A beautiful car crash. A lovely death. Chilean artist Fernando Gomez Balbontin paints haunted and haunting scenes in his series “Thoughts About Life and Death.” The subject matter is difficult, though not gory. Crumpled cars rest on roadsides, smashed and crushed beyond repair—these can’t be anything but fatal crashes. The figures next to the devastated vehicles are often otherworldly. A seeming specter of death wears a dark hood. Girls’ faces are obscured with blobs and blotches of color. Is it blood? It’s impossible to be sure. A priest stands next to one ruined car, the pope another. A man flees the scene.
Yet there’s beauty among the wreckage. The colors are often candy bright. A geometric structure floats, untethered, dripping in a way that’s reminiscent of tears, or blood. There are lots of these drippings in the works, adding an organic element to the mechanized disasters.
Balbontin paints the loveliest skies—peach and purple, cyan and gold. Nothing should go wrong underneath those skies, and yet…
“Denying death is denying life. So perhaps it is necessary to understand that tragedy is not the supposedly reality of death. Tragedy is about not accepting this possibility and consequently, not having enough time to live.”
The paintings of artist Jeff Soto are nightmarish and captivating, as they seem to glow iridescently in cool colors of greens and purples. As if from another planet, Soto’s artwork shows landscapes of an extraordinary nature, covered in shiny crystals, mossy skulls, and unforgettable owl-like creatures that stare at you with hypnotizing eyes. Each painting is a world upon a world, as many of his figures and forms sprout out from even more bizarre, living things. Even his frequently repeated spiky, happy heads contain an eerie quality. Each painting seems to have a story behind it, perhaps representing a mythical fable.
The Los Angeles based artist is a triple threat; a painter, illustrator, and muralist. As you may have guess by his surreal style, his technique is influenced by traditional painting methods, but with a razor sharp edge. Inspired by graffiti and street art, Soto’s otherworldly landscapes heavily embody a pop-surrealist, contemporary style that appears almost futuristic; like a window into the future when our planet is transformed into a whimsical landscape with foreign creatures. This is a place both frightening and beautiful, full of strange magic. His work leaves us filled with a sense of wonder, wishing that we could travel and explore these unusual places and meet these frightening creatures. Jeff Soto’s amazingly adventurous body of work draws inspiration from youthful nostalgia and pop-culture. With an ominous and haunting palette, Jeff Soto’s unique style exudes originality and imagination. (via Hi-Fructose)
The portraits of Marcus Cain fall somewhere between abstract and figurative. His faces appear to be in the process of solidifying, perhaps alluding to the identity they express.
Cain says, “I am currently interested in a particulate view of the human condition, acts of transformation, and shifting identities….My hope is to capture the figure in a transformative, in-between state.”
Cain also uses processes that allude to past styles such as pointillism and abstract expressionism. His nearly eerie portraits often dominated by prominent staring eyes, however, are reminiscent of pulp depictions of phantoms and apparitions.
Artist Andres Serrano‘s series of photographs The Morgue investigates ideas of death and our relationship with it. Working with a forensic pathologist Serrano photographed the bodies with a near classical beauty rarely associated with the morgue. Serrano ensured the anonymity of each person through tight cropping or veiling the face. The way in which the light interacts with the bodies and their veils is reminiscent of Italian baroque painting. The chiaroscuro of each photograph seems to underscore some mystery behind death balancing the morgue’s comparatively cold analytic approach. Further, the careful attention to detail and composition dignifies each person. Each subject, some actually unknown persons, are considered individually as initial shock gives way to contemplation and reflection. However, these are not sentimental images. There still remains a certain emotional detachment, a terrible loneliness in death, and Serrano’s intention is ambiguous. Each photograph’s title is each subject’s respective cause of death, and have been inserted in each photographs’ caption. Also, please note: Some may consider these photographs to be graphic and/or disturbing. (via boum!bang!)
Worlds collide as Gestalten, one of my favorite design book publishers and Alex Trochut one of my favorite typographers join forces for a great video about Alex’s work.
If you remember, Alex Trochut was first featured in Issue: T of Beautiful/Decay with both an in-depth interview as well as an amazing cover graphic. (You can still get a copy here!) Since our interview, Alex’s career has exploded with interviews across the globe in some of the best art and design publications! Watch the video and see why he is one of the most interesting and most sought after typographers and illustrators in the last decade.
Due to popular demand we’ve decided to extend the 50% off sale for another week. You can still get lots of shirts, magazines, and accessories for half price. We’ll end the sale next week or once we run out of stock. Remember we’re clearing out all our old inventory so that we can move to our brand new online shop and website so the sooner we sell out of everything the faster the new site luanches!
New to the East Hampton Gallery scene is Halsey McKay, a lovely space that has presented an excellent exhibition program in the last 6 months. Last month, the gallery had Glen Baldridge and Bryan Graf come in and do their thing.The two promising emerging artists displayed a selection of prints, photographs, and installation work. Images after the jump!
Our massive 50% off sale is still going strong. We had so many people lovin’ the savings we decided to keep it going especially for the Cult of Decay! Shop Now! Check out 10 of our top picks from the B/D Shop after the jump! Oh and if that’s not enough Here is an additional 25% off code (BD25W7U) for a total of 75% off!!!! The sale is ending Monday so drop what you’re doing and shop, shop, shop!