Italian illustration duo Caktus & Maria bring a powerful and fluid flair to their juicy watercolor portraits. Each piece is frozen in time like a river of color that was stopped exactly at the precise time that a face emerged out of it. (via)
Lady Lamb The Beekeeper aka Aly Spaltro recently released her debut studio album, Ripley Pine on Ba Da Bing Records. I was able to catch her solo performance the other night at the Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles and was blown away by her songs and incredible voice. At only 23, she has the stage presence of a seasoned pro starting her set singing acapella with an un-released song called, “Up in the Rafters”. Other stand out songs from the set included, “Between Two Trees” from her digital album, Mammoth Swoon, as well as the fantastic, “Aubergine” and “The Nothing Part II” from her new record. “I refuse to come back out here without a band” said Aly before performing her final song, “Crane Your Neck”.
Lady Lamb is currently on a co-headlining tour with Torres and will soon be supporting Thao & The Get Down Stay Down through August. You can check her out this coming Sunday, June 23rd at the Hi-Dive in Denver as well as in Chicago at the Empty Bottle on June 27th. You can listen to her many digital albums here as well as purchase her new record here. Check out her new video for, “The Nothing Part II, and be sure to keep an eye on this talented young singer/songwriter.
Justin Krietemeyer lives and works in Southern California. His often tie-dyed iconography always emits unbridled glee. Color drenched acid house smiley faces, peace signs, and uplifting text are common in his mixed media pieces. His work has been described as: “…a recontextualization of mid-’90s rave, surf, and street culture presented as paintings, drawings, and mixed media pictures.” The artist himself acknowledges the optimism inherent in his work stating: “It’s important to remember to have fun, I want the experience of standing in the gallery to be so strikingly bright and positive that our guests can’t help but talk about good times and leave with a positive charge.”
Just in the nick of time Beautiful/Decay’s Class Clowns Book is here!
Laughter is universal; it transcends culture, trends, and time. The art world, however, is not considered to be droll. Galleries and museums are stoic, intellectual spaces and works of art are discussed in academic terms. Yet in this scholarly world there are artists that buck conventions and use humor to engage us and make us laugh and think. Art is a medium of communication and the artists in this issue have found that humor is the most powerful way to engage their audience and convey their message.
This class clowns issue of Beautiful/Decay is dedicated to those artists who pack their work not only with meaning but with a powerful punch line that keeps us coming back for more. Join us as we delve into the world of Winnie Truong’s surreal and funny portraits, and find the humor in Devin Troy Strother’s discomfort with his own race. Witness how Maurizio Cattelan has become the art world’s premier prankster and gain insight into artistic duo littlewhitehead’s mixture of dark humor and lo-tech fabrication.
View our cover artist Stefan Glerum’s arresting illustrations, and Ben Aqua’s subversive photography. See how William Powhida’s cynical, self-deprecating, and universally criticizing works take the role of the court jester to a new level. As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, we’ve also invited an international cast of artists, illustrators, and designers to create original works for our Project Pages based on our theme. So get out your X-ray specs as we explore the worlds of Beautiful/Decay’s Class Clowns.
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The photographer Roman Sakovich has gotten some heat for his project Half, a series of images detailing the effects of drug abuse, particularly with respect to methamphetamine addiction; his subjects stand, face forward, their lefthand side polished, even proud, while on the right, their bodies are ravaged by scars and scabs characteristic of addiction. The jarring split-personas are achieved not through photoshop but with expert make-up and styling.
The artist has been criticized for his simplified portrayal of drug dependency; by his own admission, the images, in their shocking nature, exclude a more nuanced exploration and rely in part stereotypes. Problematic for some is the fact that the non-addict self is styled professionally in suits and crisp button-downs, while the addict wears more urban attire, the implication being that class and drug use are profoundly connected.
Regardless of the controversy (and perhaps even because of it), the shocking series inspires much-needed and critical discussion on drug addiction, an illness that plagues tens of millions nationwide. Avoiding blaming and scapegoating individuals, the artist provides an intimate approximation of selfhood torn by addiction, one that inspires empathy, not disgust or prejudice.
Sakovich’s subjects, their identities split in two, are as you and I, lead by hopes, fears, and complex yearnings. A doctor, stethoscope slung over her shoulder, hair in a tight chignon, directs a placid glance comfortingly at the viewer; only after allowing our eyes to drift across the print do we see this figure of heath and safety cruelly overtaken by substance abuse, her eye downcast and purpled, a dried lip furrowed and lined. We read these bodies from left to right like strange texts, imagining personal and intimate narratives in order to reconcile the two faces before us. Ultimately, we are left with the powerful warning, “This could happen to you.” What do you think? (via My Modern Met and Feature Shoot)
It’s hard to categorize the work of Boo Ritson. Is it photography, sculpture, painting or even performance. Boo creates photographs of figures doing all sorts of things from sitting on a park bench to sunbathing. But what makes Boo’s work remarkable isn’t just the formal qualities but her involved process of covering her subjects with head to toe “masks” of paint by literally painting on their clothes, face, and all their features. The result is a resurfacing of sorts of the subjects exterior, completely reimagining who they are, how they dress, and what they look like.
Presented by the 2012 calendar printing company, Next Day Flyers. Check them out for calendars, stickers and greeting cards perfect for the holiday season.
It should come as no surprise that we love a bit of decay in anything beautiful and Heikki Leis’ gorgeously lit series Afterlife is the perfect marriage of the two. His photos of rotting food and macro zooms of mold and decay have enough beauty and decay for the most diehard Cult Of Decay member. Long live Beautiful Decay!
Ps. thanks to Christopher at Colossal for the link!)