Photographer Julie Blackmon is the eldest of nine and current mother of three. Drawing inspiration from her own life experiences and also the paintings of Jan Steen, a 17th centure Dutch genre painter, she creates rich tableaux of family life.
Bypassing the idea of parenthood as a prison sentence, trapping the adult away from his or her “real” life, Blackmon, instead, reminds us of how valuable domestic life is to our own sense of dreaming– examining the home as a magical place where fantasy and reality merge together to empower community, creativity, and inner exploration. It is a place that we can remember fondly, lovingly, and longingly. Even if our childhood was less than perfect, there are still flashes of brilliance in the everyday quiet interludes that Blackmon seems to address with ease and specificity.
The sculptures of artist Takahiro Komuro feel conspicuously out of place in the real world. They nearly seemed to have been plucked from the video games, cartoons, and comics of a twenty-somthing’s childhood. Mutant superheros and villains, video game bosses, the often dramatic story lines of each perhaps reflected the anxieties of our parents at the time. Komuro’s sculptures capture this strange balance of youth and play on the one hand and deeper fears on the other.
“In my artwork I always use printed matter – discarded books, magazines, and computer printouts; the cultural debris of our information society. The sculptures I create reference Eastern and Western icons and intellectual figures, thereby exploring cultural meanings and concepts. I always use text in my work and the content of the texts are relevant to my sculptures. My finished sculptures often seem to be wood or marble, though they consist of paper. They are constructed in such a way that the various parts fit together in a seamless manner.” – Chen Long-Bin, from Volta NY
Phillip Toledano’sPhonesex project reveals not just the identity of operators who answer the phone when you call a 1-900 number, but their desires, fears, motivations, and most memorable calls.
A contract of mutual self-delusion exists between the caller and phone sex operator. The caller imagines he is speaking to his most secret fantasy-and the operator willingly plays the part.
A phone sex operator must be able understand the caller’s wants. But more importantly, they must be able to decrypt the unspoken desires. Those things that are too preposterous, too scandalous, or humiliating to articulate.
From a few mumbled words, a phone sex operator must weave and finely detailed fantasy encounter. It requires a vivid imagination, acting ability, and above all, a deep understanding of the human appetite. What do we crave? What words have the maximum yield? What tone will most effectively reach into a man’s trousers?
Alison Moritsugu is an artist based in Beacon, NY, who paints pieces of fallen trees with scenes of idealized nature. Her works recall the landscape paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly those of Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church. Following the contours of the logs, she revisions their origins as trees, painting deep forests, still lakes, mountain waterfalls, and autumnal skies. The log paintings serve a dual function: first, to acknowledge and meditate on the beauty of nature, much like the artists of the Hudson River School did; second, to contrast this romanticism with the signs of its destruction—the dead wood on which the scenes appear.
“My work reveals how idealized images of the land shape our concept of the natural world—in essence, how our experiences are mediated by the mechanisms of art and culture,” Moritsugu writes in her artist’s statement (Source). Throughout history, artists have appropriated and interpreted nature, turning lush imagery into cultural symbols of peace, exploration, sublimity, and abundance. These were the types of stories that fostered an idea that nature was somehow separate from us, a land of fantasy that eventually grew to be exploited. Today, as Moritsugu points out, “photoshopped images of verdant forests and unspoiled beaches invite us to vacation and sightsee, providing a false sense of assurance that the wilderness will always exist” (Source). By producing a conflict between the serene imagery and the dead wood, Moritsugu faces us with our roles in the environment’s uncertain future.
Will Ainley is bringing weird back! His illustrations are all about creatures with spindly arms, crazy teeth, and funky personalities. You have to wonder what a conversation might be like with one of them; they seem like they could be friendly, maybe just misunderstood, but sweet. His portfolio consists mainly of pencil illustrations and vector work, sometimes together, sometimes separate; Ainley’s Prog Rock Monster is a cool example of how he drafts and produces his creatures, down to the last detail. He’s got a great sense of color, and adds a lot of character to his illustrations by exploring line theory, texture, and distortion. More after the jump!
Cari Vander Yacht animates old photographs she found in thrift stores located near her hometown in Portland, Oregon. For the Amsterdam-based art director’s side project, TGIMGIF (Thank God It’s Monday Graphic Interchange Format), she breathes humor and new life into photographs that have been abandoned. Vander Yacht says she stares at the photos until she finds herself giggling over her animation ideas; she then scans and digitally manipulates the images until they become the animation she envisions. Her only rule is that she has to use the elements already in the photograph. Of her acquisition of these old photos, Vander Yacht tells Fast Company, “At a certain point, one must justify their creepy acquisition of other people’s pasts. Either you make up stories about how you’re related to the people in the pictures or you animate them.” Vander Yacht’s website is currently down for maintenance, but you can view more of her work on Tumblr. (via fast company)