Romanian artist Bogdan Rata’s highly psychological sculptures contort and mold the human body. Using polyester, synthetic resin, paint, and metal, he forms hybrid realism in his mutated versions of our anatomy. Where skin usually holds a warm glow, his work exhibits a pale, lifeless aura. Limbs sit detached from the body, or even more disturbing, emerge from an unnatural place, like the face. Both unsettling and intriguing, Rata’s sculptures twist and contort, making us feel uncomfortable and suddenly very aware of our own bodies.
The sculptor’s deformed misfits reflect on the imperfection felt about our own bodies and appearances. Our own insecurities are met and reflected in Rata’s psychologically surreal artwork. His work is not only hard to look at due to their grotesque qualities, but the positions many of the sculptures are in appear painful and awkward. Each piece seems to be uncomfortable in its own skin, uncertain of its own body and what to do with it. This is a feeling we can often relate to, as becoming confident in our bodies is often a difficult part of life. Rata hints at the confusion and difficulties brought on by self-identity issues in such works as his bust of a man with no face. His distorted figures are lost, looking for acceptance. Although they at first seem misshapen and horrifying, a strange beauty and compassion can be found in Rata’s fascinating work.
If you think your jackhammer and motorcycle make you look tough, just take a look at Theresa Honeywell’s knit accessories! What says “macho” better than tools and guns made out of knit fabric? This Washington D.C. native takes traditionally masculine objects, and gives them a feminine edge by creating them with knit and embroidery. By using methods that have previously been labeled a “feminine craft,” she sparks a dialogue on the masculine and feminine and what it means to align objects with these social constructs. Studying sculpture at university, she combines her talents in three-dimensional art with her interest in combining art and craft. The dichotomy between feminine and masculinity paired with art and craft challenges our pre-conceived notions of these themes.
It is interesting that knitting and embroidery have traditionally been perceived as feminine, when masculinity is often associated with labor-intensive tasks. These two techniques are in fact incredibly time consuming and require a lot of labor and skill. You can see the astonishing details includes in Honeywell’s work while examining every stitch and bead in her work. The artist even included the brand name of the jackhammer, and the pink and purple motorcycle is actually life size! Her intricate, delicate sculptures really show us the softer side of these “masculine” objects.
Artist Jason Freeny scoops out the insides of our favorite toys and characters, and sculpts their inner organs and skeletons. Having a sculpture professor as a father, the artist was exposed to the medium at a young age. Freeny was originally trained as an industrial designer, until he began creating this series of adorable abominations five years ago. He begins with the toy itself, and then takes it apart to study its structure and fill it with its skeleton. Freeny began using polymer clay to create the insides of each toy. Now, they are sculpted from epoxy and carved with a variety of miniature tools like pumpkin carving tools and those used in dentistry.
Freeny has taken lovable toys and turned them into something somewhat dark, but also a bit educational in a way. The anatomical accuracy in his sculptures is impressive, as each creature or character most likely will have its own unique anatomy. Freeny gives an example of this by explaining that Mario has a skull more like a child than of a grown man. The detail in each character’s body is so intricate, that it makes its anatomy incredibly believable. Interestingly enough, the artist does not just dissect popular toys like Lego’s and My Little Pony, but strange oddballs as well. A couple of his dolls with their inner organs exposed look somewhat demented; like they could star in the next Child’s Play. Whether you find Freeny’s work fun or creepy, the time and technique involved in his process speaks volumes to his brilliant skills in sculpture. (via The Creators Project)
Combining fiber art, sculpture, and fashion, artist Hsiao-Chi Tsai creates beautifully designed wearable art using a variety of different textiles. He uses brightly colored fabric to construct intricate pieces that can be worn on your head and around your neck. The materials used are cut into floral-like shapes that flow organically around the person who is wearing it. A designer by nature, the artist bases these creations off his own illustrations. Because Tsai constructs his designs with such soft material, they appear comfortable despite their non-functional shape and placement. Each piece is creatively designed, utilizing asymmetrical forms and a unique color palette. Although this series, titled Wonderland, is not likely to go with anything in your closet, wearing one of Tsai’s pieces would definitely be a statement!
