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JUSTIN ANGELOS

Justin Angelos’ collage works mix vintage paper with bold colored magazine cutouts to surreal images dealing with Life, death, loss and rebirth.

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The Infinity Burial Project

The Infinity Burial Project founded by Jae Rhim Lee, proposes alternatives for the postmortem body that promote and facilitate an individual engagement with the process of decomposition.  The Project features the development of a unique strain of mushroom that decomposes and remediates toxins in human tissue, the development of a decomposition ‘kit’, burial suits embedded with decomposition activators, and a membership society devoted to the promotion of death awareness and acceptance and the practice of decompiculture (the cultivation of decomposing organisms).

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Spellbinding Death Masks And Sugar Skulls

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For Epitaph, British photographer Rankin teams up with Beaty Editor Andrew Gallimore to create spellbinding death masks inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead and Roman Catholic All Souls Day. Like the sugar skulls, or calavera, used to celebrate the holiday, these elegant masks put a vital and lively spin on death. Decked out in intricate beading and filigree, their models look luxurious and festive.

Calavera, normally colored in vibrant greens, reds, yellows, and blues are often eaten after the holiday; adorned in glittering stars and blooming daisies, these living skulls look like sweet confections. The female faces, painted in black, become a youthful template for imaginative explorations of an afterlife that awaits us after old age. As if from another world, their gray-green eyes stand starkly against coal-toned flesh. Rankin and Gallimore infuse the editorial with a hefty dose of high-fashion edge, introducing elements like metal spikes and and chains. These harder elements blend seamlessly with the iconography of the Day of the Dead; in one mask, a red clown nose made of punk-rock studs puts a contemporary spin on the timeless tradition.

Rankin is not new to the theme of death. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, he was compelled to break cultural taboo surrounding the dead, to face head-on his fears of dying. For last year’s photo series ALIVE: In the Face of Death, published by Hunger Magazine, he photographed those effected most by death, giving voice to grieving family members and to resilient individuals living with terminal diseases. Here, his enthusiastic lens provides solace from the fear of the unknown, inviting us to celebrate those we’ve lost as we mourn them. (via Trend Land)

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Alec Huxley’s Cinematically Surreal Sci-Fi Narratives

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San Francisco based artist Alec Huxley‘s large and cinematic sci-fi paintings are filled with noir-influenced contrast. Both bleak and bright, his paintings largely take place in urban or desert landscapes of the American West Coast and are representative of both science fiction and surrealist inspired narratives that often include animal figures. Huxley’s use of light throughout his compositions lend his work a realism that is rather haunting, and reminds me of something you’d find in an apocalyptic comic book narrative. His solo exhibition, “Astronomical Menagerie,” is described below and currently on view at the Minna Gallery in San Francisco until October 26th:

“At the witching hour, fashionable figures in space helmets rendezvous with wild beasts in the empty streets of San Francisco. As animals are central to our perception of humanity, relationships of power and domination juxtapose with naked reminders of human frailty. Confident in our ingenuity, we float about cities at the apex of species. Absent our imagination and material protections, we stand vulnerable beside creatures functioning solely to survive.” (via exhibition-ism)

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Bizarre Art Project Creates Human Cheese Out Of Skin And Tears

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Microbiologist Christina Agapakis and scent artist Sissel Tolaas‘ science-meets-art project “Self Made” seeks to challenge the way we think about microbes, scent, and the nature of disgust. Most cheese is made by taking milk and spoiling it with the bacteria, Lactobacillus. This bacteria transform milk sugars into acid, causing it to coagulate. The chunks are removed from the liquid and aged with specific yeast that creates specific cheeses. Lactobacillus and yeast can be found all around us, including our own skin. Agapakis and Tolaas take microbes from people’s skin – like Michael Pollan’s belly button or artist Olafur Eliasson’s tears – and add them to milk in order to create a human microbial cheese portrait (a cheese selfie?).

“The idea was to recognize, how do we get grossed out? Then to think about it and move beyond that initial idea of disgust,” Agapakis says. “Why are we more uncomfortable with bacteria on the body than we are with bacteria in cheese?”

From the artists’ statement, “Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet. Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies? How do humans cultivate and value bacterial cultures on cheeses and fermented foods? How will synthetic biology change with a better understanding of how species of bacteria work together in nature as opposed to the pure cultures of the lab?”

“Self Made” is currently on view (and smell – the project is for thinking, not eating) at Gallery Science in Dublin until January 2014 as part of the “Grow Your Own” exhibition along with other synthetic biology projects including a mouse cloned from Elvis Presley’s DNA, a yogurt drink that yields disease-diagnosing feces, and a project that proposes a future in which humans could give birth to endangered species. (via huffington post, npr, and la times).

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Alex Takacs

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Alex Takacs is an LA based artist. His work is a fresh spin on current illustration. His use of minimal color and line detail work reminds me of retro magazine illustration but he puts his own little twist to them, making the viewers wonder the narrative story behind each piece. Not only is Takacs an illustrator but also is part of a collaborative group  known as the Young Replicants. Young Replicant is a teenage directors label and design collective featuring Takacs as well as  Joe Nankin, Adam Kauper, and Jackson Seidenberg. Recently, they won a fan video contest that was for  M83 single “We Own the Sky“!

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Anna Gensler’s Portraits Of Men Who Objectify Her On Tinder

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Like many of us, artist Anna Gensler joined the social media app, Tinder. Like many women who are on there, she received crude, objectifying messages from men. Her way of retaliating against this unacceptable behavior was to draw the message senders’ unflattering naked bodies and post the finished pieces on her Instagram account.

Gensler’s intention was for the male subjects to not enjoy these images, and she makes them look fat, unappealing, and not very well-endowed. “It was sort of the most basic, juvenile, immature thing I could possibly do, which was completely perfect,” she told Buzzfeed. “These guys are immature and their lines are incredibly juvenile, yet they are still offensive to the women they are aimed toward. The same can be said for these doodles.”

After a month of posting these drawings, Gensler embarked on another part of her project. She now sends her drawings to these men and documents their reactions. Not surprisingly, they are hostile towards her about how she’s depicted them. While some are just plain angry, others convey a more nuanced view of what she’s doing (but still insult her).

This project hasn’t afforded Gensler any clarity about why guys are creeps on dating websites, and why they feel they can speak to someone in this way. She told Slate, “I feel like girls get a lot of messages and matches on places like these, but I don’t actually think that guys do, necessarily. You’d think that when they do get a match, they would actually try to say something nice and intelligent. But I guess not.” (Via Buzzfeed)

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Unusual Taxidermy Sculptures by Idiots Art Collective

Taxidermy is a subject that frequently makes people squeamish and uncomfortable, and there is something definitely something surreal about preserving an animal that has died. Idiots are a Dutch art collective who combine their skills in sculpture and design create taxidermy works of art that are both playful and disturbing. The animals are lifelike and dynamic, but often with their bodies torn apart, stuffed into glass containers, or trapped in unnatural positions. Their sculptures often exhibit the animals inner workings, and replace organs with metals, minerals, or jewels. The beauty contained inside the animals makes their lifelessness even more tragic, and indicates that the artists recognize the morbidity in their own work.

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