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Dallas Clayton’s Awesome World

B/D friend Dallas Clayton has been busy touring the states giving away copies of his children books and helping kids dream big. For every copy of a book that Dallas sells he gives one away, spreading the message of staying positive, never giving up, and using your imagination. Check out the tour page of his site for images and stories from his adventures.

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Mary O’Malley’s Sea Creature Encrusted Pottery Mimics Our Daily Fight Against Nature

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Mary O’Malley is a New York based potter trained in traditional English and Japanese techniques. Her work is primarily an ode to her craft and an homage to her childhood spent by the sea. However, it is also structured around delicate binaries involving the human need to search for beauty. She states:

“The technical difficulties I began to encounter when enveloping the service ware with ferocious and unforgiving aquatic life got me thinking about a common need we all have to control our own representation of beauty. There is so much fastidious control involved in creating each one of the Bottom Feeder pieces, but with ceramics there is always a margin for error, and some degree of control must be sacrificed. The composition of barnacles and crustaceans populating each piece, the way the iron oxide discovers every nook of the creatures I’ve created, the way the tentacles warp in the firings, etc., is always a surprise. I’m never exactly sure how anything’s going to turn out.”

She fuses different modalities, both literally in her potting techniques as well as what each form represents. The more classic aspects of porcelain, the cream white tea pot, the gold rimmed vase, correlates with a more tamed, predictable side of life. These pure little moments of calm crafting are then overtaken by octopus tentacles, barnacles, and coral, representing the aspect of chaos the is inevitable in everyday life. She explains:

“This play between total control and inevitability has sustained my interest and attention because it mimics life in so many ways: we try our hardest to compose the aesthetics surrounding us—from the buildings and environments we live in to the way we dress and present ourselves. Our daily fight against nature is a fruitless pursuit, yet one we never seem willing to abandon. I find this play between forces endlessly challenging. The dance that results from trying to find a balance between what we can control and what we cannot is where I believe true beauty lies.” (Via Colossal)

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A Day In Decay: Bad Brains

A while back we did a tribute shirt to one of my favorite bands Bad Brains. They have been a constant staple on my playlist as long as I can remember. Not only were they one of the first African American punk bands to become well known, but they were also one of the most influential bands in the last 40 years, inspiring everyone from Janes Addiction to In Living Color to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. There’s something about the stripped down energy and versatile range that I always found refreshing in a sea of bands that sounded and looked alike.

Bad Brains never got the recognition that they truly deserved. Especially since they influenced many bands that have gone on to become some of the biggest acts today. Since I’m such a fan of the underdog, I thought I’d share the following mini documentaries and music videos with you in hopes of reminding those of you who are fans, and those of you who have not heard of them, about how ground breaking this little band from Washington DC really was. PMA!

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Judith Schaechter’s Macabre And Dramatic Stained Glass Windows

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Even though Judith Schaechter was immersed in her artistic career as a painter, she was drawn to the traditional practice of stained glass window making. She has managed to lift the centuries-old skill into the world of contemporary art by treating it with a new vision. She turns something that is usually associated with stuffy old churches into something macabre, tragic, yet beautiful. Schaechter says she doodles in front of the TV, and in meetings, to come up with a preliminary design, but still works spontaneously and improvises until she reaches the final stage.It seems she is quite happy to let accidents and mishaps guide her hand. She speaks a bit more the art of turning something gruesome and unpleasant into a thing of wonder:

It seems my work is centered on the idea of transforming the wretched into the beautiful in theme as well as design. For me, this means taking what is typically negative — say, unspeakable grief, unbearable sentimentality, or nerve-wracking ambivalence, and representing it in such a way that it is inviting and safe to contemplate and captivating to observe (to avoid ending with preposition) (Source)

Schaechter says glass is the perfect medium to support the conceptual idea of transforming ugly and difficult subjects into radiant, transparent, glowing figures. Ordinary, ‘earthly’ beings are now ‘supernatural’ and elevated.

They seem to be caught in a transitional moment when despair becomes hope or darkness becomes inspiration. They seem poised between the threshold of everyday reality and epiphany, caught between tragedy and comedy. (Source)

She is a firm believer of the power of stained glass windows – and the effect they can have on somebody’s mood. To be further enlightened, see more of her work after the jump.(Via Hi Fructose)

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50% Off Apparel Mega Sale!

