Brighton, England’s very own artist Seiko Kato’s work is something you think you’d find at an antique boutique. But looking closer, it’s not necessarily something you would buy for your grandmother’s birthday. Her work is Victorian era meets contemporary design. Kato’s inspiration lies in Victorian medical books, old Victorian drawings and encyclopedias, and Victorian paraphernalia. Kato is also a collage artist and illustrator.
“Your childhoods belong to me now,” says the concept artist Dan LuVisi of his terrifying portraits of beloved cartoon characters turned grotesque and murderous. LuVisi’s chilling series, titled Popped Culture, holds a scathing mirror to Hollywood ethics, to the exploitation that goes on behind the scenes of even the most innocent movie productions. Accompanying each of his images on his blog, the artist, who has a background in comic books and has illustrated for DC’s Batman and Superman, includes short stories outlining Tigger and Goofy’s tragic path to corruption.
LuVisi’s spare text reads quite like a noir mystery novel, filled with darkened, moody diners and mugs of bitter coffee. The characters that we associate with our own youths age, hardened by years out of the limelight. The residents of Sesame Street are seemingly evicted, cast out into a generic urban cityscape simply called “THE STREET.” Seduced by industry executives, Kermit takes a role in a brutal adult film. Those who refuse to compromise themselves for the sake of the industry are defeated, as is the case with poor, piteous Gonzo.
The Disney cartoons fare worst of all, transformed from lovable animals into nightmarish ghouls. Mickey Mouse’s gaunt body grows saggy with age, his small, round ears torn and his slimy tongue dripping hungry drool. Donald Duck’s beak opens to reveal rows of teeth, emerging like claws and cruelly lining a mass of tissue; a tiny drop of blood stains his collar. In these disturbing images, we find both humor and pain, forced to reconcile our nostalgic hopes with the realities of Hollywood corruption. (via Demilked, Huff Post, and Elite Daily)
The photography of Amanda Charchian is like a vaguely familiar dream. Her series featured here make a strange sort of sense in much the way a dreams do. Titled When There is Nothing Left to Burn, You Have to Set Yourself on Fire, Charchian makes use of an all female cast of subjects, primary coloring, peculiar lighting, and hazily 1970’s fashion photography aesthetic for an understated surreal atmosphere. However, she especially makes skillful use of the scenery blending all of the components into one sun-induced hallucination. Interestingly, she says of her process:
“I really enjoy what I do, so I am constantly working. I am very fast paced and I like working in a trance state, so it doesn’t suit me to adhere to a particular plan. The process always starts with that sort of light bulb flash (usually when I am doing something really mundane), and then I refine the concept. With that concept lurking, the physical making of the work always becomes very intuitive.” (via)
While living in Germany for the past seven years, photographer Samaneh Khosravi noticed that there were many misconceptions within the Western understanding of Iranian culture. In a project titled “Among Women,” Khosravi seeks to shed new light on a lesser-known facet of modern Iran: its diverse women’s fashion and beauty scene. In the photos, Khosravi accompanies the women as they shop, socialize, and even visit with their plastic surgeons. The images were compiled into a book titled Among Women, which Khosravi describes below:
“This photo book documents the beauty ideals of today’s Iranian society, which are hardly known outside of Iran. It focuses on the young, confident Iranian women, who define their ideal of beauty with the interplay between modernity and tradition. More often, the simple beauticians are not enough for the young Iranians, and therefore the plastic surgeons need to lend a hand sometimes.” (Source)
In a world wherein the media is so often dominated by Western standards and perceptions, Khosravi’s project is important in providing us with an authentic glance into her culture—one that hasn’t been filtered through a Western lens. We see familiar images—the nail salons, the shopping arcade, the self-conscious glance in the mirror—but Khosravi’s candid style reveals a cultural distinctness in Iran’s approach to beauty, one that has its own nuances, such as the combination of traditional head scarves with modern makeup styles. “Iran is different,” she writes. “Iran is not only different from Germany, but also from the image presented by mainstream media” (Source).
It is Khosravi’s dream to disseminate this detailed perspective of Iran to the world. She is currently seeking support to publish her book with Kerber Verlag, which means it would reach a greater number of people. If you’re curious about Iran and you wish to support an image of the country that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of Western unilateralism, be sure to visit her crowdfunding page and help her reach her goal. The book is aimed for publication in October 2015. Visit Khosravi’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram to follow her progress and learn more.
Toronto-based photographer Kotama Bouabane has an incredibly poignant series called “Melting Words.” The ice letters form typical break-up phrases, with their indelible messages transcending the medium’s own impermanence.
Yusuke Ishikawa captures “life” in the shining and dazzling facets of his paintings. I’ve always been fascinated with diamonds and crystals and find myself spending hours on the internet just looking at them for no particular reason (it’s not because I’m a girl). There’s something about the hard edges in these paintings that look perfect to the eye but you know that they could never be as precise as the real thing- the element of possible human error and uncertainty makes these paintings soft and interesting as well as beautiful.
Beautiful/Decay is taking you behind the scenes of the “Art Works Every Time” exhibition! To celebrate the talented artists and designers included in the show, we thought we’d give you sneak peeks at their artwork, their studio spaces and more. Find out what their work is like, what inspires them and what advice they’d give to other creatives! Our first featured artist is Justin Nelson. We loved his dark sense of humor, laced with intricate linework and delicate detail. Read on to check out his beautiful works, and find out what makes him tick!
Argentina-native and -based artist Irana Douer‘s works are delightfully deceptive; often, simple lines and minimal color are combined to create works fraught with symbolism. Women are the stars of her productions. Many of her illustrations and sketches show hurt or sad, yet strong women.