Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere artist portfolio building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. If that’s not enough all Made With Color sites are optimized for mobile and tablet viewing so you’re site looks perfect no matter how it’s being viewed. This week we are happy bring you the work of Portland based artist and Made With Color user Wendy Red Star.
Over the course of her practice, Wendy Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, performance and design. Red Star’s multilayered work influences are drawn from her tribal background (Crow Nation), daily surroundings, aesthetic experiences, collected snapshots of moments of the past and present, and stories that are both real and imagined. Through her photographs and sculpture a new cosmos is built, simultaneously urban-rural and high-low, conveying ideas through representations created from suggested associations of seemingly diverse sites, objects and ideas. HUD houses, rez cars, three legged dogs, powwow culture, indigenous commoditization, and Red Star’s personal collection of memories growing up as a half-breed on the Crow Indian reservation are used to excite a response in a form that can be experienced by others.
The work represents an insider/outsider view that is rich with complexity and contradiction. Red Star’s unruly approach examines the consumptive exposure of a cross section of American cultures while also being a meditation on her own identity. Her works explore the intersection between life on the reservation and the world outside of that environment. Red Star thinks of herself as a cultural archivist speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society.
Light painting is a photographic technique created by moving a hand-held light source, or the camera, to create images via a long exposure. Artists experimented with the technique beginning in the early 20th century. One artist who uses light in performance is San Francisco artist Eric Staller. He creates and captures vibrant images. Michael Bosanko is another artist who uses light to create art. Using colored torches the way one might use a paintbrush, he captures the images using a long exposure.
Taking the idea to a new level, contemporary graffiti artists are also experimenting with light technology. Lichtfaktor is a collective of light painting artists, performers, photographers and media artists who are constantly pioneering into new territories of expression. Lichtfaktor artists use light, painting photography, media art installations and interactive media performances that blend into an exciting experience. Daniel Lisson, for example, is a designer, illustrator and artist from Cologne, Germany. His Monster Show consisted of a selection of light paintings done at a factory in Cologne. Also in Germany, Graffiti Research Lab is another collective that uses technology to create street art. Using objects like “LED throwies,” these artists engage new media for urban communication.
The surreal photographs by Christopher McKenney are haunting, as a (mostly) faceless figure interacts with a deserted environment. The desaturated images are shot in the middle of the woods, a corn field, a lake, and back country roads. Sometimes, we see a ghost. Other times, a man is lit on fire. Whatever the situation, McKenney crafts a quietly desperate image.
The photographer recently told art blog iGNANT that he one day found himself in the woods with nothing but a sheet, chair, and frame. He placed the sheet over his head and photoshopped his body out. He tells iGnant, I like taking away identity when photographing and to leave people thinking. “I only make the photos I do to express myself and what other people see or think is up to them, as long as I make them feel anything I’m ok with that.”
Personally, I experience cognitive dissonance when looking at McKenney’s work. I find a lot of these images disturbing yet beautifully composed.. For instance, the photo Fragile Perspective (above) features someone with a burning box over their head. Formally, the colors are rich and the orange of the fire is stunning against the blues, browns, and grays. But, then I study the content of the photograph and realize that it depicts someone who is essentially set on fire.
Not all of McKenney’s photographs are like that. Other times, they are simply whimsical and nonsensical. In Let Go, a suitcase with a balloon tied to the handle stays on the ground as its owner floats away. Another photograph has a chair in an empty field with a pair of hands (only hands, no body), infinitely holding a mirror. It’s these photographs I enjoy more – ones that are odd, but don’t communicate utter despair. (Via iGNANT)
Hiroko Kubota is a prolific embroiderer whose latest project of embroidering cats onto dress shirts has caused the cat-loving internet community to swoon. Kubota stitches cats who peek over and through shirt pockets and openings, giving plain dress shirts an adorable and unique accent. Her project began when her son – a cat-lover and collector of internet cat images – requested that she embroider some cats from his collection onto some shirts she made for him. After posting her work on the internet, her project quickly became popular and of high demand. Kubota then decided to put some of her shirts up for sell on Etsy, but her handiwork could not keep up with the demand – even at a hefty price tag of $250-300 apiece. Kubota also embroiders other figures, such as fish, Pokemon characters, dogs, and flowers onto a variety of objects. You can check out more images of her work on Flickr. (via colossal)
Korean artist group Everyware (Hynwoo Bang and Yunsil Heo) recreates the sky and its clouds as part of an interactive installation on the ceiling of a Korean exhibition space, the Savina Gallery.
