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Best of 2011: Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Heads

It’s not everyday that we post an artist who works with yarn but Jo Hamilton’s crochet portraits are really interesting. I’m really happy that Jo decided to not over finish these and left them without a background and with the yarn hanging down. Sort of looks like paint drips and adds another dimension to the work that you don’t see often in crochet.

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Chad Wys’ Melting Pools of Antiquities

It seems like we just posted about the work of Chad Wys’ but we’re back again with some exciting new pieces by this talented artist. This time around we’re offering Chad’s gorgeously altered busts, china and other ornate antiques melting into fluid and luscious puddles.

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Tae Querney

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Tae Querney is a  New York City artist whose unique illustration style brings the content to life with texture and color. Check out her website for more beautiful illustrations.

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Ruper Shrive Turns His Paintings Into Masterful Crumpled Sculptures

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Rupert Shrive turns his paintings into sculptures by crumpling, twisting, and sometimes including odd materials to create architecturally evocative works. In some of his works, the three-dimensional elements complement his portraits; in others, they deform the faces of his works, twisting cheeks and lips and replacing noses and eyes to create a patchwork of various styles and colors.
When you look at Shrive’s work, you get the sense that there’s something urgent and almost desperate being communicated. At the very least, you feel a slight wince as you think about how much of a calculated risk he must have taken. In an interview with Michael Peppiatt, Shrive says of his process: “… It is painful and I’m always very scared when I start crushing them and it’s very risky because you only have so many movements you can make before you’ve lost the big dynamic crush that you’re going for.
Risky as it is, that extra third dimension is a crucial element of Shrive’s artwork, enabling him to highlight certain features and create unique landscapes out of his portraits. (h/t I Need A Guide)

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Discreet Photos of Rural Roadside Prostitutes

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Roadside Prostitutes

Roadside Prostitutes

There’s an air of both mundaneness and mystery in the series The Waiting Game by Spanish photographer Txema Salavans. The blown-out landscape images were collected over a period of six years, and the intriguing photographs don’t depict hitchhikers – they feature prostitutes. We see women sitting at rural roadside locations along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, including highways, secondary highways, and small byways between towns. Formally, they are not the focus of Txema’s composition. They appear from a distance and sit on the side of the photo’s frame as road signs, wilderness, and construction sites surround them. The routes seem desolate but are still well traveled, as drivers want to avoid having to pay for toll roads, as well as trucks carrying goods and fruit take them from Andalucia to France.

Salavans disguised himself knowing that these women probably wouldn’t want their photos taken in the first place. He wore a surveyor’s costume, complete with an assistant and a surveyor’s pole. The results offer an unconventional into the world of prostitution that takes it off city streets and to quiet moments. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Masao Kinoshita’s Powerful Sculptures Are Skinned To Reveal Hulking Muscles

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With rippling, coiled muscles, the sculptures of Masao Kinoshita stand skinned and erect. Working with materials ranging from wood to resin to bronze, the Japanese sculptor uses an aesthetic we normally associate with natural history museums to render athletic, flexing creatures of the sea and land. Save for their multiple heads and engorged limbs, these beasts could easily be ancestors of man.

Kinoshita draws much of his inspiration from diverse mythologies, religions and folklores from around the globe. Fusing narratives across space and time, the horned maenads of ancient Greece live alongside the Yoga Asura deities of Buddhism in a visceral, animalistic universe where fitness reigns supreme. The Hindu god Ganesh poses confidently while a human baby and a small teddy bear develop muscles of similar size and strength.

Given the artist’s knowledge of folklore and spiritual histories, we might interpret his massive, hulking walrus as a nod to the beast mentioned in Alice in Wonderland, who is widely assumed to represent the Buddha. Built from wood, he would certainly seem at home in the story of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” but his soulful eyes maintain a divine dignity that eluded Lewis Carroll’s infamous character.

Throughout Kinoshita’s impressive body of work, the physical and the metaphysical are allowed to coexist. Where modern religions condemn the pleasures of the body and exalt in those of the spirit, these sculptures present a world wherein the gods themselves are proud—even arrogant, as the case may be with those thong-wearing bodybuilders—to live within mortal anatomies. Take a look. (via HiFructose)

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African American Artist Stacey Tyrell’s Powerful Self-Portraits Portraying Her As Her White Ancestors

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At first glance, this series by photographer Stacey Tyrell seems to portray nothing out of the ordinary, just portraits of white women living their lives. At closer inspection, however, you realize all of the women look the same; they share uncanny similarities with just a few differences in hair, eye, and skin color. In reality, Stacey Tyrell has staged these scenes representing depictions of Caucasian women using herself as a model. Interestingly enough, the artist herself is black. The title of Tyrell’s deeply memorable series is Backra Bluid. Backra, originating from West Africa, means white master or person. Bluid is a Scotch word for the blood of men or kin. These two words combined represent two different points of origin in the artist’s family heritage. Tyrell explores her ancestry in this series, which includes English, Scottish, and Irish.

Most everyone in post-colonial societies, especially in the Western world, is the descendant of a diverse range of ancestry, producing many individuals with what may appear to be ambiguous ethnicities. These individuals may identify with one, multiple, or even none of their racial or cultural identities. However, by nature, humans want to make sense of their surrounding and tend to place others in categories. Stacey Tyrell has experienced this first hand. She explains the significance of this experience in relation to Backra Bluid.

Upon viewing my physical features I am automatically assigned a racial identity by whoever is looking at me. Skin color often obscures and over-rides the features and markers of other races that may be present in my genetic make-up. By simply changing my skin color and making subtle tweaks to my features I wish to show that if someone were to take a closer look at my face they would see that it might not be that much different from their own.

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Standard Hotel’s 2014 Calendar Pays Homage to Guests’ Most Unusual Comments And Requests

"Your staff are the nicest pooch lovers in the world. Penny, my precious little wiener...is looking forward to her next stay."

“Your staff are the nicest pooch lovers in the world. Penny, my precious little wiener…is looking forward to her next stay.”

"Quality of toilet paper could be better...3-ply minimum...otherwise it was a great room and enjoyable stay."

“Quality of toilet paper could be better…3-ply minimum…otherwise it was a great room and enjoyable stay.”

"I had just given an unflattering review to a volatile pop star's latest album and heard through the grapevine he was staying at the hotel. I was certain he was going to exact some kind of revenge...after many anxious phone calls...one of your staff kindly offered to stay up with me until I calmed down."

“I had just given an unflattering review to a volatile pop star’s latest album and heard through the grapevine he was staying at the hotel. I was certain he was going to exact some kind of revenge…after many anxious phone calls…one of your staff kindly offered to stay up with me until I calmed down.”

For the holidays, the Standard Hotels produced a 2014 calendar that details a look back at 2013. In a collaboration with advertising agency and publisher KesselsKramer, the hotel chain reviewed and recreated moments from 2013’s favorite guest letters, comments, and special requests. From all of the bizarre things they had received throughout the year, they narrowed it down to 12 that were reenacted by the hotels’ staff.

If you’ve ever worked in the retail or service industry, you know how weird or picky some people can be. The comments and requests that the Standard Hotels receive is no different. One customer claimed their TV was possessed. Another believed that the hot tub had melted their prescription lenses. One guest was a music journalist (directly above) so anxious about recent scathing review he published that hotel staff stayed to keep him company until he calmed down. He was very appreciative.

Scenes were shot by French multimedia artist Thomas Mailaender. The calendar is available for sale through the Standard Hotels online shop.  (Via Creative Review)

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