Photographer Shanna Allyn is the master of a universe where women are covered in kittens, faces are obscured with food, and they have eyes like a cartoon character. Her series, Strange Beautiful, is, not surprisingly, strange. This coupled with Allyn’s style of photography (which seems less focused on technical aspect and more on documentation) takes the viewer through a bizarre world where there are more questions than answers.
In a statement about her work written by T. Martin Crouse, co-founder of the publisher Sic Semper Serpent, he describes it as, “The use of quirky objects combined with the locations and postures of her models creates a sense of surrealism. Out of place props in a variety of lateral interpretations have a strong effect.” Later, he goes on to say, “In Shanna’s universe of tampon cigarettes and hotdog mouthpieces, who really has control?” That statement itself is absurd and captures the essence of what Allyn is trying to do. These photographs record what goes on in her world, which is comprised mostly of a group of women with cartoonish eyes. They wear them as a mask, allowing them to look unaffected and apathetic. Nothing phases them, and we don’t immediately understand their motivations.
I see Allyn as a documentarian, capturing images that aren’t full of tension or sadness, but just show a day in the life of Strange Beautiful. The emotions that these models don’t show is compensated by our associations to objects in the images and content she presents.
Hailing from Houston, TX (home of the Geto Boys) and holding an MFA from Cornell, artist Mindy Kober paints scenes inspired by the images on the backs of those state commemorative quarters. Inspired is the operative word here – Kober uses a great deal of imagination in her humorous recreations of the scenes, often incorporating imagery from current American pop culture.
In the sculptural works of Jessica Lichtenstein, the idealized female form is presented in a highly, sexually, charged way. Appropriated from Japanese porno anime known as “Manga”, she reverses the original intent and renders a suggestive study of freedom and empowerment. In lighthearted narratives, her perfect muses flutter amongst a pile of designer bags, sip Starbucks, or work au naturel in the painting studio. These happy go lucky motifs were actually an escape for Lichtenstein’s own depression. Even though trained as an artist, she worked as a lawyer for many years. The daily grind got her down and she would escape through art projects. After creating her first successful exhibit featuring the girls, she listened to her inner voice, and quit law for good to pursue art full time. Not wanting to repeat herself, she decided to pursue another direction for her follow up. Instead of using dolls, she created pictorial likenesses of the girls which were scanned onto three dimensional word sculptures. These solid pieces constructed on aluminum and acrylic, depict scenes ranging from a war on words to sexual liberation. Technically hung on a wall, the different base materials give the pieces depth and become a solid looking glass into a host of childlike indulgences. Seasons, came next and stepped her into more introspective territory. The different times of year are portrayed through seasonal trees whose leaves are entirely composed of Manga figures. Its optical illusion triggers a highly emotional response from the viewer stemming from the clever placement of the artist’s nubile subjects.
London-based artist Gerry Judah has been widely known for his large-scale outdoor installations. Especially noteworthy are his works commissioned for such famous car brands as Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and others. Collaborating with the sponsors, Judah has created a series of gravity-defying suspended installations featuring scale-sized model cars shooting as high as 35 meters in the sky.
Gerry Judah has been building his car-themed sculptures since 1997. His tremendous structures have always been a sight at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex, England. Judah works extensively with steel. Naturally the amount of it consumed for each installation can go as high as whopping 175 tonnes (Jaguar, 2011). Despite the rugged material, Judah’s structures seem to be incredibly lightweight flexible. His works are particularly appreciated for the cohesion with the style of cars they represent. Here’s Judah talking about the design of Porsche 911 monument (above):
”The 911 is a fantastic shape that can’t be deconstructed or embellished, so in this context, the sculpture had to provide the right platform for the car to soar up and shine in the sky. <…> The concept was that each car is shooting into the sky, supporting one another, racing each other, captured in a perfect moment. Like the cars it displays, the sculpture is superbly engineered, lightweight and reflective of the Porsche 911 itself: simple, pure and built for the job.”
His latest work for Mercedes-Benz (below) features a 160-tonne steel sculpture with two Mercedes-Benz cars passing each other in midair. The installation is 90 meters long and soars 26 meters into the sky. It celebrates the 120-years-anniversary of motorsport heritage by Mercedes-Benz.
I absolutely love Ben Newman’s gorgeous illustrations that have a beautiful vintage feel to them. I doubt they were created using old printmaking techniques but I’m just going to close my eyes and Imagine Ben working away in a little cottage full of printmaking presses making ornate illustrations full brilliant texture and delicately faded color.
Jakub Pollág, a designer who works alongside Václav Mlynář out of Studio DeForm, has created a device that he hopes will “democratize the tattoo industry”: a Personal Tattoo Machine. Now, people wanting to ink their bodies with personally meaningful art can do it in the privacy of their own home, bypassing the need for tattoo shops and long waitlists. The unit, as demonstrated in the video above, is compact, affordable, and comes with all the necessary equipment, such as tubes, rubber gloves, antiseptic lotion, and sterile needles.
“The aim is to enhance tattoos that are not about aesthetics, instead their main function is to reflect meaningful memories,” Pollág explained to Designboom. “Due to their permanent nature, it is important that they are honest and exclusive” (Source). This suggests that the intention, experience, and act of tattooing—that is, the commemoration of a moment, which will live as long as you do—is just as valuable as the finished piece.
Whether you still want to commission an artist to create your design (and many of us squeamish or less artistically-inclined folk may still choose to do that), or you trust your own creativity and steady hand, Pollág’s device is an intriguing idea for truly customizing your tattoo. It doesn’t get more personal than this. Learn more about the Personal Tattoo Machine here. (Via The Creators Project)
Hm, I almost have no words for the demon-clown-spawn’s new video for the song “Miracles” off their latest album. In the vid, the group ponders the simple joys and inexplicable curiosities of life’s treasure trove…lay down their horrorcore antics, and just float through cheesy galactic space, lyrics, and “fucking rainbows.” SNL made their tribute of course, after the jump.