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Hiroshige Kagawa’s Series Of Memorial Tribute Paintings To Distasters Caused By Man And Nature

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The costliest natural disaster ($285 billion) ever recorded by the world bank, an earthquake called Tokohu and Tsunami in the northeastern prefecture of Japan, is the inspiration behind the behemouth watercolor paintings of Hiroshige Kagawa. Spanning 54 feet across and 17 feet high, the artist began devoting his time and energy four years ago to making these works and remembering that fateful day March 11th, 2011. Prior, Kagawa had spent his time creating large scale canvases of solar systems and enchanted forests. After the disaster he had a clearer vision of where he wanted to go and for the last several years worked on three large scale Tokohu memorial paintings featuring affected areas.
“Fukushima” depicts the now abandoned structure of the Tedco nuclear reactor. Done in an eerily twisted metal hue it peers inside the demolished building. What we don’t see is the meltdown of nuclear waste leaking into the ocean. A solution which has yet to be solved. Next in Kagawa’s series is the skeletal remains of a building in Minamisanriku Miyagi Prefecture a town that got wiped out. The building currently only a metal shell appears to be in an abandoned wheat field where people once lived and worked. Illuminated by an orange hue it eventually turns into something else which might appear on a hot imaginary planet near the sun.
A snowy scene of ruins accounts for the third piece. The part of Japan hit by the disaster is known for long brutal winters and Kagawa’s painting metaphorically references nuclear or atomic winter. The term is usually associated with nuclear warfare, where the fall out from bombs turns into a radioactive soot affecting the stratosphere and sun’s ability to promote the healthy growth of plants. When the earthquake struck the whole island moved 8 feet and the earth itself was moved off its axis by a few centimeters. There is still debris from the Tsunami floating onto US waters today four years later. (via Spoon & Tamago)
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More from Bryan Schnelle…

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B/D featured artist Bryan Schnelle a while back on the blog, and he recently sent us these ‘zines/brochures of his work.

If the black mask on the cover wasn’t an indicator to you that theme was unorthodox, then I don’t know what is! It’s definitely interesting how he places a black mask over the faces of his subjects. In the one instance that he doesn’t, he removes the model’s eyes. Just a little creepy. Maybe it’s a shot at the fashion industry or maybe a comment on the concept of beauty itself. In any case, Bryan Schnelle’s work has definitely struck a nerve with me.

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Rachel Denny Covers Woodland Fauna With Knit Textiles, Matchsticks, And Pennies

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Sparkling sequence and plush yarn are just some of the mixture of materials that artist Rachel Denny uses in her work to cover bodies, or sometimes just heads, of animals. This Portland based artist’s work lives in a world somewhere between taxidermy and your grandmother’s craft room. Her unique take on animal trophy heads uses cashmere knitting and twine to transform what looks like the shape of the head of a dead animal. Denny’s artwork includes a diverse variety of woodland fauna, including deer, horses, goats, lambs, and even bears. Sometimes her colorful, eclectic materials, including satin, matchsticks, and pennies cover an entire body of a creature, other times it is just the head unattached to its body.

The creative and interesting use of materials used transforms the animals into something different, something very inviting and attractive, but also unnatural. The seductive sparkles of the black sequence Denny uses pulls you in closer, all the while there is a “bear” underneath. There is a theme of masking over organic beauty with our own human inventions that is apparent in the artists work. Humans often take a natural object or creature that is already beautiful, and try to improve on it. We alter it so that it fits our own needs, or that we may see it as looking even better. Although Denny’s work is incredibly bright and fun with her pastel yarn and sparkling materials, there is a dark hint of the hand that humans have on the natural environment. (via The Jealous Curator)

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Jeffrey Stockbridge Photographs Philadelphia’s Urban Decay

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Urban Decay Photography

Urban Decay

During the 19th century, Kensington Avenue in North Philadelphia was a symbol of abundance and prosperity. It once was nationally recognized as one of the leaders in the textile industry. Today, Kensington Avenue is abundant in prostitution, drug lords, drug addicts, and poverty.

Photographer Jeffrey Stockbridge, intrigued by Kensington’s history and current situation, creates Kensington Blues, a collection of photographs that capture the essence of the infamous North Philly Avenue and its urban decay by focusing on its daily activity, its inhabitants, and its cluttered,dirty landscapes in decay.

Stockbridge deliberately chooses to work with a large format (mostly used in early photography), not only for its obvious perks in quality, but also, it seems, to juxtapose the histories of two very different times in Kensington Avenue. With a 4×5 camera, Stockbridge slows down the current hectic and toxic flow in Kensington in hopes of shining a light onto his subject’s day-to-day struggles and their surroundings- making us, the viewers, reconsider our quick judgments about them and what they do on a daily basis.

