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Beautiful/Decay Book Series- Please Read

Dear Cult Of Decay,

For those of you who just joined the cult and those of you who haven’t seen us in a while, we wanted to give you a refresher and keep you in the loop on all the changes we made since 2009.

As you know Beautiful/Decay started as a magazine featuring art & design. We had a traditional advertising model like most other mags on the stands. After publishing a successful 26 issues (issues A-Z) we decided to shake things up in order to bring you a superior product.

Starting in 2009 we re-launched Beautiful/Decay to have all the benefits of traditional magazine subscribership, while taking the form of an expanded, limited edition, more voluminous publication.

In keeping with the spirit of our independent DIY philosophy, we decided to break the mold of traditional magazines and change the way we do business. In this economy, most publications are either going out of business or watering down their content to appease advertisers. Rather than conform to the publishing industry’s new rules, we’ve decided to create our own business model that allows us to flourish and increase the quality of our content.

One thing we’ve always disliked about the mainstream print industry is that it can be wasteful. Newsstands throw away all unsold magazines, averaging a 40-60% waste rate. In keeping with our commitment to staying green, Beautiful/Decay will instead send issues straight into the hands of subscribers, rather than dumpsters.

Here’s what the new B/D looks like:

• No traditional advertising

• 50% increase in page count, meaning 164 pages of pure, unfiltered content

• Features now have double the page space, with more full-color images & articles

• Articles now run 16-20 pages, providing some of the most in-depth coverage of emerging artists available today

• Released in limited edition format of only 1,500-2000 copies, each one hand numbered.

• Each issue comes with a limited edition collaborative artist project ranging from inserts, stickers, posters, to original artwork.

• Presented in new format & size, including French flaps and multiple printing processes within

• Released 3 times a year (once every 4 months)

We’re looking forward to 2011, where we’ll keep doing things our way, innovating indie publishing and bringing members of the cult the best of art and design.

Long live The Cult Of Decay!

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Alex Kiessling’s Psychedelic Glitch Paintings Exist Between Reality And A Dream

Alex Kiessling - acrylic on canvas Alex Kiessling - acrylic on canvas Alex Kiessling - acrylic on canvas Alex Kiessling - acrylic on canvas

Multimedia artist Alex Kiessling works with different ideas of how the future can be. He combines the ideas of fine art and high technology. He has used robots as painting assistants and exhibited it through a live stream to a worldwide internet-based audience. This series of paintings give the impression that they were made with digital help. Their colorful layers are overlapped just like a screen print gone wrong, but of course this is intentional. But despite appearances, Kiessling has achieved this striking effect by painting acrylic on canvas – by hand.

The series, titled Shift, ties in with his larger ideas of augmented reality, simulation, hybrids, and the existence between reality and dream. He explains a bit more:

In the static scenes of my paintings, the protagonists remain mostly resident between the glaring colorfulness of virtual realities and darkness, which is inherent in most of our dream sequences and memories. Both of these worlds are paramount due to their systematic character, which is connected to the simulative, and are projection surfaces of the human psyche. (Source)

His paintings have the affect of dreaming – you feel like what you are seeing isn’t really right, and maybe you should look a little harder. He has a beautiful way of describing his work:

In my work I concentrate on dreams and all kinds of dreamlike structures and explore its borders and bridges to reality. I try to visualize the “no men`s land” between the absurdity in our existence and the concrete concerns that come with our human mind or spirit. I am fascinated by the interacting vibrations between virtual reality, dreams and the basic common ground of our world`s so called reality. (Source)

Kiessling is interested in fragmented identities, and the fact that most of us now-a-days live our lives out in many different spheres or realities – in the physical as well as the digital. His painting series Shift is just another visual exploration of the theme that is becoming more and more relevant to this generation. (Via SuperSonic Art)

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Amy Elkins’ Thought-Provoking Project Born From Correspondence With Death Row Inmates

Amy Elkins- Photograph Amy Elkins- PhotographAmy Elkins- Photograph Amy Elkins- Photograph

Los Angeles based photographer Amy Elkins recently won the 2014 Aperture Prize for her project Black Is The Day, Black Is The Night, which explores identity, time, and masculinity through correspondence, memorabilia, and composite landscapes, involving death row inmates. Elkins based this project on a number of long-term friendships she developed with men either serving lifetime sentences or on death row. As a pen pal to these inmates, Elkins explores an alternate sense of reality, reaching toward that of the 1,500 people currently on death row in the United States.

