Jaimie Warren’s Playful Pop Culture Selfies Subvert The Form’s Perceived Vanity

Self-portrait as Pretzel Rod Stewart

Self-portrait as Pretzel Rod Stewart

Self-portrait as Lasagna Del Rey

Self-portrait as Lasagna Del Rey

Self-portrait as woman in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Self-portrait as woman in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Self-portrait as Yoda in L'admiration by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Self-portrait as Yoda in L’admiration by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Selfies are a ubiquitous mode of self-expression. Photographer and performance artist Jaimie Warren integrates pop culture. humor, and a bright color palette to create visually striking self-portraits that are absurd, humorous, and campy. In one photo series, Warren becomes celebrity-food characters, fusing their names into an offbeat expression. In another, she re-creates images from art history, embellishing them with her signature pop culture camp style. Warren’s selfies subvert the form of traditional portraiture by using absurdity and grotesqueness to supplant the selfie’s identification with vanity. In addition to her individual projects, Warren also co-directs an internationally touring “faux-cable access show” called Whoop Dee Doo, a nonprofit that partners with youth organizations to introduce kids to wonderfully strange art that is meaningful, fun, and compelling. (via la monda and vice)

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Google’s Robot Cameras Caught Taking Unintentional Selfies In Museums And Galleries

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In 2011, Google launched Art Project in order to provide comprehensive, virtual tours of the spaces and artifacts of the world’s art museums and galleries. This requires Google’s robotic camera trolleys to roam museums taking 360 degree panoramic shots of every room they’re documenting. Since May, Barcelona-based artist Mario Santamaría has been collecting striking images of these cameras’ mirror selfies via a Tumblr page. In some of the images, the cameras don silvery-white blankets – this effect, combined with our culture’s immersion in selfies, renders these cameras almost familiar and comfortable, but startling in its reflection of itself and selfie culture. These museums and galleries are, for the most part, emptied of people, the camera eerily alone in its self-documentation. (via booooooom)

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Clever Photos Make Fun Of Celebrity Selfies

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For “Phonies,” the UK photographer Dan Rubin turns celebrity selfies into works of fine art. In his unusual street photographs, the smartphone itself stands in for the face of passersby,  projecting the grins of social media-savvy stars like Kim Kardashian, James Franco, and Harry Styles. Rubin’s series is equal parts playful and scathing, capturing the narcissism of celebrity in the 21st century in such a way that highlights the anonymity of the digital age.

Within the medium of street photography, normally characterized by raw and gritty from-the-hip shots, Rubin replaces candid captures with shiny screens projecting perfectly made-up celebrity faces. In these clever doubles, these photographs of photographs, notions of identity are complicated. Our faces, especially in photographs, have the power to betray our innermost selves and to define our perceptions of that self; here, the subject’s visage is shown only to be a reflection of the media we consume. As we are continuously bombarded with social media, how do we shape our egos in relation to the rich and famous?

From images, we derive meaning. Flawlessly inserting the HTC One mini 2 phone into his compositions, the artist creates a hybrid human that is simultaneously a celebrity and just another face in the crowd. As we become more vain and the innocent selfie borders on arrogant self-indulgence, do we stifle our individuality? Here, the realm of social media is ambiguously seen, a powerful force that is both fun and disconcerting. Take a look.
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Laurie Simmons’ Photo Series About Japanese Subculture Of Cosplay

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Laurie Simmons‘ recent show, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We SeeSalon 94 Bowery in New York, features eerie looking photos of dollers (also known as Kiggers), a circle of Japanese cosplay enthusiasts (Kigurumi), who dress up like anime-style female dolls and wear their costumes out in public. The men and women involved in this fascinating ‘counter-cuture’  go to great lengths to suppress any lingering vestiges of their own bodies, wearing 360-degree masks, wigs, and full bodysuits.

Simmons gathers her own models and Doller costumes in order to create her own line of Kiggers.

Some of my cosplayers are men and some are women but they all portray female characters. I try to explore the psychological subtexts of beauty, identity and persona surrounding the assembled Dollers. At first I dressed them only in fetish latex, which seemed both doll-like and right for their identities, but it soon became clear that they needed to expand their repertoire and play dress up.

Along her collection of photographs, we see this odd juxtaposition between the inanimate and the living; how is it possible to be experiencing something both so fake yet so real all at once? It is that and more- Simmons’ gives these ‘dolls’ the opportunity to experience the phenomenon of the selfie (“Yellow Hair / Red Coat / Snow / Selfie” [2014]) and an overall exposure to what is to be present, as something outside of the realm of the average human being, in the current world of self-promotion and its agenda (perfection, beauty, etc). “Might masking (becoming a Kigger, in this instance) be at least part of the appeal of contemporary forms of imaging and presentation of the self via social media?”, asks Simmons.

