To celebrate the release of Swoon‘s new monograph, we have teamed up with Abrams to provide a unique promotional giveaway & editorial. All you have to do is use the word “Swoon” in a sentence and leave it as a comment at the end of this post for a chance to win a copy of her new book! We’ll select three lucky winners in total- so choose your words wisely and contribute your most creative sentences! Confused on what an award-winning sentence looks like? Bad sentence: “Basically Swoon’s stuff is pretty cool and kinda nice.” Winning sentence: “Awake forever in a sweet unrest, still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, and so, live ever– or else Swoon to death.”
If that’s not enough, we’ve also conducted an exclusive, behind-the-scenes interview that gives insight into Swoon’s work. Who knows- maybe you’ll find inspiration for your winning sentence! Read on to find out more about the process of creating her book, how Swoon rifled through her personal archives to create unique spreads, her surprising reaction when the book was finally in her hands, as well as her inspirational, one-of-a-kind mentality towards the creative process and more.
Marci Macguffie’s work ride the line between relief sculptures and wall paintings. My favorite works are her When Animals Attack series (pictured above) which have a great playful nature to them while dealing with issues of space and abstraction.
Street artist Sy creates cleanly crafted murals. Rather than a hurriedly executed work, Sy’s pieces appear to be carefully planned to the extent of nearly seeming more at home in Adobe Illustrator than on an alley wall. Sy clearly references and draws inspiration from 8-bit graphics and the block y polygons of early computer animation. However, the simplistic graphics style really betray an expert use of light and perspective. Subtle color shifts and familiar imagery in a surprising context add depth to the murals of Sy.
Diana Chryzynska’s photoshop-ed female faces seem surprising natural upon first sight. With most of the pieces of a normal face present, the viewer’s brain mashes them together to make sense of them, when actually they’re quite reworked. It’s fascinating how well your brain is able to reconcile two noses and two mouths sandwiched between two hands with eyes on top. Somehow, it takes a few seconds to realize what you’re seeing is completely surreal. Of course you realize what you’re looking at isn’t quite right, but it takes a while for your brain to sort out exactly what that is.
Maybe what makes the images more consumable is the appealing features: big eyes, luscious lips, unblemished skin. I don’t think it’s that, though. It’s like when you read a word like baeufitul, and your brain is able to organize it into beautiful (with some coaxing). The see-through hands over the faces are the most interesting in terms of theme. They feel like veils, hiding the strange faces from view, though not entirely. It feels like the women are hiding their mixed up faces, but some are peaceful while others are confrontational. Most close their eyes, but the confrontational ones stare out from behind their hands, self-consciously aware of their strange arrangement.
Julie Watai is a photographer and contemporary artist whose acid-bright, digitized works draw heavily on the worlds of Japanese manga, anime, and otaku culture. Distorted-yet-realistic, Watai combines images from pop cultural fantasies — from gun-slinging anime girls, to cyborgs, to “kawaii” dolls — with 3D (real-world) imagery, creating a glitch-type portraiture that excites and overloads the imagination. In a fascinating interview with The Creator’s Project, Watai explains how she seeks to unsettle reality using her love for manga and hyper-futurism:
“One thing that all my artwork has in common is that I never try to portray too much reality. I was really influenced by the two-dimensional world of manga as an adolescent, so I always try to get rid of things like pores or the texture of skin. I try to make the models smooth-skinned like dolls. I try to create images that allow people to experience the best parts of photography and 2D or planar art at the same time.” (Source)
Channeling surreal imagery from Tokyo’s digital-culture underground, Watai’s images are also informed by interesting perspectives on the female body, youth, and the “kawaii craze.” In regards to Watai’s choice of female models, she explained to The Creator’s Project that her photography acts as a way to preserve beauty: “you capture that beauty forever, even when it no longer exists” (Source). Many of Watai’s photos feature herself. In these images, she is achieving ownership over an ephemeral moment, converting the fleetingness of beauty and youth — including her own — into digitized immortality.
Watai’s works are also imbued with a playfully critical twist. Highlighting the obsession with youth in kawaii and otaku culture, Watai’s images consciously spill over into the aesthetic realms of excess and the grotesque: colors clash violently against each other, teddy bears overrun bodies, and girls mesh provocatively with machines against hyperbolic, interstellar backdrops. In a postmodern blend of celebration and critique, Watai depicts fantasy cultures with the same passion and power that drives them.
In addition to photography, Watai also expresses her love for computers and gadgets through her work as an iPhone Apps developer, musician, and radio personality. Last month she was invited to attend the Maker Faire Shenzhen in China. Be sure to check out her website and Facebook page to follow her work. (Via The Creators Project)
Artist Berlinde De Bruyckere‘s installations are disturbing. Horses, apparently deformed or mutilated, are scattered throughout the gallery. Some are draped lifeless; others are seem to be frozen while flailing in panic. The forms are clearly horses, their shape undeniable. However their faces are elusive and missing as if in a nightmare. De Bruyckere’s installation’s inspire conflicting feelings of compassion, disgust, and fear. It should be mentioned that none of these horses were killed or harmed for the art work. Rather, De Bruyckere selected the horses while alive but did not use their bodies until they died of natural causes.
In the depths of East London, artist Lucy Sparrow ambitiously converted an abandoned, rundown store into a majestic, playful and fully functional corner shop. The only catch is that every single object in this store, including the cash register and the functional pricing gun, is made out of felt! Everything has been stitched and created by Sparrow herself out of nothing but felt, thread, and the occasional stuffing. Last year, when The Cornershop was “opened” it was filled to the brim with normal, everyday items that a grocery shop may have in stock, but instead, made of felt. The items included ice cream, cans of soup, Doritos, beer, and even cigarettes, just to name a few. The variety of items that were sold at the store was endless. The best part about this corner shop is that it functioned as a real store. A customer could enter the store, shop, purchase the felt items, and take them home. Sparrow’s felt creations became so popular that she even opened up an online shop where anyone in the world can purchase his or her own soft food and cigarettes.
Each grocery store product looked impressively similar to its real-life counterpart, in spite of being made out of felt, with the exception of Sparrow’s vegetables with eyes, of course. While The Cornershop was opened, it contained over 4,000 soft, plush items. The painstaking task of creating each individual grocery item out of felt and embroidery speaks volumes to the artist’s patience and artistic talent. (via The Jealous Curator)