Artist Steve Kim‘s series Perfect (2) draws from an unexpected inspiration. These elegant portraits are based on the avatars of Tumblr users. Kim sourced material from the blogging platform that attracts so many creatives. Avatars are often quickly executed and little thought over photographic portraits. Kim rededicates time to each photo in order to render each as a proper piece of art. Interestingly, each portrait’s title is also the repective blogger’s username.
Doug Burton’s 3D digital animation “Celestial Mechanics” was conceptualized as a kind of reality-fabric altering pulsating entity. A kind of self-combusting black holes. I am hoping for the day when I actually see the walls wormhole out to an alternative universe! The artist explains: “Through the transmogrification of the matter of the walls and space within and ouside of the studio I have been exploring he realms that exist beyond in a distant past or parallel present.” Heavy!
Jessica Dalva is a Los Angeles-based artist who creates beautiful, wall-mounted sculptures depicting dark, fantasy imagery and the exploration of internal struggle. Recurring throughout her works is the feminine figure in various states of intensity and solemnity, such as sinking in a sea of grasping hands or engaged in somber rituals. Like religious artifacts, each sculpture carries a spiritual energy intended to resonate with the viewer. With metaphorical, mythological prowess, Dalva visually expresses the torments and transformations of subjectivity, from personal battles against fear, to moments of rapture and emotional healing.
Dalva’s works are currently being exhibited in a feature show titled Hapax Legomena at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery. “Hapax Legomena” refers to words that only occur once in a text or within a language, which often makes them untranslatable; Dalva uses the term to explore the singularity and ephemeral nature of an individual’s inner struggle. As outlined on the exhibition page:
“These experiences can be difficult to convey due to the lack of a context to anchor them, as well as the inherent gap between understanding and expression. The pieces are singular expressions of an idea, hapax legomena, in that they are representing distinctive concepts, as well as attempting to communicate the untranslatable through the imperfect language of art.” (Source)
An encounter with Dalva’s work is intended to be a subjective event, representative in some intuitive way of the hurdles encountered by everyone. Dalva’s darkly mystical works do an incredible job communicating the physicality of emotional pain and restoration; with their eyes fogged and eerie, the feminine figures become transcended forms, their bodies acting as expressive vehicles. It is left to the viewer to interpret the spiritual/emotional passage in which they are engaged.
The artist Sarah Best creates astounding replicas of the female body, using it as a symbol that tracks the human desire for connection and intimacy; severed from the rest of the body, her sculpted hands and a cut-out collaged breasts take on a life of their own, worming their way up walls and pages and sometimes tracking blood in the process. The work, though sometimes gruesome, maintains a pulsating beauty; as if with clear intentions, her vital sculptures navigate space, dangling from hooks and exploring piles of cloth.
From both a feminist and an aesthetic standpoint, Best’s work operates in a miraculous, subversive manner; the feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, for example, writes that the body, coded female, is often seen as passive and lacking in intellect, explaining that therefore the body alone has the power to challenge those sexist ideas. Positioning parts of the body within cubistic collages and arresting installations, Best allows it to transcend societal definitions. Rather than figuring as part of a whole to be admired and objectified, limbs actively seek out understanding of the outside world, touching and feeling everything in their paths.
Wonderfully vulnerable yet undeniably powerful, female arm bears Christ-like stigmata, and the physical body searches for spiritual meaning. The oppressive boundaries between the corporeal self— too often considered to be unintelligent, immoral, and “feminine—” and the elevated metaphysical self are effectively shattered, and a new kind of humanity begins to emerge, one to which we can all relate, one that is beautifully desirous, yearning, and sometimes lonesome.
I got the amazing chance to speak with Best, and when I asked what advice she’d give to aspiring artists, she simply said, “Keep your integrity. You will only count, for yourself and in your art, to the extend that you keep your integrity.” Take a look.
I always knew that nature would always be far superior than technology but now I have a video that illustrates it!
Video by Maya
Aptitude, a digital agency based in Bedfordshire, U.K., pays cheeky homage to the (lost?) art of the album cover. They’ve picked an array of such album covers, some more tongue-in-cheek than others, and played around with the design by showing what’s been left out. On their site, you can scroll over each photo and “zoom out” to view the imagined bits from the cutting floor.
“Album cover art used to be meticulously created to portray some kind of message that the band or artist was trying to convey,” Aptitude says. In a way, that sums up their mission with this project as they set out to turn that message on its head. Their designs also function as a retrospective as they add a time traveler’s souvenirs into the mix: Justin Bieber’s My World pans out to reveal his untimely arrest; Bubbles glares balefully from a jail cell on the outskirts of Off the Wall.
Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Born in the U.S.A. zooms out to show the rock star approaching food truck serving — what else — burgers. In the foreground is a stereotypically hefty American. A bit on the nose? Maybe, but all in good fun.
“We all have a favourite album,” the agency says. “One that means something to us more than others.” (via Demilked)
British artist Ben Long works in a wide variety of mediums from billboards to dust drawings, to massive sculptures made out of scaffolding.
Using his finger to scribe into the layer of dirt built-up from exhaust emissions, Long creates elaborate drawings on the rear shutters of white haulage trucks. In this on-going series, collectively entitled The Great Traveling Art Exhibition, he expands upon the daubing and crude slogans that commonly adorn commercial freight vehicles.
By conceiving the project so that it may exist beyond the confines of the traditional gallery space, The Great Traveling Art Exhibition fulfilled Long’s desire to target and appeal to individuals unreceptive to the presentation of contemporary art in museums and art institutions. Furthermore, as a project born of pragmatic concerns, it enabled the artist to exercise creative expression early-on in his career without the need for a studio, gallery or financial backing.
Long’s Scaffolding sculptures are Inspired by his experiences working on building sites as a teenager, the project asserts the value of a disciplined working practice, the hard graft of manual employment and celebrates the role the construction industry plays in the advancement of urban development.
Thematically, Scaffolding Sculptures utilize cultural archetypes familiar in domestic and decorative art, whilst also making reference to art historical imagery such as Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer and Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. With each artwork the base structure serves to visually reinforce the sculptural intent of the project, making comparisons with the plinth, as well as reminding the viewer of a conventional use of scaffolding based on the familiar right-angle and cross bracing process.
Amy Douglas is an English artist who restores old Staffordshire figures into eccentric recreations. Staffordshire figures were found throughout British homes in the 19th century, often bought at county fairs and collected as “toys” for the mantelpiece. When they arrive to Douglas—broken and eroded away by time—she modernizes the pieces by adding touches of present-day quips and scenarios. Each one has been given a title that makes them humorously unique; for example, “I Lost My Head” depicts a beheaded man joyously swinging a wreath decorated with various craniums; “Chicks Rule” features a chicken-headed figure riding a horse with a human face.
The humor of Douglas’ work is often subtle, fostered in the cultural disparity between past and present. Part of the fun is also tricking the viewer into believing they are seeing a bizarre original work. Douglas works with the destroyed objects to seamlessly blend modern relevance with a traditional, domestic art object. “Many of the techniques, materials, and recipes I use have been in the hands of the craftsman for centuries,” she writes on her About page. “In our more increasing, intangible, fleeting, [and] modern existence, I think people do not look properly and do not acknowledge the craftsmanship of work. I like the idea of making people look twice” (Source).
Douglas’ works are currently on display in a solo show titled The Art of Salmagundi at the Jack Hanley Gallery in New York. The show runs until February 7th. You can learn more about Douglas’ work on her website. (Via The Creators Project)