The stereotype of your average biker is probably not the first thing you would think of when looking at these images by London based photographer Bex Day. She manages to capture a personable, jovial and charming side to the bikers associated with the infamous 59 Club of London. Wanting to recreate scenes of the subculture from the 60s and onwards, Day cast different characters in certain poses that are endearing and humorous. She says:
I wanted to explore the renowned biker café, the Ace Café and explore the lives of the bikers who hang out there and get to know them better; but most importantly to investigate their take on the 50s/60s movement.
Trying to keep the scenes as realistic as possible, and true to the spirit of the 59 Club, it is important to Day that she captures the bikers how they really are – wrinkles, blemishes, hairy backs and all. She goes on to say:
I wanted to recreate the era to illustrate it in a timeless manner, which is what I try to do in all my photographs, but also to emphasize how the subjects viewed the era we were trying to portray and their take on it was crucial to the photographs.
Day wants to challenge our views of conventional beauty and to destroy the guidelines of what is and what isn’t aesthetically pleasing. A subject that isn’t normally seen as beautiful, in Day’s hands, is treated as something equally as attractive as a traditional fashion spread. Who would’ve thought long haired men wearing too-tight dungarees and ‘pimp’ glasses straddling motorbikes could be so appealing?
Multi-media artist Kip Omolade paints captivating portraits based on realistic African sculptures. His new series Diovadiova Chrome is a collection of hyper realistic, super saturated, luminous faces that are a result of a labor intensive process. Omolade first makes a mold of each model’s face out of plaster, casts it in resin, adds a layer of chrome and extravagant artificial eyelashes. This final version of the sculpture is then used as a model for the oil painting. Omolade says his paintings are:
historically connect[ed] to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury.
He goes on to say that his re-imagining of the masks are a conduit between the spiritual and natural world. He has exhibited the actual representations of the masks as well, as a kind of homage to the history of African culture being on display. His expertise in the African Art genre (gained from working at The Center for African Art in NYC) has fueled his passion for promoting awareness of the indigenous culture. To see more of his impressive images, see after the jump.
Australian graphic designer Filfury (Phil Robson) is a sneaker freak, and it shows in his latest images. He takes photographic details of bright and colorful sports shoes and re-imagines them as new intriguing shapes. His series of images include different objects such as butterflies, beetles, skulls, bats, body organs and guns. Robson takes the textures, patterns and characteristics form classic sneakers like Adidas Originals Superstar, the Air Jordan 4 Retro, and the Reebok Shaq Attack, and chops them up. Threaded shoelaces become teeth in the jaw of a skull; breathable mesh turn into wings of a dragonfly; the Adidas stripes morph into the wings of a bat; the toes of a sneakers are now the body part of an insect.
After collaborating with many many corporate brands such as Nike Basketball, Adidas, Reebok and Sneaker Pimps, Robson is a pro at creating sharp, modern graphics. He has been featured on many top artist lists, and is definitely a talent to track. You can see more of his streamlined aesthetic here on his Instagram feed. (Via Design Faves)
British artist Mike Nelson‘s installations feel a bit like you’ve stumbled onto a movie set. He sets up eerie scenarios that are very minimal, but impactful. His piece To the Memory of H.P Lovecraft (1999,2008) saw him bashing holes in the pristine white gallery walls and freestanding plinths, as if some creature had torn it’s way through the room. Leaving the narrative vague and bare, Nelson leaves it up to the viewer to react to his installations as they want to. Nelson plays with simulation, representations of the real, replicas and objects placed in new contexts. By recreating something quite simple, but in a new and unexpected way, he is able to make us feel at odds with the space.
