The psychological effects of social media—seductive vortexes that they are—are well discussed. Every day, we are saturated with idealized bodies and enviable lifestyles—unreasonable standards of happiness and fulfillment that are based purely on constructed images. Seeking to criticize this culture of obsession and apparent emptiness, French artist Grégory Chatonsky has created a bizarre amalgam of Kim Kardashian’s face featuring more than 51,000 photos of her tagged on Instagram. Using a software program he designed using Unity3d, images of Kim K’s face are pulled and generated into a sea of amassed and distorted flesh. The effect is overwhelming and somewhat nauseating; facial features sink, expand, liquefy, and solidify like crushed and melted Barbie dolls. Chatonsky has literally transformed the celebrity’s face into an endless, empty landscape.
This project comes at a funny time, with Kim K’s book of never-before-seen photos, entitled Selfish, hitting the shelves last May. Chatonsky’s choice of her face is rooted in a blunt criticism, as he views her image as the benchmark of meaninglessness in the self-serving application of social media: “She has no talent, she has nothing exceptional, she is none other than our own design, that is to say the way she [is] represented to us,” he told The Creator’s Project. “It is simply an extended skin, everything is on the surface. There is nothing to look behind” (Source). Terrifyingly, the digital collage continues to grow and morph on its own. With intensity, humor, and a heavy dose of dizzying insanity, Perfect Skin II jabs us with a postmodern critique that visually demonstrates how the image—while highly valued in our digital culture—is a flat, empty simulacrum empowered by obsession and replicated beyond meaning or logic.
Multidisciplinary artist Jean Jullien, previously featured for his large bird-shaped bar creation, is currently showing his newest collection of work, La Plage, at London’s Beach Gallery until September 29. This collection of images represents Jullien’s conceptual perspective of beach life. The images are simple, with clean shapes and lines, but are telling of a cheeky narrative. These humorous summertime illustrations indicate the sense of unrealized desire, frustration, and absurdity that can occur when you’re seaside. The prints began as illustrations using a brush and paper before Jullien digitally processed them to enhance the colors. An important part of this work for Jullien is his deliberate reduction of black outlines. Jullien explains that the figures he has lined in black tell a story or gag, while the ones without lines indicate something a bit more subtle.
Of the series, Jullien tells Cool Hunting, “I love the beach for how minimal it is; sand, sea, sky and skin. It’s very soft and yet very colorful, so it was important for me to try to explore that graphically…When you think about it, it’s a pretty odd environment in terms of social boundaries,” he observes. “Yet everyone is as free as a bird…I draw a lot on the beach, I love how naked it all gets,”
When looking at the work of Alex Passapera, the first words that come to mind is chaos. He offers an intense and playful ride using skillful illustrative visuals and chaotic narration to portray the intangible something, “mainly instinct”, which becomes a common theme throughout his work.
Joshua Harker‘s incredible sculptures are the result of advanced 3D printing technologies. Harker’s designs represent patterns of symmetry and naturally dividing or winding formations like those found in nature or as part of our bodies. His work combines 2D design and imaging with the geometry of the 3D form. Some of his work has even been rendered in steel, bronze, silver, glass, polyamide, and ceramics, merging current sculptural technology with past technology. Two of his projects, Crania Anatomica Filigre and Anatomica di Revolutis, are two of the most funded sculpture projects on Kickstarter.
“My work reveals a passion for the uninhibited and represents my quest for originality in the most literal sense. Incorporated imagery & influences include organic mathematics (phi, knot theory, fluid & turbulence dynamics), vermicular & arabesque patterns. Intentionally, viewers are invited to exercise their own translation of my work in much the same way a Rorschach inkblot elicits various interpretations. The forms and images become uniquely personal to the viewer through this psychological dialogue. My art bears qualities of neo-surrealism, tachisme abstract expressionism, and is invariably contemporary.”
Josh Jefferson is a Boston-based artist who paints and draws raw, coarsely layered, and geometric portraits. Viewing the face as the locus of emotion and individuality — as well as a mask we shape to convey our identities — Jefferson’s rough-yet-sophisticated style allows him to represent the structures of the face while simultaneously exploring the symbolic interiority of each portrait; with loose and boldly-colored brush strokes and layered washes of paint, Jefferson gives each portrait a constructed superficiality as well as a deeper, visible core: translucent shapes become thoughts floating around inside a skull, eyes sink into deep vortexes, and mouths smile and grimace all at once. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Jefferson described his style and motivations:
“What really gets me excited is when I see a painting that seems effortless — when an artist has confidence and it appears that the painting came about like one fast whiplash, a slaphappy moment. If I could convey that feeling of loose abandon and control I would be happy. The distortions and geometric interpretations in my drawings and paintings act as structures for me to build on and react to. I kind of need to repeat things to find their meaning, and the structures help with this process.”
Just as our emotions shift, fluctuate, and blend together, Jefferson’s imaginative-yet-structured portraits manifest the complexity of inward experiences — experiences that may seem abstract or unreadable to anyone not enduring them personally. As Jefferson strives for that balance between “abandon and control,” there is a distinct sense of chaos and order, childhood lightness and adult stoicism; shifting between semi-transparent shapes and bold lines, Jefferson’s faces invite and repel us. In showing the imperfections amidst an otherwise bold exterior, the portraits allow us to view identity as a careful construction — a facade — over a complex and vulnerable personal world.
Jefferson’s works will be featured at Head First, an exhibition at the TURN Gallery in New York City running from June 24th until August 16th. The gallery will be hosting the opening reception on the 24th from 6-8pm. Check out Jefferson’s website to see a larger collection of his work.
Luminaria by Architects of Air is a touring inflatable structure. The ‘building’ has made stops internationally since 1992. Visitors to the Luminaria remove their shoes and enter an air lock. Once through the airlock visitors are free to roam the structure. The Luminaria is built of inflated PVC. Sunlight from outside shines through the various colors of PVC creating an otherworldly glow. The highly saturated colors coupled with the gently curving walls and floor give the Luminaria a subtle biological nature. Interestingly one visitor describes the structure as ” Somewhere between a womb and a cathedral.”
The Parisian tattoo artist Gaëtan Le Gargasson, also known as GueT Deep, recently released a seductive and hypnotic slow-motion video of himself tattooing the arm of a woman named Fabrice. Needless to say, the fascinating video immediately went viral, and it has since being posted, it has accrued over 600,000 views. Even today, tattoo art carries a stigma, associated mostly with toughness, roughness, and grit; GueT’s stunning video highlights the more delicate side of the work, documenting the intense precision needed to craft the perfect piece. As the needle pulsates, the artist’s hand effortlessly tames the mechanical beast, breaking it to his will and vision.
Part of what makes this video (and the subsequent gifs, created by Design Boom) so striking is the apparent harmony between the organic body and the mechanical tattoo gun; as the tool ticks and marks the passage of time with unending accuracy, the human flesh bubbles, rises and falls with the ink. Like a heartbeat, each plunge of the needle causes the skin to ripple rhythmically. The piece on which GueT is working figures into these theme effortlessly; it appears to be a design composed of both geometric and natural, organic shapes.
In this slow-motion experience, the tattoo itself matters little; the artwork here is the action of the ink, not the end result. The video is more akin to a dance piece than to a painting. Deeply theatrical and performative, it is simultaneously soothing— mesmerizing, even— and anxiety-inducing. We watch the drama unfold, hoping that the hand does not slip, that everything goes according to plan. Take a look. (via DesignBoom and HuffPost)