Michael Massaia’s haunting new series Seeing The Black Dog is based on a saying truck drivers use to describe hallucinations that occur as a result of sleep deprivation during cross country runs. When they see the “black dogs” scampering across the highway they know to pull over and get some sleep. The moment they make that decision is when Michael sneeks up to their trucks while they’re in the cabs sleeping and captures the moment the dogs melt away (it’s also the moment Michael tries not to get his ass shot off). All of the images were taken between the hours of 2am and 6am along the New Jersey Turnpike.
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The subjects of Ridley Howard’s paintings dwell within a dreamy, still world that seems frozen in time. His figures are executed in simple but believable form; rounded at the edges and in soft focus, they are flawless characters suggestive of stylized CGI on the precipice of the uncanny valley. The scale of his paintings range dramatically, but regardless of size, his work feels intimate and yet enveloping. Abstract nooks of color takes form in between background corners – a crevice painted powder blue behind a man’s neck, a patch of yellow between two lover’s embracing. These details might initially go unnoticed, but the mood they provoke resounds.
Personal space, something that’s cherished in the United States, is put to the test in Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi’s series, I Felt Like I Knew You. This site-specific performance features Ferrandi on the crowded New York City subway. In her words, she transforms the space between two people from being stiff and guarded to something that resembles a space friends would share. Essentially, she sits in a packed subway car, rests her head on a stranger’s shoulders, and documents what happens through iPhone videos shot by Angela Gilland.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is receptive to Ferrandi’s invasion of their “personal bubble.” Some people wake her up or passive aggressively move their shoulder. Some, however, just let her rest. In an interview with Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post, Ferrandi was asked if she learned anything from the project. Her response:
For me, this piece taps into the mystery and fragility of how we relate and communicate to each other as human animals, full of signs secret even to ourselves. It’s given me a deeper understanding of the way New Yorkers evolve to maintain their privacy in public spaces. We carry our energy so closely. We’re often pressed up against each other on the train with a kind of “I wish I wasn’t touching you” energy that is invisible but respected. This is part of why so many people are touched by a photo of one man resting his head on the shoulder of another; it challenges a preconception about tenderness between strangers, especially in New York. And it offers a tiny counterpoint to the Culture of Fear being cultivated in America.
All images are stills from iPhone videos. They make you ponder how you would act if Ferrandi put her head on your shoulder. Would you engage her or move your shoulder? (Via Huffington Post)
William Edmonds is one of three artists that are a part of London’s prolific Nous Vous art collective. On top of his precise attention to detail and color, Edmonds also has an unconventional perspective that shines through within every single one of his illustrations.
Massachusetts-based visual artist Aliza Razell combines photography and watercolor painting in her series of self-portraits that feature splashes and spills of color. Razell uses watercolors to enhance the vitality of her photographs by evoking mythological and psychological themes. One series, “Anesidora,” represents the Pandora’s jar narrative (the myth features a jar, not a box, as commonly believed) and another series, ikävä, is the Finnish word for missing or longing after something. Razell’s photography-watercolor combination perfectly captures the humanity and surreality of mythological events and the poetic evocations of a fleeting feeling. (via fubiz)
Todd Knopke weaves strange and wonderful quilts with heavy titles like “A Powerful Force,” “Stoner,” and “Conservation and Revelation (A Certain Solidity).” What?! I love the top image, of shrouded woodland mystics proffering ancient staffs and unknown orbs in the midst of whitelight/white heat/energy. I want to wrap my (technically) unborn black metal son in it while I sing him Sabbath to sleep! Who says quilting bees are just for fussy old ladies! Knopke’s sewn tableuxs shred! (Literally!)
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The paintings of artist Jeff Soto are nightmarish and captivating, as they seem to glow iridescently in cool colors of greens and purples. As if from another planet, Soto’s artwork shows landscapes of an extraordinary nature, covered in shiny crystals, mossy skulls, and unforgettable owl-like creatures that stare at you with hypnotizing eyes. Each painting is a world upon a world, as many of his figures and forms sprout out from even more bizarre, living things. Even his frequently repeated spiky, happy heads contain an eerie quality. Each painting seems to have a story behind it, perhaps representing a mythical fable.
The Los Angeles based artist is a triple threat; a painter, illustrator, and muralist. As you may have guess by his surreal style, his technique is influenced by traditional painting methods, but with a razor sharp edge. Inspired by graffiti and street art, Soto’s otherworldly landscapes heavily embody a pop-surrealist, contemporary style that appears almost futuristic; like a window into the future when our planet is transformed into a whimsical landscape with foreign creatures. This is a place both frightening and beautiful, full of strange magic. His work leaves us filled with a sense of wonder, wishing that we could travel and explore these unusual places and meet these frightening creatures. Jeff Soto’s amazingly adventurous body of work draws inspiration from youthful nostalgia and pop-culture. With an ominous and haunting palette, Jeff Soto’s unique style exudes originality and imagination. (via Hi-Fructose)