Japanese artist and leader of Harajuku kawaii culture, Sebastian Masuda, celebrated color and texture with his most recent, and first exhibition here in the US, “Colorful Rebellion.”
Last month, Chelsea’s Kianga Ellis Projects provided Masuda with the space to create a wonderfully weird, colorful wonderland that included plastic toys, bundles of fake fur, stuffed animals, and other accoutrements of manufactured cuteness. The installation was to be read as an autobiographical space, one that, through its many layers, compiled universal themes such as delusion and fate. The aesthetics of the piece takes from Masuda’s main passion, Harajuku fashion.
The installation included a “zone” for desire, the future, delusion, fate, wounds, and reality, with the seventh zone (a reference to the seven deadly sins), “entrusted in your hands.” Although there was definitely something a bit dark at play, the space, overall, exuded Masuda’s rebellious but lively ways of seeing.
The installation was up until March 29th, 2014 at the Kianga Ellis Projects in New York.
Pedro Varela’s tightly packed paintings and installations leave no part of a room safe with paint on canvas, walls, floors and even ceilings.The imagery is clearly based on dense landscapes that one might find in a busy metropolitan area with massive skyscrapers sitting next to old art deco structures that leave little space to build except up into the sky. Like a new city that is just taking shape Varela’s scattered yet dense city systems pour onto every surface acknowledging the galleries architectural structure yet denying to stop just because the wall ends and the floor begins. (via)
Jason Borders has been collecting different animal skulls from before he started school. Always looking for more objects to add to his cabinet of curiosities, he explored his local neighborhoods picking up bits of bones and cartilage. Years later, he has turned that obsession into an art form, showcasing his talent in galleries, shops and collections around the country. He carves patterns and designs that resemble traditional Mehndi tattoos. He usually lets the shape of the skull or bone that he is working on dictate the design he carves. He then covers the work in ink or a striking color.
Borders remembers the day his hobby turned a bit more serious with amusement. After discovering the carcass of an elk while in the desert, and loading it all into his car – an action that almost got him arrested, took it back to his garage. There he cleaned the bones and noticed something that helped him take his craft to the next level.
Looking at the Dremel and looking at the bones next to each other, I picked it up and started working on it. The garage was right underneath my house, and I ended up filling the house with bone dust, and made myself really sick and made my wife really angry. Then I did it another four years, but I’m much more careful these days. (Source)
Borders also paints and carves other items, but has a particular affinity toward skulls. He treats his work as a way of overcoming his fears – particularly ones concerning mortality. He says because he is always working with the idea of death – quite literally, it helps him live his life with intent and purpose. And what a great purpose he has found. (Via Faith Is Toment)
Artist Jesse Krimes stands in front of his 39-panel mural Apokaluptein:16389067 (federal prison bed sheets, transferred New York Times images, color pencil) installed, here, at the Olivet Church Artist Studios, Philadelphia. January, 2014.
In 2009, Jesse Krimes (yes that is his real name) was sentenced to 70 months in a federal penitentiary for cocaine possession and intent to distribute. The judge sentenced Jesse to a minimum security prison in New Jersey, close to support network of friends and family, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) opted to send him to a medium security facility in Butner, North Carolina.
His way of coping with the life-changing sentence went a bit more differently than you would expect. He got by with a little help from federal prison bed sheets, hair gel, The New York Times, and some color pencils. Although money was limited in prison, he never struggled to gather enough money to purchase these objects. You might be thinking these are random, but, in fact, they are what made prison life a somewhat more passable experience.
While experimenting with these four materials, Krimes discovered that he could transfer the newspaper images onto the prison bedsheets. At first he used water to do this, but that did not work. Hair gel, on the other hand, had the requisite viscosity to do the job. He was not aware that three years after, he would end up with a 39-panel mural. Each transfer took 30-minutes. Thousands make up the mural. Krimes only worked on one bed-sheet at a time, each of them matching the size of the tabletop he worked on. The laborious routine kept Krimes sane, focused and disciplined.
If you are lucky, once in a while you find an artist that helps you remember why you started getting into art in the first place. I first saw Dave Muller’s work in 2004 at his show ‘I Like Your Music’ at Blum & Poe, and at the time was just a fresh-faced college kid, only beginning to think about getting involved in the fine arts. I walked into this room full of his drawings of massive record sleeves – vibrant, colorful, and full of life – it was one of the first times that I remember feeling truly enthusiastic about art, not simply because I thought it looked cool, but because it seemed to speak to something about life that I was really excited about. It was a turning point for me in the way I interacted with art, and I’ve never thought about things the same way. For me, Dave Muller’s work is all about the good things that make life worth living – good music, good friends, a little messy, a lot of color, and a lot of fun. Dave has been one of my favorite artists since that fateful day, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to him about his work, his alternate life as a DJ, and his recent wall drawing at the new Cowboys Stadium.
Photographer Claire Sloan spent the last year documenting her life in a photographic journal, “the diary,” recording images of sleeping, meals, and the weather, so that each month stood out from the last. Be sure to check out her site and the rest of “the diary;” I love how she moves from black and white to stronger and stronger color as she transitions from the cold winter months into the summer.