Chinese artist Ann Hoi creates beautifully bizarre paper figurative sculptures. Usually depicting images of children and fantastical animal creatures within an air of melancholia, her work simultaneously achieves an essence of preciousness and unsettlement. Since graduating from Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2010, Hoi has only crafted around a dozen pieces; each work is made through a long meticulous process. Her sculptures are created with a method that begins with the extremely clever use of a 3D animation software that allows her to develop, edit, and manipulate her characters digitally. She then prints her designs onto paper and has to build her works essentially through a version of intense puzzle piecing. Their monochromatic and literal xerox copied aesthetic allows them to almost exist as a physical representation of a digital hologram. They create a real virtual reality. They seem to exist on a strange border of futuristic and nostalgic — their “digital” quality allows them to be referential of that of a technological manifestation and therefore science fiction, however, the graphics, again, the monochrome palette, as well as the sort of “glitch” like feel, makes them seem like they are that of an old technology, a reminiscent one. Hoi’s work is undoubtedly unique. Each piece has the true ability to draw the viewer into a world that they have yet to experience. However, despite how removed from reality these works are, they some how do not feel out of place. It almost feels voyeuristic, as if the viewer is the one that doesn’t belong. (via Hi-Frustose)
Cristina De Middel brings a striking beauty to space travel in her series The Afronauts. Her series is based on the aspirations of Edward Makuka Nkoloso – a 1960’s Zambian school teacher who wanted to land his countrymen on the moon before the United States or the Soviet Union. Nkoloso was openly mocked, even by journalists. Through his story, the series’ pleasant imagery gives way to more serious underpinnings. De Middel says:
“The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices.”
What’s in a word? That’s what the prolific and internationally known Asian-American artist Omocat has been faced with lately. In the midst of her recent “shota” t-shirt release (pictured here), the artist’s intentions have in instances been taken widely out of context. Embraced by Japanese fans that understand the context, some others have used it as a brutal platform for Western backlash. In this instance something got lost in translation between hemispheres, and it is increasingly important that we explore the context and origin of the Japanese word shota and, above all, what this illustrates about western views on sexuality and gender.
Omocat’s continuum of work includes illustration, comic-books, clothing and merch with her designs. Her imagery and content is often based on shota (which loosely translates to mean “pretty boy”) or loli (an expansive style and sometimes fetish originating in Nabakov’s Lolita). All of these artistic expressions stem from Otaku, an umbrella term for the Japanese manga-centric subculture that also informs the work of artist Takashi Murakami. It is important to note that Omocat is quite vocal and literal within the work on her feelings towards social justice and self-empowerment in gender and sexual identity, with a strong personal stance against bullying. This is illustrated fully in her comic “Pretty Boy,” featured here. Omocat is even working on a collaborative artistic effort against bullying set to launch later this fall.
Artist Juan Fontanive creates hypnotizing flip books by assembling old mechanic bits from bike parts and clocks together with images of birds and butterflies. He hand draws, paints and screen prints the images onto paper and uses them to create his magical pieces. Fontanive is able to inject life into these static images with the help of stainless steel, a few cogs, a motor or two and some electronics. These half-film, half-sculptures he is able to build are beautiful delicate mechanisms – and are a dream to watch. Combined with the sound of the pages actually turning; the whirring and humming of the bits working, it seems as if the insects are literally flying off the page.
Fontanive calls his creations “films without light” and has developed his passion of making 16mm experimental films combined with a love of drawing machines. Art writer Gilda Williams says of his pieces:
“The artist’s flapping hummingbirds and rushing fish are sculptural animations, or perhaps automata: machine-powered facsimiles of life…In many ways, Fontanive’s artworks seem strangely possessed, producing curiously moving animals that are neither living nor dead, or creating ghostly systems which seem to float mid-air and follow a pace and logic of their own.”
Kevin Hayes is a Los Angeles based photographer with some really interesting and compelling imagery. What I find most interesting about his work it’s the way he captures and unveils the many characters in the photographs. Playing with the muted colors, lighting and backgrounds there’s is the sensation that time has stopped and a tension of what would have happened next after the shot was taken.
We are really enjoying Nolan Hendrickson’s recent work. They remind me of the dirty side of city life – but through a colorful, and naive window. The bold colors remind me of electrical signs that pollute the city at night. But the style of which Nolan approaches these paintings are so fun and dreamlike that it feels like I am experiencing these environments as a child.