Hiroko Kubota is a prolific embroiderer whose latest project of embroidering cats onto dress shirts has caused the cat-loving internet community to swoon. Kubota stitches cats who peek over and through shirt pockets and openings, giving plain dress shirts an adorable and unique accent. Her project began when her son – a cat-lover and collector of internet cat images – requested that she embroider some cats from his collection onto some shirts she made for him. After posting her work on the internet, her project quickly became popular and of high demand. Kubota then decided to put some of her shirts up for sell on Etsy, but her handiwork could not keep up with the demand – even at a hefty price tag of $250-300 apiece. Kubota also embroiders other figures, such as fish, Pokemon characters, dogs, and flowers onto a variety of objects. You can check out more images of her work on Flickr. (via colossal)
Seattle based artist Casey Weldon’s newest series of work is a bit unsettling. He’s painted a series of cats, each with four eyes. While the premise sounds simple enough, the product is more jarring than one might expect. Upon first viewing the paintings the animals don’t appear as mutated creatures or monstrous as you might expect. Rather, the paintings seem to be making it difficult to focus. As humans we have a sensitive awareness of faces, eyes being a primary reference point. Perhaps because of this the two sets of eyes don’t seem as much like a defect in the cat as a defect in our ability to focus on the painting. Also, Weldon’s choice of exclusively depicting cats clearly references the internet. The animal’s unexpected rise to the top of internet meme-dom, nearly makes cat’s a symbol of internet culture itself. The gallery statement for his current exhibit at Spoke Art further expounds on this by saying:
“Ranging from internal commentary on the state of contemporary culture to a satirical analysis of the internet in general, Weldon has deftly created a body of new acrylic paintings that humor and appall. Through his thematic commonality of quadruple eyed animals, Weldon intentionally disorients the viewing experience by juxtaposing a subject that is impulsively attractive yet eerily disturbing. With this subtle manipulation the viewer finds themselves drawn towards these subjects, yet can’t quite focus on them, akin in many ways to the eye fatigue experienced by countless hours on the internet, often fueled by the mindless addictive nature of social media. The choice of cats specifically as his subject matter continue on Weldon’s commentary of the internet/social media. The immense popularity of cat culture and viral cat memes is unavoidable in this day and age, a point made all too apparent by the pairing of Weldon’s exhibition with a Lil Bub art show just two doors down this month at Spoke Art.” (via supersonic electronic)
Jon Kessler’s installations respond to our current information-saturated culture where the search for the self often occurs within the realm of digital media. His most recent exhibition, “The Web“, immerses viewers in our technology obsessed world. Cameras and surveillance equipment abound, constantly capturing and clicking photos and videos of participants. The installation itself is a conceptual clusterfuck that suggests our importance of ritualistic clicking over what’s actually being captured with the clicks. His other work similarly addresses themes of capture, surveillance, fame, and mass media by using related techniques. These installations confuse us and ask us to consider the nature of reality and the authority we grant to technology and mass media with regard to our own identities.
At this point there’s no use denying the ridiculous amount of time most of us spend on a computer each day, and artist Bea Fremderman is among a growing number of contemporary artists that use this reliance as a tool in their practice. Much of (arguably all of) the imagery we see on a computer is an illusion. A digital fabrication or manipulation meant to simulate or document reality. But as our physical and digital worlds continue to fold in on one another – who decides what is real? We must become our own authorities on reality, and Fremderman seems keenly aware of this.
Fremderman may be young, but the elegance with which she blurs lines is anything but amateur. A range of objects and textures shift contexts as they face-off with their own physical and virtual counterparts. The end result of which is an aesthetically and conceptually dynamic body of work. Her practice is multifaceted, but focused. Fremderman chooses her media/mediums based on what will most effectively convey the ideas in her work, and I am eager to see what she comes up with next.
"Head For The Stoic," wood,veneer, jeans, concrete, streamed video loop "emo blowjob" 2009
Ben Schumacher creates art in many traditional and non tradition forms, whether it be through drawings or exploring new ways to conceptualize and present art via and about the internet with an ironic sense of humor that could only have been developed by long hours mulling over the way we use and relate to the tools specific to our cyberspace generation. Ahh, the day I’m tired of it is the day I’m dead!
In self-described “experientialist” artist Lee Walton’s most recent project (though on his Vimeo, it seems the last upload was 9 months ago…), he will perform what his Friends on facebook are doing. This online project will only be viewable to those listed as Friends on the web site. The man is hilarious and ridiculously clever- I’ve added him as a friend, so should you!
Founded by artist Ryder Ripps, Internet Archaeology is a project that “seeks to explore, recover, archive and showcase the graphic artifacts found within earlier Internet Culture.” It’s essentially a repository of imagery from old Geocities and Angelfire sites, including a full few mirrors of some old homepages. This is an important service because, as their mission statement points out, Yahoo will be taking down Geocities in October 2009. I miss the pre-Web 2.0 internet!
The embedded video above comes from the latest project by Montreal-based media artist Jon Rafman. Kool-Aid Man in Second Life offers to give Internet users free guided tours of Second Life by Rafman’s avatar, the Kool-Aid Man. The aforementioned video is a promotional video showing scenes of the tour (by the way, apparently some of this may not be NSFW, though I watched the first minute or two and didn’t really notice anything bad). The subtlety of the video, and the entire project, is what makes it so engaging. There are all sorts of questions raised here: about the role of crafted pop culture icons in the new era of user generated content, about the nature of scenic beauty, about our interaction with kitsch. Someone take the tour and let us know how it is!
PS: Check out this essay Rafman wrote on Google Street View. Very compelling stuff.