It was a unique call for submissions: “Please send me your best nudes so I can draw them while I figure out my next move.” Seeking inspiration, Brooklyn-based artist Frances Waite posted this message on her Instagram, along with her phone number. Men and women responded enthusiastically, sending her intimate nude selfies of themselves sprawling on beds and squatting over mirrors. Choosing the images she found especially playful and unique—or rather, the nudes “where people [were] being themselves and posing in a way they [thought was] sexy and beautiful”—Waite began recreating them as illustrations, translating mischief and bodily expression into skillfully-drawn portraits (Source). The result is a fun, provoking, and ongoing series titled NUDES.
Waites’ project is one of empowerment, seeking self-expression beyond voyeurism, objectification, and the boundaries of heteronormativity. “I do think that I give people an opportunity to perform a part of themselves they might not display otherwise,” she explains in an interview with The Creators Project. “I’m some weird girl on the internet that wants to draw naked strangers, and I already have a repertoire of images that, I hope, make people feel comfortable doing whatever the hell they want.” (Source) She seeks to create a safe space where people can celebrate their bodies and sexual identities with agency and anonymity.
Ana Kraš, born in Belgrade and based in NYC, uses basic structures and everyday materials to design “what people would need and like to use.” Her bonbon lamps or lanterns are handmade and no two are exactly alike. Kraš laboriously loops each bit of thread around the metal frames, creating a color-blocked pattern with a folk sensibility reminiscent of the 1970s.
In a recent feature by Avant Garde Interviews, Kraš suggests such careful repetitious attention is meditative, allowing her room to focus on the details or a “shy little gesture you try to add to a very basic thing.”
The conceptual installations of artist Ole Ukena have a certain subtle humor. However, the installations don’t seem intentionally funny as much as the surprising innocence of a young insight. Each installation seems to pose a simple question that isn’t easily answered. Appropriately, Ukena is also the founder of a foundation that organizes collaborations between artists and youths worldwide. Ukena says of his process;
“I am not limiting myself to one medium. I simply can’t. It’s a constant adventure, finding new materials in the countries in which I travel, encountering objects or phrases that can be transformed into specific, meaningful pieces. While my work often displays a strong conceptual nature, I am also very drawn to the intuitive.This balancing energy forces me to step out of my mind and just create. These forces are like my left and right hand. My works try to create a map of the human mind, in an attempt to tell a tale about the very nature of it with all its possibilities, limitations, irritations, and hopes.”
Photographer Ines Kozic captures modern fairy tales decorated with bone and hair. The mood is contemplative, with a subtler flavor of body horror as her fair-haired women spin their hair into thick braids and pose with ruby-red lips and a court of insects. There’s also a sense of playfulness: a woman painting with her hair in an Escheresque exercise of physics; a man’s beard woven into a basket.
According to her artist’s statement, Kozic’s work is “a reflection on the body’s ornamentation, post-mortem photography and fairy tales’s world.” Her inspiration from photography of the recently deceased in repose is especially clear in the photos where her subjects wear garlands of delicate bone.
The ever-present sense of solitude in her photography make it seem as though everyone is frozen in time. The result is an unsettling mix of beauty and the kind of disquieting daydreams that one might find in a languishing surburbia. Her subjects perform everyday chores — sewing, weaving — but with surreal objects, bedecking themselves with beetles instead of jewels.
If, as Kozic says, she’s searching for “macabre poetry,” then she’s certainly found it. (via Yatzer)
A few weeks ago, we took a look at early stick and poke tattoos that adorned the bodies of prisoners. A new publication from Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell (aka design studio and publishing imprint FUEL) sheds more light (and images) on this subject, specifically focusing on Russian prisoners. The black and white images feature police files of men who are stripped down and their full chest pieces, sleeves, backs, and legs exposed. Their tattoos are more involved that what we’ve seen previously, and are full of curious symbols that seems to include a lot of religious iconography.
For this particular series of images, FUEL looked through the personal archives of Arkady Bronnikov, one of the leading experts in Russian tattoo iconography. He spent several decades working for the USSR Ministry of Internal affairs and travelled throughout the country interviewing and photographing prisoners and later reporting back on the coded meanings. This gave authorities insight into this secret and fascinating language.
FUEL’s project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to make this book a reality. At the time of writing, it’s more than half funded with two weeks left. (Via It’s Nice That)
Helena Kvarnström “write[s] and take photographs and [is] interested in trees, water, bodies,
ghosts, loneliness, stillness, secrets and hidden threats,” according to the artist. And that’s exactly what her images consist of: women in the wild in striking black and white, lonely in their honesty.
Vlad Tenu is an architect and designer based in London whose work is inspired by complex (yet minimal) naturally occurring patterns and spontaneous creation. In his structural series, Synthetic Nature, the Romanian-born artist explore how “the molecular behavior of soap bubbles informs the research method, which involves nature inspired algorithms and geometric constraints.” By utilizing organically-influenced repeating surfaces, which can be reshaped and added onto, his sculptural works could theoretically expand endlessly.
Resembling soap bubbles, honeycombs, seed pods, and other innumerable repeating and interconnecting shapes found in nature, the additive qualities of the work makes their shape completely adaptable, a final form which is limitless. The paradox of Synthetic Nature is that the process, materials and design is all aided or done entirely by computerized systems, thus removing the connection between the influence of organic happenstance and automatic construction. At the same time, the geometries and algorithms that create the work are repeating systems, obeying laws similar to those seen in nature itself.
Synthetic Nature (which is currently on display at London’s Surface_Gallery, through October 18th, 2013) fully explores this connection, parallel and paradox. Tenu, who often replies to the work as a ‘species’ (insinuating a type or categorization) uses more artistic methods, which he combines with his design and architecture background. The artist explains “Synthetic Nature is an instance of my explorative research into spatiality, scale and materiality; all with deep roots in my architectural background. The work has transcended those levels by creating artifacts that are interpretable and adaptable to anything from jewellery, fashion, product design and interiors, architecture to fine art. Algorithmic and geometrical concepts generate surface to volume morphologies that are blurring the boundaries between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, between ‘solid’ and ‘transparent’ or between ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ – blended into abstract hybrid species.” (via design boom)
Unbelievably, the stunning and incredibly realistic works of artist Robin Eley are not photographs, but meticulously created paintings! The artist uses oil paint to render hyper-real portraits with fragmented hues and picturesque, nude figures. Each figure looks so photorealistic, it is hard to believe that it is a painting. Every last element is executed perfectly, as you can even see every detail in the tattoos on the figures. As if painting realistic nudes with this high level of skill was not impressive enough, Eley displays his figures through fractals of color, as if they are behind stained glass. The geometric shapes cutting through the composition offer us a stark juxtaposition to the organic, soft bodies that are behind them. This sharp pattern dissects the human body into segments so that we may see it in a different light.
Eley not only paints his figures behind brightly colored, intersecting shapes, but also wrapped in materials like plastic. This highly textural element also gives an interesting contrast to the bare skin of the figures. The crinkles and creases in the plastic create a sort of fractured impression, just like Eley’s pieces with the “stained glass.” Originally from Australia, this L.A-based artist has had his work exhibited internationally and also has work in private collections all over the world. If you have the chance to see Eley’s prolific work in person, make sure to take advantage of it and experience every tiny detail of these hyper-real paintings.