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Shoplifter’s Vibrant Sculptures Made With Hair

Icelandic artist Shoplifter aka Hrafnhildur Arnardottir lives and works in New York. “Her body of work as a whole exists in the gray area between visual art, performance, and design. Shoplifter has worked for several years exploring the use and symbolic nature of hair, and its visual and artistic potential. For Shoplifter hair is the ultimate thread that grows from our body. Hair is an original, creative fiber, a way for people to distinguish themselves as individuals, and often an art form. Humor plays a large roll in her life and work, sometimes subtly, but other times taking over. This humor extends to her love of playing with the juxtaposition of opposites. Like with her hair pieces- they appear beautiful evoking natural forms and plant life, but at the same time hair is considered grotesque and disturbing when it is not attached to the body, like hair in the shower drain. She uses traditional handcraft techniques like knitting, weaving, and braiding to create new forms of textiles, while referring to established methods in art. She is attracted to the playfulness found in folk art, naïvism, and handicraft which all have a strong influence on her organic process of creating work.”

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Will Kurtz’s Paper Mache Gallery Dogs

Will Kurtz lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Kurtz is well known for his life size sculptures made out of newspaper. He recently opened a solo exhibition at Mike Weiss Gallery NY entitled Another Shit Show. From the press release: “Using the empty gallery as a site on which to stage operatic, all-encompassing mise-en-scene, Kurtz makes an ambitious, multi-part figure installation that throws the facade off human nature – albeit in canine terms. Constructed of unlikely materials such as newspaper, glue, wire and wood, more than 20 dogs of every breed, size and color, strain and cavort off the leash of a single human handler, each rendered more expressively than the next. Kurtz, a master of anatomy, achieves an utterly believable aesthetic by building up layer upon layer of yesterday’s news, held together by exposed grommets and endless amounts of masking tape.” The exhibition is on view through April 27th, 2013.

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Paul Nathan Captures The Strange World Of Creative Dog Grooming

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Chances are that you’ve probably never seen a dog made to look like Disney’s Pluto. Well, it exists. Photographer Paul Nathan captured the odd world of creative dog grooming in his series (turned book), Groomed. It features professional groomers who use semi-permanent hair dyes and blowouts to style pets. Last year, Nathan traveled to Intergroom, one of the largest international dog and cat grooming conferences, and documented dogs that look like leopards, flamingos, and even people.

Groomed is strange, unexpected, and even shocking if you’ve never seen a dog made up like this. It might seem a bit cruel to subject these animals to this type of star treatment, especially when it comes to coloring their fur. The photographer explains in an interview with Feature Shoot that the priority is to make sure the dogs are comfortable. “In most cases the colors are done in stages on different days, usually in sessions of no more than three hours with plenty of breaks for the animal.”  He states, later adding, “There is a vast variety of hair coloring products for dogs. They are all non-toxic and semi-permanent. Depending on the kind of coat the dog has it can last from a few washes to a few months.

With that off your conscious, you can focus on how amusing these dogs are. They represent a relatively unknown subculture in grooming, and it’s only at events like Intergroom where groomers flex their creative muscles. They are responsible for their designs and take pride in them. And, the campy fun doesn’t end there –  the people are often dressed to match the dogs they’ve styled. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Unbelievably Realistic ‘Painted’ Fish By Keng Lye

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It may surprise you to know that these are not real animals – they’re probably most accurately called paintings.  Artist Keng Lye brings these aquatic creatures to life by creating layers of resin and alternating them with acrylic paint.  Coupled with his expert play of perspective, the fish (and other creatures) seem ultra realistic.  Keng Lye has since added three dimensional portions to his ‘paintings’ as can be seen in these first four images, making them seem even more unbelievably alive and real.   [via]

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Behind-the-Scenes with “Art Works Every Time” Artist: Jesse Wiedel

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Above: Jesse Wiedel in his Studio; Below: Jesse Wiedel "Frozen F", 2010

Today’s featured “Art Works Every Time” artist is Jesse Wiedel. Wiedel describes his unique blend of metaphysical trailer-park angst as “trashy yet mystical;” Wiedel finds the complexity in actions taken out of context and placed within a cheap motel, the dialectical meaning in the iconography of the van, the spiritual gesture of a face-shoving match, the hostility in a complacent family vacation portrait. His works are uncannily American, displaying a David Lynch-like curiosity in society’s two-faced duplicity, its simultaneous suburban superficiality and seedy underbelly. At once dark and humorous, Wiedel’s works startle and shock through their sheer familiarity.

