Attention all boring and drab homes! Beautiful/Decay has just released 6 new prints to help you add a splash of color and inspiration to your walls. All of our posters are printed on heavy-weight, archival quality paper and are guaranteed to make your wall look less boring. The new prints, “Neapolitan,” “Hyperspectrum,” “B/D Or Die,” and “Brick by Brick ” are a fresh blend of the strikingly bold and unique imagery that you’ve grown to expect from B/D. So make sure you get a daily diet of creativity and cruise over to the shop. Your walls will thank you!
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Sandeep Mukherjee. See the full studio visit and interview with Sandeep and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Klea and I visited Sandeep at Pomona College in Claremont, a small town about 30 miles east from downtown Los Angeles. Sandeep lives in LA, but as an Assistant Professor of Art he’s been provided with a studio on campus (lucky him!). After getting a bit lost and stopping for a quick lunch at a random Mexican family-style diner, where we feasted on tasty pozole and camarones del diablo, we finally made it to Sandeep’s studio. The space is big; it’s a wide, long room with a little office area at the front, and it’s extremely tidy and well organized— not one thing appeared to be out of place, and everything is color-coded and meticulously labeled. There was lots of work on the walls, and for the first few minutes Sandeep wildly darted about the room, enthusiastically gesturing, and breathlessly explaining this piece and that piece, and to be honest, I was having a hard time keeping up. But finally, we settled into his office area with cups of green tea and his high-octane energy mellowed a bit and we fell into easier conversation. Sandeep’s thoughts move quickly, and they don’t follow linear paths, instead they zig-zag, whizz, and dash about, but they circle back upon themselves, and are brought and held together by recurring themes. Much of Sandeep’s art is fueled by his curiosity about in-between spaces— when something is no longer what it was, but hasn’t quite yet become something else. His work explores the territory of collapsed tangibility and structure, when meaning and corporality become destabilized, allowing new understanding and perception to emerge. When discussing his current work, which incorporates painting and embossed drawing on Duralene, Sandeep said he was inspired by the idea of a landscape folding in upon itself, where the valleys, the mountains, and the horizon give way to abstraction, but the topography still manges to come through to the viewer. This mutability is enhanced by the film-like quality of Duralane, which creates a range of variation in the material— translucency, opacity, and dimensionality simultaneously exist within the striated colors and black spaces. Sandeep’s work reveals the nature of materials and the impression of the hand and body, as much as it emphasizes the amorphous quality of space and experience.
Sculptor Loren Schwerd documents the wreckage hurricane Katrina left behind by building artwork from it in her series Mourning Portrait. While in New Orleans shortly after the storm Schwerd came upon the flooded St. Claude Beauty Supply shop, much of its inventory spilling out on to the sidewalk. She uses the human hair extension she picked up off the curb to build what she calls “commemorative objects”. Each piece is a “portrait” of a building in various stages of deterioration. The images of dilapidated homes give an indication of the massive amounts of damage from the storm while the hair alludes to the human loss. Schwerd explains her use of the human hair extensions in her work this way:
“The portraits draw on the nineteenth-century tradition of hairwork, in which family members or artisans would fashion the hair of the deceased into intricate jewelry and other objects as symbols of death and rebirth and remembrance.”
If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.
Burned heads on life-size matches. A representation of human kind living in today’s society by German artist Wolfgang Stiller. The artist works either from an established concept coming from his mind or from random pieces he finds wandering in his studio.
The ‘Matchstick Men’ series got created from left over molds he once used while working in Beijing and thick bamboo woods lying in his studio. Wolfgang Stiller started out by playing around with the heads and the sticks until they both merged, the heads on top of the sticks. The artist is interested in in-situ (specific site) installations. Therefore, the need to build matchboxes and different heights of ‘Matchstick Men’ became obvious.
This faces lying on the bottom of a matchbox resemble vulnerable corpses lying in a coffin. Each face, each person has a similarity with its neighbor. They all experienced a tragedy and are now resting in piece. The fact that they seem to always be displayed as a group of more than two matches makes the process easier to contemplate. Because staring at these heads makes us feel compassion and care.
Wolfgang Stiller is not looking for a general interpretation of his art. He creates for a reason and has his own intent but he prefers to leave a space for interpretation between the art piece and the viewer. (via Fubiz).
San Francisco based painter David Bayus creates beautiful mixed media collages.
Winter is coming! Well, not so much in Los Angeles (although it did get down into the 40s last week), but across the country it seems to be looking a lot like Christmas. One of any creative-minded individual’s favorite winter pastimes is making snowmen. The four artists listed below take the art form to another level, incorporating the usually ephemeral figures into their art oeuvre in unique and intriguing ways.
Tony Tasset’s snowmen are partly funny, partly sad and partly just amazing sculptures. Made from glass, resin, brass, enamel paint, poly-styrene, stainless steel and bronze the snow replicas are surprisingly convincing. Catching a viewer off guard in a gallery setting, the snowmen freeze (pun intended) in time a phenomenon that is never the same—unlike in real life, Tasset’s snow personalities might last forever.
Kristina Solomoukha lives and works in Paris, France. Her process is a reflection on urban space. She pulls from codes and vocabulary from urban environments, combining them with her personal ideological view to create individual works and installations. Playing with words and the absurd, her works, such as Discobaba, magnify and exaggerate existing aberrations.
Identified as a Young British Artist, Gary Hume, now 51, creates his snowmen images and sculptures by reducing them to their simplest forms. Stacked spheres, the shapes are mere implications of a snowman, allowing a viewer’s mind to complete the association. Titling the series “Back of a Snowman,” Hume’s works take on a melancholic mood. We suddenly picture the snowman contemplating his own mortality, which in turn, might make us reflect upon our own.
Described as a pseudo Pop artist Todd Hebert’s meditative paintings apply airbrushed acrylic and super-realistic renderings to common holiday imagery. The effects are narrative in a way that allows a viewer to be reflective about life at the various points of the year marked by the holidays.
Ink & Paper is the tale of one of LA’s oldest letterpress printshops Aardvark Press and Los Angeles’ oldest artist paper distributor McManus & Morgan Paper. These two shops were once part of the thriving printing community but with the advancement of cheap (and poor quality) digital presses and inferior low price paper they have lost the booming business that they once had. Hear how these two historic Los Angeles landmarks stay in business and help one another survive in this era of “Cheap Is Better” and If you’re in the Los Angeles area make sure to stop by and support them! Watch the full documentary by Ben Proudfoot after the jump!