Katsuyo Aoki creates stunningly intricate porcelain skulls. Her work is almost like a three-dimensional expansion on the tradition of calavera, decorated skulls made of sugar or clay to commemorate the Day of the Dead. She touches on this in her explanation of work, commenting that elevating the skull, which could be considered macabre, can make the viewer feel, “tranquility and awe that can almost be described as religious, as well as an image as an object of worship.”
The patterns on her skulls range from elegant swirls to jagged spikes that look like prehistoric teeth. Others unfurl like deep sea creatures from another plane of existence, stretching their frills out like anemones from beyond. The name of the exhibit, “Predictive Dreams,” further emphasizes the mystical qualities of the artwork, recalling a time when prophets and seers would study bones and entrails to gaze into the future.
Aoki says of the work:
“The decorative styles and forms I allude to and incorporate in my works each contain a story based on historical backgrounds and ideas, myths, and allegories. Their existence in the present age makes us feel many things; adoration, some sort of romantic emotions, a sense of unfruitfulness and languor from their excessiveness and vulgarity.”
Special Problems is a multi-disciplinary creative studio composed of Campbell Hooper, Darron Lilley and Joel Kefali. Their work fuses hand drawn, painted, video, animation and illustration–often recontextualized in new and surprising ways. They recently interviewed with Beautiful/Decay to discuss their design collective, their approach, and thought processes behind their videos.
It would probably be prudent to begin by letting you know this whale is not real. Rather, the whale is a highly-detailed site-specific installation and the “scientists are actors organized and created by a Belgian collective known as Captain Boomer. The installation was on the banks of the river Thames and in conjunction with Greenwich + Docklands International Festival – an outdoor festival. The installation (which pops up on various river banks throughout Europe) stir up and disrupt entire communities just as real beached whales do. The collective sets out to educate communities on whale the beaching of whales and the larger issues tying humans to nature. Regarding viewers’ unique reaction to their installation, Captain Boomer describes:
“During our beachings, we see an intensive interaction among the crowd. People address each other, speculate and wonder. They offer help and ask for information. The different layers of perception create funny games. Some audience members know it is a work of art but feed the illusion to other people.”
Gal Weinstein, based in Tel Aviv, does some really cool sculptures. Burning tires, mosaic explosions, sputtering chimneys- this stuff is hard to ignore. Some people feel that we’re closer to the apocalypse now then we ever have been, whether it’s brought on by our own means or otherwise. Weinstein’s work often illustrates a sparse, unforgiving wasteland full of smoke and red brick. Even the sculptures that depict elements of life are disconnected, removed. Farm plots are reduced to tiny, green squares. The closest we get to humans are rows of stoic Foosball figures. But somehow there’s still hope in the artist’s work, which holds color and intrigue. (via)
Beautiful/Decay spent the last three days at the Pool Tradeshow in Las Vagas. Throughout our time, we met a lot of fun and interesting people. For me, the one person that stands out the most was probably the nicest. Sacramento Artist Skinner is one hell of a rad dude. His work is insane and his attention to detail is on point. Skinner continues to pump out amazing piece after piece and before you know it, this guy is going to blow up. Make sure to check out his site for some well priced pieces. Keep it up dude!
Errors In Production is an ongoing collection of a variety of products with individual manufacturing errors compiled by Berlin based Heike Bollig. These products range from a simple upside down beer bottle label to a marble that is squished into an asymmetrical sphere that will never have the joy of rolling straight. Although Heike actively seeks out these objects friends and sales clerks pass them on as well. Have you found your own error of production? Contact Heike and contribute to the archive! (via strange attractor)
“My name is Joshua Abelow. It feels great to write my name. I love the way it looks in print. I like the way the “A” at the end of Joshua lines up with the “A” at the beginning of Abelow. Like This: JOSHUA ABELOW” – Joshua Abelow writes about admiring his own name and his preference to use “Joshua” over “Josh”. Abelow writes often. He makes art, and most importantly lives life often. His works are dark, yet whimsical. Part autobiographical and occasionally asserting historical references, Abelow explores the process of making art and living with the pressures to perform as an artist, a friend and a lover. Works often make fun of themselves and thrive on the failure of existing as beautiful hallmarks for all of art history’s future. If his essay “I Don’t Want To Name Name’s” is in fact honest, he started to make art for the right reasons, and will continue to do so for a long time. Another recommended read would be “DOINGDEKOONING” where he asserts the relevance of Paul McCarthy’s “Painter“. The importance of viewing both Abelow’s writings and visual works lies in understanding Abelow’s humble, honest and somewhat naturally naive philosophy on life and the depth that exists within works far more involved than the headlines they announce.
Originally from Armenia, artist Ana Bagayan studied illustration at California’s Art Center College of Design. Her many paintings and drawings are populated with doll-like youths and human-alien hybrids, showcasing the artist’s special interest in the metaphysical. In particular, many of her hybrid creatures were inspired by the stories told by avowed alien abductees while under hypnosis. Bagayan’s drawings and paintings have been displayed in galleries across the US, including most recently at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California. Take a look at more metaphysical marvels after the jump.