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Interview: Brian Willmont

Brian Willmont is a multi-talented creative. Along with his partner, Cody Hoyt, he spearheads Apenest, a design/art collective that self-produces collaborative silkscreens, graphics and a stunning full color book showcasing a stable of brilliant contemporary artists. Beautiful/Decay recently received a copy of their book and was blown away by the attention to design and the quality of the artists included. As an artist, Willmont also creates invididual work—his stunning works on paper detail an idiosyncratic personal vocabulary, often leaning towards fantastical situations, brightly colored in a hyperspectra of acid-induced prismatic color. Lurking beneath the enticing exterior, however, a darker, more apocalyptic narrative manifests itself; apparent in Willmont’s depiction of decaying architectural structures and implied destruction. 

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Parastou Forouhar Covers Gallery Walls With Persian Calligraphy

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Persian Calligraphy

After her parents were murdered in Tehran, Parastou Forouhar was exiled to Germany. Just like her parents, Forouhar is critical of the Iranian government, and it is with this adherence to and separation from her Iranian identity that her work is based. Forourhar says, “The production of identity, and the repressive mechanisms by which it is reified, comprise the focus of my work. My homeland, Iran, is a constant theme in my artistic practice, but the conception is complex and continuously in flux. Beyond Iran, there is also the collective memory of Germany, where I have lived since 1991. When I arrived there, I was Parastou Forouhar, but I have since become ‘Iranian.’ Every space I inhabit is accompanied by a feeling of displacement.”

For her “Written Room” project, Forouhar covers the blank surfaces of gallery and museum spaces with Persian calligraphy. This creates an elegant aesthetic that is fragmented and fluid. “Whereas the white walls of the gallery room are raised to a universal norm and an unmarked instance, the Oriental ornament stands for difference or the deviating.The writing is also strange, if not alien, because it is illegible for Western visitors – as an ‘incomprehensible’ text it becomes a pure ornament. In defying attempts by Western visitors to assign it meaning, the script remains locked into its irreducible pictorial graphicness and indissoluble representation.” Even if one had a grasp of the Persian language, they would only be able to decipher fragments and syllables of the language that are not part of any linear order. Forouhar’s work ultimately seeks to bridge the gaps in her identity as an Iranian and German. (via fubiz)

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Surreal Photographs Of Twins Monette And Mady In Paris

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Photographer Maja Daniels‘ series Monette & Mady captures Paris’ enigmatic twins.  The series shifts between staged and candid scenes of the twins’ life in the city.  The photos reflect the public and private personas of Monette and Mady.  Paris provides the ideal setting for the dramatic nature of siblings.  Really, the series centers around the twins’ relationship.  Daniels says of Monette & Mady:

“This series is an intimate journal of their togetherness and as an alternative take on the complex issues that accompanies the notion of “aging” today, I aim to pursue this series over the years as Mady and Monette grow older.”

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Julian Glander’s Whimsical Illustrations

Julian Glander lives and works in New York.Take one look at the front page of his wild and wacky website and his exuberant mission will be clear. Glander’s quirky illustrations are an absolute blast as they wiggle about the computer screen (the majority of his work are moving .gifs). It’s refreshing to see a body of work that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is first and foremost, fun!

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Beomsik Won’s Collages Form New Buildings From Disparate Architecture

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Artist Beomsik Won collages images of different architectural works to form one unified structure. The photographs feature a gray wash over the disparate features to increase their sense of cohesion. Won calls this the Archisculpture Photo Project, writing:

René Descartes viewed as beautiful the order and coherency of structures designed by a single architect; the purpose of the Archisculpture Photo Project, however, is to create architectural sculptures by collaging photographs of diverse architectural works from various architects. In this way, Archisculpture Photos are both similar and different to the organic romanticism of old cities built through the works of myriad architects, for they represent the artist’s subjective interpretation and decisions regarding various architects’ numerous designs.

Won’s assemblages create the illusion of a metropolis. “Like collectors who arrange and classify their acquisitions with great care, artists analyze selected city fragments gathered from here and there and with them create their sculptures.” He goes on to write, “What exist[s] now as disparate structures are reborn as beautiful sculptures which retain their diachronic or synchronic histories, or else encompass it all.” They should be looked at as the sum of their parts. (Via Ghost in the Machine)

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A Day In Decay: Jesse LeDoux Visits Cult Headquarters

Long time B/D collaborator and mighty stache master Jesse LeDoux stopped by our offices last week to hang out, eat some sausage for lunch and sign a few back issues for you! If you’re not familiar with Jesse’s work he is by far one of the most talented guys out right now. He’s illustrated The Shins Chute Too Narrow album (and got nominated for a Grammy for it!) as well as countless illustration projects for Suicide Squeeze Records, Target and a whole lot of other brands. If that’s not enough Jesse also shows and sells his work all over the world. So I guess what I’m trying to say is “he’s kind of a big deal.”

We have a 5 copies of our Archive Book and 9 copies of B/D Issue: M signed by Jesse so get to the shop and snatch them up before they sell out!

P.S. In case you’re wondering Jesse has been rocking that stache way before all you hipsters thought it was cool. Check out the image after the jump which shows him sporting it way back in 2006 at the Archive show.

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CANSON WET PAINT GRANT RECIPIENT: Raul Gonzalez

If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.

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The Kim Kardashian Party by XVALA

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XVALA is the artist behind the #FearGoogle campaign, which caused him to be rife with controversy when he put up wheat pastes featuring nude photos of Scarlett Johansson. However, for the past year, he’s been working on a much larger project, in which he went digging through celebrity’s trashcans to re-purpose their discarded objects into art. Early on in his gatherings though, Forbes Magazine received leaked information that he had been to both Steve Jobs’ and Mark Zuckerberg’s residences – where he discovered one of Zuckerberg’s coat hangers and had it fabricated into an almost indestructible phallic sculpture.

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