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Jansson Stegner’s Long Stretch

Jansson Stegner’s work could easily have turned into your typical figurative work but the strange elongation of the figures gives the work a bizarre psychological twist. It’s kind of a mix between Balthus and John Currin.

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Video Watch: Dumb Ways to Die

There are many many dumb ways to die and the latest campaign from the Melbourne Metro illustrates a handful of them set to an original song for a video appropriately titled “Dumb Ways to Die.” Featuring a downloadable song by Tangerine Kitty, the video is one piece of a campaign that includes a website hub and tumblr full of gifs.

In a style that marries the palette of Friends With You and the sensibility of Don Hertzfeldt, “Dumb Ways to Die” is an adorably morbid reminder to not be an idiot.

Bop your head along to the full video after the jump.

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Sin-Eater Illustrates Ancient-Looking Visions Of Unearthly Beasts And The Dark Arts

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Sin-Eater is a UK-based artist who draws murky scenes of ancient beasts and the dark arts. Like fable illustrations or tarot cards, his works are replete with eerie-yet-powerful symbols, such as the moon in various phases, leaking hourglasses, human skulls, and obscure runes hidden amidst fog and fur. His intricate linework and grimly religious imagery recall the works of Albrecht Dürer, one of Sin-Eater’s influencers; in a similar style to Dürer’s 1513 engraving “Knight, Death, and the Devil,” for example, Sin-Eater depicts his own esoteric, dream-like sequences wherein the underworld seeps through the surface of the earth, manifesting in visions of twisted forests and unearthly beings.

The name “Sin-Eater” comes with its own fascinating mythologies. From Mesoamerica to the English countryside, the concept has arisen in folklores across the world, referring to people who eat or drink the sins of a deceased person, thereby purifying the spirit’s soul. Through images of death, rot, and consumption, Sin-Eater’s artwork hearkens back to these ritualistic practices, using a traditional medium and ancient imagery to figuratively dissolve the “sins” of humanity across time and space. Like polished bone beneath the rot, the result is a series of illustrations that fester in the imagination before splitting open into near-transcendent beauty.

View more of Sin-Eater’s works on Tumblr. Prints and other merchandise featuring his work can be purchased on his shop. Sin-Eater has also designed items for the Irish clothing company Nine Lives, viewable here.

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Japanese Artist Daisuke Ichiba’s Intricate Drawings Interweave The Disturbing And The Grotesque

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Life is an inextricable combination of beauty and awfulness, good and evil, and Japanese artist Daisuke Ichiba captures these dichotomies in his highly detailed, densely populated drawings. Drawing is just one of the media that Ichiba has mastered — he is also a painter, filmmaker, and photographer. No matter the form, though, his content grapples with the reality of life and its grotesqueries.

“Choosing to create work that is only beautiful feels artificial. Thus I paint both. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. In my work I project chaos, anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd, and the irrational. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).”

At first glance it’s possible to miss the disturbing elements of Ichiba’s work. The Indian ink compositions are dense and unusual for Japanese art, which tends toward clean lines and minimalism, although they do include Japanese iconography such as the schoolgirl and cherry blossoms. Influenced by his early admiration of comic book art and manga as well as the loss of his mother at age 8, his works fuse vile, often many-eyed, monsters into domestic scenes. Figures are missing features—an eye here, a mouth there—and the occasional introduction of color feels threatening, reminiscent of spreading blood.

He meditates on sexuality and death and the intangible cord that ties them together. Ichiba’s haunting tableaus are a type of contemporary shunga (Edo-period erotic scrolls), in which beauty navigates chaos with one eye closed. (Source)

The impassivity of the deformed figures is striking in the work. Both human and monster accept their fates. The faceless children and severed heads represent the darkness in all of us, ubiquitous and unquestioned.

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Awesome Video of the Day: Theodore & Rosemary’s Orchard

Welcome to Kadvre Exquis‘s film noir stylized animated short. I really loved the lighting of the city scape and the varying points of view that really allow the viewer to get into the film. Kadvre Exquis has other videos similar to this one on Vimeo. Check it out!

