Calling all creatives and designers- Beautiful/Decay launches its first t-shirt design competition!
Perhaps one of the more curious photo projects to surface recently is the glow worm pictures from Joe Michael. He photographed the insect in its natural environment on million year old limestone caves in New Zealand. The bioluminescent effect on the viewer is mystical and shows the perfect combination of scientific documentation and aesthetic beauty. Very Lord Of the Rings or Elfish, the glow worms allow you to see the caves in a different way. Because of their unique structure the insects project a nature consciously created by a higher design and you begin wondering for what purpose? In the meantime we can enjoy the spectacle they have become. Their green light projects an unusual glow reminiscent of constellations and lighthouses seen off into the distance on a foggy night. It also hints at infrared paranormal activity.
The worms vary in size attesting to the irregular light structure captured in the caves which provides further awe to their curiosity. In some Larvae species the adult female will glow to attract males during mating season. In others the light is used as a warning signal to predators or to lure prey.
Recently deceased Hip Hop legend RAMMELLZEE was such an enigma. I often have a hard time deciphering some of his rhetoric. But his genius is so evident. His work (on any platform, vocal or visual) was always a cut above. He always had something slightly different going on. Take his “Letter Racers” (above), for example. Customized skateboard warriors fighting epic alphabet wars? Always on another level. See more from the late great artist after the jump, and listen to “Beat Bop”, the game-changing single that included cover art from Jean-Michel Basquiat.
All photos Copyright The Estate of Rammellzee, Courtesy the Suzanne Geiss Company, New York.
Just in the nick of time Beautiful/Decay’s Class Clowns Book is here!
Laughter is universal; it transcends culture, trends, and time. The art world, however, is not considered to be droll. Galleries and museums are stoic, intellectual spaces and works of art are discussed in academic terms. Yet in this scholarly world there are artists that buck conventions and use humor to engage us and make us laugh and think. Art is a medium of communication and the artists in this issue have found that humor is the most powerful way to engage their audience and convey their message.
This class clowns issue of Beautiful/Decay is dedicated to those artists who pack their work not only with meaning but with a powerful punch line that keeps us coming back for more. Join us as we delve into the world of Winnie Truong’s surreal and funny portraits, and find the humor in Devin Troy Strother’s discomfort with his own race. Witness how Maurizio Cattelan has become the art world’s premier prankster and gain insight into artistic duo littlewhitehead’s mixture of dark humor and lo-tech fabrication.
View our cover artist Stefan Glerum’s arresting illustrations, and Ben Aqua’s subversive photography. See how William Powhida’s cynical, self-deprecating, and universally criticizing works take the role of the court jester to a new level. As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, we’ve also invited an international cast of artists, illustrators, and designers to create original works for our Project Pages based on our theme. So get out your X-ray specs as we explore the worlds of Beautiful/Decay’s Class Clowns.
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The work of painter Karl Persson is not for the faint of heart; his horrific scenes, rendered with hyperrealistic precision, examine the darkest and more cannibalistic impulses of the human mind. Envisioned in an aesthetic evocative of the work of horror artist Chet Zar or tattoo artist Paul Booth, Persson’s unique hellscape is wrought with sexual tension, desire, and yearning.
Through Persson’s frightful lens, the human creature becomes base and animalistic; overtaken by the sheer fact of appetite, a mouth erupts from the gut of a dead chicken, its head cruelly severed and skin raised, revealing grotesque goosebumps in lieu of downy feathers. Again, a set of carnivorous teeth slice open the entire face of a baby, who kicks and thrashes about with eating utensils in hand; with his umbilical cord only just severed, the monstrous being is never satiated and still demands more. Persson’s self portrait imagines the artistic impulse as equally cruel, presenting the artist as cannibalizing his own form in service of a ravenous creative hunger.
Within this grotesque sexual and gluttonous thirst, there are moments of beauty to be unearthed. The Kiss imagines a pair of slimy insects making bestial love with their pointy, bloody legs, stabbing one another in the process; though repulsive, their slick, glinting feelers are also magnetic and alluring, their lusty movements brought to life and crystalized forever in dreamy pinks and purples.
The work is also not entirely without innocence; in this cruel vampiric world, a fetal rat lies dead and gutted. In a stunning reversal, those that we label as “vermin” become soft, delicate babes, whereas the human is revealed to be savage and cruel. Within this piteous creature, ripped fatally from the womb, we might rediscover the all-too-rare feelings of compassion and heartbreak. Have we, as humans, descended too far into our own brutal greed, or might we return to a state of virtue and empathy? Take a look. (via TrendHunter and Mongolian Art)
Mid-seventies basbeall dudes by Brooklyn based illustrator Paul Windle.
Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. He was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute were he initially began working with gunpowder to foster spontaneity and confront the suppression that he felt from the controlled artistic tradition and social climate in China at the time. Pretty bomb. Check out some of his work after the jump.
Judy Fox creates these bizarre, and stunning life-like sculptures that re-create figures from ancient world mythology and historical depictions. Isolated from their typically mystical surroundings, they become somehow both more and less magical, if that is possible. What amazes me most about them is that Fox creates these entirely out of terra cotta(!)- sort of a fitting material, used to depict Osiris from Egypt, legions of warriors at Qin Shi Huang, Indian gods and goddesses- you get the idea. There is something universally biblical in their man-fashioned-from-clay likenesses…oh and then they are painted over in oils! Some process shots as well for the sculpture of a Satyr above below the jump- all kind of looking like relics from Indiana Jones.