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RARE Presents: Mark Dean Veca’s Psychedelic Pop Culture Apparel

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For years Mark Dean Veca has been painstakingly painting ornate and intricate patterns on canvases as well as walls across the US. Using a mix of references that run the gamut from 60’s psychedelic art to 90’s graffiti, Veca has managed to create an alternate world where his signature technique takes 2-D graphics and breathes new life into them.

Primarily known as a painter, Veca doesn’t hold himself to only paint and brush. For over a decade he has collaborated with some of the best brands in the world creating iconic apparel and product illustrations for the likes of Nike, Lucasfilms and Burton; so it should come as no surprise that he recently teamed up with curated online marketplace RARE to create a new signature line of apparel featuring the imagery that he has become known for.

Veca’s first collection of apparel with RARE includes bold color ways and patterns covering every square inch of the garments. You can get patriotic with the Godsmith , Flag II, and Merica II tees. If bending your mind is your thing you can toss on Veca’s The Duke shirt which takes inspiration from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Last but not least lets not forget everyones favorite theme, Money! Ladies can look fresh in the Red Leg$ leggings while the guys can spread the wealth with the Monopoly inspired Penny Bag backpack that has room for all your cash as well as your laptop!

Check out the complete collection on Mark’s RARE shop and learn more about Mark Dean Veca’s artwork and clothing by watching the above video.

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London’s 2:54 opened for The xx and Once Again Bring Back the Shoegaze Buzz of the 90’s

Sister’s Colette and Hannah Thurlow make up 2:54 who opened up for The xx at their recent LA dates and also played one powerful in-store set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. I chatted with Colette after their Amoeba performance and she told me how much they love Los Angeles and want to move here… yes please! I for one have always been obsessed with female fronted bands of the 90’s like Cocteau TwinsLush, and Curve (one of my all time favorites) so it didn’t surprise me that Alan Moulder produced their debut self-titled record (he’s married to Toni Halliday from Curve/Chatelaine). Check out their new video for their single Sugar after the jump and see them live when they head back to Europe later this month.

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Daniel Jensen

DanielJensen8There’s something so simple, playful and childlike in Daniel Jensen’s work. I really like the above bust- I don’t know if it’s because the material calls to mind….well, poop frosted with Betty Crocker icing that makes me equally delighted and repulsed to eat it for some reason. It’s like a weird mini-wheat come to sad life.

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Impossibly Teeny Tiny Crochet Animals To Melt Your Heart

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Imagine your favorite teddy bear and or snuggly stuffed animal shrunken down to fit atop your fingertip, and you have the magical creations of Su Ami, an artistic company in Vietnam devoted to creating delightfully miniature crochet animals. The family run business includes only 5 expert craftsman who work to imbue the tiny woven creatures with unique and touching personalities.

Because of the animals’ itty bitty frame, each stitch is noticeable, highlighting the careful handmade nature of the work. In each turn of the yarn, we imagine the delicate movements of human fingers, and each being becomes impossibly precious. Heightening their dearness is the fact that delightful creatures are so easily lost; like microscopic pets, their vulnerability inspires us to cherish them and hold fast to their tiny bodies. In this way, the pieces recall the nostalgic yearning of a child for his toy.

Despite their smallness, each creation has an impressively distinct character.  With the slightest opening of the mouth, a gecko exudes a curious and playful attitude; a long-beaked bird stares in awe of her own crochet egg. Two squirrels tell a story, peering up at the sky in unison; similarly, a parent elephant watches over her child, whose plastic button eyes seek approval. A lion turns his head with a poignant frown, as if startled by his own size. All animals great and small, from the littlest snail to the tallest giraffe, inhabit the same magical space, cautiously yet courageously exploring the large world they miraculously inhabit. (via Demilked)

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Jowhara AlSaud

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Jowhara AlSaud makes hybrid photo/drawings that dance with anonymity and censorship.  Jowhara started working with this subject after noticing commercial photos altered in Saudi Arabia, seeing “…skirts lengthened and sleeves crudely added with black markers in magazines or blurred out faces on billboards.”  She then applied the censors’ language to her personal photographs.  The work is strangely readable for giving so few clues away.

