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Surreal And Unnerving Photo Manipulations Question The Nature Of Reality

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For his surreal photo manipulations, the Buenos Aires-based digital artist Martin De Pasquale contorts his own body to imbue the mundane rituals of daily life with a sense of humor that sometimes veers into the realm of terror. With the wonderfully oxymoronic title “Impossible Photography,” De Pasquale’s work stretches the medium to its limit, boldly questioning our assumption that the photographic object necessarily reflects reality. Though indeed impossible, the strange and comical mishaps— and horrors— of the work speak to very real existential anxieties.

Here, the human body emerges as mechanical, much like the the camera itself. Like the gears of an advanced automaton, heads and faces are replaced with ease, and the treat of mortality is abated with ever-renewed body parts. In some ways, the impossible photographs recall the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, a thought experiment which asks if a ship remains essentially the same after each of its parts are replaced. Here, the ship becomes a human being; in the daily grind of life, our protagonist is continually deconstructed and reassembled. Does he become generic, or does he hold fast to his identity?

In so questioning the individual, De Pasquale’s imaginative images challenge the notion of replication, which in turn examines the very nature of the photograph. Seen here many times over, the self is given over to a mysterious—and frightening— sort of duplication, giving rise to unnatural yet indistinguishable bodies that are ultimately mere simulacrums of the original. Take a look. (via Demilked)

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Heike Weber

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German artist Heike Weber creates paintings and drawings by utilizing techniques of heavy repetition. Some of these pieces are purely textural, like the blue ballpoint pen drawings (after the jump), though I think the ones I like the best are in his “Kilims” series, which seem to reference Eastern calligraphic styles.

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America’s Abandoned Malls Are Places Of Nightmares

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via  Detroiturbex.com

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via Detroiturbex.com

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via Detroiturbex.com

North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

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North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

If you’ve ever been in a mostly empty mall, you know how strange it can feel to walk among a space that’s only half alive. But what about when a mall is completely abandoned? That’s even more surreal. As more and more of these once-booming retail centers close, the Dead Malls Enthusiast Facebook group has mapped many of them throughout America. Adventurous photographers have captured the aftermath of of these departed spaces.

Many of these abandoned malls were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and it shows. The interiors and decor look dated, tacky, and claustrophobic compared to the open-air shopping that’s popular today.  Some have fared better structurally than others. Photographs depict buildings that’ve been closed for years and have demolished ceilings and broken glass. Many of the malls have dead plants that have long since lost their leaves.

These abandoned places are apocalyptic and frightening. But at the same time, they pique our curiosity and we wish were there exploring for ourselves. (Via Buzzfeed)

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Anibal Padrino

Paintings by New York artist Anibal Padrino.

“The pictures I make are images of my idea of form . The subjects I play with represent personal experiences , which I translate into a visual experience for the viewer to engage in. The content of the work is on the surface, and in the way elements interact to create an image –“ that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time”. My works are fictions that deal with form on imaginary terms.”

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Stefan Bleekrode Draws Incredibly Detailed And Dense Cityscapes From Memory

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Based in the Netherlands, artist Stefan Bleekrode creates astonishingly intricate drawings and paintings of landscapes, architecture, and urban environments.  For his Cityscapes series, the artist has rendered unbelievably detailed drawings depicting metropolises both existing and imagined.

Using ink, Bleekrode composes dense and realistic images of buildings, streets, lights, and bridges. With stark tonal contrasts, precise perspective, and a stunning amount of detail, the scenes portrayed in each drawing look almost photographic, as if each one were taken from a bird’s-eye view.

While some of his pieces are set in very distinctive and familiar locations, like London Bridge & the Shard or Broadway and 5th, most possess ambiguous—albeit conceivable—titles, such as Italian City, City in Holland, or City at the Foot of the Mountains. This is because Bleekrode works entirely from memory, describing his completed works “as snapshots of things I’ve seen when traveling or just going through my everyday routine, small bits of beauty in familiar settings.”

Whether representing actual settings or conveying scenes rooted purely in fantasy, the cities depicted in Bleckrode’s elaborate drawings are surprisingly realistic and undeniably impressive.

