French artist Geneviève Santerre‘s body of work is, well, about the body. Explicitly erotic, her work is shocking and provocative. It speaks to central concerns about women’s bodies and sexuality in general. From human-animal-creature genital hybrid sculptures to bronze cast vaginas to a pair of discharge-soaked underwear hand stitched with the words “shit happens” to a tangled and suspended speculum to a performance piece wherein she wears a Niqab adorned with silicon vaginal molds, Santerre is by no means subtle. Her work is direct and compelling, challenging the viewer with something powerfully resonant yet potentially disturbing. Santerre pushes boundaries, asking us to reflect on recontextualized sexual images.
Santerre explains in her statement, “Belonging to a generation that is supposedly open sexually, I wonder why this jubilation is considered taboo. Despite some improvements since the feminist movement in the 1960’s, contemporary society remains patriarchal and regards women as objects, while frowning upon sexually open women.
Photographer Thomas Jackson captures every day objects traveling in packs. His series Emergent Behavior features plastic cups, leaves, sticky notes, gathering into swarms. These mundane objects fly through city streets and forests, mostly whimsical but at times menacing. They reference self-organizing systems often found in nature such as herding, swarms, insect mounds, and so on. Regarding this Jackson says:
“The images attempt to tap into the fear and fascination that those phenomena tend to evoke, while creating an uneasy interplay between the natural and the manufactured and the real and the imaginary”. (via)
Colin Henderson, a designer and illustrator, enjoys captivating the viewer through the use of bold coloring, shapes, and patterns. I was happy to sense that not only does he seem to absorb inspiration through classic video games, mainstream media (do I see Flava Flav in one of them? I think so!) and street culture, but the inspiration from various ethnic art.
Cath Riley is an artist who creates stunning, photorealistic drawings that explore the power of touch and the sensuality of flesh. In each image from this series, bodies are pinched, gripped, and squeezed, with Riley’s masterful shading depicting the smooth skin as it creases and dimples. And even though we are only given a small portion of the body — such as a hand clenching a waist, or pressing between the thighs — the drawings emanate warmth, intimacy, and humanity. In a synesthesia of visual perceptions and tactile sensations, Riley’s works celebrate the materiality and strengths of the body, exploring the pleasure and personal connections that derive from the loving, physical interplay of firmness and softness.
All of Riley works — which can be viewed on her website — portray an incredible attention to detail and awareness of the human form. In her Hands series, for example, she captures complex musculature and tiny creases with sublime accuracy and beauty. It is no wonder that her work has been recognized; her recent clients include Nike, GQ, and The New York Times, and she has won several awards, listed here. In regards to upcoming work, Riley writes that her “current on-going experimental ‘drawing’ includes very large scale drawing, based around the human figure, which are very different in character from the pencil portrait and ‘flesh’ figure drawings which are featured here. Some of the new work is abstract in nature.” She adds that “examples of this ‘new direction’ […] will appear on the site quite soon,” so be sure to follow her work (Source). More images from the Flesh series after the jump. (Via Juxtapoz)
Japanese designer Fangophilia (Taro Hanabusa) creates edgy silver accessories made from molds of isolated body parts: teeth, ears, cheeks, kneecaps, fingers, and more. Some of his more frequent designs consist of custom-fit fangs and claw-like finger extensions, but his oeuvre also consists of gauntlets and face-plates redolent of medieval armor. Trained in dentistry and fascinated by body modifications, Hanabusa became curious about what would happen if dental molds were used to alter the appearance of the body, and in June 2012 he started his own brand, Fangophilia.
Each silver accessory is molded to an individual’s form. While ears and knees might generally look similar, all have their own anatomical deviations, making Hanabusa’s creations as unique as the bodies they adorn. In a fascinating interview with Tokyo Fashion, Hanabusa discusses the effect of working so closely with his clients and their unique bodies, saying it makes him feel “connected with [his] customers,” more so “than those who only sell their items only through shops.” In this way, he is very much like a tattoo artist or a piercer, consulting his clients directly in the achievement of their desired look.
The aesthetic impact of Fangophilia’s work is dark and powerful. It’s alternative fashion with a vampiric edge. And even though Hanabusa is no longer a dentist, there is something intriguingly “clinical” or “surgical” about his designs: sharp metal is placed in intimate proximity with the skin, creating an effect that wavers between cold sterility and the shining beauty of silver. Furthermore, as the name “Fangophilia” suggests, there is an element of fetish in his work; by accessorizing (or armoring) a specific detail on the body, you bring attention and erotic curiosity to it. Plates of metal on the cheeks, for example, accentuate the sensual curve of a jawline. This allure is not to be taken lightly, however, for like suits of armor, Hanabusa’s designs exude both beauty and tremendous strength.
Fangophilia was in Los Angeles last November, so follow his Facebook page to keep up with his latest work and see where he tours next. His website can be found here. Tokyo Fashion’s article is another great resource, and it provides an exclusive, behind-the-scenes video showing Hanabusa’s shoot for his first lookbook, the photos from which are displayed on this page. (Via Tokyo Fashion)
Graham Caldwell sculpts intricate organic-like structures from hand blown glass. His artworks mirror natural life forms on a molecular level. He pulls, twists, stretches and blows 2,000 degree glass into all sorts of shapes, arranging them into globular, spiky, prismatic, concave, convex, and densely myopic configurations. Caldwell uses the hard shiny metallic properties of glass in contrast to the forms he is recreating. He references nature – flowers, leaves, tropical fronds, water drops, fly’s eyes and eyebrows, but chooses to present them in a man-made, futuristic, fractured, cubist fashion.
Using mirrors, metals, steel and epoxy he likes us to reflect on the way we see the world around us. His interest lies in the act of perceiving, the function of eyes, the purpose of lenses, and how sight works.
Much of my work focuses on glass as a conduit or modulating agent for light and its parallel in the functionality of the human eye: using a lens to flip an image of the world, upside down and backwards, into the brain where it is reassembled, through illusion and forensics. (Source)
Caldwell is the ultimate advocate for art as science. His process is all about trying to recreate an organic process through a completely manufactured one. He enjoys the tactility of glass and the bizarre shapes they can inhabit.
Imagine the shape that balloons take on when they’re half filled with water; now imagine them flash-frozen and sticking sideways into space. Glass, says Caldwell, “is a slowed-down, meaty version of water.” (Source) (Via Hi Fructose)
For Lucas Simões‘ Quasi-Cinema series, he stitches folded photographs together in the form of a wave and fixes them onto a support of wood and cloth to create the appearance of cinema. He uses personal photographs that he magnifies before bending them in this wave form. The construction of these photographs evokes movement through each successive image, sort of a physical representation of stop motion. Simões’ architecture and design background has influenced this and other works, some of which we’ve featured in the past. He lives and works in São Paulo.
We want you to contribute to our blog! In celebration of International T-Shirt day June 21st, Beautiful/Decay and Tee Junction are pairing up to dish out an awesome new contest. Leave a link to an artist’s portfolio you think we should feature on the B/D blog in the comments section, along with a brief description of how you heard about them and why you like their work. If we choose your artist to be posted on the blog, we’ll send you a free Beautiful/Decay Apparel shirt! Submissions are due by Monday, June 8, 9PM PST. We can’t wait to see your contributions!
*Sorry guys- this one’s limited to domestic entries- shirts will only be shipped within the U.S!