The intentional glitchiness of the photography of Federico Ferrari is at once familiar and surprising. This series appears to be still life photography interrupted by a scanner malfunction. A section of each image is dragged across the plane reducing it to simple lines of color. Small pieces of photographs are severely exaggerated in size. It abstracts otherwise benign photographs and plays with the viewer’s perception of a simple scene scene.
It’s a tricky thing, viewing the work of artist Ben Skinner—you catch yourself reading, absorbing, appreciating and simultaneously fighting the urge to snap a photo and immediately re-appropriate his multimedia text works to your own blog/Instagram/Twitter. Using an intriguing selection of materials (ranging from gold foil to neon to sprinkles), Skinner elegantly spells out heartbreaking phrases ripped from the Zeitgeist, with a little extra flair. The witty, multicolored multimedia works tow the line between design and art, with a little extra emphasis on drawing, craft and the making of an actual object. Many of his works could easily find a life as a piece of printed design, but it’s Skinner’s willingness to experiment with materials that allows his flat, graphic works to go one step further into the realm of something more substantial.
New York artist Danny Evans, photoshops photos of celebrities to make them look like the average joe, precisely, to show what the super famous would eventually look like without the best make-up artists and stylists that money can buy.
“It was a reaction to the over-Photoshopped images of celebrities that we see everyday. I thought it would be interesting to take it in the opposite direction.”
The project has been active since 2006, when Danny started ‘making-under’ the highly popular photographs of socialite Paris Hilton. Evans was fascinated by how quickly Paris’ pictures created instant buzz, and how much power she really had over a mass public just by being rich and ‘attractive’. Needless to say, the collection of Paris’ ‘make-unders’ grew from there; Evans created a Facebook page named Planet Hiltron which turned into a huge success; from there, he started to work with other celebrities.
“Basically just stripping away their cool personas I always find it interesting to see what’s left after the Hollywood has been scrubbed off. My intention wasn’t necessarily to age them, but to strip them of their ‘Hollywood’ facade. That has more or less been my general goal with this series all along.”
Jose Castrellon’s Priti Baiks project documents the young men of Panama who spend their earnings customizing and supersizing their bicycles. The bike styles are are inspired by everything from music to Afro-Caribbean culture, creating a visual aesthetic that is unique to the region and a form of self expression for these youth who oftentimes have no other form of transportation.
There is something wrong in Jason Murphy’s portraits. He illustrates people who appear to have a few screws loose. Their often asymmetrical faces dawn either a look of certain absence or of urgent excitement. This is all contrasted of course by his beautiful, delicate mark-making that which feels so light, and feathery.
Jesse Fillingham lives and works in Pasadena, CA. His cosmic paintings are usually framed within a geometric void. Drippy figures hover in and out of dark realms and grids. From a recent press release his work is described as “…exploring themes of myth, introspection, creation, and wizardry. A series of drawings depicts an alternate creation myth composed of trees of strife, knowledge and life, as well as ephemeral libidinous spirits – robed men ponder and wander through graphic landscapes.”
In 1850, Walter Potter was 15 years old when he first began experimenting with taxidermy. By the age of 19, Potter had already created his best-known taxidermy tableaux, “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin” which was displayed, along with his other work, at a pub his family owned in Bramber, West Sussex. Potter’s taxidermy dioramas feature anthropomorphized animals acting out Victorian life scenes. During the Victorian era, taxidermy was a popular practice, and in 1880, a dedicated museum building was opened because the tableaux at the pub had created quite a scene. Over time, the interest in taxidermy declined, and the museum was moved before closing down.
Though Potter’s dioramas could be considered morbid, especially by modern standards, there’s something Beatrix Potteresque (no relation) about his work, mostly in its strange and whimsical Victorianism. “Kittens’ Wedding” was Potter’s last tableaux before his death in 1890; this piece was auctioned at Bonham’s (along with most of the collection) in 2003 for £21,150 (around $35,500). Among those present at the auction were artists Peter Blake, David Bailey, and Damien Hirst, who reportedly bid £1 million (almost $1.7) for Potter’s entire collection, but it was rejected by the auctioneers. This caused the owners of the collection to sue Bonham’s because they believed such an offer should have been immediately accepted in order to keep the collection in tact. In 2007, Hirst told The Guardian that “Kittens’ Wedding” was one of his favorites of Potter’s work: “All these kittens dressed up in costumes, even wearing jewellery. The kittens don’t look much like kittens, but that’s not the point.”
The Telegraph notes, “To a modern eye […]these ‘freaks of nature’ appear eerily macabre. Indeed, some Victorian viewers were outraged by the grotesquery and criticised Potter for abuse of animals, despite a museum disclaimer stating that no animals had been deliberately killed for the collection.” But then they later explain that not all of Potter’s tableaux were sourced ethically. Before neutering was commonplace, freely roaming farm kittens would often be killed off. Potter had an agreement with a local farmer who provided the kittens; this would explain the high number of participants in his tableaux.
The accompanying images are sourced from Dr. Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein’s book about Potter and his work, “Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy,” released earlier this year. Ebenstein says that she’s interested in “the context that creates these things, and why certain things come to be seen as bizarre to us, when obviously they weren’t at the time.” (via telegraph)