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Joseph Loughborough Draws The Dark Side Of Human Nature

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British artist Joseph Loughborough creates dark and grotesque , yet delicate and beautiful charcoal drawings that challenge and trigger existential questions and anxieties.

Loughborough’s trademarks an expressive,  impulsive  and honest style that strikes as vague at first; however, a closer look reveals deep and thoughtful technical decisions that render his concepts fairly well; his choices are simultaneously charming and intimidating.

Through his eerie,whimsical subjects, whose faces are usually deconstructed, Loughborough renders the grim side of human nature: sin, desire, fear and anxiety over one’s own absurdity.

I can understand why my work is considered dark but I have never really looked at it in this way. I have always intended it to be revealing, honest and expressive. Some of the pieces act like a personal exorcism through which I try to express, rather than deny, the emotions I encounter. Through my drawing, I strive to grasp a comprehension of the human condition and question how we interpret our oft-untold fears and desires.

(via Feather of Me)

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7 Days Left Until B/D Business Card Giveaway Ends!


There are only 7 days left until the deadline for the Beautiful/Decay Business Card Giveaway! So don’t forget to send us your most creative business card ideas!

One piece of advice we impart to our interns at Beautiful/Decay is that a well-designed, professional business card is one of the most critical tools anyone seeking a job can have- especially in the creative field! So, Beautiful/Decay is presenting a competition to see who can design the best business card for themselves and/or their business. Please send us your most innovative, eye-catching card graphics! The most creative card will win 500 free cards printed courtesy of! (Note: We will be posting the winners on the blog–so if you don’t want your personal information broadcasted please also send a version of the file with dummy text.)

Deadline: July 28th, 2009 6:00pm PST

-Email submissions to: with the subject line: Business Card Contest
-Format is 2 x 3.5″
-Business card graphic includes front & back, full color
-Winner may select any paper type
-For all template & file specification requirements please visit UPrinting’s guidelines.

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Sandro Giordoano’s Twistedly-Funny Photographs Of People Falling Flat On Their Face

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With television game shows like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior (and every slapstick movie, too), it’s no surprise that some of us derive pleasure from seeing people get hit. Photographer Sandro Giordoano’s twisted (both literally and figuratively) series In Extremis (bodies with no regret) capitalizes on the fall of others The staged images feature people comically posed in awkward and unflattering positions.

Always face down, the poor subjects are often garishly dressed and surrounded by their belongings. This is Giordano’s commentary on our attachments to our possessions; in every photograph, you’ll see the person clutching something like a watering can, oversized tennis ball, and even a power tool. To him, the characters in his compositions are oppressed by their appearance and the need to have things – and save them, even at their own expense. Their fall signifies that they hit rock bottom, and that they need to reexamine their life. (Via Laughing Squid)

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Svetlana Karel Recreates Famous Paintings In Plasticine To Battle Depression

Svetlana Karelina - Plasticine Reproduction

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Svetlana Karel is a Ukranian artist who molds plasticine into old masterpieces. She works as an economist at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in Kiev, but finds her work uninspiring. Having gone through a divorce that sent her into intense depression, she used her creations to keep herself focused on something outside of her problems. Plasticine being an unconventional medium associated with child’s play, Karel hasn’t been received too enthusiastically in her local art community. She lies in the realm of outsider artist. At one point she tried to set up an exhibition, but was unable to get it off the ground. Although her artwork isn’t too popular, she is constantly creating.

Karel speaks about how she began creating her plasticine art:

“Once, about 9 years ago, while I was playing with my kids (I have 2 daughters) I found that plasticine really helped me to forget about my problems. I touched it, started to create something and, during this process, felt myself becoming calm. So then I started to make more and more figures from plasticine and place them in to a single picture. The result was unexpectedly successful, so I continued to create pictures on childish theme for my daughters.”

