Superheroes and toys, clever photography and computer magic, familiar figures and surreal scenes—Ottowa photographer Daniel Picard may have found the perfect recipe in his series “Figure Fantasy.” Using items from Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles, he sets up scenarios on location and shoots them, making the 6” to 12″ tall toys look like they are full-size.
“Seeing Superman stop a train in danger is quite common, but making him take a selfie while doing it is something new and quite silly and that’s how I try to approach my photos: I take these characters from different books and movies and mix them up and make them do things that we’ve never seen them do before because that’s the freedom I have in using these awesome poseable figures and they’ve truly become the perfect ‘actors’ for my scenes.”
The photos feel like a very well executed glimpse behind the scenes. It turns out that when the cameras are off, even Darth Vader has to pee. Batman is a snitch, the Joker is building his own LEGO Gotham, and the IG-88 Assassin Droid practices yoga on the beach. Picard’s childhood interest in comic books serves him well here. From the very first, impromptu, photo of a robot in a field holding a blue balloon, the images have been funny, sometimes scary, sometimes wistful, and always cool.
“I see places and think of photos, scenes and angles in my head, then [I] come home and sketch things out while looking at my collection to see who could be cool to use and how to pose them.” (Source)
Picard has recently teamed up with Sideshow Collectibles for some as-of-now unannounced projects, using their 12” figures as well as their statues. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for updates and new photos!
Batman holds a gun to his own head at the edge of an empty swimming pool. Captain and Mrs. America sip mixed drinks under palm fronds. Spiderman naps on the couch. These are our Superheroes, candidly captured in their off hours. But they’re not the Superheroes we’re used to underneath their familiar suits. These Superheroes are aged, white-haired and wrinkled, and somehow completely wrong. The characters we know may die, but although they live for decades they never grow old. Our heroes stay perpetually strong, alluring, and complicated, and always, always young.
Lina Manousogiannaki’s costumed heretics of “Superheroes Gone Old” represent more than the inevitability of old age. To her, the aging superheroes they serve as reminders of the damaged Greek political system, one that politicians and people of her parents’ generation have been unwilling or unable to change.
[The series] was conceived as homage to the generation of my parents, the same one as our politicians. They have been pretending to be heroes ever since the collapse of the military junta but time has caught up with them. My heroes are old and they are afraid of everything that they can’t control. … The heroes of another time can no longer save me as they have pretended to do for so many years.
There is anger in Manousogiannaki’s writing that isn’t reflected in her images. These heroes are worn out, slightly absurd, certainly pathetic. And yet, there is the suggestion of pride here, of perseverance. They haven’t divested themselves of their worn finery. They haven’t stopped fighting. In a country with a struggling economy and generational discord, the heroes are stooped and sad. Manousogiannaki’s intent may be to put them aside and lead her own fight, but these archetypical heroes seem to be saying that it will be harder than she thinks.
Digital artist and graphic designer Kode Logic (aka Boss Logic) is used to taking existing imagery and adapting, changing and repurposing it. With his newest series, Playing With History, the Melbourne, Australia artist samples some of the most recognizable photos in the history of the medium, and either subtly or blatantly alters them by including superheroes and villains.
Ranging from the construction workers who built New York’s skyscrapers palling around with Spiderman, or an alternate history where Mortal Kombat’s four-armed boss Goro menacingly watches over Ellis Island on the Statue of Liberty’s plinth, Kode Logic plays with both humor and irreverence (exemplified by two separate Kennedy edits – one with Marty McFly skitching on his hover-board, the other featuring The Watchmen’s The Comedian preparing to assassinate the president). Explaining the project (and a premise shared by many from the digital and web-based design and art communities), Kode Logic says, “…as a digital artist we are the new breed of artists and we are all trying to innovate our own style to be remembered and past on as a foundation you laid down…” (via albotas)
As 2013 draws to a close, it becomes easier to see the trends in art, design and visual storytelling that attracted especially popular interest over the year. Among them were the use of superheroes, which only decades ago were confined to a mythology only ‘nerds’ spoke of. But with superheroes becoming ever-more popular and Geek culture no longer a source of shame, comic book and science fiction heroes have become instantly recognizable forms of pop symbolism for many. Beautiful/Decay featured the work of Andreas Englund’s aging superhero paintings, Alex Lukas’ referential superhero screenprints and Antonio Strafella’s comic heroes as saints, all who took these mythologies and blended them with updated styles, forms, perspectives and techniques.
Josh Lane (Ln) took the same cues with his perfectly titled Hero-Glyphics series, combining a variety of classic comic book (the X-men, Spiderman, the Avengers) and sci-fi (Star Trek) heroes, and re-imagining them in the style of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Ln expands on the classic heroes as well, also casting 90′s nostalgia (in the form of the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as well as newer comic and movie characters (Kick-Ass).
Matthew Volz is the official artist of Queens, New York based garage punks The Beets. In addition to creating banners, posters, and album artwork for the band he makes paintings and sculptural installations involving a vast iconography culled from the doldrums of saturday morning cartoons and comic books. Pro wrestlers of the past share the page with bug eyed teenagers, superheroes, street rats, cowboys, indians, Joey Ramone, and everything in between.