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Michael Johansson

Michael Johnsson

Swedish artist Michael Johansson is probably the undisputed master of 3D Tetris. Look at how all the parts of that machine fit into each other! I love his play on the idea of materials and their assembly in the creation of average household and office-hold (?) goods- returning them to nature, bringing them out of nature…popping them out of and retuning them to their molds.

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Kip Omolade’s Hyper-realistic Paintings Of African Masks Highlights Our Own Immortality

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Multi-media artist Kip Omolade paints captivating portraits based on realistic African sculptures. His new series Diovadiova Chrome is a collection of hyper realistic, super saturated, luminous faces that are a result of a labor intensive process. Omolade first makes a mold of each model’s face out of plaster, casts it in resin, adds a layer of chrome and extravagant artificial eyelashes. This final version of the sculpture is then used as a model for the oil painting. Omolade says his paintings are:

historically connect[ed] to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury.

He goes on to say that his re-imagining of the masks are a conduit between the spiritual and natural world. He has exhibited the actual representations of the masks as well, as a kind of homage to the history of African culture being on display. His expertise in the African Art genre (gained from working at The Center for African Art in NYC) has fueled his passion for promoting awareness of the indigenous culture. To see more of his impressive images, see after the jump.

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Januz Miralles Digitally Manipulates And Transforms The Human Figure Into A New State Of Being

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Like melting wax drips and forms new shapes, so does Januz Miralles’ digital manipulations mold his once recognizable subject. The artist digitally applies paint and illustration to change photographs of faces and bodies into otherworldly beings. The figures in his work are left partially untouched, some with only a mouth or an eye peaking through, while the rest is covered by stunning, organic strokes of paint traveling up and across the composition. Although the women in his work look conventionally beautiful, they look even more alluring with globs of thick, digitally applied paint covering most of their faces. Miralles’ highly textural technique alters each figure’s state of being, as if they are ascending to another world or perhaps disintegrating completely.

His captivating, multilayered work shapes form, personality, and identity with his amazing techniques, created mostly digitally on a laptop. His art is quietly beautiful, as you can get lost in the many swirls of color and texture that he integrates into his work, completely transforming the mood. As the artist digitally breaks down his figures, the structure and details seem to break down as well, as if chemicals have been poured over each face. There is a sense of torment and melancholy that surrounds his subjects, like something is being extracted from them, leaving their bodies through the seeping paint. The deep, psychological effect that Miralles’ work holds draws you in to further examine what it is you are looking at, leaving you in mystery.

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Die Walküre

The controversial rendition of Richard Wagners Die Walküre is still at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a couple more days. You may recognize scores from Die Walküre, or The Valkyrie from Apocalypse Now, or pretty much any scene from a movie where bombs are getting dropped. The interesting aspect of this otherwise ultra-dated opera is that, aside from the music and singing, everything about this performance is modern. Modern like all the props are made out of neon tubes. And most importantly, Placido Domingo, one of the two remaining Three Tenors, is the leading role. 

 

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Beautiful/Decay Book Series- Please Read

Dear Cult Of Decay,

For those of you who just joined the cult and those of you who haven’t seen us in a while, we wanted to give you a refresher and keep you in the loop on all the changes we made since 2009.

As you know Beautiful/Decay started as a magazine featuring art & design. We had a traditional advertising model like most other mags on the stands. After publishing a successful 26 issues (issues A-Z) we decided to shake things up in order to bring you a superior product.

Starting in 2009 we re-launched Beautiful/Decay to have all the benefits of traditional magazine subscribership, while taking the form of an expanded, limited edition, more voluminous publication.

In keeping with the spirit of our independent DIY philosophy, we decided to break the mold of traditional magazines and change the way we do business. In this economy, most publications are either going out of business or watering down their content to appease advertisers. Rather than conform to the publishing industry’s new rules, we’ve decided to create our own business model that allows us to flourish and increase the quality of our content.

One thing we’ve always disliked about the mainstream print industry is that it can be wasteful. Newsstands throw away all unsold magazines, averaging a 40-60% waste rate. In keeping with our commitment to staying green, Beautiful/Decay will instead send issues straight into the hands of subscribers, rather than dumpsters.

Here’s what the new B/D looks like:

• No traditional advertising

• 50% increase in page count, meaning 164 pages of pure, unfiltered content

• Features now have double the page space, with more full-color images & articles

• Articles now run 16-20 pages, providing some of the most in-depth coverage of emerging artists available today

• Released in limited edition format of only 1,500-2000 copies, each one hand numbered.

• Each issue comes with a limited edition collaborative artist project ranging from inserts, stickers, posters, to original artwork.

• Presented in new format & size, including French flaps and multiple printing processes within

• Released 3 times a year (once every 4 months)

We’re looking forward to 2011, where we’ll keep doing things our way, innovating indie publishing and bringing members of the cult the best of art and design.

Long live The Cult Of Decay!

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The Perfect Alarm Clock Wakes You With the Sounds And Smells of Brewing Coffee

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Joshua Renouf, a designer based in London, has sleekly blended the morning routines of waking up and making coffee by building an alarm clock that doubles as a barista. The Barisieur uses induction heating produced by stainless steel ball bearings to heat the water before transferring it over to a stainless steel funnel for filtering. There’s even a spot big enough to store just the right amount of milk on the machine. The stainless steel tools paired with nicely finished wood lends the design of the Barisieur an elegance and simplicity. Renouf is currently in the process of developing the Barisieur, which will be available for a retail price of £150-£250 (around $250-$420). Included in the product’s description: “It encourages a ritual before going to sleep, signaling to the body and mind that is time to unwind and relax. Living slow when times are fast.” (via visual news)

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Japanese Artist Daisuke Ichiba’s Intricate Drawings Interweave The Disturbing And The Grotesque

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Life is an inextricable combination of beauty and awfulness, good and evil, and Japanese artist Daisuke Ichiba captures these dichotomies in his highly detailed, densely populated drawings. Drawing is just one of the media that Ichiba has mastered — he is also a painter, filmmaker, and photographer. No matter the form, though, his content grapples with the reality of life and its grotesqueries.

“Choosing to create work that is only beautiful feels artificial. Thus I paint both. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. In my work I project chaos, anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd, and the irrational. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).”

At first glance it’s possible to miss the disturbing elements of Ichiba’s work. The Indian ink compositions are dense and unusual for Japanese art, which tends toward clean lines and minimalism, although they do include Japanese iconography such as the schoolgirl and cherry blossoms. Influenced by his early admiration of comic book art and manga as well as the loss of his mother at age 8, his works fuse vile, often many-eyed, monsters into domestic scenes. Figures are missing features—an eye here, a mouth there—and the occasional introduction of color feels threatening, reminiscent of spreading blood.

He meditates on sexuality and death and the intangible cord that ties them together. Ichiba’s haunting tableaus are a type of contemporary shunga (Edo-period erotic scrolls), in which beauty navigates chaos with one eye closed. (Source)

The impassivity of the deformed figures is striking in the work. Both human and monster accept their fates. The faceless children and severed heads represent the darkness in all of us, ubiquitous and unquestioned.

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Tomorrow (Dec. 5th) in Miami: Scion Installation!

602_1228431001This October, Scion launched the fifth installment of its Installation Art Tour. The program is designed to give exposure to both established and emerging artists. Installation 5: Self Portraits highlights a diverse array of artists from around the world.

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