Drawing from these conversations and histories, she formulated composite photographs representative of what she learned of these men, and then created a method of aging and manipulating the photographs based on how much time had passed since they were first incarcerated. What comes from that are these gauzy, dreamy photographs that are clotted with layers but still delicate and vague, nearly transparent. The loose metaphor of memory, clarity, and vision are entangled in this series, heightened by photographs of the actual correspondence, memorabilia, and quotes from various letters.

The title of the project comes from a poem Elkins received from an inmate, “It spoke about that environment so well. The idea of being pulled away from anything. Experiencing no variance. Everything is the same; everything is dark. The poem is mind-blowing. Better for him to describe the situation than me.” (Excerpt from Source)

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Joanne Leah’s Photography Is Brimming With Beauty And Despair

Joanne Leah - Photography Joanne Leah - Photography

Joanne Leah - Photography Joanne Leah - Photography

Joanne Leah‘s photographs have a kinetic aura, a dark mysterious crackle of energy that seems to hint at struggle and loss. Even with swathes of jewel tones, Leah’s work is muted, almost like crime scene photos. Some of her subjects are strewn about the floor like fallen souls on a battlefield. Others seem to be entombed — though whether in a sort of grave or a chrysalis, it remains to be seen. Permeating all her photos is a feeling of suffocation, of the inevitability of the inescapable. 

In her artist’s statement, Leah says:
When I was a child, I would explore the woods behind my house. I ventured alone, following a small creek. One winter day, I deviated from my usual path. As I walked, I heard a man shout. A pack of barking dogs ran toward me. I immediately dropped to the snowy ground and pretended to be dead. I held my breath. The dogs surrounded me, sniffed and snorted. I had never felt that kind of fear before, the fear of being eaten alive.”
There is a surreal fairy tale feeling to Leah’s photos. There is also an unmistakable feeling of intimacy. There’s also a sense that this is a cautionary tale, that these everyday people have come to quietly grim fates that could happen anywhere, to anyone. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)

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Jim Lambie’s Stunning Geometric Floor Installations Create With Tape

Jim Lambie Jim Lambie Jim LambieJim Lambie

With regular vinyl tape, Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie transforms any given space into a colorful, mesmerizing landscape that often create optical illusions. There is no beginning and no end, no contraction and no expansion- in turn, Lanbie says that his construction “somehow evaporates the hard edge off and pulls you towards more of a dreamscape.” Much like the iconic, giant works of the Abstract Expressionists, its composition is hypnotic, abysmal, and sometimes spiritual, but always bit disorienting at first.

The labor intensive intallations take up to several weeks to complete, but that is no excuse to stop making them. As a former musician, the artist draws on musical references as inspiration. Often time, the titles of his pieces refer to iconic bands or songs, including The Doors, Morrison Hotel (2005), and Careless Whisper (2009). The design of his installations  depend on the architecture of the space; each and every one of these are unique and transient installations that cannot be exactly reproduced anywhere else.

(via My Modern Met and Web Exhibits)

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Amanda Lear is a strange lady

Amanda Lear: previous male, current female, muse of Salvador Dali, multimillion selling Disco Queen three decades ago, subject of an incredibly long Wikipedia entry (yes, her official site is hosted on Tripod), feast for ironic art eyes, and just strange strange strange. Whenever I watch her videos I wonder “is this shit for real?”. But yeah. It is.

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Dominic McGill’s Swarm of Information Drawings

Dominic McGill’s dense works on paper mix the jarring combination of finely detailed pencil drawings and amorphous photographic collages.  Both image and text are piled sky high in McGill’s massive drawings, some measuring at over eight feet high and covering a broad spectrum of topics torn from news headlines from greedy executives to the the violence and bigotry of war. With a never-ending flood information coming at you from every direction, McGill tries to make sense of the constant chaos and despair  and perhaps find some answers to the worlds many painful questions.

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Adam Parker Smith Comic Interventions And Alterations

Whether its an image of a pizza with a phalic sausage sticking out of it or a large mural of ornate pattern made out of plastic flowers and cheap snack food the art work of Adam Parker Smith has a tongue in cheek comic conceptual approach that will make you think, laugh, and say “why didn’t I think of that” all at once. I especially love his tapestries made out of hundreds of friendship bracelets. See these and more after the jump.

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