Robert Tirado describes his artworks as “consequence to the experience of traditional art techniques, which sometimes gives it a perfect balance between the particular look of digital work and the expression of real life painting” This up-and-coming artist explores an array of different mediums for his illustrations. AEI.UO is his new experimental project that puts together digital illustration, painting and graphic design, which intends to “break through with patterns in so-called digital art.” Tirado also has an upcoming solo show in Valencia, Spain at La Booktique Del Diseño on June 18th! So if you so just so happen to be in Spain on June 18th check it out! His work is definitely something I would want to check out in person.
Brooklyn-based artist Hannah Kunkle puts Kim Kardashian on the altar, literally. Kunkle delivers Kardashian as the Virgin Mary, Medusa, the devil and even Kleopatra. With a flashy net-art inspired aesthetic, the artist takes Kim’s iconic, worshiped image and puts it to work, naturally, with religious/cultish iconography. The controversial juxtaposition is rather riveting as its subtle insights perfectly captures the absurdity of our nation’s obsession with Kardashian and celeb idolatry in general. “We have accepted her into our lives via television screens, memes, and Instagram feeds”, she says. “If Jay Z is the father and Yeezus is the son, then she is the ever-present holy ghost of pop culture.”
According to the Huffpost, Kunkle’s recent exhibition in Bushwich titled “The Passion of Kim Kardashian” caused some controversy amongst the religious community in New York. “It’s deplorable,” Pastor Reggie Stutzman of Real Life Church told The New York Daily News. “It’s sacrilegious, irrelevant, and disrespectful… It’s idol worship.” The Hindu community had opinions about it too. “I am certainly not happy about this,” said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. “Any religious symbol should not be used or abused.” (Via Huff Post)
Today I was reminded of one of the coolest sculptures I’ve ever seen, Matt Johnson’sThe Pianist (after Robert J. Lang). I saw this piece at the Hammer Museum a couple of months ago and was completely floored. Have you ever seen something you thought was truly amazing and your face starts to get all big and bug-eyed, and you feel tingles running down your back, and you start saying things like ‘whoa, dude, oh man!’ Well that was me at the Hammer that day, and maybe I looked like a fool, but it was totally worth it. Johnson’s work is full of warmhearted humor, and when an artist is able to rekindle that sense of childhood wonderment in your imagination, you just have to stop and savor the moment.
Elisabeth Lecourt is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in London. Her newest body of work is entitled Les robes geographiques in which delicate dresses are constructed out of antique maps. In her own words the series acts as “a portrait of people through their clothes, like a blue-print of their soul.” Her bio explains the importance of the female figure in her art: “Sensitivity and vulnerability are the main subjects in the work of the artist…the feminine figure is seen like the spine of her house, like an essential component of this particular world.” (via)
At the intersection of fashion, photography, film, stagecraft, and design, artist Marina Fini creates hallucinatory, alternative worlds. Based in California, she collaborates with friends and artists alike in the staging of these otherworldly scenes, using colorful costumes and her own handmade, plexiglass jewelry to turn her photographic subjects into ethereal cyber goddesses. When asked how she builds these characters, Fini remarked, “there’s something about transforming someone into someone they wouldn’t normally be … that is, creating an extension of themselves that I see in them.” All of her characters exude a captivating power, like the whimsical and intangible figures seen through a psychedelic dream. By exploring alternative selves in familiar contexts – a convenience store, or the Californian seaside, for example – Fini explores how subjecthood is fluid, and how such creative “shape-shifting” can alter they way we perceive our immediate reality.
While beautiful, there are also darker and more satirical elements in Fini’s work; in her own words, there’s something compelling about “juxtaposing what we associate as innocent with something horrific or insane.” In her short film Tree Temple, for example, a group of forest sprites — their faces eerily obscured by their colorful hair — dance feverishly around an altar made of Apple computers. Shortly after destroying the altar in their frenzy, they fade into mourning and death. As this film exemplifies, integrated throughout Fini’s scenes are emblems of our contemporary cyber culture — the Apple logo, wifi symbol, hand cursor, and so on. Speaking to this, Fini says that the use of such icons “specifically pokes fun at our internet-obsessed culture,” thereby producing a playful — and sometimes dark — cultural critique of our digitized existences.
In addition to her photographs and videos, Fini is well-known for her aforementioned jewelry, as seen on many of the models in these photos. In pursuit of new projects, she has recently announced that she will be phasing out her jewelry, but her Etsy shop will remain open until mid-January 2015. If you enjoy immersive art and playful reconfigurations of reality, check out the surreal worlds she has created on her website and Tumblr pages.
There is something intanglibly familiar about Korean artist Lee Jeong Lok‘s photoseries “Tree of Life”. Perhaps it is the beautiful, postcard-quality of the surroundings, or that Lee has truly tapped into a cross-cultural metaphor for the spiritual in using an illuminated tree as a subject. Lee has mentioned in previous interviews that he considers himself a deeply religious person, and attempts to give his photographs a palpable sense of spirituality. Says Lee,
“I tried to depict emotions and spiritual imagination in that the sceneries inspired rather than recreated the scenery itself. … Every myth talks about another world that we believe co-exists with the real world we look at and live in. The other world has a powerful presence that we cannot see.”
Lee, who grew up in the Korean countryside, often depicts an intimate bond with nature in his work. In his Tree of Life photoseries, the photographer admits to using installation, sets, scenes and digital manipulation to create his constructed scenes of illuminated trees in spiritually-emotive surroundings. Lee continues,
“But it is very important to me that my end product is photography. I believe there exists another, invisible world within the world we can see with our eyes. If I were to draw an image of this parallel universe, it would become a mere fantastical illustration. However, by using photography the end result is very different; it retains the essence of our experience of reality, while simultaneously conveying a sense of the hidden realm that exists therein.”