No regrets in Life is a series of human-sized pencil and charcoal portraits of individuals artist Joel Daniel Phillips sees everyday on his street corner in the mission neighborhood of San Francisco. The interesting thing about them is that most are homeless and literally live on that corner. They come from all walks of life, all races young and old. The work Phillips creates allow these folk to become human again and puts them at the forefront so they are the focus of our attention not the shadowy part we look to brush away.
Phillips looks to define the similarities between people of various economic backgrounds and connect them through the unifying element which make us all human. By seeking extremes he captures a poetic narrative. He works similar to an investigative reporter getting up close and personal then taking photos of his subjects. These impressions become muse for powerful drawings. The drawing doesn’t lie and Phillips captures the core of these forgotten citizens with meticulous rendering. As an artist of skill he’s able to keep a record and preserve a moment of our time. In his intuitive statement Phillips talks about the narratives he tries to capture and thinks we cannot know the human race until we draw them.
Sarah Bowman is a photographer based in Nanaimo, Canada, whose passion for portraiture and surrealist imagery has blossomed into this darkly beautiful series, entitled Maiden of Ravens. Made in collaboration with model/visionary Annalise Silverwolf, these images present a romantic, alternative world, wherein an ethereal goddess-figure stalks through the trees and underbrush. With sticks and grasses adorning her head and her forearms covered with what appears to be gauntlets of blood, she melds beautifully with the ominous environment, invoking the spirit of ravens — those beautiful and dark carrion birds that symbolize both life and death. The model’s pale skin and dark red dress add further to the series’ grimly alluring atmosphere. Sarah has done an excellent job accentuating the green and red tones, which highlight the ghostly and rain-wet beauty of Vancouver Island’s forests and swamps.
When I chatted briefly with Sarah about her photography and future projects, she expressed a burgeoning desire to collaborate with designers in the creation of fine art portraiture, as she is inspired by “whimsical, ethereal, and surreal creations.” As an artist, her utmost goal throughout all of her work is to “please [her] viewers and hope to overachieve their expectations,” while also “collaborating with models and […] mak[ing] them feel beautiful and extraordinary about their talent.” Given the depth, intricacy, and evocative power of Maiden of Ravens, there is no doubt that Sarah has indeed achieved and surpassed her creative and professional objectives. Follow her Facebook page and check out her website to keep up with her work as she continues to collaborate with more designers and models in the creation of surrealist, fine art imagery.
I’m back with another fantastic documentary from my netflix archives. I give you The Nomi Song!
Looks like an alien, sings like a diva – Klaus Nomi was one of the 1980s’ most profoundly bizarre characters. He was a cult figure in the New Wave underground scene, a genuine counter tenor who sang pop music like opera and brought opera to club audiences and made them like it. He was a performer with a “look” so strong, that his first audiences went wild before he even opened his mouth. Klaus presented himself as “the perfect video star” yet his star burned out just before the mass explosion of MTV. On the verge of international fame as a singer, he became instead one of the first gay artists to die of AIDS. In the end, his recorded output consists of re-reissues, in various forms, of only two LP’s and a live album. For those who do know him, the reaction he provoked was so strong, that he is still unforgettable, even 20 years after his death. Even now, Klaus is somehow still winning new fans among those too young to have known him when he was alive. And a quick check of the Internet reveals that all his records are still being sold.
French artist Fabian Mérelle creates surreal illustrations that are as nightmarish as they are beautiful. Rendering incredibly detailed scenes with a dark side, his depictions of monsters and strange creatures are reminiscent of Goya’s more sinister illustrations. Fabian Mérelle constructs fantastic and elaborate scenes of dreamlike proportion, stretching the imagination and filling our minds with mystery. Each scene is like a fairytale or fable that may not have a happy ending. The foul creatures that invade Mérelle’s intriguing work seem to have come from mythology or legend.
