Celebrity photographer Blake Little has taken his love of portraiture to new heights. Pouring honey all over his models of different ages, races and genders, he has created a series of dramatic images that look like photos of wax models. While he normally snaps pictures of famous faces like Kevin Spacey, Tom Cruise, Glenn Close, Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow, this time he placed a Craigslist ad asking for some not-so-familiar faces. Seeing over 90 people, all ranging in age from 2 – 85 years, he asked them to take their clothes off and get covered in a thick gooey layer of honey. Little talks about his process:
Preservation began through a process of experimenting with honey. Initially, I started shooting the way it pours and drips on just the face or specific areas of the body. After several sessions, it became clear that completely covering the figure as much as possible and with varying thicknesses created a quality that I had never seen before. The honey has a way of diffusing the personal qualities of the subjects, often making them unrecognizable and democratizing their individual traits into something altogether different and universal. (Source)
The result of the intense studio session is hypnotic. The models look like they have been frozen in amber, or resin, or caught in the volcanic eruption of Pompeii. All of the subjects in his new book Preservation look like they are in a deep slumber, and all have lost any idiosyncrasies they may have had. It seems like Little has compiled a reference of what is it to be human – a kind of catalog of frozen specimens where we can, in the future, look back and compare similarities and differences between us all.
His show accompanying his new monograph opens at Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City, CA from March 7.
The landscapes of photographer Martin Vlach emanate a mysterious and melancholic energy. Characterized by ghostly human figures silhouetted against an impenetrable mist, it is like witnessing somebody’s passage into the afterlife; with their backs turned and postures calm, the stoic, nameless people seem to be on the edge of something, hesitating between worlds, gazing into that all-engulfing void beyond which we — the dreaming bystanders — are not permitted to see. As you will notice, Vlach has seamlessly blended surrealist imagery into his photography: whales emerge from the fog, and bodies plummet from the clouds. These surprising elements enhance the series’ theme of liminality and otherworldliness, merging reality with an intangible, heart-wrenching dream.
What makes Vlach’s work so consistently engrossing is the atmosphere. His images are landscapes of emotion and sensorial experience; by empathizing with the distant figures, you can taste the chilled mist in your lungs, smell the rain-wet earth and sea, feel the grass and sand shift beneath you as you traverse the lonely terrain. There is a sense of movement and stillness, solitude and comfort. With the contours of the “real” world obscured in the fog, Vlach creates immersive landscapes that foster our own deeply personal interpretations and emotional engagements.
Now that we’re in the dead of winter, Rebecca Louise Law’s installation “Outside In” of 16,000 flowers in the lobby of a Manhattan skyscraper is soundly appropriate. The British artist who grew up in the English countryside says she wanted to create a site-specific work which would give city folk a little breather from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Her installation of 16,000 hanging flowers does the trick. When initially installed the fresh flowers gave the lobby an outdoorsy spring like smell. As the days pass and the flowers dry, the lobby at 1515 Broadway in New York’s Times Square will become a potpourri scent tank.
Some of the specimens used in the installation include roses, chrysanthemums, carnations and baby’s breath. Hung upside down, the different shapes and colors of the flowers resemble paint marks floating in thin air. In some instances, the entire installation looks like a wonderful abstract painting.
Law is known for her flower installations around the world. Some of her more intriguing projects have been “The Hated Flower” UK where she used carnations and chrysanthemums, “Bulbs” UK and “The Grecian Garden” Greece which fused 10,000 plants, herbs and cut flowers of over 27 varieties. She also did a project using 1500 apples methodically placed throughout Fulham Palace Chapel in London. (via the creatorsproject.vice.com)
Photographer Darren Pearson has been making unbelievable light paintings since 2008. He paints cutely comical images of spaceships attacking cities, skeletons skateboarding down city steps, and animals being in places they normally wouldn’t be. Despite what you may think, Pearson’s images aren’t made with the help of Photoshop. He sets his camera up on a tripod and takes a photograph – usually opening the shutter from between two and seven minutes. While the shutter is open he jumps in front of the camera and “paints” with various tools that resemble flashlights.
Pearson also pioneered the light painting technique of spinning a glass prism in front of the camera while shining light into the lens to create rainbow prismatic circles. While that process may sound quite convoluted, Pearson says the hardest part is actually finding a cool spot without ambient light or sketchy night people. And as a resident of Los Angeles, that appears to be quite a difficult thing. He talks about how he first discovered light painting:
I saw an old article from LIFE magazine on the collaboration between Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili and the image ‘picasso draws a centaur’. I was fascinated by the image and asked my friend how it worked; he explained long exposures to me. (Source)
Pearson has many great stories of creating his light-hearted long exposures – one which involves taking his grandmother into the hills north of Tuscon, getting lost, and eventualy collaborating on photographs. He’s been kicked out of an abandoned zoo while taking photographs, and asked by the cops to explain just what he was doing. If anything, he is dedicated to his craft. You can see more of his extensive efforts here through his videos.