Watch the short film after the jump.

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Alain LaBoile’s Poignant Images Catalog Childhood Abandon

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When Sally Mann published a series of photographs of her children titled Immediate Family in 1992, she spotlighted childhood with a rich tonal backdrop of a Virginia riverside summer house, and she was met with accusations of child pornography. About twenty years later, caught in a starkly different contemporary artistic current, the photographer Alain LaBoile presents La Famillie, a series that for its distinctive silver gelatin aesthetic and subject matter seems to pick up where Mann left off.

 

LaBoile’s work, unlike Mann’s, lacks the suggestion of immediacy, binding viewers within the nostalgic frame of childhood play, entirely carefree and unabashed. Mann’s work is urgent: she reveals a haloed shot of her daughter, blonde hair dancing in pool of water like some inexperienced Ophelia, and she tragically subverts its innocence with image of the last nude swimming photo her son let her take. Childhood for Mann is something to be beautifully lost, but for LaBoile, it’s more of a constant realm, easily returned to with a flash and made blindingly undeniable by jarring accents of white.

 

The innovative power of this contemporary work relies upon oh-so-subtle symbols of purity and incorruptibility of youth; a boy digs himself from mud filled and grave-like abyss, resurrected in glowing white to a young girl who prances about the Edenic verdure. Similarly, another daughter remains preserved in a class case, safely nuzzled between fine china and a white cat. Bums innocently moon the camera like those of cherubs. A boy printed in a blinding sort of white appears to hang from a tree; yet upon closer inspection, he’s just climbing, playing the part of a-not-yet-fallen Adam for an onlooking sister. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

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Wyatt Grant’s elusive narratives

 

I have been a close friend of Chicago-based artist Wyatt Grant since we studied together at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he blew me away with his 20+ layer screen prints on fabric. He graduated this past May with me, having worked fluidly between sculpture, print media, and painting. His works fuse a personal alphabet with a warm, dedicated aesthetic that is consistent throughout all of his work, both abstract and representational. The works have a rose-tinted magical realism to them, a narrative that is both specific and achingly mysterious. Wyatt is also a musician, producing shoegaze-y acoustic tunes studded with electronic loops under the name Pool Holograph.  More after the jump.

 

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Matthew Craven’s Archaeological Collages

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Artist Matthew Craven primarily works in collage.  His work, however, diverges from a lot of typical collage styles.  Craven doesn’t juxtapose found imagery to create an effect from the contrast.  Rather, he sources imagery of what seems to be ancient archaeological artifacts.  The black and white images resemble the photographs of old issues of National Geographic.  Further, the way Craven assembles the images doesn’t seem an attempt to draw disparities.  Instead, he almost appears to categorizing objects, setting up classifications without labeling.  Still, his work is fine art and not an exercise in archaeology.  Craven doesn’t offer easy conclusions – there is no simple reading of history to be gotten in his work.  Rather, Craven looks back at history with his collaged images as art does.  It underscores the difficulty in reducing human history to one accurate narrative.  The gallery statement of his current solo exhibit at DCKT Contemporary further explains:

“Archaeological remains and ruins act as backdrops for forming crypto-historical collages and drawings. Images from lost cultures, relics and landscapes both well-known and extremely ambiguous create the patterns within the works. The results are compositions that highlight a new connection to our past in an aesthetic that is intended to be both cinematic in scope and visionary in perspective.  Understanding that our view of history is deeply flawed and inherently biased, we are left with a puzzle of strange pieces. Oblivious Path combines these puzzle pieces into a new framework. Some of these pieces appear to fit together despite thousands of years and tens of thousands miles separating these ancient civilizations. Using source materials from historical texts, Oblivious Path scrambles our current notions of space and time. The powerful images we are left with cannot be reinterpreted, translated or disregarded. What is left was carved in stone. It is permanent. They are our sacred truths.”  ( via the jealous curator)

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