The drawings are showing an obsession for detail veering on mania and pointing out the precision of a line layed minutely with China ink. If he pays homage to the Little Nemo comics, he projects the spectator in a universe much more complex, mixing evil spirits, watches and childhood fears. -Fabian Mérelle
Many of Fabian Mérelle’s drawings are somewhat simple in nature, but speak volumes to the artist’s skill once we examine the attention to detail made with ink. His muted palette is balanced with a shadowy atmosphere and a hazy mood. What is so amazing about the artist’s work is that even the most bizarre subject is anatomically correct, even with gargoyles picking at the figure’s body, an elephant standing on its back, or when the figures is halfway turning into a fallen tree. Although holding an ominous tone, Mérelle’s illustrations captivate us and throw us head first into childlike imagination.
Sophia Narrett‘s detailed fictional scenes look like luscious oil paintings, but once you look closer, it’s clear they are a bit more special than that. She uses thread, wool and fibers to build dark and romantic narratives of men and women in group settings. The actions in each embroidery are at first unclear and seem a bit suspicious and foreboding. Her pieces are a bit like an illustration from a murder mystery. Growing up watching reality dating shows and reading books about romantic courtship and Victorian matchmaking practices, Narrett depicts a world that is cheesy, yet sublime and magical. The figures in her scenarios are camp characters in a glamorous story looking for happiness.
After switching from painting almost exclusively with oil paints to experimenting with embroidery and stitching, Narrett soon found the materials and techniques that suited her. She explains more to The Huffington Post:
As I continued working in embroidery I became interested in the repercussions that embroidery holds for the image and story, as well as the way that it dictates the process. As the emotionality of the narratives heightens to that of melodrama, the intense investment in the embroidery process required to create legible images speaks to the overwrought nature of the fantasy. (Source)
Her thread work is so rich and dense, the image seems to dripping of the canvas. Her work of beautiful fiction features women throughout, and Narrett is happy to connect the subject matter to the historical connection of embroidery being ‘women’s work’. She says this about the subject:
Of course, the embroidery connotes the tradition of embroidery as women’s work, as well as the feminist artists who subverted that history, while the paintings carry the weight of or are bolstered by the history of painting. Still I would say that my use of both mediums is primarily as a conduit for visual ideas. (Source)
And she expresses her ideas of fantasy, romance, courtship and magic beautifully. See more of her work after the jump.
Flemish artist Filip Dujardin often uses digital manipulation to create not-so-unbelievable architectural fictions. Juxtaposing his Orwell-ian structures of corrugated metal against antiquated fireplaces he shines a rather dismal light on our architectural future. But, if there’s one thing HGTV has taught me it’s that with some new drapes and a fresh coat of paint nothing is impossible!
Sculptor John Bisbee has been working exclusively with nails for the last 30 years. He finds seemingly endless ways to bend, weld, hammer and manipulate the nails into large, striking, elegant sculptures. His installations include large wall murals of geometric patterns, three dimensional flower shapes, robust seed pods, intricate star bursts, and delicately twisted spirals. Most of his forms are based off ideas of flora or fauna, on either a magnified or minute scale. He proves that even an industrial material can be coerced into something graceful, and even flimsy.
Bisbee’s mantra is “only nails, always different”, and he uses it as a guideline or reminder that you don’t need much to push the boundaries and to be creative. Narrowing his materials down even further, he has for the last decade limited himself to 12 inch steel nails known as ‘bright common’. Treating the nails as lines, Bisbee says there is not much he can’t do with this wonder material.
Bisbee discovered the potential for nails completely by chance. While rummaging through an abandoned house during his years as a college student, looking for raw materials, he came across a lump of nails, fused together in the shape of the bucket that had held them. He then proceeded to explore just how far he could corrupt the nature of nails and used them as a drawing tool and as an inspiration in and of themselves.
You think that you would sort of choke off your options and potential, the more you keep excavating a single item, but I find it’s the opposite – it explodes. There are so many amazing tangents that I haven’t had the time to take; so many great insights that are buried years back, so it’s ever expanding, this mundane object. I’m quite happy saying now that I will only work with nails. (Source)