Till Rabus’ combines sex, slick trompe-l’œil paint slinging, and the occasional hamburger to create a wide variety of work that goes from surrealism to narrative painting.
Earlier this week we featured the work of photographer Eric Lafforgue, who documented the scarification practices of the Omo Valley Tribes in Ethiopia. Today, in a series titled Ugly Becomes Beautiful, he takes us far into the hills of northwestern Myanmar, where the tattooed women of the Chin culture live. It is uncertain when the practice began, but as Lafforgue writes, some believe that long ago, “the royalty used to come to the villages to capture young women. The men from the tribe may have tattooed their women to make them ugly, thereby saving them from a life of slavery” (Source). Over time, although it is a declining practice, the tattoos became symbols of culture and beauty.
There are three types of facial tattoo patterns: the spider web, the dotted B pattern, and one where the entire face is inked. They are created using needles made of bamboo or thorns, and the ink is a blend of cow bile, pig fat, soot, and plants. The process—which takes one to three days, depending on the pattern—is painful. Lafforgue relates one woman’s experience:
“I was 10 years old. The day before the tattoo ceremony, I only ate sugarcane and drank tea. It was forbidden to eat meat or peanuts. During the tattoo session, I cried a lot, but I could not move at all. After the session, my face bled for 3 days. It was very painful. My mother put fresh beans leaves on my face to alleviate the pain. I had no choice if I wanted to get married. Men wanted women with tattoos at this time. My mother told me that without a tattoo on my face, I would look like a man.” (Source)
Today, facial tattoos are deemed illegal by the country’s military junta; hence, many of the women were reluctant to have their photos taken. In these immersive images, Lafforgue provides a rare glimpse into a practice that, tested by modernity, transforms notions of “ugliness” into the diverse beauty of tradition and cultural meaning.
We got the day off today but here’s some good music videos to keep you going until we come back. Some of it is new, and some of it is decades old, but all are good. Who knows maybe you’ll findsomething new that you like (or hate).
Kime Buzzelli, born in Ohio, is currently located in Los Angeles. Her work derives inspiration from music, voyeurism, magazines, story telling, and fashion. She paints a colorful, mystical world filled with beautiful ladies. Buzzelli as well explores 4 dimensional art as a costume designer and an installation artist, which showcase her love for clothes and printed fabric. Love her work? You can visit her gallery/boutique Show Pony and/or wear her fresh kicks, commissioned by vans for their 2009 fall women collection.
I have to say that I’ve never been a huge fan of CocoRosie but this video may have just changed my mind. It’s weird, has beautiful sets and costumes, and both aging old ladies and young little girls have beards. What’s there not to like? Kudos to Sub Pop Records and CocoRosie for not doing yet another video with a band playing on stage.
Yis “Nosego” Goodwin creates whimsical illustrations composed of various styles and references. His work is almost collagist, combining elements not only of realism and cartoonish abstraction, but also contrasting technical skills. Some of the figures he portrays are drawn with fine detail, while others appearing in the same illustration are more fluid conceptions. He creates fascinating characters out of a pastiche of pop culture, folklore, and mythology. Aside from illustrating, he also creates public murals. Nosego is currently collaborating with Converse, the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time, as well as Nickelodeon. He will also be featured in Streetosphere, an upcoming documentary about street art. Nosego lives in Philadelphia.
For Epitaph, British photographer Rankin teams up with Beaty Editor Andrew Gallimore to create spellbinding death masks inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead and Roman Catholic All Souls Day. Like the sugar skulls, or calavera, used to celebrate the holiday, these elegant masks put a vital and lively spin on death. Decked out in intricate beading and filigree, their models look luxurious and festive.
Calavera, normally colored in vibrant greens, reds, yellows, and blues are often eaten after the holiday; adorned in glittering stars and blooming daisies, these living skulls look like sweet confections. The female faces, painted in black, become a youthful template for imaginative explorations of an afterlife that awaits us after old age. As if from another world, their gray-green eyes stand starkly against coal-toned flesh. Rankin and Gallimore infuse the editorial with a hefty dose of high-fashion edge, introducing elements like metal spikes and and chains. These harder elements blend seamlessly with the iconography of the Day of the Dead; in one mask, a red clown nose made of punk-rock studs puts a contemporary spin on the timeless tradition.
Rankin is not new to the theme of death. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, he was compelled to break cultural taboo surrounding the dead, to face head-on his fears of dying. For last year’s photo series ALIVE: In the Face of Death, published by Hunger Magazine, he photographed those effected most by death, giving voice to grieving family members and to resilient individuals living with terminal diseases. Here, his enthusiastic lens provides solace from the fear of the unknown, inviting us to celebrate those we’ve lost as we mourn them. (via Trend Land)