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Studio Visit: Wes Lang

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Headed over to Wes Lang’s Brooklyn studio on Friday.  Daylight filtered in from the street over walls resplendent with tattoo flash, hand-painted jackets, flags, and pics of beautiful women.  Amazing paintings are everywhere you look.  The first thing I said was “there’s a lot of nice tits on the wall.”  Wes relaxed visibly and replied, “everybody likes tits, they’re calming.”  That broke the ice.  His new work emerged after losing several friends in the last year, and goes in a different direction from his well-known and controversial Americana work.  It’s being shipped off this week to Galleri Brandstrup in Olso Norway.

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Kai Sekimachi’s Delicate Bowls Made Of Leaf Skeletons Can Take A Pounding

Kai Sekimachi - leaf bowls Kai Sekimachi - leaf bowls Kai Sekimachi - leaf bowls

Kai Sekimachi - leaf bowls

Although she is more known for her weaving and looming, artist Kai Sekimachi has shown she can branch out into other areas of expression with her impressive bowls made from leaves. Defying the very nature of the materials she works with, Sekimachi has come up with a way to make a flimsy leaf into a structure that can support heavier objects. By adding Kozo paper, watercolor and Krylon coating to the leaves, she is able to turn a skeletal transparent leaf into something that isn’t those things at all.

Having written numerous books on arts and crafts with her husband, Bob Stocksdale, she is an expert on many areas of handmade items and objects. The pair’s practices are both anchored in nature, and show their extensive knowledge as pioneers of American Craft.

Sekimachi creates distinctive pieces from natural materials such as linen, decaying leaves, shells, and grass, and pairs them with nature inspired motifs. (Source)

Sekimachi is not afraid to try her hand at new things, and proves repeatedly that she is a fast learner. After seeing a group of students weaving at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1949, where she was also enrolled, the very next day, the curious artist spent all of her savings on a loom of her own. She then went and perfected her craft over the next few years.

The influential couple will be having an exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum titled In The Realm Of Nature from July 3 to October 18 in Washington. (Via Bored Panda)

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Ari Weinkle’s Squirming Typography Made From Animal Appendages Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Ari Weinkle - Digital TypographyAri Weinkle - Digital Typography

Ari Weinkle - Digital Typography

Ari Weinkle has created an extremely unique and bizarre typography, titled Feelers, that moves and squirms with each carefully constructed letter. This is no ordinary alphabet; each letter is formed from different animal appendages. Weinkle designed his somewhat creepy typography to be explore and interpret the movements of animals and their body parts. It is hard to believe that these odd colored squiggles were once part of animals, especially since they look like amoebas, worms, or insect parts. The way the ends of the letters taper in at each end and sways back and forth closely resembles aquatic life such as seaweed moving in the water.

One aspect of this typography project that makes its concept so interesting, is trying to determine what appendage could have possibly made the type of movement that the individual letter is making. Even more intriguing, is that not every part of the letter moves. Some stand still while others whip back and forth, spread apart, or jump quickly away from the viewer. The movement is so organic, it is almost as if these alphabet creatures are pinned under a microscope and we are watching them squirm. Although the letters are hard to determine once they begin to wiggle, you cannot deny the unique creativity behind this mesmerizing typography. Make sure to check out Ari Weinkles Tumblr to see every single letter of his alphabet in its still form, and then again as 26 organically moving organisms.

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I Am Not An Artist

Designers Matthew Cooper and Johnny Kelly have started a new project titled I Am Not An Artist: “an animated gif paranoia about nonstop design workers.” I’m sure we’ve all felt like we’re being punched in the face (pixelated, sorry! Check their site for actual size) or being driven to insanity by tunneling computer screens. The layout of the site reminds me a bit of Sweet Gifs. Via Svarta

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Artist Creates Dolls Based On Children’s Drawings

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oh' my neko - designoh' my neko - design

Pablo Picasso once said, “every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” The owners of Oh’ My Neko take this quote to heart, honoring children as artistic masterminds behind some pretty unique dolls . . . and this goes for everyone, not just a select few, as this would negate the purpose: each young vision is valuable and translatable. For only 35€ each, your child’s hipster princess, lunatic lady monster, or clowny bug can spring to plushy life. Check out the gallery after the jump to see some more pretty adorable examples.

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Chiharu Shiota’s Mesmerizingly Tangled Installation Of Woven Yarn And Keys Explores Global Forms Of Memory And Connection

Chiharu Shiota - Installation Chiharu Shiota - Installation Chiharu Shiota - Installation Chiharu Shiota - Installation

A mesmerizing, surreal experience awaits anyone entering the Japan Pavilion at this year’s Venice Art Biennale. In a stunning installation called “The Key in the Hand,” artist Chiharu Shiota has filled a room with webs of red yarn. Suspended from the ceiling, the yarn is tied together so densely that it filters out the lights above. Hanging from the mass are over 50,000 keys collected from people all over the world. Like dark, frozen drops of rain, they appear to spill from the stringy red “clouds” into two weathered boats below, creating a dual sense of breathtaking movement and suspended time.

Despite their seemingly simple utility, keys are intimate objects that we all carry to keep ourselves—and the things we love—safe. Invested with our deep trust and passed between hands over time, keys symbolically bind us together. The Curator’s Statement for “The Key in the Hand” eloquently describes this further:

In our daily lives, keys protect valuable things like our houses, assets, and personal safety, and we use them while embracing them in the warmth of our hands. By coming into contact with people’s warmth on a daily basis, the keys accumulate countless, multilayered memories that dwell within us. Then at a certain point we entrust the keys, packed with memories, to others who we trust to look after the things that are important to us. (Source)

The keys represent a collection of human feelings, while the yarn visualizes their immaterial connections across time and space. Furthermore, while far removed from their international owners and original purposes, the keys also embody emotions and memories on a transcultural, transnational scale, as they are webbed together without perceptible distinctions of race, class, gender, or nation. As all the keys fall perpetually into the same ancient boats (which are described as “two hands catching a rain of memories”), Shiota’s installation beautifully visualizes a global form of connection spanning borders and generations. (Source). As the Curator’s Statement movingly concludes:

I look forward to watching as The Key in the Hand, an installation that forges a link between a space made up of keys, yarn, and two boats, and photographs and videos of children, transcends national, cultural, linguistic, and political contexts, and emotionally arouses countless visitors from all over the world. (Source)

Born in Japan, Shiota has been based in Berlin for the last two decades. Visit her website to see more fascinating large-scale installations. (Via Colossal)

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Andy Ainger

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Andy Ainger creates eerie paper creatures. Even with his fun color palate, some of his creations still give me the heebie jeebies. Aiger works with simple materials, saying his interests lie in “craft based art,” and plays with accessible household items like paper, breakfast cereal, and possibly sealing foam?

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Amii Stewart

Amii Stewart, disco legend, and starring in possibly one of the most decadent music videos I’ve seen. I’m not sure what the pinnacle of video technology dictated in the late-late 70s but digital media artists like John Whitney were already starting to make fairly advanced films out of just graphics programming as early as the ’60s. “Knock on Wood” lyrics are after the jump if you were so inclined to watch the video and sing along…

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