James Charles, pop culture and dollar bills. A strange combination for an astonishing result. The artist transforms traditional portraits on bills into random movie characters, singers and artists. He only uses ink and paint to trace and re-write on the bills. The result is witty and fun to watch.
It all started out with random doodling on a couple of dollar bills. James Charles was not even aware of the treasure he was carrying in his pocket as he was spending the bills. He therefore decided to store them in a magazine, using it as a safe. The more he drew, the larger the magazine got. The mutant bills have their president’s faces changed into male and female pop culture inspired characters. James Charles added a script below the faces, naming or giving hints in case we miss them. Yoda, Einstein, Mister T, Willy Wonka, Princess Leia, Spock, Iggy Pop, Kiss and many others are altering the seriousness of the symbolic of money.
The artist drew on 5 dollar bills as well as on 100 dollar bills. The value of money is put aside here to focus on the true meaning of a paper bill components: paper and ink. So little and meaningless elements for such tremendous stakes. By associating easy recognizable pop features, James Charles is aiming to reach the mass. He has done it again more recently in Monstro Eyegasmica, a mix of popular iconographies such as The Kiss by Klimt or the use of sarcasm with some of the Disney characters. A series of paintings and collages blending pop culture and vibrant colored characters.
James Charles’ Monstro Eyegasmica series will be displayed at the Joseph Gross Gallery in New York until November 25th 2015.
Troy Coulterman sculpts weird and wonderful figures in bizarre circumstances. His use of unnatural, vibrant colors interrupts his already unusual sculptures, giving them an added edge. Graphic novels and comic book artists are the inspiration behind his exaggerated characters in his work, as if these vivacious and animated characters have jumped right off the comic book page and into reality. Receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Coulterman uses his skill to from his figures out of resin, often placing them in a realm with swirling clouds and dripping hair. Coulterman explains the meaning behind his highly stylized work.
“These abstract, absurd forms that interact with the figurative pieces, they’re in a way visual metaphors to describe the psyche of the figures, the emotional moments in the figures.”
Although some of his figures have geometric faces replacing what would be normal human features, most of his work has an element of abnormal organic matter spewing from eyes or engulfing the figure. These organic forms appear somewhat disturbing but ultimately beautiful with their striking colors and detail. Another aspect of Coulterman’s work that is impossible to ignore is each unique and dramatic facial expression his figures possess. Each expression the artist sculpts creates an unmistakable mood in his artwork. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Coulterman has exhibited all over the world and has been included in many different art publications. He is currently represented by Slate Gallery in Regina, SK, Canada.
Sean Norvet is an LA-based artist who paints grotesquely amusing mash-ups that represent the mania and excess of contemporary culture. Food and flesh are his two main ingredients; shattered jawbones, melting eyes, raw meat, and fast food collide in unholy, humanoid altars. Norvet punctuates his pieces with eroticized body parts, mixing desire and beauty ideals with mass consumption. Despite the gruesome subject matter, his work is surprisingly humorous—and there’s a lot to digest.
In an Artist Perspective video with the Stay Gallery, Norvet describes today’s technology-saturated world as an all-you-can eat buffet. From dawn until dusk, we are inundated with arbitrary connections and information—whether we consent to them or not. With intense talent and keen social observations, his paintings reveal this cultural chaos in shameless and visceral ways, provoking self-reflection through imagery that is fun, insightful, and revolting.
Robby Day’s delicate and intimate pen illustrations have a mysterious quality to them that makes one wonder who are these figures and what world do they live in. Are they shamans from another galaxy performing secret rituals or ancient beasts that lived deep in the woods? Look at the rest of Robby’s work after the jump and decide for yourself!
Artist and illustrator Liam Gerrard is a master of trickery – especially when armed with a piece of charcoal in his hand. He draws meticulous combinations of animals (usually dead), pop stars, cultural icons, and beautiful snippets of nature (mostly flowers), that he describes as ‘Semi-Realistic-Gothic-Awesome-Dark-Magic-Black-Tracing’ (Source). Gerrard builds his complicated compositions from different elements to create a surreal hybrid of modern day life. Specializing in portraiture mostly, his work deals with ideas of beauty, life, death and how humankind deals with those complex issues that we are commonly faced with. Leafa Wilson writes about him in her essay:
He apprehends our desire to ‘perve’ at aesthetically beautiful things and people by giving us a few truths we may struggle to look at; ugliness executed with absolute beauty…..He underpins beauty and death through a marriage of Gothic darkness and pop-icon stellar-brightness that totally munts up the readings of his extensive visual vocabulary. Debbie Harry becomes the poster girl for Satan and Frida Kahlo is set aside with her monkeys in a surreal type vignette. (Source)
Gerrard does choose quite gothic material to focus on, but manages to turn it into something that is beautiful and wondrous. He garnered a lot of attention after drawing a 2.5 m charcoal and acrylic painting of convicted murderer Clayton Weatherston. The subject of the controversy had stabbed his 22 year old victim, Sophie Elliott, 216 times and was sentenced to 18 years in jail, without parole. And even with such a gruesome topic that many people would not care to know more about, he somehow managed to create an object of curiosity and interest. And that is enough proof of his immense talent. See more of it after the jump.
Thomas Mailaender’s creative use of sunburns in his project “Illustrated People” combines the surface of the human body with already existing negatives of photographs to create stunning and unusual results. His project consists essentially of manufacturing sunburns: he does this by placing negatives on his subjects bodies, and shining a UV light on the designated area. The light from the lamp shines onto the subject’s skin and, around the negatives in such a way that the image from the negative is reproduced. This method yields fascinating results that draw your attention, not only because of the photographs on display, but also the way he transforms the sheer pain of sunburn into a work of art themselves.
His juxtaposition of human bodies and other people’s lives makes for a sort of temporary tattoo, where the subjects carry the story of a stranger on their bodies. This project is truly beautiful in both its conceptual and physical form in the way that it joins human lives both past in present in a single work of art. The use of a natural element, albeit artificially inflicted in this case, such as UV rays in combination with the man made element of photography adds another dimension to the artwork and depicts human bodies as both artwork and creators of art. The temporary nature of the sunburn is also fascinating in its own respect: once it disappears, so will the photographs, giving the process of regeneration of skin an active role in this piece.
John Baldessari is literally a living legend. Not only has he exhibited internationally more than most living artists but he has blazed the trail for millions of young artists who consider him a mentor, colleague, peer, and friend. I was fortunate enough to work with John for a few years while getting my MFA at UCLA and I have to say that he was one of the most giving professors that I’ve ever had. He always had time for his students and had explosive energy that was infectious. Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art and narrated by Tom Waits this six minute documentary is a playful tribute to the man the call The Godfather Of Conceptual Art. Watch the full video after the jump.