Visual artist Kalen Hollomon, recently titled the “cut out king of New York”, is blurring the lines between the social conformity and taboo with his mixed media artworks. His collages feature mundane city life moments, high fashion editorials and old advertisements blended with clippings from vintage pornography scenes.
“I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface – with relativity, perception, sexuality and pop culture. My images are reality manipulation, manipulating other people’s identities. The idea of and ability to alter the value or meaning of an image or object by adding or subtracting elements is really exciting to me – adding or taking away elements from something until it becomes the sexiest it can be at that moment.”
Holomon is christened to be the child of the iPhone generation. Snapped with a smartphone camera, his creative collages started gaining exposure thanks to the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter. However, the same attention has forced the artist to censor some of his works. Hollomon says he “had accounts shut down and posts removed for as little as butt cheeks”.
Beyond the absurdity and wit, Hollomon’s work also represents the new trend of privacy-lacking public photography. His instant iPhone images from New York’s streets and subways rarely deal with any permissions for public use. That unawareness is exactly what turns such works into powerful socio-documentary messages. (via Dazed)
“Entoptic Phenomena” is an ongoing photo series by Texas-based multi-media artist William Hundley. The project features people jumping under colorful pieces of fabric and creating mysterious floating sculptures. The final photographs are then edited to remove the subject and leave the viewer with nothing but the ephemeral cloud-like figure hanging in the air.
“My work started with the influence of Erwin Wurm and Maurizio Cattelan, these absurdists. I love the practical-joke nature of it; if I can make humor and beautiful aesthetics come together, that’s the biggest powerhouse I can imagine.”
The name of the project comes from the term entoptic phenomena, meaning “visual effects whose source is within the eye itself”. In simpler words, it’s those dots and wrinkles that sometimes appear in our sight due to bright light or pressure applied to closed eyes. Entoptic images have a physical basis and are not considered to be illusions. However, they share one common feature: the observer can’t share a specific view of such phenomena with the others.
By merging real and unreal – the scientific explanation of entoptic phenomena and his own visual representation of it – Hundley introduces disguised absurdity to his project and proves our knowledge of the world is only a matter of perspective.
Roland Topor (1938–1997) was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker, actor and whatnot mostly known for his macabre and surreal cartoons. His illustrated book “Les Masochistes” was first published in 1960 and features a number of absurdly humorous masochistic actions that people perform on themselves.
The grotesque situations depicted in “Les Masochistes” perfectly convey Topor’s artistic style and approach towards the world. He infuses the grim reality of Nazi dictatorship (Topor and his family were Polish refugees of Jewish origin) with humor which was probably the best coping mechanism at that time. As described by Bernard Vehmeyer, a quote from Topor’s novel “The Tenant” perfectly sums up his world view:
He was perfectly conscious of the absurdity of his behavior, but he was incapable of changing it. This absurdity was an essential part of him. It was probably the most basic element of his personality.
Most often, Topor’s illustrations were based on surreal scenarios with deeper allusions to sex, erotica, rotting mankind and such. According to closer friends, artist had repetitive periods of extreme depression where he would balance on the verge of death and it reflects in his work.
Spanish artist and illustrator Isabel Chiara creates impressive gif collages, some uncannily reminiscent of animations in the Monty Python vein. Chiara cites the great masters of painting as her influences, and that’s something you can easily identify in her gif collages. One of her gif collages, “George Clooney is Inside,” was recently awarded Best Gif Collage at The Giphoscope Award 2014. Blending popular culture, absurdity, and classical aesthetics, Chiara creates unique animations that captivate your attention by telling a story. Juxtaposing classic and vintage human figures with modern, surrealist elements undoubtedly yields humorous and enchanting results. Visit Behance to explore more of Chiara’s work. (via cross connect)
French illustrator Marion Fayolle‘s illustrations are light-heartedly simple and provocative. Maria Popova appropriately compares Fayolle’s aesthetic to Codex Seraphinianus, Gregory Blackstock’s illustrated lists, and the vignettes of Blexbolex, but I think there’s also some similar absurdism to be found in Joan Cornellà as well. Fayolle’s illustrations are visually comic poetry, each one representing a surreal and nuanced narrative. Bodies and body parts are often replaced, removed, or erotically recontextualized, something that could be jarring to viewers, but Fayolle’s whimsical aesthetic undermines any potential grotesqueness of this concept. Though her work is playful, the tension between humor, longing, lust, loss, and separation is palpable and creates a space for the viewer to revel in the narrative possibilities in each illustration. It’s the fragmentation of these narratives that connects them, allowing for a cohesion of and engagement with particular themes. Fayolle published a book of her comic illustrations, called “In Pieces,” last September. (via brain pickings)
Argentinian artist Gerardo Feldstein and his absurd sur/realist sculptures recontextualize the way we think about space and the body’s movement within that space. Some of his work features anthropomorphized figures, an exaggerated body part (arms, legs, heart), or he places his sculpted figures into a landscape or susceptible position. His figures encompass a narrative of power and humor, and the role that our perspective plays in relation to these concepts. Some of his mixed media sculptures emit a vulnerability that, though expressed through this absurd medium, feels relatable and almost empathetic.