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Across Borders: A Haunting Photographic Journey Shows The Stark Reality Of Illegal Immigration Into America

Gonzalo, turned 22 during his trip as an undocumented person in Mexico. His family in Honduras hopes that he’ll make it to the U.S. He left a message on this board for his wife and 9 month old daughter: "Lorena, Rafaela, I miss you a lot. Back soon " - Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2011

Gonzalo, turned 22 during his trip as an undocumented person in Mexico. His family in Honduras hopes that he’ll make it to the U.S. He left a message on this board for his wife and 9 month old daughter: “Lorena, Rafaela, I miss you a lot. Back soon ” – Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2011

The Backpack of Salvador Santo. Salvador Santo, 21, has written inside the phone number of a relative in Honduras. The need to hide information arises to prevent abductions and extortion of family while he crosses Mexico. According to the National System of Public Security (SNSP), abductions reported to the Attorney General in 2013 were more than 3,600 cases compared to 1,259 in 2012. - D.F., Mexico, 2014

The Backpack of Salvador Santo. Salvador Santo, 21, has written inside the phone number of a relative in Honduras. The need to hide information arises to prevent abductions and extortion of family while he crosses Mexico. According to the National System of Public Security (SNSP), abductions reported to the Attorney General in 2013 were more than 3,600 cases compared to 1,259 in 2012. – D.F., Mexico, 2014

Wendy fled from Honduras with her three children (Jared of 18 months, Jazmin of 3 years, and Eduardo of 8) because of the attempted murder she suffered by her husband, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha 18, one of two of the largest gangs in Central America. The complaint filed against her husband for domestic and sexual violence towards her and their three children had no solution in Honduras due to corruption. - Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014

Wendy fled from Honduras with her three children (Jared of 18 months, Jazmin of 3 years, and Eduardo of 8) because of the attempted murder she suffered by her husband, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha 18, one of two of the largest gangs in Central America. The complaint filed against her husband for domestic and sexual violence towards her and their three children had no solution in Honduras due to corruption. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014

(pictured left) Armando, El Salvador. His destination was the United States, but he was deported in Baja California while riding in the cargo train crossing Mexico. He wanted to retry the trip as undocumented via Tenosique, Tabasco. This time, while trying to get on the train, he fell and the very train amputated his arm. He awaits the document certifying him as a refugee. - Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014.  (pictured right) Celso’s prosthesis. Celso, Honduras, 31, victim of an accident while riding the freight train they call the Beast. - Tapachula, Mexico, 2014

(pictured left) Armando, El Salvador. His destination was the United States, but he was deported in Baja California while riding in the cargo train crossing Mexico. He wanted to retry the trip as undocumented via Tenosique, Tabasco. This time, while trying to get on the train, he fell and the very train amputated his arm. He awaits the document certifying him as a refugee. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014.
(pictured right) Celso’s prosthesis. Celso, Honduras, 31, victim of an accident while riding the freight train they call the Beast. – Tapachula, Mexico, 2014

Photographer Nicola Okin Frioli has been documenting the heartbreak, failures, misery, grief and victimization of thousands of migrants over the past twelve years. Having extensively traveled and documented his way through Northern Mexico, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, and Sardinia, Frioli has seen the desperate measures people will go to in order to create a better future for themselves and their families.

His latest project, titled Al ‘Otro Lado’ del Sueño / The Other Side of the American Dream is a harrowing reminder of the many hardships people face while chasing what seems like an impossible goal. This series focuses on men, women traveling alone, the elderly, and children, all of whom come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua and are attempting to get to ‘the other side’ – across the American border. The extent of these hardships are often underestimated: not only is there exploitation, discrimination and abuse from migration authorities, but also from gangs (Maras Salvatruchas) connected with smuggling and protection fees. Frioli says:

The intention of this project is clear: to gather documents and testimonies of the complaints and all of the abuses the migrants suffer; to be more knowledgeable about the abuse and corruption that the Mexican border authorities direct against Central American migrants; and to use pictures – painful and touching images – to reveal the physical scars, the pain, and the humiliation of those who at one point allowed themselves to dream of something better. (Source)

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BMD Collective’s 3D Animal Puzzle Graffiti

The BMD collective from New Zealand paint massive chopped up characters across walls that look like giant 3D animal puzzle pieces.

