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)
Collage inherently involves nothing less than altering existence. By taking found imagery, Mario Zoots makes changes both hand-made and (occasionally) digital to alter the perception of the everyday, and continue their evolution towards new definitions. The Denver, Colorado-based Zoots is on the forefront of the modern collage movement, and was featured in Gestalten’s recent The Age of Collage: Contemporary Collage in Modern Art, the definitive investigation into how collage has become one the most vital forms of current visual expression. Separate from the concerns of any loosely-affiliated movement, Zoots describes his own practice from a more personal perspective, “I would like to think that my work is about tapping into the unconscious and setting up parameters to allow chance to work its magic.”
Typically focusing on the human figure, and often in portraiture genre, Zoots utilizes geometric pattern, layers, and physical manipulations like scratches, drips, and tears to obscure, thereby creating new faces to interpret. In an interview with Monster Children, Zoots describes his attention and focus on the face of his subject, “It’s really about the eyes for me. When I disrupt someone’s gaze, I find some mysterious, surreal quality. It makes you forget who you’re looking at. I try to create collages from dreams. When I dream I know who the people are, but I usually can’t see their faces. There’s a real energy behind that.”
Mario Zoots will take part in the upcoming travelling exhibition INTERNATIONAL WEIRD COLLAGE SHOW (IWCS) at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn, New York. The 8th Edition of the IWCS opens Saturday April 19, 2014, from 6 to 10pm, and runs through May 11th, 2014.
David Redon makes vintage popular culture look new by adding celebrities. The art director at Parisian agency Quai Des Orfèvres combines famous people like Kanye, Beyonce, and Pharrell with Mid-Century advertisements in a series he calls Ads Libitum. We see them endorsing soap, make up, toothpaste, and drive-in restaurants, all having been Photoshopped to fit in with the look and feel of the past.
Redon explains to Adweek why he crafts these remixes, stating, “I like the shift between vintage and modern pop culture, because these days the border between art and commercial is very small, and artists work their images like brands do.” It’s true. Kanye definitely cultivates a specific persona that is polarizing and it’s part of how he sells himself. Pharrell, on the hand, markets himself as a happy-go-lucky likable guy, which makes him more family-friendly with wider appeal.
Ads Libitum is primarily American marketing and culture through the eyes of a non-American. Redon makes some interesting choices on celebrity and advertising pairings. Nirvana, for instance, seems a little outdated, as does Michael Jackson, but to someone who’s an outsider, these people are an icon of music in the United States. (Via Adweek)
Brian Steinhoff amusingly attempts to turn porn rated-G in his series of collages titled Porn For the Whole Family. He trades human flesh for floral patterns, silhouetting the once-bodies with kitsch designs. Now, we see abstracted shapes on top of beds, in the tub, and against countertops. Steinhoff is more conspicuous about some images than others, and will choose to leave in various sex toys with the masked subjects.
This series raises some interesting observations about censorship. How effective is Steinhoff’s censoring? In some of these images, the mixture of patterns and shapes is confusing and hard to decipher. But other times, the artist’s floral designs do little to shield us from what’s really going on in these photos. He’s keeping us from actually seeing the acts, but we still know what’s taking place and have some idea of what that looks like.
This is reminiscent of bleeping out “bad words” from television shows. Sure, it keeps viewers from hearing these phrases (which they most likely know, anyways), but it doesn’t change the fact that people are cursing and that you can probably guess what they said.
We recently posted the work of Von Brandis, another artist whose project Obscene Interiors reinterprets sexual content. Instead of patterned bodies, silhouettes replace the figures with a vacant, white shape. Where Steinhoff’s handiwork blends in with the photographs, Von Brandis’ erotic activities are in stark contrast to the rest of the image. This makes them differ in application, but also in context. Steinhoff’s use of these kitschy patterns conveys a homey feeling, whereas the other Obscene Interiors removes this association. (Via Flavorwire)
Twitter user @TechnicallyRon has spent a fair amount of time creating clever and humorous graphics for his very active account. His recent experiments with taking the format from the Daily Mail (a tabloid-format UK gossip paper) and replacing the newspaper headlines with actual user comments might fall more into a category more darkly revealing than humorous.
While some of the comments veer towards inane internet message board chatter (example, “I don’t know which Kardashian this is.”), the results often head to darker opinions that are better left unsaid, hence their prevalence behind the safety of computer screens (such as the misogynistic comments about women over 50, below).
As this story is still developing, @TechnicallyRon has not made any opinions public about these works, or if the series will continue. (via thepoke).
Athens, Greece-based artist HOPE is well-known for his use of large-format collaged pieces, both in the streets and in the gallery. Taking the ruins of the classical sculptures of his homeland, HOPE returns these images to decaying buildings, using large stickers applied outdoors. Though he found his fame in the streets of Athens, the mixed-media artist has been transitioning towards exhibiting his works more indoors, both in decrepit public spaces and in white-walled galleries. Describing his style of using and remixing classical and recognizable sculpture, HOPE says, “My works are marked by mythology. They are sculptural images inspired from the past with a new aesthetic rule.”
HOPE continues, “What interests me about street art and public art, in general, is that it can exist as a forum/platform for dialogue. We live and think within the public space. When you place an artwork in the public domain, you’re interacting with the public. This makes you think about the public order. You’re given the opportunity to express your opinion politically and sociologically through a work, the longevity of which is determined according to the public opinion… But the main reason I got involved in street art was the feeling that I was creating an anti-monument, a new kind of creative model which escapes private places. Sometimes, when public art is effective, it can even change the world.” (via artnau and yatzer)
Seung Hoon Park’s photographic work is created using strips of 8mm or 16mm film that’s woven together to form larger images. For the series Textus, he depicts well-known and iconic landmarks from all over the world. After the “tapestry” is assembled, Park photographs it using an 8×10 camera to creates a more texturally seamless surface. The result creates cognitive dissonance; We expect it to look tactile, while it only appears flat.
The discolored edges of the film provide a vintage feel to the overall work, as they tinge it in yellows, blues, and generally desaturate all of Park’s landscapes. The smaller images that make up Textus fracture the larger photograph in a way that it appears as a victim of some sort of disaster. They’ve been pieced so that’s almost put back together, but there’s still part of it that’s off and will always remain a little off because of it. (Via Feature Shoot)