Italian artist Francesca Pasquali uses a common household item as a point of departure: straws. Perhaps because we typically use and see straws one at a time, Pasquali’s simple work can be especially intriguing to look at. She cuts the straws to varying lengths and arranges them one by one into a large mass. The fields of straws almost appear to be organic, similar to coral or bacterial growths. However, the reality that the sculptures are decidedly inorganic and plastic never entirely escapes the viewers attention. Pasquali achieves an interesting play between natural formations and industrial materials.
Ballroom Luminoso is a wonderfully different kind of ballroom. A series of six chandeliers by artists Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock hang under an overpass in San Antonio, Texas. The chandeliers are constructed from recycled bicycle parts, structural steel, and custom LED fixtures. Shadow patterns of bicycle sprockets paint the surrounding area alongside colorful light. Accompanying the bicycle parts are carefully carved imagery referencing the areas Hispanic, agricultural, and ecological heritage. The artist statement goes on to say:
“The medallions are a play on the iconography of La Loteria, which has become a touchstone of Hispanic culture. Utilizing traditional tropes like La Escalera (the Ladder), La Rosa (the Rose), and La Sandía (the Watermelon), the piece alludes to the neighborhood’s farming roots and horticultural achievements.” [via]
Rory Dean deserves to be as prolific in the arts scene as pop culture references are within his work (read: very prolific). Dean, who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2006, wields his brush and pencil with great acuity, throwing the world we’ve created for ourselves back into our faces with merciless black humor and insight. His colorful yet maddeningly dark paintings and drawings pull no punches in shedding the current state of affairs in an honest, and concurrently scary light. But cultural context aside, Dean’s work is mainly fun, quality stuff. You really can’t go wrong here.
In recent years, the rising popularity of pole dance fitness has probably conjured up images of darkened strip clubs rather than a serious workout. Netherlands-based Bart Erkamp thought the former, but during the summer of last year, his attitude changed. He dated a woman involved in the sport and learned about its inner workings. It’s a physically demanding activity that’s much more than just an erotic dance. His series titled Pole Fitness highlights the strength and talent needed to complete the moves, which are often suspended in air.
After learning about the sport, Erkamp attended a championship pole fitness competition in Amsterdam. The power and agility of the athletes impressed him, and this struck him as comparable to “artistic gymnastics,” that highlights physical prowess and self expression.
In addition to their athletics, Erkamp was enthralled by the dedication of the participants. They’ve installed poles in their bedrooms, living rooms, and even next to their kitchen. Location doesn’t matter. He highlights this in his subjects’ clear, neatly-kept homes. Contorted legs, torsos, and arms are wrapped around bright silver poles.
It’s not all women, either. Erkamp explains that in 2014, several men completed at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. And, there’s even a possibility that it’ll be an official Olympic sport in 2016. (Via Feature Shoot)
Imagine Lolita has joined the cast of The Walking Dead and found a meadow to hide in, and you will get Japanese artist Goto Atsuko’s incredible paintings. They are a mixture between something incredibly sweet and innocent, and something deadly poisonous that features only in nightmares. Her work features sullen, melancholic girls with large eyes and awkward features, and an overload of flowers, leaves, bees, butterflies, ribbons and bows. It’s like a cross between a Tim Burton animation, zombie profiling, and a child’s dark fairytale – all top of with a serving of strawberries and cream.
Compiled from cotton, glue, pigments, gum arabic and lapis lazuli, Atsuko uses both mundane and precious materials – again stressing the contrast between good and bad; naughty and nice. Atsuko’s paintings are a beautiful, haunting combination of childhood and adulthood, and how the two can exist together harmoniously. She shows us everything is not as simple as it seems, maybe that we all have a complicated persona – we are troubled one minute, and celebrating life with the animal kingdom the next. To see more profiles of her beautiful heavenly-devil-children-creatures, see her website here. (Via Booooooom)
Okay Documentary lovers I just saw this doc last night and I loved it. Imagine Spinal Tap meets Forest Gump! It’s still in select theaters so if you can go see it on the big screen.
In the early 1980s, the Canadian metal band Anvil wrote the thrash blueprint for followers like Anthrax, Metallica, and Slayer. While those bands went on to become metal titans, Anvil faded into obscurity–so much that decades later, the band’s core members–guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner–work menial day-jobs even as they continue to churn out little-heard records and dream of rock-star success. Director Sacha Gervasi (who was once a roadie for the band) chronicles the duo’s efforts to regain their ’80s glory in the funny and touching documentary ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL.
British master jeweler Theo Fennell doesn’t just make your average ring. No, his company goes well beyond the typical diamond jewellery by creating accessories that feature doors and secret compartments engineered into them. They open to reveal tiny painted scenes and small treasures that are inspired by popular novels like The Secret Garden and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Fennell and company’s gold rings have astounding and intricate details. Looking closely at their handiwork, you find things like: individual coins in a pot of gold; a rainbow that’s poking above the clouds; and a ring with a side door that unhinges to reveal a yellow-brick road. Of course, these things don’t come without a price – some of them cost around $30,000.
Fennell’s attitude towards his work is that it should be timeless, and so pairing it with classic literary interpretations makes sense. “Jewellry should be something talismanic and precious, beautifully made to last and not at the ephemeral whim of fashion: it should be truly owned,” he says. “Jewellery has that power – it is a very romantic, sexy and emotional thing.” (Via Demilked)
Given the prevalence of new technologies and the endless possibilities associated with digital programs, it is no surprise that most contemporary artists working in collage seldom create works entirely by hand. To Argentinian artist Larissa Haily Aguado, however, fabricating collages manually has become an integral aspect of her practice, as “the possibilities of fixed manual collage in the digital age provide exciting opportunities to engage with craft, materials, analysis and outcomes.”
With mesmerizing compositions, dream-like subject matter, and a “sharper, more immediate, and more human dynamic than is possible with computer software,” Aguado’s collages combine photographs, illustration, found materials, and elements of graphic design to form surreal yet seamlessly cohesive scenes. By attaching inanimate objects to human bodies or placing retro furniture in scenes of nature, Aguado creates works that are both tongue-in-cheek and aesthetically appealing.
Representative of her wide range of artistic experiences and clearly influenced by her multi-faceted career (including major music industry projects, fashion campaigns, movie poster designs, and TV commercials), the diverse nature of her collages undoubtedly conveys her inventive imagination and eye for design.