Maltese artist John Paul Azzopardi puts together delicate sculptures and complex structures made from bone. His figures and objects are a combination of being frightening and entrancing. They are gothic and modern. Architecture and organic. Morbid and energetic. The Maltese artist welds bits of bone together, forming ornate ram’s skulls, haunting bats with outstretched wings, axe-welding menacing mythological creatures, and hybrid beasts with intimidating profiles. Azzopardi is very poetic about his approach to his work – describing the metaphysical aspect to his sculptures:
[It] is a collection of fossilized structures that explores the gentle temperance located within the constitution of sound, i.e. it’s very silent center. The architectural relationship that oscillates back and forth from the simple and the complex to the living and the dead connects space and form, creating existential structures of interwoven silence. The death embedded in it’s form, it’s life. This might confront the spectator with a spectre, the simulacrum of itself that stalls, halts being something in it’s tracks. (Source)
He exploits the nature of the material he is working with. Bones are the things that knit our bodies together, and are also one of the last things to decay. They have a lot of symbolism and spiritualism embedded in them – Azzopardi is making that more apparent and immediate with his art works. He goes on:
Facing truth, man often does not look. S/he does not see, for instance as when confronting the world, the transient. The rules of words then is that what one see, is what one is, and (to admit) that facing truth, we often see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing. (Source)
It seems these sculptures announce to us our impending decay, and for us to embrace it, and yes, to even celebrate it.
In an attempt to finally stop the social stigma surrounding HIV, the German magazine Vangardist has printed over 3000 copies of their latest issue in a special ink infused with HIV+ blood. The blood was taken from 3 different volunteers who are living with the virus, and combined with printing ink at a ratio of 28 parts ink, to 1 part blood. Scientists at Harvard and Innsbruck Universities have come up with a unique way of mixing the two substances, and are certain the hard copies of the magazine carry no risk of infection. Even with all the assurances of the paper being perfectly safe to handle, the concern surrounding HIV is still worrying some critics. It would seem the attitude to the HIV virus is not so different to those of 30 years ago.
Julian Wiehl – the Publisher and CEO of Vangardist recognizes this and thought they could help inform people on the touchy subject. He says:
The editorial team at Vangardist is committed to dealing with a wide variety of topics affecting our readers. We believe that as a lifestyle magazine it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today. With 80% more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50% of HIV cases being detected late due to lack of testing caused by social stigma associated with the virus. This felt like a very relevant issue for us to focus on not just editorially but also from a broader communications stand point. (Source)
The launch of the Spring issue was designed to coincide with the Life Ball – one of the most important HIV events in the world, held in Vienna. The magazine has been available to subscribers since April 28th, and there is an online campaign that aims to breakdown the taboo. Be sure to read more about it here. (Via Fastcodesign)
Lina Scheynius is a Swedish model-turned-photographer who skillfully captures both the rawness and tenderness of intimate moments. Inspired by “the forest, books, sleep, music, trains, light, [and] maps,” her images are portraits of ephemeral beauty, peace, and quiet desire, distilling life into the haze of a nude, mid-afternoon dream (Source). Recalling moments of post-coital bliss, the models (often, Lina herself — see her Diary images) sit and lay on unmade beds as sunlight kisses their warmed flesh. The power of touch is explored, as hands grasp together or press into the sole of a foot. Elsewhere, in a flash of intensity that eclipses the whole world, eyes meet in a dark room. Lina’s photography even finds powerful sensuality in unexpected places, such as flesh-toned blossoms or breathless horizons of undulating clouds.
While some of Lina’s photographs recall stronger erotic images — the hand curled into a circle, or lifted undergarments — it is candid, but never crude; emotional and arousing, but never sensationalized. The use of natural light makes the images even more genuine, washing out the skin and warming it at the same time, illuminating soft hairs and creases. Her entire approach is organic. As she writes on her FAQ page:
“I take the day as it comes. I work with natural light so if there is a cloud over the sun then that will effect the mood of the day / picture. And I work with a small automatic camera that allows me to move around a lot. And I never give more directions than I have to, avoiding [the need] to force things.” (Source)
Looking a bit akin to people who emulate the popular group KISS, makeup artist Lydia Cambron emulates defaced advertisements on the subway. She’ll first take a lookalike selfie then recreate the ad’s defaced portion using cosmetics. What she comes up with are some interesting pieces which remind of the famous hard rock foursome but also recall old music zines. They have the same DIY quality which when taken in a fine art context combine zerox and collage sensibilities.
