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This must be what the future looks like. By Makoto Yabuki

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Instrumental Video Nine

Who said drum machines have no soul? By Mike Winkelmann.

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Design Month: Alessandro di Prisco

Alessandro di Prisco has created a number of beautiful design objects. His latest is Cubico, a multi-functional cube that can serve as a coffee table, magazine rack, stool or as just an objet d’art. Clever design is really all about marrying form and function in an intelligent and beautiful way.

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Fascinating Portraits Of Criminals Covered In Russian Prison Tattoos

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Tattoos, historically, have been on the bodies of sailors and prisoners. It’s only in relatively recent years that they’ve entered mainstream society and lost some of their negative social stigma. Arkady Bronnikov collected photographs of tattooed Russian prisoners between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s. The amount he obtained was massive – 918 images worth –  thanks to his position in the government. As a senior expert in criminalistics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for over 30 years, part of Bronnikov’s duties involved visiting correctional institutions of the Ural and Siberia regions. He interviewed, gathered information, and photographed convicts and their tattoos, which gradually helped him build this comprehensive archive.

The images were later acquired by FUEL, a London-based design group, in 2013. Some of the photographs and official police papers authored by Bronnikov from the Soviet period will be published by FUEL in two volumes, the first of which was just released. Now, they are part of a current exhibition titled FUEL present: Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Files at Grimaldi Gavin in London until November 22 of this year.

When these photos were taken, Bronnikov wasn’t concerned with composition or style. They were meant to act as a record and served a purely practical purpose. The gallery explains, “Their bodies display an unofficial history, told not just through tattoos, but also in scars and missing digits. Closer inspection only confirms our inability to comprehend the unimaginable lives of this previously unacknowledged caste.

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Ceramicist Lauren Gallaspy Creates Fantastical Sculptures Confronting Vulnerable Imbalance

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Artist Lauren Gallaspy creates unique and dynamic ceramic sculptures that play with notions of fantasy and duality. Her work, beautiful, adventurous, and full of a sense of wonder, invokes magical moments of nonsensical, yet somehow perfected, chaos. Her intention lies in finding balance in seemingly irrational binaries. She explains, “the things that I love and the things that I fear refuse to balance out. They scrap like cats, cloak and conceal like kudzu, terrify and delight, like a large, shaky lake or a dog swimming hard towards a floating ball.” The artist uses this tension to create creative and inventive ceramic sculptures, which are not only experimental by nature, but break boundaries of traditionalist methods of pottery. Experiencing Gallaspy’s work is like an investigation. Each color, each angle, each new treatment of material is expressive and fascinating. Her work screams out for a quiet attention, being open ended yet intimate. Her work emphasizes the complexity of humanity, the ups and downs of just simply being. She explains;

“My work is about that imbalance: the vulnerability of living things and the sometimes violent, sometimes pleasurable, almost always complex consequences that occur when bodies and objects in the world come into contact with one another. I use ornamentation, obsessive mark-making, and decorative imagery as a kind of devotional or transformational act, a way to render interior spaces and intense psychological experiences physically.”

 

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America’s Abandoned Malls Are Places Of Nightmares

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via  Detroiturbex.com

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via Detroiturbex.com

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via Detroiturbex.com

North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

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North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

If you’ve ever been in a mostly empty mall, you know how strange it can feel to walk among a space that’s only half alive. But what about when a mall is completely abandoned? That’s even more surreal. As more and more of these once-booming retail centers close, the Dead Malls Enthusiast Facebook group has mapped many of them throughout America. Adventurous photographers have captured the aftermath of of these departed spaces.

Many of these abandoned malls were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and it shows. The interiors and decor look dated, tacky, and claustrophobic compared to the open-air shopping that’s popular today.  Some have fared better structurally than others. Photographs depict buildings that’ve been closed for years and have demolished ceilings and broken glass. Many of the malls have dead plants that have long since lost their leaves.

These abandoned places are apocalyptic and frightening. But at the same time, they pique our curiosity and we wish were there exploring for ourselves. (Via Buzzfeed)

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James Franco Dresses In Drag, Mimics Cindy Sherman’s Photographs

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At current his exhibition at PACE Gallery, the actor James Franco tries his hand at self-portraiture, posing as the legendary photographer Cindy Sherman in replicas of her 1970s student project Untitled Film Stills, a series of silver gelatin prints in which she dressed as iconic women in film. In this strange mimesis of Sherman’s own impersonations, he reflects on an actor’s place, calling into question fixed notions identity, gender, and time.

Sherman, often playing the role of shape-shifting Bacchus and pushing the boundaries of selfhood, questioned the limitations of contemporary femininity, presenting clearly-defined roles for women: the femme fatale, the ingenue, the metropolitan sophisticate. Her film stills represent a sort of painful self-awareness; the film stops mid-reel, and the heroine introspects: who am I, beneath this costume?

The dialogue is complicated by Franco’s series, which in essence, presents an actor playing the role of artist playing the role of actor; what’s more, he’s a man playing at womanhood. Unlike most modern drag, where men seem to flawlessly transform into women, Franco insists on asserting his masculinity; in most of the images, he wears an unconvincing blond wig and facial hair.

Where there is a sort of anxiety in Sherman’s stills, the self-consciousness of being watched as expressed through a downturned lip and upward gaze, a housewife’s mishap in the kitchen, Franco’s New Film Stills project a self-assurance that borders on arrogance. His identity is unchanging, for unlike Sherman, his transformation is incomplete. He knows who he is, remaining forever the actor, who, in Brechtian fashion, refuses to lose himself completely to the character. Take a look. (via BUST, Art in America, and Interview)

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Graham Caldwell’s Glass Reflection

Manipulating glass to the limits of its expandability, Graham Caldwell creates surfaces marked by crumpled and stretched distortions. These agglomerations simultaneously recall stainless steel and shriveled skin, quite an unfamiliar pairing. The spectrum of forms and structures embodies an otherworldliness found in microorganisms or evolutionarily complex sea creatures.

Teetering between playful and sinister, much of Caldwell’s work hinges on the importance of viewer interaction. In one work the convergence of angles toys with the viewer’s understanding of perspective. One’s own image is contorted as if by multiple funhouse mirrors. In another work, planes of iridescent glass are interlocked in an organic, geodesic structure. Seemingly less concerned with the viewer’s presence, this work plays a mise en abyme within its own brightly hued peaks and valleys.

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