they lived for the look. They lived to have their picture taken. It took it back to the simplest form of photography, which is flattery and escapism.”
The incredibly detailed pen and ink illustrators of Toronto based artist Paul Jackson take on the form of animals and humans, with their insides ascending from their bodies. His rendering of skeletal structures of wolves, dinosaurs, and humans is anatomically something to be admired. His illustrations have a dark aura, as he portrays different animals with layers of organs erupting from their skin. We can see Jackson’s well-refined skill in the very believable texture of the fur, skin, and bone in his work. Each illustration remains very realistic, despite their mystical nature. His creatures are like spirit-animals that are attempting to rise out of their earthly shell, erupting out of their exteriors.
There is a strong element of life and death his Jackson’s work, as many of his drawings contain half living creature and half skeleton. Pushing this boundary of the living world even further, many of Jackson’s works contain a visible “glitch.” There is a disruption in the composition. A face slowly turns into waves of “white noise,” like a sound wave encountering interference. This interference literally blurs the line between a creature, like Jackson’s bear, that is alive, with one that is dead. The artist has created his work on a large and small scale, and even has many of them available as prints, t-shirts, and patches. Make sure to check out his website for more astonishing illustrations and a great time-lapse video of the artist in action.
Ross Kemp Folds is a site dedicated to foldings of photos of award winning British actor Ross Kemp. Hundreds of users from around the world have submitted their own foldings, each outdoing the next. I can’t tell if the site is a tribute fan site to Ross or a very creative way to make fun of the actor but with over 360 user submissions the site has a plethora of inventive, playful,and downright laugh out loud foldings of Ross’s rotund head in every shape possible. Below are a few of my favorite foldings from the site.
Scripturient: Possessing a violent desire to write.
Acersecomic: A person whose hair has never been cut.
Biblioclasm: The practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media.
Dactylion: An anatomical landmark located at the tip of the middle finger.
“A-Z of Unusual Words” is a self-initiated project by Irish based graphic art duo The Project Twins. It depicts “strange, unusual and lost words” explained through a set of beautifully crafted minimal illustrations and visual wit.
According to the artists, James and Michael Fitzgerald, “the images explore the meaning behind the words, which are sometimes even more strange and unusual”. The bold and simple aesthetics of these illustrations resemble Bauhaus’ style of conduct through style and form.
The artist statement of Project Twins points out: “Curiosity, humor and wit are a predominant feature in their work. <…> They are interested in observations and oddities and enjoy taking the familiar and turning it into the surprising.“ The series of “A-Z of Unusual Words” has been exhibited during Design Week Dublin in 2011 and was also awarded a Merit in the 3X3 Proshow and featured in 3X3 Illustration Annual 2012.
“In my recent body of work the visual elements of Sci-Fi and point and shoot photography intersect. The resulting overlap of vivid imagery evokes the idea of parallel universes and alternate versions of ourselves. These other worldly landscapes are inhabited by “mall chicks and misfits” and conjure up questions of how we connect with these hypothetical figures. I like working with opposites, conflicting genres, and subjects from polarized sides of the social scale. I find that when you interweave contrary ideas, it gives a perspective on how strange it can be in present day life.”
Holly Coulis’s still lives and portraits all share an idiosyncratic relationship between background and subject; with their hodgepodge of complex patterns and vibrant color, her paintings combine a witty sense of humor with a deep regard for craft. On top of bright layers of complimentary orange, she arranges people from old photographs, animals, and plants in a flat style reminiscent of Alex Katz. Coulis brings a modern sensibility to traditional modes of representational painting.
Elik is a true NYC graffiti legend, gettin’ up hard with the roller. But like many of his peers in the graff world, he’s turned to exhibiting ‘street art’ on indoor, gallery walls. Last spring he unleashed a full load of collage and mixed media works on the Brooklynite Gallery in Bed-Stuy. The compositions are playful, and full of dynamic elements. Any one of the works could serve as an advertisement bill for a show (or party) that serves as a gritty, comprehensive sum-up of the entire 20th-century.
At least in the United States, subways are often thought of as utilitarian spaces quickly passed through during rush hour. Sweden’s Stockholm Metro, however, is filled with bright colors, mosaics, bas relief, even, installations and sculpture created over the past 60 years. Often considered one of the continent’s most beautiful metro systems, the city takes the underground art very seriously. For the price of a ticket, the system offers guided tours with a Metro expert. Further, the Stockholm Metro hosts temporary art exhibits in addition to its six decades worth of permanent art. Next time your in Sweden be sure to schedule some time underground.