New York-based artist Brian Dettmer’s sculptural, multi-layered books are so intricate that they require him to use surgeon tools in his process. He carefully carves illustrations and text out of old medical journals, dictionaries, maps books, encyclopedias, and more. Nothing inside of the books is implanted – pieces are only removed. The idea is that these subtractions will reveal new histories and memories now that the story and context has changed. Dettmer sees his work as a collaboration with the existing work’s past creators.
He writes about his creations, which are a comment on the changing landscape of technology. From Dettmer’s artist statement:
The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.
The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge. (Via Demilked)
Using an iPhone and Instagram, Kalen Hollomon has taken collaging to a new level. Although Hollomon sometimes works in a traditional way, cutting apart images and reassembling them into hybrids, his New York City collages are often made on the fly as he inserts a cutout image into a photo as he takes it. The resulting images are a sly wink to the viewer as pants are replaced with porno magazines nudes and subway riders are given unexpected seatmates. The fact that Hollomon leaves his fingers in the shots is another play on altered reality. How does he compose these impromptu collages in real time?
“I will find an image in a magazine or a book that speaks to me and I’ll cut it out and have it with me. And I’ll usually have between one and five in a folder in my pocket. And when I’m out in the city I wait until I come across a situation that works with one. And I’ll get super excited and pull it out. It’s just waiting for the two worlds to come together.” (Source)
In the most meta of these collages, Hollomon stands holding his phone in an empty bathroom, reflected in the mirror over the sink, holding a picture of a naked, smiling man apparently leaning over the countertop. In the reflection you can see Hollomon holding the cutout and in the photo, you can see Hollomon’s fingers. It plays with the idea of real and unreal, lifting the curtain while obscuring the illusion.
“You can create a powerful image that at first looks nice and maybe is a bit funny but if you look a bit deeper, it also might have something more to say than that. … I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface. I hope to create conversation that is rooted in questions related to learned social rules, identity, the subtext of everyday situations and perception.”
Double exposure portraits by Spanish-based artist Antonio Mora (a.k.a. Mylovt) blend human and nature worlds into surreal hybrid artworks. Mora works with images he’d found browsing through online databases, magazines and blogs, and then fuses them together using skillful photo manipulation techniques. His seamless way of mixing various concepts together leaves the viewer with mind-tricking illusions.
“I want people to feel inspired when observing my artworks, and that is what I long for. I often look at images hundreds of times without finding anything, and then the spark just arrives. It’s a bit like fishing, a matter of patience and intuition.”
Mora describes his artworks as cocktails, mixtures of ordinary elements merged into forceful and expressive daydreams. According to the artist, his inspiration is provided by the limitless Internet itself and he feels as a medium between the two parallel worlds: real-life and the Web.
Antonio Mora originally graduated from graphic design. Right after his studies, he started a personal design studio which turned him into an art director for 15 years. Gradually, artist decided to concentrate on his art solely. Mora is one of the artists whose instant fame relies on social media: “Social networks, especially Pinterest, have been an important vehicle to spread by artworks”.
His mind-bending photo manipulations are very accessible to the public, as Mora offers anyone the chance to have their own portrait turned into an astounding work of art. (via Writeca)
American artist Joseph Decamillis breaths second life to old discarded books by inserting miniature illuminated into their covers. Postage stamp-sized artworks are done on copper plates and placed in carved niches. Decamillis’ works turn two-dimensional book covers into exquisite spatial collages.
“As a painter of miniatures on copper, Joe found old books the perfect match to narrate and contain his exquisite illuminated images. <…> Carving niches into old books emphasized the storytelling nature of the work.”
Combining the inscribed meanings of a book with his whimsical paintings, Decamillis constructs new discourses between book cover’s inherent text, oil-painted imagery, carefully selected text additions and the viewer. To create his trademark miniatures, Decamillis uses brushes with no more than three hairs each. After finishing the piece, the book is sealed to never be opened again.
All books featured in the “Miniature Paintings In Altered Books” series are real, mostly found in libraries, bought at thrift store bargains or given by family and friends. In this project, Decamillis was able to unite his passion for books with self-taught skills of oil painting and collage. Artist claims to often research the books before altering to find potential monetary or historical value. (via Messy Nessy Chic)
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)
Though he is perhaps most famous for his internet sensation photoseries, Everyday, where he has taken a photo of himself daily since 2000 (and which was then turned into a stop-motion video which went viral), Noah Kalina‘s work actually possesses a very distinctly subtle, and personal feel. In the series Internet/Sex, taken between 2007 and 2009, Kalina pairs empty hotel rooms, illuminated only by computer screens, and composite photography which suggests naked couples having sex. The dynamic of the empty and occupied rooms, when paired together, connect a portrayal of the inherent loneliness and longing of the human condition.
Kalina, who is based in Brooklyn and Lumberland, New York, has not explicitly said what these photos are documenting, it can easily be implied that these intimate moments with open computer screens simulate the connections and separations that both sex and connection through the internet offer. Taking place in various hotel and motel rooms, the series seems to suggest a lonely traveller, using their computer to make a primal, human connection. Surprisingly, the open screens and the desire they represent offers a loneliness more lewd than photographing sex.
Australian artist Ben Frost creates image mashups that combine fast food, pills, and iconic figures of popular culture. He paints these celebrities on things like McDonald’s french fry sleeves and boxes for prescription drugs. We see Superman, Popeye, Mr. T, and even Snoopy the Dog all painted on objects that symbolize excess and gluttony.
Frost finds inspiration for his work from graffiti, collage, photo-realism, and sign writing. It’s not a surprise, as he tags things much like a graffiti artist would. His work is subversive and doesn’t hold back any punches. I’ve included stuff here that’s generally safe for work, but if you check out his website, you’ll see a lot of hyper-sexualized manga-inspired characters. But even with these relatively tame images, you can still sense the scathing critique of the mainstream. Greasy meals, too many pills, and processed foods are rotting our health in a similar fashion that television, media, and politics are rotting our brain.
As natural gas reserves lessen and human population increases, many artists have taken the task of portraying dystopian versions of our world, visually demonstrating the costs of urban sprawl. Viennese-based photographer Hubert Blanz has taken the expansion of the world’s highways to their terrifying logical conclusion, offering a digitally collaged set of images which imagines the road systems stacked upon each other in endless repetition.
Offering visions of a planet covered by concrete and blacktop, there is a swirling, organized chaos found in the photos, one which mirrors the many present day megalopolis of the world. Displaying roads which lead to nowhere, but are expansions built upon assumptions of the future we are heading towards, the Hindelang, Germany-born Blanz explains his quixotic photoseries; “Roadshow is a series of images formed and built up from the digital recordings of pre-existing freeways networks, roads, bridges, and intersections. The images are both documentations of actual built spaces and the imaginary re-creation of potential new cities.” (via foxgrl)