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Studio Visit: Adam Helms

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Adam Helms is known for drawing radicals and constructing ominous wooden watch towers.  His current project is a series of 48 charcoal portraits in response to Gerhard Richter’s “48 Portraits.”  Richter’s work used encyclopedia photos to catalog the iconic males of Western culture.  Helms is also cataloging icons, but shifts focus to the dangerous fringes where civil wars and insurrections take place.  Ranging over the entire political spectrum, from anti-establishment and anti-government groups to official government troops, Helms’ portraits are intentionally politically ambiguous, stating “The politics are less interesting to me then this idea of a repeated identity.”

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Sarah A. King

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London based illustrator Sarah A. King mastered up these playful typography illustrations – on fruit!?  It’s interesting how the type looks slightly burned on the fruit, even tattooed.

You’ll find an impressive collection of work on her site including a typography illustration of Darwin.  Included are a lot of close-up images so you’re able to see the detail and work that’s been put forth.

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Santiago Caruso’s Dark World Illustrations

Santiago Caruso’s beautifully nightmarish illustrations are what you might find in an ancient book of spells in a dark cave at the end of the world. Lucky for us they can also be found on his portfolio site.

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Kitschy Ceramic Animals Grafted Into Cuddly, Creepy Frankenfurries

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Debra Broz, a ceramic artist in Los Angeles, has a dedication to manipulating the conventional ceramic animals used and loved for kitschy home decor. Through her art surgery, she forms nearly mythical renditions of hybrid-animals. Although they still look cute, there is something inherently off and relatively creepy about them. Starting by sourcing and finding old ceramic pieces she is attracted to, Broz then re-assembles and grafts parts and pieces of different ceramic sculptures together. Arms, legs, multiple heads- she tries it all. The doe-eyed Franken-furries still contain an element of innocent, their new freakishness framed with such subtlety that it is nearly camouflaged; for many viewers it takes a second glance to even notice that something is amiss within the structure and proportion.

Broz eloquently articulates her work in an interview, “The thing is, it all depends on perception. Though kitsch may act as if it is the antithesis of fine art, if you start trying to analyze it you run into many of the same complex issues you would if you were analyzing fine art. Personally, I enjoy the intellectual play that is part of analyzing objects. It seems funny to me that people desire to take content away from things rather than explore it. Part of what makes the world interesting is how complex it is, and I’d rather have the complexity, with all its difficulty, than a watered-down, idealized and simplified version. That is part of why I’m interested in kitsch. If you really start looking into it, it is just laden with references.” (Excerpt from Source)

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Polina Tereshina’s Minimalistic Figures Embrace The Awkward In Betweens Of Life

 

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Russian-born painter Polina Tereshina has a love for the awkward and bizarre aspects of our daily lives, so much so that she interprets them through her abstract, figurative paintings. Utilizing acrylic, ink, and watercolor, she disassembles the body to arrive at a newly resolved aspect, one which speaks more clearly to the reality of our movements.

“I am fascinated with passing feelings and short private moments of human interaction. In particular, I look for the humor in our struggle for balance. I find inspiration by looking both outward and inward. From these observations I have developed a cast of characters who help me tell the stories. Then I pose the characters out of context in a simple, shallow space. The personal experience of each and every one of us dictates the way we interpret the interactions.”

The rigid lines of the geometric and lined backgrounds add a sense of control to the piece, one which the subject interacts around. This brings balance, along with the idea of limits and structure. Through this we can relate to the modified human. By simplifying the body to the elemental aspects of the figure, often just a silhouette, she draws the viewer into the exaggerated trait, like lending it a megaphone. All in all, each piece seems to detail a specific frequency of the beauty of being in the moment, however graceless or messy that may be in reality. (Excerpt from Source)

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Bela Borsodi’s Balloon Caricatures Pose For The Camera In These Ridiculously Cute Portraits

