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B/D Best of 2010 – Guitardom Superhero Ben Simon

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If you thought the key-tar or Steve Vai’s triple- neck guitar was cool, try the outlandish custom musical creations of Ben Simon. They kind of look like the instruments muppets would fraggle-rock out on. The above piece also kind of looks like what San Rio’s Twin stars would shred on a cloud to. It even has a speaker built in with a sound circuit that makes a thunderclap sound! Talk about harnessing the power of Zeus! Hmm….what would your guitar look like? Mine might have to be a rhinestone studded silver leather lightening bolt that plays Queen’s “We Will Rock You” every time I do a powerslide! What’s yours…?

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Kim Dong-Kyu Gives Girl With A Pearl Earring And Other Iconic Figures In Paintings Tech Upgrades

Dong-Kyu Kim

‘girl with a pearl earring and an iPhone’ – based on ‘girl with a pearl earring’ by johannes vermeer, 1665

Dong-Kyu Kim

‘always in my hand’ based on ‘in the conservatory’ by édouard manet, 1878-9

Dong-Kyu Kim


‘a family gathering’ based on ‘the balcony’ by édouard manet, 1868

Dong-Kyu Kim

‘her mirror’ – based on ‘rokeby venus’ by diego velázquez, 1647–51

Korean illustrator Kim Dong-Kyu gives technological updates to Girl With A Pearl Earring and other iconic works in Art History.

Kyu’s images, although hysterical, are quite critical of the way smartphones/gadgets have dramatically changed today’s social interaction. Themes of alienation, avoidance, self-centerness, and attachment prevail through the series of images. It is interesting to think back on the cultural history of most of these works [mostly the 19th and 20th century works on here]; the juxtaposition of the cultural implications of the scenes of each painting and today’s conception of socialization is quite amusing and very different, yet, at some points, very similar.

For instance, Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker’ from 1876, reveals the increasing social isolation in Paris due to a stage of rapid growth and confinement brought forth by the highly urbanized and elite-driven atmosphere of the new Paris. The woman, actress Ellen Andrée, blankly stares into the walls of a Parisian café. With a glass of absinthe in front of her, she solemnly contemplates the nothingness of what is going on around her. The man, painter Marcellin Desboutin, sits next to her but glaces towards the opposite direction, looking to catch on to something interesting outside of his close quarters. Similarly, on Kyu’s rendition, the woman find herself ignored and in a state of alienation as she is the only one not using a gadget.

These definitely leave us wondering if social interaction has been one of those things that evolve to become more of the same thing. With or without technology, it seems clear to me that the urban, and the elite societies, both rendered in these paintings (with and without Kyu’s additions),  look to the outside, and inside, towards their phones, in order to fill some sort of void, and/or escape whatever lies in font of them. If this is true or not…that is up to you to decide.

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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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Awesome Video Of The Day: Chad VanGaalen – Peace On The Rise

 

I love this music video for Chad VanGaalen’s Peace On The Rise single. It’s got everything you want including green giants, aliens, mystic plants, and all sorts of other bugged out imagery that i’m sure you’ll love. Watch the full video after the jump.

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Tim Mantoani Shoots Portraits Of Photographers Holding Their Most Iconic Images

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Steve McCurry

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Barbara Bordnick

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Lyle Owerko

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Jim Marshall

In December 2006, American photographer Tim Mantoani embarked on a unique and fascinating project to document living photographers with their most iconic images. Since then, he has collected over 150 portraits, ranging from the historic to the contemporary, the cultural to the political. Included among the vast series is Harry Benson and his famous photograph of The Beatles engaged in a pillow fight (1964), as well as Lyle Owerko holding his devastating image of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers (2001). All of Mantoani’s portraits are taken on the “rare but mammoth format of a 20×24 Polaroid,” using a large camera originating from the 1970s (Source). Only a handful of these Polaroid cameras still exist (you can learn more about the devices he uses here). Mantoani’s reasoning for using such unique, classic technology is rooted in a respect and passion for the photographic tradition; as he explains, “If you are going to call the greatest living photographers and ask to make a photo of them and you are shooting 35mm digital, they may not take your call. But if you say you are shooting 20×24 Polaroid, they will at least listen to your pitch” (Source). As further homage to these artists, as well as their impact on the history of photography, Mantoani has had everyone write a story about their iconic image on the bottom of their portrait.

Mantoani’s project is simultaneously intimate and historically significant. It is an undeniably powerful experience to see the faces behind photographs which have defined cultural eras and signified shifts in social consciousness. So often, despite the impact of their work, photographers remain the unseen observers while framing the world in profound ways. We don’t often have the opportunity to connect with the mind and personality behind the lens. Mantoani’s work crystallizes these important artists in the records of photographic history. Suddenly, with the Polaroid and its accompanying, hand-written inscription, we can imagine Steve McCurry in 1984 in the midst of the Soviet War in Afghanistan, capturing the face of Sharbat Gula (“Afghan Girl”), who would wordlessly tell the world an intimate story of hardship and perseverance. In regards to an iconic moment in the history of American music, Jim Marshall’s portrait shows us the face to which — for an intense, fleeting moment — Johnny Cash held aloft his middle finger. These portraits bring the bodily, human presences back into the images and their associated histories.

