Olaf Breuning‘s The Art Freaks, is a group of color photographs transposing the signature styles of seminal 20th-century artists into prosaic body painting. If the manners in which Breuning’s subjects have been painted are not immediately identifiable, then titles like Andy, Frieda, and Piet confirm their references. Stemming from the artist’s recent investigation into his idiosyncratic relationship with modern and contemporary art, the larger than life-sized prints of elaborately painted bodies, which comprise The Art Freaks, conflate the tropes of so-called high and low artistic techniques as they discuss notions of kitsch, cliché, and reproduction.
As Breuning humorously attempts to imitate Takashi Murakami’s character Kiki (Takashi ) or the mounting release of Edvard Munch’s The Scream (1893) in Edvard (2011), he also mimics street performers who paint their bodies to transform into unique characters for the amusement, and pocket money, of passers-by; a tantamount treatment of craft, medium, and cultural signifiers that pervades Breuning’s multifarious oeuvre. Whether through his drawings, sculptures, or well-known website, the specific brand of pastiche Breuning employs in his work is a decidedly indiscriminate one that draws on everything from the Easter Bunny to Andy Warhol’s Marilyns.
Both humorous and uncanny, The Art Freaks not only questions our relationship to the enduring artworks Breuning choses to reference in his series, but also to the reproductions and consumable patina through which most of us experience these artists’ works and their distinctive aesthetics. (via davids sketchbook)
If you want to see more work by Olaf Breuning we recommend Beautiful/Decay Magazine Issue: Y which includes a very nice feature on the artist.
Dutch designer Yoni Lefevre’s series Grey Power has the simple aim of honoring our old and wise grandparents in a quirky, fun, and imaginative way. Using children drawings of their grandparents Lefevre transforms the hilariously bizarre drawings into charming and playful photographs that depicts grandparents as active and fun heros.
About the project Lefevre states:
“We are living in a rapidly ageing society. A majority regards this as a negative development. Older people are perceived as standing on the sideline, having lost their independence. But I see the great value this generation can offer. For ‘Grey Power’ I used drawings made by children of their grandparents, to create an image boost for this generation. Children do not regard their grandparents as grey and withered, but as active human beings who add color to their lives. Their fresh perspective can contribute towards a more nuanced and positive view on the composition of our society.”
We at Beautiful/Decay abosolutely love this project as it is proof that sometimes a simple concept can pack a powerful (and hilarious) punch. (via designboom)
Lithuanian photographer Tadao Cern has created a series of photographs entitled “Comfort Zone” that depicts resting sunbathers at the beach – people who are sprawled out on blankets, their few beach belongings sitting around them. The series asks the observer to create a narrative of the unknown person, to let the details speak for the narrative. Cern says, ”I started this series because I was surprised how a certain place or surrounding can affect people’s behavior. During our everyday life we attempt to hide our deficiencies, both physical and psychological. However, once we find ourselves on a beach – we forget about everything and start acting in an absolutely different manner. Is that because everyone else around you is doing the same?”
Cern seems to be addressing the seeming lack of inhibitions and the overall embracing of comfort that the beach environment courts. The variety of body shapes and positions paired with patterns of swimsuits and towels/blankets create a unique aesthetic of comfort for each sunbather – an aesthetic that is relatable and immediately puts you at ease. In these photographs, the towels and blankets don’t just serve as practical (and comfortable) beach gear – they also serve as backdrops for each portrait, framing the sunbathers but not confining them.
Cern asserts that the sunbathers had no idea they were being photographed, and that he purposely chose to only photograph people with concealed faces in order to ”grant an observer with an opportunity to calmly scrutinize each and every detail without being distracted. It also helps to avoid empathy or connection between people in the photos and the observers. It really does not matter who they are – the details not only reveal their stories, but make us face ourselves as well.”
According to Cern, the selection of photographs found on his website is only part of the entire series which consists of 24 large scale prints. Images are for sale in limited edition. In addition to his personal page and Behance, you can find him on Facebook and Instagram. (via david’s sketchbook and behance)
The good folks at portfolio site builder Made With Color have teamed up with Beautiful/Decay yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we team up to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Website builder Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This week we are happy to share the work of talented artist and long time B/D friend Terence Hannum.
Terrence Hannum has always been consumed by music. When Terence isn’t in the studio creating his next work of art he can be found releasing zines, designing and releasing limited edition vinyl, and playing in his acclaimed minimalist black metal band Locrian. So it should come as no surprise to discover that Terrence’s artwork also explores the world of music. Using the magnetic tape found in cassettes as raw material, Hannum creates glossy and lustrous paintings that explore the world of minimalism and geometry.
Hannum states about this body of work:
“Typically one does not engage with the material of the cassette. Unless it was being eaten by a tape player, the average consumer never gazed upon its reflective spool. To this point most media requires a certain precious handling of it, the CD, DVD and LP require the listener to hold only the edge. Perhaps speaking to the ubiquity of the digital file these days, the MP3, FLAC, WAV and others have no real handling instructions. I want to focus on the surface. Hence, everything is the surface and in my pieces I try to construct a quiet void.”
