In 2001 I was in art school, trying to make sense of how one gets into shows, sells art, and gets press. It was a daunting task for my peers and me–none of us knew where to start. Running into the art world’s countless closed doors, however, became the inspiration behind creating Beautiful/Decay. My dream was to expose and support all the great art that I was finding by unknown, young artists. I wanted to celebrate these “underdogs” and give them the credit that they deserved.
It’s been almost a decade since then and our mission hasn’t changed. We still strive to shed light on work that is underrated and unknown. So in the spirit of Beautiful/Decay’s dedication to emerging art, we present to you our first annual edition of “The Underdogs.” Each year, we will open up the magazine to you, our readers, so that you can have a chance to participate in Beautiful/Decay. For this issue, we asked artists to interpret our theme, “The Underdogs,” as they saw fit. Some literally interpreted the theme, while others imagined the concept abstractly to create their works. With just under 100 slots, and over 500 submissions, figuring out who made the cut was anything but easy.
Some of the artists you may have heard of, and others have never been featured in print before. We selected our cover artist, Allison Schulnik, for her beautiful depictions of anonymous, unsung heroes. For all their tragedy and isolation, Schulnik gives form to the world’s “fools and rejects,” who in turn transcend the page to become icons in and of themselves. This process of transformation and redemption, of attaining the spotlight against all odds seemed the perfect concept in which to encase Book 3.
Get your copy of Book:3, the ultimate inspiration/resource of emerging art at the B/D Shop!
Philip Kwame Apagya is a Ghanaian artist whose color photographs reflect a contemporary twist on traditional West African portraiture. In Apagya’s photos, subjects interact with his brightly painted 2-D backdrops, interiors and exteriors that catalogue the trappings and accoutrement of an affluent international culture. Subjects inhabit faux living rooms showing library shelves or consoles stuffed with expensive electronics, or chat on cell phones standing before home computers, or prepare to board that international flight to happiness. While Apagya’s photographs reflect a young and prosperous generation of consumers, one can imagine that for some, the photographs also present a “reality” beyond their means.
Australian photographer Jacob Ring updates us with several new personal and commercial projects on his newly relaunched site.
Lara Schnitger’s show, Damned Woman, at Modern Art in London (July 9th to August 7th) seems to hail from another time has it explores the idea of women from every angle. Schnitger uses methods and media associated with the domestic realm–textiles and stitching–to further explore the female role.
Stefan Kanchev (1915-2001) was a prolific Bulgarian graphic designer who is still famous for his many logos. The marks are all crisp, clever, and immediately effective. A website of his work has recently been assembled by a team of graphic designers and web developers who have taken it upon themselves to dig up his 1000+ logos and other designs. Somebody get this man a Wikipedia entry!
Wyatt Kahn’s wall sculptures are built from a series of stretcher panels and raw canvas beautifully pieced together to make one collaged structure. The crevices and peeking back wall help create compositional depth, captivating the eye, revealing clean and simple, yet geometrically intricate work, which is devoted to the complex juxtaposition of space more so than color.
Of Kahn’s art, Sam Cornish writes, “Broadly the type of illusion Kahn employs is one that comes after the reduction of minimalist painting. The flat, object quality of each part is in one sense simply accepted. There is no hint of the surface being broken, of a window open to an atmospheric or light filled space beyond (however shallow).”