So you’ve endured months of deconstructing every sentence of each presidential candidate’s rhetoric. It’s only fitting that on the eve of Election Day we also visually deconstruct the president, both past and present. French artist Olivier Ratsi produced these presidential digital collages – glitch-like reconstructions of the presidential portrait. Each piece of the series Once Upon a Time the Presidents is made up of various facial features of past American presidents. For example while a portrait’s eyes may have been snatched from Harry Truman, his mouth may be Barack Obama’s and his hair Teddy Roosevelt’s (or is that that John F. Kennedy’s?) The clean shaven cheek, toothy smile, and neatly combed hair appear repeatedly and feel eerily ubiquitous. Ratsi forgoes overt political references in favor of a subtler idea. Each portrait doesn’t so much portray past presidents as it does the idea of the presidential image.
Nice outdoor work from mysterious artist 2501. Applying undulating zebra marks all over the place, his style flows nicely from piece to piece, whether he’s doing a huge scene involving horse-riding bandits or understated characters intriguingly placed within the landscape. It seems he’s moving more and more toward a black and white direction this year, and the resulting high levels of contrast produce a nice dynamic between the walls and their surrounding environments. Click past the jump to see more street work and head over to the artist’s site for works on canvas as well.
Lucy McLauchlan of Birmingham, UK has been painting on every imaginable surface for over ten years. She has created everything from large murals to graphics for baby clothes. She usually works in flat black and white, depicting birds, trees, and whatever strikes her fancy. Most recently, she’s put up a lot of public work in East London, celebrating the Olympic Games. McLauchlan’s subdued compositions don’t scream “look at me!” (a message proliferated by many “street” artists), but -instead- “look at this!”. Honest, pure beautification of our public urban space without any ego.
CCA grad Kara Joslyn is based in Oakland. Joslyn works mostly in black and white and mixed media to create stark, quietly emotional paintings. There’s a lot of hardened dignity in the artist’s work. The black and white depictions here of crumbling stone, ancient pottery, and dried parcels of wood can’t help but lend a resolute seriousness to each painting. This (and their stunning visual qualities) allows them to be taken in with purpose, as though something very special is captured and any time spent with the work is not wasted. By rendering material which was once strong and hard in a state of brokenness and neglect, Joslyn brings us to considerations of the inevitable effects of neglect and time, and the realization that hardly anything remains prominent forever.
Scot Sothern is an older photographer, who due to a gnarly motorcycle injury, now walks with a cane. His stunning black and white photographs taken years ago explore what many consider to be the world’s oldest profession, prostitution, while his recent color shots document the random scenes he encounters on a daily basis. And while many of us roll up our windows and try to avoid even subtle eye contact with street corner hookers, Sothern welcomed them into motel rooms to pose for his unnerving lens and even partake in debauchery reserved for a pervert’s imagination and Charles Bukowski’s pen. He was probably the only person to ever shoot his subjects with something other than a gun or semen and his photos, mostly taken in the late 1980s went largely unseen until his first exhibit in 2010 at DRKRM Gallery in downtown LA – just blocks away from where a fan could’ve gotten into some serious trouble if they were inspired by the work. Besides living a wild life and making sure to have a camera there to capture it all, Sothern is also a wonderful writer who is able to describe his experiences with literal crack-addicted whores like they were the most elegant things you’ve ever read about in your life. WARNING: This post contains images that are NSFW.
Born in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, Hengki Koentjoro studied film and photography at California’s Brooks Institute. Now once again residing in Indonesia, this fine art photographer’s careful captures reflect the essence of his homeland. His black-and-white images perfectly showcase the natural beauty of the landscape, from its cloud-rimmed cinder cones to its wave-roiled seas.
Light, shadow, and the human figure feature prominently in the recent works of photographer Dusdin Condren. Whether looking at an arm amputated by shadows or a woman posing Lee Miller-like in the striated light of a nearby window, there is a certain surreal, but serene viewing experience to be had with these photographs. The sometime use of black-and-white certainly increases this special effect.
Together, artists Anton Abo and Ooli Mos make up Orka Collective. The like-minded, Eastern block natives draw inspiration from nature, animals, people, and magic in the creation of their predominantly black-and-white illustrations.