Emily McDowell designs greeting cards for family and close friends of cancer patients. The messages are blunt and direct. As a former cancer patient herself now in remission, the designer got irritated when her close circle stop visiting and calling her because they didn’t know what to tell her.
She is making things simple by putting the right words on a sentiment which is most of the time sincere and honest but comes out awkward to the patient. Loneliness and solitude is, according to Emily McDowell the most difficult part of the illness to endure. Despite the loss of hair, fatigue and the heavy medical treatments, loosing friends and family members as a support system because they are having a hard time verbalizing encouragements and empathy is painful.
The illustrations on the cards are handmade by the designer herself. The pastel color scheme softens the message which can appear straightforward and cynical but which speaks truly to the patient. Emily McDowell believes these cards can make a difference in the way we communicate. In a digital world where motivational quotes are spread out through Instagram and Facebook, these make a difference because they are palpable and create a direct connection between the friends, family members and the receiver.
Find Emily McDowell’s ‘Empathy Cards’ on her eshop. (via Slate)
Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan born, New York based artist whose work has been featured in galleries across the globe. Her work was also featured on the cover of B/D issue L “Sex Sells.” She recently had an interview with Daily Serving’s Aimée Reid. Click here to read the interview.
Andrew Firth is an Australian artist who turns skulls into creepy, lush landscapes. His work started in 2013, when he decided to channel his ingenuity and spare time into something creative. Each “Bonsai Skull” is artificial, made of PVC plastic cast off of a real human skull. Firth than adorns the dead visages with verdant grass, miniature trees, and graveyards. In one piece, named the “Spring Bonsai Mountain Skull,” a waterfall appears to pour like tears from an empty eye socket. No skull is identical.
Firth’s works are like dark “Treasure Islands,” deriving from his imagination and experience as a boat builder. He creates under the title “Jack of the Dust,” which refers to an obsolete US Navy job designation from the 1800s; this person was the ship’s steward, who worked with the dusty ingredients of flour and biscuits. In Firth’s adaptation, Jack is the name of the skull, and “dust” refers to the matter of death. By upholstering “Jack” in foliage, Firth’s works convey the relationship between rot and rebirth.
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a sleek mobile/tablet optimized website that is easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding involved. This week we bring you the works of Arizona based artist Kristin Bauer.
Kristin Bauer wants you to not only read her artworks visually but literally as well. Working in a wide array of media from neon to assemblage to painting, Bauer combines and mixes high and low iconography, imagery, and texts that will make you play a mental game of connect the dots. Unlike most stories however, Bauer’s works aren’t supposed to have a beginning, middle, and end – leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks between her references to anything from Renaissance sculpture to Jayne Mansfield, Shakespeare to Spielberg films, The Great Gatsby to Cheap Trick.
About her work she states:
I am influenced and inspired by the nature of how humanity derives meaning when presented with the combination of word and image. Our culture is highly visual, and rises and falls with the crests and waves of marketing and propaganda. I draw from my background in Masters studies of Psychology and Therapy practices and my related interests in Social Influence Theory as well as my love of music, film, classical literature and pop culture.
While some of my art seems socio-politically subversive, I do not have a concrete message with the work. Rather, what I am after is the dialogue and internal response of viewers that arise from how they put together visual and written information.
Mikael Takacs hand paints blurry portraits, distorted by a paper marbling effect. The outline of the portraits are clean and clear. From far, what’s inside the shapes seems messy and confusing but if we take a closer look it appears structured, almost forming a pattern. There’s a fine line between Mikael Takacs’ paintings and digital rendering. The diamond shaped patterns and the perfectly balanced and harmonized colors lead to confusion.
The artist applies acrylic painting onto an horizontal canvas with droppers to prevent the liquid from overflowing. He then painstakingly drags paint with small tools like sticks and combs in order to distort the portrait. The intricate work creates regular lines and shapes. If we look closely, we can see feathers, spirals and regular waves. The colors used are a blend of dark turquoise, camel and fuchsia. A color scheme that makes the series identifiable.
Mikael Takacs knows all the people he is depicting. He prefers to blur the lines and to present an abstract artwork. According to him, abstract art makes the dialogue between the viewer and the piece of art more interesting. The artist paints just enough for us to begin to have a idea of what we are looking at and leaves us halfway. To follow our imagination and introspect is the purpose of these paintings as they can lead to a million different interpretations.
Japanese artist Mika Aoki creates intricate glass sculptures inspired by natural forms, creating new, clear, alien-like worlds. Aoki’s glasswork resembles biological specimens and systems. Her amoeba-like entities are displayed in clusters, as growths or adornments on a malfunctioning car, or in glass containers, as if they are specimens to be collected and studied. Sometimes, Aoki illuminates her glass, enlivening her organic forms with the presence of light. In her work, she contextualizes the fragility of glass with the hardness/coldness of scientific classification and automobiles, underscoring the delicacy and temporality of her designs. Important to Aoki is her medium’s transparency, and that she is able to control its solid-liquid-solid state, manipulating a material that is nearly invisible. Of her material, she says, “Unless light shines on it, we can’t confirm the existence of it because it is transparent. But once the light shines on it, glass truly emanates a special presence.” (via my modern met)
Carly Waito’s paintings are so crystal clear you have to look twice to make sure they’re not photos. They’re all oil paintings on panel and I’ve gotta say, this is one girl who has surely mastered her craft. She’s picked such interesting gems as subjects, and represents them flawlessly. I’m just as enamored with every new one I see as I was with the one before. She exhibits with Narwhal Art Projects in Toronto, Canada, if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, I’m sure they’re breathtaking in person.