Aya Kato’s illustrations suck you into her world of star-crossed lovers, intergalactic space travel and art deco reverie on first contact. As a Beautiful/Decay cover artist on long since sold out Issue K, her posters, t-shirts and books have been amongst the most sought after the publication has produced. We spot her Mermaid shirt on fans at least once a month. She recently teamed up with Mr. Chiizu, an artist’s decoration iPhone app that gives art and illustration lovers a chance to get inside works of their favorite artists. She was a natural choice for a Mr. Chiizu collaboration, giving fans a chance to step into her rich fantasy world. Her theme has been flying off the iTunes store shelves since its release earlier this week.
B/D was lucky enough to receive two new books in the mail today. Here’s me and Fei in the office with completely anonymous bookfaces hanging out with our boss, who happens to be a wizard and was so excited by them he conjured an ephemeral ball of light for the occasion. Anyways, the first is Keegan McHargue’s “Foibles,” from Seems Books, and the second is “Creative Space” by Francesca Gavin from Laurence King Publishing.
The Over Time series by Jonathan Zawada depicts landscape topographies in bright colours, evoking other fantastical worlds. However, the work was actually derived from graph data of earthly landscapes, which Zawada modelled in 3D to create this beautiful work. Each piece was displayed with the graph data nearby, as seen in the last image showcased here. Absolutely stunning.
In an increasingly global world, it seems that more is spreading than just information and culture: pollution, for one. Alejandro Duran creates site-specific art out of this manmade resource, staging hauntingly beautiful installations that draw awareness to what he calls “colonization by consumerism.”
“More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament,” Duran says in his artist’s statement. Called Washed Up, the project has seen debris from all over the world and, though the colors can be stunningly lovely, the message is unmistakably grim. Swirls of color and organic-seeming patterns and shapes are shaped out of plastic and artificially neon bottle caps.
Duran’s statement describes the way he has mapped the relationship between the world of man and the world of nature, as well as the toll it’s taken on us all:
“Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.”
Commercial illustrator Théo Gènnitsakis was born in Greece, and is now Creative Director of design agency LA SUNRISE in Paris whose modus operandi is “Audacity is the safest path” (check out their blog, it’s kinda funny). Well, it’s definitely safe to assume we know what Théo enjoys! And…safe to say that I feel a bit violated looking at these, haha.
Artist Jeffrey Gibson blends art histories and cultures with seeming effortlessness. His work isn’t the pastiche of past decades, a witty pairing of disparate influences. Rather, Gibson’s work appears more to be rooted in contemporary remix culture. Portions of modern and contemporary art styles inhabit art pieces along traditional Native American artwork with an inclusiveness that’s refreshing. Interestingly, the gallery statement of his latest exhibit at Shoshana Wayne Gallery notes:
“This mash-up of visual and cultural references comes from the artist’s Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, moving frequently during his childhood—to Germany, Korea and the East Coast of the U.S. , and his early exposure to rave and club cultures of the 1980s and 1990s. Gibson cites that the sense of inclusiveness and acceptance, the celebratory melding of subcultures and an idealistic promise of unity all galvanized by the DJ’s power to literally move an audience to dance to his beat, continues to serve as a primary inspiration for his inter-disciplinary practice.”
Still, the way in which the Native American styling especially stands out makes the Native American artists largley left out from the discourse of modern art history conspicuous. The gallery statement continues about this relationship: “The paintings are done on elk rawhide stretched over wood panels. Gibson arrived at this format after years of looking at painting techniques found in various non-Western art histories, of paintings on shields, drums and parfleche containers (animal hides wrapped around varying goods). The paintings also read within a modern and contemporary art context whereas artists from the 1950s and 1960s were looking towards traditions such as Native American and Oceanic art to create ideals of spirituality, animism and purity. One can infer artistic influences from Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, and Donald Judd.”
It’s in this way that Gibson inserts himself and his heritage into art history: by this smart mixing and remixing, and an artist’s eye at the past.