Have you ever been staring at the screen on your phone so long that you feel like a zombie? Well, Steve Cutts illustrates this bizarre technology, zombie-like phenomena as a terrible reality. His vividly colored illustrations and animations cleverly and satirically portray contemporary society as a series of greedy monsters, zombies, and hollow-eyed humans with no trace of humanity. Each scene exposes the sad truth of what is wrong with the world today, with money hungry men and dismal humans being completely controlled by a piece of technology. He uses a graphic novel-like style, full of bold colors, with an intensity that will stay engrained in your mind for years to come. The London-based artist illustrates and animates depictions of familiar characters like Roger and Jessica Rabbit in a somewhat humorous, but undoubtedly dark way.
The abysmal world that is portrayed is one of shallow intentions and hopeless monotony. Steve Cutts’ work leaves us questioning our own society and our role in it. He points a stern finger back at the viewer in his vibrant, unforgettable work. Displaying the ‘rat race’ we all find ourselves in as one with actual rats, it shocks us into contemplation. These rats are not only stuffed into small places, but also caught and killed brutally in a trap. Steve Cutts’ work is insightful, intriguing, and incredibly well done, however, this is not a world that is appealing to the masses. Make sure to check out his full animations on his website. (via Bored Panda)
Chicago-based photographer Evan Baden has captures the world of adolescent sexting in his series cleverly titled Technically Intimate. The word “sexting” was officially added to the dictionary in 2012—that is how common this word and action is. Selfies and nudes being sent back and forth to people via smart phones has become commonplace. The fact of the matter is, these explicit photos never truly disappear. Evan Baden shines light on the privacy issues at hand concerning digitally sent photos, especially ones that are meant to be intimate or private. Interestingly enough, the title of this series, Technically Intimate, refers to a level of intimacy that is perhaps supposed to be felt between the people doing the sharing of sexual photos. Although the intention of these photos may have started out as intimate between two lovers, they remain forever in the public sphere. Therefore, no intimacy can be achieved.
Evan Baden starts each photograph with an image from real life, found online. He then hires a model to pose in a similar way, in a similarly adolescent environment. The final result is a re-imagined version of the original photos that has been shared online, accessible for anyone to see. In this uncomfortably close series, we are a fly on the wall, looking into a both private and public situation. For more amazing photography with an eye on pop-culture and its digitalization, Evan Baden is in an exhibition that will be on view September 19th until January 17th at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf Contemporary Culture Center titled Ego Update: The Future of the Digital Identity.
Baden delves deeper into his intriguing series explaining this incredibly relevant topic. (via FeatureShoot)
“The poses in my images emphasize the repetitiveness of the sexual images that pervade our society while the rooms that the scenes are staged in and the ages of the room’s occupant clash with those highly sexualized poses, causing an unease in the viewing of those pictured and reminding the viewer that with every leap we take in technology and convenience there is an equally deep crevasse into which we can fall.”
Bizarre and surreal animal manipulations are artist Sarah Deremer’s specialty. In her series titled Balloon Zoo, she transforms colorful balloon animals into the real life animals they represent. At first glance, you may think that the balloons have been painted to look hyper real. However, once you see the animal eye looking back at you, it is unmistakable that something is different about these balloon animals. Each creature is still in the shape of a balloon animal, but appears to have characteristics and features of its living counterpart. Their bright colors and fun shapes contrast against the visible textures of fur, shell, and skin. Both cute and a little odd, her quirky critters will have you staring, trying to decipher what is real and what is not.
After receiving her bachelor’s in photography, she took her work to the next level through digital manipulation. It is truly amazing how the details of the real animal bend and form around each part of the balloon version. Animal manipulation is a common theme in Deremer’s work, as she has other work titled Animal Food and Big Mouth Birds that will change your perception of what could be possible in the animal kingdom.
“Balloon Zoo is a photo-manipulation project showing the realistic rendition of children’s balloon animals. The balloons are all re-imagined with realistic elements, made by combining photos of balloons with photos of the animals they represent.”
That seemingly irrational paranoia of always being watched begins to rise when viewing photographs from Andrew Hammerand’s series, The New Town. The artist, currently based near Phoenix, Arizona, has created a power play in the dichotomy between watching and being watched. He offers us a glimpse into the lives of a small, Midwest town and its anonymous inhabitants by electronically accessing and controlling a webcam on a cellular tower, taking screen-shots of what was captured over the course of a year. This camera, overlooking the town, is appropriately located on a steeple of a church, giving new meaning to “omnipresent”. This camera is watching over the people, not unlike a higher power. The question is who is in charge, who has the power? Do the townspeople have power through the safety gained by being observed, or do we have the power because we are doing the looking? We live in a world of meta-data in which digital snapshots are constantly being taken, whether it is through the lens of literal cameras, or by information given from our Google searches.
