Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at Pool! If you came by, you’d know that we created a one of a kind collaborative t-shirt with artist Kyle Thomas to give away during the tradeshow. The shirt features a modular stacked metropolis of seemingly endless skyscrapers, with a cloud-font Beautiful Decay floating over the urban density! The shirt was printed by Jakprints. If you managed to score one of these, hang on to it, it’s sure to be a collector’s item one of these days….
Displayed ominously on the covers of TIME and Newsweek, these faces elicit fear: Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and Mobutu Sesé Seko. But in his new series “Celebrity,” the Chinese retoucher and artist Chunlong Sun explores the more tender side of these infamous men, presenting them cradling plushy stuffed animals. Sun achieved the desired effect by shooting Chinese look-alike models styled and costumed in attire similar to that worn by the world leaders in famous images; later, he went back and retouched the photographs to resemble the now-dreaded faces.
The photographs are profoundly evocative of the work of Platon, The New Yorker staff photographer whose shots of Gaddafi littered news stands in anticipation of his overthrowing and ultimate death. In this way, Sun’s subjects remain a truly frightful vision, despite their furry friends; instead of revealing the humanity behind the historical figures, the tenderly worn stuffed toys often appear like hostages, held tightly and uncomfortably in the arms of those men known for their long, oppressive regimes. Chávez’s hands and fingers curl unsettlingly about the face and torso of a beloved teddy bear; Gaddafi grips a pale pink, oinking pig.
Perhaps also the soft toys are to be read as symbolic clues into the nature of the infamous world leaders. Each man was seductive and charismatic, at one time thought to be righteous and good; here, holding this cute animals, they might be mistaken for saviors once again, and yet danger lurks behind their wrinkled eyes. Take a look. (via Demilked)
It’s extremely hard to pull off the old tie dye painting move but Saira Mclaren has managed to do it with these interesting experimental abstractions. If you squint real hard you’ll start seeing figures, buildings, landscapes, and maybe in jesus.
Curiosity led photographer James Friedman to cut into his collection of golf balls to see what the cores looked like. To his surprise, he discovered that each golf ball contained a unique interiority, revealing elegant formal qualities and inspiring Friedman to become more enthusiastic about the possibilities of abstraction in his photography, especially as a corollary to his documentary work. His series, entitled Interior Design, captures these surprisingly colorful and distinctive golf ball guts, displaying the inner beauty contained within their homogenized white forms. Friedman has been fascinated with photography since he took his first self-portrait at 5 years old. He does not play golf. (via Lost at E Minor)
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.
Ossian Brown is an English artist and musician whose book “Haunted Air” gives us a rare glimpse at the vintage celebration of Halloween in America, c. 1875-1955. Anonymous photographs collected from family albums depict the traditional macabre costumes from ages past.
“I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs <…> now torn out, disembodied and forgotten <…> they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.”
Compared to today’s flashy, pop-culture inspired Halloween costumes, these get ups of are capable of giving viewer the chills. Black and white photographs feature children and adults dressed with strange DIY masks and robes. Popular motifs contain disguising as devils, witches or animals.
According to Brown, he was fascinated by the wild imagination of these people who at the time were living in great poverty but still managed to create “these incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions”. From whatever inanimate objects, they would construct truly haunting costumes and kept with the essence of tradition which is overlooked nowadays.
To give the book even more mystery, the foreword was written by David Lynch. A short excerpt presented here:
“All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – ant the other.”
With simplified brushstrokes and a sophisticated sense of color, Ohio-based painter Timothy Callaghan‘s most recent works carefully construct a narrative around the passing of time. His eye for immediacy takes the form of crumpled love letters, a buzzing neon sign and the stillness of shirts hanging in a closet—each piece a quiet, tongue-in-cheek observation of daily life.
Callaghan released his first book this week through William Busta Gallery, highlighting his own work, as well as that of several other contemporary artists working in observational painting. Definitely worth a look.