Tanya Johnston is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work explores the realms of reality and the illusion of reality.
You may remember the murder of French filmmaker/ photojournalist Christian Poveda in 2009, following the release of his documentary La Vida Loca, which depicted the lives and inner workings of gangs in El Salvadore. These very same gang members are now the subject of artist Renato Garza Cervera’s latest work “Of Genuine Contemporary Beast” depicts the MS-13 and MS-18 gangs in a series of hyper realist skin rugs. In this series, he depicts gang members in such a way that we are accustomed to seeing animals such as bears and, by doing so, he plays upon the notions of beasts and fear of such beasts.
His work offers a series of harshly realistic rugs and severed heads whose accuracy makes you question their nature. The “skins” of the gang members are splayed out, wit the heads included in order to make a sort of “gang skin rug”. His depiction of members of these specific gangs comes with a deeper ethical message in the sense that it allows us to determine the parameters of our definition of “beast”, such as we do with regards to wild animals and other aspects of nature.
In this thought provoking series, Cervera is underlining what he refers to as the “ world-wide scapegoating process”, and by this he aims to point our the ways in which certain minorities and groups are viewed as “dispensable people”.He allows us to examine a societal problem and, to a larger extent the ways in which we blame and sometimes demonize the things we do not understand.
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.
Bop your head along to the full video after the jump.
Paco Peregrín is an international photographer who creates experimental characters out of high-fashion images. This particular series is entitled Beautiful Monster, which Peregrín directed with the intention of exploring the effect of makeup on identity:
All photos that integrate Beautiful Monster allude to a very particular concept of beauty (sometimes unusual, alien or even beautifully monstrous), to its ephemeral nature and the passage of time. Naked men and women are on a neutral background where makeup comes great prominence, even avoiding the recognition of the models, thus reflecting on the idea of identity and a proposal for the makeup as a contemporary mask that protects us, on the one hand like a camouflage, [and on] the other helping us to build a super-ego. (Source)
Peregrín’s “Monsters” are fascinating, radiating with acid-bright color and cryptic eroticism. Most often nude, their faces are bound and adorned with rope, tape, paint, and jewels. Something happens when their features are obscured — their expressive bodies appear almost inhuman. In a style best described as hyper-real futurism, the images speak directly to a postmodern society so obsessed with beauty and constructed identities that it slips into beautiful absurdity.
Given that fashion photography is often criticized as being wholly commercialized and thus heavily restricted, Peregrín’s unique style is doubly surprising; he has worked with big names such as Chanel, Diesel, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, but still manages to bring his own creative and unconventional vision into his works. Check out his website for a gallery of his immersive and consistently experimental projects. (Via Art Fucks Me)
The Nairobi-based artist, Michael Soi, was asked by The Center for African Family Studies (CAFS), a Nairobi-based international NGO, to work along their side in order to create an eye-catching condom line with pop art-inspired packaging to promote safe sex and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Soi is primarily known for his satirical commentary on socio-political issues (political impunity, greed and Kenya’s growing sex industry). Unafraid to shy away from taboo subjects like sex and interracial relationships, the artist was more than happy to collaborate with the NGO on this important project.
“I felt like everybody is basically trying to deal with this whole issue — HIV, unwanted pregnancies — and when I talk about everybody I mean the church is doing whatever they can, the government is doing whatever they can.I felt the project was a good thing. I wanted to try to chip in and create something that would help fight a good fight.”
Soi’s visual work offers a grounded and relatable aesthetic that engages with the targeted public in a very fun way; his subjects are modern, often interracial couples or young women drinking Tusker, a popular Kenyan beer brand. His “pop-art condoms” are meant to attract young buyers who might otherwise face social stigma.
Gianna Commito makes paintings that feel almost sign-like – like a road sign warning you that the road has erupted and time is about to stop. The watercolor and gouache, or w.color and casein paintings don’t let you through the rabbit’s hole too quickly, but when given consideration they transform into tumultuous, imploding space scapes with virtuoso shifts in direction and scale. Using architectural source imagery allows the abstract paintings to have oddly real looking color and light shifts. In an interview Gianna compared the space in her paintings to origami or the inside of a tent. More paintings and a studio shot after the jump…
Through the work of Ellie Coates the viewer is invited into the timeless world of story telling. Combining inspiration drawn from myths, folklore and Renaissance painting she creates the props with which to encourage the imagination of the viewer to weave the narrative. Through the well-known Greek Myth of Medusa the Gorgon Queen Ellie explores and adapts both the anatomy of this formidable character and that of the story surrounding her.
The work deals with entrapment, the female role in storytelling and the close relationship between the beast and the human. Whilst Ellie’s work addresses themes of entrapment it in turn provides the tools for escapism. The otherworldly and uncanny feel is made even more mysterious and mythical through her drawing and making process. The surface of the paper is laboriously prepared with layer upon layer of rabbit skin glue and gesso before graphite is applied with meticulous mark making to give an ethereal and luminescent quality.