This week we’re bringing you another talented artist as part of our partnership with premiere website builder Made With Color. Each Tuesday we bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who are using Made With Color to create clean and sleek web sites. Made With Color makes it easy to make a website; MWC websites aren’t just easy on the eyes but feature powerful yet simple backend which allows anyone to take web design into their own hands with just a few clicks. We’re excited to share with you the dense and detailed paintings of Los Angeles artist Michael Alvarez.
At first glance the art of Michael Alvarez may not appear to be specifically about Los Angeles but upon further inspection of each painting you’ll discover hints of the mixed and vibrant subcultures that can be found in the city of angeles. Images of festive parties in parks, graffiti writers wearing Dodger inspired t-shirts, Venice beach muscle heads, skid row heshers and hand painted signs that can be found in small mom and pop shops throughout Los Angeles are sprinkled throughout these narrative paintings. Mixing the everyday, the unusual, and the downright bizarre Alvarez’s paintings create an intoxicating mixture of shaky yet precise paint handling, personal memory, and street corner observation to create work that is simultaneously dysfunctional and celebratory.
Jean Marembert (1904 – 1968) was a founder of the group with Louis Cattiaux – a group of Surrealists of a more decorative nature. His work is also, like Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s work, looks like it was made in this century instead of the last. That just goes to show how our current sensibilities are based off the past. Old aesthetics are recurring and cycled through, even filtered down. That’s why I believe it when people say that nothing is ever original anymore.
In his series Evergreen, the photographer Bjørn Haldorsen visits the Evergreen funeral home in Brooklyn; like throwing flour on the invisible man, his images hope to give form to the invisible, intangible notion of death. In capturing the peripheral objects and mundane moments of embalming and service preparation, he paints a poignantly nuanced portrait of mortality.
These bitterly honest slices of a life once lived avoid sentimentality or theatricality. Unlike in Victorian post-mortem photography, Haldorsen avoids full portraits of the dead, opting instead to capture the seemingly banal elements of the business of death. Staff members arrange casket pillows routinely and perfunctorily, and only the corner of an urn is shot, revealing the accidental dust allowed to collect around it.
Yet within the work is a potent thread of emotionality and love as seen through subtle tricks of light; where a gray-haired body rests on a gurney, a figure, basks divinely in an overexposed door, as if to mourn in mysterious and unknowable ways. Similarly, a man sits in a dimly-lit room, sequestered from the lonesome darkness of the funeral space. Lifeless hands with yellowed nails seem to reach out at the viewer, exhaustedly collapsing on sanitary plastic wrapping, and swelled feet are contorted by wear, dirt still caught between their nails. Youthful hands gently insert a match flame into the wrinkled nose of the diseased; the ritual frozen forever, made to feel sacred and painfully intimate.
Haldorson’s vision of death reads as jarringly rational, offering little solace in the face of death, and yet upon closer inspection, viewers may discover hints of hope, the slightest traces of loving memory, preserved forever. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)
Last week’s London Design Festival featured a prototype for a futuristic sleep-aid. During the Digital Design Weekend at the V&A museum, one of the highlights was Digital Futures UKMX. The event is a two day cultural exchange between designers, artists, makers, and engineers from the UK and Mexico. The event centered around themes of innovation, collaboration and civil awareness. The aim is to enhance each community by learning from the other.
One of the projects presented was by Octavio A. Martinez Garcia, a Mexican robotic engineer who works for COCOLAB. He showcased a prototype for a product called Napz, a sleep mask created to help gain access to more efficient sleep. The mask is made from infrared sensors, Neo Pixels, and the Arduino Lilypad. The invention does not just simply help to attain better sleep, but does so by allowing the user to actively lucid dream, a state of dreaming in which one has control over his or her actions. He states:
“The prototype is an eye mask designed to measure REM, using LED lights to gently stimulate you and bring you to the border of consciousness and unconsciousness so you can begin to play with your dreams. Today people get a lot less sleep, and of a much worse quality. Napz is a wearable device intended to schedule lucid dreams and thus produce actual rest and better patterns of REM sleep. Its interface allows the programming, design, and analysis of dreams. As everybody is different the device needs to be calibrated to each individual. The inspiration came from my own experience of lucid dreaming.”
Chris Sisarich’s photo series Somewhere In The Middle of Nowhere hits home here in Los Angeles, a city built in a desert. The series looks like it could have been anywhere around the world–saudi arabia, egypt, arizona, china, california– and speaks to our constant search for new places for sprawl development and the global warming it’s causing, to our persistance and the futileness of it all. Sisarich’s images, like the desert, are some of the driest, palest images i’ve seen in a while, and with humanity only peripherally represented, the might seem like predictions for our uncertain future. But they don’t feel pessimistic, just as if humanity was this interesting thing that out grew its planet and left behind some neat objects when it left. Whether or not you think the images are prophetic, optimistic, pessimistic, or anything else, they are at the lest very handsome images.
A smart new campaign launched on Earth Day (April 22) in Hong Kong has ambitious plans aimed at changing the littering epidemic the city is facing. Called ‘The Face of Litter’ and developed by The Hong Kong Cleanup, in partnership with Ecozine and The Nature Conservancy, it is a multi-media attempt to curve people’s messy habits. Groups of scientists have targeted certain areas around the city, and with the help of DNA phenotyping and specialized software, an image of the litter culprit is developed. Then by considering the type of litter found, and where in the city, an even more accurate description of the person and their demographic can be developed. The faces of the guilty litterbugs are then displayed around the city, in different bus stops, on billboards and on social media.
By publicly shaming people who drop their rubbish, The Hong Kong Cleanup hopes to drastically change their citizen’s habits. China and Indonesia are among the top polluters around the world, and now many people are acting to change this sooner rather than later.
95 per cent of marine refuse in Hong Kong comes from local sources, with over 80 per cent originating from land-based activities. Additionally, more than 70 per cent comprises plastic and foam plastic items. (Source)
Lisa Christensen, Founder and CEO of The Hong Kong Cleanup, says:
We are thrilled to be part of this innovative campaign, which is sure to have a positive impact on people and the community. Last year, during the six-week Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge, 418 teams comprising 51,064 participants, collected a total of 3,894,000 kilograms of litter from city streets, coastal area’s and country trails. Sadly, we suffer from a serious ‘pick up after me’ mentality, and this simply must change. (Source)