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Jennifer Maestre’s Prickly Pencil Creatures

We’ve all used hundreds of pencils in our lives since we were kids. Jennifer Maestre uses pencils too, but not the way most of us do, or even the ways most artists do. These imaginative creatures use pencils to showcase the contrast between lifelike forms and industrially produced materials. They were inspired by the texture of the sea urchin, which she has been exploring in many materials for several years.

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These Impressivly Spooky LEGO Sculptures Aren’t Meant For Kids

Gilcélio de Souza Chagas, Old Electric Chair

Gilcélio de Souza Chagas, Old Electric Chair

Jimmy Fortel, Scary Bear (~200 pieces)

Jimmy Fortel, Scary Bear (~200 pieces)

Dan Parker, Cavities (~1125 pieces)

Dan Parker, Cavities (~1125 pieces)

Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from "The Nine Circles of Hell"

Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from “The Nine Circles of Hell”

There’s a lot of impressive things built using LEGOs, and a lot of times the family-friendly toy stays PG in content. In Mike Doyle’s new book titled Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, however, the dozens of creations are more sinister in nature. The publication includes a number of MOCs (a community acronym that means “My Own Creation”) that feature the likes of a scary bear, an electric chair, giant insects, and more. The artworks are an interesting and entertaining spin on LEGOs as they venture into adult territory. And, since we’d usually think of them as something that’s more lighthearted, it makes even more of a visual and conceptual impact. Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark comes out next month. But if you enjoy these unconventional builds and want to see more of the now, be sure to check out its predecessor, also by Doyle. It’s titled Beautiful LEGO. (Via Wired)

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Mika Aoki’s Blown Glass Sculptures Look Like Biological Specimens

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Japanese artist Mika Aoki creates intricate glass sculptures inspired by natural forms, creating new, clear, alien-like worlds. Aoki’s glasswork resembles biological specimens and systems. Her amoeba-like entities are displayed in clusters, as growths or adornments on a malfunctioning car, or in glass containers, as if they are specimens to be collected and studied. Sometimes, Aoki illuminates her glass, enlivening her organic forms with the presence of light. In her work, she contextualizes the fragility of glass with the hardness/coldness of scientific classification and automobiles, underscoring the delicacy and temporality of her designs. Important to Aoki is her medium’s transparency, and that she is able to control its solid-liquid-solid state, manipulating a material that is nearly invisible. Of her material, she says, “Unless light shines on it, we can’t confirm the existence of it because it is transparent. But once the light shines on it, glass truly emanates a special presence.” (via my modern met)

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Jagoda Boruch

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I don’t know too much about Jagoda Boruch, except that this shooter is 19 years old and lives in Poland… and apparantly has an affinity for obstructing the faces of the people she photographs.  At least, that’s the case in this series of images; whereby Jagoda omits the face but reveals the frankness of life’s quirks instead.

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Kueng-Caputo’s Sculptural Chairs Made With Colored Sand

Kueng-Caputo is the Swiss design team of Lovis Caputo and Sarah Kueng. The duo has created a series of colorful furniture they call The Sand Chair Series. Both sculptural and functional these monumental chairs were produced with “…a pigment colored mixture of sand and mortel. Layer by layer is poured in a casting mold. Then the massive object is worked to a stool by hammer & chisel.”

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Ted Gahl’s Paired Down

Ted Gahl is making some beautifully paired down paintings.  They are amazingly suggestive for the minuscule amount of information they present.  The painting above feels, to me, like portraits in profile, but is it really?  I’ve never seen a face like these pink hieroglyphs.  It’s interesting what a painting can make you think you see, and with just a few clues.  Gahl is in a bunch of upcoming shows: The Power Of Selection 3, curated by Ryan Travis Christian at Western Exhibitions, in Chicago; 2020 at the Above Second Gallery, in Hong Kong; and Color Me Bad(d): Joshua Abelow, Ted Gahl, and Hugh Scott Douglas at Nudashank in Baltimore.

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Shawn Huckins Replicates Paint Swatches While Integrating Imagery Into Every Hue

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The detailed paintings of Shawn Huckins portray common, day-to-day imagery while flawlessly integrating it into what seems to be miniature paint swatches. Although you may think that the artist paints directly on tiny paint cards used as color samples at hardware stores, but they aren’t actually small at all. In fact, these are not real paint cards, they are fairly large paintings that, thanks to Huckins’ finely crafted skill, are made to replicate exactly the different hues and segments of a paint card. If this was not impressive enough, the realistic imagery included in this series titled The Paint Chip Series, seem to fit perfectly into their settings. He creates a breathtaking mountain range on top of ”Cool Jazz” blue, and a “Pacific Sea Teal” has a pool splash erupting from its color patch. However, not all of Huckins’ imagery perfectly matches their chosen color. Many of the swatches have an unexpected twist, as his “Spring Moss” yellow has a car melting and sinking into the rich tone.

Huckins’ work is inspired by the beauty in the everyday, along with influential artists like Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. His work explores common imagery, like people sitting in chairs and an employee pushing a shopping cart, and their role in our lives. Even the paint cards are familiar objects that one might find in any home improvement store. Huckins explains these universal commonalities as a way to connect to our everyday surroundings and explore their meanings.

Mimicking the exact proportions, font, layout, and hues of miniature paint cards found at a nation-wide home improvement store, bands of color we may choose for our most intimate spaces—bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms—are an ideal stage to examine the everyday people and objects that occupy our world.

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Startling X-Ray Portraits Of Couples Will Haunt Your Dreams

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The student artists Ayako Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi of Musashino Art University in Japan recently unveiled a series of portraits of X-Ray and CT images of embracing couples. One might expect images devoid of flesh, readable facial expressions, and color to read as clinical and sterile, but the photographs are strikingly human: “X-ray images usually show the finite nature of our bodies composed only of matter. But these couples’ portraits reveal a pulse that isn’t normally seen,” the artists explain.

Indeed, the images do convey ambiguous and subtle degrees of intimacy rarely seen photographically. The two individuals, positioned side by side, become hard to differentiate; the transparencies and densities of muscles and bones causes the two figures to fuse, touch, and pull apart in unexpected and haunting ways. While their bodies are flattened in space, forced to overlap, the bones themselves become separated by dark spaces, complicating the idea of what it means to be truly intimate.

The series also succeeds in conveying something more paradoxically permanent about intimate love. As mechanical process of photography and X-raying is offset by the delicacies of fingertips and craniums, the fragility and mortality of the human body is revealed. Yet the portraits, because they are X-rays and not typical fine art images, carry a forensic quality. Intentionally or not, they use a visual language normally associated with medicine and anthropology, and they are therefore poignantly removed from the confines of time and space, grounded only in relation to one another. Like two human artifacts, they invite viewers to dissect and analyze their bond. The couples appear as if held under a magnifying glass or fixed in stone, intwined in a decisive moment forever. Take a look. (via BUST, Spoon & Tomago, Daily Mail, and Bestposts)

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