If Wednesday and Pugsley of the Addams family were born a little later they might’ve had this Gothic half pipe in their backyard. I could almost imagine Gomez and Morticia smoking in front of this beautiful wrought iron structure. Instead artist Brandon Vickerd has made something for today’s skater goth. The pipe isn’t as deep as a traditional transition but it is truly beautiful. The sides holding up the wooden platform are black and resemble the part of a rollercoaster which holds up the tracks. According to the artist he wanted to make something that spoke to architectural design incorporated with a recreational aesthetic. It achieves this goal by exploring a type which is normally found floating around music and alternative fashion. The gothic sensibility isn’t normally associated with athletics which make Vickerd’s creation more intriguing. From certain angles the iron is constructed to look like a row of church steeples. It also has the feel of old bridges and fancy park benches. It’s not clear if the artist is a skater but judging by the care involved in this project it would make sense.
Other projects the artist has been involved is making models of famous busts and other figures such as ghost rider with Skeleton faces. These reference more traditional figurative sculpting techniques and pop art from the 60’s.
The artwork of Audrey Kawasaki is completely irresistible in its portrayal of stunning technique and beautiful women. Her skilled illustration using ink, oil paint, and graphite is a sharp contrast to the natural grain of the wood panel in which she paints on. The warmth of the wood combined with the reds and oranges found in her work create a soft glow that radiates from her work. Each of her women contains an iridescent aura that invites you in, pulling you closer into the frame. There is an unmistakable seductiveness in their eyes, or in one case, the third eye, that is both intriguing and mysterious. As you examine Kawasaki’s work, something begins to feel peculiar. The beauty of her women blinds us before a strange, bizarre element creeps up on us. We slowly realize something is off, when we see things like pink, glowing rabbits circling around the figures or even a snake skeleton sprouting out of the roots of a woman’s hair.
Kawasaki flawlessly offers us women of quiet beauty that leaves us questioning each situation. She pulls her inspiration for her gorgeous paintings from both the distinct style of Manga comics and the swirling, elegance of Art Noveau. The enormously talented artist will have work up at a group show starting this June on the 26th at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Her work is included in the exhibition, Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape.
Recent university graduate Claudio De Luca has been experimenting with merging traditional sculptural methods with new technologies and coming up with some exciting results. He works with ceramics, bronze casting, wax and wood for the base of her artworks, and builds on them using modern, digital-based techniques. His final year’s work at the Cardiff School of Art and Design featured a series of ceramic skulls and heads that were filled with different material, and had cubic shapes bursting out from their fronts.
De Luca has been trying his hand at laser cutting, 3D printing, 3D scanning, 3D modelling, and CNC machining. The combination of these different methods are a nice metaphor for the subject of De Luca’s work. He explores the ideas of identity and representation in a modern world, and especially how we present ourselves in the digital world. He says:
Ones portrayal of themselves in an online ecosystem is largely skewed, this is a feature of who they should be, never are the insecurities shown or the flaws revealed. Vulnerabilities such as these are how we define our best attributes and ultimately forge long lasting relationships.
I look at how the facets of ones self are greatly lessened when choosing what information to construct in the digital space, through 3D scanning a person, I digitally ‘decimate’ the facets their faces are made of thus abstracting there true self. This I feel is what would best visually represent ones online identity in a digital setting. The less facets to be seen, the less a person is truly showing of themselves.
He uses the shapes in her work as a metaphor for the two realities merging – the physical and the digital. The effect of these ‘hollow faces’ are a scary reflection of what type of people we are becoming in this digital age. It makes you want to check your own reflection in the mirror, doesn’t it?
Some studies have suggested that attractiveness can be quantified by symmetry; just as in nature, where bees have been found to favor symmetrical flowers, the evenness of one’s features is thought to be an alluring factor. But what if beauty was measured by other geometric forms of order and “perfection” — such as the Fibonacci number sequences, and the closely related “golden ratio,” which comprises rectangles of mathematically and aesthetically flawless proportions?
Igor KKK, a Moscow-based designer, used these algorithms to warp celebrity photos into mathematically “ideal” images of themselves; overlaying each photo with logarithmic spirals, Igor applied the resulting proportions to their faces — and the results are both hilarious and absurd. Nicolas Cage has been rendered into a square-faced cyclops, Bryan Cranston has the jaws of a bulldog, and Sylvester Stallone’s mutant-like, lopsided eyes peer at us creepily.
Igor’s project is a satirical one that pokes fun at the idealism we give our celebrities. “Arrange your face features to match the Fibonacci sequence,” he writes, as if it were an ad for a plastic surgery clinic. And despite the fact Fibonacci numbers can be traced throughout the known world — in leaf patterns, flower petals, and pinecones, for example — this does not mean it is the formula for an ideal type of beauty; as Igor shows us, the results are unsettling, disfiguring, and rather amusing. In a cultural context obsessed with beauty and self-improvement, Igor’s images humorously remind us that “perfection” is a construction. All perspectives of beauty are deeply varied and subjective, and cannot be fully encompassed by a single standard, represented here by a mathematical equation. (Via designboom)
Romanian artist Bogdan Rata’s highly psychological sculptures contort and mold the human body. Using polyester, synthetic resin, paint, and metal, he forms hybrid realism in his mutated versions of our anatomy. Where skin usually holds a warm glow, his work exhibits a pale, lifeless aura. Limbs sit detached from the body, or even more disturbing, emerge from an unnatural place, like the face. Both unsettling and intriguing, Rata’s sculptures twist and contort, making us feel uncomfortable and suddenly very aware of our own bodies.
