The work of Italian artist Franco Clun may lead you to believe he’s a photographer. Clun’s artwork, though, are created simply by putting pencil to paper. Clun carefully crafts each drawing to an unbelievable realism. Each drawing he completes seems to expand on the skill of the previous one. He says, “For each new drawing I dedicate more time and attention and I try to push forward my technical limitations. I learn something new every time I take a pencil in my hand.” [via]
In Make Believe, director J. Clay Tweel follows six adolescent outsiders who all share an extraordinary passion: the art of magic. Armed with great skill and a dazzling array of illusions, these teenagers embark from the varied hometowns of Malibu, California; Chicago, Illinois; Capetown, South Africa; Littleton, Colorado; and Kitayama, Japan to attend the annual World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, where they each hope to be named Teen World Champion by master magician Lance Burton. The film’s six subjects are remarkably assured and dedicated entertainers. Offstage, however, they face the diverse obstacles of adolescence: loneliness, high parental expectations, the pressures of impending stardom, abject poverty, and the deep desire to fit in. With great humor, honesty, and heart, Make Believe reveals an enduring world that audiences know little about while it also explores a time of life no one ever forgets. Watch the trailer after the jump.
Brooklyn based artist Matt Phillips creates colorfully complex paintings that act as vibrant odes to the ordinary. Phillips’ practice meditates on his comprehensive observance of classic aesthetics, including modernist abstraction, folk art, and African textiles. Drawing notes from these traditions, his paintings meld low and high brow art, creating contemporary pastiches that are just as colloquial as they are clever.
Phillips’ uses notions of pattern, textile, and the decorative to hint at referential codes that allow the abstract to take on tangible, even comforting forms. It is the moment in which each work switches from foreign to recognizable, that invites in humor and endearing relatability. For example, his piece Bungalow (Spring) depicts a warm tonality along soft river blues on a overtly sunny day, and hums the delicate, independent flow of a melodic riddle.
The artist paints with a pigment and silica blend — this mixture results in each brush stroke becoming dry instantaneously. Due to the lack of forgiveness within this process, his work not only speaks about the traditional observation of light, but also to economical choices and purposeful mark making. Although each painting begins as a mapped geometrical formation, his method of building composition pushes through routine constructs of painterly semantics and becomes playful with common structures such as the grid. Phillips has a true touch for quiet beauty and perfected moments of yearned memories.
Check out Matt Phillips’ spectacular solo show, Comfort Inn, at Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects in New York, running until February 6th. The exhibition is taking over both of the gallery’s two locations located at 208 Forsyth Street and 237 Eldridge Street.
When photographer Jennifer Loeber’s mother died, Loeber began to photograph her belongs as a way of coping with her grief. She matched her photos with vintage pictures that her father had taken of her mother and posted the pairs on Instagram. The resulting series, “Left Behind,” is a poignant memorial, both deeply personal and universal.
The everyday objects that remain when loved one dies become an instant museum of sorts, freezing that person in time. A favorite pearl ring will never be replaced by a diamond; an unmatched glove will never be matched to its mate. A used lipstick, valueless in itself, becomes a cherished object, chosen and applied by the person so missed. Many times these everyday objects are the most touching and the most difficult to dispose of.
“I found myself deeply overwhelmed by the need to keep even the most mundane of my Mom’s belongings when she died suddenly this past February. Instead of providing comfort and good memories they became a source of deep sadness and anxiety and I knew the only way I would be able to move past that was to focus on a way to interact with them cathartically. I had recently become active on Instagram and realized that utilizing the casual aspects of sharing on the app was a way to diminish my own sentimentality towards the objects my Mom left behind.”
Reframing the objects allowed Loeber to experience them without searing grief. Instead of the items feeling haunted, they became imbued by fond memories of her mother’s life. By matching them with her father’s photos she was able to make a fitting memorial to her mother, one that was less about personal pain than about remembrance.
“My dad refused to hold a traditional funeral service because he and I believe you should celebrate a life, not mourn it. I’m sure this body of work falls in line with that concept.” (Source)
Artist Romain Crelier has transformed the already ornate and beautiful interior of Bellelay Abbey with reflective pools of used motor oil. This unique and unlikely installation is created by pouring pools of motor oil into an extensive and organic-shaped vessel that holds the oil into its form, brilliantly complimenting the architecture. This Swiss Abbey contains intricate and ornate 12th century architecture, including Baroque style monasteries and elaborate stucco paintings. The dark, glossy oil is a stark contrast to the bright, white interior, creating a harsh but remarkable juxtaposition. The already dramatic interior is complimented by this reflective source, mirroring not only its complex architecture, but also the viewer.
Motor oil is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an attractive, shiny material. This is definitely not your traditional installation. Normally thought of as a messy material, the deep, sleek liquid creates a deep impact on the viewer, full of mystery and awe. The church is often a place of reflection, where you can go to experience a sense of stillness or tranquility. Crelier furthers this experience by giving you a literal reflective liquid to gaze into while you roam this space. The wonder you might feel by entering such a monumental place is magnified through this installation, moving you to a place of awe. This installation has a seemingly simple concept, but results in an immeasurable effect on the viewer, creating layers of visual possibilities. Romain Crelier’s installation, titled La Mise en Abime, is just one of the incredibly colossal installations the very talented, Swiss artist has under his belt. (via MyModernMet)
I had this exact conversation with Mom and Dad the other night over a bottle or four of wine. The alcohol may have played a major role in our enthusiasm, but it got pretty heated when Dad kept insisting capitalism “just works”. What I’m saying is, if you’re not up to the Michael Moore version, this is a much more aesthetically pleasing and humorous explanation of what’s wrong with the world today, courtesy of the MUSCLEBEAVER design team. And it will cost you less than four minutes of your lunch break!
CANADA is a trio of filmmakers, Luis Cervero, Nicolás Méndez & Lope Serrano. Located in Barcelona, they bump out mysteriously sexy music videos that feel like a mix between an Alejandro Jodorowsky film and an American Apparel ad. According to their info page on their website, “…CANADA has pursued excellence in different projects, advertising, fashion, music promotional videos, television and cultural events.” On top of all that fun, they were also guest writers and did an interview with Its Nice That, which helped to shine a bit of light on their interests and personalities. So far, I haven’t seen a video created by them that wasn’t worth watching, but my heart will always belong to the first one I ever saw, El Guincho’s Bombay. You’ll find El Guincho, along with Scissor Sisters, Battles, and other music videos below. Feast.