As a kid I collected miniatures. I would go away with my parents and wherever we traveled there seemed to be a store that sold tiny objects. Back then they were mostly for dollhouses but I acquired these curiosities so I could display them on my desk. I thought it was cool that someone could actually make something that small. I remember some of the items in my collection included miniature coca cola bottles, tiny animals (mainly cats) and food such as jelly apples and cakes.
Photographer Samantha Fortenberry’s colorful images reveal the pleasure of a good soak in the tub. Her aerial photos are part of an on-going series called Suds and Smiles, and it features people alone in their bathrooms. Naked, they revel in water as the space is peppered with familiar objects, and it reflects their personality. “I have taken my models and either asked them to collect an array of items that mean something to them, or I designed them a set based on an idea of their choosing,” she writes in an email to Beautiful/Decay.
As we gaze at Fortenberry’s subjects, we act as voyeurs to their pleasant time. There’s genuine looks of joy on some of the model’s faces, and when juxtaposed with the bright colors and playful objects, we too derive some pleasure from it.
Suds and Smiles also celebrates the figure. “With this series I also wanted to display the nude human body in a natural and beautiful way,” Fortenberry writes. “I want to collect a wide variety of people in all shapes and sizes to display the various form of beauty each person has.”
A while back we posted a great studio visit with NYC painter Brendan Cass. While combing vimeo I stumbled across these 2 videos of Brendan both in the studio and giving a walk through of his show at Lars Bohman gallery in Stockholm. Both videos give an insiders look into Brendan’s techniques, references, and thought process. I appreciated Brendan’s openness and sincerity about his work.
I’ve always loved hearing artists speak about how the create their work. There is so much thought that goes into making a painting that the viewer doesn’t see with a quick glance. This made me think about my own studio practice and all the dots that I try to connect in my head as I’m making work. There are many times when i try out new things in my paintings not knowing if viewers will pick up on it. I guess that’s just how it goes. You’ll never know what the outcome will be if you don’t take that first step and try.
Hungarian artist Flora Borsi’s latest work was fueled by the emotions she felt after visiting Detroit. The artistic examination of architectural and infrastructural ruin has proven to be a topic of interest for many a creative person. From the ruins of once bustling institutions comes an idealization of the past that in turn triggers reflection on the future. She explains that she was “saddened by the state of abandoned buildings and factories”. She transferred this feeling into her latest project, simply entitled “Detroit”, which is a clever series of photos where she places old photographs of people in Detroit on top of photos she took during her time visiting the city.
Her photos include couples roaming the streets, children ice skating, and factory workers manufacturing tire parts. She merges what she sees as a very alive past and a very much less alive present. Through her splicing of past and present, she addresses the melancholy associated with the decay of an urban setting and the nostalgia of a metropolis in its heyday.
Her series reaches beyond a simple display of sadness and neglect, and the clashing of the city’s past and recent present provides strong grounds for reflection on the idea of rebirth. By doing this, she has somewhat created her own vision of urban decay in a way that is both bleak and hopeful.
Jaw-dropping installations made from cardboard and tape, colorful and geometric paintings on discarded wood or subway car interiors, highly-patterned murals on the streets — Clemens Behr creates a little bit of everything. Or, rather, the Berlin-based artist makes A LOT of everything, much to the delight of his followers. Full disclosure: Yes, I am one such enthusiast.
Yes this is a tad cheesy but I have a soft spot for anything LEGO related, especially if it’s a life size, actually working cello!
Jen Davis has been photographing herself continuously for over a decade. Her series of self-portraits have resulted in a book called ‘11 Years‘ and is a powerful exploration of identity, beauty and body image. Picking up the camera when she was an undergraduate in 2002, she put herself in front of the lens to kick start her creativity.
‘For a long time I was taking photographs and they were always to do with the body, or loneliness, or desire,’ she says. ‘But I was never really comfortable putting myself in front of the camera.’ (Source)
Her photos are at once deeply personal, but still widely universal. These themes she addresses are ones we all know: intimacy, love, insecurity. We see Davis in moments that are intensely private – sitting on her bed fresh from the shower, towel around her head, buttoning up her cardigan; lying in bed in the arms of a lover, looking forlorn and uneasy (Fantasy No 1, 2004). She captures such truthful, non-embellished moments – like the fight to button up clothes that are too small for us, that we can’t help but empathize with her struggle. Davis manages to dispel any ideas of being a victim of obesity. Davis goes on to say:
“In the work what I kept returning to is: What is love? Am I loveable? Can someone find me attractive?… At home with mundane surroundings, I treated the camera as if it were my lover—the camera desiring me, providing me the glimpse of what was missing in my life…..In a way what I was doing was seducing myself. I couldn’t necessarily identify with the idea of someone seeing me as ‘beautiful,’ but I could accept that the pictures that I created and inhabited were. It was a very contradictory experience.” (Source)
Ironically after losing 7 stone, Davis has felt less inclined to turn the camera on herself. To find out what she is photographing now, go here.