Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada’s Portraits Are So Massive They Can Be Seen From Google Earth

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Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is known for his culture-jamming renegade advertising disruptions, and even more so for his large-scale charcoal portraits of local residents on the buildings in their neighborhoods (previously featured here). But his newer works have gotten bigger, so large many of them can be seen from Google Earth.

“Working at very large scales becomes a personal challenge but it also allows me to bring attention to important social issues, the size of the piece is intrinsic to the value of its message,” says the Cuban American artist. “Creativity is always applied in order to define an intervention made only with local materials, with no environmental impact, that works in harmony with the location.”

Works like WISH (above) took several years to complete, and involve a time-consuming process which begins by using a plotted grid system and only recently available Topcon GPS technology to map the area. 30,000 wooden stakes were applied as markers to an open area in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s Titanic Quarter shipyards, resulting in a portrait drawn by volunteers using nearly 8 million pounds of sand, rock and soil. The massive scale of the project is balanced by the delicacy of its subject, an anonymous local girl Rodríguez-Gerada met while planning the project (via blog4uuntitled).

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Famed Director Stanley Kubrick’s Phenomenal Early Photography Portfolio

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Like many directors, Stanley Kubrick (known for such iconic films as The Shining, Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket) began his love of film for the medium’s capacity to immediately capture scenes developing around him. The award-winning director’s photographs show early promise, mastering stylistic elements such as composition, lighting, balance and subject, which might not be surprising. However, the young Kubrick’s subject matter, mostly street-scenes with everyday New York and Greenwich Village people, life and struggles, might surprise some coming from the famed science fiction director. The photos, which have a nostalgic tone not necessarily associated with the forward-thinking director, certainly bring a romantic mood to the seemingly simpler time.

Many of these photos were taken during the 1940′s, while Kubrick was employed as a photographer for Look Magazine (a gig he landed while still a student at City College New York). It was while working for Look that Kubrick began associating with the film programs at the Museum of Modern Art, a connection which eventually launched Kubrick into a career in his life-long interest of film. (via everyday-i-show)

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Touching Portraits Of Dogs Yawning, Laughing And Barking

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Meet Noodles, Loli, and Scout, the radiantly emotive canine subjects of the photographer Elke Vogelsang’s personal project “All Good Dogs…” For the series, the artist captures the psychological lives of her trio of rescue animals, each honestly and earnestly displaying his or her own personal inclinations and attitudes.

Vogelsang explains that all her dogs love participating, knowing that they will get rewarded with treats and play; often it’s hard to limit a shot to one or two dogs, as Loli (the diva), Scout (the patient daydreamer), and Noodles (the excitable trickster) all vie for her camera’s affections.

What emerges from this unique and intimate play between dog and human is a touching archive of self-expression, a whimsical catalog of physical impulses and profound yearnings shared between species. Vogelsang’s lens treats the animals’ instinctive movements with the utmost care and fascination, capturing their desires (for treats, for activity, for love) by tracing the slightest movement of a pink tongue or a snout prickled with excited whiskers. Viewers are invited to empathize with a tilt of the head, a glint in the eye.

The artist’s sensitivities and attention to detail allow for effortless harmony not only between artist, viewer, and canine but also between individual dogs. Noodles, Loli, and Scout feed off of one another’s energies and restraint, moving with astounding purpose while remaining in synch with one another. In one image, two share a powerful yawn or bark, opening their eyes and mouths wide to the camera. Aligned in a perfect tryptic, the three are shot in black and white, each with their noses sniffing upwards and their lips carefully parted.

Simultaneously earnest and humorous, this standout series reminds viewers of the wisdom and longings of our canine friends, who are indeed “All Good Dogs…” (via Colossal and Bored Panda)

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Lauren Roche’s Visceral, Evocative, And Singular Paintings

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lauren-2 figures and an animal_4_770In Lauren Roche‘s paintings, like the best portraiture, there exists a story found in discrepant details. Amidst heavily applied broad stroke of paint and drips, black dots appear to be lactating from human and animals, insinuating teets as opposed to breasts. Teeth are bared in grinless maws not typically associated with people or their pets. And yet there exists an honest and humble beauty in Roche’s rendering of her subjects. Explaining that many subjects are taken from faces of friends and pets, as well as old photographs used for reference, the Minneapolis-based artist adds,

“The figures in my images are facets of my subconscious and take action in a pictorial language and don’t transfer into names for me. I like to leave the interpretation of personality up to the viewer, because that’s what I do.”

