Everybody likes a dash of mystery. We got a submission from a German illustrator named Amrei. Her body of work is called Vertico’s Puppets. She also seems to go by the name Sosima. Which one is her true identity? You be the judge! Either way, her illustrations are cute yet deadly like a pink bunny rabbit with a switchblade. Enjoy the amazingness!
A new photography exhibition at the American University Museum wants to show you that Siberia is more than just a cold, barren place. Titled Siberia in the Eyes of Russian Photographers, it paints the Russian region in a different light. Photographs boast impressive landscapes and even some warm weather; We see children swimming and people wearing short-sleeved shirts. Anton Fedyashin, the executive director of the Initiative for Russian Culture at American University, spoke with Slate about stereotypes of Siberia. “Notions of Siberia in the United States come from Hollywood,” he said. “They come from films that emphasize the morbid exoticism of Siberia, the endless white plains, the sparse villages. Those are the kinds of images that are most widespread in the West. Of course, Siberia during winter does look like that, but there’s another side of the story.”
Siberia makes up about 75 perfect of Russia’s landmass, but only 25 percent of its population. The people who live there are described as having an independent spirit, much like pioneers who settled in the American West during the 19th century. The exhibition draws comparisons between the two places. “It’s an image that overemphasizes the negative aspects of this enormous part of the Eurasian continent and one that completely underrepresents the enormous geographical variety, which is breathtakingly beautiful. The exhibit shows that it’s equally as beautiful and eerily similar to the American West.” Fedyashin explains. While many Western photographers chose to accentuate the emptiness of Siberia, the Russian photographers in this exhibition depict a multifaceted place, spanning from the 1860’s to 2011. (Via Slate)
New York artist Maya Hayuk has an awesome sense of humor and color. Her piece (above) “HANDS ACROSS THE UNIVERSE” was “made in collaboration with Iman’s aura.” Awesome!
Andres Guzman is a Peruvian artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and also 1/3 of the art and music collective STEAKMOB. He’s an artist I’m surprised we haven’t already featured before. STEAKMOB is a loose crew of creatives who do everything from design to sounds to illustration. They invite anyone who is their creative to work with them in their space (an attic studio). “We just love to make stuff for the eyes and the ears,” states Andres. Which I think to “the T” describes Andres perfectly. He has always been drawing and experimenting, trying out new techniques and mediums to further expand his artistic vision.
Andres is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to his sketching ability. He never ceases to have new journal entries to share of ladies and heated Midwestern narratives, a vast portfolio of hand-drawn typography, and a keen sense of nailing portraiture. Andres is currently working on a music video animation for Tame Impala, and working with Colonel Blimp UK. I included more illustration samples than the usual after the jump because he has so many golden pieces on his tumblr and his other blog! All of his portfolios are worth your time to check out and contemplate.
FASTWÜRMS is a Canadian artist collective started in 1979 by Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse, who are associate professors of studio art at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Their artwork seemingly encompass all disciplines – installation, video, manifesto, performance, drawing, etc – and concerns witch positivity, working class aesthetics, queer politics, and public collaborations. Many of the images after the jump are taken from the FASTWÜRMS: DONKEY@NINJA@WITCH catalogue that accompanied a 2007 retrospective at the Art Gallery of York University.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to photograph for Playboy, ponder no further. Dutch photographer and art director Patrick Van Dam has the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the infamous magazine in his book, Playboy Behind The Scenes. Published in 2011, it’s full of images that capture the awkward and unsexy moments that comes with the making of every sexy centerfold.
Seeing these images takes some of the allure and fantasy out of Playboy photos. Pulling back the smoke and mirrors, it reminds us they have their share of unflattering moments, too. It takes the proper lighting, strategic positioning, and even water pouring to make things appear just so. Nothing is as glamorous as it seems.
Van Dam directed nude photo shoots for Dutch Playboy for seven years, so he has no doubt seen it all. He even had Hugh Hefner write the foreword for his book:
In these compelling images, Patrick has captured the soul of the Playboy shoot and offered a true celebration of, and homage to, the people who make these beautiful things happen. Vividly here is the intimacy, the fun, and the dedication it takes to create the very best in contemporary erotica. And along the way, true to his calling, he gives the reader a peek behind the curtain of the Playboy lifestyle. (Via Featureshoot)
For monograph Ad Infinitum, the photographer Kris Vervaeke captured small human likenesses etched in porcelain and affixed to hundreds of tombstones in Hong Kong. The dreamy book is potent for its simplicity; every page turn finds a blank white page fixed beside the a weathered portrait of an anonymous soul. Each capture magically veers from the photographic, entering a realm of abstraction evocative of fading memory. With every page, comes that same blankness, which functions to blur the portraits further, reminding the viewer that someday our own human faces will be washed away entirely.
The series works poignantly to make the reader forget—if only for an instant— that it is not composed of ordinary photographs of living, breathing people. Although the tombstones have been worn (in some cases more than others), the artist’s precise and intimate frame invites us to search for markers of human character; if we lose the eyes, we find glasses, and even amongst the faceless we discover hats. With each progressive photograph, the viewer clings to these signifiers of humanity, only to find him or herself frantically making meaning from the most impersonal cracked stone or chipped paint.
Ultimately, though, the images are not portraits but photographs of portraits, poignantly denying us any clear picture of who, when, or what these people were. A person dies. A body deteriorates. A portrait is chosen for a tombstone. A tombstone deteriorates. Someone takes a picture. With every progressive step, individual life fades bitterly into a mysterious realm just beyond our reach, Ad Infinitum. (via Lensculture and The Independent Photo Book)
Collab w/ Skinner
What’s been going on lately in the world of Cali artist Bigfoot One?
As always, Bigfoot’s combination aesthetic of classic heavy metal, graffiti, and Nature is looking pretty, pretty, pretty good. Vinyl toys, walls, prints; so solid. Completely comfortable in his obsessions, Bigfoot returns again and again to his subject matter, to his lonely, knowing forest creature. Even in thorough repetition, the work packs a punch with each newly minted piece in whatever medium the artist chooses to employ. That’s a sign that there’s a basic truth at work here. What the truth is, like Bigfoot himself, is kind of an enigma.
Keep in eye out for a new release from Bigfoot and Kidrobot in the near future and also check out Issue:B of Beautiful/Decay with features one of the very first interviews with Bigfoot before he became the mysterious giant of street art.