DI$COUNT UNIVER$E is a Melbourne-based brand that combines art and eccentricity in the creation of a highly successful (and undeniably unique) fashion line. Enter their webpage and you cross the threshold from dull reality into a psychedelic circus full of fashionable madcaps donned in acid-bright garb. DI$COUNT founders, Nadia Napreychikov and Cami James, describe their aim at the crossroads of art and fashion:
“[DI$COUNT is] a culmination of ideas, imagery, the dialogue between us and the world, the desire for transformation and evolution; it’s about personality, spontaneity, humor and irony, cliché and imitation. It’s our art!” (Source)
“Culmination” and “spontaneity” are indeed the perfect words to describe DI$COUNT’s designs. The fabric is bestrewn with sequins, glitter, and studding, and the graphics include sparkling and bleeding eyeballs, open mouths, and disembodied, groping hands. Radiating with humor and seemingly random absurdity, the hyperbolic strangeness of these styles pokes fun at the highly conventional and artistically-vacant designs that dominate the popular fashion industry.
Both graduates of RMIT University, Napreychikov and James began the company “with little business experience, no capital and no intention of taking out a loan” (Source). Their solution? To turn to the internet and foster a cult following using platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and their blog. This way, they were able to connect with other people who view fashion as a potential form of alternative art and social satire. Visit their website and Facebook page and follow them as they explore the capacities of art, creativity, and social wit to explode the limitations of the fashion industry. FELLT also features an interesting interview with Napreychikov and James about their brand.
Credits: Photography from the Penthouse Mouse Midmouse Runway (March 2012) by Meagan Harding.
Jason Hopkins creates digital sculptures that ooze with body horror. The collection, called “Abhominal,” is replete with organic blobs, sharp angles suggesting knees and elbows, and pink skin stretched over geometric frames, looking for all the world like fleshy jungle gyms. The similarity to the word “abominable” is surely not a coincidence. The sculptures look like science experiments gone horribly wrong.
As grotesque as they may already appear, the backstory ratchets up the queasiness: “Abhominal, an archaic word meaning inhuman, is an exploratory weblog of the human form,” Hopkins’ website says. “The digital sculptures are a fusion of geometric, architectural and biological abstract forms – a bleak evolutionary future where biotechnology has been used to make perfect posthuman beings.”
That’s right. The sculptures aren’t as innocuous as skin grafts or tumorous cell growths; they’re the imagined next step in human evolution. Hopkins takes the idea of genetic engineering and plays with the concept, mulling over and pulling out the dystopian possibilities like long strands of taffy. His artist’s statement continues:
“Humans have altered the genomes of species for thousands of years through artificial selection. Over the past 40 years scientists have made amazing technological progress to improve natures crops and mammals through genetic modifications; recently science has mapped the entire human genome and begun to realise the potential for modifying us.”
To complete the eerie effect of his digital renderings, Hopkins describes each piece with a kind of sinister optimism. One piece called, “Supermodel, Size Zero,” is a thin stretch of skin with barely human features: two sagging breasts, small clawed feet, and the occasional tiny nub. The description enthuses, “With genetic tinkering we will no longer need to fuss over what we eat.” (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)
Mark Schoening‘s paintings appear to explode on each panel. Colors and patterns seem to erupt like uncontrollable viruses supplanting the composition. In a way Schoening’s work develops in a similar fashion. Each piece begins with an idea, information. The concept is elaborated on further and further layering glitter, resin, silkscreen, acrylic, latex, and spraypaint. His newest works are an investigation of the way floods of information are spread and consumed. Schoening says:
“I do not have the luxury of escape. In this century, in this moment, few of us do. Information piles up: the advertisements, the mechanisms, the media, the people. I am attached to it, in the midst of it, a part of it. However, as a painter, I am also a witness and a reactionary.”
Mark Schoening opens a new solo exhibit, Recordings of a Lone Infantryman, November 29, 2012 at Marine Conemporary in Venice, California.
This is a picture of a picture projected onto the scene that the picture was taken of. Duh. Needless to say, artist Christian Engelmann likes to mess with people. His art is often interactive and always maintains a sense of playfulness aimed at eliciting exaggerated double-takes. Engelmann tries to jolt people out of their every day state of being and remind us that the universe is full of surprises.
Portland artist OBLVN recently closed a show at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco. The show, entitled “Different Strokes, Different Folks”, was positioned in the project room, while Ryan Travis Christian’s solo exhibition, “The Second Banana” took the main gallery space. OBLVN brings the clean brushwork of vintage animation design with a clean eye for interesting character work honed through a background in graffiti. I was seriously impressed with the artist’s “100 Paintings” show last spring at Klughaus gallery in NYC. It seems like he’s pushed further since then, as this show features some larger works on wood and canvas.
Photographer David Waldorf seeks to capture the truth in people’s eyes, and his series Trailer Park documents the people that live in these types of places. The slice-of-life images are in Sonoma, California and are partially what you’d expect from a place like this: double-wide trailers, faux wood panelling, and fake astroturf are visible. There are some peculiar elements to them as well. We see a picture of a woman in a wedding dress with a fire blazing in the foreground. She’s holding a shirtless man’s hand, and the scene is bizarrely reminiscent of the iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.
If you aren’t familiar with a trailer park or have never been to one, Waldorf’s series offers a fascinating look into the goings-on. The plots where people live are technically mobile, but are decorated with performance. Some of the images detail the struggle of the working class – like the family of four that lives in these small spaces – while other photos are just plain odd, and seem like a throwback to the 1980’s except in present day. Time moves slower there. (Via Boingboing)
Wyatt Kahn’s wall sculptures are built from a series of stretcher panels and raw canvas beautifully pieced together to make one collaged structure. The crevices and peeking back wall help create compositional depth, captivating the eye, revealing clean and simple, yet geometrically intricate work, which is devoted to the complex juxtaposition of space more so than color.
Of Kahn’s art, Sam Cornish writes, “Broadly the type of illusion Kahn employs is one that comes after the reduction of minimalist painting. The flat, object quality of each part is in one sense simply accepted. There is no hint of the surface being broken, of a window open to an atmospheric or light filled space beyond (however shallow).”
We at Beautiful/Decay don’t usually post about our own work but we thought that our readers would enjoy this short documentary about Beautiful/Decay founder and artist Amir H. Fallah. Documentarian Edward Symes traces the origins of B/D from zine to magazine and also gives you a glimpse into Fallah’s studio and new series of works. You can also read a short interview with Fallah on Symes’ Frontrunner Magazine.