Within Burkina Faso, West Africa is a circular 3 acre complex of intricately embellished earthen architecture known as the village of Tiebele. It is here that the community enlivens the earthen walls of their village by annually adorning them with traditional African patterns. To them the intricate designs have a vast history while an outsider can appreciate them for their geometric splendor and simplicity. The story of this small village brings to mind local community art projects and their worth. An entire community transforming their environment with artistic practices is a testament to the unifying power of creativity and tradition.(via)
I usually don’t really get down with designers who nostalgically embrace the bad/vernacular design of their 80s/90s youths, but I have to admit that I’m liking this stuff by Tabor Robak. If I had to try to describe his aesthetic, I’d probably say it’s the visual equivalent of a guitar solo. Maybe a guitar solo while wearing sunglasses, on a huge arena stage with a ton of pyrotechnics.
For fans of pop-culture mash-ups, Rocky Davies has an amusing throwback for you. The artist takes iconic villains of the 1980’s and fuses them with the music of the same era. Its outcome is a bizarre series of fictional album covers. Using fonts and colors that are reminiscent of the time, Davies creates slick designs that channel a darker version of Lisa Frank art.
The stark black backgrounds give way to fluorescent accents, and nearly all of his designs feature his subjects wearing Wayfarer sunglasses. Looking impossibly cool, these characters intermingle with bold, geometric patterns and a lot of lens flare. Lyrics from songs like the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)are designed around the floating head portraits and take on a new meaning.
Davies’ series comes at the right time. It’s no doubt nostalgic, and it speaks to those who were coming of age in the 80’s. There’s enough time between their popularity and present day for people to realize how borderline cheesy these things were. These fake album covers are both an homage and poke fun at an era of visual excess. (Via Brother Tedd)
Laura Krifka’s work feels both classical and contemporary– a collection of myths that transcend time, stuck on the spin cycle from one era to the next. There is a soft religious quality in each face as he or she slowly responds to pending doom, lurking out of view. Such off stage suspense, feels exactly this way– theatrical.
The dramatic cliche breathes with familiarity, reminding us of our own cyclical head space in relation to history, story archetypes, life, and to our own animalistic emotions or neurotic human obsessions. It’s why we make art and why we repeat ourselves generationally and artistically.
Of her paintings, Krifka states, “I create a world populated with naive and innocent figures acting out their own legend, blind to the dangers around them or those that exist within themselves. In my work the fantasies and clichés of our own world combine and breed, creating a hyperbolic landscape populated by a society lost in their own myth.”
Jorge Miguel’s photographic series, De-Cabeza, is packed with portraitures of grotesque and raw energy that demands attention.
The work of Stéphane Vigny is often humorous in its subversiveness. Vigny often undermines the purpose of objects to create amusing but thought provoking new ‘purposes’ (like a BMW turned into playground equipment). Other times Vigny alters objects in a way that make them profoundly useless (such as a chair on wheels the size of the room it sits in). Commodities and inanimate objects are typically entirely defined by their purpose, what they do. Vigny’s installations, though, force viewers to set aside their expectations and approach the familiar in a new way.
Talk about impressive craftsmanship. In a stunning feat of virtuosity, the Chinese artist Ch’en Tsu-chang carved an astoundingly complex scene into a single olive pit in the year 1737. The tiny sculpture is complete with eight exquisite human figures enjoying a serene ride in the furnished interior of a boat with movable windows. To construct the piece, the artist, hailing from Kwangtung and having entered into the Imperial Bureau of Manufacture during the reign of emperor Yung-cheng, allowed his eye and hand to be guided by the natural shape of the olive pit.
Measuring 1.34 inches in length and .63 inches in height, the work was inspired by a poem titled “Latter Ode on the Red Cliff,” written by Su Tung-p’o some six hundred and fifty years before; it depicts the poet and his seven companions on one of his two journeys to Red Nose Cliff, the site of an epic battle that proceeded the poet-official by eight hundred years. On the helm of the boat, the artist meticulously engraved 300 characters from the beloved poem, whose moving lines served as an artistic theme well into the Qing Dynasty. Somehow, the delicate and intricate composition elevates the epic subject matter, making it all the more precious and highlighting its worth as a narrative worth careful representation. What better way to honor a poem about a natural landscape than by rendering its speaker in an organic substance?
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