New video by Jon Clark and Spencer Longo for Los Angeles band LA Vampires’ (in collab with Matrix Metals) catchy number “So Unreal” combines all the things I love most about 80s/90s video aesthetics: head wraps, odd mystic paraphernalia, soft glows, and of course a healthy helping of neon. Jon and Spencer sacrificed their living room to set up this dark lair for a whole month! Spencer Longo currently has an installation up at the Pacific Design Center as a part of MAN, SUCH AS WE KNOW HIM, IS A COMPUTER. Jon is currently working on completing a 30 minute short called ‘Spectrum Hunter’. Watch the full video after the jump.
Los Angeles based artist Laurie Lipton draws fantastical worlds built of dystopian technology and waste. Her recent work, which she refers to as Techno Rococo, explores “society’s relationship to technology and how it’s uniting us while simultaneously disconnecting everyone from each other.” Her epic, painstakingly detailed drawings are giant, allowing the viewer to fully enter them — Lipton’s work is not just a vision, its an experience. Lipton explains her unique style; “it was all abstract and conceptual art when I attended university. My teachers told me that figurative art went ‘out’ in the Middle Ages and that I should express myself using form and shapes, but plashes on canvas and rocks on the floor bored me. I knew what I wanted: I wanted to create something no one has ever seen before, something that was brewing in the back on my brain.” Originally inspired by the Flemish School of painting, Lipton developed her drawing style based on traditional egg tempera techniques of creating depth through a meticulous process of cross hatching. Using only charcoal and pencil on paper, her black and white work, despite its futuristic content, aims to hint at a sense of classicism. She states, “I used to sit for hours in the library copying Durer, Memling, Van Eyck, Goya and Rembrandt. The photographer, Diane Arbus, was another of my inspirations. Her use of black and white hit me at the core of my Being. Black and white is the color of accent photographs and told TV shows…it is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.” (via Hi Fructose)
In a book titled Concrete & Sex, photographer Sasha Kurmaz juxtaposes nude figures against urban and industrial scenes of post-Soviet Kiev. At a first glance, the images may not seem to have a lot in common, other than the similar tones of concrete and skin. One side displays bleak horizons and the hard façades of cold and crumbling buildings; the other takes us inside, to candid moments of warmth, flesh, and bodily expression. By splicing these images together, however, Kurmaz masterfully shakes their emotional and political similarities into relief; both resonate with a sense of alienation and the vying for connection. Bodies (with their faces hidden) and buildings become landscapes of departed dreams, made and unmade again by the social and political conditions that shape them.
However, there is more than desolation in these juxtapositions. In comparing images of sex with devastated urban spaces, Concrete & Sex reverberates with a subtle resistance, a quiet protest against a system that strips the individual of power and evacuates life of meaning and beauty. The book’s description explores this further:
“On one hand, it’s impossible to ignore the political implications of this approach—as in so much of his output, one finds here the blunt advocacy of sex, vandalism, and, of course, artistic expression as meaningful responses to repressive conditions, and it doesn’t feel like a stretch to view this work, at least partially, as a comment on the status of the individual (whose identity within these pages is repeatedly [and tellingly] obscured by anonymity and/or physical distortion) within the broader mechanisms of public ideology and fading history.” (Source)
If the nude body can manifest its oppression and exploitation, it can also enact change. By moving, twisting, and contorting against architectures of despair, the figures in Kurmaz’s photos become enduring signifiers of life and self-expression within a deteriorating system.
Jeff Sonhouse creates the most tripped out jester-saint psychedelic pimps who are all standing on the verge of getting it on. Fly tinted shades, canary top hats, tight pin stripes, righteous afros, bow ties, fox pelt stoles…you get the idea!
Now that we’re in the dead of winter, Rebecca Louise Law’s installation “Outside In” of 16,000 flowers in the lobby of a Manhattan skyscraper is soundly appropriate. The British artist who grew up in the English countryside says she wanted to create a site-specific work which would give city folk a little breather from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Her installation of 16,000 hanging flowers does the trick. When initially installed the fresh flowers gave the lobby an outdoorsy spring like smell. As the days pass and the flowers dry, the lobby at 1515 Broadway in New York’s Times Square will become a potpourri scent tank.
Some of the specimens used in the installation include roses, chrysanthemums, carnations and baby’s breath. Hung upside down, the different shapes and colors of the flowers resemble paint marks floating in thin air. In some instances, the entire installation looks like a wonderful abstract painting.
Law is known for her flower installations around the world. Some of her more intriguing projects have been “The Hated Flower” UK where she used carnations and chrysanthemums, “Bulbs” UK and “The Grecian Garden” Greece which fused 10,000 plants, herbs and cut flowers of over 27 varieties. She also did a project using 1500 apples methodically placed throughout Fulham Palace Chapel in London. (via the creatorsproject.vice.com)
Thordis Adalsteinsdottir‘s paintings combine pattern filled rooms with bizarre narrative scenes that will leave you thinking “what the hell is going on in this guys head?” Out of all the bizarre elements in Thordis’s work my favorite would have to be the hair. It looks like a blindfolded barber took a razor blade to the heads and only left 8 strands.
The photographer Roman Sakovich has gotten some heat for his project Half, a series of images detailing the effects of drug abuse, particularly with respect to methamphetamine addiction; his subjects stand, face forward, their lefthand side polished, even proud, while on the right, their bodies are ravaged by scars and scabs characteristic of addiction. The jarring split-personas are achieved not through photoshop but with expert make-up and styling.
The artist has been criticized for his simplified portrayal of drug dependency; by his own admission, the images, in their shocking nature, exclude a more nuanced exploration and rely in part stereotypes. Problematic for some is the fact that the non-addict self is styled professionally in suits and crisp button-downs, while the addict wears more urban attire, the implication being that class and drug use are profoundly connected.
Regardless of the controversy (and perhaps even because of it), the shocking series inspires much-needed and critical discussion on drug addiction, an illness that plagues tens of millions nationwide. Avoiding blaming and scapegoating individuals, the artist provides an intimate approximation of selfhood torn by addiction, one that inspires empathy, not disgust or prejudice.
Sakovich’s subjects, their identities split in two, are as you and I, lead by hopes, fears, and complex yearnings. A doctor, stethoscope slung over her shoulder, hair in a tight chignon, directs a placid glance comfortingly at the viewer; only after allowing our eyes to drift across the print do we see this figure of heath and safety cruelly overtaken by substance abuse, her eye downcast and purpled, a dried lip furrowed and lined. We read these bodies from left to right like strange texts, imagining personal and intimate narratives in order to reconcile the two faces before us. Ultimately, we are left with the powerful warning, “This could happen to you.” What do you think? (via My Modern Met and Feature Shoot)