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Fragments From The After Dark: Maxime Ballesteros Captures The Intense And Intimate Moments Of Nightlife

Merle in Black on the Bed

Merle in Black on the Bed

Les yeux dans les yeux

Les yeux dans les yeux

Half-Bride

Half-Bride

First Date

First Date

Maxime Ballesteros is Berlin-based photographer who captures the strange, incidental, and oft-intense encounters that punctuate our late-night sojourns into debauchery, pleasure, and excess. The openness and playfulness of his subjects (many of whom are his friends) denotes a party that has reached a fevered, dissociative pitch. Not unlike the fragmentary memories flickering through the brain after a night of indulgence, his photos always suggest there is a much greater narrative going on: from cars abandoned along a dark roadside, to entangled legs, to people kissing and groping in the company of others, we are privy to only one piece from such nighttime revelry, making us curious voyeurs into a fleeting moment from a stranger’s erotic and/or emotional life.

Something happens to us human creatures after nightfall – our energy changes, an “edge” develops that wasn’t there while the sun was still shining. We become desiring, sensate, and slightly odd night-dwellers. Given the recurring images of heels and garter belts and glimpses into the world of BDSM, it is not surprising that Ballesteros’ repertoire is commonly identified as “provocative” and “sexual.” However, it is important not to reduce his photography to such; Ballesteros expresses that his “work is [only] as provocative and sexual as the world is,” and that we interpret sex in everything because — of course — it’s what “driv[es] us most” (Source). What he also explores is the humor, beauty, pain, and gracelessness that motivate and underwrite these late-night experiences.

The way Ballesteros manages to capture the honesty and frankness of these experiences lies in his photographic techniques. His core tactic, in his own words? To “get lost” (Source), to become invisible in his surroundings while remaining receptive to the energy of the people around him, so that he can decipher people’s facades and understand the true dynamics of an encounter. With his camera, he tries to get in close; he avoids re-cropping so that the image is a true representation of that moment; and he uses a high flash, centering the object or body of interest. The result is raw, stark images that confront you with their candor and intensity. And even when his work dips into the surreal — the latex-clad woman screaming while being pushed down a hallway in a wheelchair, for example — the photos still bear a realist, honest aesthetic, as if they truly could be moments from a strange, semi-lucid night.

Following Ballesteros’ wisdom, I encourage all readers to “get lost” in his website, where he has organized his collections under such intriguing titles as “entre chien et loup” and “love me – i’m trying.” You can read an interview with Sang Blue here. The Corner Berlin also features a fascinating video of Ballesteros comparing the nightlife in Paris to that in Berlin. More of Ballesteros’ work after the jump.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Die Antwoord’s Got Major (Evil Boy) Wood! NSFW

I want to write something clever but i’m speechless. Lets just say Die Antwoord makes MIA look like choir girl. Mind Blown!

ps. I’m gassin’ up the B/D jumbo Jet to go to South Africa so we can figure out what the fuck is going on over there. Who’s coming with me?

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CHELSEA DIRCK


Chelsea Dirck is an art student majoring in Art Education and Fibers at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts. I met her through the DIY punk scene five years ago, and her drawings are still resonant with the energy, sincerity, and immediacy of that time period. Dirck’s artwork is often derived from her innumerable personal journals, some of which have recently been released as zines. These zines are full of emotive jottings and ink drawings that are paired with humorous or poignant words and slogans – oftentimes directly referring to Dirck’s personal life. The drawings in her zines are influenced by such disparate quarters as advertising, comics, Internet memes, David Shrigley’s drawings, the book More Things Like This, and other forms of text and image combination – which seems to be the predominant mode of expression for us “Millennials.”

Dirck’s journal-based artwork seems almost tailor-made for Internet distribution through sites like Tumblr, where she has cultivated a sizable following. However, she has recently expanded her art practice to include mediums where physicality is a central concern: embroidery, quilt-making, and large-scale drawings. With an upcoming show this spring at MassArt and an ongoing relationship with the Boston gallery Lincoln Arts Project, Dirck seems to be coming into her own – just in time for her 24th birthday, which, by the way, is today. So go do some celebratory pillaging of her Etsy for prints, originals drawings, postcards, and zines of many of the images found after the jump.

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Photographer Gives Roadkill Proper Burial Ceremonies

Fox, from the series At Rest

Owl, from the series At Rest

Pheasant, from the series At Rest

Emma Kisiel‘s series of photographs At Rest is as intriguing as it is simple.  Kisiel happens upon animals that have died, typically roadkill, and sparsely decorates the site.  Simply by placing stones and flowers around the carcass, Kisiel draws attention and returns a certain dignity to each animal.  Typically these animals are only seen from inside a car as it momentarily passes.  Kisiel says of her interaction with the animals in the series:

“They are happened upon, visited with, remembered, and left to return to nature.”  [via]

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Oat Montien’s Mystical Illustrations

 

Central Saint Martins MA grad Oat Montien does some really nice illustration work that’s filled with fantasy. He often features young, isolated male figures in his work positioned in and amongst quietly rendered, slightly dark alternate worlds. Also, his stuff is stylistically on point. I particularly like the trees in the work pictured above. Montien, who’s worked with Universal Music among other clients, probably arrived at his mystically-oriented approach naturally. He grew up in a “superstitious family” and is the great grandson of a “heroic shaman”. More images of Oat Montien’s work, including a few from his MA project, Journey of a Mystic Lost, after the jump.

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Analysis Creature

animabase_gardener_600size

Gardener

 

Inspired by a nightmare, “Analysis Creature” is Wonman Kim (Animabase)’s series full of  weird and strange skeletal and mechanic creatures.  Each piece is like an x-ray of a unique creature from her brain.  He is currently working as a graphic designer, illustrator, and conceptual artist in Seoul, South Korea. 

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Rona Pondick

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Combining steel cast human body parts with various members of the animal kingdom, Rona Pondick has been riffing on the art world’s fascination with physical transformation for over a decade. Her animal/human hybrid sculptures look like the monsters in my nightmares!

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Amie Luczkowski Gibson Sculpts Mystical Characters Into Ceramic Planters, Cups, And More

Amie Luczkowski Gibson - Ceramics

Eye Vase

Eye Vase

April & May

April & May

Multi Eye Cup

Multi Eye Cup

Amie Luczkowski Gibson is an Australian artist who creates unique, otherworldly characters in the form of planters, cups, sculptures, and necklaces. Each piece is uniquely molded with its own bizarre facial features and expressions. Recurrent throughout the works are organic shapes and multiplicities, with numerous faces sprouting from the same head or clusters of eyes rippling across ceramic skin. Most of the faces appear contemplative, as if lost in a dream or seeing into another world, emanating a sense of neutrality, wisdom, and intangible mysticism. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Amie explained the main sources of inspiration for her imagery:

I love how different everyone looks and how there is such beauty in that. Beauty in difference. I get inspired by people’s face shapes, lines, scars — I make my pieces to be as unique as people are. I also get really inspired by the vibe and aura a person gives off more than anything. […] I don’t know how I would describe my work, really. Weird, ugly, and interesting is what most people say about it. Each work is usually based on someone I have seen or met, or just some people’s general energy.

Artists like Amie remind us of the importance of supporting independent artists. As a one-woman show, Amie spends an incredible amount of resources crafting her designs, which — given the time it takes to fire the ceramics — is a  process that can last days. Despite the tendency of our consumerist society to rely on and purchase mass-produced goods, Amie is working hard to produce art lovingly crafted by her own hands and individual vision.

Amie has recently relaunched her online shop, which can be visited here. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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