From re-blogging work by other artists to generating your own solo digital exhibition, the ability to collect and show art has never been so fast, affordable, and publicly personable, thanks to Tumblr. According to Brad Troemel, viewing art on this platform can help us “gain a greater art-informed appreciation for worthy cultural relics long deemed non-art.”
Take Tim Bierbaum and John Miller. Their online “Baguette-Me-Nots” Tumblr blog series consistently pairs a vast array of comedians with baguettes in contemporary settings. While some might simply call this series a lowbrow photo fad parallel to “planking” or “breading cats,” others might compare it to something like Dada meets “cyber” street art– brilliantly funny, evoking nonsensical play, and showcased in an egalitarian manner: on a digital wall outside of the gallery system. After all, the word Dada might have been born from Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco’s constant usage of “da, da” meaning “yes, yes” in Romanian– a word comedians and improvisers know and love fondly.
It would be too easy to suggest that Grace Mikell Ramsey‘s work only illustrates moments of science fiction or fantasy. This is not what draws us into her narratives. Instead, it’s her ability to capture subtle anticipation– insular moments of contemplation where reality gestures goodbye. Her characters stand on the precipice, holding their breath, surrendering to dreamy whims only young children or covens of three are capable of conjuring, unable to shake a certain heaviness of the pending trade and what is at stake.
To suggest that David Adey builds art from recycled materials would be an understatement. He develops intricate patterns from previous design work. Each celebrity limb or fashion savvy lip is delicately cut out, then pinned and pieced together on a foam board, without any digitalized color manipulation; he does, however, use a Google search to locate the parts for his palette and develop an arrangement.
His process, Adey admits, is terribly methodical, time consuming, and detail oriented, however, this is exactly the point. He states, “For me as an artist, it’s a matter of developing or choosing your own constraints. Finding them and embracing them as a tool to make the work.” Echoing a similar sentiment put forth by the father of design himself, Charles Eames, Adey continues: “Without constraints, you don’t have anything. That’s the whole design process — working within constraints.”
Jean Cocteau once said,”a poet doesn’t invent, he listens.”
The pieces built by self-proclaimed “melancholic post-situationist” artist Robert Montgomery, likewise, work as interesting dreamy receivers or lightning rods, absorbing bursts of humanity’s collective subconscious in relation to varying environments.
Translating frequencies and teetering between genres, Montgomery, in Interview Magazine asserts, “Obviously my own work comes from a conceptual art tradition, but I love the graffiti artists, and I feel spiritually closer to them than to most contemporary art; they make the city a free space of diverse voices and we shouldn’t get all cynical about them just because Banksy made some money.”
Louise O’Rourke’s photographs document not just the idea of rejected beds as a form of waste, but more so, the repetition of intimate objects made sadly public with age, which moves her work into a particularly lonesome study of humanity’s careless romance with things.
From Toy Story to the Velveteen Rabbit, children’s literature seems to capitalize on a similar theme that O’Rourke tugs at here: because our beloved objects don’t age gracefully– or even at all– they get thrown away and easily replaced. We don’t even need to see the newer model to know that it is there. It is always there: lingering. Waiting. The job of an object is to selfishly service us until we are done with it. These are the rules. In this sense, objects can never win. Caught in limbo, O’Rourke’s wayfarer beds transition onto the street, heart exposed, welcoming vagrants or rodents. A sad Dickens’ death. It is not a story of waste, but love. Wherever the new bed is, the old bed is not, and will never be again.
However, there is a sign of hope. O’Rourke also notes the value of reinventing old finds such as discarded photographs, of which she peels at the emulsion, saving the scraps, to create a new context and authorship of the image, one that is more ephemeral or abstract.
She states, “By removing the emulsion, I further remove the photograph from the event and even claim the moments that stand out to me. By physically altering the found image with no negative to reprint from, I create my own narrative from those previously captured stories.”
Perhaps, through art, there is life after love for objects.
Angela Dalinger’s illustrations are difficult not to fall in love with. They are funny, whimsical, strangely stiff, and make us nostalgic for our own lofty teenage renditions of music, art, and adulthood.
The playful bio on her website only adds to the cryptic childlike mystique-
“I’m 29. I live in a very small town very close to Hamburg since I escaped from there. I am busy working on my career in illustration, means I’m mostly busy painting and drawing and being nuts. I’m born as Sandra Angela Wichmann and use my artist name since 2 years, simply because I really hate my real surname.”
When Isaac Tobin is not working as a senior designer for University of Chicago Press or playing with type design, then he is whipping up some pretty phenomenal collages with minimal resources. Each piece remind us that cutting back and holding the line is just as important as drawing it. His seemingly simple use of familiar and found paper products matched with sporadic vintage text and condensed doodling presents an accessible everyday charm that inspires affordable creativity.
Gary Ward uses charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and an overall sharp wit to examine humanity’s mess of emotion over the confusion of body and identity.
His Archeology Series, collected here, is a playful response to the quandary of life after death: how, despite fame, class, or notoriety at the end of it all, we are basically just a slew of skulls with slight form variations.
Regarding process, Ward, a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles, says he is “interested in how the mind and hand talk to each other in one uninterrupted sitting.” He likes to see the authorship of a flawed line and honors how each mistake can spontaneously charge the work in a new direction.