Seth Casteel has done it again. He has come up with a great sequel to his widely successfully photographic series of dogs underwater with crazy faces and curious poses (previously featured here on Beautiful/Decay). This time around we have an equally cute subject matter – babies. Full of lively little bodies twisting and turning in the bubbling water, Casteel captures the large personalities of the kids in his new book Underwater Babies. We see the full range of human emotion on their little faces – from surprise, to glee, to terror, to mischievousness, to serenity and everything in between. Beautifully lit and dramatically staged, the kids faces will capture your heart immediately.
As a huge fan of dogs, puppies, and all things canine, Casteel wanted to raise awareness of animal abuse with his first series. After his Underwater Dogs photographs went super viral all over the internet, and then went on to sell over half a million copies around the world, he realized the power of images and applied it to another worthy cause. He explains more:
Through advocating water safety for pets, I became aware that water safety for children was also a very serious issue. Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death of children under the age of five in the United States. Infant swimming lessons can help to reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. By creating this book, I hope to encourage and inspire parent to consider swim lessons for their children, with the ultimate goal of preventing tragedies. (Source)
You can purchase his Underwater Babies book here through Amazon.
Carpenter, furniture designer and innovator Gavin Munro is heading a project called Full Grown that is achieving incredible things. He and his team have an ambitious and revolutionary idea of growing trees around frames and supports that will shape them into chairs, tables, mirror frames, and light shades. The process takes a few years, but ultimately saves on labor and time when it comes to chopping, harvesting, sanding, polishing and finishing the furniture.
The idea for Full Grown started when, as a young boy, Munro saw an overgrown bonsai tree that looked remarkably like a chair. In a strange twist of fate, he then needed a back brace to help straighten his spine. With the time to mull over a few things, he put these different experiences together with his expertise in furniture making to try something new.
It’s where I learnt patience. There were long periods of staying still, plenty of time to observe what was going on and reflect. It was only after doing this project for a few years a friend pointed out that I must know exactly what it’s like to be shaped and grafted on a similar time scale. (Source)
So treating wood the same way his own bones were treated, he experimented with growing different prototypes. After a couple of attempts with willow trees, Munro now has almost 3,000 trees growing into furniture on 2.5 acres. The first pieces will be ready in Spring 2016 and you can pre order different pieces here. Obviously, each piece is unique and unrepeatable, all marked and with a Certificate of Provenance. Ultimately Munro hopes to achieve a new understanding of wood and it’s brilliance.
I hope that our work highlights what it takes to make the objects we surround ourselves with, and that no one looks at trees in quite the the same way again. (Source)
Jason Borders has been collecting different animal skulls from before he started school. Always looking for more objects to add to his cabinet of curiosities, he explored his local neighborhoods picking up bits of bones and cartilage. Years later, he has turned that obsession into an art form, showcasing his talent in galleries, shops and collections around the country. He carves patterns and designs that resemble traditional Mehndi tattoos. He usually lets the shape of the skull or bone that he is working on dictate the design he carves. He then covers the work in ink or a striking color.
Borders remembers the day his hobby turned a bit more serious with amusement. After discovering the carcass of an elk while in the desert, and loading it all into his car – an action that almost got him arrested, took it back to his garage. There he cleaned the bones and noticed something that helped him take his craft to the next level.
Looking at the Dremel and looking at the bones next to each other, I picked it up and started working on it. The garage was right underneath my house, and I ended up filling the house with bone dust, and made myself really sick and made my wife really angry. Then I did it another four years, but I’m much more careful these days. (Source)
Borders also paints and carves other items, but has a particular affinity toward skulls. He treats his work as a way of overcoming his fears – particularly ones concerning mortality. He says because he is always working with the idea of death – quite literally, it helps him live his life with intent and purpose. And what a great purpose he has found. (Via Faith Is Toment)
South Korean artist Jihyun Park creates incredibly complex images by burning minute holes in rice paper with incense sticks. He then mounts the finished ‘drawings’ onto varnished canvases. The final results are beautifully serene images of trees, mountains, clouds, forests and branches. As a kind of reverse pointillism, Park is interested in the contrasts between empty space and positive space, or by taking something away (parts of the paper, and the incense stick) to create something new (the image).
Inspired by the books Gulliver’s Travels, Utopia, and Erewhon and after seeing the Japanese animated movie Castle in the Sky, Park became interested in the ideas of utopia and harmony. He expands these connections in his work further:
My recent work, Incense Series, focuses on this relationship while searching for the promised harmonic balance that utopia brings. Ironically, the word “utopia” in Korean is “Yi Sang Hwang” and “Hwang” means “incense”. (Source)
Park also talks about the ideas of positive and negative further. He says the shadows created by the holes in the paper are playing off of the light reflected from behind them. To him this is a fine example of Yin and Yang and two opposites who complicate and strengthen each other. He also chooses to outline his subjects or to fill them in – working with reverses in an aesthetic sense as well.
