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David Sykes

Gorgeously composed, shot, and executed photographed images by the funny and talented David Sykes. (via visually lovely)

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New Beautiful/Decay Book Release- The Seven Deadly Sins

Beautiful/Decay is pleased to release Book 9: The Seven Deadly Sins!

Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, and Envy have been explored—and challenged—for centuries by artists, scholars, and writers. In this issue of Beautiful/Decay, you’ll find artists who explore these themes through a contemporary lens, either by explicitly calling out those deemed guilty of committing one of the Seven Deadly Sins, or by turning the sweeping notion of sin right on its head.

James Gobel tackles Pride through felt portraits of colorfully clad, sexually charged, plus-size bears, and continuing the exploration of Lust, we have the raw and lascivious Polaroids of Jeremy Kost. View Tom Littleson’s bloody portraiture drawings and their relationship with Wrath. See how cover artists Tim Noble & Sue Webster’s adept use of personified garbage channels Gluttony. Libby Black’s paint-and-paper sculptures replicate Envy-inducing luxury brand goods, while paintings and drawings from Brendan Danielsson address the social and physical epidemic of Sloth. Finally, Greed lies at the center of Ghost of a Dream’s hypnotic sculptural art and immersive installations. We’ve also invited international artists, illustrators, and designers to create original pieces for our Project Pages based on all seven sins.

Other featured artists: Carolyn Janssen, Okay Mountain, Colette Robbins, Cleon Peterson, Micah Ganske, Zoe Charlton, Penelope Gottlieb, Paul Mullins, Keith Puccinelli, Travis Somerville, Kara Maria, Aideen Barry, Travis Collinson, Geoffrey Chasedy, John Knuth.

Each copy of Beautiful/Decay: The Seven Deadly Sins comes blind packed with either a zine by Terence Hannum or Heather Benjamin or a limited edition silk screen print by Paul Nudd!

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

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Doro Hofmann’s Hyperrealistic paintings

Exploring the darker roots of desire in the context of a highly politicized, acquisitive and image-obsessed cosmopolitan consciousness, Doro Hofmann probes at what influences our desires and how these forces drive and/or erode our ability to identify what truly affects our overall wellbeing. Complicating this discussion, Hofman asks whether it is at all necessary to place moral value on desire and the outcomes of pursuing it.

Drawing from present-day media, biblical texts, medieval Roman icons and the works of John Milton, Hofmann’s energetic use of electric colors and exacting hyperrealism painting creates imagined heavens of hells and hells of heavens. There, the viewer is left to decide where they are, where they want to be, and where they will actually go.

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An Amusing Look At Behind-The-Scenes Playboy Photoshoots (NSFW)

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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)

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Artist Zaps 15,000 Volts Of Electricity Into film To Create Beautiful Abstractions

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Brooklyn electronic media artist Phillip Stearns is exhibiting a new series of some pretty wild photography, and all produced without the use of a camera. Applying different household materials (bleach, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, salt, rubbing alcohol) before and after exposure to electrical currents, Stearns was able to produce some electrifying images. Applying 15,000 volts of alternating current directly to the surface of instant film, the electricity arced, ignited, and sparked, leaving beautiful patterns in the emulsion.

Stearns has been exploring his understanding of what a digital or photographic image is, through many different approaches. He sees images, sound and video not only as signals, or a way or producing something, but as raw materials to use and to exploit. In the Evident Material exhibition, he puts this theory into practice and explores the relationship between the human eye and the camera.

The sentiment that the camera is an extension of the eye is taken to an extreme. When looking through the Fujifilm FP-100c instant color film datasheets, the similarities between the layering of materials in the film and the layering of cells in the retinal is striking. Perhaps it is because the development of such film technologies parallels an evolving understanding of how the eye sees. (Source)

The similarities don’t end there. Stearns commented that the sparks he was experimenting with on the film stock, function in a similar way as the electric impulses in our eyes when processing images.

