Australian artist Elspeth McLean takes ordinary ocean rocks and turns them into colorful, geometric Mandalas. Through intense detail and repetitive patterns, the artist finds meditation in painting these found stones with endless acrylic dots. The acrylic paint used on her pocket-sized creations allows her to add an element of dimension in her already layered colors. These intense colors create a palette so crisp and brilliant, it is as if the stones are encrusted with jewels. Painting dots has become so embedded in McLean’s art process, that she even coined the term “Dotillism” to describe her unique style. Each dot that is painted to create her intricate, endless patterns takes an incredible amount of patience and focus. Although completing these Mandala patterns may seem like a difficult task, McLean describes this process as a grounding experience where she can find enjoyment and experience reflection.
The Mandala is a spiritual symbol in Eastern religions that holds meditative properties. It is no wonder McLean has chosen such a strong, healing symbol in her work, as she believes in the healing nature of color and art. She pulls influence from seasons, cosmos, mythology, and ancient art to create her hand-held Mandalas. Her interest in the cosmos can be seen in her stones that are painted not as a geometric pattern, but instead as incredible constellations, still painted in her dotted signature style. An avid traveler, the Australian artist is now living in Canada, gathering inspiration from the new landscapes she perceives throughout her journey. (via Demilked)
British artist Ben Long works in a wide variety of mediums from billboards to dust drawings, to massive sculptures made out of scaffolding.
Using his finger to scribe into the layer of dirt built-up from exhaust emissions, Long creates elaborate drawings on the rear shutters of white haulage trucks. In this on-going series, collectively entitled The Great Traveling Art Exhibition, he expands upon the daubing and crude slogans that commonly adorn commercial freight vehicles.
By conceiving the project so that it may exist beyond the confines of the traditional gallery space, The Great Traveling Art Exhibition fulfilled Long’s desire to target and appeal to individuals unreceptive to the presentation of contemporary art in museums and art institutions. Furthermore, as a project born of pragmatic concerns, it enabled the artist to exercise creative expression early-on in his career without the need for a studio, gallery or financial backing.
Long’s Scaffolding sculptures are Inspired by his experiences working on building sites as a teenager, the project asserts the value of a disciplined working practice, the hard graft of manual employment and celebrates the role the construction industry plays in the advancement of urban development.
Thematically, Scaffolding Sculptures utilize cultural archetypes familiar in domestic and decorative art, whilst also making reference to art historical imagery such as Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer and Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. With each artwork the base structure serves to visually reinforce the sculptural intent of the project, making comparisons with the plinth, as well as reminding the viewer of a conventional use of scaffolding based on the familiar right-angle and cross bracing process.
You might be asking yourself why Beautiful/Decay is posting images of traditional Chinese Landscapes but if you look just a bit closer you’ll see that in fact these images are highly sophisticated digital manipulations of mounds of garbage and landfills. Yao Lu, the Chinese artist responsible for this brilliantly deceiving body of work begins her process by photographing mounds of garbage covered in green protective nets which he assembles and reworks by computer to create bucolic images of mountain landscapes shrouded in the mist inspired by traditional Chinese paintings. Lying somewhere between painting and photography, between the past and the present, Yao Lu’s work speaks of the radical mutations affecting nature in China as it is subjected to rampant urbanization and the ecological threats that endanger it. (via)
Graphic designer Peter Saville has designed a white cardboard, flatpack plinth, for sale in a limited edition of 200, the idea being that in today’s age of ‘culture for the masses’ we’re all entitled to choose what merits artistic status.
The exhibition showcases the plinths with ‘work’ by a selection of Saville’s peers and friends including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Demand, Gavin Turk and Jarvis Cocker, each allowed to place whatever they wish on their plinth. The results vary from the sublime (Douglas Gordon’s pile of ash atop a charred plinth) to the inflated (Cerith Wyn Evans’ helium balloon).
Following on from the trend of “Ruin Porn” or “Ruin Photography“, Japanese artist Satoshi Araki intricately creates miniature dioramas of bombed out cities or urban landscapes. He is attracted to anything that is in a state of decay. He is especially adept at reconstructing tiny details he finds through using Google Image Search. For example he searches for particular phrases (“Iraq war” or “Iraq ruins”) and meticulously recreates what he finds.
Obviously Araki has a sharp eye for details. Using knives and blades to scrape off paint and to add rust, he achieves realistic imperfections, turning a normal miniature scooter into a thing of amazement. He even adds cans with miniscule Arabic writing on them, tucked inside a box in one of his destroyed scenes of Baghdad. He makes sure to carefully smash the tiny windshield of a car, denting it in all the right places, and even adding a bent license plate all to create a believable environment. For such scenes full of violence and horror, he surely makes them a thing of beauty and wonder.
There is a strong sense of poetry in Araki’s work. He focuses on the destruction of man made buildings and objects – mainly being overtaken by nature. Trees grow over old rusted cars; grass forces it’s way through rotting rubber tires. And this is the fascination that other Ruin Porn artists have as well. They all capture the beauty of the world we have created around us crumbling to the ground. And just like Araki, they find joy in that chaos. They celebrate the beauty of the piles of rubble we live in.
Like a seductive cloud of silky smoke, Kazuki Takamatsu’s lolitas dance on the brink of adolescence and adulthood. Using a technique called depth mapping which is similar to the 3D effect seen in video games such as Zelda, Takamatsu hand paints pixels in a monotone palette of black and white. The effect plays tricks on the eye allowing it to see multiple shadows, similar to holograms in the figures of dainty nubiles. His vision transforms them into living spirits.
Takamatsu says his Lolita subjects are all based on the average Japanese girl. In their likeness, he comments on good and evil, society and history. In barely there clothing, these pretty young things clutch guns, cities and swords. It’s a strange dynamic to use such a beautiful aesthetic to comment on war and violence. In places, it comes off a bit disturbing because it tends to take on a very objectified view of young women. But this is the tradition of manga, considered a high art form in Japan.
Manga is a series of comic books originating in Japan. They are read by all ages but seem to be especially popular among teenage boys and girls. The stories deal with typical subject matter; romance, action, adventure, horror, sports etc. There are however, more underground forms of manga where homosexuality, incest, transgender and pedophilia are discussed freely. Besides Japan, Europe is the second largest consumer of manga and the U.S. is a close third. (via hifructose)
Life becomes very difficult for me when I do not understand more than several words in French, and these awesome artists and photographers refuse to give me any information in anything other than French, but what the hell, I’ll try my best to feature them regardless, and their work speaks clearly (yay for VISUALS!). He has a series called “Hyper” that some of you may have seen, with the same content but in grocery stores. These photos here are from a series entitled “La Chute” (not too hard to translate) from Denis Darzacq. I’m suckered into their trickery because they remind me of my lucid dreaming capabilities when I could fly every night… “La Chute” is what a whole episode of Heroes should have looked like when the Petrellis discovered they could fly. Seriously, they didn’t need any practice? Ugh, television.