The work of art collective Ghost of a Dream uses lottery tickets and romance novel covers to mezmerizing effect. Often employing thousands of dollars worth of scratch-off tickets ($70,000 worth of tickets in the last installation alone), the work conjures a culture of hyper-materialism. The gaudy coloring of the tickets and cheap imagery of romance novels reflect the nature of the object they cover. Like the dream of striking it rich, the art of the collective is hypnotic and absorbing.
If you want to see more work from Ghost of a Dream be sure to check out their exclusive feature interview in Beautiful/Decay Book 9. The collective explores Greed in this Seven Deadly Sins themed edition.
Enrico Nagel‘s Secret Garden is a series of collage portraits. High fashion models are contrasted against a plain paperboard background. Each model’s face is replaced with a garish arrangement of flowers, jewels, and other ephemera. Nagel juxtaposes what he terms as the “artificial imagery” of the fashion world with the natural imagery of flowers. Each bloom seems like a nearly violent coup of the subject’s identity, the clothing being the only remnant of the former glossy fashion mag photo.
San Francisco-based artist David Berezin creates still lifes by manipulating low-res stock photos, often found on Google Images, and Photoshopping the disparate parts into coherent collages that mimic commercial photography. Berezin’s use of “new media” methods of making produces an ironic contrast between contemporary, post-internet life and all that cultural baggage left by the Twentieth century’s top-down, capitalist media. These digital assemblages make the ha-has by reconstructing the out-moded logic of genre narratives through the use of culturally-loaded objects that rely on vocabularies of cliché developed in pop forms like B-movies and boilerplate novels.
Feast your eyes on the highly amusing creations of Massachusetts-based photographer Nadine Boughton. When the artist came across a collection of vintage men’s adventure magazines (…think “Weasels Ripped My Flesh!” and “Chewed To Bits By Giant Turtles!”) at a flea market, she was inspired to combine their over-the-top renderings of burly men saving damsels-in-distress with the clean interiors spotted in contemporary Better Homes and Gardens.
About the series, the artist says: “Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.” (Via Flavorwire)
Chad Kouri always dreamed of being a designer, and he took the first major step towards making that dream a reality with a freelance gig at the age of sixteen. Ten years later, he has become what some refer to as a cultural engineer. A founding member of the Chicago-based art and design incubator, The Post Family, previous Art Director of Proximity Magazine and recognition as one of Chicago’s Newcity Breakout Artists of 2010 are only a few of his numerous accomplishments. Kouri has been involved with more than thirty different projects over the last two years, and shows no signs of slowing down. For many, there is still a huge chasm between the worlds of design and fine arts, but this distinction is of no interest to Chad Kouri. Un-phased, he continues to breakdown the walls attempting to separate the two industries. A recent collaboration with artists Stephen Eichhorn and Cody Hudson at the Patty and Rusty Rueff Gallery marks his first foray into exhibiting at an institutional level, but with an upcoming solo show at the Rochester Museum of Fine Art slated for the winter of 2012 it will obviously not be his last. Kouri describes his practice as having, “equal interests in conceptual art, consumer culture, typography, design, jazz and the gray areas between these fields, my body of work is more a collection of various ongoing projects, thoughts and experiments tied together by a strong sense of composition, concise documentation and an overall vibe of optimism than a seamless display of a style or genre.” I am excited to watch this process evolve, and I wish him good luck for the future – but somehow I don’t think he’ll need it.
Welcome to this weeks offering of Click To Collect, Beautiful/Decay’s campaign to help art lovers start their collection of original artists works at affordable prices. Our featured artist this week is the talented Bay Area artist Ryan De La Hoz whose cut paper collages mix razor sharp scissor skills with tightly drawn graphics and patterns. This is our first collaboration with Ryan and with original works (some even framed!) starting at only $100 you can’t go wrong! Find out more about Ryan’s work, his exhibition history, and about Click To Collect after the jump!
Philadelphia-based Armando Veve‘s impressive body of work shows his ability, and eagerness, to explore several different drawing methods, from the naive to the refined. In doing so, he leaves no doubt to the viewer that he makes a choice, and executes that choice with clear intent. He doesn’t seem to have many limitations. He also dabbles in ceramics, curation, and digital abstractions. At this pace, his work will only get better and better, and endless gifts will be bestowed upon us just for looking.
Martin Hugo’s sketchbooks détourné the commercial imagery he encountered while designing corporate fashion in the “Empire State.” These books read as Hugo’s coping mechanism for trafficking in cultures he actively disdains. Using styles from esoteric hardcore music and quotidian visual culture, Hugo degrades and problematizes “high-brow” mainstays like the fashion industry, the contemporary art world, and our global plutocracy. But these minimal collages would be a bore if they were just well-designed, on-the-nose crits of capitalism’s look and effect; whether it’s through his deft rebranding of The Whitney (it rhymes), or by imploring us to “Support Our Predator Drones,” it’s Hugo’s gallows humor that makes them shine. He is able to look into the abyss of American culture and find the ha-has we need to get through the (last) day(s).