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Igor KKK Uses Logarithmic Spirals To Twist Celebrity Faces Into “Perfect” Versions Of Themselves

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Some studies have suggested that attractiveness can be quantified by symmetry; just as in nature, where bees have been found to favor symmetrical flowers, the evenness of one’s features is thought to be an alluring factor. But what if beauty was measured by other geometric forms of order and “perfection” — such as the Fibonacci number sequences, and the closely related “golden ratio,” which comprises rectangles of mathematically and aesthetically flawless proportions?

Igor KKK, a Moscow-based designer, used these algorithms to warp celebrity photos into mathematically “ideal” images of themselves; overlaying each photo with logarithmic spirals, Igor applied the resulting proportions to their faces — and the results are both hilarious and absurd. Nicolas Cage has been rendered into a square-faced cyclops, Bryan Cranston has the jaws of a bulldog, and Sylvester Stallone’s mutant-like, lopsided eyes peer at us creepily.

Igor’s project is a satirical one that pokes fun at the idealism we give our celebrities.  “Arrange your face features to match the Fibonacci sequence,” he writes, as if it were an ad for a plastic surgery clinic. And despite the fact Fibonacci numbers can be traced throughout the known world — in leaf patterns, flower petals, and pinecones, for example — this does not mean it is the formula for an ideal type of beauty; as Igor shows us, the results are unsettling, disfiguring, and rather amusing. In a cultural context obsessed with beauty and self-improvement, Igor’s images humorously remind us that “perfection” is a construction. All perspectives of beauty are deeply varied and subjective, and cannot be fully encompassed by a single standard, represented here by a mathematical equation. (Via designboom)

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Johnny Abrahams’ Maze Paintings

Johnny Abrahams‘ lives and works in New York. His latest body of work consists of painstakingly painted op-art pieces. Working exclusively in black and white these large patterns are absolutely disorienting. Once the viewers eyes become accustomed to each piece, elaborate mazes dazzle the senses. “Johnny Abrahams’ panel paintings are made up of various relationships between pattern, shape, and composition, using only a single width of band in either black or white acrylic paint. A pattern is chosen for its impact on perception. Line is perceived where no line exists, and shape suggested by the termination of many “lines” along an implied edge. Light is broken into its constituent colors, which move in opposition across the surface. Approaching a work, a design may appear subtly constructed of two tones or tone gradations; passed a threshold, these reduced elements become vibratory, destabilizing the fixed gaze of the eye.

The creative impulse has no causal agency in the outcome of a work. Rather, Abrahams keeps to a disciplined process of ruled and restricted composition within the space of a panel. An experienced tabla player, Abrahams’ exercise in mental and rhythmic concentration here manifests in a personal practice. In turn, viewer perception mirrors process, with the natural pulsing of one’s own vision working as a player in the optical effect.”

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Tattooed Seniors Show Off Their Inked Bodies

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When we get tattooed, our flesh becomes an elastic canvas, and it’s only a matter of time before we start hearing, “but what will it look like when you’re old and wrinkled?” As we age, our skin stretches, sags, and becomes marked by time and gravity; our ink moves in unpredictable ways as black fades to blue and linear shapes begin to blur. Part of the magic of the tattoo medium lies in this accidental metamorphosis or art and body, and reddit user “clevknife” hopes to challenge the idea that time breeds unsavory, attractive ink. His project, titled “What about when you get old?” showcases elderly individuals embracing their well-worn tattoos and proving that there truly is no expiration date on good art.

Clevknife’s shots maintain a casual, offhand aesthetic that might seem amateurish but is somehow allied with anti-conformist tattoo culture. The curated images lack a ready coherence, jumping from black and white to color, from professionally lit to unpracticed and unfocused. While some appear to be the result of standard portrait sessions, some are reminiscent of the from-the-hip style of early street art.

An otherwise unassuming older man stands in a grocery store, fists raised and forearms emboldened by ink; the limited depth of field serves only to heighten the drama of his pose. Another subject is cast in nostalgic blacks and whites as he mimes, slicks his hair back. No two subjects are alike, but one thing’s for sure: these human canvases don’t regret a thing. Our bodies may age and morph, but our art will adapt to the changing landscape of our flesh. (via Lost at E Minor and My Modern Met)

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