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Plus-size Painting: Abstractions Created With Massive Unconventional Paint Brushes

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Fabienne Verdier paints with unconventionally large tools. She creates her own brushes, made from substances like sheep hair, duck down, or horse hair, sometimes reaching 6 feet long and over 150 pounds. The brushes are suspended with rope, and then handled physically, or with the help of a pair of bicycle handlebars. Trained under a Chinese painting tradition, Verdier frequently uses black to create her paintings, but will often transgress this tradition by using bright, earthy colors. Preparing ascetically before each piece and practicing the art of spontaneous expression form the basis of her work.

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Marvelous Tiny Worlds Made Inside Toilet Paper Rolls

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For her project Rouleaux, the French multimedia artist Annastassia Elias builds tiny world within single toilet paper rolls. Lit from behind, her delightful cardboard scenes appear like stills from a mysterious work of shadow puppetry. Here, the roll, most commonly a piece of trash associated with the mundane rituals of domestic life, becomes elevated to the realm of high art. Elias’s visual narratives span time and space; as surely as summer swings fade to frigid snowmen, we move from an underwater universe to the barber shop around the corner.

Caught between the circular borders of the toilet paper roll, Elias’s characters seem to emerge from the cardboard of their own volition. Each racehorse and dinosaur is constructed from cut pieces of paper that share their color with the naked roll itself. The artist chooses not to paint either the rolls or the scenes that emerge from within them, allowing the textured, sand-hued paper to maintain a uniform circularity; ultimately, each tiny world appears to be eternally collapsing into itself. Horses run in circles, and a weary man and his donkey, who lowers his head in exhaustion, appear to trudge forward down a path that will only lead to the start.

Fitting in the palm of one’s hand, Elias’s delicate pieces remind us of the preciousness of even the most banal moments. Beneath sheets of toilet tissue, we might discover secret universes, available only to those with a childlike imagination and a thirst for adventure. Rouleaux is now available as a book, and the pieces are currently on view at the National Museum of Singapore until August 3, 2014. (via Demilked)

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Damien Hirst Made Artwork That’s Actually Good

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Damien Hirst’s exhibition at White Cube Sao Paolo, called Black Scalpel Cityscapes, is surprisingly compelling conceptually and technically intriguing. Hirst, though I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this, reader, is a very divisive artist. His practice is a slippery one. It’s difficult to dismiss him, because he’s carved out a big space for himself in commercial galleries, but to some work, in example his spot paintings, feel a bit like an emperor wears no clothes scenario. It’s easy to argue that Hirst’s legacy is the success of his practice itself as a sort of art piece, and it would be true that he’s figured out some notable strategy for success, but whether it’s particularly honest or admirable is a question often dismissed by the powers that profit from Hirst or uphold his ideology.

In contrast to all this, Hirst’s most recent series is unexpectedly insightful. He recreates bird’s-eye view images of international cities using paint, surgical tools, and other industrial instruments. The materials for the Rio painting consist of Scalpel blades, skin graft blades, zips, stitching needles, aluminum filings, pins, stainless steel studs, fish hooks, steel wire cutting spool and gloss paint on canvas. On the White Cube website, Hirst’s statement reads:

Hirst investigates subjects pertaining to the sometimes-disquieting realities of modern life – surveillance, urbanisation, globalisation and the virtual nature of conflict – as well as elements relating to the universal human condition, such as our inability to arrest physical decay.

In the paintings, manmade features and natural elements such as buildings, rivers and roads are depicted in scalpels as well as razor blades, hooks, iron filings and safety-pins, all set against black backgrounds. For this exhibition, Hirst selected 17 cities, which are either sites of recent conflict, cities relating to the artist’s own life, or centres of economic, political or religious significance

What’s exciting about this series is that the themes Hirst claims to be examining are clear and his execution is effective. The paintings are visually impressive and also hold up conceptually, and most importantly, they tackle relevant political issues. Basically, it’s not bullshit. Congratulations, Damien Hirst. (Via The Fox is Black)

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