C. Owen is a Chicago-based artist who creates eerie, black-and-white portraits of insects and animals — particularly those that have died or have been resurrected as taxidermied objects. The series featured here, titled Ordinary Overlooked, explores the alien beauty of dead insects that Owen finds outside or in the corners and windowsills of her house. With a strange alertness and intimacy, the images capture with startling detail the characteristics of each tiny body — such as the hairy legs, segmented antennae, and compound eyes — that otherwise go unnoticed. What was once creepy and “ordinary” becomes familiar and nuanced. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Owen explains:
The insect world is something the average human rarely pays any close attention to — that is, unless they are invading your home. Something ordinary as a moth, housefly, or ant can easily be overlooked and considered a pest. For me, they have opened my eyes to a tiny new world. […] The more I photograph these insects, the stronger my curiosity grows.
What makes Owen’s images especially uncanny are the states of limbo they portray. Floating in surreal, nocturnal worlds, each insect carries the illusion of life while curled in the postures of death. As manifestations of uncertainty and ephemerality, they are transformed through the camera’s gaze into sentient ghosts, lost in purgatory; “taken in one hair at a time, the images are suspended somewhere between metamorphosis and reincarnation,” Owen writes. The result is a series of contemplative photographs that provide both the time and focus in which to foster respect while exploring the beauty of alternate, living worlds.
Visit Owen’s website to view more of her work, including Trophies, a haunting portraiture series of taxidermied animals who likewise trouble us with the indistinctness between life and death.
The photography of cooking enthusiast and photographer Brittany Wright simply and beautifully displays the natural range of hues held by various types of fruits and vegetables. The Seattle-based photographer states that she has a goal to learn how to cook everything and anything. Sharing cooking ideas and recipes online, Wright began photographing the ingredients to share as well. This love of experimentation with ingredients and flavors eventually lead to photographing the produce, starting her series titled Food Gradients. She arranges each edible item in rows, columns, and clusters according to their pigment or size, which is often attributed to the stage of lifecycle the specific food is in.
Some of the fruits and vegetables Wright chooses for her rainbows of ingredients naturally have a wide variety of colors, like apples ranging from deep reds to bright yellows. Others, however, are discolored for a different reason, because they are rotting and dying. Many of her Food Gradients brilliantly display the lifecycle of the item, showing the beginning of its life all the way to its elegant death. Because of her subject, you would think Wright’s inspiration comes from food photography, but because she sees food and cooking as a creative and artistic outlet, she finds more inspiration from abstract art. (via Faith is Torment)
” I see food as an art, and an opportunity to do something creative.”
Toronto based artist Talwst is a master of the miniature world. He patiently builds tiny fantasy scenes referencing the world of music, pop culture, films, climate change, conspiracy theories, sports stars, current events, and everyday experiences. Seven years ago, the artist was gifted an antique ring box by a Vancouver street vendor and given the challenge to make something with it. Talwst grabbed a hold of that idea and ran with it.
His miniscule realms feature Kanye West singing to an imaginary audience and Kim Kardashian in the background taking a selfie; a homage to his favorite painter Edouard Manet’s 1864 work La Muerte del Torero; a recreation of Japanese erotic art of the 1700′s; and a contemporary version of a Dutch landscape complete with a McDonalds restaurant in the background. His unique blend of art history, contrasting cultures and traditions are a witty comment on contemporary life. He cleverly draws us downward, and into his dioramas, immediately commenting objectively on the world we inhabit.
This form is calling me. I can make these feel like a poem; I can make these feel like a movie; I can make them feel like all the other mediums I was working in. (Source)
Talwst developed his love for piecing together mini worlds after growing up in the Canadian winter. For weeks at a time, the temperature wouldn’t be higher than minus 40 and he would sit in his room hibernating and entertaining himself by building models. The obsession certainly paid off – his skill and attention to detail is definitely something worth looking at. And you will get an extra chance to view his work – this September, a collaboration with VICE magazine will bring Talwst’s work to a newsstand close to you. Keep your eyes peeled! (Via Design Crush)
As the famous designer Miuccia Prada once said, “fashion is instant language” — if worn with intention, fashion can allow us to express our inner identities without having to say a word. But what if our clothing was so in tune with our emotional lives that it responded physically to external stimuli — like the approach of another person? Anouk Wipprecht, a Dutch designer known for her explorations at the intersections of fashion and technology, has created an animatronic dress that does just that. Named the “Spider Dress 2.0” (an updated version of the original Spider Dress), this curious tech-garment embraces the torso in a spider-like carapace, while eight spindly legs shift from the shoulders. Eerie and enchanting, this specially-engineered dress should be approached with caution and consent, as Hep Svadja explains for Make:
“[The] Spider Dress 2.0 […] is a mechatronic dress with an Intel Edison chip that uses biosignals and learned threat detection to defend the wearer’s personal space. Mechanical arms extend and retract as a response to external stimuli, making it a truly intuitive system. As people approach, the wearer’s own breath will help to signal the defense posture of the robotic arms. The speed of the approach will also feed into defensive behavior; approach quickly and the arms will aggressively posture, but approach in a leisurely fashion and the arms will gently greet you.” (Source)
Wipprecht is known for her other cutting-edge designs, such as a dress that allows you to vanish in a smoke screen, and another that becomes transparent as one’s heartbeat increases (such as during intimate, interpersonal encounters). The Spider Dress 2.0 is her newest (upgraded) creation, unique in its mimicry of animal behaviour, and infused with the power to visually display deep-set emotions and experiences without a reliance on verbal cues. Words, after all, are typically put through a mental filter before they come out of our mouths; the Spider Dress communicates directly from the body via internal biosignals. It interprets and visualizes inner phenomena that may not be immediately known to the wearer. In this way, Wipprecht’s work imagines a future wherein fashion could be used to physically extend the expressive capacities of human body language.
