Chilean born, New York based artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz is only 28 years old, but already his work has been auctioned at Sotheby’s Important Twentieth Century Design. He was selected as one of I.D. Magazine’s top emerging international designers, he received the title of Chilean Designer of the year in 2010, and his work has been exhibited at the many institutions such as the Cooper Hewitt, the National Museum of Design in New York, The Corning Glass Museum and in 2014 he will show at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
There is a humor to Errazuriz’s work that combines wit with a sense of irreverence. Opera d’ Inferno (Fireplace), for example, is a fireplace turned into a miniature theater set. Or Duck Lamp, which consists of a taxidermy bird whose head has been replaced with a lamp. Personal Registration of Time Passing are a series of previously owned wind up watches that have the hour and minute hands taken out. Rather than indicating the time, they indicate that time is passing, so carpe diem and whatnot.
Errazuriz’s public works of art maintain the same sense of profane humor, but many of them also possess a semi-political tone. Wall Street City, for instance, involved turning median markers into dollar signs. American Kills is a mural, of sorts, depicting side by side the number of American soldiers killed in combat and those who died committing suicide in 2009. In one of his more ambitions projects, Errazuriz rescued a cow from its inevitable death at a slaughterhouse and moved it to a recreated farm on the top of a 10-story building in Santiago, Chile. The Cow became a rural icon existing in an urban environment.
As the most universally impactful works usually are, the affect of Errazuriz’s use of symbols and imagery is generally straightforward, but surprisingly efficient. Blurring the lines between art and design with most of his work, mere objects become thought provoking and insightful. It is exciting to see what an artist so young will do next.
In 2011, Danny Choo with Culture Japan visited a place called Clone Factory in Akihabara, Japan in order to have his clone made. The clones are not made from human DNA, but are created using 3D image captures and effects to map facial shapes and measurements. Once the computer has digitally builds the 3D image of a face, the image can then be printed by a 3D printer. These clones are printed using layers of ink which harden in a plaster mold before getting cleaned up with small tools and pressurized air. A few days after Choo’s session, he received his clone, the head of which his producer stuck onto the body of a stormtrooper. Clone Factory can clone just about any solid object, and you can expect to pay around 138,000 yen, or around $1500 USD, for your clone.
At quick glance, these manga illustrations by Japanese artist, Shohei Otomo appear to be traditional – black, white, red. Not quite though: tough Geisha playing table tennis, far from. Such a violent spin with these renderings, you really sense the impending impacts. Fun.
Agua Sagrada is the title of this series of photographs by Columbia-educated James Pomerantz. The photos were taken in Mexico at a cenote, which is a water-filled sinkhole, found mostly in the Yucatan, that the Mayans believed to be portals to another world. Today these cenotes are tourist destinations, though the otherworldly Mayan connotations are still plainly evident in their haunting, ethereal appearance.
More photos after the jump, but check out Pomerantz’s site for some other beautiful sets, mostly of poverty or tragedy-stricken places like Eastern Europe and the Congo.
My good buddies at Two Rabbits Studios have recently updated their site and online store. If you haven’t heard of these fellas, you should put your ears to the ground more often. Though they may be named after a small gentle animal, they are a stampeding herd of buffalos who will trample you with their design and printing skills. They’ve done concert posters for all of your favorite musicians and probably your mother’s favorites as well. (P.S. They silk screened one of the inserts in Book 2).
Artist duo Christian and Rob Clayton, who exhibit as The Clayton Brothers, found their muse at Sun Thrift, inspiring their latest show “Open to the Public.” Three to four years in the making, the artists visited the shop almost every other day to browse and people watch. Rob Clayton says:
“There are two aspects to this show: one side of it is the store itself and the employees that run it, and more importantly, the other side is the people that go there to get things they need.” (Source)
A third aspect could be said to be the pieces that the brothers purchased and brought into their studio, and sometimes into their finished works. Drawn to the handmade and personal the artists speculate on the embedded stories the objects can’t tell. They see the store itself as a curated collection of sorts, where the employees determine the exhibition by making connections and creating categories. Christian and Rob, inspired by this method of organization, say it inspired the way they worked for this show.
When creating, the brothers have an interesting method of collaboration. They work simultaneously in the same studio, leaving unfinished pieces out for the other to be inspired by and often to add to.
Rob elaborates, “At the studio we don’t say, ‘This is mine, that’s yours.’ We refer to the drawings that haven’t made it into the process yet as carcasses. If a painting sits around for a while, one of us will usually grab it all of a sudden and change it in some way. It’s a constant give and take.” Christian adds, “When do get into a heated spot with a piece, we know each other well enough to let things stew.” (Source)
Their different approaches and techniques are evident in this collection, and it is particularly apt. The varied stylistic choices — assemblage, drawing, collage—speak to the patchwork merchandise in the store as well as to the diverse shoppers.
“The characters that inhabit Open to the Public are overall a sweet bunch. They might look disjointed and fractured, or some might say disturbing, but our overall intent with these drawings was to gain an honest understanding of ourselves as humans. The objects that are discarded or donated to the thrift store become a direct reflection on us as people. We look at the objects like archaeologists, and there is narration attached to all of it. The stories of peoples lives, creative heartfelt moments, messages left for loved ones, forgotten memories… this is what has been driving our characters.” (Source)
How does our plastic/synthetic “throw away” culture affect not only our values, but also our environment? Walmart retail may seem cost effective and conservative, but in a glutton abundance, it’s possibly just as decadent as the upper echelons of collecting from the Renaissance or Baroque times. By placing disposal items such as Coors beer, shelves or detergent, and bargain bin t-shirts under a canopy of classically rich “painted” ceilings in her work, Jean Lowe cleverly examines these ironies and more.
Regarding this fiscal clashing, David Pagel suggests, “This compromise between high art and low culture suggests that splitting the difference between extremes creates a mutation both queasy and questionable.”
This is what makes each piece striking– Lowe is not just easily questioning consumerism’s role in art, but instead asking us to consider where art lives and who it lives for. It’s not just about “what” but “how” such blending or bleeding confuses, masks, or tempers our own sense of place and thought.
Alex Chinneck is a London-based artist and designer, recently responsible for an installation that cleverly combines both disciplines. In Margate, a tiny town in Kent, England, a dilapidated home in the Cliftoncille district which had laid in ruins for months has been transformed. By remodeling the brick exterior and exposing the building’s top floor, Chinneck has altered the facade of the building to look as though it has become a single sheet and slid from the rest of the house.
Playfully titled From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toe, Chinneck extends his experimentation for surreal constructions and alterations of ordinary buildings (past projects include 312 identically smashed windows near the Olympic Stadium, and a melting brick wall). In an interview with Dezeen, Chinneck stated “I just feel this incredible desire to create spectacles, I wanted to create something that used the simple pleasures of humour, illusion and theatre to create an artwork that can be understood and enjoyed by any onlooker.“
Chinneck goes on to state some intentions of the piece, though admits they mostly have come after the piece’s construction. “It has social issues, it struggles with high levels of crime and the grand architecture has fallen into a fairly fatigued state,” says Chinneck, “I increasingly like that idea of exposing the truth and the notion of superficiality,” he explained. “I didn’t go into the project with that idea, but as it evolved I started to like that.”
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toe can be seen at 1 Godwin Road, Cliftonville, Margate UK, until October 2014, when it will again be turned into residential housing.