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Best Of 2012: Tom Deininger’s Junk Portraits and sculptures

I’m absolutely loving these explosive junk portraits and sculptures by Tom Deininger. Comprised of found objects each piece is created with various plastic and metal debris that the artist finds. The work reminds me a little of Vik Muniz but Tom still gets a pass in my book.

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Robbie Conal: The Missing Link

I first met Robbie Conal back in 2001 when B/D was just a part time hobby run out of my bedroom. He was one of the first LA artists that I met, and we immediately hit it off. Fast forward a decade, now Robbie is a great friend of mine, and a loyal Cult Of Decay supporter. He is the type of artist that gives his time, energy, and sharp wit to anyone and everyone without thinking about what they can do for him. Over the years we’ve featured Robbie on our cover (you can get a copy here), included him in shows we’ve curated, released videos about his work, and had him write an amazing article about his painting mentor and hero Leon Golub (You can get a copy of that issue here). Needless to say we back him 200%.

Robbie is having a much deserved show opening this week in LA at Country Club. If you’re a fan of what we do at Beautiful/Decay then you must go to this show to support the original King of Postering, and the ultimate Mad Man of Paint. If you’ve only seen his work on the street then this show will be a true eye opener, as all of Robbie’s posters are actually prints of paintings with hundreds of layers of rich paint.  So join me, the rest of the B/D team, and help celebrate one of LA’s great artistic treasures.

Robbie Conal:The Missing Link
November 20th-December 22nd 2010
Opening Reception: November 20th 6-9pm

Country Club
@ The Buck House
805 South Genesse Avenue
LA, CA 90036

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Design Month: Alessandro di Prisco

Alessandro di Prisco has created a number of beautiful design objects. His latest is Cubico, a multi-functional cube that can serve as a coffee table, magazine rack, stool or as just an objet d’art. Clever design is really all about marrying form and function in an intelligent and beautiful way.

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Interview: Huma Bhabha

Huma Bhabha is not unlike a medieval alchemist, transmuting discarded materials into works of art—morphing civilization’s dusty detritus into works of stunning beauty. They freely collapse ideological mores, the annals of history, contemporary art, yet transcend concretized fact or fiction. Instead, they resurrect their charred faces, standing as relics from a near distant future, or war-ravaged effigies to a post-apocalyptic past. This practice of temporal and physical shape-shifting seems to be both esoteric and playful at once—Bhabha notes that “turning lead into gold, or at least trying…is more interesting than just using gold.” Her visceral effigies are perhaps best described as “anti-monuments;” her works, in their materiality, do not desire permanence—rather, Bhabha formalizes their very transience through her use of ephemeral, corruptible and humble materials. 

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Ramiro Gomez Paints The Invisible People Who Work For The Rich Into Luxury Magazine Ads

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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)

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Josh Keyes’ New Paintings Create A Surreal Environment Of Majestic Beasts Living In A Strange Future

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Something strange is happening in the food chain in Josh Keyes’ new paintings. He renders powerful animals dominating the land; living among other species that they would otherwise never see in current times. A polar bear and a deer swim with the sharks in this artist’s surreal world where creatures run wild. His previous body of work featured the same majestic beasts, but in a sort of diorama display that has you feeling like you are a bystander looking in. Keyes’ new paintings immerse you right into the scene, creating a whole new atmosphere. The environments created are surreal, yet they seem familiar due to the common iconography included in the compositions. Although there are no humans present in any of Keyes’ paintings, we do see remnants of human life. Abandoned traces of civilization remain in the artist’s dystopian world. Street signs exist, but the roads are no longer there, now covered in plant life. Broken down, rusty cars are now trampled by wild fauna and vacant building’s are now part of their playground.

Josh Keyes’ work leaves us asking, what has happened to this world? More importantly, it asks, is this world better or worse than our own? There is a strong sense of environmental politics in the paintings, as the images could possibly be a warning sign for our not so distant future. The natural environment has been changing for some time at the hand of humans. Could this bizarre world be where this path is leading us? Living in Portland, Oregon, Josh Keyes feels a strong affinity with nature and the beautiful, natural environment around him. His incredibly realistic paintings are intriguing as they pull you into both their surreal beauty and their environmental urgency.

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Dog Grooming Taken To A Very Strange Place

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Crazy Dog Grooming Competition

Grooming is essential to the care of any dog.  These images taken by pet photographer Ren Netherland are from a dog grooming competition that take the necessity to a strange place.  The fur of these dogs are cut and colored so as to resemble pop-culture characters, scenes, and recognizable images. Given, the creativity that goes into grooming these canines is surprising (but perhaps better redirected).  What do you think – is this extreme grooming just silly or inhumane?

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Robert Buelteman Scalps, Electrocutes And Paints On Flowers To Create Exquisite Camera-Free Pictures

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Flowers and plants glowing in the dark. These pictures are the result of a titanesque work performed on each nature based element by Robert Buelteman. The California based artist is not using anything else than flowers, photographic films, electricity and a fiber-optic probe to create his work. The result is captivating and intriguing.

Robert Buelteman starts his process by picking fresh flowers and plants from a field. He lays them onto a photographic film in darkness after scalping them until they are sheer. He then throws a 80,000 volts current with his car battery, illuminating their unique energy field and exposing the film to their ultraviolet corona.
The artist painstakingly applies the fiber-optic probe, which is the size of a human hair. By tracing over the shapes, some light is reflected, some absorbed, but the light that penetrates the subject exposes the film with the color and form of its’ source. This method requires, for a one successful picture at least 150 tries.

This camera-free, non-digital process only uses the natural and genuine energy of the plants. A statement dear to Robert Buelteman, a former classic photographer, who decided to counteract the growth of digitalized photography by going back to simplicity and craftsmanship. His is attempting to demonstrate that creativity is in the hands of everyone, for the ones that are willing to put the work. And that a piece or art doesn’t need to have a particular meaning. He prefers to let the electrocuted flowers speak for themselves.

Robert Bueltman’s pieces will be displayed at Adler & Co Gallery in San Fransisco until December 28th 2015

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