It’s pretty hard to make street art these days that actually grabs the publics attention but the Billboards of Peter Fuss manage to stop us in our tracks. I could do without some of the usual suspects that make appearances such as the jabs at Larry Gagosian and Hirst’s spot paintings but I’ll take a double scoop of the political and social commentary. There are a few billboards that I can’t seem to translate. Please post in the comments if you can!
Joel Tretin calls himself a Photo Humorist and that description seems perfectly apt. His photo series Stranger in Paradox “looks at what’s true and totally screws with it.” At first glance, the pictures seem deceptively straightforward—portraits of the city shot in a somewhat generic ad-agency aesthetic. Hidden in plain sight are the visual jokes: a parking ticket on the windshield on a sports car in a building height ad; a carousel over a revolving door; an elephant walking though the green murkiness of a subway. The Photoshop manipulations are mostly seamless—it really looks like that woman is pushing an eight-seat stroller, and that sporty yellow cab looks real next to its stodgier brother. A stack of cars make the most of a lone parking space.
The subtlest images make you work for them. A lit Wall Street façade, American flags… oh, there. The don’t walk sign is flipping the bird. The traffic sign points to the “Road Most Taken” an apparent play on Robert Frost’s Road Less Taken.
Photo manipulation in art is often used to create surreal imagery. And these pictures are surreal in that they portray things that are unreal and often fantastic, but the photos lack the intention and technique that transform pictures into fine art. Which seems to be just fine with Trentin, who says:
I am a failed stand up comedian, who now tries to make people laugh through photography.
California-based artist Gregory Kloehn often repurposes the still completely-usable trash and street detritus that he finds in the streets. His ongoing project Homeless Homes takes this idea one step further, offering real aid by creating housing for the homeless in Oakland. Dubbed as “eclectic building materials for small but efficient mobile homes.” Kloehn and his volunteers recycle and reuse salvage to offer small, mobile house (they are on wheels), Mostly the size of a sofa or small room, these Homeless Homes offer a safe place and protection, and raise awareness to the needs of the homeless community. “Stuff people just throw away on the street can give someone a viable home,” Kloehn said in an interview with NBC News. “Does it have merit as a solution to homelessness? As far as giving people a shelter, yeah, definitely. Is it a solution to homelessness? It’s an answer. An attempt.”
Kloehn further describes his aims on the project’s website, “Our goal is to bring together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative, mobile shelters for the homeless people. By sourcing our materials from illegal street dumping, commercial waste and excess household items, we strive to diminish money’s influence over the building process.”
The art duo of Yarisal and Kublitz create smartly charming sculptures and installations. The pieces, often created from household materials, are each emboided with a subtle subversiveness. From a vending machine filled with glassware to self filling and popping balloons, the duo’s pieces transform familiar objects into characters of ironic scenes. Through their work, Ronnie Yarisal and Katja Kublitz encourage a fresh perspective of the banal through sculptures that look like the punchline to existential jokes.
Eddie Martinez details a strange and wonderful world of googly-eyed pots, Cosby sweater wearing owls, recurring characters and colorful, quirky compositions. In a recent interview, Martinez details his no-nonsense, back to basics approach to creating work. Unlike the intense philosophical considerations and conceptualizations inherent in so many artists’ meandering methodologies, Martinez takes an almost blissfully ignorant approach in the laconic tradition to making his works: “Sometimes an idea will work its way into a drawing … I don’t know…I don’t really make plans for [the painting] so much.I usually just start it.”
Watercolor, gouache and ink paintings by once Austin, TX now Cambridge, MA artist Peat Duggins. The detail images are telling of a cartoon-apocalypse and I have to say I’m not a morbid or pessimistic person, however I enjoy dooms-day movies and I’m growing fond on such themes in artwork where humans are gone and nature takes over. This is different though, it’s sweet.
Artist Ryan Salge’s monochromatic drawings are of surreal scenes that feel like dreamscapes. The tightly-rendered compositions feature expansive outdoor worlds and figures that traverse through them. Often times, the men and women in them are as curious as we are. Their backs are turned towards us, and it’s as if we’re on the journey right along with them.
There’s always something a little strange or alluring in each of Salge’s drawings. A woman looks up to dark, swirling sky as a small patch of light shines through. Another work features bodies rising upwards into the atmosphere. And, in an especially eerie piece, a barefooted man peers down as a spotlight shines onto a desolate field. (Via Lustik)
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