When the artist Adam Brown paints a portrait, he sprinkles cremated human remains into his palette, hoping to memorialize the dead in a way that celebrates their individualism and vitality; each image, most commissioned by the loved one of a recent decedent, serves as an alternative to the traditional urn.
After Brown’s clients submit a sampling of sandy ashes, the artist dons a pair of gloves and mixes them with paint to create personalized renditions and imaginings of the dead that span from straight black and white portraiture to dreamy colored abstractions. He carefully preserves any and all unused ashes, ultimately returning them to his client.
The project, titled Ashes to Art, poignantly aims to reconstruct the deconstructed body, fixing delicate cremains with glue and paint; in this way, his paintings work to incapsulate the entirety of the human body and lifetime into one sly smile, one glint of the eye, or one splash of color.
Brown’s ambitious body of work subverts morbid thoughts on human remains, adopting the medium to create shockingly cheerful faces, heavily textured hands, and vividly yellow flames. The idea of permanence figures prominently into the work; not unlike the popular ritualistic scattering of ashes over the sea, his landscape paintings elegantly incorporate the corporeal into the seemingly eternal earth, everlasting sky, or immovable mountains.
With each work, the artist ensures the respectful remembrance of human life with a simple inscription; lest a piece get lost or auctioned and taken for an average painting, he writes a disclaimer on its backing: this work of art contains human remains. (via Daily Mail and Oddity Central)
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere artist portfolio building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. If that’s not enough all Made With Color sites are optimized for mobile and tablet viewing so you’re site looks perfect no matter how it’s being viewed. This week we are happy bring you the work of Portland based artist and Made With Color user Wendy Red Star.
Over the course of her practice, Wendy Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, performance and design. Red Star’s multilayered work influences are drawn from her tribal background (Crow Nation), daily surroundings, aesthetic experiences, collected snapshots of moments of the past and present, and stories that are both real and imagined. Through her photographs and sculpture a new cosmos is built, simultaneously urban-rural and high-low, conveying ideas through representations created from suggested associations of seemingly diverse sites, objects and ideas. HUD houses, rez cars, three legged dogs, powwow culture, indigenous commoditization, and Red Star’s personal collection of memories growing up as a half-breed on the Crow Indian reservation are used to excite a response in a form that can be experienced by others.
The work represents an insider/outsider view that is rich with complexity and contradiction. Red Star’s unruly approach examines the consumptive exposure of a cross section of American cultures while also being a meditation on her own identity. Her works explore the intersection between life on the reservation and the world outside of that environment. Red Star thinks of herself as a cultural archivist speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society.
Barcelona based artist Conrad Roset defines the “Muse” in his incredibly seductive works made using watercolor and ink. Pulling inspiration from the raw nudes of Austrian artist Egon Schiele, his female figures stretch and bend in elegant ways, forming distinct, bold lines across the composition. He uses deep, black ink that covers up these women’s bodies like a veil, creating a harsh contrast to their pale skin. Each muse wears this blanket of black beautifully, as if it is her own shadow. Conrad Roset uses sparks of color to highlight the flora that appear in his work and also in certain rosy cheeks and the tips of fingers and toes. The subtly of the color and line creates a delicate contrast to the richness of the heavy black ink.
Conrad Roset explains that,
“I search the beauty the body exudes, I like drawing the female figure.”
He is intrigued and focused on the female figure as a subject. The women in his illustrations are undoubtedly stunning, and can also seem both fragile and strong. They are bold in nature but delicate in beauty. Roset’s body of work has a high fashion flavor, as he has done work for clients such as Zara and Elle Magazine. His captivating works are on view now at Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco. His debut, solo exhibition titled Pale will be on view there until September 26th. (via Hi-Fructose)
Whimsical mixed media work from west coaster Adam Baz. His mystical drawings unfold with simple yet refined details and bursts of color. Also reminds me a little bit of of Zachary Rossman’s work, which is definitely a good thing.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Beautiful/Decay, then this is for you! A Day In Decay is a new ongoing column that will be appearing on the site penned by yours truly. I’ll be documenting our day to day shenanigans, daily life in the arts district of downtown LA, the ups and downs of running an indie publishing and apparel line and other things of interest both in and out of our office. Some posts will be related directly to what we do ( like photos of our office/neighborhood) and some posts will have nothing to do with art or design (like photos of my scuba diving instructor after the jump). ADID will answer all your long time questions about the who, whats, whys, and hows of living, breathing, eating, and sleeping B/D 24-7. So without further ado i give you A Day In Decay……
Chinese artist Ye Hongxing tries to bridge the gap between the ideas of East and West; traditional and contemporary; spirituality and commercialization. She plays these different ideas off of each other in her new work called Prajñāpāramitā. This new piece is a reinterpretation of the traditional art form of a Mandala, but made from mass-produced plastic toys, beads and stickers. The title Prajñāpāramitā actually means the Buddhist concept of Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom, and is a fitting cynical commentary on just how bizarre our worlds have become, filled with shopping and consuming commodities and objects.
Hongxing’s stickers are otherwise seen as disposable and ephemeral objects—a comment on the disposable nature of contemporary culture. The sheer volume of the stickers echoes the overload of information that we are presented with on a daily basis. (Source)
Based in Beijing, Hongxing is frequently reacting to the ever-changing culture surrounding her, and the pace of which it happens. Using opposing traditions and systems to comment on each other, she draws our attention to our own actions. By methodically placing thousands of plastic, secular, pop-cultural, commercial objects down in a systemic fashion to build a spiritual motif, she brings two very different practices together in a head on collision. We are reminded of the Buddist traditions of meditation and repetition, but instead of being geared toward serenity and peace, this time it is in the name of glitz, glamor and garishness.
Hongxing’s other projects include fusing Chinese and Western artistic practices together – creating luscious oil paintings filled with decorative Chinese porcelain patterns; making marble sculptures of kitschy blow up animal balloons; and layering hundreds of glittery stickers on each other to form surreal, OTT interpretations of modern day life. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Richmond artist Ryan McLennan’s new inaugural art book, “The Cost of Comfort,” goes on pre-sale today to be officially released July 1st. The book is a loose-leaf art book featuring 20 prints. McLennan’s paintings explore the dualities of nature: innocence and savagery combine to create a world that we, as humans, have become increasingly out of touch with. The book is published by Triple Stamp Press.
Kirk Weddle known for his underwater photography is probably best known for his cover shot of Nirvana’s groundbreaking second LP Nevermind. Weddle’s cover shot of the naked baby swimming after a dollar bill is synonymous with an album that changed the face of music forever. Now over twenty years later out takes from the infamous shoot has surfaced and it’s interesting to hear the back story behind this one professional moment in the band’s early career and also see the trio captured on the brink of both superstardom and tragedy.
Perhaps the most prevalent thing apparent in these photos is the exhaustion and frustration of a touring band having to do the mandatory marketing tactics put forth by their record label to sell the next album. It’s unclear who decided that the best selling point for the album’s photos would be underwater shots but that was the call for the day and to see Kurt and the guys in these ridiculous shots is both endearing and bittersweet.
According to Weddle the band even though exhausted from touring was good natured and didn’t pull any rock star moves. They look tired but in good spirits for most of the photos. Nevermind was released in September 1991 and would become one of the most successful alternative rock albums of all time. To date it has sold 30 million copies worldwide. (via Juxtapoz)