Berlin-based artist Sebastian Bieniek‘s double-faced girl portraits are a little humorous, but they also provoke a more menacing or unsettling feeling. With an eye pencil and lipstick, Bieniek draws a face onto each side of the model’s face, using one real eye for each face. After her hair has been strategically placed around her face, Bieniek photographs this subject in the context of daily routines, thoughtfully using objects that appear in everyday environments. For this series as well as his other work, Bieniek enjoys creating a narrative that contains absurd elements and surprises viewers. Junk Culture notes, “Bieniek first came up with the idea one morning while playing in the bathroom with his son. He explains, ‘Wet hair covered one of his eyes, soap covered his ear, he looked in the mirror and said, dad look my face moved!'” This creates a manufactured or mannequin like image, with a hint of humanity evoked with one eye.
Bieniek enjoys engaging and provoking responses from his viewers, something his Facebook page of 54,000 fans attests to. He notes, “Art will be consumed differently, the market is constantly changing. Nearly every day, I make an artwork and post it on Facebook. You no longer have to see art in a gallery or see the original.” (via design boom)
When you think of graffiti you don’t usually think of cute imagery but you got to admit that these super cute characters by Bue The Warrior are pretty engaging. Bue has circled the globe painting his joyous figures in all sorts of places adding a bit of joyous fun to the tough guy world of graffiti art. So we ask you do you think there is room in the world for cute graffiti? (via iheartmyart)
Earlier this month Birmingham, England opened its grand new library in the city center. The city hopes that the impressive metal-clad work of art, which cost around $295 million to build, will become a key element in redefining Birmingham’s image. Currently the largest public library in the UK, and the largest public cultural space in Europe, the library is certainly hard to miss. Mecanoo with engineers, Buro Happold, were enlisted in 2008 as the designers behind the project after winning an international competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Mecanoo designed the exterior of the building, with its filigree pattern of metal rings over gold and silver glass facades, to reference the city’s artisan tradition.
Speaking at the opening was Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who the Taliban shot for campaigning for women’s right to education. Now residing in Birmingham Yousafzai stated that “Let us not forget that even one book, one pen, one teacher can change the world.” In the first eight days of being open the library surpassed 100,000 visitors.
Lorna Barnshaw likes to experiment with digital renderings of human faces. In her series of 3D art prints Replicants, Barnshaw used a different computer, software, application, and printing method with minimal interference with each computer’s rendering. The results are geometric, cubed, and warped mask-like representations of the human face. Complementary to this work, Barnshaw’s gif series Reality Reduction, depicts human figure images reduced to their basic geometry using a digital filter. Together these series engage us with their reflections on technological influences in contemporary culture.
Yule Log 2.0 is a series of short films by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, all revolving around the holiday Yule Log. Traditionally, the Yule Log is a hard, giant log that burns in a fireplace of traditional Christmas celebrations. In 1966, video of a burning log was televised by WPIX-TV as a gift to viewers, starting a phenomena that has yet to die. Urban Outfitters has even packaged and sold it at the appropriate time of the year, and you can view it on Netflix. Yule Log 2.0 takes on the log in a number of ways. Some are abstract representations, some are stories, and others rethink the log using different materials (including painted hands). Vignettes last from 10 seconds to a minute and half.
Yule Log 2.0 is a project curated by animator and illustrator Daniel Savage. He told Cool Hunting that he had the idea when looking for the original on Youtube, but was dismayed by all of the low quality videos. He explains, “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to get a bunch of people to redo this?” Savage enlisted the help of 65 creatives and created 53 films, which all employ the quintessential wood burning noise. He was delighted by the quality of films, stating, “I didn’t really know what to expect from everyone; I know it’s a busy time of the year so I assumed they would be simple, but then some people blew my mind—like the marshmallow one [created by Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva, Bianca Meier]. Getting three people to work on one was amazing.”
Step into the world of photographer Phebe Schmidt, where everything is carefully constructed into a sickening sweet perfection. Her candy-colored world is filled with Barbie-like subjects, some even encased in plastic. Each hyperreal photograph seems almost too good to be true, like we have stepped inside a house of a Stepford wife. This draws the viewer in closer as we inspect the dark undertones of each photo that are surrounded by cheery colors. The objects in Schmidt’s photography, including her figures who look more like inanimate objects than people, are flawless and glossy, making everything seem like an advertisement. This viewpoint and concept is no doubt a comment on commodities and how contemporary culture is overcome with it. It has been said that “plasticity” is a term that defines Schmidt’s style.
Her work has a stylized plasticity and bright surface that acts as a mask that plays with ideas of self, theatrical role-playing, and what lies beneath. Plasticity is a key term Schmidt uses to describe her work and marks a contemporary obsession with homogenized, generic beauty ideals that conform to gender, social, and cultural norms.
It is true that generic beauty ideas are very apparent in Schmidt’s body of work. Each person shown in her photography seems nameless and ambiguous due to his or her impossible perfection. The figures do not look toward the camera, but out into space with a numbingly blank stare. This absence of humanity creates a futuristic atmosphere where commodity and beauty have altered our state of being. Schmidt’s seductive and incredibly intriguing photography evokes both a sci-fi future, and a mod, mid-century feel. Each photograph filled with sweetly colored backgrounds and flawless subjects keeps us curious in what lies beneath the generic beauty.
A few weeks ago we featured Mr. Chiizu’s two new themes from Skwak and Aya Kato. Mr. Chiizu, an iPhone photo decoration app with themes designed by today’s most exciting artists and designers wants to give Beautiful/Decay readers a chance to win some coveted and sold out Aya Kato and Skwak merchandise in honor of the release of their packs.