In 2012, all of these stunning portraits were compiled in the book Behind Photographs, published by Channel Photographics. The book is available in multiple formats, including a regular edition, a slipcase limited edition, as well as a cloth-bound deluxe limited edition that comes with signed collector cards. It is also available as an eBook. The print versions are available for purchase on Mantoani’s website. More photographer portraits after the jump. (Via 123 Inspiration)

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Melissa Cooke Drawings of beauty, fantasy, And Violence

Melissa Cooke’s accomplished powdered graphite on paper works explore themes of beauty, fantasy, violence, vulnerability and identity, with the artist casting herself as subject in a myriad of thematic scenarios.

 ” I take photographs as I paint and pour liquids onto myself, using my face as a canvas.  The photo shoots reference the practice of drawing and painting; then the final graphite drawing references photography.  The boundaries between the mediums are broken down and the processes are interwoven.

The images depart from the framing of traditional portraiture.  The viewer is not given an entire bust of the subject; rather the frame zooms into up-close sections of the face.  The cropping pushes the face to the surface of the paper, making the figure more ambiguous.  Flesh becomes abstracted: obliterated by paint on the skin, distorted by the eye of the camera lens, or smeared by the glass of a Xerox machine.

Photographs are used as inspiration for drawing and mark making.  The drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush.  The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details.  Gestural marks are apparent, while still creating dimension.  Textures are given precedence over portraying a likeness to the figure.   The act of drawing becomes the focus.”

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Dan Eckstein Captures The Splendor And Eccentricity Of India’s Hand Painted Technicolor Trucks

Eckstein, Photography

Eckstein, Photography

Eckstein, Photography
  Eckstein, Photography

Dually based in both Los Angeles and New York, photographer Dan Eckstein is no stranger to the inescapable traffic of a bustling metropolis. While travelling across Rajasthan’s highways and byways during a trip in 2011, however, he noticed a striking addition to the thoroughfare: highly adorned, technicolor trucks. Inspired by these shimmering “goods carriers,” Eckstein opted to create his series and book, Horn Please: The Decorated Trucks of India.

In addition to vivid paint and ornately-inscribed text—including the phrase “Horn Please,” found ubiquitously on India’s trucks and designated “the mantra of the Indian highway” by Eckstein—the trucks’ exteriors are encrusted with gleaming lights, images of deities, intricate patterns, and even portraits of pop culture staples. While the trucks boast impressive façades, their interiors are just as embellished; given the exhaustive hours and long journeys innate to this line of work, the drivers seek to be comfortable and, thus, decorate their cabins according to their unique tastes.

While highly individual, the trucks also speak to a specific culture and its highly distinctive aesthetic:

What Eckstein produced is a singular portrait of the subcontinent–distinctly Indian, and a vividly colored reflection of this country in flux between tradition and modernity. Horn Please serves as a psychedelic guide to design in India, from the hand-painted lettering covering the trucks, to the mindboggling use of color, to the specifically Indian patterns and motifs, and a showcase of the visual vernacular of the subcontinent.

Beautiful and jubilant, the decorated trucks of India are truly a feast for the eyes. (Via Slate)

Be sure to pick up your own colorful copy of Horn Please from Powerhouse or Amazon!

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Megan Straeder’s Enrichment Center Displays Mesmerizing Futuristic Lightscapes

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Artist Megan Straeder’s most recent work is a hanging installation, a display of brilliant light work in intricately woven nets placed descending a staircase. Appropriately on display at the Brisbane Powerhouse, her work breathes modernity and is reminiscent of 3D blueprints and 1980s computer technology. She cites Portal and the 2002 film Teknolust as visual inspirations for her work, she works with a lot of neon lights and futuristic elements. She plays with light and dark in this project, and makes use of a necessary darkness to be able to create such a stunning display of lights.

Straeder describes her piece as a “space age environment” inspired by “visions of the future”. Her work does reflect heavy inspiration from such decors and it might even remind you of Tron. Straeder describes this installation as a “vortex of light and color” and, the fact that the piece is hanging in a staircase reinforces its ethereal aspects. Enrichment Center constitutes the perfect décor for a houseparty featuring a futuristic techno soundtrack and probably lots of drugs.

The power of this pieces lies both within its sources of inspiration and the fact that, through these sources and her own creativity, Straeder has created a transmedia art piece and a reflection on what we perceive as futuristic imagery.

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