Armed with his rake, a rope, an active imaginative and a willpower that will impress you, Andres Amador creates incredibly detailed ‘sand paintings’ around the coastlines of California. Creating designs that can reach up to 100,000 feet, he uses nature and his surroundings as inspiration and starting points for his large scale organic patterns. For the larger geometric patterns, he uses a rope as a compass to steady the design – but in general Amador loves to emerge himself in the act of creating and allows the artwork to grow without too much direction. Starting with a rough sketch in the sand, he makes sure he begins the process on either a full moon or at the very least, a low tide.
He works quickly and efficiently, completing most designs in around 2 hours. Depending on the beach constraints and the tides, he can take longer and can concentrate on perfecting the shapes and forms. Amador says he uses the contrasting shades of the raked sand, and non-raked sand to make designs that can resemble dried mud, honeycomb, flower buds, fern fronds, snail trails or snowflakes.
Used as a means of meditation, solitude, focus and reflection, Amador has been raking sand since 2004 and still finds pleasure in the activity. He revels in the impermanence of the material and enjoys the challenge of creating something so quickly that will be disappear as quickly as he made it.
Something big that comes with this art is the recognition of impermanence. I create with the knowledge of the impending erasure of my efforts, often while I am working. It has turned the artform into a practice of process over product. I am always striving for the perfect photo that I can share proudly. But when I get to the beach I have already let go of that expectation and surrender to the act of creation. (Source)
You can see many videos and mini documentaries of Amador creating his masterpieces here. (Via Honestly WTF)
Artist Giacomo Carmagnola uses digital tools to add a unique, glitchy twist to photos of the past. Faces and objects are obscured with long, colorful strands that seem to melt, as if it’s some sort of ooze that’s absorbing the rest composition. The crucifiction of Christ now has green trails that emanating from the cross. Likewise, a guillotine blades have been replaced with the same type of strands. The photographs are still recognizable, but now offer a colorful addition that changes their meaning. And depending on your point of view, make them funny or profane.
The Italian-born creative writes on Dazed Digital, “I’m completely absorbed by glitch art. I’ve always been attracted to its aesthetics; I’m not talking about philosophy or higher concepts, but just its plain visual pleasure.” One way to create this effect is with a processing pixel sorting script that’s applied to the image. “I see these images as an alternative beauty. I find it extremely fascinating how the same image can change so much by keeping its original ‘skeleton’. Of course they’re also visually impactful. But before this, I find them simply beautiful.” (Via Dazed Digital)
Using a unique surface Jason Middlebrook creates abstract motifs. He takes tree bark and combines its natural grooves with ideas which speak to nature in a way that celebrates its form and at the same time symbolically shows how man has put his stamp on it. In his plank series he takes different types of discarded wood such as maple, black birch and cottonwood to create paintings which follow the natural pattern of bark but in the process creates a beautiful design. They exaggerate what’s already there and makes beautiful process out of recycled materials.
In wall works Middlebrook takes it one step further and mimics the tree bark with materials such as bronze and stainless steel. These evoke more of a cave mystique. The darker surfaces and nature reference rocks and harder surfaces. The colors in a few are subdued hinting again at the random way things are formed in a natural state. While the wall works made of tree bark begin to resemble minerals found in rocks due to color and application of paint. Middlebrook finds a nice common ground to play with what’s found in nature and remaking it using another raw material. Middlebrook has been working with wood for many years. Some of the other projects he’s been involved include garden gnomes, park benches and birdhouses. He currently lives and works in Hudson, NY.
Photographer Pavel Samokhvalov captures intriguing images of the nearly-nude body set against day-glow neon lighting. The provocative photos feature models clad in see-through hosiery and whose bodies are bent and contorted towards the camera. Often, their faces are obscured by hair or poses. Samokhvalov will also only shoots part of the torso, zeroing-in on a small tattoo or glitter-covered nipple.
The photographer does a lot of editorial work, specifically in the fashion realm. His background is cinematography from the Moscow Film Institute, and this training can be seen in his work. The images tell a story, and each fuschia-colored background is one piece of a larger puzzle. They double as character studies, showcasing a product while at the same time providing subtle clues about the nature of the pieces and the people who wear them. (Via Scene 360)