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Sculptures Made Out Of Tiny Paint Droplets

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Artist Chris Dorosz uses a unique painting technique.  He drips paint droplets onto plastic rods.  When arranged the rods form a three dimensional image, a pointillism like sculpture.  Step back from the screen for a moment – the disparate dots congeal to from images of people.  The fact that this is similar to the way a low resolution digital image works is not an accident.  Dorosz revels in the idea of the drop as a basic unit of constructing a painting.  He says:

“Out of material discovery I began to regard the primacy of the paint drop, a form that takes shape not from a brush or any human-made implement or gesture, but purely from its own viscosity and the air it falls through, as analogous to the building blocks that make up the human body (DNA) or even its mimetic representation (the pixel).”

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The Struggling Beauty of Jason Shawn Alexander’s Paintings

Jason Shawn Alexander illustrates and paints beautiful people who are bent and crooked from the struggles of life. However, he does it in a way that’s still appealing and uplifting to view. So, when you stand in front of his work you begin to feel up and contemplative, rather than ominous and down like you’d initially imagine from the darker pigments and conditions of his subjects. Originally from the south, Jason now resides in Los Angeles and interestingly enough, besides being a figurative painter, he worked for years as a draftsman at all of the top-dog comic publishers like Dark Horse and Marvel…(via)

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Brendan Cass Studio Visit & Show Walk Through

A while back we posted a great studio visit with NYC painter Brendan Cass. While combing vimeo I stumbled across these 2 videos of Brendan both in the studio and giving a walk through of his show at Lars Bohman gallery in Stockholm. Both videos give an insiders look into Brendan’s techniques, references, and thought process. I appreciated Brendan’s openness and sincerity about his work.

I’ve always loved hearing artists speak about how the create their work. There is so much thought that goes into making a painting that the viewer doesn’t see with a quick glance. This made me think about my own studio practice and all the dots that I try to connect in my head as I’m making work. There are many times when i try out new things in my paintings not knowing if viewers will pick up on it. I guess that’s just how it goes. You’ll never know what the outcome will be if you don’t take that first step and try.

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Jennifer McClure’s Intimate Series Explores The Failings Of Past Relationships

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There’s always something more to be said in a failed romantic relationship. No matter who was right or wrong, time allows for reflection by both parties. But, more often than not, we don’t get the chance to say our peace. Photographer Jennifer McClure offers an intimate look at these types of situations in her series, You Who Never Arrived. She explores her past relationships by putting herself in front of the camera and reimagines the situations of former loves. McClure re-stages the events in hotels, using friends and acquaintances to play the part of beaus.

This series is no doubt an intimate one, as we see the photographer’s vulnerability on display. Her perception of the past was changed in this exercise, and she explains to Feature Shoot:

I thought I was going to find out what was wrong with all of the men I dated. I had assumed that I was ready for a grown-up relationship and that I simply wasn’t choosing well. After hearing what all of the stand-ins had to say about my actions and my behavior, I saw that I always ran away when things started to get serious. I was afraid to let anyone get too close, and I much preferred fantasy over reality. I always shot before the men arrived (when I was still right) and after they left (when I was so very wrong). The most devastating photos to me are the ones I shot the mornings after.

Since everything was shot in a hotel room, the sets were always a surprise, forcing the photographer to improvise in things like lighting and decor. Combined with the improv’d dialogue, these images feel like film stills. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Kyle Bean’s Eggshell Sculpture

Kyle Bean’s sculptures are made out of everyday objects such as straws, baked goods, jello, and even matchsticks. His latest eggshell sculpture doesn’t necessarily answer the question “What came first the chicken or the egg” but it sure is beautiful.

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Suzanna Zak

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Since I started Beautiful/Decay while attending the Maryland Institute College Of Art I have a soft spot for artists working in Baltimore. There’s something about living Baltimore (see “The Wire” for more on that) that changes you and your artwork forever. Baltimore is a giant pot of crazy that just seeps into your work and wont let go. Keep up the good work Suzanna and make us Alums proud!

Check out Suzanna’s Flickr account here and her portfolio over here.

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