Artist Whit Forrester’s photographic series, Affinity in the Tall Grasses, documents his time spent on a queer marijuana farm in California. He states:
“The work began as entertainment when I was not manicuring cannabis. I’d seen a psychic a few years prior who suggested I go back to photography which coincided with a move out west (again). ‘Affinity’ is the documentary beginning of a body of work that continues to look at my own history within the history of cannabis, and thinking about the ways that queer history and culture intersects all of it.”
The artist explains that the work explores the connection between the legalization of marijuana in California in 1996 and the rising HIV/AIDS epidemic. He continues by stating that at the time, the Queer and Trans community (or what he refers to as LGBTTSQIQ) was heavily affected by the epidemic, and therefore, a large portion of those campaigning for legalization were within that community. Furthermore, there is inevitably a strong link between the legalization of cannabis in California and the Queer Trans community.
Affinity in the Tall Grasses is just one of many series the artist has created. His work is constantly searching for new intersections between collective history and personal selfhoods. He states:
“The work and research I do typically thinks of the ways in which identity plays into our connections, but also strives to look for new ways in which we compose our identities, and the potential ways that could change. I am interested in larger, decentralized radical community and identify with conceptual experimentation in the service of creating new forms of social community, especially in relationship to land.”
Loyal B/D reader, please enjoy the majestic spectacle of Simmons & Burke. Los Angeles based collaborators Case Simmons and Andrew Burke make highly intricate digital collages that will have your brain spinning in circles. If that wasn’t enough, the duo also compose unique audio clips to accompany each piece, creating a complete sensory overload. Go to their website, or the artist page at Kohn Gallery for a taste of the madness.
Recently, while doing some top-secret research for Beautiful/Decay, I ran across Suzanne Treister’s new series entitled “Alchemy”. They’re ink drawings transcribing the front page of daily newspapers into Alchemical style manuscripts.
Milan-born artist El Gato Chimney combines illustration, painting, and street art in a blend of whimsy and surrealism. In his bio, he lists his studies as: “alchemy, ancient and modern art, magic, mirabilia, occultism, popular folklore, primitive art and spiritualism.” Though it might seem like too broad a net, all these influences can indeed be seen in his work.
His illustration is dualistic: brightly colored, they look like pages from some charming, nonsense tale meant for children. Simultaneously, there’s something darker simmering underneath, like the fairy tales of old where women danced in burning shoes and decapitation was nothing more unusual than a particularly large yawn. Occult symbols are sprinkled throughout, and figures are occasionally found in ritualistic poses, like small animals mid-pagan festival.
El Gato Chimney’s bio ruminates on this undertow: “When in front of these works it is impossible not to wonder what hides in the woods, where that road will lead up to, why these beings trust in such a blind way this primitive religion, partly attributable to preexisting cults, partly made up.”
Levi Van Veluw’s eerie Origin Of The Beginning installation draws from his own childhood memories to thematically and narratively develop his own brand of self-portraiture. Creating 3 “rooms” covered with more than 30,000 wooden blocks, balls and slats the spaces feel both like wooden prison cells and as metaphosr for the artists darkest memories. Watch a video of the installation after the jump.
Each minute, 6,000 bottles of Jarritos are introduced into shops across the US. Have you ever longed to see your original artwork published as a real-deal print advertisement alongside these shiny little glass bottles of delight? Well here’s your chance! Beautiful/Decay has been selected as a judge for the Jarritos Flavor City Art/Advertising Contest!
How do you win? Just do your thang and make a work of art that includes the Jarritos 2010 logo, slogan (“Drink Out Loud”) and a likeness of a Jarritos flavored soft drink. Then mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. All mediums welcome. Sorry, no ad agencies. May the best artist win!
The installation 24 HRS in Photos by Erik Kessels isn’t a typical photography installation. An entire room at San Francisco’s Pier 24 Photography is filled with photographs. One end of the room is piled to the ceiling with images cascading down to visitors’ feet. The photographs at first appear to be innocuous: family photos, vacation photos, smart phone photos. The immense number of photographs compiled by Kessels, though, are all of the images uploaded to the popular site Flickr in a single day. Kessels’ installation serves as a clue to astronomical number of images uploaded to the internet constantly. Even more striking is the way 24 HRS in Photos hints at the sheer saturation of images in day to day life. Kessels’ installation is part of A Sense of Place, a photography group exhibit on view at Pier 24 Photography through May 2014.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Beautiful/Decay, then this is for you! A Day In Decay is a new ongoing column that will be appearing on the site penned by yours truly. I’ll be documenting our day to day shenanigans, daily life in the arts district of downtown LA, the ups and downs of running an indie publishing and apparel line and other things of interest both in and out of our office. Some posts will be related directly to what we do ( like photos of our office/neighborhood) and some posts will have nothing to do with art or design (like photos of my scuba diving instructor after the jump). ADID will answer all your long time questions about the who, whats, whys, and hows of living, breathing, eating, and sleeping B/D 24-7. So without further ado i give you A Day In Decay……