The photographer records new found observations though images, audio recordings and journal entries. (Via Ignant)

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Mind-Blowing Lifelike Sculptures of Your Favorite Movie Stars

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The Michigan-based artist Bobby Causey breathes life into his astonishingly realistic sculptures of iconic movie stars and characters. As if ripped straight from the silver screen, his latex figures of Heath Ledger as the Joker and Jack Nicholson in The Shining appear to be frozen in a moment of passion and suspense. Some of the meticulously-crafted characters are built on a one to six scale, but their miniature frame hardly detracts from their ability to express the thrill of a memorable cinematic moment.

Without any formal training, the self-taught artist has developed a craft uniquely his own; for each piece, he carefully studies photographs of actors, memorizing their every trait. Amazingly, he plugs each strand of hair into the heads of his creation individually. While he has done some work for TV shows, his heart remains with classic film, and he prefers to send his work to children’s charities like the Make-a-Wish foundation. For his own daughter, he built a Na’vi from the movie Avatar.

Though he ultimately hopes to explore original sculptures, Causey narrows his current focus on replicating well-known and well-loved characters: Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Kiefer Sutherland as David in The Lost Boys, and Batman from The Dark Knight. These hyperrealistic models remind us of the joys of the cinema, fleshing out the figures who have haunted the collective conscious of movie-goers for decades. Causey’s body of work is much like the famed wax figures of Madame Tussaud’s museum, but they are somehow less campy, emanating a lovely sense of earnestness. Take a look. (via Oddity Central)

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Erin M. Riley Weaves the Photos You Took Last Night

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Erin M. Riley takes the images that usually live on Snapchat, Tumblr, or the privacy of your own phone and translates them into tapestries. They are pictures you wouldn’t want your parents to see. They feature naked and half naked women, drug paraphernalia, used condoms, and more. In an interview with Arrested Motion, Riley states, “I try to take pictures of the condoms after I have sex, the pictures I send to people, pictures of tables at parties, substances & liquids that change the course of events.”

If broadcasted the world, these are the type of photos that would really embarrass someone. Riley takes time to translate these experiences into large, detailed, and colorful weavings completed on a loom. In the same interview, she goes on to say, “I am taking the time to recreate these images as physical tapestries, because these are the events and objects that are significant to me. Tapestry allows images to be given more time, for hookups to gel, for mistakes to be thought over, its a way to over analyze every detail.” This is a cathartic activity for the artist, who says that there is an ebb and a flow in her images over time. Sometimes, they will be more aggressive or explicit, then scale back. Riley says that it’s a reflection in her own life, and she’s open to sharing this with her viewers. Doing so gives the opportunity to start a dialogue with people who admire, question, and collect her work. She’s happy to have conversation with people who might not broach the subject without the help of her tapestries.

Part of the success of Riley’s work is the way it is produced. She combines two different worlds; weaving, an old art form that requires a lot of skill, and the digital age, one that is very focused on instant gratification and accessible by nearly everyone.

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Jean-François Lepage Unconventional Fashion Photography

Jean-François Lepage’s fashion photography has a mysteriously surreal feel that you don’t usually find in fashion photographs. With complex non-traditional sets, makeup that is more often seen in horror films, and hand drawn line drawings directly on the photos surface, Lepage creates a world that lies at the intersection of art, film stills, theater, and fashion. (via bumbumbum)

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Yoon Ji Seon’s Intricate Self Portraits Use Hanging Threads As Hair

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Artist Yoon Ji Seon crafts her collection of self-portraits by intricately stitching photographs with a sewing machine. It’s an ongoing series titled Rag Face, and her facial expressions change with every piece. While they appear to us as similar-looking individuals, Seon changes it up with different colors and hairstyles. Despite these idiosyncrasies, each portrait has the same features. Most notably, these are hanging threads that mimic hair or tattered rags. The multiple layers of colors and stitches give these works a painterly effect, as if they are gestural and loosely handled; Seon obscures her images by working with her materials in this way.

In 2015, the artist will have a show at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City. They describe the her underlying concepts:

By sewing the photograph, a second image is generated on the back that is both a reflection of the front and a completely new image. The two images, combined with the original photograph as a third representation, recall the Buddhist theory that an object exists in many forms and there is no true form. Yoon Ji Seon’s work addresses Buddhist ideology deeply rooted in contemporary Korean society and confronts issues such as plastic surgery and suppression of speech. (Via My Amp Goes to 11)

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