Svetlana Jovanovic is a Netherlands-based photographer who imbues portraiture with a surreal edge. Drawing on her experience studying psychology at Belgrade University, Jovanovic knows how to access the models’ personalities, and by extension, the viewers’ psyches; women—often dressed in white and washed-out pastel hues—confront the camera with an otherworldly presence, embodying both deep alienation and sublime euphoria. Like images from a haze-filled dream, some of them look vaguely threatening, with horns, multiple tongues, and masks accentuating their otherwise calm postures. Model selection, set design, props, and digital image manipulation play an important role in the way the artist composes her scenes.
Also key to Jovanovic’s impressive style is a subtle exploration of gender, sexuality, and media representation—subjects that are important and highly politicized in her field of work. She does not portray femininity in conventional nor overtly sexualized ways; as her artist’s statement eloquently states, “Although slight stylization and eroticism might at first glance suggest analogies with fashion photography, Jovanovic stays well away from it. Instead, her work can be interpreted as the intention to develop a conceptual approach to photography by exploiting some conventions of fashion photography, examining its potential to visually shape an idea or subject matter” (Source). Instead of complacency, the unease and ambiguity that surrounds Jovanovic’s photos encourages the viewer to recognize on their own objectifying practices and expectations of the female body in fashion and photography.
Malaysian artist Jun Ong has implanted a glowing star within an unfinished five story building in the town of Butterworth, Malaysia. The awkward confinement of the large luminescent sculpture within the otherwise gaping desolate space offers an air of confusion. Almost as if the star was there by mistake, perhaps stuck. The installation was indeed informed by a notion of error — the star seems to mimic a glitch. Metaphorically, this “glitch star” represents the state of Butterworth. The town, which was once an prosperous industrial port linking the mainland and island, now finds itself desolate and suffering from decentralization. The twelve sided star, spanning over the the full five floors of the building, is comprised of five hundred meters of steel cables and LED strips. The piece is created in fragments, as it is divided by the floors of the concrete structure. When entering the installation, the viewer is forced to experience each floor as its own unit, creating a multi-faceted adventure. Each floor is an experience of just a mere piece of the whole, perhaps alluding to the overarching disposition of the town itself. However, despite the installation’s “gltich” reminiscent quality and fractured formation, the star is wondrous and uplifting. The project, presented as a part of the Urban Xchange Festival, was curated by Eeyan Chauh and Gabija Grusaite of Hin Bus Depot Art Center. (via designboom)
Slightly gory yet somehow charming and fun, SEKDEK is part performative, part sculptural, part photographic, and part ritualistic. The artists behind the work refer to it as a “spirit extraction kit/ demon extraction kit.”
The project, in their own words,
“is a series of fantastically colorful, expressive & psychedelically gory sculptured head and torso images that were caught using an expressionistic painting/ messy visual chaos technique that includes throwing, spreading and or spitting clay, acrylic paint, glitter, fake blood, wigs, fabrics and flour etc.. all over ourselves.”
The inspiration for SEKDEK comes from a large spanning vat of various sources. To name a few, the project takes visual cues from artist such as Mathew Barney, Björk, and H.R. Giger (the guy responsible for the creature from Alien [which he won an Oscar for] and apparently also the inspiration for “biomechanical” tattoos). They also name film influences such as the 1990 dark fantasy horror film Nightbreed, the 1988 satirical sci-fi movie They Live, and the opening scenes from Where The Wild Things Are. Also the heavy metal band Gwar(still not sure if this band is a joke or not) and images from National Geographic tribal indigenous documentaries.
Extensively absurdist yet clever and elaborate, SEKDEK is a unique project that invites imaginative thinking as it lives between the borders of fetish, gore, kitsch, and perhaps just plain ol’ innocent fun.
Van Orton Design has recreated cult classic movie posters as vibrant digital works of art. The team is a creative collaboration of twin brothers from Turin, Italy. Using digital illustration tools, the brothers have created stained-glass reminiscent, 1970s retro themed images that are unbelievably elaborate and profoundly structured. Each poster is formulated by using the classic “one point perspective.” This is a a formula used by old masters that organizes an entire image based on a single vanishing point in the center. Every line is aimed to draw attention to the exact middle of the work — perfecting it’s perspective while simultaneously controlling the viewer’s eye. The posters portray a familiar scene from each film. The series ranges from new classics to older cult epics including The Shining, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Young Frankenstein, Knight Rider, Deep Red, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, The Legend Of Zelda, Big Trouble in Little China, Brazil, and others of the likes. Their style is simultaneously unique and archetypically vintage. The use of loud color and clever hue pairing scream out for attention without being overbearing or overtly overwhelming. Van Orton Design‘s work hits the mark of what any good movie poster should achieve; they both embody and generate excitement for every single film. The duo have created something truly collectable and and absolutely fun. (via designboom)
In Jati Putra’s world, gravity doesn’t apply. People, nature and urbanism move around in total freedom. The sky becomes the ocean, dolphins dive in between seas and people enjoy a day at the beach inside a stadium. The pictures’ new aspect and the washed out colors resemble surrealistic landscapes inspired by Salvador Dali.
