A friend just came back from Brooklyn with New York based artist/designer Tim Lahan‘s art zine Still Life With Sex Tape, and man is it a joy to look at. His drawings are simple, graphic, and funny. It mostly consists of taking ultra banal, overlooked objects and moments, reducing them to a few distinctive lines, warping them a little, and in doing so makes them silly, interesting, and just plain cool. If you like what you see, you can order his zine from Smalltime Books. They’re only ten bucks, made on recycled paper, and free shipping to boot– there’s no reason not to have this in your life! More of his zine along with some of his still life drawings after the jump.
Matthew Volz is the official artist of Queens, New York based garage punks The Beets. In addition to creating banners, posters, and album artwork for the band he makes paintings and sculptural installations involving a vast iconography culled from the doldrums of saturday morning cartoons and comic books. Pro wrestlers of the past share the page with bug eyed teenagers, superheroes, street rats, cowboys, indians, Joey Ramone, and everything in between.
Ellen Jantzen‘s newest photoseries, Disturbing The Spirits, explores the photographers recent interest in the healing power of nature. In her series’ statement, the St. Louis-born photographer questions, “As human actions impact the natural environment, can artists heal nature? Does art bring “special powers” to the table? If so, what are they? What is ‘art’? What is ‘nature’? What needs healing?”
Focusing on the cameras ability to record fleeting elements of natural elements, Jantzen hopes to bring attention and connection to our environment, often represented in the series by trees. The artist explains, “In “Disturbing the Spirits” I am using imagery to convey my feelings about the state of nature, the nature of trees, and how to express their connection to past, present and future.” The added element of digital manipulation, pulling the image into sheets of linear veils both obscures the focus, yet creates an alluring, gossamer magnetism. Jantzen continues, “By obscuring a portion of the image through a veil, I strive to heighten the remaining reality through discovery and reflection.” The work is made more convincing by using these digital aftereffects, bringing attention to the necessary connection (and beauty) possible when both human and nature coexist.
Although many of the photos present human-altered versions of bucolic landscapes, forests and watery reflections, Jantzen’s work does not seem to say that the natural world is perfection. Rather, the images she depicts are impermanent, and simply reconnecting with nature is not a remedy to our human condition. Instead, the transience (if respected and protected) is the beauty, and will continue to regenerate forever if allowed. Jantzen acknowledges this, stating “(trees) are seen as powerful symbols of growth, decay and resurrection….a tree’s longevity can lull us into a false sense of immortality. It is this very impermanence that I long to understand through my photographic explorations. There is an ineffable natural beauty…. too great to be expressed or described in words.” (via lancia trendvisions)
Artist Ramiro Gomez alters luxury magazine ads and photographs by adding in the often-underpaid workers that make their beauty and opulence possible. He paints gardeners, cleaning ladies, people who maintain swimming pools, and more. They are faceless bodies and appear like ghosts in and in front of mansions and sunny palm trees. By doing so, Gomez highlights the disparity between these lavish lifestyles and the workers who barely make minimum wage.
Gomez experienced this firsthand as a live-in nanny for a wealthy West Hollywood family. In an interview with Fast Company, he states, “It was interesting the feeling that would happen as I was signing off this purse, that the family had so much already, yet they weren’t able to pay [me] more,” Gomez says. “I took it personally, in a way.” This job was also where he first had the idea for the series. After fishing magazines like Dwell and Luxe out of the trash, he tore out the ads and started painting in figures.
So, what do affluent folks think of Gomez’s work? Those that have seen it actually like it, including his former employers. His paintings illustrate the complex economic system that find ourselves in. Those who can most likely afford Gomez’s work are ones that identify with the luxury lifestyle. But, they are essentially buying work that is critical of their status. That’s part of the point of Gomez’s paintings – to engage with an audience who might otherwise not realize the other side of their privilege. (Via Fast Company)
Ash Thayer photographs are the reflection of her life. Portraits, landscapes and places that represent the beginning of her life as a young woman braving the intense city of New York. ‘Kill City’ is her memoir through those years. It’s a compact diary comprised of photographs taken when she was living in the See Skwat squat after she got evicted from her first apartment in the city. The pictures are raw and incredibly emotional. It’s not a wish to uncover a way of living, it’s a desire to extract the beauty that lies inside the characters and scenes she witnessed.
At 19 years old, Ash Thayer found herself evicted. With no resources and no family, she found in a Lower East Side building a shelter, a roof to call home. She surrounded herself with a new family, punks surviving just liked her. Soon realizing that she was deeply touched by social activism and protest movements she took part in defending and documenting the subculture she was living in.
The subjects of her photographs are simple and honest. People from her daily life posing naturally under the dim lighting of the squat. There’s no intention in claiming a harsh living situation or showing off extreme conditions. In her pictures, the artist depicts vulnerable sincere souls supporting each other. “On the street [people saw us as] street hustlers, trouble makers, vandals—that just wasn’t really the case. We were hanging out, drinking and watching 90210 around one TV, like 15 of us”.
Lora Zombie‘s watercolors may look familiar: the Russian artist amassed a large internet following on sites like Threadless before recently branching out into the gallery scene. Inspired by music, street art, grunge, pop culture, and the color palette of Lisa Frank, Zombie creates these bright, youthful, and edgy watercolor scenes. Her work is comprised of a multitude of references that can be fun, gritty, absurd, or counter cultural, but each tells a story with fairy tale dimensions.
Jumping between equally beautiful almost commercial shots and conceptual pieces, Russell Kleyn excels in seeing the beauty in less than ordinary situations.