There’s not much information about Alicia Watkins‘ scientific embroidery, but we can all agree the project is a fun way to identify potentially harmful microbes. From anthrax to salmonella, herpes, e.coli, toxoplasma, mono, botulism, and the common cold, Watkins has colorfully cross-stiched many well-known bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Some of these dreadful microbes almost appear cute by Watkins’ careful hand, associating the warmth and comfort that cross-stitching evokes with the coldness of threatening diseases and sicknesses. Watkins’ Etsy store, appropriately named Watty’s Wall Stuff, has these stiched microbes available for purchase at $19.99 each, along with other clever and pop culture influenced cross-stitch work. She also takes custom orders, as well as making some of her patterns available for purchase. (via this isn’t happiness)
Nicholas Alan Cope is a photographer based in Los Angeles. Aside from heavy commercial engagements, he creates wonderful, stark pictures that turn the mundane into extraordinarily arresting figures of motion and texture. He’s recently collaborated with Dustin Edward Arnold (see above image), and the results are mind-blowing. See Cope’s personal work and more Arnold collabs after the jump.
Five months after being wed in Central Park, while most couples are settling into a new blissful life together, Angelo Merendino and his wife Jennifer received troubling news: Jennifer had breast cancer.
Of this diagnosis, and the journey that ensued, Angelo states, “With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, ‘You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.'”
Angelo took his wife’s request seriously and his photographs, collected here, document not just her struggle with cancer, but also a certain compassionate way of looking– a presence from behind the lens that is not exploiting nor agenda-driven. Each black and white image from Angelo shows the necessity of bearing witness or being a vulnerable presence that is sharing in the difficult and very human experience of love and loss.
Angelo additionally notes, “We loved each other with every bit of our souls. Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.”
For those of us touched by cancer, we can relate to Angelo’s statement — sickness is not just about the disease, it’s about relationships: how we deepen with one another by practicing empathy and how this feeling palpably echoes long after someone passes. Capturing this feeling in art, the way Angelo has, connects not just two people, but many millions more.
Bill Dunlap‘s portfolio is a wealth of revulsion. These images, from Dunlap’s “Black” series, look like viscera made of paint and bad moods. Woe betide the five-year-old who finds one of these faces lurking under their bed at night.
Above is an international street artist who is widely known for his social and political stencils, wooden “arrow mobile” installations, and witty word play paintings. His work has been seen all over Europe and the US.
What looks to be collages are actually gouache paintings by Oakland, CA based Kelly Allen. By combining graphic and natural imagery she forms explosive new forms. Animals, insects, plants, fruits, molecular structures, and colorful geometric elements are assembled into vibrant microcosms. In her own words the works are “…symbiotic accumulations inspired by the systems within nature, and the human experience of recognizing beauty and inventing meaning.”
Christopher Charles Curtis A.K.A. C3’s drawings explores a world the artist has created to better understand the darker parts of himself and humanity as a whole. This world is best described as a fairytale western with some horror film aspects. The characters are in a constant struggle to find their place in a world that is slowly crumbling all around them. As they foolishly try to save this world they find that not only are their attempts futile but their very efforts are contributing to the decline in civilization. It is a basic story of the few vs the many, honor and glory vs power and corruption.
For “Phonies,” the UK photographer Dan Rubin turns celebrity selfies into works of fine art. In his unusual street photographs, the smartphone itself stands in for the face of passersby, projecting the grins of social media-savvy stars like Kim Kardashian, James Franco, and Harry Styles. Rubin’s series is equal parts playful and scathing, capturing the narcissism of celebrity in the 21st century in such a way that highlights the anonymity of the digital age.
Within the medium of street photography, normally characterized by raw and gritty from-the-hip shots, Rubin replaces candid captures with shiny screens projecting perfectly made-up celebrity faces. In these clever doubles, these photographs of photographs, notions of identity are complicated. Our faces, especially in photographs, have the power to betray our innermost selves and to define our perceptions of that self; here, the subject’s visage is shown only to be a reflection of the media we consume. As we are continuously bombarded with social media, how do we shape our egos in relation to the rich and famous?
From images, we derive meaning. Flawlessly inserting the HTC One mini 2 phone into his compositions, the artist creates a hybrid human that is simultaneously a celebrity and just another face in the crowd. As we become more vain and the innocent selfie borders on arrogant self-indulgence, do we stifle our individuality? Here, the realm of social media is ambiguously seen, a powerful force that is both fun and disconcerting. Take a look.