A few weeks ago, we took a look at early stick and poke tattoos that adorned the bodies of prisoners. A new publication from Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell (aka design studio and publishing imprint FUEL) sheds more light (and images) on this subject, specifically focusing on Russian prisoners. The black and white images feature police files of men who are stripped down and their full chest pieces, sleeves, backs, and legs exposed. Their tattoos are more involved that what we’ve seen previously, and are full of curious symbols that seems to include a lot of religious iconography.
For this particular series of images, FUEL looked through the personal archives of Arkady Bronnikov, one of the leading experts in Russian tattoo iconography. He spent several decades working for the USSR Ministry of Internal affairs and travelled throughout the country interviewing and photographing prisoners and later reporting back on the coded meanings. This gave authorities insight into this secret and fascinating language.
FUEL’s project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to make this book a reality. At the time of writing, it’s more than half funded with two weeks left. (Via It’s Nice That)
New York based artist, Denise Kupferschmidt’s work is simple and striking, Kupferschmidt’s dyed and cut pieces make me appreciate how versatile paper can be. I’m a big fan of the national geographic / space imagery. It pairs well with the symmetrical cut and paste patterns.
Beyoncé Knowles – “Master cleanse diet,” lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt, and laxative herbal tea
Bill Clinton – “Cabbage diet,” cabbage soup, mixed with other vegetables.
Luigi Cornaro – “Sober Life,” fifteenth-century Venetian nobleman, 400ml of solid food or eggs and 500ml wine.
Lord Byron – “Romantic poet’s diet,” potatoes in vinegar and soda water.
Whether you find it oddly comforting or just downright strange, fad diets have existed long before our time. Photographer Dan Bannino documents the temporary eating habits of celebrities as far back as Henry VIII and as recent as Beyonce. He goes beyond simple tablet settings, however, and crafts moody, rich-looking scenes that are luscious in their color and texture. Bannino describes the inspiration for his series entitled Still Diet, writing:
With this series my aim was to capture the beauty that lies in this terrible constriction of diets and deprivation, giving them the importance of an old master’s painting. I wanted to make them significant, like classic works of arts that are becoming more and more weighty as they grow older. My aim was to show how this weirdness hasn’t changed even since the 15th century. (Via Artnet)
New York based artist William Steinman creates sexy and raw pieces that carry a strong undertone of their source of inspiration: street culture and Pop art. Growing up, he kept himself busy by exploring downtown Phoenix on his skateboard. In doing so, he was introduced to the graffiti art that populated his surroundings, and fell in love with it. Though William was initially inspired, he started to notice how increasingly redundant graffiti was turning out. He decided to focus his artistic endeavors elsewhere, and started to study painting. But first love is always the strongest, and William found himself charmed by the bold lines and appropriated imagery of Pop art.
Observing William Steinman’s paintings and sculptures is the equivalent of trying to stay perfectly still inside a hurricane of motion. He constantly plays with adaptation and reconstruction within an environment of deconstruction. Using found materials, store bought objects, comic books, and finishing them off with industrial glue, the end result is what he likes to accurately describe as “the dark side of Pop.”
William is currently an MFA student over at Queens College in New York City. In a few weeks he will be presenting his bold, raw, and sexy portfolio of work at his MFA Thesis show. Unfortunately, I live much too far and will not be able to attend. However, anyone out there who will be in the area should definitely indulge themselves! Go!
Does making trash bags cuter motivate litter-bugs to responsibly chuck their burger wrappers and soda cans into the patiently waiting heads of bags donning the faces of cute little rabbits and Sesame’s Oscar the Grouch? Japanese designers at MAQ Studio have started a whole “movement” around “playing with trash” in order to address and bring attention to the waste problem and how it effects the environment. To really reduce waste though, wouldn’t it have been better to just use recyclable materials to substitute for the dilemma of accumulating all these bags and not being able to do anything with them? I dunno…what do you guys think? Could this be more effective in Japan than it would be here? This sort of reminds me of those Novelty Bras I had posted about before…
The photography of cooking enthusiast and photographer Brittany Wright simply and beautifully displays the natural range of hues held by various types of fruits and vegetables. The Seattle-based photographer states that she has a goal to learn how to cook everything and anything. Sharing cooking ideas and recipes online, Wright began photographing the ingredients to share as well. This love of experimentation with ingredients and flavors eventually lead to photographing the produce, starting her series titled Food Gradients. She arranges each edible item in rows, columns, and clusters according to their pigment or size, which is often attributed to the stage of lifecycle the specific food is in.
Some of the fruits and vegetables Wright chooses for her rainbows of ingredients naturally have a wide variety of colors, like apples ranging from deep reds to bright yellows. Others, however, are discolored for a different reason, because they are rotting and dying. Many of her Food Gradients brilliantly display the lifecycle of the item, showing the beginning of its life all the way to its elegant death. Because of her subject, you would think Wright’s inspiration comes from food photography, but because she sees food and cooking as a creative and artistic outlet, she finds more inspiration from abstract art. (via Faith is Torment)
” I see food as an art, and an opportunity to do something creative.”
Sara Angelucci’s intriguing series titled Aviary recalls the past to create strange portraits of birds that are superimposed onto anonymous nineteenth century cartes-de-visite (small, business card sized) photographs. It began by the artist studying the American Victoria area, and she connects its cultural, social, and ecological aspects conceptually to her work.
The nineteenth century was the United States’ colonial era when there was unprecedented expansion, exploration, and an interest in science and art. Family photo albums and commemorating memories were something new, as photography became increasingly common. The collection of cartes-de-visites were like trading cards, and the urge to collect didn’t stop there. People had cabinets of curiosities that included things like taxidermied birds, an interest that lead to the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Angelucci explains in a statement about the work, writing, “Made by combining photographs of endangered or extinct North American birds with anonymous nineteenth century cartes-de-visite portraits—they portray creatures about to become ghosts.”
She goes on to muse:
So how do we read these strange human-birdlike creatures? One could at once see them as manifestations of their time: a hybrid crossover of faith in science with a belief in otherworldly beings. As W. G. Sebald writes in Campo Santo, “[photography is] in essence, after all…nothing but a way of making ghostly apparitions materialize by means of a very dubious magical art.” And, what would it mean to embody another creature: Could one then see, feel, and understand its desire to live? Might we then imagine the Aviary portraits as chimera suspended in a state of empathy, and wonder what our treatment of other sentient beings might be if we could feel what they feel, or see what they see? (Via Observer: Design Observer)
Photographer Gray Malin (@graymalin) takes us on a journey in his colorful, idyllic series titled Dreams. The sun-soaked images feature a herd of sheep whose coats are decorated with pink, purple, yellow, blue, and green pigment. Malin had the idea years before he actually made the work; he was inspired by a story about a Scottish sheep farmer who had colored the fleece of his flock in order to deter the thieves who had been stealing his sheep at night.
This powerful visual stuck with him for seven years. “I dreamed of creating a series where I could give these often overlooked animals a way to shine, bringing a rainbow of color to help inspire others to stand out and follow their own dreams.”
Malin consulted with a team of experts and eventually travelled to rural Australia where he worked hand-in-hand with a family of third-generation sheep farmers to make this series a reality. “Utilizing a non-toxic, vegetable dye that rinses off with water, the farmers misted each sheep with the same tool they use to administer a spray for ticks and lice,” he says.
Sheep yearn to be apart of a crowd; they prefer to blend in rather than stand out. So, each of Malin’s images are meant to encourage others to “wander from the flock” and go after their desires.