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Virtual Transgender Suit

Marc Owens designed the Avatar Machine, a system which replicates the aesthetics and visuals of third person gaming, allowing the user to view themselves as a virtual character in real space via a head mounted interface. 

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Studio Visit: Claude Collins-Stracensky’s Explorations in Space and Light

As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Claude Collins-Stracensky. See the full studio visit and interview with Claude and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.

Claude’s studio is in a commercial building in Downtown, Los Angeles right where two fairly busy streets intersect. It’s a few floors up, and as soon as Klea and I stepped out from the elevator doors Claude’s Vizsla dogs greeted us with wild tail-wagging enthusiasm and then lead the way into the studio. It’s a huge corner space with tons of natural light streaming in through the wide windows that lends an almost limitless feel to the room. I took a few minutes to wander around and take it all in— the dogs tumbling about together in play, the dust particles fluttering in and out of the hazy afternoon light, and the many projects underway, all of them in various states of completeness. At any given time Claude is often at work on multiple endeavors, taking time with each to experiment, re-think, tinker and tweak. His studio is a like a research lab where he plays around with concepts and materials, creating mock-ups and models, and then tries to bring these ideas to life with his hands. There is a bit of a “mad scientist” in Claude— he approaches his work with unfettered imagination and whimsy, totally unafraid to scheme and dream big, and he seems almost possessed by a rampant curiosity about the natural world and how it works. At the core of Claude’s practice is a preoccupation with physical systems and processes and the innate dynamics of different materials, and the ways in which these forces and elements can interact to bring about a new consciousness of one’s surroundings. Embracing a range of mediums, his practice often plays with perception and aims to expand his viewers’ visual experience and spatial awareness to create impressions that go beyond an everyday understanding of the world. I got the impression that the wheels in Claude’s brain must always be spinning at top speed, never at rest, always at work on questions, always in a state of assessing and hypothesizing. Which is kind of funny, because he comes across as super mellow… but I didn’t let that easy-going vibe fool me!

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Sten Lex’s Massive OP Art Hand Cut Stencil Portraits

Italian street art duo Sten Lex  are considered as pioneers in their use of the stencil in Italy. Starting their career in their hometown of Rome in 2001, they rapidly acquired an international reputation.  Their work consists of portraits of anonymous characters that they photograph as well as portraits from album covers from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Moving between op art and stencil work STEN LEX is based on a technical finesse and unprecedented accuracy in their remarkable art. Their technique, which they named “Hole School”, is a meticulous hand cut stencil process. They make a thin frame consisting of thousands of paper lines. From the contrast of the black and white lines, the portrait emerges. The visual illusion of the stencil is thus part of the work. The walls on which the stencils are pasted up and the eventual evolution of the paper are hence an equal part of the artwork. Watch a video of their labor intensive process after the jump.

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Bee

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Rose-Lynn Fisher’s Bee is a visual exploration of the anatomy of bees; she used an electron microscope to capture close-ups of honeybees from 10 to 5000x! She first became involved in this project nearly 20 years ago, when she noticed that the hexagonal field of a bee’s eye nearly perfectly mirrored the six-sided pods they created in their honeycomb, leading her to wonder if there was a more profound relationship between vision and action; does the way we see affect the way we construct our world? Her book is a marvel of science and design – as are the bees she shoots – and provides incredible insights to the nature of the insects that so many of us take for granted. It’s an educational read without trying too hard, (you won’t have to try either, it’s mostly pictures). Read it.

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Allison Gildersleeve’s Natural Impressionism

Living in cities, not only do we forget that we’re a part of the natural world, but it’s easy to forget how truly awesome the natural world can be. Occasionally, though, we’ll get lost or go camping and see a world of seemingly inanimate structures that are not only alive but full of color and crawling in and over one another and feel like we have found another world. Allison Gildersleeve has definitely felt this way, as her paintings are all about the wild wild wilderness– its colors, life, fractal chaos–that we too easily overlook. From a distance, Allison’s work looks almost expressionist, but as you look more, you notice meticulously painted shapes that look more and more like trees and branches and realize what she really seems like she’s trying to express is the impression the awe of the natural world has on her. One kick back to living in the cities is that when you go back out to the wilderness, it really does seem wild. If you haven’t seen it for a while, get some camping and swimming in while you still can and take a few minutes to look at the world that’s living and breathing around you. 

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Anish Kapoor’s Minimal Maximus

Anish Kapoor is easily one of the greatest sculptors making work today. His work could be simply described as minimal but have you ever seen a minimal artist who continually creates objects that pack such a powerful punch? Each work trumps the next in size, location, illusion, and scale.

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Behind-the-Scenes with “Art Works Every Time” Artist: Justin Nelson

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Justin Nelson

Beautiful/Decay is taking you behind the scenes of the “Art Works Every Time” exhibition! To celebrate the talented artists and designers included in the show, we thought we’d give you sneak peeks at their artwork, their studio spaces and more. Find out what their work is like, what inspires them and what advice they’d give to other creatives! Our first featured artist is Justin Nelson. We loved his dark sense of humor, laced with intricate linework and delicate detail. Read on to check out his beautiful works, and find out what makes him tick!

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The Fascinating And Majestic World Of Japanese Samurai Armor

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If you ever been intrigued by the world of Samurai, now’s your chance to learn more about the life and culture of these ancient warriors and the artisans that made their decorative armor. In Los Angeles until February 1st, one of the most comprehensive collections of headgear, masks, weapons and even horse trappings used by high ranking Japanese warriors from the 14th – 19th centuries in on display at LACMA. Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection is a fine testament to the artistry and functionality of Japanese battle art. Described by the curator Robert T. Singer as more than just a one dimensional cultural display, he says:

My story is not about the samurai. My story is more about the art, the idea that a samurai, a warrior class, would be so interested in such fantastic symbols and mixing together Buddhism, Shinto, and things which would not mix together outside this culture. (Source)

He also talks about his fascination with helmets in particular. To Singer they are a perfect example of the blend of utilitarian decorative art. They include symbols ranging from mythical figures to abstract motifs. The helmets include things like demon birds and eggplants, and all parts are made from precious materials like bear fur, iron, gold, silver, copper, bronze, and silk. Singer explains the complexity of the symbols a little further:

Animals, Buddhism, Shinto, they’re all mixed up. We really don’t understand why. This is performance, ceremonial, processional armor, and they’re showing off, they’re trying to be, sort of, outside the normal world. (Source)

If you are lucky enough to be in Los Angeles, you should definitely take the time to see these cultural artifacts, or you can purchase the catalog here.

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