The Indonesian graphic designer knows how to manipulate and distort the simplest sceneries and create bizarre yet reassuring new environments. Using photo manipulation, he flips the main subjects around, alters ‘normal’ angles and shifts his characters into intriguing scenarios. The process is achieved in an unpretentious manner. Each picture demonstrates the ability for Jati Putra to envision an imaginary set as close to reality as possible.
Playing with reality, changing perspectives and the way we look at our daily lives. Without extravagant scenarios, the designer creates entertainment that is subtle and graceful. A surfer on the surface of the earth, jellyfish flying over a mountain or a lady admiring the earth imitating a sun-set. There’s no logic in Jati Putra’s elements. Only an invitation to travel in between a dimensional space of his own, drifting the viewer’s unconsciousness from the earth up to the sky, from his reality to his dreams. (Via Design Boom)
Kristen Liu-Wong is a Los-Angeles artist who paints darkly humorous and bizarre scenarios—ones that often involve violence and/or human depravity. The bright colors and cartoonish figures are initially misleading; look closer into her grotesque doll house of images and you’ll see people decapitated, vomiting, and performing sexual acts. It’s a bit like the Sims on bad acid; people stand around in ordinary-looking rooms while engaging in absurd (and placidly horrific) situations. It’s all in good humor, however; Liu-Wong’s characters smile diabolically and carry on, no matter what mayhem is occurring around them. She also paints still-life-like images with the same surreal edge.
Liu-Wong draws her inspiration from a variety of styles, ranging from American folk art to Japanese paintings to 90s “lowbrow” artists. She cites Clare Rojas as a main source of inspiration (Source). Her subject matter—a figurative representation of the world and human behavior—is a product of her vivid imagination. Visit her website, Tumblr, and Instagram for more high-energy and detailed scenarios that will leave you amused and guessing. There is an interview with the artist available on Pacific Dissent. (Via Art Fucks Me)
In a collection called Animaux, Netherlands-based artist Tim Hobbelman has been sculpting animals out of discarded electrical appliances, sourcing his materials from junk stores. Look closely at each creature and you will see objects such as hair dryers, headphones, and a Dustbuster, all fused together in the likeness of eyes, snouts, and wings. His strange (and slightly creepy) menagerie currently showcases a deer, bear, and wild boar, among others. Each piece captures the physical details of the individual animals, while also infusing them with an unsettling, cyborg-like appearance.
Hobbelman’s Animaux are not only clever in the skill it takes to recreate animal anatomy with electronic parts, but it is also a creative recycling practice. Non-biodegradable trash that will either be thrown into a landfill or left to gather dust on a junk shop shelf is reanimated with new life—a comment, perhaps, on the effects that such obsolescent, discarded technology has on the environment.
Hobbelman hopes to create more Animaux, so be sure to check out his Facebook page and support his work. He is also taking part in the Born as an Artist exhibition on December 18th at Instinct One in Tilburg. (Via Junkculture)
An entire galaxy trapped into a tiny glass sphere. Japanese Glass artist Satoshi Tomizu in his Space Glass series fabricates planets and dust trails by heating up glass. A traditional technique using heat energy and the talent of a man. The rendering is fascinating and creates a world of magic and fantasy.
The artist depicts the solar system and the universe inside transparent glass balls. The planets are made out of opals placed in the center, flecks of real gold and trails of colored glass that spins and twirls in concentric circles. They all are the size of an eyeball and have a small glass loop which allows the piece to be turned into a pendant. Each piece in unique and different.
Satoshi Tomizu’s work is full of details. The eye can catch the twirls of colors but quickly looses track of each individual features. There’s something magical in carrying a poetic scenery around one’s neck. Space dust, rainbow colored trails, stars and asteroids are elements which evoke fantasy and the possibility to escape the present moment. (via This Is Colossal)