Georgia Theologou (or Georgia Th as she is also known) is a self-taught Greek artist who paints hauntingly beautiful portraiture. Created by combining traditional and digital media, Theologou’s intentionally limited palate and trademark visual rendering gives both a soft lushness and a harsh reality to her subjects, like mascara tear trails being transformed into softly dabbed paint glitter. In a conversation with Beautiful/Decay (and with the help of Google Translate), Theologou explains what inspires her symbolic subjects,
“Creating something is a way to express the feelings that are inside me that I maybe didn’t even know about before. It’s a way to explore myself and what I have on my mind, so when I am making my work I feel like I find something new about me and about how I see things that I did not even realize was present.”
Theologou’s internalized subjects are taken from many sources of art research and random bits of internet ephemera, and blended with other imagery that gives each portrait an allegorical depth and visual tension. Noting themes of nature ranging from human and animal, the stars and the cosmos in many of her colorful works, Georgia explains these combinations, saying
“I don’t paint people but the existence of a person. The subject of my paintings is the feelings of this existence or the situation they experience that moment. All of the objects I use in my paintings are random, but this helps me to create the right place and mood, so I choose objects that are common on fairy-tales and dreams. Nature and space are also places with the same strong sense of vitality, so the person can feel closer to his/her inner world. My paintings are not about a story or a specific idea or symbol, I think about painting “that” moment.”
Dilok Lak’s recent series “The rabbit ears” is the graphic designer’s respite from everyday tedium and a retreat into imaginative play. Drawing on children’s books and the trope of the talking animal, he imbues his illustrations with a minimalist innocence and charm. The title of the work harkens back to whimsical fables, but it also applies to the artist’s own persona, as he was born in the zodiac year of the rabbit. The work lightheartedly examines the existential questions of a young human mind: the caption for a few images reads, “Why is life so boring?”
Placed starkly against a white and pale pink backdrop like murals on a child’s bedroom wall, furry friends perform unlikely feats. Some of the illustrations are brilliantly nonsensical; in a sort of modern Dadaist exploration, Lak combines a vintage photograph of a young girl with a high-resolution duck and collaged orange. Collaged creatures appear to wander in and out of his frame of their own free will, teetering on its edges and leaving empty space in their wake.
“The rabbit ears” is a childlike ode to the imagination, bringing with it hints of critical self-parody. The brilliantly ironic series reads like a 21st century kind of pop art, using commercial graphic design techniques to satirize human behaviors and pretensions. An absurd cat sips on a cappuccino and sports classic hipster-style glasses; an erudite bunny proudly displays a portrait of himself in a suit. A bored kitty chews on bubble gum. In Lak’s delightful world, animals play as humans and humans play as rabbits, and ultimately, all our everyday worries seem a little less serious, and life feels a lot more fun. (via iGNANT)
French digital artist JC Debroize has created an unsettling font called “The Human Type” using modeling clay and digital effects. Debroize completed this project as the creative director for the graphic design studio Kerozen. After using modeling clay to render the shapes of the letters, Debroize took photos of both the letters and the faces of the 7 Kerozen team members. “Then I made a mapping of skin textures on the letters with Photoshop and added the hair and the eyes,” Debroize elaborates. “It was not a problem to show an unflattering image of us. We laughed a lot making this.” (via laughing squid)
The work of Dillon Boy (né James Dillon Wright) emerged from a street art and graffiti background, combining pop culture, branding, advertising, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to take these sources further than they were intended. This evolution (or devolution) is evident in his series DIRTYLAND, where the artist takes the ever-popular childhood icons of Disney’s princesses and removes their context, and clothes.
In works which collage smut magazine backgrounds with spraypaint stencils, drips and graffiti scrawls, these princesses become transformed representations of our combined high and lowbrow society, and take aim at the falsely marketed ideas of perfection and innocence. In an exclusive talk with Beautiful/Decay, Dillon talks about the series. “Most of my audience were kids when these princesses ruled their world, so now that they are all adults (and sexually active) they are all ready to hang paintings of naked Disney chicks all over the house. [laughs]. No for real though, I believe it’s my job as an artist to question the very things around me and to continuously break down the traditional and more conventional ways of making art. It is my intention to raise or lower your eyebrows in one way or another.”
This reappropriation of pop culture icons is nothing new, but seems to be happening at a rapidly increasing pace (Beautiful/Decay has recently featured several such reimaginings of pop culture symbols), indicating that artists are remaining relevant to many audiences by constantly questioning what we collectively see daily. Dillon Boy (surprisingly?) notes that he has not seen much in the way of criticism of his DIRTYLAND series, and that is his job as an artist to take things one step further. “Well, one thing is for sure, we live in a sexually charged culture. Walk outside and you will quickly find a billboard or an ad in a publication showcasing a woman as a sex object. Sex sells remember. I simply used the pure, untainted characters of Walt Disney to convey that message. But that’s obvious, I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done before… but I’m ready to do it again!”
“Processes that give rise to forms are at the heart of our artistic work.” says German studio Deskriptiv (the combined work of Dominik Kolb and Christoph Bader), who describe their work as being rooted jointly in the (occasionally conflicting) realms of design, art and computer science. “We work on the interface of computer science and design and combine both disciplines. In this area of conflict to find new processes to deal with it, to analyze it and graphically prepare, that’s what fascinates us and drives. The formation processes, we define purely digitally with the help of our main working tool, the computer.”
Naturally 3D printing fits neatly into the Venn Diagram shared by these disciplines (see previous examples, such as the world’s first 3D printed room, Nick Ervick’s incredibly complex 3D sculptures, and more at Beautiful/Decay) and serves as the perfect medium in which to explore their intersection. In works like their “Hüllen” series (“Wrap,” in English), the duo utilizes clear and opaque plastics, combining them with more mirrored silver surfaces. The intricate complexities (and the imagined difficulties to achieve such subtleties without blending the materials) can also be seen in the their “Verbowen” (translation, “Interwoven”) series, combines a variety of materials and surfaces, weaving them in tight complexity. Meanwhile, their “Klebend” (translation, “Adhesive”) series focuses less on blended materials and more on form, choosing a singular palate to exhibit the true range of surfaces the technology is capable of. (via hi-fructose)
The Argentinian street artist known simply as Elian works with a clean and seemingly effortless style rare in street art. While his large abstract murals would be at home on a magazine page, they work to a powerful effect inhabiting entire sides of buildings. Often using colors reminiscent of a graphic designers CMYK color palette, Elian maximizes the simplicity of each mural. A buildings bland blank wall becomes a space for an exercise in composition and color.
Erin Hanson’sReminders series captures everyday thoughts and places these reminder-thoughts near an appropriate domestic location. These colorful reminder text designs inject daily mundane tasks, like washing dishes, brushing teeth, reading, and watching television with fun, humor, and whimsy. Hanson’s appropriately titled blog, Recovering Lazyholic, began as an attempt to combat laziness and mainly feature two things she loves: photography and graphic design, both of which comprise this particular series. These multi-colored letters remind me of the colorful alphabet magnets commonly found on refrigerators, and my first encounters with them as a child. Whatever the task at hand, Hanson’s designs and photography remind us that we need to accomplish these tasks, but also to live these tasks a little more colorfully and playfully. Hanson lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Perhaps you may be familiar with your state motto or state bird. However, what about your state amphibian or state grain? America’s fifty states have many official state insignia, some more obscure than others. Artist and designer Julian Montague highlights many of these for all of the states in the union in his new series State of America. While some state insignia may be predictable – Idaho’s official state food is the potato – others are bit stranger such as Georgia’s official state fossil: shark teeth.