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Street Artist Hula Takes A Break From The City To Paint Hyper-Realistic Women’s Portraits In The Middle Of Water

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Hula balances his paddle board on the water the same way he balances the hyper-realistic paintings of women he depicts above the surface of that same water. The artist chooses abandoned sites and approaches the walls of his future murals by paddling on his surf board and carefully bringing his paint and brushes along with him.

Sean Yoro, a.k.a. Hula, represents women gracefully enjoying the contact of the water. The colors used are natural, dissolving with the stone color tones of the murals and the grey/green tones of the water. Geometric pastel signs are drawn onto the naked parts of their bodies such as the neck, shoulders and arms. The rest of their bodies is covered with water as Hula depicts only the top parts of the women’s bodies. The reflection of the pictures onto the surface of the water creates a double image, accentuating the peaceful and intimate moments caught by the artist.

Hula captures the smiles of pleasure and well being the women are experiencing in hidden places. Leaving the viewer wondering who these women are and if they even exist. Away from the city of New York, with nothing but his paint and his women, the moments spent scouting locations and painting in solitude in the middle of nowhere confers a meditative break to the artist.

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Natalie Frank’s Deconstructed Faces

Natalie Frank‘s paintings are worlds in which both form and formality have been melted away. Faces have been disintegrated into their constituent parts, held together by goopy swathes of color; subjects are diving into free love, violent and vulnerable states. One thing you might notice when looking at her work is that however distended every other part of a body may be, at least one eye is always in sharp focus. This may or may not have to do with the fact that until this last summer, Natalie could only receive optical sensation from her left eye, causing her to see a two dimensional world. How you theorize about that information in relation her work is up to you, but if you want to do it in person, she has a show up at Fredericks & Freiser until November 3. Check it out!

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Interview: Brian Willmont

Brian Willmont is a multi-talented creative. Along with his partner, Cody Hoyt, he spearheads Apenest, a design/art collective that self-produces collaborative silkscreens, graphics and a stunning full color book showcasing a stable of brilliant contemporary artists. Beautiful/Decay recently received a copy of their book and was blown away by the attention to design and the quality of the artists included. As an artist, Willmont also creates invididual work—his stunning works on paper detail an idiosyncratic personal vocabulary, often leaning towards fantastical situations, brightly colored in a hyperspectra of acid-induced prismatic color. Lurking beneath the enticing exterior, however, a darker, more apocalyptic narrative manifests itself; apparent in Willmont’s depiction of decaying architectural structures and implied destruction. 

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Rachel Graves Transforms Catcalls And Harassment Into Powerful Photo Series

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In a powerful series by artist and curator Rachel Graves, she interprets the catcalls and street harassment that’s thrown at her and her friends when in public places. Menagerie is a collection of self portraits that liken this lewd and unwanted treatment to the way that animals are prey.

“The project came about as a way for me to take control of what was happening and find a way to answer back and gain ownership over myself again,” Graves explained to The Huffington Post. “For me it was important to do more than simply dress up and paint my face to represent some of the names and insults being thrown at me. I didn’t want to just turn myself into the object that the harassers saw me as. I wanted to find a way to get my sense of self back, to be able to throw the words away and take back control.”

 “Bird,” “fox,” and “bitch,” are all references to animals (and ones that women are called) that dehumanize people, and are all costumes that Graves wears. She paints ghoulish-looking makeup and fashions snouts that reflect the identity of what she is to her taunters. Afterwards, she washes herself of these oppressive masks.

“Being a woman in a public space can be a scary thing. Some men perceive women’s bodies as being public property, and act in ways that are intimidating and sexually aggressive. When I experience street harassment, my autonomy and control over my own body is taken away from me,” Graves says, again to The Huffington Post. “A similar thing can be seen in the industrialization of farming practices. Animals and women are objectified in similar ways: seen merely as pieces of meat for public consumption.”

By washing away the paint and taking off the noses, Graves regains her own identity. (via The Huffington Post)

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Chris Bors’ Hardcore Confrontation Of Violence

Paintings by Chris Bors.

“My recent paintings, which appropriate logos from hardcore punk bands, are meticulously hand painted to resemble silkscreen prints. I often incorporate drips of color that activate the surface and create a jarring contrast, which also references stain paintings of the 1950s and 60s. To compose the paintings, I combine images from various sources including vintage magazines, children’s activity books, websites, and my own drawings. The juxtaposition of these elements resembles the compositions of and mimics the tactics used in political messaging. The work also plays on the confrontation of violence and solidarity as expressed in a music genre that has roots based on a struggle for social justice.”