Creating sculptural, wearable art, this textile designer also forms brilliant installations using the same technique and style as his fashionable art pieces. Using the same textile material, Tsai builds large installations that loops, swirls, and hangs; completely transforming the spaces they are in. These pieces are much like his wearable art, using some of the same elements and cut-out fabric. Each installation is an explosion in its space, with endless gushing patterns. The surge of color in Tsai’s installations can turn any sterile space into a wonderland of cascading fabric flora. Both his wearable textile art series and his installations are uniquely sculptural and are created cleverly with an unlikely material.
German artist Martin Roller constructs assemblages of objects in hilarious and astonishing ways in his body of work. Taking found object from the streets of Berlin, he photographs interesting mash-ups of everyday objects and remnants of trash, transforming their original function. Setting the scene similar to commercial photography, each newly created object looks as if it is on display in an ad, waiting to be bought. Who knows, maybe Roller’s banana shoes will be the next big thing, although they are not exactly wearable. This colorful and clever series is both aesthetically appealing, with its perfect color blocking, and intriguing, as each item is not altered digitally.
At first glance, you may think that Roller’s images are digitally spliced photographs that together create the finished product. Although this would take some skill, each object is more impressively built by the artist’s own hand, and therefore, actually exists in real life. Roller explains that we live in an age where technology has given us endless possibilities that are accessible to a vast majority of people. Because these digital alterations, as well hand-cut collages, are so common today, these techniques are of no interest to him. He instead aims to assemble his own “collage” from a more realistic source, the objects themselves. Each image displays an amazing combination of real life objects, with an eye on modern design.
Artist Maximo Reira fuses wild creatures with furniture in his series called Animal Chairs. The hulking, sculpted figures have a realistic styling to them, and beings like octopi, rhinos, whales, all have a place for someone to sit. Their backs have large notches cut into them, and they’re so regal looking they transcend ordinary chairs and are thrones.
Reira’s designs have textures that mimic the real epidermises of these creatures. There are tiny, intricate folds that look like dry, rough skin, and he’s covered them in a natural color palette. From a certain angle, they look as though they could be real. The artist has also kept their defining features, like long tentacles and massive horns. It’s an elegant, unique take on industrial design. (Via Hi Fructose)
Troy Coulterman sculpts weird and wonderful figures in bizarre circumstances. His use of unnatural, vibrant colors interrupts his already unusual sculptures, giving them an added edge. Graphic novels and comic book artists are the inspiration behind his exaggerated characters in his work, as if these vivacious and animated characters have jumped right off the comic book page and into reality. Receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Coulterman uses his skill to from his figures out of resin, often placing them in a realm with swirling clouds and dripping hair. Coulterman explains the meaning behind his highly stylized work.
“These abstract, absurd forms that interact with the figurative pieces, they’re in a way visual metaphors to describe the psyche of the figures, the emotional moments in the figures.”
Although some of his figures have geometric faces replacing what would be normal human features, most of his work has an element of abnormal organic matter spewing from eyes or engulfing the figure. These organic forms appear somewhat disturbing but ultimately beautiful with their striking colors and detail. Another aspect of Coulterman’s work that is impossible to ignore is each unique and dramatic facial expression his figures possess. Each expression the artist sculpts creates an unmistakable mood in his artwork. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Coulterman has exhibited all over the world and has been included in many different art publications. He is currently represented by Slate Gallery in Regina, SK, Canada.
Russian artist Salavat Fidai creates miniscule sculptures with a ubiquitous yet unusual material – graphite pencils. Their tips are fashioned into figures of pop culture like Yoda, Bart Simpson, Batman, and many more. The amount of detail that Fidai achieves is impressive considering the scale of these figures. Eyes, feathers, and the draping in Yoda’s robe is all expressed through angular carving. Considering how dark the graphite is and all of the characters’ tiny features, Fidai might’ve used a softer lead for his work. A pencil in the “B” would probably be easier to cut and form.
It’s possible to buy one of Fidai’s creations. He has them for sale in his Etsy shop. In addition to these unconventional sculptures, the artist also sells paintings on pumpkin seeds. (Via Demilked)