The street art of Sergio Gómez brings the latest in abstract art and graphic design to urban walls. Unlike much complex and text heavy street art, Gomez’ work primarily relies on primary colors and simple geometric forms. He seems to borrow as much from art styles such as Suprematism as he does from principles of graphic design. Gomez’ street art even seems to express a similar tendency to some the most exciting new abstract painters often referred to as the New Casualists. The murals seem to acknowledge street art conventions but mischievously not deliver. His work is subversive in reclaiming public space while undermining expectations.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to photograph for Playboy, ponder no further. Dutch photographer and art director Patrick Van Dam has the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the infamous magazine in his book, Playboy Behind The Scenes. Published in 2011, it’s full of images that capture the awkward and unsexy moments that comes with the making of every sexy centerfold.
Seeing these images takes some of the allure and fantasy out of Playboy photos. Pulling back the smoke and mirrors, it reminds us they have their share of unflattering moments, too. It takes the proper lighting, strategic positioning, and even water pouring to make things appear just so. Nothing is as glamorous as it seems.
Van Dam directed nude photo shoots for Dutch Playboy for seven years, so he has no doubt seen it all. He even had Hugh Hefner write the foreword for his book:
In these compelling images, Patrick has captured the soul of the Playboy shoot and offered a true celebration of, and homage to, the people who make these beautiful things happen. Vividly here is the intimacy, the fun, and the dedication it takes to create the very best in contemporary erotica. And along the way, true to his calling, he gives the reader a peek behind the curtain of the Playboy lifestyle. (Via Featureshoot)
These are much more than simple balloon animals. Jason Hackenwerth‘s creations float like giant swimming organisms. His newest creature, Pisces, which recently debuted at the Edinburgh International Science festival is particularly massive. Pisces is built of thousands of balloons blown up and tied together. It took three of members of the festival six days to blow up all of the balloons for the 40 foot structure. The piece now hangs in the Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland through April 14, 2013.
Before his untimely death, even before he was taken under the wing of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat was something of legend. He’s since become an enduring art icon. His street art sensibility, youthful energy, and handling of themes of racism, class, psychology, and popular culture keep his art relevant from year to year. However, Basquiat’s popularity is enjoying a special renewal over the course of 2013. The hugely popular Basquiat retrospective at Manhattan’s Gagosian Gallery will be followed by another at Gagosian’s Hong Kong gallery later this month. Additionally this month, Basquiat’s painting Dustheads is expected to fetch up to $35 million dollars in auction at Christie’s. In conjunction with the auction, Christie’s has released a three-part video series on Jean-Michel Basquiat. The first video features Basquiat’s early partner in graffiti, Al Diaz. The second in the series speaks with fellow contemporary artist Toxic on Basquiat’s transformation into an art-star. The third installment (featured after the jump speaks with Macklemore, one of many contemporary rappers to express inspiration from the late artist. [via]
Petra Collins takes photos of her friends in cut-offs and puts neon Rihanna lyrics on gallery walls. It’s up for interpretation whether you see that as a form of feminism. She is a self-described feminist and walks the line somewhere between fashion and art culture. Not an uncommon thing to do, but certainly a path less easily tread by women artists addressing subjects that the fashion industry influences heavily and arguably negatively (…expectations of femininity and the female figure).
Petra’s practice sets out to embrace her own vision of what is beautiful, young and female. Conveniently, she is thin and (un)conventionally beautiful, but she has a point. There’s a definite irony in one woman telling another that what she does is somehow shameful or misrepresents the female gender. It’s slippery territory because one might wonder why Petra feels such affinity with this aesthetic. Is it because she was brought up on it, and what are the implications of that?
In 2013, Instagram deleted her profile for this picture after which she wrote an essay posted by Oyster Mag and the Huffington Post that you can read here on her website. Basically, She doesn’t want you to tell her what she can do with her body, whether you see it as feminist or not. Petra’s work is powerful, and yes, it makes young women and girls look sexy. The Teenage Gaze is a photo series from 2013 mostly of girls in highschool, bathrooms, with water, or applying makeup. It’s erotic and beautiful, delicate and girly in the most stereotypical sense. It defends the right to be as you wish as a woman, whether you fit neatly within or totally outside the box of preconceptions. See Petra’s most recent work on her Instagram feed (looks like she’s been too busy making art to update her website).
Multimedia artist Alex Kiessling works with different ideas of how the future can be. He combines the ideas of fine art and high technology. He has used robots as painting assistants and exhibited it through a live stream to a worldwide internet-based audience. This series of paintings give the impression that they were made with digital help. Their colorful layers are overlapped just like a screen print gone wrong, but of course this is intentional. But despite appearances, Kiessling has achieved this striking effect by painting acrylic on canvas – by hand.
The series, titled Shift, ties in with his larger ideas of augmented reality, simulation, hybrids, and the existence between reality and dream. He explains a bit more:
In the static scenes of my paintings, the protagonists remain mostly resident between the glaring colorfulness of virtual realities and darkness, which is inherent in most of our dream sequences and memories. Both of these worlds are paramount due to their systematic character, which is connected to the simulative, and are projection surfaces of the human psyche. (Source)
His paintings have the affect of dreaming – you feel like what you are seeing isn’t really right, and maybe you should look a little harder. He has a beautiful way of describing his work:
In my work I concentrate on dreams and all kinds of dreamlike structures and explore its borders and bridges to reality. I try to visualize the “no men`s land” between the absurdity in our existence and the concrete concerns that come with our human mind or spirit. I am fascinated by the interacting vibrations between virtual reality, dreams and the basic common ground of our world`s so called reality. (Source)
Kiessling is interested in fragmented identities, and the fact that most of us now-a-days live our lives out in many different spheres or realities – in the physical as well as the digital. His painting series Shift is just another visual exploration of the theme that is becoming more and more relevant to this generation. (Via SuperSonic Art)
My friends at One Bit Increment (design firm started by UCLA alum Camile Orillaneda and Leon Hong) launched their site last week and it’s amazing. The homepage is a fully interactive game complete with sound effects featuring the lovable ox character (in One Bit land they’re called “moo”) traversing a stretch of pleasant mountain side. The imagery is incredibly complex (mind you, it’s all made out of paper) and yet sweet and simple at the same time. Please visit the site and leave them a nice comment or two!