What you’re lookin at is our Arts District neighborhood, home to B/D offices…..barricaded due to police activity. Apparently, our block doesn’t just house contemporary art magazine-makers and cigarette-smoking hipsters, but Jason Bourne-style, America’s Most Wanted fugitives!
To recap, we here at the offices had an extremely bizarre day. The loud snores of Ziggy, our office mascot, were replaced with the even more thunderous and more obnoxious drone of helicopters, circling the sky in pursuit of well-known fugitive Brian Alexik! After a day-long standoff between Alexic and an entire swat team of police authorities, the suspect was finally arrested this afternoon. His crimes run a laundry list of wrong-doing, from the relatively minor offenses of drug-dealing, illegal weapon possession and counterfeiting money, to the grave offense of being photographed with U2’s Bono!
Let’s just say popping off to pick up a refreshing iced latte down the street was out of the question….the entire neighborhood was blocked off, leaving us here at Beautiful/Decay gawking out of our office windows at the armored cars and bike police, held hostage in our own office for most of the day! Read what the Huffington Post has to say about the matter here.
The lush, vibrant colored pencil drawings of Joe Sinness portray screen and stage stars, queer icons, and online erotica submitters, combining them with antique or thrift store items, flowers and jewels to create carefully constructed tableaus. The technical ability of the Minneapolis-based artist is what one immediately notices, and it is only after that the viewer must attempt to make sense of the laboriously drawn scene before them.
Sinness creates each still-life by hand before photographing and then meticulously executing them with Prismacolor pencils. “I want each still life to have a visual richness or lushness to highlight and celebrate the figures or kitsch objects presented (and I use the term ‘kitsch’ with the utmost seriousness)”.In works like the Shining Indiscretions triptych (seen above), Sinness created a loose mythology which the work is based on, but does not depend upon. Titled from a Tennesse Williams quote (“All good art is an indiscretion.”), Sinness built hundreds of scenes imagining what a queer,flamboyant spirit such as Williams might physically look like, eventually settling on a triptych of shapes formed from gold lamé. The triumph of this triptych is that the viewer most certainly does not need to know this backstory to enjoy the work, because the images are so visually striking and meditative that they speak for themselves. However, they also have a strong conceptual intention and purpose which informs the work for those who wish to dig deeper.
Sinness continues, “I am interested in how objects and people seeking fame become consumable products, a paradox that sees their artistic endeavors pursuing immortality become disposable and commodified. My imagery and subjects are first looted and then loved… In mining these subjects and devotedly recasting them together in shrine-like still lifes, they are given new life in narratives which mirror their subject’s original aspiration and desire for fame and immortality.”
Chicago-based artist Gracie Hagen has created a photography series titled “Illusions of the Body” that captures nude bodies in contrasting poses. In the “attractive” image on the left, the models represent their bodies with straight backs, pulled-back shoulders, and demure expressions – many of them stand posed in positions that reflect classical sculpture. In the “unattractive” image on the right, the bodies are turned and the models push out their stomachs, hunch their backs, and evoke expressions of indifference.
“‘Illusions of the Body'” was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.
Within the series I tried get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no “normal”. Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.
Celebrate your shapes, sizes & the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird & beautiful thing.”
At first glance the above image might look like a digital collage where a simple cat doodle is drawn atop a photograph of an interior. But if you look closer you’ll see that the cat image is actually painstakingly drawn with tape in perspective to create the illusion of flatness. See more of Samantha Schubert’s optical tape doodles after the jump!
Cathy Durso explores our connection with animals. (She does so literally in her “Megabeasts” series, which features animal-human hybrids). I love her simple ink-on-paper drawings. She’s also worked in collage, textile, and web design. On her site she notes that she loves to hike, which is probably where she gets a lot of inspiration, and also documents her Whuldebynx sightings.
Believe it or not, these images by Todd Baxter are not paintings. They are photos, crafted with a painterly touch that clearly demonstrates the photographer’s influence of other fine art media such as painting, drawing, and sculpture. Baxter loads his compositions with exquisite details, and we see hand-made badges, fur scarves, and even exposed entrails that make up his series Owl Scouts. The surreal coloring and controlled lighting makes it easy to forget that what we’re looking at is a well-considered photograph.
Narrative images tell the story of young scouts that trek through the wilderness and encounter a series of adventures. Some are neat, like when they find an owl that’s been burrowed underground. Other times are more gruesome and include a near-drowning and cut, bloody hand.
The formal considerations of the photographs and their subject matter can’t help but make someone think of Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom. Baxter’s work is more surreal and dark, however, where the woods is a character in the tale of these young scouts. (Via Optically Addicted)
I know it wasn’t easy for you. That is, those inevitable years, often landing around middle school, when we all seem to exude an uncontrollable weirdness. While doing our best making our way through that awkward phase, it often seems like it’ll never pass. However, designer Merilee Allred offers proof that it does indeed pass. Her Awkward Years Project captures not-so-award looking people showing off their awkward years photos. While the project does illustrate that us nerds, geeks, freaks, fashion illiterate, and all around weirdos do pull out of it, it points out something more important: when it seems like no one will go easy on you, perhaps especially when things seem this way, own it.