While many mediums have a constant back and forth debate between an emphasis towards using traditional, conventional methors or more recently available techniques, printmaker Carolyn Frischling does not concern herself with the argument. The Pittsburgh-based artist investigates new techniques in both image creation and printing methods, while continuing to honor the constantly-evolving history of the medium. “I’m proud that printmaking comes out of a long line of democratic, inclusive ideals, that today is at the forefront of technology and creativity.” Like many makers of prints, Frischling uses several simultaneous techniques to achieve the airy and colorful visual textures in her work, differentiated only by the image creation beforehand using computer editing programs. When asked by Beautiful/Decay to explain the benefits of working digitally versus using traditional methods, Frischling first explains, “Digital art enables me to use the same thought processes of traditional printmaking without the toxicity of using traditional materials on a daily basis.”
These moody and ethereal digital works are printed with archival inks on paper, silk, glass and aluminum, heavy with an abstract beauty attached to their process. Frischling further explains her methodology, “Digital printmaking is incredibly nuanced. There is so much more I can do that I couldn’t do in traditional printmaking, although the only reason I understand digital as well as I do, is because the thought processes are the very same. Sometimes I do miss the physicality involved in other kinds of art-making, but my art isn’t about physicality, so I think in this instance,”The medium is the message.”
Ultimately, whether created by physical process or digital manipulation, the works speak for themselves with strong compositions, moody palates, delicate forms and attest to the time spent mastering any artistic discipline. When Frischling explains, “My instinct is always to create movement and energy through use of color and form”, it is a goal separate from process and more located in ambition.
Fed up with the shame surrounding their periods, the Spanish performance collective Sangre Menstrual took over the public streets in sets of white pants stained with menstrual blood. This performance artwork was politically motivated; as the group writes in their “Manifesto for the Visibility of the Period,” the taboo surrounding menstruation serves to oppress women and reinforce patriarchal systems.
By making a public display of their shedding uterine linings, the group hopes to reclaim the female body and free normal bodily functions from shame and judgement. Since the earliest books of the bible and before, menstruation has been viewed as unclean, and often women have even been kept separate from men during their periods. Sangre Menstrual, whose name literally translates to “menstrual blood,” intends to change all that. In their manifesto, the group of women write, “I stain [my pants], and it doesn’t make me sick. I stain [my pants] and I don’t find it disgusting.”
The implications of Sangre Menstrual’s street performance extend beyond menstruation and into larger debates surrounding reproduction and the female body. Like the feminist artist Barbara Kruger and her legendary print “Your Body Is A Battlefield,” the blood-stained performance aims to present the body as a political act of defiance. The manifesto states, “the visibility of the period [is meant] to increase the visibility of the body, as political space.” Do patriarchal, sexist institutions persist in part because of the repulsion with which we treat menstruation? Is this work of art a groundbreaking innovation or a silly shock tactic? (via BUST)
There’s not much information about Alicia Watkins‘ scientific embroidery, but we can all agree the project is a fun way to identify potentially harmful microbes. From anthrax to salmonella, herpes, e.coli, toxoplasma, mono, botulism, and the common cold, Watkins has colorfully cross-stiched many well-known bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Some of these dreadful microbes almost appear cute by Watkins’ careful hand, associating the warmth and comfort that cross-stitching evokes with the coldness of threatening diseases and sicknesses. Watkins’ Etsy store, appropriately named Watty’s Wall Stuff, has these stiched microbes available for purchase at $19.99 each, along with other clever and pop culture influenced cross-stitch work. She also takes custom orders, as well as making some of her patterns available for purchase. (via this isn’t happiness)
You’ve probably seen the work of Berlin/Vancouver based collective eBoy (or that of someone biting their aesthetic) at some point. Svend Smital, Steffen Sauerteig, and Kai Vermehr make up the core of the group, and they’ve created their very own world full of pixelated characters and environments through years of illustration, design, and animation work. The eBoy vision is pretty much fully realized, now everyone gets to enjoy taking part in it. The pattern design above is particularly amazing.
Want to see more by eBoy? Check out our exclusive feature on them as well as the cover art they created specially for us in Beautiful/Decay Issue:G
In a world of online matchmaking and social media, the artist Noortje de Keijzer offers a simpler option: an art piece and product entitled My Knitted Boyfriend, a knit pillowcase that comes to life when stuffed. In this witty critique of modern dating and expectations, My Knitted Boyfriend eliminates all the messy parts of a human relationship, conforming to individual preferences; he will enjoy whatever you enjoy, and he “can be adjusted to your own tastes” with the use of accessories like facial hair, tattoos, or glasses.
Although humorous in its somewhat cynical outlook on modern love, the piece is unexpectedly sentimental. The boyfriend himself comes along with an illustrated book narrating the story of de Keijzer and her cuddly lover, much like children’s picture books that include a stuffed animal. Also like a children’s storybook, the text and illustration follows a simple, nostalgic format: we are told that they “sleep together” and are offered an innocent sketch of the pair doing just that. The boyfriend, though he is not real, becomes a precious manifestation of the fictional—or imaginary—friend that enchants the young mind.
Complicating the delightfully sweet story of the artist and her beau is the work’s clever take on the domestic theme. As seen in her charming short film, the relationship is build not around professional ambition or the public realm; instead, they eat breakfast and watch movies. In fact, the man himself is knitted and therefore associated with the home. This 1950s-style domestic romanticism is brilliantly complicated and subverted by the fact that the male and not the female here is the homemaker; in place of the mid-century ideal of the perfect wife, My Knitted Boyfriend is that crucial element that makes a house a home. In the artist’s own astute words to her knitted partner, “You fit in my interior perfectly.” (via Design Boom)
Robert Mapplethorpe, the timelesss American photographer most active in the 1980’s, was mainly known for his highly stylized black and white flower series. However, his most iconic and prolific works, various series of photographs dealing with homoeroticism and sadomasochistic BSDM acts between men of diverse cultural backgrounds, fuelled national debate in the NSA over the public funding of controversial artworks.
Some of these photographs, made visible by The Mapplethorpe Foundation, were part of his first solo gallery exhibition, ‘Polaroids’, at the Light Gallery in 1973.
Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. Two years after his Polaroids exhibition, he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.
Matt Jacobs is an artist living and working in Kansas City, Missouri. The thing that I really enjoy about his work is his sense of play that comes through not only in the titles but the actual materials used to create his pieces such as inflatable toys, tic tacs, buckets, and brightly colored enamels. In many pieces Jacobs uses juxtaposing materials almost as a means to test the limits of the materials itself. An example of this is in his “Don’t Worry. I Won’t Hurt You. I Only Want You to Have Some Fun” in which he balanced cinder blocks 9 feet high and stuffed pool toys through the openings implying gregarious ornamental decoration of a fun day at the pool. Jacobs is the master of balancing objects by shape, form, and color. He has a great archive of studio photos on his website which is worth a look through, as well as his past installations and drawings.
Yes, that really is a literally rainb0w-gradated longhair headband wearing naked dude making some kind of Buddhist meditational gang sign. Francis Upritchard wraps up all that is right and wrong of the neo-crystal optimism of the 60’s psychedelic counterculture and fuses it with her own blend of futurism.