DXV by American Standard is a landmark product line that represents the company’s storied history spanning 150 years. The collection spans four broad movements: Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today). Each piece in the carefully curated collection harkens back to the era it was inspired by and combines it with modern sensibilities, technology and performance. Although each fixture is inspired by a distinct era, the entire collection has a dialogue and the ability to cross over and create a remix of eras in one space.
The pieces in the Contemporary Movement by DXV capture the ever-evolving spirit of present day design. Each quality crafted fixture, finish, and detail echo the clean lines of contemporary trends in interior design and architecture. Modern day sculptors like Donald Judd, Tony Cragg and Random International have influenced creatives all around the world with their bold approach to materials, lines and form. Contemporary sculpture lovers can create spaces inspired by their favorites works with pieces from the DXV collection.
Titus Kaphar creates new perspectives on art with his deconstructed installations. After painting in the style of classical and Renaissance greats, he begins to change the works, literally peeling them back in some cases. He uses cutouts and silhouettes to recontextualize the paintings in a way seems to lift the curtain and show us another layer of reality. “Open areas become active absences, walls enter into the portraits, stretcher bars are exposed, and structures that are typically invisible underneath, behind, or inside the canvas are laid bare, revealing the interiors of the work,” Kaphar says of his work.
Cipher also experiments with texture, adding thick layers of paint and creating a new dimension of emotion and expressiveness as a result. Some of his pieces are contemplative, but others are playful, like a portrait of a man with the subject peeled from his surroundings and left crumpled before the foot of the frame. Kaphar explains:
“I cut, crumple, shroud, shred, stitch, tar, twist, bind, erase, break, tear, and turn the paintings and sculptures I create, reconfiguring them into works that nod to hidden narratives and begin to reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history. … In so doing, my aim is to perform what I critique, to reveal something of what has been lost, and to investigate the power of a rewritten history.”
“I dreamt I passed my driving license on tricycle.”
“I was sitting somewhere in Berlin surrounded by red and black cat and there were blonde men everywhere.”
“I was riding a shark in the middle of the sea with Justin Bieber, we were smoking pot and having a good time, and it was raining skittles all over the sea.”
“Everyone was using Bing instead of Google at school. Also, everyone was walking on the ceilings.”
Here’s a hilarious Tumblr to follow. Photoshop Your Dreams is a blog that asks readers to submit their dreams have have them recreated in the photo-editing program. The person behind it is Margaux Espinasse, a web project manager based in Berlin. It’s an amusing premise and one that’s very relatable. Have you ever had a dream so vivid but hard (and boring) to explain in words? Here, the images look ridiculous and capture the often-crazy essence of this unconscious state.
Espinasse tells It’s Nice Thatthe inspiration for this project came from her own dreams. “I woke up three weeks ago after an amazing dream where I was chased by flying octopuses (probably because I watch a few too many Nat Geo and BBC documentaries),” she explains. “I tried to tell a friend about this dream and then I realised that the best way to communicate it was to make a montage of it.” Photoshop Your Dreams caught on. “A few friends were quite excited by the idea and sent me their dreams. I put them online on Tumblr and very quickly I saw that people liked the idea.”
Espinasse is taking submissions for the blog. Learn how to do so here. (Via It’s Nice That)
Artist Mehmet Gozetlik has designed a series of popular trademarks into neon signs. The series called Chinatown takes popular logos and adds a description of the represented product in chinese neon letters. The sign’s unusual characters reminisce experiences tourists have wandering aimlessly throughout the world’s Chinatowns letting themselves get seduced by these exotic bright letters. The irony is that nine out of ten times the logo itself is recognizable on its own and the words are unnecessary. Is there anyone on the planet who cannot identify Starbucks or Pepsi brands on sight?
Mehmet’s signs are made from handblown painted glass. Each letter and product logo is stenciled out and designed from a printed drawing. The process of blowing glass is long and tedious. The flame has to be exactly the right temperature in order for it to mold into the desired shape. After it hardens the glass is painted. Upon studying the signs and seeing them together you realize people cannot digest more than a few colors at once when making a decision. Each logo Mehmet chose has three colors or less which is not a coincidence. It’s been documented that the brain can only handle six choices at once. If it goes over that number it shuts down. Corporate culture wouldn’t dream of this happening and explains why these logos are kept simple.
A few years ago, Gozetlik designed another interesting series which minimized logo packaging. The study “Minimalist effect in the maximalist market” showed how a product becomes more desirable as the packaging is stripped away. He used brands such as Nutella and Pringles to achieve this goal. (via designboom)