For as long as she can remember, Kerstin Zu Pan has been drawing and painting. when she began her studies of the arts, she gravitated to photography as her medium of choice – and with it, refined her unique visual style while combining the languages of various media. using her imagination like a brush, kerstin’s lens takes the familiar and rearranges it, catching beauty by surprise when it plays around in rare, unobserved moments.
The Berlin-based photographer has worked her craft in unusual circumstances, blurring the boundaries between fashion photography and high art. The powder white skinned and rainbow colored hair figures in Zu Pan’s Supervision series (featured here) is one of our favorite bodies of work by the talented photographer.
Quite often the saying of fact being stranger than fiction is true, and this story is no exception. Photographer Arthur Drooker has been attending the most unusual conventions around America and compiling the images into a series called Conventional Wisdom. He recently attended a celebration of mermaids and mermen at The Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, North Carolina. Over 300 Merfolk attended Merfest this year, and Drooker was there to capture this wondrous and enchanting subculture.
This year the participants were able to attend workshops on breath-holding, underwater modelling, talk to a professional mermaid, and purchase different mermaid accessories – tails made from fabric and silicon (and ranged in price from $80 – $4000 for a custom made tail).
For many attendees, the desire to be a mermaid was spawned in childhood after seeing a movie, reading a book, going to the beach or an aquarium. A mermaid embodied an idealized self: beautiful, graceful and confident. To emulate a mermaid one developed a mersona, akin to the fursona that a furry at Anthrocon inhabits to model an animal character s/he aspires to be like. (Source)
For most Merfolk the transformation that happens when they either pull on their costume, or the moment they enter the water is something that cannot be compared to in any other way. Christian Obrocki, a merman from Baltimore tells Drooker of his experience:
It’s a rush. What better way to be in touch with your love for the water than to be kind of a part of it. When the tail goes on, the human side goes out the door. (Source)
Drooker’s other series include his visits to Clown conventions, gatherings of Santas, an assembly of Ventriloquists, a meeting of Furries, and a Bronies meet-up. See the other sets here. (Via Cool Hunting)
Mike Frederiqo is a 23-year-old Dutch illustrator with a healthy dose of talent and humor. You may have seen his other works circulating the internet, including his combinations of BAPE’s fashion logo with Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, or his images of Sponge Bob as Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Terry Richardson, and more. In his more recent series, he has taken his illustrative interpretations of the fashion world a bit further, utilizing the bodies and faces of high fashion icons and their collaborators to recreate famous logos. Among the images you’ll see Lagerfeld and choice model Cara Delevingne completing exaggerated backbends with elongated arms and legs to form Coco Chanel’s interlocking Cs; elsewhere, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour twists into the name “Vogue” (while holding what appears to be a Starbucks coffee). In an interview with Life and Times, Frederiqo explained his inspiration for the series:
“You see so many illustrators taking those famous logos and making fun of them — almost in a negative way. So, I wanted to do something in a positive way with the logos that were recognizable. And what is more recognizable than the Coco Chanel logo?” (Source)
Based in good humor and playfulness, Frederiqo’s stylish logo recreations have a way of grabbing our attention and making us laugh. Logos are a vital part of a brand’s identity, representing their international, high-ranking status and presence. Frederiqo’s illustrations remind us of the real human beings behind these labels; we recognize the logos (and the significance of their names in the fashion world), but when given faces, they become lighthearted, tangible, and funny. Frederiqo’s works poke fun while also nodding in homage.
Last week we spread word about Aiden, an amazing 5-year old horror artist who is currently fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and tried to help raise funds for him and his family. The $2 we donated from every subscription made great progress thanks to our loyal Cult of Decay members, but there is still some progress left to be made. We want to help soften Aiden and his family’s journey through leukemia as much as possible, but we cannot do that without your help. So subscribe today, and help spread the word of our efforts to as many people you know. Lets demonstrate what the support and backing from Cult of Decay can really do!
Matt Siber’sUntitled Project is rooted in an underlying interest in the nature of power. With the removal of all traces of text from the photographs, the project explores the manifestation of power between large groups of people in the form of public and semi-public language. The absence of the printed word not only draws attention to the role text plays in the modern landscape but also simultaneously emphasizes alternative forms of communication such as symbols, colors, architecture and corporate branding. In doing this, it serves to point out the growing number of ways in which public voices communicate without using traditional forms of written language.
The reintroduction of the text takes written language out of the context of its intended viewing environment. The composition of the layouts remain true to the composition of their corresponding photographs in order to draw attention to relative size, location and orientation. The isolation of the text from its original graphic design and accompanying logos, photographs and icons helps to further explore the nature of communication in the urban landscape as a combination of visual and literal signifiers.
Recently Beautiful/Decay teamed up with our good friends over at Stickerobot.com to print a few new custom stickers and boy did they come out great. We’ve been working with Stickerobot for many years and we love their high quality full color vinyl stickers that hold up whether they are stuck indoors or out. To celebrate the awesome new batch of stickers we just got in we’ve teamed up with Stickerobot.com to bring you a special 10% off code exclusive to Beautiful/Decay readers. Simply visit their site, order your custom vinyl sticker in any size (did I mention you can do full color stickers!), and use the discount code BD10 at checkout to save some cash on your next batch of stickers! Check out more examples of high quality stickers and their many artist collaborations after the jump!