Viola’s plaid suitcase was empty except for this tiny scrap of paper.
When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes area closed its doors in 1995, staff member Bev Courtwright made a miraculous discovery. Tucked away in the attic were a collection of over 400 abandoned suitcases containing the possessions of their original owners before they were committed to the institution. Photographer Jon Crispin began documenting the collections of belongings in 2011, offering a poignant look into the lives of the people who entered this place (and often never left).
The patients and their suitcases arrived at the Center between 1910 and 1960. Since many of them were treated for chronic mental illness, it wasn’t uncommon that patients died while in the hospital and were buried in the graveyard across the street. If no family member came to claim their belongings, they were taken and stored in the room where Courtwright eventually found them.
The suitcases and trunks vary in their contents, of course, and some were more robustly-packed than others. This fascinating series that examines the objects we hold sacred and what we’re personally attached to, as strange as they may seem. Crispin’s website sheds light on the individual stories of each patient, and in a way memorializes those who owned them. (Via Let’s Get Lost. H/T Meighan O’Toole)
Born in Oklahoma to a Vietnam veteran, Geoffrey Michael Krawczyk grew up in close proximity to the violence and sacrifice required by war. “My work is an exploration of the mythology of spirituality, the politics of aesthetics, and the connections between sacred and profane,” says Krawczyk. His series, “Passages,” was most recently shown at Artspace Gallery in Buffalo, New York, where he now resides.
Top left: Crash, Wreck, Accident (thursday bonus for jenny) Top right: Boy-King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, Bottom left: Italian Girl, Italian Greyhounds (in progress), Bottom right: Bus Stop (Cheers). Lauren is a freelance illustrator living in Chicago, a graduate of Rhode Island school of Design.
Bones automatically insinuate death, and often are the only physical remnant that insinuates life once existed. Shen Shaomin‘s bone works are equal parts terrifying and fascinating, man-made memorials to human intervention on the planet. Creatures that never have been or should be are pieced together from human and animal skeletons. The bones are carved and relief-carved with text taken from several sources, including the Bible, the Koran, and various sources. Inscribed in English, Arabic, and Chinese, the texts serve as warnings to the two largest industrial nations in the world of the damage being caused to the planet.
Related to the Chinese practice of bonsai, or long-term manipulation of a living tree to one’s will based on aesthetic and stylistic choices, Shaomin has also used bonsai in past works as a metaphor for human intervention upon nature.
In an interview with the University of Sydney’s ARTSPACE CHINA, Shaomin explains the terror he hopes to evoke in his skeletal works, “China’s current situation is very much like my bonsais. At first glance you will find it beautiful, but once you look more carefully you’ll see there are terrifying things behind that beauty. China has over a billion people, but over 800 million of those people are peasants. A peasant’s standard of life in China is still pretty basic. They say that if every one of those 800 Chinese peasants showered every day it would take more than all the water on the planet. That’s a scary thought.” (via myampgoesto11)
I came across the works of Akira Nishitake and fell in love with his illustrations (his website is pretty fun too). Akira Nishitake is a Japanese designer and illustrator. He explores a wide range of work styles including painting, drawing manga, and font design. I don’t know too much about him because his whole site is in Japanese, but definitely check him out.
Welcome to the hotel Au Vieux Panier in Marseille, France where graffiti artist Tilt has literally painted graffiti on half of the room. Covering every square inch of exactly half of the room with a mix of tags, throw ups, and more drips than your last DIY paint project, I cant help but think that Tilt’s room is a metaphor for the double lives that most graffiti artists lead. By day they are a minimalist going to work and paying your taxes and by night you are busy climbing billboards and vandalizing everything in sight. (images big addict, via my modern met)
Pinar Yoldas is a designer, artist, architect, and organic chemistry enthusiast. Her work is a reflection of her interests in neuroscience, evolution, gender studies and science fiction. In her work she explores new materials and new production tools in order to blend conventional media with digital media. I remember seeing these sculpture/organisms (often resembling the female anatomy) at the UCLA Design | Media Arts (both of our alma maters) 2nd Year grad show Exit Strategies. I was significantly and equal parts titillated and fascinated at these creatures, seemingly inanimate yet surreal-y possessing life like qualities. We’re also throwing a fundraiser party for her injuries and medical bills from multiple biking related accidents tonight in Echo Park (come come!). Check out the flyer after the jump!
Designer Armin Blasbichler‘s work is often jarring. His series ORSON, I’m Home strikes a special chord, though. The series is composed of three “dining sculptures” created primarily from the bodies of various farm animals. While we may be more accustomed to farm animals adorning plates on the furniture, seeing them as taxidermy furniture makes for a surreal juxtaposition. The furniture confronts its users with the consumption it usually facilitates. Interestingly, for the series Blasbichler features a quote from professor and writer Don Slater: “In talking of modern society as a consumer culture, people are not referring simply to a particular pattern of needs and objects […] but to a culture of consumption.”