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Ekta’s Heads


Ekta‘s simple yet elegant portraits are a great example of what can happen when careful color selection, refined composition, and carefully selected patterning come together to make an image.

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Sebastian Wahl

Sebastian Wahl

I’ve walked past this mural on 2nd Street just east of Bowery on my way home a bunch of times, but for whatever reason, it finally caught my eye last week. And wouldn’t you know it, the guy who made it has a super sweet website full of amazing artwork! Sebastian Wahl is originally from Stockholm, but now works out of a studio in the South Bronx. Using a resin based technique, he creates psychedelically super-charged mandalic inspired collages.

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Pierre And Gilles’ Pop Icon Portraits Made With Sex And Glitter

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Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard – Pierre and Gilles – have made portraits of Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Andy Warhol, and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. The portraits are sexually charged and totally fantastical. Their subjects are placed under water, surrounded by flowers, or in what looks like a McDonalds ball pen (a not so subtle reference, in the tradition of most of their portraiture). Their kitschy and outlandish aesthetic has had them attain international recognition; they’re included in collections like the MoMA’s and have had a major retrospective at the New Museum in 2000.

Not only do they work together professionally, they have also been together as a couple for the duration of their shared career. Pierre is the photographer, and Gilles does the painting afterward. According to a VMagazine interview, the entire process of one portrait takes them about three weeks:

“We do everything from creating the décor to taking the picture to constructing the frame. We are always inspired by the person’s personality.”

Although their sexual orientation is a large part of their public persona, they say they are cautious not to pigeonhole themselves into what they call the “gay ghetto” and for this reason take portraits of a variety of celebrities they admire, while maintaining their own distinct style.

Their aesthetic is whimsical and edgy. Certainly setting a man up fully nude peeing into a garden of flowers is not an image you will see every day. It’s provocative, but not aggressive, probably because of the teasing, over-the-top nature of the accompanying imagery. They find a way to playfully bring the mainstream out of its comfort zone so it seems like every day should be filled with sexy nuns riding bedazzled horses!

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Kawashi Makotori’s Baby Pictures

I know what you’re going to say. “Amir why are you posting photos of cute babies on the blog?” but come on people these photos by Kawashi Makotori are fucking unbelievable! Seriously… This baby is so cute I want to take her and squeeze her til’ she explodes. Now that’s cute!

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Makeup Incredibly Transforms Faces Into Iconic 2D Prints

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“2D Or Not 2D” is the second collaborative project between Russian photographer Alexander Khokhlov and make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan, with the addition of Veronica Ershova who assisted in retouching and post-production of the images. Inspired by two-dimensional posters, the aim of the project was to transform models’ faces into 2D images that re-imagine the work of some well-known sketch, graphic, watercolor, and oil painting artists such as Lichtenstein, Basquiat, and Mondrian. Kutsan’s makeup design and application flattens the faces of the models, while the angles chosen by Khokhlov and enhanced by Ershova contribute to the overall illusion of two-dimensional representation.

The other 2D project (more images shown toward the bottom of this post) Khokhlov and Kutsan collaborated on was a series of monochrome prints titled “Weird Beauty” of painted faces that feature corporate logos, QR codes, and other prominent modern imagery.

You can watch a trailer for the “2D Or Not 2D” project here. (via fast company design and behance)

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Rithika Merchant’s Mysterious And Symbolic Paintings Explore The Mythologies Of The Moon

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Throughout mythology, the moon has represented the visible unknown, a mysterious force whose own phases influence human behavior and identity in subtle-but-powerful ways. In a series titled Luna Tabulatorum, which will be featured at an upcoming exhibition at the Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn, artist Rithika Merchant has painted esoteric scenes that express the enigmatic and transient nature of the moon, conjuring up compounded images of spirituality, occultism, and femininity. Whether it’s a pack of howling wolves, bodies sprouting organic matter, or vulva-like orifices opening to dark, forested scenes, her paintings represent layers of reality that unfold into multiple meanings, with the feminine body as the empowered source of these transformations. Merchant explains her inspiration for the series in the following statement:

“The moon and the sun are the foundations on which many of the world’s ancient religions have been founded. […] The monthly cycle of the moon has also been linked to the menstrual cycle by many cultures. There are links between the words for menstruation and moon in many languages. I see the moon as a meaningful universal object that links humanity by its importance, its presence, and its significance. Being particularly interested in creating links between cultures, the moon has been a very enlightening muse.” (Source)

The moon is also known for its duality—like the werewolf who shifts between states of humanity and bestiality, the moon represents a dichotomous relationship of darkness and light. This dualism is at constant play in Merchant’s works, representing the cycles of life and death; in one image, a skull-headed she-figure is borne skyward in the embrace of raven, in another, prone bodies surrender their hearts to a celestial being. In all of these images, creation and destruction are part of the same process, with the moon as the uniting force. Neutrality is key to Luna Tabulatorum—there is no good and evil, only a series of overlapping metamorphoses and becomings that defy stable notions of morality and identity.

Luna Tabulatorum will be running from September 3rd until October 15th. Visit the Stephen Romano Gallery website to learn more.

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Mr.Div’s Mesmerizing GIFs

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Matthew DiVito, also known as mr. div, is a motion graphics designer and aspiring game developer.  Using a cocktail of software DiVito produces these hypnotic gif images.  A popular file type in the 1990’s, gifs are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.  DiVito’s images certainly retain a retro sensibility.  However, gone are the blocky appearance and wonky movement typical of the first wave of gifs.  His work has a certain cosmic precision and elegance making each file slightly mesmerizing.

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Scion Charity Auction For Creative Capital

Scion’s Installation 5 national art tour had its final public opening recently at Scion’s LA gallery in Culver City. Now all the art is available for purchase in an auction hosted at Artnet. All of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the non-profit, Creative Capital. Go and buy some art for a good cause!

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