Old magazines and documents are given new life in Mark Powell’s work. Instead of using a blank piece of paper he incorporates a used surface with one of his drawings. This adds a bit of nostalgia and makes his sketches unique. He created a series of animal portraits on the covers of 1940’s National Geographic magazines. These were done in Powell’s ultra realistic style, where he used a common bic ballpoint pen to create dramatic renderings. In this instance, the wild animals offer the viewer a striking view of not only Powell’s expertise as a draftsman but a certain comfort level in seeing a familiar title.
A series of map drawings by the artist cleverly uses historical and literary figures. Mostly portraying old men, Powell fuses the lines on their faces perfectly with the map borders adding an interesting element. The idea itself preserves a time and place. Birds, insects and chimpanzees create another body of work that incorporates more reappropriation. The intricately drawn specimens appear on anatomy text book pages, old letter envelopes and historical editions. These are rendered with scientific precision similar to botanical studies. Their placement on the used surface opens up a collage sensibility.
Powell uses a tool that also holds historical significance. Before the bic biro pen was invented only cumbersome fountain pens were used. These were messy and inconvenient. A newspaper editor named Lazlo Biro noticed that newspaper inks dried quicker and with his brother Gyorgy, a chemist, created the first ballpoint writing pen. Because of the moving ball at the pen’s end the inks were allowed to dry making it easier to use. (via faithistorment)
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As a founding member of Italian design group Memphis, Milan-based artist and designer Nathalie Du Pasquier has designed a plethora of poppy, bright, and playful textiles, pieces of furniture, and design objects. Since the group’s disbanding in 1987, Nathalie has become more of a traditional artist, creating paintings and sculptures clearly steeped in the distinctive Memphis aesthetic.
Berlin based photographer Bagrad Badalian uses the technique of long-exposure photography to bend and manipulate light in his energetic and magnetic photography. The motion in his photography combined with a long exposure elongates his subjects and drags colored lights across the composition. Badalian, mainly focusing on the human form as his subject, allows the figure to be taken over by hypnotic, multicolored light sources that bounce and bend across the figures. This element along with his carefully cropped compositions render many of the subjects unrecognizable, shifting the focus onto the many waves of light. Each color seems to be exploding from the bodies with an energetic force, creating a vibrant pulse felt by the viewer. As you look at each figure in motion, you can feel the pulsating rhythm that encompasses each photograph.
“The photographic technique interests me for the many possibilities it offers not only to scientists but also artists. Long exposure photography is on of those techniques that fascinate me since I have started practicing photography. It allows me to decompose the movement of time and control the aesthetic and imaginative potential of chance.”
Each figure’s identity is skewed as their features are distorted and manipulated by the long exposure. This creates a beautiful, but sometimes nightmarish, effect. The colored lights dance across the figure’s faces due to the movement in the photograph, which also causes the face to shift. It becomes disfigured as the movement t manipulates the face and body like a ball of clay. Although causing a face-altering effect, Badalian’s technique is overall unique, holding a strong and powerful force.
In a darkly poetic new video titled “Quand c’est?” (When it is), singer and songwriter Paul Van Haver (aka, Stromae) sings a chilling address to cancer. The video, shot all in black and white, depicts Stromae performing for an audience of animated alien limbs and nettle-like growths—a creative portrayal of the disease. His words are emotional, bold, and honest:
“Oh yes, we know each other well
You even tried to get my mother
Starting with her breasts
And my father’s lungs
D’you remember then?”
As the video proceeds, Stromae dances across stage, moving in the same strange, articulated fashion as the disease that seeks to devour him. As the music builds, his graceful movements unravel into desperation as one of the limbs seizes him while another—approaching unseen from the back—strikes him dead. The remainder of the video spirals into a fervor, depicting his ghost being his cast into a black pit festooned with the bodies of countless others.
Stromae is known for his videos that touch upon topics of an important nature; the award-winning song “Papaoutai,” for example, explores the experience of growing up without a father. “Quand c’est?” (which is also a homophone for the French pronunciation of “cancer”) explores the trauma of the disease from both an intimate and universal perspective; the majority of us have been touched by cancer in some way, as is expressed by the network of bodies trapped in the alien nest. Weaving together vocals, dance, and animation, Stromae’s haunting performance is an expressive embodiment of human pain and perseverance.
Scott Bisson is an Oregon-based glass blowing enthusiast. Ever since he bent a piece of glass over a flame in his high school Chemistry class when he was seventeen, Bisson has been passionately creating beautifully colorful hand-blown glass creatures. Working as a flame and furnace worker, he is well accustomed to the world of heat and molten materials and works prolifically. He has been creatively active for nineteen years, and now specializing in borosilicate flame-work, Bisson has created work for over 80 galleries across America. These snakes, octopuses, lizards and squids are but a small sample of his many endearing pieces.
Bisson creates whimsical representations of the animal and natural world around him – including many different types of flowers, reeds, corals, reptiles, insects and bugs. Each are a labor of love and have an incredible amount of detail to them. The artists explains his obsession with getting it just right:
I put a little bit of myself into every work of art I create. That is how I breath life into each piece. If I don’t lose a piece a day from getting in over my head, then I am not pushing myself hard enough. Skill is the raw material of a great piece, and drive and energy make it take shape. (Source)
His perseverance, dedication and risk-taking shows in each piece. To see more of his curvaceous, elegant designs, visit his website here. (Via Bored Panda)
It is difficult not to imagine a narrative when seeing the work of Terrence Payne. The Minneapolis-based artist uses elements of design, iconography, typography, pattern and figure, all rendered in a decorative style and soft pallete but with subject matter that is anything but. While the artist occasionally focuses on a central word or scrawled text behind the animals and repeating, archetypical figures, Payne’s paintings use loaded narratives that combine believable earnestness and well-intentioned antagonism.
To achieve the softness in the work, Payne first uses colored pencils to enhance the quality of light and jewel tones, then applies layers oil pastels which allows the the under-drawings show through. Payne says:
“I want you (the viewer) to see the mechanism of it. The idea is just how can I reinforce the sense of this being artificial, that these people aren’t real. They are just representations of what I am thinking about“
Terrence’s recent work has been concerned with “cataloging the human effects of trying to keep your head afloat in an increasingly polarized world of haves and have-nots” and “examining a person’s perceived place in society” and how that affects the way the work is perceived. This most recent work will be collected in an exhibition alongside Nick Howard (previously here) called Cake, at the artist-collective space Payne helped found, Rosalux Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis (which was named Twin Cities’ Best Gallery in 2013). Cake opens October 12th and runs through October 31st.