Yumi Okita uses her amazing artistic skills to create colorful and large sculptures of moths and butterflies, along with other insects. This North Carolina based artist uses various techniques in textiles and embroidery to form her soft and colorful creatures. Each insect is made up of an extremely eclectic group of materials including fabric, embroidery, feathers, fabric paint, cotton, fake fur, and wire. The amount of materials, time, and skill needed to create each piece is apparent as you examine each soft and stunning creation. Not only are Okita’s moths and butterflies brightly colored to perfection, but are also much larger than life! Including wingspan, many of them measure up to nearly twelve inches.
The color of the thread used in the embroidery involved in Okita’s process may or may not be true to nature, containing bright magentas, brilliant blues, and deep greens, but create extremely eye-catching pieces none-the-less. Entomology, the study of insects, has long been popular as many people collect and display butterfly and moth specimens. Okita uses this concept and takes it to a whole new level. Instead of being pinned in a display case under glass, her “specimens” of butterflies and moths are larger than life, inviting to be touched. These fun and remarkably crafted insects can be found on Yumi Okita’s etsy sight, where you can buy one of these gorgeous specimens for yourself! (via Booooom)
Bara Prasilova‘s photography is both playful and disturbing. She uses soft pastels with pops of neon color to evoke feelings of nostalgia and innocence; simultaneously, she hints at themes of restraint and constriction. In her project for the Hasselblad Masters Book, she’s chosen to explore the theme of “evolve.” Her prop of choice is hair: a natural material that she portrays in a surreal and absurd fashion.
In one photograph, a woman jumpropes with a long Rapunzel-esque whip of hair; in another, a thick braid wrapped around a woman’s neck looks suffocating yet elegant. Prasilova explains:
“Through my photographs, I have been trying to understand human relationships and connections: long hair symbolises the invisible strings we use to strap somebody to us or, perhaps, the opposite, to let somebody loose. They are the threads of our emotions, worries and fears that we are afraid to loosen like hair.” (via I Need a Guide)
The work of artist Caroline Attan examines how objects form a part of our memory and personal history and identity. By combining hand-written text with delicately folded, colored paper installations, Attan plays with separate ideas of poetry, text and form, each “that function as loaded repositories of the past.”
Installed with text written directly onto the wall and the origami-like paper notes arranged in circular patterns, the results are visually reminiscent of mandalas (which represent wholeness, inter-connectivity and an organized cosmic diagram) or the sacred geometry found in Islamic art, Attan illustrates poetic language, and at the same time, brings attention back to the beauty of the words.
Says the artist, “Tantalizing snatches of memories and desire revolve endlessly over collaged backgrounds, encouraging the viewer along multiple strands of thought. The technique allows for ingenuity and flexibility. Some compositions disrupt or loudly announce their text or subtexts, while others absorb them into a calm coherent whole.” (via myampgoesto11)
Photographer Brian McCarty combines the innocence of childhood with the horrors of war in his series WAR-TOYS. Violent scenes are reenacted with toys; Bombs are dropped on a pink plastic house, while toy soldiers gun down a giant-headed doll. McCarty’s source material is the drawings of children who live in war-torn areas like the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.
The artist travelled to the sites where the children had been, which adds another level of sadness to these images. This project is not just the undertaking of McCarty, but he pairs with other aid workers as well. From his artist statement:
Employing principles of expressive art therapy, my process begins with observation and guided interaction with children under the care of humanitarian organizations operating in areas of active conflict. Specialized therapists and caregivers conduct art-based interviews on my behalf, inviting children to draw pictures about their lives and experiences. The resulting illustrations serve as art direction and basis for photographic exploration.
McCarty tries to involve the tiny artists, too, and uses toys that are acquired locally. You’ll see that a Disney Princess is in the line of fire. He writes:
When possible and under the guidance of specialists, I invite the children to actively participate and use the photographic process as a form of therapeutic play. The resulting photographs provide an interpretive document of witnessed events and context for the children’s accounts.
McCarty plans to continue this project and travel to Afghanistan, Sudan, and Colombia. (Via Huffington Post)
With a witty sense of humor and an inventive mind, Spanish artist García de Marina, creates photographs based on the reinvention of mundane items. How about reworking a couple of spoons for sunglasses, or a slim comb for a bar code ? No wonder Spanish poet José Luis Argüelles once referred to him as the “photographer who knows how to capture things we aren’t able to see.”
Marina’s compositions come to have this nostalgic feel, not only because maybe the objects he is using are reminiscent of our own lives, but mostly because perhaps, at some point in our lives, we’ve all come to re-imagine that which is around us. There is more than just a clever re-interpretation of objects here. If we look closely, the artist is proving his viewers with alternative observations, perhaps, an ultimate surprising escape to the mundanity of our world.
They are very simple images. I try to create images that are easy to understand-and that hopefully don’t need any kind of explanations. I want to make an impact, give my viewers a little surprise. I hope that they will inquire more, and do further examinations.
At first glance you might write off Gerald Davis as another pervert painting his sick thoughts on canvas but this LA based artist has some serious painting and drawing chops. I recently saw his work in person and was blown away with the richness of his work and his glowing use of light. Gerald is a serious artist taking our funny and dirty thoughts and creating bold and imaginative works out of them.
Looking at Ivan Alifan‘s sexually charged paintings is like watching a private orgasmic moment that we haven’t asked permission to see. His series “It’s not Milk” is a very intimate look at desire, allure, the gaze, and the underlying sexual subtexts of images. His models are captured in the middle of a blissful state and are all covered in what looks like semen, or some sort of bodily fluid. Alifan deliberately paints his subjects with their eyes closed, lips slightly ajar, heads tilted away from the viewer’s gaze, turning them into a submissive object of desire. Alifan says of his intent:
“To have a painting that can exist as an alluring object and shift into an eroticized figure disarms and naturalizes the modern gaze; decriminalizing sex in art. Whether an individual sexualizes the figure, or becomes embarrassed and nervous by the mere suggestion, this is all a process which occurs independently from the painting.”
He says he is less interested in accurately portraying physical characteristics, but rather creating a certain physiological effect from these visceral paintings. He wishes to capture an ambiguous figure where the focus is on how the viewer reacts to viewing them.
Other than his intimate portrait series, he also dowses full bodies in this goo and places them within a surreal setting. Naked male bodies are carrying out sexually suggestive actions, poised in either a pre, or post-coital state. Surrounded by quite childlike, or non-threatening objects (miniature tress, toy cows and tiny houses) these figures try to entice the viewer into entering their world. Alifan is definitely a master of temptation and seduction, and all we have to decide is how we feel about it.