Mary Ellen Mark, Heather and Kelsey Dietrick, 7 years old, Kelsey older by 66 minutes
Mary Ellen Mark, Ned and Fred Mitchell, 50 years old, Ned older by 30 seconds
Julie de Waroquier
Julie de Waroquier
Twins: an almost illogically impossible phenomenon where two people look exactly, or almost exactly, alike. Stories of the bonds twins share are equally as fascinating; experiencing the same thoughts and dreams, or switching places to help one another out. It’s no wonder that both Mary Ellen Mark and Julie de Waroquier were drawn to them as the subject matter for their photographs.
Mary Ellen Mark is a well-known photographer based in New York. Considering herself both a documentary and a portrait photographer, Mark was drawn to twins as a unique subject of fascination over a long period of time. She first travelled to the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio in 1998. Enamored with the idea of making a full body of work on twins, Mark contacted the Festival in 2001 to arrange to do a documentary and portrait project there. Over two years she captured portraits and interviewed her subjects, ending up with over a thousand pages of transcripts. The photos themselves, created with the 20×24 poloroid, are stunning black and white images full of narrative and personality.
Julie de Waroquier is a French photographer and philosopher. Her twin series is titled “Chimeras.” Of it she wrote:
“twins have always fascinated me, and not only because I have a twin brother: they are almost magic, and yet they are real. Indeed, the fact that two people look exactly the same whereas they are not the same person is astonishing. It is like a real dream, or like a miracle. In some past or present civilizations, twins are even considered as gods…or as monsters.”
Capturing her chimeras in dreamy landscapes, de Waroquier’s images take on a kind of mythical feeling of their own, furthering the sense that the existence of twins is both mysterious and special.
Eddy De Azevedo used discarded lighters he had found and assembled them to into reimagined Mark Rothko works. Using Rothko’s color field paintings as a guide, De Azevedo created a photographic series using hundreds of lighters. He carefully collected and arranged the objects, which vary in color, size, and luminosity. When grouped together, his photographs are pleasing to look at as a whole or for their individual details.
The lighters work well as an interpretation of Rothko’s paintings. The original color fields are not flat colors, but vary in intensity, hue, and brush stroke. Much like these paintings, De Azevedo breaks up large areas of colors by staggering lighters and placing opaque and translucent ones next to each other.
De Azevedo is interested in the impact of a simple image. It’s why he is inspired by painters who work with large color fields. To him, these pieces have cross-cultural appeal. We all have a relationship to color, albeit all a different one. De Azevedo further enhances these paintings by adding objects. The lighters, paired with color, can be rich with meaning. In this way, he is creating an image that is more complex just beyond recreating Rothko’s works.
These images are just one part in De Azevedo’s series titled Walking My Dog. As the artist would go on long walks with his pet, he noticed all of the debris present along the ocean shore. He began collecting all of the scraps, which included more than 600 lighters, 1000 bottle caps, 200 fisherman gloves, and 2000 plastic bottles. De Azevedo has recycled this discard into appealing and colorful works of art. But, the staggering amount of material he has to work with is a good reminder of how much waste we actually produce, and our responsibility to take better care of the environment. (Via Feature Shoot)
Scott Dalton, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker based in Houston, Texas documents the pilgrimage devoted to Mexican faith healer, Niño Fidencio, in Espinazo, Mexico.
Through the years in Mexican cultural history, Curanderos (Faith Healers) have served an important role in peoples’ medical and spiritual lives. In fact, many of these healers become celebrities, as their miraculous healing creates huge followings. In the early 20th century, El Niño Fidencio became one of the country’s most celebrated healers; today he is regarded as a folk saint by thousands of his devotees, or, as they call them, fidencistas.
In 2009, Dalton traveled to Espinazo to document the festivities devoted to El Niño Fidencio.
“What interested me in the project was just the idea of faith, and how it takes a variety of forms in peoples’ lives. This project just looks at one part of that, but I think it serves a reminder of how important faith is for so many people throughout the world, and how we all come to terms with our own belief system within the context of our own society and environment.”
Fidencistas believe that modern-day curanderos can channel the spirit of Fidencio; these photographs show many of the rituals provided by these modern day healers. To us this looks unusual, cinematic and surreal, but to them these ritualistic activities only mean their salvation. Dalton said he witnessed transformations, in which the eyes of curanderos would roll back and they’d assume a high-pitched voice- taking Fidencio’s spirit in order to heal. (via Slate)
Baltimore based illustrator and designer Gel Jamlang illustrates surreal watercolor and acrylic pieces that largely feature the human body, sometimes paired with animals or painted with an interesting symmetrical or mirroring effect. Jamlang’s illustrations combine realism with whimsical imagery to create a dynamic and energetic composition. The figures in her illustrations seem to lack boundaries – they merge or spill into other figures.
Of her process, Jamlang explains, “Watercolor behaves so unpredictably… It is very exciting to use. It drives itself. The transparency and the brilliance of the colors all swirling around are thrilling. And when you use it side by side with acrylic, the more opaque, dense and unyielding medium, the contrast can be beautiful.” (via hifructose)