This week we’re bringing you another talented artist as part of our partnership with premiere website builder Made With Color. Each Tuesday we bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who are using Made With Color to create clean and sleek web sites. Made With Color makes it easy to make a website; MWC websites aren’t just easy on the eyes but feature powerful yet simple backend which allows anyone to take web design into their own hands with just a few clicks. We’re excited to share with you the dense and detailed paintings of Los Angeles artist Michael Alvarez.
At first glance the art of Michael Alvarez may not appear to be specifically about Los Angeles but upon further inspection of each painting you’ll discover hints of the mixed and vibrant subcultures that can be found in the city of angeles. Images of festive parties in parks, graffiti writers wearing Dodger inspired t-shirts, Venice beach muscle heads, skid row heshers and hand painted signs that can be found in small mom and pop shops throughout Los Angeles are sprinkled throughout these narrative paintings. Mixing the everyday, the unusual, and the downright bizarre Alvarez’s paintings create an intoxicating mixture of shaky yet precise paint handling, personal memory, and street corner observation to create work that is simultaneously dysfunctional and celebratory.
Flavia Carvalho is a Brazilian tattoo artist who provides voluntary service for women left with scars from domestic violence and mastectomies. The project’s name is A Pele da Flor (The Skin of the Flower), deriving from the Portuguese expression “A flor da pele” (deeper than skin). In support of the healing and empowerment of women, Carvalho’s scar tattoos are entirely free—all the client needs to do is to choose a design. Her goal is to help women feel better about their bodies and selves by reclaiming their scars as marks of transformation and strength.
Everything began two years ago, when Carvalho worked with a client who had been stabbed in a nightclub by a man she turned down. Over her abdominal scars, Carvalho tattooed blooming flowers and a bird—symbols of beauty, sensitivity, and growth. After seeing how deeply touched the client was with her tattoo, Carvalho decided to bring her services to more women. Since then, her project has received deservedly positive reception on social media, raising important issues related to domestic violence, the battle with cancer, and body image.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Carvalho speaks about the emotional impact of her project—turning feelings of shame into self-love—and the deeply rewarding connections she creates with her clients:
“The feedback I have gotten from women who were helped by this project has been extremely surprising. The sense of affection, sisterhood and camaraderie is deeper than I ever imagined. They contact me from all over the country, as well as from abroad. They come to the studio, share their stories of pain and resilience, and they show me their scars. Embarrassed, they cry, and hug me. Then we design the tattoo and we schedule the session. They become excited, optimistic. It is wonderful to see how their relationship with their bodies changes after they get the tattoos.” (Source)
Portrait paintings or portrait embroideries? Cayce Zavaglia wants us to wonder and question the technique she is using. ‘About-Face’ is actually a series of embroideries. And they depict exclusively the artist’s close friends and family members. When flipped around, the portraits become abstract art pieces. “an attempt to show both sides…in hopes of initiating a dialogue about the two sides we each possess: the presented and the private self.’
As a former painter Cayce Zavaglia knows the impact of a brushstroke on the canvas and is therefore able to meticulously transfer the effect onto the tapestries. She begins the process by roughly taking a hundred pictures of her futur subject. She wants to catch the right expression. After selecting just one picture she starts working with one-ply embroidery thread on Belgian linen. She is able to render via fabric and thread the intricate details of blended colors and the texture that imitates oil painting.
The artists wants to create a dialogue between the viewer, the subject and herself. From far, the viewer might perceive the hyper-realist portraits as paintings and that’s ok. Up-close, they realize the mean used is embroidery. And by looking at the reverse side of the piece the viewers can begin to connect with the subject. The back of tapestries were historically never shown to the public. Cayce Zavaglia is making an exception. Because abstraction blurs the boundaries between the viewer and the art piece he/she is looking at and that’s when the dialogue begins to become interesting.
Cayce Zavaglia’s work will be displayed at Lyonswier Gallery in New York from November 5th until December 6th 2015. The artist’s daily process is updated on her Instagram account.
Laughter is universal; it transcends culture, trends, and time. The art world, however, is not considered to be droll. Galleries and museums are stoic, intellectual spaces and works of art are discussed in academic terms. Yet in this scholarly world there are artists that buck conventions and use humor to engage us and make us laugh and think. Art is a medium of communication and the artists in this issue have found that humor is the most powerful way to engage their audience and convey their message.
This class clowns issue of Beautiful/Decay is dedicated to those artists who pack their work not only with meaning but with a powerful punch line that keeps us coming back for more. Join us as we delve into the world of Winnie Truong’s surreal and funny portraits, and find the humor in Devin Troy Strother’s discomfort with his own race. Witness how Maurizio Cattelan has become the art world’s premier prankster and gain insight into artistic duo littlewhitehead’s mixture of dark humor and lo-tech fabrication.
View our cover artist Stefan Glerum’s arresting illustrations, and Ben Aqua’s subversive photography. See how William Powhida’s cynical, self-deprecating, and universally criticizing works take the role of the court jester to a new level. As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, we’ve also invited an international cast of artists, illustrators, and designers to create original works for our Project Pages based on our theme. So get out your X-ray specs as we explore the worlds of Beautiful/Decay’s Class Clowns.
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John Baldessari is literally a living legend. Not only has he exhibited internationally more than most living artists but he has blazed the trail for millions of young artists who consider him a mentor, colleague, peer, and friend. I was fortunate enough to work with John for a few years while getting my MFA at UCLA and I have to say that he was one of the most giving professors that I’ve ever had. He always had time for his students and had explosive energy that was infectious. Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art and narrated by Tom Waits this six minute documentary is a playful tribute to the man the call The Godfather Of Conceptual Art. Watch the full video after the jump.
Kate Shaw captures the magnificence and mystery in nature in her hypnotizing landscapes created from acrylic paint, glitter, powder, and resin. Each piece exudes the undeniable and powerful force that the rolling hills and mountains hold. Shaw portrays monumental forms of beauty, such as glaciers and cliffs, in an environment swirling with vibrant color. These mesmerizing, whirling hues are created from pouring paint, letting the movement of the color form naturally. Although these paintings show nature and landscapes, they look anything but natural. The colors Shaw has chosen are completely abnormal. Her mountains drip with oranges and pink while her trees rage with rich reds and blues.
There is a strange balance of natural and artificial brilliance captured in Kate Shaw’s work. Her use of different types of materials creates different textures and reflective surfaces that transform the landscapes even further. They are like environments from another planet, just as incredible as they are unfamiliar. Kate Shaw’s landscapes conjure conflicting emotions of growth and manipulation, showing natural beauty with synthetic qualities. Kate Shaw explains her intentions behind this dichotomy.
“My practice aims to convey ideas of nature, alchemy and cycles of creation/destruction. The paintings and video works deal with the tensions and dichotomies in the depiction of the natural world and our relationship to it. I am concurrently exploring the sublime in nature whilst imbuing a sense of toxicity and artificiality in this depiction. My intention is to reflect upon the contradiction between our inherent connection to the natural world and continual distancing from it.”
Her captivating work will be on display at Mirus Gallery in San Francisco in February of 2016.
The slick site specific installations of Megan Geckler beam and bounce of walls like lasers. Her installations’ ultra clean geometric forms and bright colors nearly hide the personal quality to the work. The plastic rays are actually made of flagging tape – the kind you find just off the sidewalk typically used by surveyors. Her installations intentionally bounce between art and design, industrial and hand made, cold and personal. Also, just as her work shifts conceptually, it also shifts in shape from angle to angle. Strands at one angle interact with strands at other angles as a viewer moves through the space. [via]