The style of her creations is beautiful and a bit naïve. The figures can seem extremely realistic, or a bit caricature-like. It creates a new perspective on artworks that you’ve already seen again and again. They becomes less epic, more approachable, and certainly unintimidating. Which of her works can you recognize? (Quote and artist via Lost at E Minor)

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Photographing the Yakuza Crime Family

As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Greta Rybus’ interview with Photographer Anton Kusters.

Anton Kusters is a Belgium-based photographer specializing in long-term projects. In 2011, he published his first photobook on the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime families, that he photographed for two years.

Tell us about your Yakuza project.
‘YAKUZA is a personal visual account of the life inside an inaccessible subculture: A traditional Japanese crime family that controls the streets of Kabukicho, in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. Through 10 months of negotiations with the Shinseikai, my brother Malik and I became one of the only Westerners ever to be granted this kind of access to the closed world of Japanese organized crime.

‘With a mix of photography, film, writing and graphic design, I try to share not only their complex relationship to Japanese society, but also the personal struggle of being forced to live in two different worlds at the same time; worlds that often have conflicting morals and values. It turns out not to be a simple black versus white relationship, but most definitely one with many, many, many shades of grey.’

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Sonia & Mark Whitesnow

The variety in technique, lighting, costume, and style in collaborative duo Sonia & Mark Whitesnow’s photographs is unreal. They effortlessly jump from surreal to sci-fi, to high fashion photography with ease, bringing a unique touch to each shoot.

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Wet Paint Grant Recipient: Derek Albeck

Derek Albeck has a magical way of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Using only pencils, a bit of paint, and masterfully honed traditional portrait techniques, Albeck creates pieces that are anything but traditional.

Frequently working from snapshots taken in his daily life, Albeck amplifies the expressions and motions of his subjects, revealing the completely comfortable, unguarded, and usually hilariously unflattering parts of ourselves that manifest most intensely in candid photos taken seconds too soon, or when chemically compromised. In fact, much of Albeck’s work is characterized by a sort of “magic brownie effect,” turning mundane, common symbols, people, and objects into mesmerizing sources of irresistible humor. His eye for details — like the logo on a beer can, the crinkle of a flag, or the cover of a book by Aleister Crowley – capture escapist fantasies, moments of carefree bliss and rebellion that appear at once precious but fleeting, intensely personal but universally familiar. In Albeck’s world, a pile of dirty laundry becomes an eerily expressive smiley face, a cheeky rainbow forms the frown of an aptly titled “Sad Murderer,” and a skull with hypnotic eyes, comprised of the floating heads of the happiest, goofiest people you’ve ever seen, leaves you giggling in a trance-like state for hours. This happiness proves contagious as you find yourself smiling back at the bearded, flannel-clad man collapsed in a joyful stupor beneath a rainbow in a drawing called “Have a Great Day Forever.” And with an attitude that makes us want to do just that, Albeck’s work provides a fresh viewpoint with which to view, and laugh at, everyday life.

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Goto Atsuko’s Ethereal Paintings Are A Zombie Fairytale Come To Life

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Imagine Lolita has joined the cast of The Walking Dead and found a meadow to hide in, and you will get Japanese artist Goto Atsuko’s incredible paintings. They are a mixture between something incredibly sweet and innocent, and something deadly poisonous that features only in nightmares. Her work features sullen, melancholic girls with large eyes and awkward features, and an overload of flowers, leaves, bees, butterflies, ribbons and bows. It’s like a cross between a Tim Burton animation, zombie profiling, and a child’s dark fairytale – all top of with a serving of strawberries and cream.

Compiled from cotton, glue, pigments, gum arabic and lapis lazuli, Atsuko uses both mundane and precious materials – again stressing the contrast between good and bad; naughty and nice. Atsuko’s paintings are a beautiful, haunting combination of childhood and adulthood, and how the two can exist together harmoniously. She shows us everything is not as simple as it seems, maybe that we all have a complicated persona – we are troubled one minute, and celebrating life with the animal kingdom the next. To see more profiles of her beautiful heavenly-devil-children-creatures, see her website here. (Via Booooooom)

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