Through the use of bright color, spray paint, and clever distortions, Atlanta based artist Christina West’s work puts a fun, humorous and contemporary spin on a classical aesthetic. West sculpts busts and full figures that begin as traditional looking white ceramic pieces, yet are matched with moments of almost ice cream cake or jawbreaker like slices. Her process begins as the classic method of creating a casted sculpture does; she creates her portraits based on a desire for likeness. However, once the piece comes out of the mold, West gives herself a freedom to play and likeness no longer becomes her purpose. Instead, she aims to, as stated in the gallery statement for her upcoming show at CG2 gallery in Nashville, TN, “highlight the alienation that I inevitably feel with others because their thoughts and feelings are inaccessible; I can never be in another head as completely as i am in my own” (source). Her work tends to highlight poses and facial expressions of distress or discomfort, allowing her work to, as she states, nod to an existential notion of being, of confusion, isolation and, perhaps more simply, just being human. However, it is her parings of neons and day glows that take the heaviness and maybe overtly dramatized nature of sculptures such as these, and transform these works into something relatable. It is their absurdity that makes them more human, more relevant. West’s works takes a traditional type of sculpture and truly makes it fun and beautiful, but perhaps more importantly, absolutely her own. (via Juxtapoz)
Christopher Chiappa has been casting sculptures of eggs in plaster for the past five years and now they have taken on a life of their own. His work,“Livestrong” uses 7,000 eggs in a gallery installation and makes us wonder if we should be worried about an imminent egg invasion or if he’s simply putting egg on our face.
The pieces, which are the outcome of countless drawings and photos, have been painstakingly attached to Kate Werble Gallery (NYC) and look like an infestation climbing down walls, oozing across floors, and dripping from ceilings. But the Gallery provides us several ways to access the significance of the work, not all of which include a perilous plague. Perhaps the eggs are the energy of a large group, a non-threatening crowd, a recommended high-protein “Livestrong” recipe, or a nod to the “this is your brain on drugs” advertising campaign.
Premier website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up again to bring you exclusive artist features. We show you exciting artists and designers who use Made With Color to create a clean and modern website. But it doesn’t just help artists create a minimal, mobile-responsive website; Made With Color also allows them to do it in only a few minutes without have to know any coding.This week we’re excited to share the work of Made With Color user Francisco Alarcon Ruiz.
In Francisco Alarcon Ruiz’s work one finds a surprising harmony between nature and technology. Ruiz brings digital techniques such as routers, 3D printers, CAD and animation software and seamlessly blends them with wood and other natural materials to create abstractions that look like a futuristic archeological dig. The surface of each piece is carved and scraped by machines exposing a hyper spectrum of color that was once hidden. Using chance and randomness to his advantage he intentionally adds a method that can potentially add errors. These elements of chance don’t hold his work back. In fact they add a playful element to the work that brings about unique elements that might not otherwise appear. The artist states
‘My work oscillates between contingency and control, visualized through material experiments resulting from new techniques that I develop to negotiate with the representation of abstraction.’
Discover more of Francisco Alarcon Ruiz’s work on his Instagram Account.
Amsterdam based designer, art director, and animator Rosa de Jong creates tiny worlds in test tubes. The series, in which she has titled Micro Matter, almost acts like a physical miniaturized moment of nostalgia. Her work, in instants of logic and irrational, act like tiny encapsulations of deep rooted memories that are to uncover mysteries . Due to their scientific glassware, her pieces seem like they are something to investigate, to question, to figure out truth from. Their nonsensical yet somehow, almost recognizable nature, allows them to insist on a true moment of contemplation. Is this the depiction of something, somewhere, that belongs? Is this something that should be recalled, known? They are fantastical — they are a replica, but of something of a dream, of half remembered childhood homes, or fantasy houses, or fictionalized dwellings. Their beauty and their delicacy become even more inciting once it becomes known that they are hand made with simple products such as paper, cardboard and found materials from nature like tree branches and moss. Her work aims to tell a story, whether it be recognizable or not, she states;
“since people are naturally drawn to stories and people that are different, the goal is to tell the real story of the brand, an set it apart from the crowd, making every piece of communication authentic and personal.”
Artist Rosa de Jong uses her work to create a new narrative, to delve into the unknown through known resources; her work pushes us to feel and search, while holding our hand throughout the journey. (via design boom)
The paintings of artist Benjamin Björklund unearth and obscure the emotional states of his subjects. Working from a rustic, nineteenth-century farmhouse in Uppsala, Sweden, his muses are often those around him: family members, Solomon (his Great Dane), his pet rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs, as well as the wild animals outside. Faces are painted in soft colors, seeming to reflect the pale light of the northern sun. However, everything seems a bit out of focus; eyes and hairlines and skin meld together, giving the portraits an impressionistic style. Dual forces are at play as the figures shift imperceptibly between reality and abstraction, presence and distance.