For two weeks only Beautiful/Decay will have all Apparel and headwear at 50% off. You can even save 50% off items that are already on sale getting you shirts for as low as $5.00! Just enter discount code: MAYSHIRTSALE And let the savings pour in!

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Artist Carves Wax Crayons Into Pop-Culture Icons

Hoang Tran - Carved Wax Crayons

Hoang Tran - Carved Wax Crayons

Hoang Tran - Carved Wax Crayons

Artist Hoang Tran creates your favorite pop-culture characters, from The Simpson’s to the Ninja Turtles, all out of wax…but not just any wax. Tran carves each character from a jumbo-sized crayon! That’s right, each intricately and meticulously detailed character is carved from your everyday Crayola crayon…the same crayons that you used to make your own “masterpiece” with at age three. Each pop-culture icon is carved from the color in which it dominantly possesses, but also has hints of other colors that make up the finishing touches of the character. To do this, Tran melts different colored waxes, or crayons, and then applies the melted pigment onto the finest details of his creations. The amazing detail speaks wonders about the talent and patience the artist must have in order to master such a painstaking craft.

What is so wonderful about this artist’s crayon creatures is that only half of the wax is carved. The other side of the crayon is left intact, Crayola wrapper and all! Tran creates all sorts of characters such as Batman, Gizmo, Spongebob and Cookie Monster. He even carves out real life people such as Conan O’Brian. This series, appropriately titled Wax Nostalgic, is chalk full of infamous characters. It is a nostalgic dream. If you are a Star Wars fan, Tran has transformed a crayon into every character from this classic film from Hans Solo to Princess Leia. This impressive little treasures can be found on Hoang Tran’s website, or his Etsy site, where you can have get crayon characters for yourself. (via Inkult Magazine)

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Franz

Ever wish your neighborhood would turn into a non-stop symphony of lights,sounds and magic? Well Jessie Amadio, Corinne DeOrsay and Brett Angelillis did for their senior project at Drexel University. Not sure why but this video is a perfect way to kick off the holiday break!

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Walter Potter’s Curious Victorian Taxidermy

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In 1850, Walter Potter was 15 years old when he first began experimenting with taxidermy. By the age of 19, Potter had already created his best-known taxidermy tableaux, “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin” which was displayed, along with his other work, at a pub his family owned in Bramber, West Sussex. Potter’s taxidermy dioramas feature anthropomorphized animals acting out Victorian life scenes. During the Victorian era, taxidermy was a popular practice, and in 1880, a dedicated museum building was opened because the tableaux at the pub had created quite a scene. Over time, the interest in taxidermy declined, and the museum was moved before closing down.

Though Potter’s dioramas could be considered morbid, especially by modern standards, there’s something Beatrix Potteresque (no relation) about his work, mostly in its strange and whimsical Victorianism. “Kittens’ Wedding” was Potter’s last tableaux before his death in 1890; this piece was auctioned at Bonham’s (along with most of the collection) in 2003 for £21,150 (around $35,500). Among those present at the auction were artists Peter Blake, David Bailey, and Damien Hirst, who reportedly bid £1 million (almost $1.7) for Potter’s entire collection, but it was rejected by the auctioneers. This caused the owners of the collection to sue Bonham’s because they believed such an offer should have been immediately accepted in order to keep the collection in tact. In 2007, Hirst told The Guardian that “Kittens’ Wedding” was one of his favorites of Potter’s work: “All these kittens dressed up in costumes, even wearing jewellery. The kittens don’t look much like kittens, but that’s not the point.”

The Telegraph notes, “To a modern eye […]these ‘freaks of nature’ appear eerily macabre. Indeed, some Victorian viewers were outraged by the grotesquery and criticised Potter for abuse of animals, despite a museum disclaimer stating that no animals had been deliberately killed for the collection.”  But then they later explain that not all of Potter’s tableaux were sourced ethically. Before neutering was commonplace, freely roaming farm kittens would often be killed off. Potter had an agreement with a local farmer who provided the kittens; this would explain the high number of participants in his tableaux.

The accompanying images are sourced from Dr. Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein’s book about Potter and his work, “Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy,” released earlier this year. Ebenstein says that she’s interested in “the context that creates these things, and why certain things come to be seen as bizarre to us, when obviously they weren’t at the time.” (via telegraph)

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