Indonesian painter Haris Purnomo started painting babies covered with dragon tattoos over 20 years ago and has slowly included women and men into his oeuvre. Initially starting illustrating babies because “they were cute”, Purnomo quickly realized they could be a effective symbol for the Indonesian lower class. His portraits now include all ages, demographics and classes. Like some sort of branding or gang symbol, the faces he paints all bear a marking of a certain culture. They all belong to the same time and place. Purnomo was a painter during the time of the military dominated government of Suharto and his work shows a certain sort of forced introspection – a focus on pain and mysterious, subtle symbols.
His paintings are highly political as well as highly stylized. As a member of the Gerakan Seni Rupa Bary, The New Art Movement, and of PIPA, two innovative art movements from Indonesia in the seventies, he not only challenged Suharto’s power and the preexisting aesthetic, but also people’s understanding of their own culture. These are his own thoughts on why he produces artwork and it’s social importance:
Once we are faced with the necessity to make a choice or a stand, everything that makes up our backgrounds will play its part: time, age, economic, social and political considerations, idealism, behavior, creativity, et cetera. All these may alter, strengthen, undermine, or develop anything we believe, and the ‘Pipa’ artists are not exceptions in this. As a father seeing his children growing up I experience a sense of losing [sic], I feel the strong drive to give more attention to children, including others’ children; that is what has been going on in me Being hopeful about my children and wanting to be more attentive to children in every aspect, I think these two things provide the basis of the central theme of my works.(Source)
Purnomo’s artworks are not only culturally relevant for Indonesia, but can teach us a whole lot about the human condition, it’s strength, fragility, resilience and adaptability.
Dutch artist Hinke Schreuders creates embroidered works that run the gamut from sinister to playful. Stitching directly on photographs and illustrations, Schreuders creates entirely new artworks by shifting the emphasis and adding pops of color or whole new objects and interactions. She transforms a dreary gray tree to a flowering one with little buds raining down like a curtain of beads. In other photographs, she applies her hand to texturing rivers with pale blue and adding spirals of threading forming fluffy white clouds.
In her previous work, Schreuders has said she wanted to “subtly confuse notions of feminine vulnerability and reinforce the position of embroidery as an artistic medium,” and she certainly continues doing so in her new work. In one piece, a naked woman is posed confidently, outlined with thread and smoking a cigarette. In another, she lends her embroidery to a photo of a woman in a white dress, adding layers and depth and somehow making the subject less passive and more engaged with the world inside the photograph. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)
Digital artist and graphic designer Kode Logic (aka Boss Logic) is used to taking existing imagery and adapting, changing and repurposing it. With his newest series, Playing With History, the Melbourne, Australia artist samples some of the most recognizable photos in the history of the medium, and either subtly or blatantly alters them by including superheroes and villains.
Ranging from the construction workers who built New York’s skyscrapers palling around with Spiderman, or an alternate history where Mortal Kombat’s four-armed boss Goro menacingly watches over Ellis Island on the Statue of Liberty’s plinth, Kode Logic plays with both humor and irreverence (exemplified by two separate Kennedy edits – one with Marty McFly skitching on his hover-board, the other featuring The Watchmen’s The Comedian preparing to assassinate the president). Explaining the project (and a premise shared by many from the digital and web-based design and art communities), Kode Logic says, “…as a digital artist we are the new breed of artists and we are all trying to innovate our own style to be remembered and past on as a foundation you laid down…” (via albotas)
It was a unique call for submissions: “Please send me your best nudes so I can draw them while I figure out my next move.” Seeking inspiration, Brooklyn-based artist Frances Waite posted this message on her Instagram, along with her phone number. Men and women responded enthusiastically, sending her intimate nude selfies of themselves sprawling on beds and squatting over mirrors. Choosing the images she found especially playful and unique—or rather, the nudes “where people [were] being themselves and posing in a way they [thought was] sexy and beautiful”—Waite began recreating them as illustrations, translating mischief and bodily expression into skillfully-drawn portraits (Source). The result is a fun, provoking, and ongoing series titled NUDES.
Waites’ project is one of empowerment, seeking self-expression beyond voyeurism, objectification, and the boundaries of heteronormativity. “I do think that I give people an opportunity to perform a part of themselves they might not display otherwise,” she explains in an interview with The Creators Project. “I’m some weird girl on the internet that wants to draw naked strangers, and I already have a repertoire of images that, I hope, make people feel comfortable doing whatever the hell they want.” (Source) She seeks to create a safe space where people can celebrate their bodies and sexual identities with agency and anonymity.
As a part of Rhizome’s Seven on Seven, Ryan Trecartin and David Karp created riverofthe.net, a collection of 10 seconds or less community submitted videos. Trecartin, probably today’s most important video artist, and David Karp, creator of tumblr, were brought together, along with several other artists and technologists, by Rhizome back in 2010. Anyone can easily submit, and the more videos the better, because one of the only negative aspects is seeing videos you’ve already viewed before. It’s an incredibly simple and effective idea, which showcases videos that are typically more interesting than most video art out there.
Good morning, dear readers. Remember that one nightmare you had when Book 2 was sold out online? Now you can wake up to a bright new day, because we restocked our online store. So feel free to head on over, and if you feel like it, purchase a copy of Book 2: What A Mess. Please keep in mind – only 1500 copies were printed… so grab one while it’s still available! We love you.