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Max Wittert


Four score and seven years ago, shortly after college, I worked a certain retail job at a company that shall not be named (American Apparel) and had the pleasure of working with Max Wittert. Max was famous store-wide for his amazing and humorous doodles lampooning everyone who came into the store…and all of us employees. Max…I would kill to find those illustrations again, do you still have them? Anyway, we ran into each other again after many a long year at the Renegade Craft Fair last weekend, and much to my delight I discovered he’s now following his heart working as an illustrator. Wonderful work!

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Documentary Watch: Being Elmo

You’re probably thinking “Why is Beautiful/Decay posting about children’s puppets?” Well that’s a good question. Usually we leave Sesame Street for the toddler and mommy blogs but over the weekend I happened to watch  Being Elmo, a documentary about Kevin Clash, the long time voice and puppeteer of Elmo. Since the age of 10 (check out the above image of young Kevin performing for local kids in 1975) all Kevin wanted to do was to be a puppeteer. With tons of ambition, hard work, and creativity Kevin not only became a professional puppeteer but also one of the most famous and iconic figures in the field right along his life long idol Jim Henson.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story but I will say that every artist, designer, and creative person should watch this documentary. You will be touched, inspired, and moved to work harder, push the limits of your craft, and to never give up on your dreams. Watch the trailer for the documentary after the jump and run out and go out and buy the DVD. It will be the best money you’ll spend all week.

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PJ Richardson from Laundrymat: KDU X Diesel “Only The Brave”



We have images of PJ Richardson‘s submission for the Diesel x Keystone Design Union (KDU) “Only The Brave” Exhibition, which opened on April 30th in NYC. I love how he juxtaposes gentle greens, salmon pinks, and loud reds with equally vibrant, downright playful monsters and type. All of these visual elements make this piece particularly mesmerizing!


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Adam Vorhees’ Dignified Animals

Adam Vorhees’ photographs portray animals in a new light. Gone is the image of a pathetic beast destined for a crappy zoo or slaughter house. Instead Adam presents portraits of complex and intriguing animals that you want to keep around forever and maybe even go for a jog with (Babe’s training for a marathon!).

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Video Watch: Woman Clawed & Urinated next to $40 Million Painting AT Clyfford Still Museum


In a bizarre turn of events a 36- year old woman faces charges for going to the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, walking up to up to Still’s “1957-J-No. 2” painting which is worth around $40 million dollars and scratching the painting, pounding her fists against the wall next to it, and in a grand finally pulling her pants down and urinating next to the historically significant painting. We’re not sure if this was a bad performance piece or jus the work of  someone gone mad but based on the mug shot we’re going with the lather.  Watch the full news video after the jump!

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Lucas Mongiello’s Childhood Relics

French artist Lucas Mongiello invokes feelings of nostalgia with his 20/20. Are these simply childhood artifacts or a way to group and investigate yesteryears cultural relics that have shaped our generations thinking about  pop culture ?

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Barry McGee at the Berkley Art Museum

Here’s a quick look into the Barry McGee exhibit at the Berkley Art Museum. It’s been up since the end of August, but you’ve only got one more month to check it out, since it closes December 9th.

You may know him as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, or Twist, but whatever moniker he’s creating under, McGee is an incredibly talented artist. Trained as a painter and a printmaker at the San Francisco Art Institute, McGee is now one of the most influential names in graffiti and street art. During his time in college, he began to take what he was learning to the streets off the Mission District, tagging under different pen names and switching up his styles. Now, he’s brining the streets he knows so well into gallery spaces, creating imaginary urban worlds in his installations. These new landscapes are filled with paintings, sketches, graffiti and sculptures, and visiting them feels a bit like walking around in McGee’s own mind.

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Japanese Artist Daisuke Ichiba’s Intricate Drawings Interweave The Disturbing And The Grotesque


Life is an inextricable combination of beauty and awfulness, good and evil, and Japanese artist Daisuke Ichiba captures these dichotomies in his highly detailed, densely populated drawings. Drawing is just one of the media that Ichiba has mastered — he is also a painter, filmmaker, and photographer. No matter the form, though, his content grapples with the reality of life and its grotesqueries.

“Choosing to create work that is only beautiful feels artificial. Thus I paint both. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. In my work I project chaos, anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd, and the irrational. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).”

At first glance it’s possible to miss the disturbing elements of Ichiba’s work. The Indian ink compositions are dense and unusual for Japanese art, which tends toward clean lines and minimalism, although they do include Japanese iconography such as the schoolgirl and cherry blossoms. Influenced by his early admiration of comic book art and manga as well as the loss of his mother at age 8, his works fuse vile, often many-eyed, monsters into domestic scenes. Figures are missing features—an eye here, a mouth there—and the occasional introduction of color feels threatening, reminiscent of spreading blood.

He meditates on sexuality and death and the intangible cord that ties them together. Ichiba’s haunting tableaus are a type of contemporary shunga (Edo-period erotic scrolls), in which beauty navigates chaos with one eye closed. (Source)

The impassivity of the deformed figures is striking in the work. Both human and monster accept their fates. The faceless children and severed heads represent the darkness in all of us, ubiquitous and unquestioned.

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