The subjects addressed in my work range from the natural world to memories of the past, reflecting the constant physical and emotional changes in our environment. It is my hope that the “moments” I captures of my subjects are ones when they are at their most ideal– true utopias. While drawing them with the incense, I am “holding” a split moment of harmony in my hands. (Source)
Shia LaBeouf has our attention once again, but this time he is only a placeholder in an enormous and masterful creative production. While the video is a parody of sorts of Labeouf’s celebrity status, the real focus is on just how incredible all of the different elements come together. A mixture of music, comedy, dance, narrative and performance, the stage piece is definitely a spectacle. You just need to look at the credits on the Youtube page to see how many people were actually involved in making this strange idea come to life.
The actual song, and score was written by Rob Cantor, and was made a reality with the help of The Gay Men’s Choir of Los Angeles, The West Los Angeles Children’s Choir and The Argus Quartet. Not only did he write the song, and draw up a complex and riveting narrative of what happens to our star character, but Cantor also oversaw the construction of Shia LaBeouf heads for the dancers to wear; he stood in on the choreographed dance rehearsals, and co-ordinated a behind-the-scenes video log.
You can see just how intensive this project was, and the lengthy process it took to get the musical to the final stages. If you are still left wanting more Shia LeBeouf after watching the musical number, visit Cantor’s Facebook page for many more interesting videos on how exactly this bizarre masterpiece came to fruition.
Ray Collins sees waves and water in a way that most people don’t. Luckily for us he also captures it with his camera. Collins acquired his first camera in 2007 and seems to have stayed in the water with it ever since, focused on capturing all of the different forms of water. Initially he wanted to take snaps of his surfer friends in his native Australia catching rides and enjoying barrels, but instead was enticed by the blue liquid under their boards.
Collins, who is actually colorblind, is able to focus on the patterns and light play in the waves, and pays special attention to the shapes they make against the sky. His unique perspective shows off the grandness and drama of the seascapes. Normal splashes of water are seen instead as incredible peaks on mountains. The front of a wave turns into a deep canyon which sinks to unseen depths. Collins manages to capture the translucency, strength, fluidity, and the unrelenting force of water all at the same time.
His unique style has won him some hefty accolades in just a few years, including 1st Place for ‘Australian Surf Photo of the Year‘ (2015), he was a finalist in the ‘Smithsonian – Annual Photo Contest’(2015), and also was the winner for the ‘American Aperture Awards’ – Landscape/Seascape/Nature (2015). He has shot campaigns for Nikon, United Airlines, Qantas and National Geographic, and has a new book out called Found At Sea, which a collection of some of his favorite photographs.
Junk artist Rubbish Fairy (Sophie Soni) is constantly hoarding, collecting, cutting, gluing and arranging, yeap you guessed it, rubbish. She manages to take discarded plastic bits and pieces and turns them into wearable, kitschy, technicolor rainbow explosions. Soni fashions together chunky head pieces, masks, breastplates, dresses for different performers, musicians, artists, and fashion shoots. Basically anything that can adorn the body, she has it covered. Her pieces include stunningly ornate chandelier head dresses, or Victorian-style flouncy dresses littered with cheap and cheerful gems, or balaclava masks covered with red silicon lips, pig noses and multiple strings of beads. She has even chopped up soft toys in the past and used their various limbs and heads as different bits of jewelry.
Ms Fairy piles everything on all at once and manages to bask in the chaos she creates. As a comment on consumer culture, vanity, the fashion industry, and the economy of desire, her work is reminiscent of installation artist Mike Kelley. Both manage to exist simultaneously within and outside of pop culture. They heavily reference, and use the resources from the world around them, yet manage to place themselves in an order separate from it.
Rubbish Fairy’s world is a surreal, captivating, all encompassing one – where, if you’ve been in it for long enough, you will start to see the trash around you quite differently. See more of her out-of-this-world creations after the jump.
Polish artist Olek not only treats her crochet practice as an art form, but also as a catalyst for social change, or at least political and societal commentary. As a part of the St+art Delhi street festival in Delhi, she chose a homeless shelter to decorate with her colorful and energetic woolen pieces. Enlisting the help of fashion design labels in India to not only donate fabric and materials to her community project, but also volunteering helpers, she was able to cover a huge space. Paying homage to India’s infamous textile economy and bright culture, Olek stitches vivid patterns of purples, blues, reds, yellows and oranges together.
She normally recreates anything in stitches that crosses her way – from text messages to medical reports to found objects; she has even covered an entire studio apartment and a life-size dinosaur with her signature crochet. She says of her intention behind her work:
My work changes from place to place. I studied the science of culture. With a miner’s work ethic, I long to delve deeper and deeper into my investigations. My art was a development that took me away from industrial, close-minded Silesia, Poland. It has always sought to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to the living space. I intend to take advantage of living in NYC with various neighborhoods and, with my actions, create a feedback to the economic and social reality in our community. (Source)
Always working with the public in the back of her mind, Olek has produced work in some pretty interesting settings, from Brazil to Brooklyn, and for some interesting causes. For more of her projects, see here. (Via Hi Fructose)