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Connie Wong

connie wong ear wax

Open your eyes and clean out your ears, kids.  Connie Wong has some fresh artwork to accompany your Wednesday morning.  Ear wax and boogers have never been cooler.

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Early Stick-and-Poke Prison Tattoos Preserved In Formaldehyde

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Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people with copious amounts of tattoos on their arms, legs, and head. But, it wasn’t that long ago that these permanent adornments were only found on a very specific group of people – prisoners. Tattoos back then were markedly different than their modern counterparts, and some were preserved for posterity in formaldehyde. The tiny pieces of history are an eerie but a fascinating look at the past.

The designs of early tattooing were much simpler than they are today. Instead of the needles we’re familiar with, prisoners would use crude tools like razor blades, broken glass, paper clips, or wires. Ink was substituted for pencil refills, charcoal, watercolor paints, or crayons and mixed with water, fat, or urine.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a study of the prisoners’ tattoos began in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University, and researchers wanted a way to document their findings. While photography might have been the simpler (and more obvious) solution, prisoners’ tattooed skin was removed and preserved.

The extractions, encased in glass, are small curiosities that don’t really look like tattoos at all. Removed from the context of the body, they are symbols for crimes like burglary, rape, and prostitution. (Via Scribol)

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Dan Olsen

Dan Olsen is proof that the midwest (Toledo, OH) creates the most tripped out, bugged out, and amazing artists. I can stare at his humorous and surreal drawings  for days thinking that if I just squint my eyes a bit more I’ll unlock their epic psychedelic meaning and change my life forever. Also make sure to check out his equally bizarre collages after the jump.

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MTV 16 & Pregnant

POGO design studio

Design studio POGO, based in Argentina and makes beautifully slick commercial work, was commissioned by MTV to re-create the identity of the MTV 16 and Pregnant (don’t think I need to explain what this show’s about…) in collaboration with MTV World Design Studio Buenos Aires. I’m not certain how I feel about the new image for this show, it’s a mixture of fear, disgust, and hilarity. And being generally torn about the direction of my moral compass. I don’t know, what do you guys think?

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Lawrie Brown’s “Colored Food Series” Features Blue Chicken And Green Corn

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Would you eat a blue chicken? What about an unidentifiable purple sauce? In Lawrie Brown’s Colored Food Series, dishes are outlandishly unnatural colors that appear unappetizing to some and edible to others. This is the point of Brown’s work, and they explain in an artist statement:

These photographs comment on the social, visual and psychological aspects of food. I am involved in a photographic investigation of what food people eat, what those foods materially consist of, what they look like, and what statements foods make about our society. Of concern to me is what food actually looks like photographically and how it psychologically affects the viewer when isolated within its natural context.


My photographs of typical table settings of food outwardly evoke in the viewer either delight and acceptance or repulsion and rejection. The response that occurs depends on:


  1. The awareness of the viewer to the actual or imagined taste of the subject or to the actual or imagined content of the food.
  2. The individual psychological response to the colors presented.

Although you may look at this and be disgusted, Brown’s foods don’t seem worse than the artificially colored and flavored fruit gummies (for example) on the shelves now. So, if you’re not grossed out by these images, perhaps it’s from years of Gusher’s Fruit Snacks that’s desensitized you. (Via Flavorwire)

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Pixelated Portraits Hand Painted In Watercolor

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Nathan Manire‘s work may seem more akin to printing than painting.  These water color on paper pieces pleasantly blend digital and handmade imagery.  The bleeding and absorption of paint into the grain of the paper reveals the passing of an artist’s hand.  However, the paintings refer to the pixelized image.  In a strange way, stepping back from each painting seems to reveal more detail, while stepping forward again turns the piece into a nearly abstract work.  His skillful painting has won him high profile clients such as Nike, Wired magazine, and Cosmopolitan magazine.

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Rithika Merchant’s Mysterious And Symbolic Paintings Explore The Mythologies Of The Moon

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Throughout mythology, the moon has represented the visible unknown, a mysterious force whose own phases influence human behavior and identity in subtle-but-powerful ways. In a series titled Luna Tabulatorum, which will be featured at an upcoming exhibition at the Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn, artist Rithika Merchant has painted esoteric scenes that express the enigmatic and transient nature of the moon, conjuring up compounded images of spirituality, occultism, and femininity. Whether it’s a pack of howling wolves, bodies sprouting organic matter, or vulva-like orifices opening to dark, forested scenes, her paintings represent layers of reality that unfold into multiple meanings, with the feminine body as the empowered source of these transformations. Merchant explains her inspiration for the series in the following statement:

“The moon and the sun are the foundations on which many of the world’s ancient religions have been founded. […] The monthly cycle of the moon has also been linked to the menstrual cycle by many cultures. There are links between the words for menstruation and moon in many languages. I see the moon as a meaningful universal object that links humanity by its importance, its presence, and its significance. Being particularly interested in creating links between cultures, the moon has been a very enlightening muse.” (Source)

The moon is also known for its duality—like the werewolf who shifts between states of humanity and bestiality, the moon represents a dichotomous relationship of darkness and light. This dualism is at constant play in Merchant’s works, representing the cycles of life and death; in one image, a skull-headed she-figure is borne skyward in the embrace of raven, in another, prone bodies surrender their hearts to a celestial being. In all of these images, creation and destruction are part of the same process, with the moon as the uniting force. Neutrality is key to Luna Tabulatorum—there is no good and evil, only a series of overlapping metamorphoses and becomings that defy stable notions of morality and identity.

Luna Tabulatorum will be running from September 3rd until October 15th. Visit the Stephen Romano Gallery website to learn more.

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Nelson Balaban

XTCNelson Balaban is an illustrator/designer working in Sao Paulo. At 20 years of age, he has worked with some impressive clients including Adidas, Diesel, Coca-Cola, and Oakley. He is now the art director working for Cisma @ Paranoid BR. For a bigger list of his clients and more of his work check out his site or follow him on the Behance network.

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