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Takahiro Iwasaki Constructs Elaborate Landscapes From Cloth, Dust, And Human Hair

Takahiro Iwasaki - Cloth, fibers, dust, human hair

Takahiro Iwasaki - Cloth, fibers, dust, human hair

Takahiro Iwasaki - Cloth, fibers, dust, human hair

Artist Takahiro Iwasaki is a master when it comes to constructing elaborate, miniature landscapes. However, these small-scale scenes are not formed from Lego’s, but from much more unlikely and unstable items such as cloth fiber, dust, and human hair. This Japanese artist takes the most miniscule, seemingly insignificant materials and uses them to create something incredibly complex and enchanting. His newest installations, which are part of the series titled Out of Disorder, contain mini-scenes of recognizable landmarks such as Coney Island, ferris wheel and all. Inspired by painted landscapes on Japanese folding screens, Iwasaki comments on his work in relation to its inspiration.

“Just as the artist of the screens did, I would like to revisit a commonplace everyday scene from today’s Japan, and just as the screens embody a smooth flow from one season to the next, I hope to capture, in my work, the graceful transition of a Japanese landscape from past to present.”

Each tree, building, factory, and rollercoaster in Iwasaki’s work are brightly colored and fragile, as many of them are enclosed in a glass case. This glass reveals one of the most captivating elements of the landscapes; the layers of clothing that make up the earth in many of the installations. Each cloth is filled with diverse colors and clashing patterns, revealing a mishmash of layers that resemble section of sediment in the soil. They form the rolling hills and steep slopes that make up the miniature environments. However, not all of the artist’s creations are constructed from recycled cloth, but from toothbrushes, as well. Telephone towers sprout out of Iwasaki’s toothbrush bristles in this strange yet familiar installation. Out of Disorder is on display now at Takahiro Iwasaki’s first solo show Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus at the Asian Society Museum in New York. (via Spoon & Tamago)

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Photographer Ellie Davies Creates Mystical Scenes That Explore Our Relationships With The Forest

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For photographer Ellie Davies, the forest is her studio. Her images are an immersive mix of realism and heightened fantasy. In a mossy clearing, for example, galaxies have been interposed with the landscape like clouds of will-o’-the-wisps, while elsewhere, stars resembling flaxen particles drift down in a column, illuminated by the sunlight. Her landscapes are not only places of mysticism and beauty, but of darkness, as well. Fog and clouds drift amongst the trees like ghostly breaths expelled from the twisted, bronchiole-like branches. In one particularly haunting photo from Between the Trees Triptych (2014), skeletal trees flank a spectral cluster of mist.

Whether glowing bright or cast in shadow, all of Davies’ images reveal a reverence for the forest, as well as her intimate understanding of the way such landscapes have manifested themselves in our cultural imaginations. As she writes in her Artist’s Statement:

“UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years. […] As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.”

And it is true; all of these cultural legends, practices, and traditions have made the forest — indeed, “nature,” as a concept  — a construction, a story we tell ourselves to try and understand our individual connection with it. We imagine the woods as a symbolic place of “elsewhere” and “otherness,” and this cognitive distancing allows us to romanticize it, fear it, and/or exploit it.

Davies wants to confront us with these fictions “by making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, which place the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy” (Source). She creates her scenes in what she calls “small acts of engagement [that] respond to the landscape” — she builds things, creates pools of light, incorporates craft materials such as paint and wool. As I read it, the images have several effects. They resonate with our fantasies about the forest, but at the same time, we recognize their construction, which helps us to perceive that our cultural relationships to the forests of the real world are also constructed. In unveiling such narratives, Davies’ work encourages a more ethical connection to the woods: we recognize “reality” as a series of stories that have been told to us, we sense that we are not truly separate from what we call “nature,” and we accept that we can never fully understand it — an acknowledgment that fosters both respect and peaceful coexistence.

Visit Davies’ website, Twitter, and Facebook page and immersive yourself in more of her stunning landscapes. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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Radames “Juni” Figueroa

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Today I was perusing the website of Proyectos Ultravioleta, a Guatemala based gallery, and found the work by Radames “Juni” Figueroa. Besides a sweet painting of a mustachiod Dracula rocking a cape and a Misfits shirt (dream babe, hello!) I found the above readymade installation. Lo and behold, I discovered a Beautiful/Decay apparel shirt we did with Rob Thom shirt we did from four years ago! Sweet! While we’ve since sold out of that shirt, Radames, if you’re listening, we did a re-make of the Bad Brains classic cover art work (now re-christened Decayed Brains) which is for sale on our online shop. If you care to make another installation work out of our T-shirts. Really great work….check out more after the jump!

