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Zach Johnsen

Coffee Break

Zach Johnsen‘s use of graphite and watercolor in his work such as Coffee Break, and many other pieces, is what really attracts me to his work.  I like how he doesn’t use the watercolors in the most traditional style. The watercolor and graphite work well together and individually, and his subjects plus style just make me want to study all the details of his different pieces. Zach Johnsen also has a really interesting style and way of working because he uses coffee as a medium in a lot of his pieces which give them a really unique look and makes him stand out as a artist.

 

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Life Of Cats: An Exhibition Exploring Japan’s Historical Obsession With Cats

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In the age of the internet, we are used to seeing cats, cat videos, and cat-related memes permeating our social media. But delve into the archives of art history and you’ll see that people have always been a little obsessed with cats (it was no secret in ancient Egypt). In a show held at Manhattan’s Japan Society last spring, over 120 artworks—consisting largely of ukiyo-e prints from the Edo period—were exhibited that explored Japan’s own infatuation with their feline companions. Most of the pieces were on loan from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation and the rest were gathered from collections around the US.

The show was divided into five sections: “Cats and People,” “Cats as People,” “Cats versus People,” “Cats Transformed,” and “Cats and Play.” The animals were represented in a variety of ways—sometimes in the cute, domesticated contexts we recognize from the internet, and sometimes in courtly (and even eroticized) scenarios. Many are anthropomorphized to partake in human activities, from argumentative social gatherings to traditional dances. In other prints, they take on a more sinister appearance, conjured as muses for cryptic samurai duals. Coupled with nude or reclining women, cats take on a sensual symbolism.

The exhibition ended last June, but you can learn more about it on the Japan Society website, and there is a video tour available here. (Via Hyperallergic)

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Best Of 2012: Alicia Martin’s Book Waterfalls

Spanish artist Alica Martin’s dynamic installations of books flowing out of buildings is the perfect example of how a pile of mundane objects can be transformed into a powerful installation. Creating a wire and aluminum structure with thousands of books attached to the outside frame, Martin’s creates a waterfall of literature that spill into the streets as if a crazed librarian turned on the mother of all book faucets. Pages and book jackets flap in the wind mimicking the spontaneous and erupting movement of water materialized in solid form. (via mymodernmet)

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Evol’s Electric Box Interventions

I first saw these a few months back and slept on posting them. But after bumping into them again I had to share them with my fellow cult members.  Street artist Evol has redecorated those ugly electric boxes and other utilitarian outdoor structures into mini skyscrapers and apartment complexes. My favorite piece is the planter that is turned into a section 8 housing unit complete with tiny graffiti. See that and more after the jump!

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Interactive Sculpture That Makes Charcoal Drawings

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Artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski in a way treats her sculpture like a living creature.  The piece titled (or maybe named) ADA is a large ball inflated with helium and covered in charcoal pegs.  Visitors are encouraged to interact, even play with the ball thus leaving marks on the walls, floor, and ceiling of the room.  The artist considers the piece not only a sculpture, but really a self-creating artwork.  ADA’s shape even resembles a cell or virus emphasizing the idea of the sculpture creating on its own (with some help from visitors, of course).

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Karl Persson’s Grotesque Paintings Explore The Darkest Corners Of The Human Mind

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The work of painter Karl Persson is not for the faint of heart; his horrific scenes, rendered with hyperrealistic precision, examine the darkest and more cannibalistic impulses of the human mind. Envisioned in an aesthetic evocative of the work of horror artist Chet Zar or tattoo artist Paul Booth, Persson’s unique hellscape is wrought with sexual tension, desire, and yearning.

Through Persson’s frightful lens, the human creature becomes base and animalistic; overtaken by the sheer fact of appetite, a mouth erupts from the gut of a dead chicken, its head cruelly severed and skin raised, revealing grotesque goosebumps in lieu of downy feathers. Again, a set of carnivorous teeth slice open the entire face of a baby, who kicks and thrashes about with eating utensils in hand; with his umbilical cord only just severed, the monstrous being is never satiated and still demands more. Persson’s self portrait imagines the artistic impulse as equally cruel, presenting the artist as cannibalizing his own form in service of a ravenous creative hunger.

Within this grotesque sexual and gluttonous thirst, there are moments of beauty to be unearthed. The Kiss imagines a pair of slimy insects making bestial love with their pointy, bloody legs, stabbing one another in the process; though repulsive, their slick, glinting feelers are also magnetic and alluring, their lusty movements brought to life and crystalized forever in dreamy pinks and purples.

The work is also not entirely without innocence; in this cruel vampiric world, a fetal rat lies dead and gutted. In a stunning reversal, those that we label as “vermin” become soft, delicate babes, whereas the human is revealed to be savage and cruel. Within this piteous creature, ripped fatally from the womb, we might rediscover the all-too-rare feelings of compassion and heartbreak. Have we, as humans, descended too far into our own brutal greed, or might we return to a state of virtue and empathy? Take a look. (via TrendHunter and Mongolian Art)

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Diego Arroyo’s Photographic Journey Into Kenya

Photographs so striking, they’re guaranteed to give you pause. That’s what Amsterdam-based art director and photographer Diego Arroyo achieves with a look, camera in-hand. Challenging himself to capture the subtle and the intimate in his images, Arroyo travels the globe – from Kenya to Cambodia – searching out the unique stories of strangers and seeking to catch the essence of a people, a place, a nation. Through his pause-giving photographs, it’s possible to visualize his personal efforts to highlight what is most real, as well as the passion that drives the process. Among his more recent works is a photographic series documenting his time among the Samburu, a semi-nomadic pastoralist people, as well as his visit to Lamu, an island along the northern coast of Kenya. Long after their time, the hauntingly intense stares, gentle smiles, and curiosity-furrowed brows of Kenya’s Samburu and the people of Lamu live on in these beautiful images. See more after the jump, and be sure to check out the photographer’s recent series taken in Cambodia by heading over to his Behance page.

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Adam Batchelor

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Adam Batchelor is an illustrator from Norwich, UK. His work heavily uses white space to draw attention to his detailed illustrations. His illustrations look as if you dropped something on the floor…and waited way more than the 5 second rule to pick it up. A little gross, but beautifully done! Batchelors’ series Nepali Waste (which the piece above is a part of)  uses a variety of mixed media like colored pencil, dirt, blood, and even mosquito! Very interesting.

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