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Frode Bolhuis’ Quite Figures

Frode Bolhuis’ sculptures are elegant, beautiful, and quietly poetic.

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Phil Hansen Overcomes Career-Ending Injury To Make Amazing Work


Daudi, graphite on cups.  Work made for under $1

Daudi, graphite on cups. Work made for under $1

During his time in art school Phil Hansen developed a shake in his hand.  Interested in pointillism, a technique that involves many many small dots to make up an image, Hansen’s intense attention to detail exacerbated the only made the shake worse.  The problem led him to abandon art for some time.  But missing his calling, Hansen decided to seek an expert’s advice.  A neurologist told him he had permanent nerve damage and would never fully recover.  Deciding to “embrace the shake,” Hansen returned to art using a different approach.  Hansen realized that, “we have to first be limited, to become limitless.”  A creative through and through, Hansen developed projects whereby he would give himself a “limit,” and then figure out how to overcome it.  Deciding to make a work within certain parameters, Hansen came up with ideas such as creating a work of art for under $1, or a work made up of “karate chops,” or work made out of impermanent materials.  Challenging himself and the limits (non-limits) of his creativity, Hansen enjoys the process and channels his ideas into these various projects.

Inspiring by deciding to be inspired by his restrictions, Hansen landed a TED talk (see above).  His current project is a unique collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation.  Hansen is creating art out of individual stories of philanthropy.  You can still submit a story, or read others here.

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Bars and Tones

Bars & Tones from André Chocron on Vimeo.Bars & Tones from André F. Chocron on Vimeo.
Kandinsky would have cried an abstract expressionist tear for this visual invocation of music.

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Studio Visit: Eddie Martinez

Eddie Martinez invited Beautiful/Decay over to his sunny Brooklyn studio to check out his new body of work.  The next day the show was headed to Berlin, so it was excellent to get to talk to Eddie before the work shipped.  I was able to take pics for over an hour while Martinez came in and out of the studio space.  Martinez had shelves built to hold the work at nice heights, making it easier to get up close and examine the paintings.  The reason I like Martinez’s work is that it doesn’t try to mimic reality, but instead the work represents reality.  It works sort of the way a great story functions: there is a language which uncovers something hidden or reveals something new about the world.  As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures which live with a sense of time.  Because we are bound to our own time, each generation needs people who show us back to ourselves, which in turn allows us to conceptualize ourselves and the world.  I think this is what Martinez is doing, and without a doubt his work does that for me.  The show, Seeker, opens November 11th at Peres Projects Mitte, Berlin.

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SKWAK Illustrates A Colorful, Maniacal World For Beautiful/Decay’s Issue J

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SKWAK is a French illustrator who draws elaborate crowds of what he calls “maniacs”: colorful characters who skitter and dance together with a look of celebratory absurdity. SKWAK is no stranger to Beautiful/Decay; over the past few years he’s collaborated with us on various projects, using his signature style to design kooky merchandise for our shop.

SKWAK is our cover artist for Beautiful/Decay Issue J, a magazine that focuses on groundbreaking artists with offbeat styles that oppose the elitism often associated with mainstream art. Also featured in the issue is Michael Scoggins, who draws nostalgic and self-exploratory images on crumpled pieces of notepaper, as well as Misaki Kawai, who creates expressive craft art with a raw, intentionally “amateur” aesthetic. As one of our most popular magazines, Issue J is sure to delight you with its curated collection of artists that strive to do things their own way.

We interviewed SKWAK in 2011, giving us fascinating insight into his art. Featured here today are some of the pieces he’s produced in more recent years. Among the works are the eye-catching, jittering throngs of his maniacs; wide-eyed and grinning, they mesh together amongst vibrant patterns and cartoon images of eyeballs and snakes—as well as more subtly sinister depictions of skulls and dismemberment. Among these mad assemblages are a couple of individual character drawings, wherein he focuses on illustrating the bodies of his maniacs with the same colorful, psychedelic fever. In the past few months, SKWAK has also embellished classical busts with his undulating line work.

Immerse yourself in the eccentric world of SKWAK and similar artists by picking up a copy of Beautiful/Decay’s Issue J, available here.

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Mankind Mag


The lovely and talented Erin from Design For Mankind has done it again with a brand new Mankind mag- the “Pretty Issue,” an interesting thematic idea for a zine! I love that the model on the cover also has super short, androgynous pixie cut- not your typical depiction of “pretty” and yet she is gorgeous! More of our favorite spreads below- go HERE to download the latest issue!


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Leah Beach Is Waiting

Leah Beach’s Waiting series documents patients living with Alzheimer’s disease at an assistant living  home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The project was inspired by Leah’s many visits with her great grandmother who has Alzheimer’s.

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Yinka Shonibare’s Ballerina Goddesses In African Print Tutus

Yinka Shonibare - Sculptures 7Yinka Shonibarembe - Sculptures 12 Yinka Shonibarembe - Sculptures 11

Playing with human size dolls and dressing them up with colorful garments and crazy accessories to contemplate today’s identity is the medium Yinka Shonibare has chosen to express his vision. The mix of Victorian style dresses, tutus and adire; a textile made by Nigerian women creates an intriguing and marvellous symphony, pleasant to the eyes but disturbing for consciousness. ‘You will undergo environmental doom” the graceful and sarcastic Greek gods disguised as ballerinas seem to be announcing. ‘What is my identity?’ seem to be screaming the headless characters.
The dolls represent the rebellion that humans deserve for soiling the planet. It is a charming, fantastical staging operated by Yinka Shonibare to condemn agressive and violent acts with a clear message: he hopes to provoke the “psychic unity of mankind’.

Caught in an unceasing dichotomy: colony and metropolis, white and black, poor and rich, progress and destruction of the earth, traditional and contemporary society are subjects approached by the artist via atypical sculptures.
The subject touches directly Yinka Shonibare who considers himself as a “post-colonial” hybrid. He was born in Nigeria and raised in England, that explains his concern towards colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. He flirts with intense subjects such as money, empire, conflict and environement. He questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions and he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today while condemning the excess of destruction due to the humans excess violence against the Earth.

Yinka Shonibare will be showing his work at the following locations:
Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York until August 2015
Daegu Art Museum in South Korea until October 2015
Contemporary African art Museo Afro in Brazil until September 2015

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