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This Plastic Skeleton Lives The Life Of “Basic” Girls On Instagram

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From the sounds of it, Skellie is your average girl. She loves Starbucks, takes full advantage of open bars, and goes on shopping sprees. Skellie chronicles her life on an Instagram account, where she’s known as @omgliterallydead. The caveat, though, is that Skellie is a skeleton – a fake one that you’d normally see around Halloween.

This project started as an inside joke between co-workers, and Dana Herlihey, a social media manager, is the brainchild behind Skellie and her antics. “In early October, a pose-able, plastic skeleton arrived at our office,” she told Buzzfeed. “My coworkers took to it; someone taped a Starbucks cup to the skeleton’s hand and I took a photo for my personal Instagram. (This was at the height of the Pumpkin Spice Latte craze.)”

Herlihey thought that it’d be funny for the skeleton to have its own Instagram account, and she realized the potential for contemporary satire. Skellie plays the part of a “basic” person who gets super excited over the most average things – Fridays, sushi, and snow are just a few. Each photo adds another definition of the term.

Herlihey has a lot of dedication to Skellie. When you see the skeleton at the coffee shop, at the dentist office, and at a bar, that means that Herlihey took her with her. “Some people love it, laugh, ask to take a photo, or make a witty pun as they pass by,” she explains to Buzzfeed.. “Others will pretend there is no skeleton sitting beside me or give me frequent disapproving side glances.” (Via Bored Panda and Buzzfeed)

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Design Watch: Mr. & Mr.

French Design firm Mr. & Mr. reinterpreted  da Vinci’s Last Supper into a clever series of table runners and place mats. The hand gestures are in the exact postion and in the same ratio as the original. Next time you have friends over for dinner where will you sit? Watch out for Judas!

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Romain Lenancker

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Lenancker, out of France, uses colorful, crisp paper to create wonderful works of art. Usually interacting the paper creations with the human form, Lenancker adds dimension and playfulness to his aesthetic.

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The World’s Largest Flower Parade Is A Surreal Feast For The Eyes

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Corso Zundert, the famous flower parade, takes place every September in Zundert, a small town on the Belgian border. Known as the world’s largest flower parade, participating districts work arduously to out-do the other competitors in creating the most wild and unique float possible. There is no set theme for the parade, but competitors must adhere to two parameters: their floats must be made entirely of dahlia flowers and be smaller than 20 by 10 meters. Included here are photographs of floats from this year and past years as well. With the huge crowds surrounding the floats you can really see just how immense and outrageous these structures really are.

Starting in 1936, Corso Zundert is an ongoing tradition within the Netherlands. Using an unimaginable number of dahlias, people painstakingly construct and adorn these gigantic floats. The twenty floats, once completed, make their way through the city, everyone hoping to win first place. For the 2014 parade the prize went to a horse-themed float called Horsepower. What would your float look like?

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Portraits Of Patients With Facial Paralysis Show A Terrible Beauty

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Sage Sohier spent three years at a facial nerve clinic, photographing people in the beginning stages of treatment of facial paralysis for her series “About Face.” The portraits of men, women, and children of all ages and ethnicities with varied causes and visible extents of paralysis are striking. Looking directly into the camera, directly at the viewer, the patients smile.

Most people I photograph are acutely aware of their imperfections and try to minimize them. Some have confided in me that, in their attempt to look more normal, they strive for impassivity and repress their smiles. They worry that this effort is altering who they are emotionally and affecting how other people respond to them.

In our image obsessed society, facial oddities can be difficult to live with. When we see images of celebrities with shaved noses and plumped lips, carving and injecting their way to plastic perfection, having a face twisted and pulled by nerve damage seems unthinkable. In an absurd twist, some of the patients are treated with Botox, which is a medical treatment as well as a cosmetic one. The strength of character it takes to allow a portrait when one’s face is so far from “the ideal” is astounding. The pictures that include loved ones show them touching, kissing, and connecting, illustrating how appearance doesn’t matter, that they person they love is still there.

As a visual artist, I find myself fascinated by the intensity of glimpsing two expressions simultaneously, a literal “two-facedness” that mesmerizes by its terrible beauty. At the same time, I hope these pictures bear witness to the incredible courage required to deal with medical afflictions, especially when they affect one’s primary appearance. Even minor facial problems challenge and potentially diminish a person’s sense of self; the poise and inner strength that it takes to deal with this, while at the same time presenting oneself to the world, is remarkable.

It’s important that images like these are taken, and even more that they are seen. These people have a medical condition, reversible to differing degrees, that makes them look different than what we expect. And this is what humanity is composed of—people who look like themselves at any given point in their lives. (via Design Taxi)

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