Rina Dragunova is a Saint Petersburg-based photographer and makeup artist who blends portraiture and still life with vivid and otherworldly imagery. Featured here is a selection of her darker works, all of which explore the ominous crossroads of beauty, death, and transformation. In one series, Dragunova photographed various snakes coiling around animal skulls and sliced pomegranates; the result is a morbid arrangement that weaves together decay and poison with the succulence of fruit flesh. In “Stigmata,” she further unsettles the imagination with the image of flowers planted in a woman’s chest cavity; the seeping blood contrasts grimly with the bleached-white background and sheer lace dress.
In “Conversion,” Dragunova demonstrates an incredible use of makeup art. With onyx-black paint and prosthetic fangs and claws, the model is transformed into a beast in the throes of mutation; charred scales erupt across her face as the possession takes hold. The fiery red eye in the half-turned face haunts the viewer with a look of building terror and inhuman madness. Like the abovementioned series, Dragunova never fails to seize the imagination by seamlessly fusing delicacy and light with savagery and darkness.
See more of Dragunova’s work on 500px, Behance, and VK.com. For Russian-speaking readers, you can watch a video of her snake photoshoot here.
MMmade have just released three new posters, available for purchase on their site. The posters, called “Order/Disorder,” represent the spaces between order and disorder, as the title implies. MMmade has a good mix of both commercial and self-initiated works, which you can view on their website. Check out more pictures of their poster series after the jump.
A while back I had a chance to do an interview with artist Kim Dorland- and was excited to learn that his show will be opening at Mark Moore gallery this Saturday, March 20th! I haven’t gotten a chance to see them in person yet, but these works are gorgeous. Dorland makes use of a sumptuous impasto creating narratives that are visceral, expansive and nostalgic all at once…all the more reason to see them in person.
John Cale founded The Velvet Underground back in 1965 with Lou Reed and he’s been going strong ever since. The living legend turned 70 earlier this year and yes, he’s been making music for almost 50 years! His fifteenth solo album, Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood came out this past October on Double Six Records to great reviews.
You can still get tickets for tonight’s last stop of his West Coast tour at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles with opener Cass McCombs via Ticketmaster. He also has three special performances in January, 2013 (A tribute to Nico and Paris 1919) at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music. Check out the video for Face to the Sky and do what you can to make it to one of these rare shows.
We know texting while driving is really dangerous. But, unfortunately, most of us still probably sneak a peek at their phone every once and awhile. Artist Brian Singer, AKA Someguy, got fed up with all of the Bay area commuters he saw on their phones and decided to take action. While sitting the passengers seat, he snapped photos of all of the people that were distracted driving. He then took it one step further and purchased ad space on a few area billboards and posted his findings. He titled the project TWIT Spotting (Texting While in Traffic). Afterwards, he began a website in order to share more photos and include facts about the dangers of being on your phone while driving.
TWIT Spotting has received an overwhelming response and sparked controversy. It confronts those making these errors on the same roads where they occur, and it starts a conversation about this preventable problem. But, at the same time, the project was criticized as public shaming and an invasion of privacy. Singer sees this as a means to an end, and his goal is enact change by starting a dialogue. In an interview with Vice’s The Creators Project, he wants to expand the project, and explains:
What I would love is for one of the organizations who are passionate about this to help me. We’d focus on impacting teenage drivers. How can we expand this beyond what I can do? What if the AdCouncil got involved or a cell phone company or an insurance company? We might lose the localized aspect and diminished the neighborhood-focused nuances, but it could have a greater effect on behavior overall, which is ultimately the end goal. (Via The Creators Project)
The art of Adeela Suleman is built of common cooking utensils found in her home of Karachi, Pakistan. Suleman utilizes objects such as strainers, measuring spoons, tongs, and enamel pots among many others. While many of her pieces appear organic, others seem to be a form of armor or helmet. She juxtaposes traditionally domestic tools with the appearance of items of aggression and physical protection. Perhaps, a reminder of physical abuse directed against women as well as the absurdity of violence.
Nick Sethi reveals the intimate aspects of the exceptional lifestyle he shares with his friends in Brooklyn. His photographs provide a glimpse into their mild degeneracy and playfully ironic demeanor. They’re appealing because they lack seriousness and record a snapshot of a genuine culture that is not often accessible, though frequently watered down and imitated in more mainstream circuits. In his ‘portfolio’ series are portraits of his friends, standing with their pants around their knees, or wearing a giant bejeweled ‘SEX’ necklace. The photos have an apathy or melancholy combined with a subtle power emanating from the characters he documents. Although they are obviously staged with dramatic intention, they evoke a fantastically underwhelming air.
His most recent series, more specific in its aims than his overall portfolio, is titled FYEO. It is a curated selection of selfies that women have taken from inside tanning beds. Visually it’s the lights and the rays from them distorting the photographs that are the point of interest. They look like strange psychedelic light tubes in outer space. The selection is well done as he matches the aesthetic between the photographs seamlessly, but also chooses ones with just a tweak of oddity. The Playboy Bunny bellybutton ring paired with a Playboy tanning stamp, or the panties around the ankle create intrigue around these women and their own artistic decision when taking their photographs. Sethi himself is an avid selfy-taker. His HCO series of self-portraits – pictures of him posing throughout a Hollister store – is as entertaining as it is ridiculous and juvenile.
Yesterday we lost one of the best and most important living painters, Lucian Freud. Leading contemporary figure painting for his generation, Freud was known best for his thickly impasted portrait and figure paintings which have been shown and collected in every major museum around the world. His works are noted for their psychological penetration, and for their often discomfiting examination of the relationship between artist and model.
Hope you’re hanging out with Andy, Pablo, Jean Michel in art heaven Lucian. You will be missed!