Helmut Smits is proof that you don’t need a larger than life idea to create thought provoking and powerful work. From a kiddie pool fountain (pictured above) to a snow man carved out of carrara marble (pictured after the jump), Helmut takes everyday objects, makes a few minor tweaks, and creates iconic work that makes you think “why didn’t I think of that?”
Artist Takumi Kama is trying to confront and conquer his fears of high school girls by turning them into strange reptiles and animals. By anthropomorphizing teenage girls, he makes them less threatening and harmful. The Japanese drawer has imagined one girl as a snobby, gangly giraffe, holding it’s head up high and standing displeased with everything around it. He has drawn another one as a frightened armadillo huddled in the fetal position, looking terrified and uncomfortable. He has sketched the girls he would see on the train as a group of primates, absorbed in their cellphones; the book nerd in the school corridor is now an awkward frog beast holding her book in her weird hands, furry tail wrapped around a bottle of soda pop.
Kama has studied both the poses and mannerisms of the girls and also the beasts he has turned them into – combining them into one and the same. His immaculate pencil renderings create a convincing impression of these strange creatures, and it is easy to see them the way he does every time he encounters the demographic. Kama admits:
I am terrified of high school girls. If I encounter a group of them on a train there is a high possibility I will escape to another car. (Source)
This certain sub culture is often dissected, or referred to in popular Japanese culture. Called Joshi kōsei (女子高生) they feature in manga comics and videos as well as being fetishized in pornographic videos. Kama is also obsessed with the idea of this social group, but in his series Schoolgirl Animals, they are seen as something a bit more imaginative and humorous than the usual schoolgirl fantasy. The collection of his pencil drawings were on show at BAMI gallery in Kyoto until May 31, 2015, but you can still enjoy more of the images after the jump. (Via Spoon Tamago)
Just like you shouldn’t trust everything you read on the internet, you shouldn’t believe everything you see. L.A based special effects artist Ari Fararooy‘s latest photographic series is a perfect example of this. Using a tripod, mirrors, a self timer and ‘a few digital manipulations’ he has created a very surreal, and futuristic set of self portraits. He went to Joshua Tree National Park wanting to carry on his creative twists on the latest ‘selfies’ craze.
The goal was to experiment with reflections and explore the various ways I could creatively photograph myself. (Source)
He also had this aim in mind while attending the Burning Man festival in 2014. After he found himself in the strange environment that is the desert, surrounded by many creative people, he began clicking his shutter and coming up with some very inventive camera tricks, involving glow sticks, long exposures, strange perspectives and wide angles. You can see that series here.
His photographs are just as surreal as a Dali painting, but he uses modern technologies and a different set of skills. Be sure to see the extent of his talents to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary on his Facebook and Instagram pages. (Via Fubiz)
“Compassion,” Arabic calligraphy, Issé – France (2014).
In a stunning series of images that blend photography, calligraphy, and performance art, Nantes-based artist Julien Breton (aka Kaalam) uses light and dance to “paint” beautiful and fleeting characters into the air. Inspired by a combination of Latin and Arabic writing styles, each piece is captured on long-exposure film while the artist creates his inscriptions using colored lamps and careful, intention-filled movements. As a living, artistic response to the environment, the designs are matched in compositional harmony to the surrounding backdrop, be it an underpass in New York, an abandoned building in France, or a magnificent hall in India. Each performance lasts several minutes and is then transformed into a single frame, transcending the boundaries of time and our perception of light.
On his biography page, Breton is quoted as explaining his choice of medium, which is rooted in a synchrony of bodily and spiritual practice: “a white sheet is too limiting. To paint on a canvas, however large, means in any case a limit within which I do not feel myself free to express my whole being. Only light is really infinite. The only limit is the air” (Source). Exploring infinitude, Breton’s images demonstrate the seemingly contradictory nature of light; it is bright and endless, yet also fleeting and enveloped by darkness. Both presence and absence are at play in the photographs; the artist disappears while his physical, expressive “trace” (the writing) remains behind. In these pieces, subjectivity and self-expression become greater, geometric portraits of universal energies.
For three nights the sky above Woodward Avenue in Detroit was filled with bellows of smoke and light as the artist studio Minimaforms transformed the Detroit Institute of Art into a transient light environment. The ephemeral clouds acted as smoke signals, each cloud carrying a unique message and story. Memory Cloud Detroit was a platform that offered the people of Detroit an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about the city. This interactive space animated the DIA Woodward entrance with stories collected from the public. During the two weeks leading up to the event, messages consisting of memories, stories and personal aspirations for the city of Detroit were collected and archived on-line at Voice Of Detroit. Each individual expression became a part of a continuous story about the city, a narrative written by participants over the duration of the project transforming the steps of the DIA into a dynamic space for communication. Audience members were also able to contribute messages via text-message during the performance each night. These collected text messages will be added to the Voice of Detroit archive, becoming part of an evolving diary and a voice that will speak of Detroit’s past, Detroit’s present and Detroit’s future. An archive of collected stories and documentation of three day performance will go live at Voice Of Detroit in the coming weeks.