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Bela Borsodi - balloons

Bela Borsodi - balloons

Bela Borsodi - balloons

Bela Borsodi is a prolific image maker. And not only does he make brightly colored, cartoonish images by taking photos of balloons wearing funny costumes. Since 1999 he has been taking photographs of still lifes full of humor, optical illusions, weird proportions, color play, and whimsical objects. His work may look like child’s play, but his clients have included Vogue Russia, Bloomingdales, H&M, Puma, Target, Hermes and Swarovski. His hilarious campaigns feature sunglasses casually draped on blocks of cheese, faces made out of folded clothes, outfits worn by invisible people and masked figures juggling shoes. The Austrian photographer says:

I love making things and putting things in an unusual context incorporating various visual languages coming from art and graphic design–eroticism is also a fascination of me that I love exploring. (Source)

Borsodi has a knack for turning the plainest things into something surreal and wonderful. By simply styling, or suggesting a few details, he can animate mundane objects into jovial caricatures. Add a wig to a balloon and it is no longer an inflated bit of latex, but now it is suddenly transformed into Marge Simpson. Or add a few brooches and faux fur to pink balloon, and we go from a child’s party to a drag show. Or another one: just fasten a tie, a belt, wrap on sunglasses and place a pile of string on a strangely shaped balloon, and we now see a boss trying to party on Casual Friday. Borsodi goes on:

Often when you only change the context of things you can find new meaning. Or you add something to an object or you take something away from it. Or you put it upside down. All this can change it – a glass put upside down loses all its original function and becomes just a “thing”. (Source)

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Stunning Photographs Of A Landfill Mansion Made Out Of Trash

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Mark Andrew Boyer, a Graduate student at UC Berkeley’s Journalism school, met Bob Anderson (the man featured on Boyer’s photographs), a former professional boxer, while on a walk through The Albany Bulb, a landfill situated on a fist-shaped peninsula that juts into the San Francisco Bay.

The Albany Bulb, serves the community’s poorest, as many homeless men and women call it, home.

 “I was walking on the shore and heard some hammering in the distance. I followed the sound, and there was this guy building this huge structure.” -Boyer

That guy, as Boyer recalls him, is Bob Anderson, a man who has lived in the landfield since 2011 when he was forced to move out of his Berkley home after his mother’s death-since then he has become homeless. Before that, Anderson had been a professional boxer living and fighting in Las Vegas.

Bob is certainly not your average homeless man.

Anderson’s current place stands strong and tall amongst the highest of trash mounds found at The Albany Bulb. Its astonishing look- one that contains unintended artistic merit- captured the eye of Boyer whom was later compelled to photograph the life of Anderson is his landfill mansion.

The journalist spent a week with Anderson photographing him and his three-story domain, which upon closer inspection was even more amazing than it looked from the outside.

“There could be a shipping pallet next to a mirror next to a piece of plywood next to a mandolin that he’s shoved in between the cracks. It’s a really interesting mix of objects, it’s ever changing. Every time I went back it looked completely different. I went out for a walk once and he had stuck a wind surfing sail on the top of it.”

(via Slate)

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Endangered Animals Projected On St. Peter’s Basilica To Raise Environmental Awareness

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In collaboration with the Vatican, a coalition of artists and humanitarians from the documentary Racing Extinction projected a stunning light show on the edifice of St. Peter’s Basilica. The videos display endangered animals and ecological crises from around the word, including whales, pandas, imperilled rainforests, and melting icebergs. As pointed out on My Modern Met, this demonstration follows a letter released from Pope Francis that makes clear the role humans play in the destruction of natural environments and non-human species. The goal of the light show was to foster awareness from the public, and on a political level, to encourage other influential figures and world leaders to acknowledge the loss and devastation.

Helmed by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos (director of The Cove), Racing Extinction features never-before-seen images that explore endangered species and the threat of mass extinction. Much like the light show—which is part of an ongoing (and vital) campaign to provoke action—Racing Extinction seeks to change the way we view the planet and the global beauty and vitality we will lose in the pursuit of our unsustainable practices. Such projects remind us that no matter where we are situated, even in our urban, human-centered habitats, we are always responsible and capable of changing the world’s grim outlook. (Via My Modern Met)

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