Brian Vu’s collages of life + death, love + hate, religion = afterlife = Awesome!
Joseph McVetty must think it’s Halloween every day. His subtle pencil drawings are littered with groups of scantily clad people carrying out strange ceremonies and rituals. He sketches masked girls sitting on top of a circle of mushrooms, assisting a floating diamond deity. We see gatherings of people holding skulls above their heads in formation, trying to harness their collective power. There are also Shamans wearing skulls who seem to be about to begin some sort of exorcism or are absorbing energy from the people wearing skulls circling them. No matter the scenario, McVetty’s work is rooted in new-age spiritualism, occult ritual, and psychedelic culture.
Living in Portland, Oregon, McVetty’s work draws on his own experiences with rituals of being in the woods on the east coast. He talks of the powerful effect nature has on him:
I remember going to the Bagby Hot Springs with my wife soon after we relocated here and having a really magical experience. The very existence of these hot springs is a lovely idea to me, but being out in that old growth forest with all of the accompanying sights and smells was overwhelming. Then to come upon a group of strangers, naked, getting high, filling up those old log tubs and laying in that steaming water blew my mind. (Source)
He says even though his work is connected to these personal stories and memories, his drawings also are concerned with events from the wider world:
A perfect example is the recent wave of civil resistance movements central to the successes of the Arab Spring. These sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies are exactly the kind of energy gathering rituals that inspire me. (Source)
Hopefully you all are inspired to go and create your own energy gatherings this very night. Happy Halloween!
New York based artist William Steinman creates sexy and raw pieces that carry a strong undertone of their source of inspiration: street culture and Pop art. Growing up, he kept himself busy by exploring downtown Phoenix on his skateboard. In doing so, he was introduced to the graffiti art that populated his surroundings, and fell in love with it. Though William was initially inspired, he started to notice how increasingly redundant graffiti was turning out. He decided to focus his artistic endeavors elsewhere, and started to study painting. But first love is always the strongest, and William found himself charmed by the bold lines and appropriated imagery of Pop art.
Observing William Steinman’s paintings and sculptures is the equivalent of trying to stay perfectly still inside a hurricane of motion. He constantly plays with adaptation and reconstruction within an environment of deconstruction. Using found materials, store bought objects, comic books, and finishing them off with industrial glue, the end result is what he likes to accurately describe as “the dark side of Pop.”
William is currently an MFA student over at Queens College in New York City. In a few weeks he will be presenting his bold, raw, and sexy portfolio of work at his MFA Thesis show. Unfortunately, I live much too far and will not be able to attend. However, anyone out there who will be in the area should definitely indulge themselves! Go!
Since I started Beautiful/Decay while attending the Maryland Institute College Of Art I have a soft spot for artists working in Baltimore. There’s something about living Baltimore (see “The Wire” for more on that) that changes you and your artwork forever. Baltimore is a giant pot of crazy that just seeps into your work and wont let go. Keep up the good work Suzanna and make us Alums proud!
Thanks to everyone that made it out to our screening of Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary screening last night at Space 15twenty. The screening was a great success, with great summer time weather and comfy beach chairs to relax on. All the seats were filled within minutes and a few troopers even stood for the entire length of the movie!
This has to be my new anthem for waking up on Sunday mornings. What we have here is an animated, sci-fi hip-hop odyssey through the state of Arizona. It’s 100% handmade with colored pencils, pens & paper and totally wacky! Video by Sean Christensen, Music by Star Beav & Erocc’n (make sure to read the titles of the songs on the itunes page…trust me.) Watch the full video after the jump.
Destroy Paint with Ifo Skateboards.
Portland-based artist Matt Hall creates mixed media assemblages and large-scale ink on paper drawings. He explores the connections between historic perceptions and our sense of wonder with the natural world. As a child, Hall was fascinated with the ability of birds to fly, fish to breathe underwater and other amazing animal abilities. Hall’s work incorporates animal parts with other found objects, sketches and notes in an attempt to re-create, analyze, and pay homage to the seemingly magical powers of animals.
There is also a keen interest in death in Hall’s work. A piece with a snake and a mouse is most obviously about predator and pretty. The title, however, Mithraicism, refers to the practice of inoculating a person against poison by administering non-lethal amounts. The piece becomes a metaphor, or sorts, whereby you can’t be immune to death.
As written in Ampersand Gallery’s press release about their last exhibition with Hall, “[his] finely detailed assemblages bring to mind the dioramas & curiosity cabinets of natural history museums, yet on a deeper level they allude to the ritualistic strangeness of reliquaries, thereby serving as an intersection where notions of religion, science, folklore & quackery collide with the artist’s imagination.” Exquisitely detailed, the animal parts in Hall’s assemblages have been broken and put back together. Hall uses found road kill as the basis for his works. Evoking the spiritual practices of animalistic religious whereby interaction with animal parts was thought to transfer magical and totemic powers, Hall is creating both object and mythology.