Ben’s project is to interpret and convey the inner worlds of his subjects. This is a compelling concept, given that portraiture is traditionally a desired projection of someone—a veneer of their character. Ben’s work, however, is more honest in that it connects the physical surface to the intangible swirl within. His about page explains his approach further:
“Ben’s figurative and portraiture work can, at times, depict scenes bordering on the surreal with characters influenced by those around him existing in various physical or emotional situations. These are usually emphasized through the use of abstracted light and darts of color. These, Ben refers to as ‘happy mistakes’ being borne from spontaneous actions and serving to focus the viewer’s attention whilst adding to the emotional impact on the viewer.” (Source)
In their abstraction, Ben’s subjects become deeply individualistic, while also exploring the metaphysical depths and complexities of human identity.
Ben’s paintings are held in private collections in many cities around the world, including LA, Melbourne, and throughout Europe. You can explore more of his work on his website and Instagram. (Via Hi-Fructose)
Léonard Condemine is a French mixed media artist who sculpts enigmatic masks and photographs them in haunting contexts. His work is influenced by occultism, mythology, and the tribal arts, representing the body in arcane relation with the earth; nude figures crouch by the fire, in the forest, and beneath starry skies. Decorated with paint, feathers, and mirror shards, the masks are stunning works of art that transform the subjects into mythic (or perhaps monstrous) beings. Impressively, none of his images have been digitally manipulated; the magic of his work arises from a brilliant synthesis of setting, costume, composition, and light, thereby transforming reality into the realm of dreams.
Condemine is interested in the dual forces of identity formation and identity loss. The masks, albeit on a human body, are extremely adept at obscuring the figures’ humanity; with their faces (and thus their emotions) inaccessible to the viewer, the figures become embodiments of mystical forces and the wilderness around them. This effect is so powerful, that when Condemine and his brothers posed for the final series of photos last November, not even their closest friends could identify them beneath their masks. This alienation from subjectivity is both unsettling and compelling, revealing identity as a construct, and also opening the images up to endless interpretation.
Chinese artist Ann Hoi creates beautifully bizarre paper figurative sculptures. Usually depicting images of children and fantastical animal creatures within an air of melancholia, her work simultaneously achieves an essence of preciousness and unsettlement. Since graduating from Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2010, Hoi has only crafted around a dozen pieces; each work is made through a long meticulous process. Her sculptures are created with a method that begins with the extremely clever use of a 3D animation software that allows her to develop, edit, and manipulate her characters digitally. She then prints her designs onto paper and has to build her works essentially through a version of intense puzzle piecing. Their monochromatic and literal xerox copied aesthetic allows them to almost exist as a physical representation of a digital hologram. They create a real virtual reality. They seem to exist on a strange border of futuristic and nostalgic — their “digital” quality allows them to be referential of that of a technological manifestation and therefore science fiction, however, the graphics, again, the monochrome palette, as well as the sort of “glitch” like feel, makes them seem like they are that of an old technology, a reminiscent one. Hoi’s work is undoubtedly unique. Each piece has the true ability to draw the viewer into a world that they have yet to experience. However, despite how removed from reality these works are, they some how do not feel out of place. It almost feels voyeuristic, as if the viewer is the one that doesn’t belong. (via Hi-Frustose)
Russian born illustrator Andrey Smirny uses the sharp angles, bright colors, and deceptively flat depiction of spatial relationships found in early NES video games to illustrate the drama and humor of the ongoing exchange between people and their modern technological environments. He was born and raised in the Soviet Union in late 80s, and attributes the sudden flood of easily accessible Western media post-Iron Curtain as moments that have made lasting impacts on his artistic expression and aesthetic. He spent his youth watching bootlegged American B-rated action movies on VHS (“weird John Carpenter movies like Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing”) and exploring similarly illegally obtained Nintendo games like Double Dragon, Battle Toads, and Tanks. He went on to study Fine Art and Graphic Design and fell in love with the DIY comic scene, exploring GIFs as his main medium. Currently he draws on the style and constantly evolving work of self-taught artist Todd James as one of his biggest inspirations, along with the otherworldly ideas of his barber Nikolai and “his addiction to UFO-related YouTube videos and belief that angels truly live on Mars.”