Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.
Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.
Rich Tu definitely has a style. His illustrations are engaging and contemporary, though they harken back to the tradition of the beautiful Japanese painting style that so many of you had in poster form in your dorm room (myself included.. Tsunami, anyone?). Tu twists the idea to a modern feel, using muted colors with stark black, and dark and pensive subjects.
Beholder, 2010- mixed media including fake fingernails, nail polish, barrettes, false eyelashes, jewelry, walnut, swarovski crystal- 24 x 36 x 59
Laurel Roth, bay-area based artist and all around swell gal, executes her thoughtful, labor intensive works throughout a vast array of mediums. Each one as impressive as the last, and nothing short of mind blowing. I’ve been fortunate enough to see her work in person a few times and visit the studio where it all comes from. All i can say is WOW. Lots more gems after the jump…
Dietmar Busse is a German photographer who lives and works in New York City. It’s rare to encounter a body of work as wholly original as his extraordinary series, Fauna and Flora. An amalgamation of photography and painting, the pieces in the series manifest a beauty that occasionally veers into dark, dreamlike realms. Busse began painting (with photographic developer) on his prints. The resulting images so artfully meld the otherwise quite distinct media that they appear to coalesce — creating, in a sense, a new medium.
With no formal art training, Busse was long intimidated by the idea of painting. But in the last few years he began extending his experimentation even further, applying photographic retouching colors and inks to his prints.“Having a strong foundation in photography,” he says, “somehow gives me the courage to explore. The photograph serves as the foundation for the painting, capturing something about a person’s energy and spirit the way only photography can. The painting starts where photography can not go.” It is these co-mingled pieces that comprise Fauna and Flora.
“I did not set out to [focus on those concepts]. These were just the images I found myself making — and it made sense, for fauna and flora are what I grew up with, and what I relate to.” (via)
If Wednesday and Pugsley of the Addams family were born a little later they might’ve had this Gothic half pipe in their backyard. I could almost imagine Gomez and Morticia smoking in front of this beautiful wrought iron structure. Instead artist Brandon Vickerd has made something for today’s skater goth. The pipe isn’t as deep as a traditional transition but it is truly beautiful. The sides holding up the wooden platform are black and resemble the part of a rollercoaster which holds up the tracks. According to the artist he wanted to make something that spoke to architectural design incorporated with a recreational aesthetic. It achieves this goal by exploring a type which is normally found floating around music and alternative fashion. The gothic sensibility isn’t normally associated with athletics which make Vickerd’s creation more intriguing. From certain angles the iron is constructed to look like a row of church steeples. It also has the feel of old bridges and fancy park benches. It’s not clear if the artist is a skater but judging by the care involved in this project it would make sense.
Other projects the artist has been involved is making models of famous busts and other figures such as ghost rider with Skeleton faces. These reference more traditional figurative sculpting techniques and pop art from the 60’s.
Kate Kirkwood is a photographer working from a farm base in the Lake Distract in England. Her work is dark, powerful, and stunningly beautiful. The way she portrays her world through a camera lens is rather unique and her talent shows throughout her portfolio and Flickr photostream.
Australian artist Buff Diss brings an interesting medium to the spray paint dominated world of street art: tape. Intricately cut and stuck, Buff Diss’ often large scale pieces can be astoundingly complex. Some of his work intentionally interacts, even plays with the surrounding environment. At other times his work seems to reference classical sculpture and painting. However, he consistently works in this peculiar medium. Regarding the reasons for using tape in his process he says:
“The functional or practical nature of tape is one of its best aspects as a medium; you don’t have to walk into a snooty, over-priced art store to find it. The linear quality of tape also makes it a quick medium to work with. Only drawback is looking like you’ve got a stationery fetish when you open your bag.” [via]
Italian illustrator Virginia Mori uses black ballpoint pen and pencil on paper to create strange, lady-centric compositions. The minimal drawings feature long-haired women in surreal situations. Heads are often seen severed or parts of the body are fused with furniture. Although they are weird, Mori’s work isn’t gruesome. Even when a umbrella handle is coming out of a character’s mouth, there’s no blood or guts. It’s simply a surreal scene.
Mori separates mind from body, in both literal and figurative ways. Heads are rolling, they exist on different levels, and are obstructed by hair. It represents the idea that we can “disconnect” our mental from our physical self, and that this separation can feel like two entities. But in Mori’s illustrations, what causes it? Mystics? Physical ailments? Lessons not learned? The sparse compositions allow for multiple interpretations.