I find it curious and exhilarating that the impressions left behind after developing these extreme exposures so perfectly resemble networks of blood vessels in the retina. (Source)

Evident Material exhibition opened on November 15 at Transfer Gallery in New York and will continue until December 13. (Via The Creators Project)

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New Mark Warren Jacques Print

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Mark Warren Jacques just released this doozy of a geometric-nostalgic silkscreen. Mark’s directions for use? “Order; get excited for mail; tell the mail man thanks; open & hang on wall (near plants and sunshine if possible); stare at often until you become tired and ready for sleep; fall asleep.” Available for a mere $35 (along with some other nice prints) here.

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Anxious Worlds: Jordan Westre’s Collages Critique Modern Society And Sexuality

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Jordan Westre (Living Couch) is a Canadian artist who creates beautiful and critically engaging collages from amalgams of modern and vintage print media. While Westre’s works are all highly unique and nuanced, many of them share recurring imagery, including landscapes, space travel, war, and the feminine body. From a broader aesthetic perspective, her collages are seamless and evocative; Westre has a brilliant ability to weave together seemingly disparate images in a holistic way. The more you look, however, the more a deep — and often dark, or disconcerting — social commentary emerges, one that examines cross-generational anxieties regarding the state of society and its relationship to human sexuality.

Westre’s artistic process begins with a self-impelled assembly of aesthetically-pleasing images. As she explains: “I don’t set out with a definite vision, I just flip through magazines […] or books with vintage photographs or illustrations, [and] pull out anything that might serve as a good subject, background, or element.” From there, she lays everything down and seeks compelling combinations — “and that’s where the inspiration comes about.” Currently, she uses liquid glazes on canvas or canvas board, but is planning on experimenting with hot and cold-pressed papers and spray adhesives.

When it comes to the meaning behind her work, Westre says that most of it unconsciously materializes as “anxiety-riddled observation[s]” of society. The collages depict the world in an oscillating utopic/dystopic state; or indeed, as an oft-idealized place that is festering at its center. In Westre’s words: “[My work is] grappling with the awareness that a lot of our society and the path we’re on is utterly fucked — for lack of a better phrase — while we’re all smiling and laughing and consuming […]. Polish & the rot beneath.”

Westre also brings human sexuality into these critiques, exploring what she identifies as the “ultimate vulnerability and ultimate power” of sex. Desire — which is represented here by eroticized images of the female body — vacillates between states of seduction, submission, and destruction. It is unpredictable; hence why it might contribute to Westre’s fear of a world slipping into chaos. Check out Living Couch for more of her incredible work.

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Painter Philip Hinge Tests The Meaning Of ‘Bad Taste’

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Full of expressive, wild colorful brushstrokes and heavy layering and textures, Philip Hinge puts on a show of his playful sense of humor and confidence. Intentionally flirting with the line between ‘good art’ and ‘bad art’ in his exhibition Don’t Look Now, he approaches his subjects with a unique sensibility. Hinge paints anything from blow up dog balloons, to rock stars dressed in bridal gowns, to mermen sunbathing and boys greedily stuffing their faces with spaghetti. Choosing banal subjects and turning them into something special and surprising is his talent.

Contextual ambiguity abounds in Hinge’s work, allowing his paintings to express a subtle anxiety that is felt rather than seen. At the same time, by ironically appropriating sources as diverse as everyday kitsch, science fiction, and the canons of art history, Hinge lampoons widely-accepted tropes of high art. (Source)

Hinge manages to break down some of the traditional and existing boundaries within the painting (and greater art) world. And while his technique and style may seem primitive, his subject matter adds a subtle layer of complexity to his work. His past series include I Am The Black Wizards – an amusing look at the death metal community and the stereotypes that go with it. He has rockers stabbed with knives, swords and clubs, gripping their legs in pain, and tough guys wearing witches hats and capes, pinned to a wire fence. His light-hearted approach to certain social taboos is a refreshing thing to see.

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