 In the last decade the boundaries separating identity and persona have become increasingly blurred — as individuals ‘present’ their BEST selves to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers. One tilt of the iphone can make the difference between a glamorous, funny or obscene selfie. I wonder about the fuzzy space between who “we” are to ourselves and the “we” that is invented, constructed and expressed using the readily available tools of the 21st century? Aren’t we all playing dress-up in some part of our lives?

Laurie Simmons: Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See in on view at Salon 94 Bowery (243 Bowery, Lower East Side) through April 27.

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Lindsay Bottos’ Webcam Selfies Overlain with Messages Of Harassment

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Lindsay Bottos, a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, has created “Anonymous,” a series of webcam selfies overlain with anonymous messages she’s received via her Tumblr page. The messages Bottos uses criticize her appearance, body-shaming and slut-shaming the selfies she’s posted to her Tumblr page. “I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.”

The timing of Bottos’ project coincides with a recent article published by Pacific Standard that makes the case for online harassment, especially of women, as the next issue facing women’s civil rights. Even through a medium like the internet, a platform perceived as a level playing field of expression, women receive a disproportionate amount of threats and abuse related to their gender and appearance. Bottos asserts, “The act of women taking selfies is inherently feminist, especially in a society that tries so hard to tell women that our bodies are projects to be worked on and a society that profits off of the insecurities that it perpetuates. Selfies are like a ‘fuck you’ to all of that, they declare that ‘hey I look awesome today and I want to share that with everyone’ and that’s pretty revolutionary.”

Bottos’ other projects also heavily feature text, written or embroidered, onto various surfaces. For “Get Over It,” Bottos embroidered thoughts about her sexual assault onto a tear- and mascara-stained pillowcase; for “The Morning After,” she wrote thoughts in permanent marker in places touched by a hook-up; and for “I Don’t Really Miss You,” Bottos embroidered thoughts about a relationship onto images, clothing, and mementos. Whichever medium she uses, Bottos conveys her vulnerability though language and form, rendering an honest and engaging perspective.  (via buzzfeed)

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Nathan Vincent’s Six Foot Crocheted Doily Warns ‘Be Good For Goodness Sake’

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Be Good for Goodness Sake broadcast

Santa is not the only one you telling you to be good for goodness sakes. In today’s word, that is, in today’s virtual, and real life panopticon, you have no other choice but to be good for the sake or yourself, your life, your job, etc. Your success as a human being depends on your good (or bad?) pubic, and well documented, behavior. Everyone is watching, everyone is judging.

“Be Good for Goodness Sake”,a three-person show featuring works by Nathan Vincent, Iviva Olenick, and Kathy Halper at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York, explores ideas of surveillance and public performance in the age of the virtual panopticon (intagram, facebook, etc).

Taking its name from Vincent’s large-scale work installed in the gallery,  “Be Good for Goodness Sake” pushes audiences to question their stance on surveillance and privacy in the age of social media.

Nathan Vincent’s six-foot crocheted doily acts as Big Brother and it invites the spectators to to sit on a bench flanked by security cameras, while Kathy Halper and Iviva Olenick create embroideries that question the psychosocial impacts of intimate over-sharing via social media. Inspired by her own Facebook feed, Olenick uses embroidery and watercolor to render her own “selfies” and portraits of others. Halper’s work similarly questions the disappearing space between public and private online through embroidered drawings of found images from teens’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The exhibition, “Be Good for Goodness Sake” will be on view at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York until January 19th, 2014.

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Mathu Andersen’s Unreal Androgynous Instagram Selfie Transformations

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Mathu Andersen, creative producer on RuPaul’s Drag Race, creative director on Drag U, and RuPaul’s personal hair and makeup artist, crafts intricate selfies for his personal instagram account.

With his talents on board, he make himself up to portray diverse whimsical androgynous personas that comment on gender aesthetics.

Andersen was recently recognized on Instagram’s very own account for his skeletal Halloween look, gaining the photo almost 500,00 and Andersen a ton of new followers.

“…I like being that special thing that people can stumble upon and perhaps even get excited enough to share with others and I like to be left to my own devices and whimsy.”

His portraits are inspirational pieces of art that influence new make-up techniques in runways and up-scale fashion photo-shoots.

Follow Mathu on instagram at (@mathu7).

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