George Chamoun, a Swedish jewelry design student at the Konstfack University of the Arts, creates Iconatomy, a project that critically looks at celebrities, fashion icons, political, religious, and other personalities that influenced the confines of beauty today. The artist perfectly arranges the new and the old fragments of celebrity faces, so that upon a quick glance, viewers might think they are looking at just one subject. Each compilation features two faces representing the past and the present of glamour and fame.
Chamoun’s collection of mash-ups are striking in that we barely find differences between these timeless icons. I think this makes up for a strange, but obvious conclusion: we still look for perfect, youthful faces… standards of beauty have remained the same throughout all of these years. In fact, it has stayed so much the same that celebrities now resemble the ones before their time.
Apart from making this statement, I think we can’t deny that there is also an eagerness to resemble times in which beauty was a bit more natural than what it is today. Celebrities, stylist, hair dresser, etc have the urgency to emulate classic beauty. However, they are trying so hard that they all back on unnatural ways to make that happen.
Similarly, Marc Ghali, Canada-based photographer, also works within this framework.
Believe it or not, these very old drawings of Japanese men farting are not Photoshopped. The images were produced during the Japanese Edo period (1603 – 1868), and they depcit what is called he-gassen or “farting competition.” They show men shooting noxious blasts of gas towards other men, women, and animals (including a cat!). Seemingly, the force of the farts is so great that it the targets turn topsy-turvy when hit.
These drawings are peculiar, and not having a vast knowledge of Japanese culture makes their meaning even more alluring to me. Luckily, the website Naruhodo explains the historical context. They write, “similar drawings were used to ridicule westerners towards the end of the Edo period, with images depicting the westerners blown away by Japanese farts.”
The individual images originally appear on a scroll, which has obviously been sectioned off today. You can view it in its entirety here. It’s funny to think that farts have always been a source of amusement, even across time periods and cultures. (Via Dangerous Minds and Naruhodo)
The portraits of of Gregory Jacobsen hover somewhere between grotesque and sadly real. He focuses in on the peculiarities that makes each face unique. These peculiarities, our physical insecurities, are strangely exaggerated. Though the faces may look ugly they’re also somehow familiar. Jacobson says of his work:
“I paint figures, focusing on the little bits that obsess me…a little flab hanging over a waistband, ill-fitting shoes, underbites and exciting flags held in dainty orifices…The work is absurd, grotesque and a bit brutal but I try to bring the viewer in with lush and glowing surfaces. Essentially the work is about human failure and weakness groomed and developed to be an asset.”
Photographer Angela Kelly is yet another creative who is harnessing the current cold to create something special. Her newest photoseries came about when she mixed up a homemade bubble solution (a recipe which calls for dish soap, Karo syrup and water) with her 7-year old son Connor, and braved the early morning cold of Arlington, Washington to see what would happen to the bubbles in the frigid air. Of course, Kelly also brought her camera to document her experiment.
The resulting shots, a combination of high-definition close-ups and macroshots, capture the bubbles as they freeze into glass-like, fragile spheres. While some whither and shrink (like naturally-occurring cold balloons), others gently dropped to the ground like small crystal balls, while others cracked into shards. Says Kelly, “Sometimes in our quest to appreciate beauty, we take for granted even the simplest treasures that can be found in our own back yard.”
“Simply put, I want to encourage others to slow down and appreciate the little things,” she added. “I hope that viewers, when seeing this, are reminded that one is never too old to stop and enjoy the incredible beauty that is around them if they only look and to encourage their children to do the same.” (via huffington post)
At first glance the work of Vincent Tomczyk appears to be normal ready-made objects. However, each piece is carefully constructed almost entirely from different types of paper. Yeah, paper. You can’t sit on these chairs or slip into those shorts without ripping it. In a way, this seems to be Tomczyk’s intention. Tomczyk and his viewers investigate these objects by painstakingly rebuilding them without their utilitarian properties. He says:
“Although my work can be categorized as realism, my intention is to distill the emotion of an object, then through expression, reconstruct it into my view of its essential self – free of function.” [via]
Sally Hewett is a UK-based embroider who gives new meaning to a sculptural approach to the craft. Instead of stitching subject matter like flowers, puppies, and generally happy scenes, she fills embroidery hoops with butts, breasts, and genatalia. The circular compositions rise from the surface and Hewett uses well-placed stitches to give form to these bulbous shapes. In addition, she’ll use dangling threads to simulate public hair, both trimmed and natural.
In her artist statement, Hewett states that she’s interested in ideas of beauty and the things that people do because of it. She writes:
Men and women almost ritualistically shave and remove hair from their bodies – beards, underarm hair, pubic hair, leg hair etc, whereas other hair – hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes – are valued and encouraged to flourish. But there is other hair which not everyone has. Sometimes this special hair seems to be reason to feel ashamed. A large number of women and men submit their bodies to extraordinary procedures in the name of convention or beauty – liposuction, implants, scarification, surgery, laser treatment, electrolysis etc.
Embroidery is often see as an innocuous craft, and part of the reason that Hewett works this way is to see how the medium affects how the content is seen. Is it more shocking, amusing, or beautiful simply because it’s portrayed with a needle and thread?
Melbourne-based photographer Biony Ridley describes her work as an adventure or a fairytale, saying that her lack of organization when it comes to shooting images helps lends her work an element of chance.
“My goal with this project is to create striking juxtapositions between the ruins of modern civilization and a futuristic ecological utopia.”
Brooklyn-based artist/illustrator Nick Pedersen -whom we featured in the 6th installment of our limited edition book series– recently finished a new batch of work entitled Ultima. The loosely narrative series depicts a post-apocalyptic environment in which conflicts between modern and early cultures, and man and the natural world are given prominent attention. In the world that Pedersen has conjured, overgrown cities (though absent of their typical, busy inhabitants) are full of life. The lush, green environments project a vibrancy that’s really appealing. But the digital works have their quiet aspects too- deer slowly pick their way through the brush; and stoic, masked tribesmen explore their bizarre surroundings. Check out more images from Ultima after the jump.