Cloud Pink, a multi-media project, serves a pseudo sky pool in which you can touch and interact with the color, shapes and sizes of clouds. The work is composed of a fabric screen, and an interactive software; the two work together to create a believable yet whimsical recreation of the clouds on the sky.
“Today, I visualize my colorful cloud of words right in front of your eyes. Touch the pink clouds drifting on a giant fabric screen, reminisce your childhood clouds of dreams. I spent countless sleepless nights just to realize my unproductive and only romantic cloud of words. But, isn’t it nice if we could feel the clouds at our fingertips?”
American artist Phillip K. Smith III found inspiration from the most basic of places in his recent project, Lucid Stead. Taking a small cabin which had been slowly eroded by the harsh environments of the Joshua Tree Desert for seventy years, Smith III modified the existing structure, adding mirrors between aged wood slats and changing LED panels to the door and window frames. By day, the desert scenery is reflected upon the modified mirrored slats, while the piece illuminates the desert landscape by night. The artist explains Lucid Stead, “This project is about tapping into the desert, into the pace of change, and is about responding to the quiet of the place. And ultimately, in that quite, the project begins to unfold.”
While the piece has a decidedly aesthetic-first quality, Smith explains that there are four ideas at play in Lucid Stead - “Light and Shadow” (the interaction with the sun, and changes in the reflections of its light), “Reflected Light” (within the mirrors, using the desert as a medium placed on the shack), “Projected Light” (the LED lights within the shack, pure color illuminating the cracks and openings of the structure), and “Change” (the shifting colors of the lights, which change so slowly as to be almost unnoticed). Smith III continues, “The project really is about slowing down…stopping and being quite so you can truly see and listen.” (via from89 and designboom, additional images via Kevin Smith, archinect)
Body painting is a tedious, but amazing process with stunning results. Incorporating the technique in unique ways, each of these three artists captures beautiful and poetic images after applying paint to skin.
California-based photographer Jean-Paul Bourdier combines the human form with landscape to create a unique visual synchronization. Painting the bodies, posing them just so, and taking the photographs, Bourdier explains that, “arising in each visual event conceived are the geometries generated by the body as a determinant of ‘negative space’—not the background of the figure and the field surrounding it, but the space that makes composition and framing possible in photography.”
Incorporating what is largely traditional painting, Alexa Meade also uses the unique canvas that is the human body. Painting directly onto the skin, Meade creates a trompe l’leil that is wholly unusual. Camouflaging her figures into the background Meade creates optically engaging images that confuse 3D and 2D planes.
Australia-based artist Emma Hack combines painting on canvas, body painting and studio-based photography. Hack’s works incorporates rich visual narrative with magical realism. Also interested in the idea of camouflage, Hack spends approximately 19 hours painting her wallpaper and then anywhere from 8-15 hours painting her subject to throughly explore the subject. The arduous process is time-consuming, but the results are spectacular.
Using both printmaking and embroidery in his work, artist Max Colby explores themes of death and transformation in his series Role Play. He first prints on handmade paper, creating a collograph. This type of printmaking applies materials to a rigid board. Things with a lot of texture like sandpaper, leaves, cardboard are inked and printed. Colby has controlled the shape of the print, manipulating it in a very deliberate way. Once printing is done, he then adorns it with hand-sewn embroidery.
In a short statement about his work, Colby refers to his the imagery in his work as “figures,” which I take to mean as beings. Not necessarily human, but some other living force. Their “body” is made out from printing, while the embroidery acts as embellishment for the figure. Colby writes that Role Play features “sculptural ‘skins’ which showcase fragility and temporality in conjunction with highly embellished and extravagant applications using notions of death and transformation as a catalyst.” I imagine that these could be armor or headdresses, with pieces that have spikes sewn-in or tactile objects like beads and buttons.
There is a stark difference between the delicate collograph printing and the visually-heavy embroidery. At times, it engulfs the figures, which I think is the point. Garments last a lot longer than we do. Items are passed down from generation to generation, and evidence of what a jacket looked like will be surpass our lifetime.