Feng Zhengquan, born in 1976, lives and works in China. His oil paintings place contemporary candy-like imagery of lipsticks, cosmetics, fruit, foliage, and creatures: all reminiscent of contemporary Asian pop culture, into old world spatial compositions– think Dong Yuan, to examine the abstraction of contemporary spaces or environments. How much of our own landscape history is virtual and how much is physical? The blurring of both is what draws us to these pieces regardless of nationality.
A while back we did a tribute shirt to one of my favorite bands Bad Brains. They have been a constant staple on my playlist as long as I can remember. Not only were they one of the first African American punk bands to become well known, but they were also one of the most influential bands in the last 40 years, inspiring everyone from Janes Addiction to In Living Color to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. There’s something about the stripped down energy and versatile range that I always found refreshing in a sea of bands that sounded and looked alike.
Bad Brains never got the recognition that they truly deserved. Especially since they influenced many bands that have gone on to become some of the biggest acts today. Since I’m such a fan of the underdog, I thought I’d share the following mini documentaries and music videos with you in hopes of reminding those of you who are fans, and those of you who have not heard of them, about how ground breaking this little band from Washington DC really was. PMA!
Is that a plane? A bird? Or perhaps, a Cursor Kit? Nerd alert! Very little is known about this kite. It seems to be bringing the desktop of your computer outdoors (pfff, finally). Quad-line control, asymmetrical framing, nearly invisible hand-formed stainless fittings, and opposed-bow tensioning for the sail make this incredible kite look digitally pasted right into the sky. Read more to watch a video of it in motion.
The artist Ashkan Honarvar, previously featured here, is transfixed by the gruesomeness of the body and cruelty of human nature; in his multimedia creations, he asks that we come face-to-face with the painful, dark cavities of our minds, painting a visual diary of fear, violence, and revulsion. His series Faces 5 hopes to capture the trauma of soldiers whose faces have been deformed and marked by war. Sandwiched between the comparably somber Faces 4 and 6, the series presents subjects with tragically mutilated features dripping in uncomfortably sweet confections made of paint and candy.
As the delicious veers into the grotesque, seemingly saccharine sweet-shop elements become markers of unknowable trauma and nightmare. The gluttony of mankind for violence and brutality are laid bare, and the hunger elicited by the images is tinged with guilt. Our craving for cruelty is equated with the natural and relatively innocent desire for sweets, and the instinctual impulse to do harm is seen as disturbingly tempting, seductive, and indulgent.
In these painfully intimate and personal portraits, the sugar-coated wounds become windows into psychological injury inflicted by violence, evoking in viewers anxious feelings of nausea and disgust. The unnerving pepto-bismal hue of thick, gooey paint highlights the desperation of a mouth blown-off, and coils of green licorice swirl across the face like snakes. These injuries are seen as parasites; the sugared treats stick hard to the face, as if to multiply and remain there to rot the flesh beneath. Take a look. (via HiFructose)
Craftsy is an online art class company and community that offers hundreds of different arts and crafts eguides, online classes and other tools for sparking your inner creativity and honing new skills. With progressive video components, a personalized accessible platform and incredibly affordable prices and free resources, Craftsy makes art education available to all. Take advantage of Craftsy’s exclusive offer for Beautiful/Decay readers to enter in a giveaway to win Micah’s class valued at 34.99 by following this link! Narrative Portraiture: Painting in Acrylic is an engaging class in both technical and conceptual arenas, and we are proud to say it’s taught by a friend and colleague of Beautiful/Decay: Micah Ganske.
Micah Ganske received his MFA at Yale and has exhibited widely, including in Art Basel Miami. His gorgeous, thought provoking painted works are featured here, along with images of class demos. As an accomplished professional artist whose goal is “to make work which inspires and engages the viewer in what I truly believe is important and what drives me,” Ganske passes his insights and technical skill onto his students in an interactive online class that students can take at their own pace, anytime, anywhere.
Decadent desserts are paired with sexy legs in Argentinian-based artist Camila Valdez’s series of life and table-sized sculptures. The faceless beings are placed in public and are posed on benches, seen exiting restaurants, and enjoying a picnic in the park. Despite the fact they can’t convey emotion through eyes or a mouth, Valdez has made their legs expressive. They are straight and together if trying to look pensive, or partially open as if trying to suggest something else.
This series literally objectifies women and compares them to a sugary treat that will rot your treat and should be enjoyed only every-so-often. At the same time, they reference outdated objects from the middle of the 20th century, where legs were attached to things like lamps (as seen in the film A Christmas Story). Valdez pokes fun at this absurd and fantastical objectification of the population. (Via HiFructose)
Tobias Stretch presents his latest work… a music video; Tobias is both a master in character development & a master puppeteer .
Rachel Perry Welty reconstitutes supermarket labels and flyers, receipts, twist ties, fruit stickers, and many other products you’d find in the world of consumer junk to create obsessive photo installations.