The sculptor’s deformed misfits reflect on the imperfection felt about our own bodies and appearances. Our own insecurities are met and reflected in Rata’s psychologically surreal artwork. His work is not only hard to look at due to their grotesque qualities, but the positions many of the sculptures are in appear painful and awkward. Each piece seems to be uncomfortable in its own skin, uncertain of its own body and what to do with it. This is a feeling we can often relate to, as becoming confident in our bodies is often a difficult part of life. Rata hints at the confusion and difficulties brought on by self-identity issues in such works as his bust of a man with no face. His distorted figures are lost, looking for acceptance. Although they at first seem misshapen and horrifying, a strange beauty and compassion can be found in Rata’s fascinating work.
On the weekend of June 6th and 7th, two giant Buddha statues destroyed by Taliban forces in 2001 were resurrected using 3D projection technology. Known as the Buddhas of Bamyan, the two structures, towering over 100 feet, were carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamyan Valley, Afghanistan, and had watched over the area since the sixth century. They once served as an important site of pilgrimage for Buddhists. When the Taliban deemed the Buddhas false idols, they obliterated them using tanks and artillery shells. The damage was extensive, and in the years since there has been much debate on how — or even if — they could be repaired. UNESCO named the ruins a site of World Heritage in Danger in 2003.
Documentarians Janson Yu and Liyan Hu, however, offered the Afghan people a temporary (but inspiring) solution: to project beautiful, realistic holograms of the Buddhas inside the blasted caverns where they once stood. As The Atlantic explains, “the couple fine-tuned the projections on a mountainside in China and then, after receiving approval from UNESCO and the Afghan government, brought the system to Afghanistan” (Source). Only 150 people attended the event as it was not well publicized, but you can still witness the Buddhas’ resurrection in the images and video above. While the temporariness of the projections may reemphasize the devastating loss of the ancient statues — and how their future remains uncertain — the video sums up the symbolic effect quite nicely, deeming the holographic reconstructions a “beacon of light after a decade of war.” (Via artnet News)
Once again, the prestigious palace of Versailles has been invaded. After Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Joana Vasconcelos it’s Anish Kapoor’s turn to impress the crowd. And he did.
The artist designed six spectacular installations all meant to impact the history and architecture left by Le Notre, the official Sun King’s gardener.
Anish Kapoor wants to create an opposition: the perfect and rigid site of Versailles versus the idea of chaos and death.
The first two pieces are reflecting the sky and deforming the crowd onto gigantic mirrors. What follows is a little more outstanding: an orifice, like a giant vagina comes out from the ground and faces the palace. A metaphor highly suggesting the cause of the downfall of Marie Antoinette, the King’s guillotined wife. As the viewers randomly walk down onto the next pieces they cannot ignore the phallus shaped organ and the red stones exploding from the grass. Red is Anish Kapoor’s color of choice, it’s the color of the flesh and he is using it repeatedly; he says by using this color he makes the body celestial.
The next two pieces are a dramatic liquid vortex and an informal gelatinous bood-red colored shape. Both installations play with the viewers and their nerves. The whirlpool is intimidating as the sound of the blackened swirl is frightening, the ground shakes under the feet and the strange red organ absorbs the viewer’s bodies as they can penetrate inside.
The provocation goes on with the last piece built inside the Jeu de Paume (at a 5 min walk from the castle). Clearly Anish Kapoor criticizes the French revolution, and condemns the violence of the state against its own citizens. A cannon projects against a white wall red wax and the sexual interpretation which the artist approaches is inevitable: “I am conscious of the controversy this piece could imply. The phallic shape of the cannon and the sexual tension coming from it. Remember that this room was filled with males representing a male dominant State”.
It may be hard to believe, but these colorful creations of Jason Hackenwerth‘s are made from hundreds of balloons. He twists and sculpts latex balloons around each other to resemble different kinds of organic and biological forms. Hackenwerth creates all sorts of creepy shapes and forms that look like you are seeing something in a scientist’s laboratory magnified. Super colorful amoeba, cells, or rhizopods hang from the ceiling. Bacteria-shaped sculptures are grouped together, sprouting weird sorts of growths in every direction.
The artist is not only inspired by science – last year, Hackenwerth unveiled a large piece in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Titled Pisces, it is an interpretation of the Greek myth about Aphrodite and Eros. Made from over 10,000 balloons, it was a massive twisting spiral of two fish and took three staff members almost 6 days to blow up. Hackenwerth says more about it:
I see this as a metaphor for the evolution for life and the unexpected ways we can transcend our greatest threats. My plan for Pisces is to create a complex spiral that will open into a huge seashell like form. This spiral will correspond with the dynamic with the motion of the universe – the double helix. It is the spiral from which all life is derived. (Source)
Hackenwerth starts his process with drawings and sketches to help visualize how his pieces will work on a large scale. He then inflates balloons and arranges them in various structures to see what will work for the final piece. He talks about the importance of his medium:
Using balloons as a medium for expression came from a desire to connect with a wider audience. Balloons are accessible and they seem to have a magic ability for people to feel joy. Perhaps it is a regression to childhood. (Source)