Photographer Peter Stewart captures the pulsating neon guts of Hong Kong from a unique perspective. Standing at the bottom of dizzying skyscrapers and towering apartment buildings, Stewart offers us a glimpse of modern architecture as a force of nature. Each floor of the buildings he photographs looks like the ring of a tree, surreal in their orderliness.
In an interview with The Creators Project, Stewart explains how he chooses his subjects. “All it takes really is a keen eye for finding the beauty in the monotonous,” he says. “The everyday structures that we often fail to appreciate.”
The collection is called “Stacked – Hong Kong,” a fitting name. From some angles, the buildings almost look like life-sized Lego blocks. Oddly, the photographs do not impart a sense of claustrophobia, but rather a peaceful calm. The bright colors and little personal flourishes — a balcony-dwelling plant here, a line of fresh laundry there — are tell-tale signs of human life. It’s almost a little too calm — where are all the city’s inhabitants?
Still, rather than looking post-apocalyptic, Stewart’s portrait of Hong Kong is dreamy rather than dismal. It’s as though the city is asleep or simply waiting, holding its breath.
Some artists may use oil paint, acrylic, or watercolor as their medium of choice but Matthew Cusick chooses to create his ultra detailed imagery using the medium of maps. Cusick slices and dices maps of all sizes, colors, and regions to create fantastical images that take you down undiscovered routes and send you on an epic visual voyage. Lets hope you don’t need to stop and ask for directions?
“AMKK is a company developing the experimental creation by Makoto Azuma, a flower artsit, whose subject is flowers and plants. The activities of AMKK aim to increase the existential value of plants by finding out the most mysterious figure only owned by flowers and plants and converting it to the artistic expression.”
Makoto Azuma’s work with plants are really extraordinary. Using plastic and real materials, he crafts furniture, installation, and sculpture with a particular natural, earthy aesthetic. Chairs made out of artificial turf, installations of leaves that seem to endlessly fold into themselves, and human/tree pseudo-mutations are just a few of the things he’s done so far. Azuma also runs an haute couture flower shop (I didn’t know such a thing existed) called Jardins des Fleurs in Tokyo. (via)
With spring around the corner I can’t help but think about flowers, which led me to consider Anna Schuleit’s installation Bloom, 2003, a site-specific installation at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston. Though now over ten years old I feel the idea that art and beauty can heal is a powerful and ever-relevant concept. The installation consisted of over 28,000 flowers, 5,600 square feet of live sod and recorded sound that played over the old public service announcement system. The flowers and sod filled four floors of the historic building and the basement hallways.
The building, which was slated for demolition, had a long and complicated history, having hosted thousands of patients and employees over the years. Struck by the absence of both life and color after visiting the site, Schuleit conceived of BLOOM, reinvigorating the building with an impressive display of flowers and transforming it into a fantasy world for four days. After the installation Schuleit had the flowers donated to half-way houses and psychiatric hospitals throughout New England. As she said of the installation in her interview with Colossal, “I wanted these flowers to continue onward, after the installation. Bloom was a reflection on the healing symbolism of flowers given to the sick when they are bedridden and confined to hospital settings. As a visiting artist I had observed an astonishing absence of flowers in psychiatric settings. Here, patients receive few, if any, flowers during their stay. Bloom was created to address this absence, in the spirit of offering and transition.”
Check out more of Schuleit’s work at her website and read the full interview with her here. All images copyright Anna Schuleit.
French art duo spectaculaire Zim & Zou create dazzling paperscapes that are full of lush colors and imagination. With intricate snips and folds and other sorts of wizardry, they bring to life a series of candy-colored dreams populated with a flock of birds of a multitude of hues: sizzlingly bright red, rich bronze and gold, and aquamarine. There are no dull spots in the land of Zim & Zou: theirs is a technicolor wonderland that is fully and brightly realized.
The detail in their work is incredible, making their paper birds almost look like mechanical nightingales. Other denizens include a bright orange and navy lobster that looks like it’s been gift wrapped and a spider fully decked out in metallic splendor. It’s not just the natural world that gets an unnatural makeover: A neon machine, delightfully mysterious, stands in a spot marked by caution tape. Its bright colors pop and it promises all kinds of treats and cotton candy concoctions that are simply out of this world.
It’s amazing that Zim & Zou’s works are all entirely handmade. According to their bio,
“Their favorite material is the paper they’re cutting, folding and gluing to give rise to intricate and colorful sculptures. Paper inspires them for its versatility, infinite range of colors and unique textures. The flat sheets turned into volume are giving an installation the poetry of ephemeral material.”
Our upcoming Book 3: The Underdogs is a doozy of an issue- compiling over 100 submissions from B/D readers around the world, including a mix of never-before-seen talents and established artists. It’s dedicated to you, dear readers. As we are an independent, ad-free publication, we depend on your support to keep Beautiful/Decay filled with pages of quality work. So, do yourself and us a favor at the same time and SUBSCRIBE (or resubscribe) today! As always, the pages are chock-full of art you need to see, as well as one of a kind collectables, stickers, rare inserts and original artwork. (You don’t want to get left in the dust- Book 1’s already sold out!)
Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre’s “recarved” sculptures are aptly named—Lasserre takes existing clichéd figural wood carvings and “exposes” the skeleton underneath. Of course, the new carving only seems like a reveal of what lies beneath. Part of the success of these works is how inevitable they feel.
Lasserre’s drawings and sculptures explore the unexpected potential of the everyday through allegories of value, expectation, and utility. Elements of nostalgia, accident, humor, and the macabre are incorporated into works that induce strangeness in the familiar, and provoke uncertainty in the expected.
In the style of an anatomy book, the bifurcated sculptures preserve the existing sculpture on one side while exposing the fantasy skeleton on the other. It’s a reverse of the classical artist’s process of learning about anatomy in order to draw more realistic figures. Lasserre is taking fully realized figures and imagining their bones. In an interview with Joseph Kendrick, Lasserre said,
“There is an intrinsic honesty and humility to the carving process. There is no magic, no hidden technology or trick, just the simple subtraction of what was already there. This humble quality makes the amazing alchemy that carving can achieve so much more interesting. … Like the physical materials I use, and the processes I apply, there is something categorical about death/mortality. The aspect of it that I try to coax out is that death is a potent sign of life — albeit an ended one. To carve skeletons into inanimate objects infers their past — and maybe even future — potential for life.” (Source)
Although these sculptures are whimsical, in concept if not execution, there’s an “Alas, poor Yorick!” undertone that’s sobering. Those who are fortunate enough to be healthy and whole rarely think of the inevitable end, the skull beneath the skin. Lasserre’s skilled carving work reveals what was never there, and in doing so makes us think of what eventually will be.