Roche’s paintings possess a rawness that cannot be denied, balanced in equal measure by a deft rendering of facial expressions. Perhaps the beauty of these paintings comes from their singular nature, and their anachronistic charm, evocative of a different era of capturing images. When asked the purpose of a focus on portraiture, particularly in an uploadable Digital Age, Roche responds,

“The purpose of portraiture is to give the maker and viewer the space for an interpretation of the subject that is private and flexible, fluid and idiosyncratic. Its difficult to compare portraiture to a cell phone picture because the process is so different. Drawing portraits is like a form of meditation and reflection for me and taking a cell phone picture feels more like a superficial gesture to prove that I’m enjoying myself.”

Roche’s work will be featured in the upcoming Two Dark Horses at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, MN, alongside Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr (who when painting collectively go by AMTKpreviously featured here) and Lindsay Rhyner. The exhibition, named after one of Roche’s paintings (top of page) opens this Friday, March 21st and runs through April 26th, 2014.

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Georgia Theologou’s Morose And Glittery Portraits

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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.”

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Matthew Rolston Creates Human-Like Portraits Of Ventriloquist Dummies

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Commercial photographer Matthew Rolston had built a career on entertainment portraiture, advertising, and music videos until 2009, the year in which he started venturing off his usual gigs.

“My professional work is subject to tremendous agendas; everything I do is mediated by a group of people, even the creative work is usually mentioned in a contract.

His next project became something more fun, with a bit more creative freedom, and a lack of human subjects. Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, a 224-page book, features more than 50 portraits of Ventriloquist dummies from then Vent Haven Museum. Rolston uses his commercial skills, a rather formal photographic approach, to create human-like portraits of these creepy yet endearing dolls. The photographer re-appropriates techniques from his past in order to create a “personal response to the emanations of humanity that come from these terribly evocative inanimate objects.”

“By employing the same techniques and emotional approach I would apply to a human subject, I believe I was able to portray these figures in much the same way. … For me these figures have a yearning quality. They speak through their eyes, since their voices—voices of their ventriloquists—are now long silent. I found them to be endearing, hilarious, tragic, even disturbing—sometimes all at once.”

 

(via Slate and Brown Paper Bag)

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Katarzyna Majak’s Portraits Of Modern Witches

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Katarzyna Majak‘s “Women of Power” photography series captures the faces and dress of earth-worshipping Polish women who are powerful among their particular spiritual sectors. The vast majority of Poland’s people (90%) are practicing Catholics. When Christianity was introduced to Poland a few centuries ago, it erased most traces of paganism, witchcraft, and shamanic traditions. The women Majak photographs – ranging in age from their 30′s to their 80′s – represent the very small minority of Polish women who practice alternative spirituality. For many of these women, this series depicts their first public display of power. They “practice a wide range of spiritual paths and spiritual systems. A few are traditional healers (so called ‘whisperers’ who mix religion with primeval superstitions to heal and remove spells using prayers) whose traditions survived on the Belarusian border. Some are women who had grandmothers who could ‘see’ or were herbal healers and who are working to revive what would otherwise be dead traditions.”

Porter Contemporary, where Majak’s work was featured in 2012, writes, “When asked what being a witch meant to one of the subjects in the series, she replied ‘A witch is a woman of knowledge who takes a broom and sweeps to cleanse the world.’” (via feature shoot)

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You Won’t Believe The Stunning Portraits Kumi Yamashita Creates Out Of Nails And Thread

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You might remember Kumi Yamashita from one of our October posts featuring her extraordinary collection of works with light and shadow. If you recall, Yamashita subtly manipulated materials such as paper, fabric and wood to strategically use lighting on them in order to create shadow art installations. Her imagination and impressive craft skills lead her to create this new ongoing series entitled Constellation (a title that references the Greek tradition of tracing mythical figures in the sky).

This body of work consists of three materials: a wooden panel painted a solid white, thousands of small galvanized nails, and a single, unbroken, common sewing thread. She creates these stunning portraits by using the single,unbroken thread wrapped around thousands of nails. The task at hand is laborious, but the result is well worth the work.

The Japanese artist’s piece from this collection, Mana (an 40h x 30w cm portrait of her niece), was recently selected as one of 50 finalists for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a triennial event being held at the Smithsonian Museum’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Yamashita’s artwork was selected from over 3,000 entries and is on display at the National Portrait Gallery until February 23, 2014. (via Twisted Sifter)

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