Iranian photographer, Eilon Paz takes photographs of over 130 vinyl connoisseurs and their collections in the most intimate of environments, their record store rooms. Paz, a record collector himself, thought it might might be interesting to explore the people around him whose record collections are both larger and weirder than his own.The stunning, candid photos look at a variety of well-known vinyl champions as well as a glimpse into the collections of world-renowned and lesser-known DJs, producers, record dealers, and everyday enthusiasts.
In a 416-page coffee-table book, Dust and Grooves, Paz’s photographs are grouped together with compelling essays that closely examine the records and the people whom collect them. The book is divided into two main parts: the first features 250 full-page photos framed by captions and quotes, while the second consists of 12 full-length interviews that look deeper into the collectors’ personal histories and vinyl stories.
I recently came across these great collage paintings of Devin Troy Strothe (thanks for the link Mr.Redwood) and was blown away by the recent Art Center grads color explosion and the humorous content. The work is playful but dabbles with social/political issues which is always a nice mix as too often political work = boring and predictable. Visit his site and make sure to read the titles as they are fantastic.
Ted Vasin illustrates an intensely surreal world for his viewers to get lost into. Combining his tight representational drawing skills with colorful abstract forms, Ted succeeds in both keeping us in awe of his draftsmanship, and a little disturbed through subject matter.
Ah Xian is a Chinese-Australian artist whose beautiful porcelain busts explore the intersections between artistic tradition, cultural identity, and the body. Sculpting each statue in the likeness of his family members, Ah Xian paints over their dreaming faces with a cobalt blue glaze; tree branches grow across temples, flowers bloom over silent mouths, and necks and shoulders become geographies for mountains and lakes.
Drawing on an enduring fascination for the human form, Ah Xian’s creations exude a sense of mystery and otherworldliness, transcending history as embodiments of a living past: their very “skin” is made of materials used in traditional Chinese craft methods. Ah Xian’s intent, however, is not to show the disjunction between past and present, but rather how such heritages have ongoing relevance and meaning in the present-day world. As he states in an interview with Craft Australia:
When I think about human history and civilization, it always appears to be like a string: one extreme is old time and tradition; current and contemporary is the other. Interestingly, when we turn and join the two extremes together, it forms a perfect circle and creates a new language of art.
This is why I choose traditional materials and hand craft those materials; our ancestors have created and handed down to us such wealthy and brilliant art and culture heritage. Why don’t we use such a rich and meaningful deposit as our resources to develop and create our new art and culture? (Source)
When viewing Ah Xian’s work through a contemporary lens, there lies the potential criticism that his busts — like the porcelain vases that preceded them in the nineteenth century — evoke an imperialist form of exoticism; that is, just because they are objects of beauty, they speak to a tradition of cultural appropriation. Ah Xian, however, maintains that no matter what context in which porcelain is crafted, it is always a valuable and admired art form:
“Porcelain is beautiful and meaningful, not necessary just for meeting the exotic appreciation among some of the western people only, but for the whole human society, for every single human being, I believe.” (Source)
If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.
The abstract ‘paintings’ by artist Jayson Musson (also known by his alter-ego Hennessy Youngman) are created from piecing together Coogi sweaters, a brand of sweater popular in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. The sweaters carry especially specific associations – Clifford Huxtable of the TV sitcom the Cosby Show or the rapper Notorious B.I.G. However, the sweaters are also known for a specific style that lends itself well to abstract art. Musson elaborates:
“The thing I found most alluring about Coogi sweaters was how painterly they were. They seemingly lingered on the borders of gestural abstraction. I made the joke, “That Coogi looks like a Pollock”. Over the course of the following weeks, I began collecting images of the sweaters, studying their composition. They seemed to defy the traditional logic of the textile, opting instead to appear spontaneous and created by hand rather than machine-made. Each sweater, though a manufactured object seemed to seek its own authenticity.” [via]
Are you hungry for weird, hyper-realistic art? Look no further, the highly unique, wearable art by Japanese artist Norihito Hatanaka will satisfy your taste. Of course, not literally, as the “jewelry” this artist makes only resembles food. Hatanaka is not your typical artist, he is a fake food artist, creating wearable art ranging from bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made to look exactly like different kinds of foods. His bacon bracelets with earrings to match appear to still be sizzling, and his fruit necklace seems to be dripping with juices. The artist explains that in Japanese culture, food aesthetics are extremely important, making Japan a hot spot for impeccable fake-food skill.
How and where would a person learn how to create such a wide variety of fake foods so perfectly, you might ask? Well, Hatanaka is just following the family business. He took over his father’s business of a factory that creates fake food, models to display in restaurants. Having been interested in art as a student, Hatanaka has taken inspiration from this business and crossed over into the art world, bringing it a new flavor. Learning this fake food craft at his factory, he now sketches his appetizing creations and then constructs them into wonderfully gaudy jewelry. Inspired by real life dishes, many of his pieces include a full meal, complete with peas and rice on the side. With Hatanaka’s wearable art, you could literally wear a three-course meal! Although it would take a special kind of person to pull off wearing such a statement piece, I would not be surprised to see one of Hatanaka’s unbelievably crafted pieces worn on the runaway. (via The Creators Project)
When looking at the work of Alex Passapera, the first words that come to mind is chaos. He offers an intense and playful ride using skillful illustrative visuals and chaotic narration to portray the intangible something, “mainly instinct”, which becomes a common theme throughout his work.