Artist Kate MacDowell uses porcelain clay to craft her nature-inspired works. MacDowell’s works are realistically sculpted and meticulous. Hollowing out a solid form and building each piece leaf by leaf and feather by feather, she intimately involves herself with the process of building. The works themselves are beautiful, ghostly white and evoke a very serene feeling. Upon a closer examination, however, things aren’t quite right. A large bird has human hands instead of its normal claws, and an apple has a tiny skull inside of it. Mice have ears on their backs. MacDwell explains in a statement, writing:
In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats. In each case the union between man and nature is shown to be one of friction and discomfort with the disturbing implication that we too are vulnerable to being victimized by our destructive practices.
The careful construction and fragility of material MacDowell has chosen coincides conceptually with her work.
Susan Kare User Interface Graphics is a digital design practice in San francisco, California. Susan is a pioneer as a computer iconographer. She began her career at Apple, Inc. as the screen graphics and digital font designer for the original Macintosh computer. She feels that “good icons should be more like road signs than illustrations, easily comprehensible, and not cluttered with extraneous detail.” Kare graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received MA and Ph.D. degrees from New York University. Pretty sweet.
Annie Marie Musselman’s photographic work has a very unique quality and strategic approach to capturing the soul of an animal. When browsing through the collections on her site, I couldn’t help but feel like I was looking at another human being, not a bird or a fox… Currently, Musselman is working on a project photographing animals in sanctuaries around the world in order to raise awareness around the fragility and beauty of endangered species – animals which if saved, would save countless other species as well.
Kime Buzzelli, born in Ohio, is currently located in Los Angeles. Her work derives inspiration from music, voyeurism, magazines, story telling, and fashion. She paints a colorful, mystical world filled with beautiful ladies. Buzzelli as well explores 4 dimensional art as a costume designer and an installation artist, which showcase her love for clothes and printed fabric. Love her work? You can visit her gallery/boutique Show Pony and/or wear her fresh kicks, commissioned by vans for their 2009 fall women collection.
This Friday ALL items in the Beautiful/Decay shop will be 20% off. Our full-color, willd and trippy posters make for great gifts. Plus, we’ve added a second wave of posters to the store, so be sure to check out the whole selection—and get 20% storewide savings this Black Friday. (Trampling sold separately.)
“Chojun (Zhang Shun),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Zhang Shun in the White Streak of Waves” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
“Kaosho (Tattooed Priest),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Takeshi Haguri is an artist from Nagoya, Japan, who creates incredibly detailed wooden sculptures of traditional figures from Japanese art and culture. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Haguri created series of works depicting musicians, “Yankees” (delinquent Japanese youth), and melancholic outlaws. His more recent works, featured here, are modeled after traditional prints from Edo-period (1603-1868) Japan, such as Toyokuni Utagawa’s “Kauraiya: Portrait of an Actor on Stage” and Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden. In a current series titled Otokogi (meaning “chivalry”), Haguri features a cast of men wearing fundoshi (undergarments) while standing proudly and wearing masks of traditional creatures and characters, such as the long-nosed tengu and clownish Hyottoko.
Several of Haguri’s works are covered in beautifully painted tattoos in the style of traditional Japanese art: dragons coil around torsos, koi fish arch over shoulder blades, and sakura bloom across arms and legs. Created by Haguri’s apprentice, Miki Nagasaki, the tattoos signify an interesting reversal of 2D and 3D art; instead of woodblock prints on flat surfaces, Haguri’s wooden sculptures transform the traditional images onto dynamic, wooden “bodies.” Drawn from the rich archives of art, myth, and cultural memory, these characters (and their tattoos) can be viewed and appreciated from all angles. By exploring tradition through a different medium, Haguri reinvests age-old images and artistic practices with his beautiful and contemporary style. (Via Sweet Station)
Sam Jinks is interested in reality. Well sort of of. The photo realist sculptor creates marvelously lifelike figurative sculptures that will make you take a double, triple, and perhaps a quadruple take to see what they are made of and how. You would swear that these are actual figures frozen in time except for the slight alterations that Jinks has made such as a foxes head on a human figure (pictured after the jump), or tattoos that look as if they were drawn under the skin, or faces without mouths. At times dark, grim, and just a bit surreal these incredible sculptures will make you rethink the beauty in our skin, hair, and pores and be slightly spooked all at once. Reality has never been more frightening. (via jobs wife)