In a rather intense bit of wordplay, artist Vik Muniz (whose fantastic illusory work has previously featured several times here) has teamed up with Marcelo Coelho to create intricate and near-impossibly detailed sandcastles. Taking a single grain of scan, the duo has spent four years perfecting a process of microscopically etching fortress-like castles into single grains of sand. Each piece of sand measures less than one half of a single millimeter are created using an incredibly focused ion beam (FIB – typically used to create microchips) and documented with a scanning electron microscope, later enlarged to show the incredibly fine detail of the the project.
Muniz explains why the duo uses sand, as opposed to post-photographic editing (such as photoshop), “When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means.’” Adds Coelho, “I think photography is just re-starting. There’s a whole new kind of photography emerging now. A lot of it is happening because of this combination between computers and cameras, and story telling and narratives can emerge as a result.”
Artist Mister Finch is a seamster, dollmaker, and reclaimer of lost souls. He works in discarded trinkets and found objects, cobbling them together into sculptures and models from a strange and much more wondrous place. “Scraps of thread, fabric and paper are stitched and pulled into fairytale creatures looking for new owners and worlds to inhabit,” the splashpage to his webpage proclaims. “They hide in the woods, behind masks, some have died along the way and are buried under spoon lockets.”
For inspiration, Mister Finch turns to nature and his native British folklore. “British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make,” he says. “Shape shifting witches, moon gazing hares and a smartly dressed devil ready to invite you to stray from the path.” The fantastical touch of myth and fairy tale can be seen in the inviting curl of pristine pastel toadstools and creatures that are half fox, half human.
By all appearances, the materials of his art have been truly transformed from their former life in this world, becoming something magical along the way. Of his choice to recycle, Mister finch says: “It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work… the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm. A story sewn in, woven in.” (via This Is Colossal)
Clara Terne is currently a Stockholm based illustrator and designer, inspired by “the bottom of the ocean, the edge of space, and everything in-between. The mundane and the magic.” Her works can perhaps best be described as a kind of playful conceptualism–approaching heavy ideas through light forms. She recently designed three Beautiful/Decay Apparel shirts, “When the Lights go Out,” “Super Nova,” and “Elevation.” Read the full interview below!
Caleb Brown paints real things — sharks, diving tigers, track stars — in a realistic manner. Deviation lies in the implausible situations he inserts his subjects into. Brown uses what he calls “elements of contemporary life” to set the stage for a bigger, more interesting angle on current events.
Marcie Oakes is a young painter dwelling in the suburbs of Chicago. Her voluptuous, deeply layered abstractions often reference landscape but can often turn into something un-namable. These explosive images are penned using a wide variety of applications and painting techniques that build a surface that can only be truly appreciated in person. Jump.
At the live show for Flying Lotus‘ ‘You’re Dead’ tour, audience members were treated to a visual spectacle few were expecting. Using his artist name of Strangeloop, David Wexler joined forces with John King (Timeboy), not only to produce hypnotizing visual art, but to transform the whole experience of FlyLo’s new stage show. Calling the sculpture Layer³ (pronounced Layer Cubed), this multi-screen set up is an expansion of an earlier project called Layer 3.
Working under the label Brainfeeder, Ellison and Wexler reconnected and began combining their respective talents of creating memorizing tunes and animations. Recognizing that most moments we remember are cinematic ones, Ellison knew he wanted a strong visual component to his stage show. With none of the animations pre-programmed, Timeboy and Strangeloop are responding to FlyLo’s tunes in real time, trying to visually produce something that reinforces the audio experience. Wexler describes the logistics of making the animation cube:
It’s essentially two projectors—a rear projected screen and a front projected screen. You can get a certain amount of three-dimensionality because we have a foreground projection, Flying Lotus performing in the mid-ground, and a background projection. (Source)
For FlyLo, to play in between the screens and not be able to engage with the audience in a conventional way allows him to delve into his set more; really trying to communicate the story he wants to tell through his music. He is trying to find the place that reminds him of being a kid, and wants to transport his fans to the same magical place he loves.
I think as we get older that idea of magic is taken from us, there’s just less and less of it as we get older. I really try to dabble in things that feel magical. (Source)
Gregori Maiofis is a Saint Petersburg-based photographer who stages elaborate scenes that illustrate the follies and mysteries of human existence in ironic and fatalistic ways. Many of his works are based around literary and philosophical traditions, such as proverbs and fables. This particular series, created in 2003-2004, uses tarot cards as its theme, pairing dark and absurd imagery with written titles to humorously encapsulate a facet of life and/or identity. The “Fool” card, for example — the prototypical image from a deck Maiofis imagined would be called Public Sanitation — depicts a man in a ludicrous bird costume as he prepares to jump off a roof. The “Empress” card — traditionally signifying fertility, femininity, and beauty — displays a taxidermied primate. Much of his work is produced via the bromoil process, a challenging photographic process that was popular in the early twentieth century that involves ink being painted over a black-and-white photograph printed on bleached paper. Maiofis’ resulting images have both photographic and painterly qualities, appearing historical and artifactual while satirizing human existence on a trans-generational, cross-cultural scale.
Born in Russia into a family of artists and architects and further trained in new art practices in Los Angeles, Maiofis fuses his international experiences into works that explore the strength of the image to overcome boundaries of nation and culture. While those knowledgeable about Russian history, identity, and traditions may have specialized insight into the significance behind Maiofis’ dark and clever imagery, there is still a lot of meaning left for the rest of us to identify; the figure of Justice — usually depicted as a stately figure — is naked and blindfolded, straddling her double-edged sword in a sexual manner, satirizing (perhaps) the representation of justice as a “fair” and purely objective entity. What makes Maiofis’ images so mysterious and intellectually engaging is that their meanings are never directly provided. It is up to us to divine their significance (as well as their playful, biting critiques of humanity) just as we would interpret our own lives with real tarot cards.
More of Maiofis’ clever and thematic works can be viewed on his website.