Bjorky is an illustrator and animator living in Los Angeles. His work, according to him, is social commentary depicted through the fantasy realm. Whatever the reason behind his art, there is no denying how cool and interesting it really is.
The work of Dillon Boy (né James Dillon Wright) emerged from a street art and graffiti background, combining pop culture, branding, advertising, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to take these sources further than they were intended. This evolution (or devolution) is evident in his series DIRTYLAND, where the artist takes the ever-popular childhood icons of Disney’s princesses and removes their context, and clothes.
In works which collage smut magazine backgrounds with spraypaint stencils, drips and graffiti scrawls, these princesses become transformed representations of our combined high and lowbrow society, and take aim at the falsely marketed ideas of perfection and innocence. In an exclusive talk with Beautiful/Decay, Dillon talks about the series. “Most of my audience were kids when these princesses ruled their world, so now that they are all adults (and sexually active) they are all ready to hang paintings of naked Disney chicks all over the house. [laughs]. No for real though, I believe it’s my job as an artist to question the very things around me and to continuously break down the traditional and more conventional ways of making art. It is my intention to raise or lower your eyebrows in one way or another.”
This reappropriation of pop culture icons is nothing new, but seems to be happening at a rapidly increasing pace (Beautiful/Decay has recently featured several such reimaginings of pop culture symbols), indicating that artists are remaining relevant to many audiences by constantly questioning what we collectively see daily. Dillon Boy (surprisingly?) notes that he has not seen much in the way of criticism of his DIRTYLAND series, and that is his job as an artist to take things one step further. “Well, one thing is for sure, we live in a sexually charged culture. Walk outside and you will quickly find a billboard or an ad in a publication showcasing a woman as a sex object. Sex sells remember. I simply used the pure, untainted characters of Walt Disney to convey that message. But that’s obvious, I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done before… but I’m ready to do it again!”
To see the complete series (more of which are in the works) or to buy prints, check out Dillon Boy’s online store.
I’m not usually a big fan of photorealism but these paintings by Lee Price are unreal!
Given the prevalence of new technologies and the endless possibilities associated with digital programs, it is no surprise that most contemporary artists working in collage seldom create works entirely by hand. To Argentinian artist Larissa Haily Aguado, however, fabricating collages manually has become an integral aspect of her practice, as “the possibilities of fixed manual collage in the digital age provide exciting opportunities to engage with craft, materials, analysis and outcomes.”
With mesmerizing compositions, dream-like subject matter, and a “sharper, more immediate, and more human dynamic than is possible with computer software,” Aguado’s collages combine photographs, illustration, found materials, and elements of graphic design to form surreal yet seamlessly cohesive scenes. By attaching inanimate objects to human bodies or placing retro furniture in scenes of nature, Aguado creates works that are both tongue-in-cheek and aesthetically appealing.
Representative of her wide range of artistic experiences and clearly influenced by her multi-faceted career (including major music industry projects, fashion campaigns, movie poster designs, and TV commercials), the diverse nature of her collages undoubtedly conveys her inventive imagination and eye for design.
Check out Aguado’s work in Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform, a new book by Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator), on shelves now!
While teaching at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite National Park in the 1970s Roger Minick began photographing sightseers. Interested in this American activity Minick wanted to capture the “cacophony of clicking shutters” and waves of tourists seeking photographic proof that they had made it to a famous vista.
Minick’s photographs portray unique narratives of what is mainly America’s middle-class. Poignant and humorous all at once, the images show varied individuals with intriguing and sometimes seemingly strange stories. What is interesting is that, so far as a viewer can tell, all the subjects have only one thing in common: their desire to be in famous places in nature. Sometimes stereotyped Minick’s images successfully portray the American tourist as being wholly distinct.
Moreover, set against iconic backdrops the images become more than just portraits. They demonstrate a juxtaposition of nature and culture. As David Pagel wrote in the LA Times in 1997, “these supple works use the discomfort most people feel when confronted by nature’s inhuman scale as a metaphor for the precariousness of culture in a democratic society. Awkward and uncertain, sometimes fun and at other times frightening, this quiet anxiety is a big part of these pictures’ power.”
Is Genevieve Lawrence a Theosophic occultist? Using secret, mystical insight to call home the star-walkers who built the multidimensional Pyramids? Is she conjuring devious spells with strange hieroglyphs? Based in abnormal, impious, and non-Euclidean geometry, the pictures come together around glowing cubes and patterned triangles. This feels like the same dark magic on the one dollar bill or the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Tomás Saraceno is an Argentine artist who creates pieces that explore alternative, sustainable ways of viewing and interacting with the environment. Previous works include floating iridescent and geometric installations that affect the way we perceive the relationship between the earth and sky. In this project, titled “Becoming Aerosolar,” Saraceno has woven together a patchwork of plastic bags into a massive hot air balloon. Trapping the heat of the sun in a greenhouse-like effect, the plastic canvas lifts majestically into the sky, transforming stigmatized, non-biodegradable waste into a work of liberating beauty.
Exploring the creative crossover between environmentalism, history, art, and human perception, Saraceno notes how the hot air balloon “came about as a means of escape and protection in the late 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. It is significant that during these times of uncertainty, people looked to the sky to escape the reality on earth” (Source). As an innovation deriving from crisis and a longing for freedom, the plastic bag balloon takes on a contemporary significance: in an age of environmental turmoil, when the planet we inhabit verges on irreparable damage, the sky (and beyond that, outer space) becomes the frontier of hope. However, beyond signifying that upward glance of salvation and survival, “Becoming Aerosolar” optimistically reminds us how repurposing our materials and shifting our perspectives could lead to changing our trajectory on Earth.