Finnish illustrator Konsta Ojala‘s new drawings are large and frightening. Seriously, nearly measuring at five feet on each side, Ojala works the aesthetic of disturbed (and perhaps drug induced) doodles expanded to obsessive sizes. His drawings often feature familiar cartoon characters taken to their logical misanthropic conclusion. From a syringe-clutching Mickey Mouse to a bleary-eyed and violent Bart Simpson the characters seem to be reappearing after spending a few years on the streets. Rendered in harsh black and white and imposing sizes, the drawings are unsettling while still strangely nostalgic.
“Shiloh” is a creative short film that uses dance footage and bursts of colored powder to explore self-identity. Created by Brooklyn-based production company Dreambear with director James Hall, “Shiloh” is a unique and contemporary fusion of dance, film, and visual art. The short narrative begins with dancer Shiloh Hodges crouching and swaying ritualistically in a spotlight. As the music picks up, she rises and moves into a fluid dance while dust falls from her shoulders. With each beautiful flourish she throws colored powder into the air, which is captured in beautiful arcs by the slow motion footage.
“How can we present our identity through art?” the video description asks, seeking to articulate what makes art such a powerful outlet for self-expression (Source). Emerging from Shiloh’s own difficulty in exploring personal identity in the oft-competitive and critical field of dance, the short film wordlessly answers this question; with a powerful self-awareness, her body resists the surrounding darkness as it moves seamlessly with the uplifting music. The rainbow-colored powder she throws evokes a spectrum of emotions, from joy, to love and self-care, to a tinge of sadness. Accenting her skin are beautiful, drawn-on “fractures,” making it appear as though the coloured powder comes from within, symbolizing her internal, heart-based experiences.
Accompanying the short film is a portrait by renowned Madrid-based artist Gabriel Moreno. Moreno became a collaborator on the project when Hall reached out to him and subsequently produced the art piece featured in the film’s final scene. As in the film, depicted in the illustration is an overlay of multiple emotions and experiences; beneath the central portrait are different outlines of Shiloh dancing. As in his other works, Moreno uses bursts of color to dramatically punctuate the illustration. Together, the film and portrait explore self-identity across mediums, immortalizing Shiloh’s beautiful dance as a powerful fruition of creativity, talent, and strength.
There’s a whole lot going on in the work of Matt Lifson. From lush landscape painting, to broad abstract brush work, to deathmetal members shooting purple beams out of their eyes, there is something for just about everyone. These paintings are wild, wacky, and inventive in just the right areas and that’s just how I like them!
NYC based architect Si-Yeon Min, who received training from the University of Michigan and the prestigious GSAPP at Columbia University recently published an interesting limited edition book on creativity. Compiled from his work in a creative field, his book documents how off-the-wall thinking can lead to genuine discovery. The book strikes a chord with the print-lover in me, as each cover design features a different color. Just 25 copies published by Allied Operations.
Jennifer Cronin’s narrative paintings create an absurd mythology of the seemingly banal where anything (and sometimes nothing) can happen.
Here’s a lovely German artist to start your Thursday morning off right. Elisa Strozyk makes work that is beautiful and clean, but often seems to have a functional purpose. She creates wooden textiles, hand cuts her own wallpaper and even made a radiator that changes color as it heats up. Elisa has upcoming exhibitions in Frankfurt, Cologne and Milan.
Jimmie Durham’s latest exhibition, “Obsidian,” explores the poetics of the black volcanic glass material, once favored by Mesoamerican cultures in shamanic rites and the creation of mirrors. Above is “The Doorman,” fashioned after Texcatlipoca, meaning “smoking mirror,” an Aztec deity represented by his characteristic black obsidian mirror. And creating the world. I love these contemporary-ancient new magic sculptures. If you’re in Mexico, Durham’s show is up until February 6th at Kurimanzutto.