JeongMee Yoon’s current work, “The Pink and Blue Projects” explores the trends in cultural preferences and the differences in the tastes of children (and their parents) from diverse cultures, ethnic groups as well as gender socialization and identity. The work also raises other issues, such as the relationship between gender and consumerism, urbanization, the globalization of consumerism and the new capitalism. The topic seems to be well tread territory already but it’s still crazy to visualize. Some of the poses that these kids strike are interesting too.
Never has the thought of books and newspapers becoming obsolete been so appealing. Artist Alexis Arnold makes the idea attractive by gathering different National Geographic magazines, Bibles, and discarded phone books and turns them into crystallized sculptures. She dips each book into a Borax solution which, when left alone for a short time, ‘grows’ crystals. The spines and pages harden and freeze, warped and bent out of shape like they have been found in a time capsule.
Arnold’s series The Crystallized Books are a sentimental and nostalgic view of a time slipping away from us, now we are immersed in the world of eBooks, PDFs, Kindles, and portable tablets. As more and more bookshops close everyday, we are seeing the printed page become obsolete and unused. She explains a bit more about the project:
I had been growing crystals on hard objects and was interested in seeing the effect of the crystal growth on malleable and absorbent objects. Conceptually, the series addresses the materiality of the book versus the text of content of the book. The crystals remove the text and transform the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. The books, now frozen with heavy crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use and nostalgia. (Source)
Arnold says even though she primarily uses the laundry detergent ‘Twenty Mule Team Borax’ in boiling water, and other Salt Crystals, you can use a number of different household products to try it yourself. You can even check out how to experiment at home with the help of this video. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Sean Anderson is a painter based out of Santa Barbara, CA. The jungle is a reoccurring theme in his work, and connects to his past experience of being an artist in residence in Bolivia for two years. He plays with novel color relationships and combines non-traditional media, such as spray paint and florescent enamel alongside oil on canvas. Bold and vivid, with their dilapidated houses fixed in florescent hues, the paintings often appear lit as if by nuclear blast.
His jungle paintings sometimes demonstrate an interest in commercial art and advertising, taking direct influence from pop artist Ed Ruscha by combining landscape and text to bring new meaning to ordinary or nonsensical phrases.
In addition to his work as a painter, Sean is co-curator of the Anderson Art Collective and works alongside his brothers (also artists), Benjamin and Ron Anderson. He has an upcoming show at Firehouse30 gallery in Walla Walla, WA.
Aleksey Kondratyev‘s series Fabricated Adventures is all about adult escapism–making what we want from what we have. Whether you take it as a cynical critique of materialist make-believe, an homage to the capacities of human industry and imagination, portraits of American vacation culture, or none of the above, they’re an interesting series. Here’s what he has to say about them:
“The photographs in this series are of locations which emulate a natural environment for the purpose of recreation. As humans live in their present environments, their experience is determined and limited by their time in history, climate, and physical location.The recreational spaces in this body of work provide a temporary escape from these limitations and from the reality of one’s present physical and geological surroundings.” – Aleksey Kondratyev
Bjorn Veno was nice enough recently to send me a bunch of unreleased, unviewed new works that are under way right now- and he’s given me permission to unveil a little “teaser” for what is to come. The above image may form part of a new triptych series- but will not be unveiled for the next year or so. I’ve been a long time fan of Bjorn’s quixotically expansive photography that taps into the mostly unexplored genre of masculine psychic spaces within self-portraiture. Often set within Edvard Munch-like Scandinavian emotionally charged landscapes, Veno’s photography is at once enigmatic, seductive, and playful. He was recently the only man to win the Xto Nude Image Awards! Prior works after the jump!
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Monica Canilao. See the full studio visit and interview with Monica and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Monica’s studio is in a huge space in Oakland shared by other artists, performers, and musicians that together have created quite a vibrant, enterprising community. In order to get to her studio we had to go up a set of stairs and climb through an entryway draped with layers of fabric, which then opens up into an attic-like room where Monica works. Crawling through that entryway was like moving through a space-time portal and getting dropped into a fantasy world that can only be described as a mash-up of my glamorous grandmother’s closet and the treasure trove of those renegade dwarves in the movie Time Bandits. I was a bit dumbstruck, to be honest. It took me a minute to gather my wits and to begin speaking in full sentences again, instead of just “oohing” and “aahing” and pointing at things. As we settled in, Monica made us delicious “cowboy coffee” in her makeshift kitchen, and then we got to talking. Essentially, Monica is a doer and not much of a talker— don’t get me wrong, she likes to chat it up, but she doesn’t seem that comfortable discussing ideas head-on, instead she expresses herself anecdotally, weaving stories in and out of conversation, letting you read what may or may not be between the lines. She likes to keep her hands busy and her body moving; she’s definitely action-oriented and is all about joining forces with other artists. When we visited Monica she was busy installing work for her collaborative show with her good friend and fellow artist Bunnie Reiss at Lopo Gallery, and so we visited her at the gallery, too. The work there was truly collaborative, and spoke to what Monica is all about— shared experiences, the re-telling and re-shaping of stories, found materials, and the power of visual terminology.
Uk based designer and illustrator Drew Turner’s illustrations look into our evolution through time and space. They depict the psychological differences found between ourselves and present day organisms. With a shroud of mystery over other lifeforms, they are a visual reflection of our greater ability to imagine and argue a question of thought towards an animal as a conscious being.
I first saw Retro Stefson perform back in 2009 at an off-venue Iceland Airwaves party at a downtown clothing store in Reykjavik. The name of the store escapes me, but not the lasting impression this young band had on me. People were going crazy for this band I had never heard of, so I immediately bought their CD and followed them around wherever they played. Three years later, I’m about to head back to Iceland and low and behold, they have a new record and video out and will most likely be one of the highlights of this years Airwaves festival. I challenge you to not bounce your head up and down while watching the video for their song Glow.