Lori Nix’s Photographs Of Danger And Disaster Are Actually Miniature Worlds Painstakingly Made By Hand

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In her ongoing series “The City,” photographer Lori Nix creates incredibly detailed scenes by hand in miniature, then photographs them. The result is an amazing collection forecasting scenes of danger and disaster. The pictures share some commonalities with Matthew Christopher’s “Abandoned America,” recently covered on b/d, but instead of finding places that have been left behind, Nix constructs them.

“In my newest body of work ‘The City’ I have imagined a city of our future, where something either natural or as the result of mankind, has emptied the city of it’s human inhabitants. Art museums, Broadway theaters, laundromats and bars no longer function. The walls are deteriorating, the ceilings are falling in, the structures barely stand, yet Mother Nature is slowly taking them over. These spaces are filled with flora, fauna and insects, reclaiming what was theirs before man’s encroachment. I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but at the same time I am fascinated by what a changing world can bring.”

The images are classically composed, with a balance of color and space. Even once the viewer is told that these are dioramas, it’s difficult to believe. The intricate details, realistic lighting, and cohesive scale make them absolutely lifelike.

“My scenes can be as small as 50×60 centimeters and as large as 182 centimeters in diameter. It takes approximately seven months to build and photograph a scene. I build it for one angle of view and never move my camera from that spot. I will change the lighting, the placement of the objects and re-shoot until I’m fully satisfied with the results.”

Nix’s apocalyptic visions are both familiar and fantastic. She presents a world on a tabletop that is beautiful and alarming.

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Fantasy Meets Photography In The Striking Images of Zhang Jingna

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Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.

“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)

The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.

“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)

Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)

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An Imaginary City Of Famous Artists’ Buildings

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Italian architect and illustrator Federico Babina has created 27 fantasy buildings that meld famous artists and the places where they might live. The series “Archist City” is a clever melding of cross-sectional drawings of buildings and the signature styles of artists including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Joan Miró, Josef Albers, and Piet Mondrian. The result is a cohesive group of easily identifiable buildings—in fact, pairing the artist with the correct drawing is part of the fun.

“Art, architecture and sculpture are historically linked by an unbreakable thread, we find examples of paintings and sculptures having a direct influence on architectural design. … Painting sculpture and architecture have always been complementary disciplines that influence each other and feed to grow and develop along common paths.”

Babina’s skilled artwork makes this look easy, but in actuality first fitting the artists’ iconic styles into an architectural framework, then keeping all of the buildings consistent in execution is the mark of a very skilled artist. Some of the artists play well together: Mondrian and Albers and Rothko for example. Others would seem to defy architecture, like Dali, Haring, and Miro, yet Babina has brought them into his imaginary cityscape. The identical background texture and color, font, and scale relative to the paper help tie the pieces together.

The silhouetted figures help sell these as buildings instead of artworks and the cross-cuts reveal wonderful details: Andy Warhol’s building includes soup cans and his Marilyn Monroe paintings; the huge shark in Damien’s Hirst’s building references his 1991 work “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.”

“These images represent an imaginary and imagined world of shapes that uses the brush to paint architecture.”

What fun it would be to inhabit this world of huge imaginations, awesome ability, and lasting artistic legacy.

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Exotic Taxidermied Creatures Land Their Creator in Jail

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In Enrique Gomez De Molina’s hands, animals become chimeras—multiple animals blended into one fantasy, nightmare creature. His taxidermied beasts are at once weird and wonderful, absorbing and off-putting. “I guess I like to play God, “ he laughs in a Thrillist interview. Two swan heads share a goat’s body. A nasty little crab/rodent sneers at the camera. Bird’s bills and fur, antlers and insects join seamlessly to make creatures that defy nature. Gomez De Molina says of his strange menagerie:

“The impossibility of my sculpture brings me both joy and sadness at the same time. The joy comes from seeing and experiencing the Fantasy of the work but that is coupled with the sadness of the fact that we are destroying all of these beautiful things.”

Ironically, Gomez De Molina may be indirectly contributing to that destruction himself. Arrested for illegally importing animal parts, he pled guilty in 2012 and received 20 months in federal prison for trafficking in endangered and protected wildlife. Though he declares the best of intentions for his actions—bringing attention to the plight of endangered animals—his purchases certainly created a deathly supply for his demand. Why take such a risk? His taxidermied chimeras sold for up to $80,000 before his arrest.

Gomez De Molina’s side is that he wants “to bring awareness to the danger faced by a multitude of species: nuclear and chemical waste, overdevelopment, and destruction of rainforests.” U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer doesn’t see it that way.

“For years, DeMolina illegally imported parts and remains of endangered and threatened species, including a cobra, a pangolin, hornbills, and the skulls of babirusa and orangutans, and used them to create taxidermy pieces. … Trafficking in endangered and threatened species, whether for personal profit or under the guise of art, is illegal.”

