In the last year, we’ve featured a variety of artists who are using embroidery in unique ways, such as Leah Emery’s erotic stitches and Juana Gomez’s anatomy portraits. Featured today is the work of Lisa Smirnova, who embroiders images that ripple with impressionistic life. Her subjects range from animals, to pensive tattooed men, to creative portraits of icons such as Frida Kahlo. Body parts are also recurring throughout work—such as a heart in a bouquet, and a pelvis on a white shirt—lending the otherwise “unassuming” medium of embroidery a flavor of surrealism and the macabre.
Smirnova’s artworks require time and patience, some taking months to complete. This is not surprising, considering the way she masterfully stitches threads into the likeness of skin, fur, and bone. The colors blend together seamlessly, capturing the reflection of light on skin and the red-blue tones of the heart. Texture and emotion arrive together as the threads interlock, each character appearing to vibrate with an inner life.
I always see those “Keep Austin Weird” stickers everywhere and now that I’ve seen the work of Jaime Zuverza it all makes sense. This Texan illustrator/designer’s lo-fi sensibility mixed with ironic retro imagery is the stuff that’s dreamed of for rock posters. Each mixed media poster is magnificently stranger than the last proving that Jaime is doing his part to keep thing pretty damn weird in Austin!
Sean Fader’s background in performance had a heavy hand on the focus of his photography. His consistently conceptually strong pieces of work usually deal with the identity of his self, and the self perceived by those around him. What originally drew me into his work was his series, I Want To Put You On, where he explores the idea of becoming the people he personally admires.
Pinhole photographer Justin Quinnell takes photographs from an uniquely personalized perspective; from the inside of his mouth. Quinnell‘s images, despite the fact that they are taken from behind a set of teeth, tend to be surrounded by the ordinary. We find ourselves as witness to routine, fun and travel, perhaps adding up to be just the followings of an every day guy. Within this series the viewer finds themselves looking at smiling babies, children’s toys, cocktails, and known monuments from around the world. From this insider’s (quite literally) perspective, the viewer is not just asked to question what is being seen, but also, what is the experience of the person, or maybe you could call him the protagonist, of this series. Who is this person and what does he think, feel? Mostly on the side of humor, his series is light hearted and fun. Their is a true air of experimentation as it can be assumed that with each photograph the artist has given up his ability to control and leaves the work up to chance and the elements in which it is surrounded by. This series, titled Mouthpiece, is just one of many of his pinhole camera experiments. Each of his works has a vintage and personalized touch, allowing them to stand out and truly feel like a glimpse into the artist’s mind.
A bright idea is bringing together the talented homeless population of Barcelona and typography lovers from all over the world. Homeless Fonts is an initiative from Arrels Foundation and is a platform for selling the handwriting of these street sleepers to business and individuals. Around 10 fonts are available and all profits made from the sales go towards supporting the 1400 people connected with the foundation.
We all know how much handwriting reveals about a personality; the history of the writer, and this project highlights the talent and the stories of these fascinating individuals. Often overlooked on the street, they all have reasons for living how they do, and share a side of life we usually know nothing of.
Fransisco for example, in a previous life was a graphic designer. Born in Spain, raised in Brazil, he set off to experience the world. After hitchhiking around South America, he returned to Spain an old man. Living years without a permanent address, his days are still full of adventure. He says:
“The experience of the street has taken away my vanity. The only thing I’ve learnt in life is that you have to learn, because if you spend your life without learning, you haven’t lived.”
Argentinian born Guillermo uses cardboard, newspaper, anything lying around to practice his love for art and writing. Born in London, Lorraine found herself stuck in Spain after a thief illegally used her passport to travel on. Ever the optimist, she now enjoys sleeping under the stars with new friends in her adopted home.
The kinks and loops of these fonts are such an immediate and rich art work, they are perfect for making statements with. They are certainly a powerful form of communication.
When artist Amanda Burnham first moved to Baltimore, Maryland, she didn’t know anyone. So, she spent a lot of time in her 7th floor apartment that had interesting views of the city. The time spent observing and recording her surroundings later informed her temporary, site-specific installations that are a patchwork representation of Baltimore. Burnham draws and paints street signs, fire hydrants, architecture, and store fronts, piecing them together in a manner that’s fractured yet cohesive. Taking elements of a neighborhood (or neighborhoods), she fashions her own view of the city, creating work large enough for a viewer to walk around and between. In an interview with Dwanye Butcher of Visual Baltimore, Burnham explains why she chooses to work this way (and why she reuses paper and boxes):
The idea of things being layered and pieced together is important to me. I see this city, and really all cities, as these giant ad-hoc organisms – collectively authored, chop-a-bloc, joints exposed – an ongoing melange of edits, adjustments, negotiations. I hope to suggest that with the deliberately collage-y, visually dense, maximalist aesthetic of my drawings. I also love paper and what it does when treated as an object – the shadows it casts, the way tears and cuts are line. Most of the paper I use is really cheap stuff – low grade drawing paper that comes in rolls, kraft paper, packing materials. Boxes. That’s important because I’m not rich, but also because I see it as conceptually significant – resourcefulness is an ethic I sometimes see evidenced in the forms of the city, and it’s one I really respond to.
Burnham not only takes the outdoors indoors, but creates a whole new environment in a matter of a few days to a week. Lighting, astro turf, and electrical tape craft an ambience that’s unique to the city.
Old magazines and documents are given new life in Mark Powell’s work. Instead of using a blank piece of paper he incorporates a used surface with one of his drawings. This adds a bit of nostalgia and makes his sketches unique. He created a series of animal portraits on the covers of 1940’s National Geographic magazines. These were done in Powell’s ultra realistic style, where he used a common bic ballpoint pen to create dramatic renderings. In this instance, the wild animals offer the viewer a striking view of not only Powell’s expertise as a draftsman but a certain comfort level in seeing a familiar title.
A series of map drawings by the artist cleverly uses historical and literary figures. Mostly portraying old men, Powell fuses the lines on their faces perfectly with the map borders adding an interesting element. The idea itself preserves a time and place. Birds, insects and chimpanzees create another body of work that incorporates more reappropriation. The intricately drawn specimens appear on anatomy text book pages, old letter envelopes and historical editions. These are rendered with scientific precision similar to botanical studies. Their placement on the used surface opens up a collage sensibility.
Powell uses a tool that also holds historical significance. Before the bic biro pen was invented only cumbersome fountain pens were used. These were messy and inconvenient. A newspaper editor named Lazlo Biro noticed that newspaper inks dried quicker and with his brother Gyorgy, a chemist, created the first ballpoint writing pen. Because of the moving ball at the pen’s end the inks were allowed to dry making it easier to use. (via faithistorment)
It’s hard to pigeonhole Frederik Heyman as a photographer, installation artist, or sculptor. Employing every medium and genre from drawing to fashion photography, Frederik is the Swiss Army Knife of creativity using anything and everything to create his quirky, layered, and complex images to life.