Scott Espeseth’s works draw from cartoons, children’s books, and the doodles we used to sketch into the margins of notebooks when we were supposed to be taking notes. (Who says memorizing the state capitals is more important that creative expression, anyways?) Espeseth says he draws in order to get lost in a different space and time, often to reminisce. He favors a wide range of media that are “commonplace, overlooked, and sometimes obsolete,” from silverpoint to the humble ballpoint pen.
Gil Batle is an American artist who spent over 20 years in Californian prisons for fraud and forgery. He endured some of the state’s most infamous facilities, including San Quentin, Chuckawalla, and Jamestown, living in racially segregated conditions under the constant threat of gang violence. During that time, Gil’s astounding ability to draw and tattoo with extreme precision gave him an esteemed reputation among the inmates, thus protecting him from harm and intimidation.
In an exhibition titled “Hatched in Prison,” which will be featured at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th–January 9th, 2016, Batle presents viewers with a fascinating, sensitive, and detailed glimpse into the hardship and abuse endured in prison by carving these experiences onto the surfaces of ostrich eggs. Brutal images of isolation, beatings from security guards, and chain gangs cover the delicate, ivory-colored surfaces. Barbed wire, gang symbols, and shivs create an ominous symmetry.
In this unique medium, Batle reveals scenes that are usually hidden away from the public eye. There is a special significance to carving trauma onto an egg—an object which Ricco/Maresca’s press release describes as “nature’s most perfect creation and manifestation of life and birth” (Source); Batle’s creations seem to convey vulnerability as well as a sense of hope, renewal, and redemption.
Sweden’s Kate Boy are set to release their debut EP Northern Lights on IAMSOUND Records on January 22, 2013. They have kindly released two songs in advance, one a video for Northern Lights and the other, a b-side called In Your Eyes via SoundCloud. Both songs are infectious and have been on repeat since they landed in my inbox late last week.
Lithuanian photographer Tadao Cern has created a series of photographs entitled “Comfort Zone” that depicts resting sunbathers at the beach – people who are sprawled out on blankets, their few beach belongings sitting around them. The series asks the observer to create a narrative of the unknown person, to let the details speak for the narrative. Cern says, “I started this series because I was surprised how a certain place or surrounding can affect people’s behavior. During our everyday life we attempt to hide our deficiencies, both physical and psychological. However, once we find ourselves on a beach – we forget about everything and start acting in an absolutely different manner. Is that because everyone else around you is doing the same?”
Cern seems to be addressing the seeming lack of inhibitions and the overall embracing of comfort that the beach environment courts. The variety of body shapes and positions paired with patterns of swimsuits and towels/blankets create a unique aesthetic of comfort for each sunbather – an aesthetic that is relatable and immediately puts you at ease. In these photographs, the towels and blankets don’t just serve as practical (and comfortable) beach gear – they also serve as backdrops for each portrait, framing the sunbathers but not confining them.
Cern asserts that the sunbathers had no idea they were being photographed, and that he purposely chose to only photograph people with concealed faces in order to “grant an observer with an opportunity to calmly scrutinize each and every detail without being distracted. It also helps to avoid empathy or connection between people in the photos and the observers. It really does not matter who they are – the details not only reveal their stories, but make us face ourselves as well.”
According to Cern, the selection of photographs found on his website is only part of the entire series which consists of 24 large scale prints. Images are for sale in limited edition. In addition to his personal page and Behance, you can find him on Facebook and Instagram. (via david’s sketchbook and behance)
Designers and stylists Isla Bell Murray and Jessica Saia recently featured some bold and edgy San Francisco street fashion over at The Bold Italic. In an effort to correct “street style” blogs that have used streets and their permanent fixtures as mere background to “people style,” the duo have captured a variety of popular and stylish items found on the streets, complete with quotes from the fashionistas they encountered. This humorous series lightheartedly mocks street fashion photography, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously.
In his new book, Across the Ravaged Land,photographer Nick Brandt features petrified animal remains found along a lake in Northern Tanzania that contains lethal levels of alkaline.
Brandt explains, “I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.” (via gizmondo)
David Lemm of Edinburgh, Scotland, has created a video response to the play “Smoke” by Rupert Thomson. Using a beautiful mix of color, pixels and sound, Lemm shows us quite a compelling visualization. Having not seen the aforementioned play, one wonders what, besides smoking, the piece truly means to the artist.
Johannes VanDerBeek doesn’t depend on high production or heavy handed techniques to create his work. Instead he creates playful sculptures with simple materials like aluminum mesh, tin cans, and some well placed tie dye wizardry. The above piece entitled Hippie Ghost has to be one of the best sculptures i’ve seen all year.