Have you ever finished a painting and completely destroyed your brushes, wondering if you would ever use your beloved, mangled, crusty tools again? Well, here is one artist that has found good use of old, filthy brushes. Rebecca Szeto takes found, used brushes, especially ones that could never be used again, and transforms them into little masterpieces of their own. The handle of her brushes are carved and painted to appear as fancy women, while the bottom bristles of the brush are left to look as they originally appear. With a little creativity and ingenuity, Rebecca Szeto makes the wider bottoms look like dress skirts. The stained, curled up bristles are now fringes to an elaborate gown, the paint being its silk.
The women Szeto’s brushes magically become many different kinds of women, taking on the form of all different shapes and sizes. They include women of different ethnicities and origins; one even portrays a mother adoringly holding her baby. You may have noticed some of the brush-women looking familiar to you. This is because several of the characters hold an art historical significance. For example, one woman is obviously Vermeer’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring, while another, maybe not so obviously, is the little girl in Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas. Rebecca Szeto has cleverly taken an object that would normally be discarded, and with a little patience and skills, transformed it into something unique and amazing. Szeto explains further her intent behind these little women and what they convey.
“These works are an homage to an often lost sensibility and quality of touch and thought, not simply the superficial look of Old Masters’ works. The lady-like portraits are a playful strategy I use to introduce the more indelicate and subtler aspects of waste management and working women (underestimated, underpaid, unnoticed, yet unyielding).”
Artist Hilary Fayle uses embroidery techniques to create delicate suspended designs in dried leaves. She first cuts shapes like circles and mimics the contour of the actual leaf, and then stitches thread into a variety of intricate patterns. The complex designs mimic the veins of the plant in their twists and weaves.
Fayle first began stitching on unconventional materials while she was studying embroidery at the Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. She started with found materials and fabric and later moved onto leaves once she returned to America. The choice to use them was a logical extension of Fayle’s desire to use renewable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly materials for her artwork. Photos by Natalie Hofert Photography. (Via Colossal)
With Halloween just around the corner, costumes don’t have to be the only spooky things you you do to celebrate the holiday. We’ve been introduced to the lifelike, creepy cakes of Conjurer’s Kitchen, and they aren’t the only ones turning delicious treats into something sinister. So, here are a couple of other food artists having some ghoulish fun with conventional desserts.
Christine McConnell is an artist, photographer, and baker who makes elaborate delicacies like screamberries, a life-sized facehugger pastry, and chocolate-covered spiders. The details on these foods are incredible and so convincing that they don’t appear like they’re edible (though they are!). But, they look so impressive that you wouldn’t want to. (via Who Killed Bambi and Laughing Squid)
Ruth & Sira created their own version of the sugar skull by opening the top of the heads and sticking things like berries, nuts, and gummies. The walnuts look like a strange, dried-up brains while they’ve also created the more traditional-looking organs. Their creations look very sweet, and easy to pop skull after skull (as strange as that sounds) into your mouth. (via Who Killed Bambi and Boing Boing)
An unusual, but symbolic and versatile medium, several artists have integrated books into their practice. Sometimes selected for their formal elements, other times for their content, books have a wide-ranging appeal for artists. The five artists listed below have employed books in varied and distinctive ways to create remarkable works of art.
Abelardo Morell is a Cuban artist who incorporates books into his photography in beautiful and creative ways. For example, he used Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to create photographs uniquely including the book. Jonathan Callan is drawn to books as a medium and creates amazing, formal sculptures that resemble tree stumps, or other organic forms. Cara Barer is an artist who transforms books by sculpting, dying and then photographing them. About her work Barer says, “Books, physical objects and repositories of information, are being displaced by zeros and ones in a digital universe with no physicality. Through my art, I document this and raise questions about the fragile and ephemeral nature of books and their future.” Robert The is a New York-artist best-known for his Gun Books, which usually play a title cleverly off the book carved into the shape of a gun. Isaac Salazar rescues books that have been discarded and carves words out of the pages.
Street artist Roa keeps things large and in charge with his massive animals. Whether it’s dead gators, or skinned rabbits Roa brings the carnage of the wild into the urban streets for all of us to enjoy.
Now that we’re in the dead of winter, Rebecca Louise Law’s installation “Outside In” of 16,000 flowers in the lobby of a Manhattan skyscraper is soundly appropriate. The British artist who grew up in the English countryside says she wanted to create a site-specific work which would give city folk a little breather from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Her installation of 16,000 hanging flowers does the trick. When initially installed the fresh flowers gave the lobby an outdoorsy spring like smell. As the days pass and the flowers dry, the lobby at 1515 Broadway in New York’s Times Square will become a potpourri scent tank.
Some of the specimens used in the installation include roses, chrysanthemums, carnations and baby’s breath. Hung upside down, the different shapes and colors of the flowers resemble paint marks floating in thin air. In some instances, the entire installation looks like a wonderful abstract painting.
Law is known for her flower installations around the world. Some of her more intriguing projects have been “The Hated Flower” UK where she used carnations and chrysanthemums, “Bulbs” UK and “The Grecian Garden” Greece which fused 10,000 plants, herbs and cut flowers of over 27 varieties. She also did a project using 1500 apples methodically placed throughout Fulham Palace Chapel in London. (via the creatorsproject.vice.com)
On May 12th, the Nepal earthquake striked, killing dozen and injuring thousands. With a magnitude of 7.3, the earthquake was so large that it affected those living in India and Bangladesh. Documentary photographer Probal Rashid, who currently lives in Bangladesh, documented the aftermath through his lens. These photographs tell a heartbreaking story of those directly in the middle of the chaotic and horrific outcome of such an earthquake. Rashid masterfully reveals poignant images of mothers, fathers, and children living in the current state of their homes and villages. The emotions seen in his photographs strike you to your core, as you are shown a child looking right back at you in the midst of this catastrophe.
Allowing us to see a different aspect of the lives of the people affected by the earthquake, Rashid includes images of the remnants of people’s homes and belongings, creating a more intimate connection. A haunting photograph of the inside of a house in ruins displays an empty couch and chairs, with photographs of the family up on the wall. The city’s culture as well as its people was damaged, as we see a piece of beautiful architecture now almost completely destroyed. Rashid rightly has no sensor, as his photojournalism displays an uninhibited truth. Witnessing so much destruction, Rashid also finds compassion. Although so much desolation can plainly be seen, there is also a sense of hope. The photographer also chose to capture people trying to help; citizen’s aiding one another.
As humans often identify with each other, it is always difficult to see photos with this kind of content. However, it is very necessary for us to see and understand what is happening to others in a place we may not know very much about. Probal Rashid provides us with a better grasp on how the earthquake has affected Nepal and its people in this unforgettable series.