Steed Taylor uses the open road as a metaphor to skin in his “Road Tattoo” series. Taking designs usually found in tattoo art, Steed uses the same aesthetic and principle but on a much grander scale. He produces commemorative public installations on roads throughout the US much in the same way people add tattoos to their bodies to document a life event. The designs are mostly generic tribal tattoos and loop art seen most commonly on the body as bands around arms and legs. He uses these same ideas on a much larger scale inscribed underneath with names of specific groups he wants to commemorate.
Some ideas Steed has turned into “Road Tattoos” have been Aids and domestic abuse survivors, families of deceased war heroes, and non-denominational prayer groups. They have appeared all over the country and are on display until the paint fades. It documents a part of popular culture that crosses over into a larger scale to draw attention to a segment once thought of as alternative and brings it to the masses where it acts as a way for more of society to identify with the original sentiment since most are familiar with these designs in mainstream culture.
United Kingdom based photographer Tony Hammond takes beautifully minimal photographs using only his iPhone and bit of editing before posting the images to Instagram. Each image features a simple object or subject framed by a brilliant, soft, pastel color palette. Most of Hammond’s compositions include an artful use of negative space that minimizes the objects or scenes he’s capturing. The enormity of this tinted negative space informs each captured moment by revealing its quaintness. Some of Hammond’s images feature particular shapes and lines – birds circling overhead or jet streams crossing each other’s paths. Hammond’s photography breathes soft ethereal life into simple scenes, creating moments of poetry that we recognize in our everyday experience.
I wanted to issue an apology for committing the ultimate blogging sin: mixing up two artists’ works (!!). So here is my attempt to correct my error.. the HARMLAND/CHARMGLAND post I made was actually composed of two Flickr accounts’ works: Hardland/Heartland and Portrait Painters. This post is about HL/HL, and the next will be Portrait Painters. Damn, the internet is a tricky business.
This description is taken straight from the horse’s mouth:
“Hardland/Heartland is an amorphous cluster of artists working to create an ongoing visual investigation of our own personal histories, cultural interactions and possible futures. Using intuition and collaboration, we have embraced multiple mediums and methods that allow us to present our findings, not as definite statements, but instead as a more pragmatic communication of ideas that can be built upon and developed over time. These results are pieced together to form a lexicon of personal symbolism that serves as an authentic record of our creative endeavors and interaction.”
We love DIY art and design here at B/D, so it goes without saying that home made Strange Cams certainly caught our eye. An ongoing project initiated by Los Angeles artists Aurelia Friedland and Michael Manalo, Stange Cams investigates the affordances of defamiliarized, modified, low technology instruments, and how those instruments can shift a user’s perspective (literally) on the community and environment around them. I love the sketchy approach the artists took in designing these new cameras – who would have thought a good ol’ roll of duck-tape, a can of spray paint, and some CVS brand disposable cameras would lead to a whole new genre of photography? Check out more of the resulting photographs, and some of the Strange Cams themselves after the jump.
Inspired by his southern memories American artist Wayne White intervenes directly on vintage landscape reproductions, penetrating and filling the vintage scenes with three-dimensional words and phrases. Provocative, ironic and sometimes humorous, his work explores cultural and social themes such as vanity, ego or pride.
“I began my current body of work to make a broader statement about the basic relationship we have with each other and our world. I have been interested in how closely each creature and object is tied to the next. It occurred to me that this interconnectivity is so unrestrained and natural that most of us are not even aware of how one thing can affect the other.
The way I chose to communicate this idea was to illustrate various situations with the veil lifted. I begin each piece with what is usually an average, everyday scene, familiar to each of our daily lives. Playing the “what if” game, I make adjustments, both small and large, until the final work has developed into something far different from where it started. The process of “connecting the dots” is exceptionally free-flowing and something I enjoy exploring. From afar, my candy-colored pieces may appear strictly lightsome and playful, but upon closer investigation, they reveal that things are not always as they seem.
Working in this manner has provided me an endless number of ideas and stories to cultivate, producing finished works that are both telling and captivating.”
When the photographer Aline Smithson found an old, discarded doll from the 1970s, she was touched by his seeming unlovability; his bald head and uncannily wizened features made him unsuitable for most children. Like a lost boy, pitied for his strangeness, the doll found a home behind the artist’s camera. In rich and moody gray tones, Smithson constructs a visual narrative of poignant self-discovery, titled The Lonesome Doll.
The doll’s distinctively his floppy, childlike body works in tension with the firm face of an older man; in choosing to shoot him in black and white, Smithson heightens this drama, creating a dreamy, nostalgic atmosphere. The doll, no longer a boy and not yet a man, exists in a anxious state of perpetual adolescence; where he sits bolt upright in his bed as if woken by a child’s nightmare and dressed in a footed onesie, he also cautiously explores his sexuality, his oversized fingers grazing the shining nude body of another doll. Similarly, he submits to the caresses of a disheveled barbie.
Smithson’s doll is touchingly outcast by his own awkward existence; more mature than his companion toys, he must act out his fantasies with smaller, less ornate dolls, pressing their lips together, his wide-set eyes spit between each figure. He’s too small for the dollhouse, weighty for the clothesline. This strange adolescent is woefully confused, just verging on the point self-awareness. When stuck in a washing machine, he pleads for release, his stunned face reflected in the floor below. Take a look.
Smithson has created from these images a beautiful book that tells a poignant story of hope and love. She is currently looking for a publisher.