C. Owen is a Chicago-based artist who creates eerie, black-and-white portraits of insects and animals — particularly those that have died or have been resurrected as taxidermied objects. The series featured here, titled Ordinary Overlooked, explores the alien beauty of dead insects that Owen finds outside or in the corners and windowsills of her house. With a strange alertness and intimacy, the images capture with startling detail the characteristics of each tiny body — such as the hairy legs, segmented antennae, and compound eyes — that otherwise go unnoticed. What was once creepy and “ordinary” becomes familiar and nuanced. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Owen explains:
The insect world is something the average human rarely pays any close attention to — that is, unless they are invading your home. Something ordinary as a moth, housefly, or ant can easily be overlooked and considered a pest. For me, they have opened my eyes to a tiny new world. […] The more I photograph these insects, the stronger my curiosity grows.
What makes Owen’s images especially uncanny are the states of limbo they portray. Floating in surreal, nocturnal worlds, each insect carries the illusion of life while curled in the postures of death. As manifestations of uncertainty and ephemerality, they are transformed through the camera’s gaze into sentient ghosts, lost in purgatory; “taken in one hair at a time, the images are suspended somewhere between metamorphosis and reincarnation,” Owen writes. The result is a series of contemplative photographs that provide both the time and focus in which to foster respect while exploring the beauty of alternate, living worlds.
Visit Owen’s website to view more of her work, including Trophies, a haunting portraiture series of taxidermied animals who likewise trouble us with the indistinctness between life and death.
Usually I don’t get too excited about shows on PBS but I have to say that Art:21 is by far the best thing i’ve ever watched on public television. If you’re not familiar with the show, Art: 21 is the only prime time show dedicated exclusively to contemporary artists. Each season follows 14 of the biggest names in the art world as they walk you through their conceptual process, studio practice and share rare behind the scenes footage of work in progress. Some of my favorite episodes from previous seasons include the legendary interview with Barry Mcgee and his wife Margaret Kilgallen and LA painter Lari Pittman. This is a must see show for anyone interested in the international contemporary art world.
Mike Frederiqo is a 23-year-old Dutch illustrator with a healthy dose of talent and humor. You may have seen his other works circulating the internet, including his combinations of BAPE’s fashion logo with Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, or his images of Sponge Bob as Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Terry Richardson, and more. In his more recent series, he has taken his illustrative interpretations of the fashion world a bit further, utilizing the bodies and faces of high fashion icons and their collaborators to recreate famous logos. Among the images you’ll see Lagerfeld and choice model Cara Delevingne completing exaggerated backbends with elongated arms and legs to form Coco Chanel’s interlocking Cs; elsewhere, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour twists into the name “Vogue” (while holding what appears to be a Starbucks coffee). In an interview with Life and Times, Frederiqo explained his inspiration for the series:
“You see so many illustrators taking those famous logos and making fun of them — almost in a negative way. So, I wanted to do something in a positive way with the logos that were recognizable. And what is more recognizable than the Coco Chanel logo?” (Source)
Based in good humor and playfulness, Frederiqo’s stylish logo recreations have a way of grabbing our attention and making us laugh. Logos are a vital part of a brand’s identity, representing their international, high-ranking status and presence. Frederiqo’s illustrations remind us of the real human beings behind these labels; we recognize the logos (and the significance of their names in the fashion world), but when given faces, they become lighthearted, tangible, and funny. Frederiqo’s works poke fun while also nodding in homage.
Barcelona-based artist Elisa Ancori‘s illustrations are somewhat arcane in nature, like drawings of dryads or nymphs. A common characteristic in Ancori’s artwork seems to be that of metamorphosis, blending animal and human forms. One of her collections is a play on the word: “Metamorfish,” with an aquatic theme throughout.
The allure of her work is in the matter-of-fact anatomical nature of each piece. Even though the subject is fantastical, she isn’t heavyhanded or tongue-in-cheek with her flavor of surrealism. There’s a subtlety to her illustrations. She treats both the grotesque and the sensual with a light hand; the crook of an inviting finger is shaded just as delicately as the soft petal pink of a mermaid’s innards. (via I Need a Guide)
A few months back one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles was closed down so that a bridge could be taken down. The entire city was in a panic dubbing the weekend of closed freeway access Carmageddon. Luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad but I always wished I could see the process of taking down such a large bridge in just a few days. Filmmaker James Miller recently heard about a similar situation in the UK and jumped on the chance to videotape the process. Shot in gorgeous time lapse you can now witness what it’s like to take down a major bridge in just 24 hours. Watch James’ video after the jump.