Her use of cosmetics lends a different element which make the surfaces unique but also similar since makeup is pretty much paint for the face. The pieces she chooses to copy are mostly portraiture of women. In them the eyes are blanked out and the lips are Botox bloated. In one black streamers are coming out of the eyes. These provoke a dark humor which take on a very punk rock attitude. It could also be a parody of advertisements in general where women have lots of eyeliner and thick lips. By making these into selfie’s Cambron also makes fun of what the average person thinks of how women are perhaps falsely portrayed in subway advertising..
The abstract ceramic work of Netherland-based artist Mieke de Groot is full of repetitive patterns and geometric shape. Her vessels resemble natural archetypes found in nature, such as the winding pattern on an acorn or the perfectly balanced patterns in honeycomb. These spiky exteriors are somehow still warm and inviting, so full of texture, begging to be touched. Holding a precise shape with intricate detail, Groot’s work still contains an organic quality. Each piece displays careful incisions that exhibit a skillful and complicated method. However, this intricacy and density is contained in one unified, brilliant color, mostly hues of greens and blues.
The delicate forms in her work wind and bend around, obstructing which end is which. However, not all of her ceramic pieces contain such smooth glazes as the ones shown. A different approach this multifaceted artist uses is one in which she creates a rough, cracked surface, creating a much different aesthetically versatile exterior. Groot’s style molds and transforms along with her ceramic medium. Each piece seems to grow both organically and systematically, even though they are constructed by hand. Even more impressive, Mieke de Groot also is an established painter, on top of creating remarkable ceramic vessels. The Dutch artist has artwork in collection all over the world including the National Glass Museum in the Netherlands and The Corning Museum of Glass. She is currently represented by galleries in several different countries including Holland and Germany.
Ave Rose is a writer and artist whose love for the beautifully macabre has manifested itself into a collection of undead, baroque-styled robotic dolls. Using tiny bones and taxidermied animal parts, Ave brilliantly assembles morbid objects into miniature characters, each one uniquely adorned with intricate clothing and glimmering stones. From rings on clawed fingers, to bejewelled masks, to a delicate, golden dress tailored for frog hips, the detail she crafts is incredible. Each creation is animated with motion mechanics, allowing them to move and sway along with accompanying music, like grotesque music box ballerinas. In an anxious (and sometimes satirical) collision of materiality with the horrors of death and rot, Ave’s living-dead creations ultimately represent the “beauty that can be found in decay and disarray” (Source).
This collection, titled Bestiary of the Automata, was featured as part of the 3rd Biennial Taxidermy Show (2014) at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood. In addition to her dark menagerie, Ave crafts a collection of other motion-infused works, such as mechanical butterflies and Watchbots, which are “miniature robots made of watch parts” (Source). Her works are characterized by compelling double-effects, blending beauty with the bizarre, technology with tradition, and youthful whimsy with the cold, mechanical realities of death. Behind all of the clockwork, darkness, and hints of satire, Ave’s creations celebrate life by fearlessly confronting themes of a macabre nature.
Michigan-based artist Pat Perry creates surreal drawings and paintings that play on the relationship between identity and memory. Often, they feature a single person who has imagery swirling around in their head or the rest of their body. Perry is an avid sketchbook keeper, and he draws these complex, alluring compositions on yellowed paper. It’s clear that he is a skilled draftsman and is able to balance of small details with blank space.
Landscapes are a prominent part of Perry’s work, and you can’t help but think that these subjects are recalling that specific place. But why? His work begs us to take the narrative further and imagine the stories behind these people. (Via Design Crush)
German artist Mike Dargas paints hyperrealistic works of women’s’ faces covered in honey. The luscious, visceral images are up-close, frontal portraits that show the gentle creases in skin as well as the viscous glare on the liquid as it travels down their face. It’s fascinating to see people dripping with thick substance – it’s as if they’re frozen in time.
Dargas finds the models for his painting in everyday life, and they aren’t limited to specific types. According to his website, “He portrays young and old, beautiful and dark, fragile and strong people. They are lost in thoughts, show inner conflicts or transmit a unique and sometimes even holy calmness.”