Ryuta Iida is a Japanese artist who cuts out thick volumes of paper [i.e. magazines and books] to form sculptural objects. I had only seen this done once before by the artist Tim Hawkinson at his solo LACMA exhibit in 2005 and it has boggled me ever since. So, I was thrilled to find out about Ryuta, who is picking up where Hawkinson left off and doing it in their own way. Whereas instead of taking personal photos of themselves to cut into, Ryuta uses popular magazines, thus adding an element of pop culture to their practice. (via)
At least in the United States, subways are often thought of as utilitarian spaces quickly passed through during rush hour. Sweden’s Stockholm Metro, however, is filled with bright colors, mosaics, bas relief, even, installations and sculpture created over the past 60 years. Often considered one of the continent’s most beautiful metro systems, the city takes the underground art very seriously. For the price of a ticket, the system offers guided tours with a Metro expert. Further, the Stockholm Metro hosts temporary art exhibits in addition to its six decades worth of permanent art. Next time your in Sweden be sure to schedule some time underground.
Michael Shapcott is an emerging artist from Connecticut. His paintings and illustrations take traditional portraiture and add elements of folklore and dream imagery, his main source of inspiration. His work is nothing less than powerful, inspiring, and emotional.
Dearraindrop is an artist collective. I can’t figure out how many members it has, but I know one is Joe Grillo. They make clothing with tons of optically intense patches and knitting. Seeing one is basically like looking through a prism at an optical illusion of a lava lamp. They also do seriously colorful installations and paintings.
The work of Ryan De La Hoz exists in a very particular world, a world comprised of hauntingly nostalgic paper cut outs and drawings that look like a spooky cartoon reduced to the absolute minimum of expression. Delicate flowers, leaves and skeleton gloves contrast with gaping holes filled with dizzying Op-Art to create a landscape that seems like Tim Burton got together with Henri Matisse to make their own paradise. The works are so simplified they leave it up to viewers to project their own narrative on the scene. We each have our own idea of where each ladder leads, and what is hiding behind those geodes and mounds of slime. The compositions are mysteriously devoid of humans, yet laced with the shadows of human characters. The gloves of skeleton costumes pepper many of his works, as if to signify not only death, but a human representation of death. Another common symbol used by De La Hoz is the ladder, one loaded with symbolism. Ladders leaning into a spiraling abyss, or simply leading to no where, bring to mind the question of where are we going and where have we been. While De La Hoz does have the tendency to appear Halloween-ish, with his frequent use of pointed witches’ hats, cob webs, skeletons and blobby mounds with gaping mouths, the work transcends the threat of kitsch in its minimalism and precision. We are drawn to wonder about the age old truths, about death and what is left behind, and about what is hidden and what is revealed.
In San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood sits Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, a small, windowless locale that’s the only remaining gay bar in an area once known for its nightlife LGBTQ attractions. It features an evening-length drag queen show, which is the subject of photographer James Hosking’s intriguing images.
Hosking first visited Aunt Charlie’s in 2009 after moving to the city from New York, and he was drawn to the older entertainers there. What was their connection to drag when it was “illicit and less accessible,” and why do these people continue to perform? “They open themselves to ridicule because of their age, yet they seem to relish the opportunity for provocation and confrontation,” the photographer told Slate.
Hosking’s curiosity played out by photographing three performers at Aunt Charlie’s during 2013 – Collette LeGrande, Donna Personna, and Olivia Hart. He also teamed up with journalist Jeremy Lybarger for a story published in Out Magazine, and completed a documentary about the drag queens titled Beautiful by Night.
It’s in these gritty candid photos and film that we see just how laborious performing is. Putting on makeup, wigs, and costumes can take time a lot of stamina that only gets harder with age. And with all that effort, audience members can sometimes be disrespectful, Hosking tells Slate, “But, for the most part, I think the joy comes from the audience’s excitement and pleasure, which creates a feeling that everyone is there to have a good time together. I imagine that makes all the bullshit worthwhile. The tips don’t hurt either.”
Check out the documentary to hear the drag queens talk about their experience and to see the transformation process take place.
Now that i’ve covered spooky looking kids why don’t we enjoy the work of British painter Mary Jane Ansell who has stepped it up with her series of teenage girls complete with glossed over sinister looks in their eyes.
A major thread in my work is the use of exotic materials or shrouds to mask and encapsulate nostalgic objects from a typical suburban childhood.
Sweet! Canvas works from Los Angeles artist John Monn. Using epoxy to group and re-contextualize toy soldiers, BB pellets, and other miscellaneous objects, Monn’s work makes you re-think the mundane and familiar. I love the unique textures he’s able to conjure by throwing a bunch of random things together. But his works definitely don’t come off as “random”. There’s clearly a strong intent behind each piece that comes through really nicely. By using objects that are associated with childhood and nostalgia within very contemporary compositions, Monn controls the context in which we think back to simpler times. More from the artist after the jump.