It remains to be seen whether Gomez De Molina will return to art now that his exotic art supplies have been confiscated.

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Whimsical Paintings Reveal How Animals Are Created

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Mexican artist Ricardo Solis has re-imagined both the divine and evolutionary theories on the origin of life. In his whimsical paintings, artist depicts various animals — from a goldfish to an elephant — being colored, carved out of stone or even weaved as the friendly mama bear below. Solis’ works connect the realistic style of painting with his tameless imagination.

The viewer is presented with a variety of animals, painted in an almost anatomically accurate manner. Under closer inspection, the works reveal a Guliver-inspired action: tiny humans crawling up and down the monolithic animals, covering them in paint, sculpting or attaching ribbon stripes from a flying Zeppelin. Although Solis’ creative interpretation is far from reality, his lighthearted version of genesis is relaxing and fun to observe.

Solis was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Despite being brought up in a large metropolis, he was always attracted to art and nature. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts and becoming a professional painter, Solis has a chance to link these two passions together and channel them through his dreamlike works of art. In his website Ricardo Solis claims to believe in “the undeniable existence of a Creator” which seems like the epitome of his work. (via Lost At E Minor)

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Invasive Jewelry That Harvests Energy From Human Body

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Blinker. Placed on the bridge of the nose and across the eyelids, it harvests energy from eye-blinking.

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Blinker. Placed on the bridge of the nose and across the eyelids, it harvests energy from eye-blinking.

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Blood Bridge. Each spike is inserted into a vein; blood stream spins the wheel and creates movement likely to be turned into electricity.

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Blood Bridge. Each spike is inserted into a vein; blood stream spins the wheel and creates movement likely to be turned into electricity.

Jerusalem-based industrial designer Naomi Kizhner created a series of sci-fi jewelry than harvest kinetic energy from a human’s body and turns it into electricity. Titled “Energy Addicts”, Kizhner’s graduation project addresses world’s forthcoming energy crisis. Her jewelry is an attempt for an existing renewable energy source that hasn’t been tested yet.

“It interested me to imagine what would the world be like once it has experienced a steep decline in energy resources and how we will feed our energy addiction. There are lots of developments of renewable energy resources, but the human body is a natural resource for energy that is constantly renewed, as long as we are alive.”

The jewelry is made from gold and 3D-printed biopolymer. Each piece contains sharp stings that neatly pierce the skin and serve as bio energy harvesting devices. The energy is generated from the body’s subconscious movements, such as blood flow or blinks of an eye. Kizhner created several designs to be worn on different body parts and to draw energy from specific physiological functions.

According to the designer, technology is not too far from turning these ideas into reality. However, she argues that the important part lies in human psychology: “<…> Will we be willing to sacrifice our bodies in order to produce more energy?” asks Kizhner. With her project, artist yearns to provoke people and spark the discussion on our possible future. (via Dezeen)

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Physical Trauma Survivors Reenact Scenes From Missoni Fashion Catalog

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Photographer Denise Prince challenges our perception of beauty and aesthetics by interchanging professional models with physical trauma survivors in her latest photography and video project Tractatus 7. Using a catalog by a high-end Italian fashion house Missoni, Prince replicates the superimposed glamour with a pinch of cruel, muted reality.

The provocative project, originally titled Replication and Breakdown of the Missoni Estate Line Catalog, is a juxtaposition between our approach towards reality and the events that take place beyond that fantasy. Prince raises a question of what happens to our designed reality when a traumatic event occurs? To her belief, people who have undergone severe traumas have an improved capacity to face the human condition.

“My sense is that when we see people with evidence of physical trauma we initially see them as people who were “not safe” and are reminded, ultimately, of our own mortality. I deeply believe that engaging with what we think we fear and yet gives all meaning to life (death – to the extent that this work is a reminder) brings with it a sense of greater peace.”

Prince uses her uncomfortable and grotesque way of storytelling to share the subject’s experiences (accidents, birth defects or assault) in an attempt to surpass standards of representation with the public, which is often deaf and blind to such events. Photographer is committed not to position her models as victims: “I work with people who have sufficiently recovered, established a new relationship to fantasy <…> At this stage <…> they are open to play, <…> to serve as an object of desire, to social risk taking.”

Tractatus 7 opens to public September 7 and will be running until September 27 at University Park in Austin, Texas. (via feature shoot)

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Dominic Wilcox And Four Other Artists Upcycle and Illuminate Found Objects

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Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.

Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.

Featured artists include Dominic Wilcox, Sarah Frost, Robert Bradford, Gabriel Dishaw and Elisabeth Higgins O’Conner.

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