Working with stylist Davy Pittoors and flowers supplied by The Willow Shoreditch, photographer Alexander James has created an incredibly beautiful series, Drowning in Brands. This collection features 10 recreations of some of the most recognizable brand symbols within the commercial world. I think what I enjoyed most about this series is the process of creation, and the fact that these did not undergo post production work either traditional or digital. Alexander required only rose formations and effectively clever lighting for this dark underwater photography. To view more of his work, make sure to visit his blog and stock library.
Tom Sanford had me over to his spacious basement studio in Tribeca this past Saturday. I became aware of Sanford’s work in 2008 when I saw his show “Mr. Hangover” at Leo Koenig, Inc. Tom’s main project is capturing our rapid-fire digital culture in the slow language of painting. If it’s in the news – it’s likely fodder for his paintings. When we watch TV, a pop star’s recent public tantrum is covered with the same attention as the death count in a war zone. Tom doesn’t try to adjust the playing field between pop culture and world events – he conflates them. But when that happens in a painting the dissonance is in your face in a way that it isn’t on TV. For instance, in a new large-scale painting, Bill Murray (as a red capped Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic) is being held at gun point by pirates off the coast of Somalia. It’s inexplicably poignant – maybe because I care about the character from a movie? Sanford speaks eloquently about how painting is slow media, and how we’re all enmeshed in fast media – he has a sign up in his studio that sums it up as “The worse the better.”
As a child, the vegan taxidermist Nicola Jayne Hebson wandered the Blackburn, England countryside, the sight of dead animals haunting her memory long after she returned home. The indignity of remains left to rot struck a chord in her, and she finally took a pair of mating, deceased frogs home, gently placing them in a frame, forever bound mid-coitus.
The artist, now 23, taught herself taxidermy, using only roadkill and deceased pets. The decision to use any living or once-living creature for the sake of art raises ethical questions, but Hebson hopes that debate over her work will inspire viewers to consider the ethics of the meat industry.
Ultimately, Hebson’s work reads as an emphatic attempt to reanimate a being that no longer exists, and it that sense it does—perhaps unfairly— claim nonhuman remains as an expression of the inherently human will to be remembered after death. But in this case, the work itself is so painstakingly delicate that it feels surprisingly generous; her careful craft isn’t a boastful display of her own ability; instead, it recalls ancient mummifications or ritualistic burial practices.
Her creations exude a life-like pathos uncommon in taxidermy in part because of her paradoxical choice to rely upon fantasy over strict realism, appealing to a more emotionally heightened realm of poetry and make-believe. One rat appears to lay a loved one to rest, and the viewer is seduced into mournfulness, forgetting for a brief moment that both rats are in fact dead. Other, more surreal creatures exist within what we might imagine to be a sort of afterlife; her seven-headed rat quietly recalls the biblical Book of Revelations.
Hebson’s creations are dizzyingly anachronistic, seeming to draw inspiration from anywhere between the Medieval Gothic period to the Victorian age. Unified only in their deaths, her works speak across generations and inspire us to mourn for those we so often forget. (via BUST and VICE)
Fred Eerdekens’ work combines shadows and and typography to create experimental artworks that lie somewhere between installation and sculpture. Each piece relies on the perfectly lit gallery space to create the visual tricks and the process of the work is revealed as viewers walk around and interact with the work. Not restricted by one material Eerdekens uses everything from artificial cloud formations (pictured above) that spell out “neo deo” to food boxes (after the jump) that are arranged to cast the shadow “Come Home”.
Inspired by his southern memories American artist Wayne White intervenes directly on vintage landscape reproductions, penetrating and filling the vintage scenes with three-dimensional words and phrases. Provocative, ironic and sometimes humorous, his work explores cultural and social themes such as vanity, ego or pride.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Jennifer Kaye’s article on John Mdgley.
Cosmetic giant MAC put their in-store makeup artists to the test this Halloween to create the most compelling looks. Artists from stores in Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York will be judged by MAC’s facebook followers for their annual “Halloween Face-Off.” The portraits, which range from glamorous to macabre, were shot by photographer John Midgley. “The passion of each of the artists was a lot of fun, and it was infectious,” says John. They lived for it—they lived for the look. They lived to have their picture taken. It took it back to the simplest form of photography, which is flattery and escapism.”
Illustrator Jesse Auersalo updates his portfolio with a brand new grouping of jaw dropping work. If you’re a fan of Jesse’s work make sure to purchase Beautiful/Decay Magazine Issue: Y which features an exclusive interview with Jesse as well as original cover art.