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Interview: Jeff Soto

Jeff Soto recently opened his newest exhibition, “Turning in Circles” at the Riverside art museum last weekend. Many of Soto’s works include references to the natural world and organic phenomena, whether in his titles such as “Cold Ice Age,” “Butterfly Swarm,” “Wild Growth,” or within visual iconography, ranging from plant-like root tendrils curling around the frames. Yet within these seemingly pastoral suggestions, Soto overlays a grid of human technology, destruction, violence. Highly influenced by graffiti, illustration, murals, comic book art and other forms of non-traditional visual expressions, Soto creates a fanciful hyper-colored world that playfully examines the age old battle between man, machine and nature, played out through technicolor characters and settings. 

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Lisa Swerllng’s Tiny People With Pubic Hair Make Bold Emotional Statements

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Trapped behind glass cases, the miniature human subjects of Lisa Swerllng’s Glass Cathedrals unabashedly perform daily rituals normally veiled from the outside world. The stunning pieces afford viewers with a whimsical type of voyeuristic indulgence. Like children before a set of dolls, we are invited to examine the many mundane moments that compose adult life, breathing life and meaning into each dollhouse-like setup with our own imaginations.

With its feet firmly planted in childlike curiosity, the series is unafraid to veer into tragic emotional spaces; caught staring into endless amounts of white space, many of the figures appear lonesome and fully aware of their smallness. A woman scrubs at a dizzyingly vast array of tired floors and walls, incapable of completing her work for her own tininess and permanently fixed position. Similarly, a man stares at his cow, a sole companion who does not return his gaze.

Though humorously seen, Swerling’s models are at times bitterly unaware. A group of people stand before a glass case containing the figure of a generic ghost labeled “god” with a sign stating, “In case of emergency break glass,” not noticing that they themselves are encased in glass, searching for meaning in the touchingly absurd. The viewer, in turn, is forced to face his or her burning existential yearnings within this magically adult dollhouse.

The idea of domesticity as it relates to femininity shines through in Swerling’s work in unexpected ways. A piece titled “A woman’s work is never done” features a woman sweeping pink glitter, erasing the suggestion of the usual portrayal of the home as unfulfilling; here and in a piece that features a woman serving dinner at the head of the table, glitter serves as a surprising and ecstatic symbol of female self-actualization. From the woman who examines herself before a mirror to an unwaxed redhead standing nude before circle of nuns, Swarling’s women embrace their activities unabashedly.

Hitting poignant notes that remind us of the power that lies beneath human smallness, isolation, connection, and actively defined identities, Glass Cathedrals serves as an alter at which we may worship our own condition. (via Foodie Bugle, Catto Gallery, and Lost At E Minor)

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Amie Luczkowski Gibson Sculpts Mystical Characters Into Ceramic Planters, Cups, And More

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Amie Luczkowski Gibson is an Australian artist who creates unique, otherworldly characters in the form of planters, cups, sculptures, and necklaces. Each piece is uniquely molded with its own bizarre facial features and expressions. Recurrent throughout the works are organic shapes and multiplicities, with numerous faces sprouting from the same head or clusters of eyes rippling across ceramic skin. Most of the faces appear contemplative, as if lost in a dream or seeing into another world, emanating a sense of neutrality, wisdom, and intangible mysticism. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Amie explained the main sources of inspiration for her imagery:

I love how different everyone looks and how there is such beauty in that. Beauty in difference. I get inspired by people’s face shapes, lines, scars — I make my pieces to be as unique as people are. I also get really inspired by the vibe and aura a person gives off more than anything. […] I don’t know how I would describe my work, really. Weird, ugly, and interesting is what most people say about it. Each work is usually based on someone I have seen or met, or just some people’s general energy.

Artists like Amie remind us of the importance of supporting independent artists. As a one-woman show, Amie spends an incredible amount of resources crafting her designs, which — given the time it takes to fire the ceramics — is a  process that can last days. Despite the tendency of our consumerist society to rely on and purchase mass-produced goods, Amie is working hard to produce art lovingly crafted by her own hands and individual vision.

Amie has recently relaunched her online shop, which can be visited here. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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