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Magazine Prints Its Latest Issue With Ink Infused With HIV+ Blood

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In an attempt to finally stop the social stigma surrounding HIV, the German magazine Vangardist has printed over 3000 copies of their latest issue in a special ink infused with HIV+ blood. The blood was taken from 3 different volunteers who are living with the virus, and combined with printing ink at a ratio of 28 parts ink, to 1 part blood. Scientists at Harvard and Innsbruck Universities have come up with a unique way of mixing the two substances, and are certain the hard copies of the magazine carry no risk of infection. Even with all the assurances of the paper being perfectly safe to handle, the concern surrounding HIV is still worrying some critics. It would seem the attitude to the HIV virus is not so different to those of 30 years ago.

Julian Wiehl – the Publisher and CEO of Vangardist recognizes this and thought they could help inform people on the touchy subject. He says:

The editorial team at Vangardist is committed to dealing with a wide variety of topics affecting our readers. We believe that as a lifestyle magazine it is our responsibility to address the issues shaping society today.  With 80% more confirmed cases of HIV being recorded in 2013 than 10 years previously, and an estimated 50% of HIV cases being detected late due to lack of testing caused by social stigma associated with the virus.  This felt like a very relevant issue for us to focus on not just editorially but also from a broader communications stand point. (Source)

The launch of the Spring issue was designed to coincide with the Life Ball – one of the most important HIV events in the world, held in Vienna. The magazine has been available to subscribers since April 28th, and there is an online campaign that aims to breakdown the taboo. Be sure to read more about it here. (Via Fastcodesign)

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Junko Mizuno’s Delightfully Dark Paintings Feature A World Of Erotic Food Fetishes

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Japanese artist Junko Mizuno’s candy-colored works draw us into a world full of dark and erotic food fetishes. Meant as a metaphor the female sexual appetite and power, Mizuno’s illustrations feature women enjoying eggs, bacon, noodles, and more. Her maximalist style weaves geometric shapes, naked creatures, and luscious patterns into each composition. Coupled with the strong presence of a female character, it results in artwork that’s simultaneously grotesque, cute, playful, and alluring.

Mizuno’s inspiration comes from a range of historical and cultural influences, as well as traditions found in both Eastern and Western worlds. Fairy tales and the works of Aubrey Beardsley and Eric Stanton are also visible. Narwhal Contemporary writes about her paintings, stating, “One reoccurring image is that of the iconic multi-armed goddess cloaked in symbols of life and wisdom, surrounded by fleets of devoted minions and enveloped in flames that will never consume her.” They relish in their unapologetic gluttony.

Mizuno currently has work in a solo exhibition titled Ambrosial Affair at the Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto. This is the second in a three-part exhibition series titled Junko Mizuno’s Food Obsession. It’s on view until March 15 of this year.

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Ernest Zacharevic’s Street Art Plays With Its Neighborhood

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Perhaps more so than any other form of art, street art has the capacity to engage with the neighborhood its found in.   The work of artist Ernest Zacharevic, also known simply as ZACH, takes this to a literal extent.  ZACH’s murals are often found interacting with features of the building or objects nearby.  A bike leaning against the wall becomes a vehicle for a spray painted child or dock posts become giant pencils.  ZACH highlights the life of the city in a way by actually making it come alive.  The walls seem poised to interact with passersby, and encourage engagement.

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Gwen Murphy Creates Fantastical Creatures With Shoes

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For her wildly imaginative series Foot Fetish, the artist Gwen Murphy creates shoes with carefully rendered faces. Her sculptures range from the humorous to the frightful, from high end footwear to more casual designs. Murphy’s lifelike characters blend seamlessly into the shoes they inhabit, recontextualizing well-worn Converse One Stars, pumps, and ballet flats. Here, footwear ceases to be a passive participant in our daily lives, waiting patiently for our feet; instead, shoes become fantastical creatures with lives of their own.

Murphy’s uncanny creations draw from pop culture and folklore alike. “Planet of the Sneakers,” is a clever yet earnest adaptation of the 1968 film “Planet of the Apes.” Celebrity fortune teller phenomenon Madame Zora makes an appearance in a pair of glittery pink kitten heels, and one-eyed Waldgeist, Germanic forest spirits, nestle amiably in a pair slippers. “Guardians of the Basilisk” places a pair of austere women in faux snake skin pumps; unlike the victims of the serpentine creature, who can kill simply by meeting a mortal’s gaze, they stare upwards, their eyes unfazed. “Judith,” a piece made from a pair of T-strap pumps, might be imagined as the biblical heroine; like the Jewish woman who slayed Holofernes, she is shown both as resolute (left shoe) and as gravely apprehensive, her eyes darting back and forth (right shoe).

With Foot Fetish, Murphy elegantly inverts our expectations, placing the face and head where the feet should be. Her shoes, no longer able to serve the purpose for which they were designed, take on new life. In this off-beat, upside-down realm, are delightful moments where the magical and practical collide. (via Agonistica)

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Sam Brewster

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Freelance illustrator Sam Brester pulls humor into social commentary, and sometimes criticism with his work, which is cut even more effectively  through his  odd perspectives and quirky characters. His illustrations can be found accompanying many a newspaper article both in the states and abroad. His personal project Hand of Man Publishing should not be missed… particularly if you’re in the market to purchase, publish, or peruse some zines.

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Rebecca Reeve’s Photographs Of The Everglades Recall Holland Funerary Traditions

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In photographer Rebecca Reeve’s series Marjory’s World I, she captures Floridian landscapes that reference a late 19th century Holland tradition. The idyllic scenes depict the swampy Everglades of long grasses, lily pads, and a lot of standing water. Framing each image is a set of curtains that blow in the wind.  This is inspired by an old practice where during the wake of the deceased, it was customary to cover all of the mirrors, landscape paintings, and portraits in the home with clothes.  Doing so makes it easier for the soul to depart the body and subdues any temptations to stay in this world.

Marjory’s World I is Reeve’s own interpretation of this act. To her, the ritual was confirmation of the deep connections and experiences we have with the natural environment. It also gave her a way to contextualize her fleeting time spent in the Everglades; All of these images were produced during her Airie Artist in Residence Program. Since she couldn’t take with her when she leaves, this symbolic act made it easier to depart.

In addition to the personal connection the artist draws from the work, to us it recalls the distance that many of us have to this untouched landscape. As we continue to develop an increasingly urban existence, these thrift-store fabrics create a window to the unfamiliar. (Via Artsy Forager)

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Paul Cowan

I’ve been quite impressed by the most recent endeavors of young Chicago artist Paul Cowan. After seeing presentations from Cowan at the Green Gallery East, Devening Projects, and most recently, Alderman Exhibitions, something seems really fresh about the work. Quick, gestural paintings paired with a sort of “dry humor” install techniques utilizing pedestals, chairs and balloons amongst other things in unconventional fashions. Check out photos from “Breaking the Law“, ” Three Card Monte“, and ” Causality Without Cause” after the jump.

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Finsta’s Grunge

Sweden’s Finsta has illustrations that sometimes look a little grungy and other times like cute construction paper cut outs.

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