One element that is especially significant in this remarkably unique series is the anonymity behind every aspect of it. The artist is unknown to the subjects being watched, the town’s location and peoples’ identity are also a mystery to us. Although we see small hints of each person’s life, what he or she is doing remains unclear. We have no indication if their intentions are malicious or moral. By nature, even the viewer is anonymous to the artist, especially when the artist’s work is being displayed through digital publications like this one. The grainy quality of the photos makes each composition all the more intriguing. We are wrapped up in the mystery, in the unknown story of these peoples’ lives. We see them playing in a park, pushing a stroller, and texting, but we do not know them at all. Even further, many of the subjects seem isolated in spite of being around others. Are we all detached through the lens of a camera, or does the convenience of the digital age connect our existence? Hammerand brilliantly gives rise to a slue of challenging questions and tests society’s progression into a super-digital age. Interconnecting technology, privacy issues, and digital culture, Hammerand’s work confronts contemporary politics in authority.
In a digital age, some say traditional methods are dead. However, there has been an upsurge in popularity of using old-school techniques to create new things. Fashion designer Greg Climer combines two such mediums, knitting and film, to do just that. He has transformed knitting into a way of displays film stills. By using technology to transfer frames of a film onto knit fabric, he creates a knit scarf that is used the same as a film reel that you can actually watch as a short film. What is so amazing about this project is that Climer is taking film, shifting its properties to knit fabric, and then converting it into film once more. He is ingeniously using modern technology to manipulate different, traditional mediums to create an entirely unique and contemporary finished piece.
How this process works is each frame is reduced in size so that the amount of pixels matches with the amount of stitches. Then, the colors included in the film are decreased to four, since looms can only use up to four yarn colors. Then, the scarf is ready to be knitted! This method is very time consuming, as his test strip took a year and a half to make. However, after watching just a fragment of the resulted film, the outcome is undoubtedly worth it. Greg Climer’s ambitions do not stop at his unbelievably intricate knitted short film project, but extend to creating quilts from scraps of fabric. These quilts range in a wide variety of interesting subjects; one series depicting loved ones of Climer, and another displaying stills of pornography. (via Fastco Design)
Artist Pierre Schmidt constructs surreal worlds filled with the inner horrors of the subconscious, both terrifying and beautiful. Using photo-manipulation, illustration, and collage, he combines both traditional and digital methods to create scenes of people with faces dripping right off their skulls. Many of his disturbing, melting face runs down the composition, only to reveal sudden bouquets of flowers. Using vintage photographs, he collages imagery of 1950’s housewife types lounging about, only to be caught up in a peculiar and fantastic scene. Schmidt’s work is highly psychological, as many of his pieces have titles based on the theories and writings of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. His flowing faces crack open the hidden psyche, pouring out its contents for us to examine. The face being a vessel of identity, Schmidt strips his characters of this so that we may look inwards into our own mind.
The Berlin based artist offers us a glimpse into a strange world of bizarre happenings, filled with faceless ladies, lush flora, and silhouettes that contain galaxies. Schmidt’s work is full of emotion and internal awareness, leaving us to sort out his stunning and complicated mash of imagery. We are left to decipher his sliced open heads, melting eyes, and rainbows oozing from faces. Like stream of consciousness, Schmidt melds together his illustrations with a unifying flow, effortlessly forming captivating and magnetic work. (via Hi-Fructose)
Like melting wax drips and forms new shapes, so does Januz Miralles’ digital manipulations mold his once recognizable subject. The artist digitally applies paint and illustration to change photographs of faces and bodies into otherworldly beings. The figures in his work are left partially untouched, some with only a mouth or an eye peaking through, while the rest is covered by stunning, organic strokes of paint traveling up and across the composition. Although the women in his work look conventionally beautiful, they look even more alluring with globs of thick, digitally applied paint covering most of their faces. Miralles’ highly textural technique alters each figure’s state of being, as if they are ascending to another world or perhaps disintegrating completely.
His captivating, multilayered work shapes form, personality, and identity with his amazing techniques, created mostly digitally on a laptop. His art is quietly beautiful, as you can get lost in the many swirls of color and texture that he integrates into his work, completely transforming the mood. As the artist digitally breaks down his figures, the structure and details seem to break down as well, as if chemicals have been poured over each face. There is a sense of torment and melancholy that surrounds his subjects, like something is being extracted from them, leaving their bodies through the seeping paint. The deep, psychological effect that Miralles’ work holds draws you in to further examine what it is you are looking at, leaving you in mystery.
Ari Weinkle has created an extremely unique and bizarre typography, titled Feelers, that moves and squirms with each carefully constructed letter. This is no ordinary alphabet; each letter is formed from different animal appendages. Weinkle designed his somewhat creepy typography to be explore and interpret the movements of animals and their body parts. It is hard to believe that these odd colored squiggles were once part of animals, especially since they look like amoebas, worms, or insect parts. The way the ends of the letters taper in at each end and sways back and forth closely resembles aquatic life such as seaweed moving in the water.
One aspect of this typography project that makes its concept so interesting, is trying to determine what appendage could have possibly made the type of movement that the individual letter is making. Even more intriguing, is that not every part of the letter moves. Some stand still while others whip back and forth, spread apart, or jump quickly away from the viewer. The movement is so organic, it is almost as if these alphabet creatures are pinned under a microscope and we are watching them squirm. Although the letters are hard to determine once they begin to wiggle, you cannot deny the unique creativity behind this mesmerizing typography. Make sure to check out Ari Weinkles Tumblr to see every single letter of his alphabet in its still form, and then again as 26 organically moving organisms.