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Size Does Matter

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How’s this for a big surprise… Shaquille O’Neal has curated an exhibition at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York that opens this weekend and runs through May 27th. Fittingly titled Size Does Matter, the show explores different ways that scale affects perception, which shouldn’t be much of a shocker because the big fella checks in at 7’1″ and over 320 pounds! Some of the artists he picked for the exhibition include: Chuck Close, Tim Hawkinson, Ron Mueck, Andreas Gursky, Evan Penny, Richard Pettibon, Elizabeth Peyton, Cindy Sherman… Shaq might have got a few pointers along the way, but those are some heavy hitters, and the complete list is pretty dang impressive. There’s even a comprehensive catalogue with an essay by bestselling author and big fraud James Frey – hey nobody said there wasn’t an element of promotion going on. Here’s an interesting little interview from New York Magazine. Love this Q & A –
Do you ever get time to visit museums?
I used to go a lot with my kids. Donald Trump is a great friend, and he has four or five Picassos on his plane. And that’s where I would look at them. One time, I was at a museum and tried touching a Picasso. You break it, you buy it, they said. I was told it would cost $2 million.

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Geeky Engagement Rings For Your Sci-Fi Loving Special Someone

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If traditional engagement rings aren’t really your thing, Pittsburg based jewelry designer Paul Michael Bierker has some unique designs that might just float your boat. As the jeweler to science fiction buffs everywhere, he creates custom-made pieces inspired by everything from the Star Wars franchise to Marvel comic books. Bierker has built for himself quite the fan base of young, eager clients, and he is proud to have worked with several US troops over seas in Afghanistan towards creating one-of-a-kind engagement bands.

Popular designs include an R2D2 -inspired engagement ring and a band featuring a diamond encrusted TARDIS from popular television show Doctor Who. Though evocative of these pop culture treasures, Bierker’s collection maintains an elegant subtlety. Rings modeled after the TIE fighter or the X-wing shed the unwieldy bulk of the star ships in favor of clean, sophisticated lines. The X-wing ring becomes a delicate ornament, its bands stylishly crisscrossing in the center the finger. Bierker’s tender references to geek culture meld effortlessly with the maturity of his craftsmanship, appealing both to playful and refined clients.

Bierker occupies a groundbreaking space in a one of our countries biggest industries, subverting elitist limitations on what and what does not constitute an engagement ring. This symbol of lifelong commitment should be as individual and the couple who wears it, and amid the mass of conformity, it’s nice to see something new. As we move into the adult responsibilities of marriage, we hope to carry with us each of our childhood pleasures, and Bierker’s original work certainly reminds us that marriage should be as much of an adventure as a trip into space. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)

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The History Of Military Uniforms From The 11th Century To The Present

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Huscarl, Battle of Hastings, 1066

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Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem, 1244

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Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt, 1415

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Yorkist Man at Arms, Battle of Bosworth, 1485

In his series Soldiers’ Inventories, photographer Thomas Atkinson showcases the change in military kits of British soldiers over the course of 1,000 years, from 11th century to most recent days. His documentary starts with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and spans throughout twelve other combats, including battle of Waterloo and the war of Afghanistan. The shift is riveting – from daggers to iPads carried alongside guns.

To gather his artifacts, Atkinson visited living history communities which use these collectives for battle re-enactments. His displays look like neatly organized puzzles and reminds of the established military order these soldiers faced every day. Atkinson says he would spend hours aligning the gear, starting with bigger pieces and filling in the empty spaces with smaller attributes.

“It’s a slow process, a bit like a game of Tetris – you place a few key items and then start to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you have to go backwards or start again because it isn’t working. I wanted to arrange objects in a way which would illustrate and give clues as to what they are – objects pertaining to food are grouped together, as are items which relate to the rifles and weaponry and so on,” Atkinson told DPreview.

Atkinson’s retrospective unfolds a great deal about the change in our warfare. First off: development in design which is best illustrated by the shift in armour: from colourful vibrantly colored vests, to camouflage. According to Atkinson, “the fact that certain objects recur is more fascinating than the ones that evolve“. Best examples of it being a spoon, helmet and something to kill the boredom with: from 16th century playing cards, to magazines and iPads. (via Wired)

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