Nelson rebuilds interior scenes as well as destroying them. In The Projection Room (Triple Bluff Canyon) in 2009 he blocked the access to a replica of a typical south-London Victorian terraced house and forced the visitors to peek through a window. Objects spewed out of one tiny split in the wall in a very bizarre fashion. Nelson talks about his practice:
I’ve always had a slight fear of piles of junk that function purely as decorative ephemera but only act as a signifier of a certain type of installation…I think it’s a constant worry that you’ll make this amount of effort to have something that just becomes spectacle, as opposed to something which moves somebody or encourages somebody to empathize with what you’re trying to lure them into, or coax them towards. (Source) (Via Sweet Station)
Looking like a set of architecture models for a Gaudi building, Richard Sweeney‘s paper sculptures are organic, poetic, intricate, and mostly made without the aid of glue or tape. Taking his inspiration from the shapes and forms that occur in nature – like clouds, mounds of snow, he folds paper into beautiful geometric pieces. Not confined to working on a small scale, Sweeney also constructs wonderfully complex forms that hang from the ceiling to the floor.
He was recently part of a show called Above The Fold, and is a part of a group of talented modern day origami masters. Taking the ancient art of paper folding to a new level, Sweeney and his contemporaries are redefining the limits of what can be done with paper. Biological structures, and the essence of form and function are Sweeney’s inspirations. He talks to Design Museum more about what motivates and inspires him:
As I have mentioned, architecture is a great inspiration to me, but aside from the man-made, I am also inspired by natural forms. It is not so much the organic shapes, but the means by which they are generated that interests me. It makes great sense to borrow from elements from biological structures, as these forms demonstrate the pinnacle of material, structural and functional efficiency. (Source)
Like a true designer, Sweeney is giving the humble piece of paper new life and function. You can even attempt his paper folding technique at home by watching this short tutorial here. (Via Exhibition-ism)
Sculptor Eva Jospin constantly reinvents the idea of what a forest is over and over again. She cuts, layers, arranges, glues and builds cardboard into different interpretations of The Woods. Her pieces range from smaller 2D pictures compiled from dense sticks, branches and flaky bits of wood, to life size 3D installations that you are invited into, and can move around within. For Jospin, cardboard is just the medium for a larger message; these trees express many things:
The forest – an incarnation of nature in the wild – is above all the setting in traditional storytelling of tests of courage, and can be a gloomy or initiatory place. The forest is also where one encounters oneself. This walk through the forest initiates the visit to ‘ Inside’, which is also an inner journey. (Source)
Jospin uses a material that is not only durable, robust, strong, and supportive, but also fragile, impermanent, raw and insubstantial. She plays on these two points of view – they mirror the actual qualities of trees, nature and our relationship to it. These poetic attachments to Josie’s Forest pieces isn’t lost on her critics either:
To look at a forest is an optical experience that challenges the typical laws of perspective in western representation. Facing visually the depth of a forest means to forget the horizon, it means to get lost. And is not the danger of getting lost the only risk tied up to that natural labyrinth that is a forest? (Source)
You’ve probably seen Mat Maitland‘s images before – and if you haven’t, when you do, you will remember them. The London based graphic designer has a knack at creating brightly colored, striking pop designs with a surrealistic twist. Producing album covers for Basement Jaxx, Michael Jackson, Prince, Goldfrapp, Kanye West and also brand campaigns for Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, and The Tate Gallery, Maitland is experienced in generating eye catching and original compositions. Referencing fashion, vintage magazines, music, paintings and films, he is able to produce something very modern and compelling.
His slick backgrounds, layered textures, saturated colors and juxtaposing textures all blend together beautifully. He is able to eradicate the usual borders that exist between fashion, illustration, photography and design. He talks to Creative Review about some of his intentions behind the Kenzo campaign here:
I wanted the film to be an extension of my illustrative world, to bring that to life, so the jungle itself is quite surreal and otherworldly, a kind of electric parallel universe. I imagined the story as though dreamt by a wild cat, lucid snap shots of a neon jungle world that only make sense in a dream. (Source)
His images do indeed seem like you are exploring an exotic dream, full of strange and wonderful wildlife and patterned beasts. If you want to travel further into Maitland’s world, see his films and moving images here.
Korean sculptor Cha Jong Rye shapes, carves, sculpts and manipulates wood to not look like wood. Whether it’s building the material up into pyramids sprouting up from a 2D surface, or forming wood into a free standing spiky form, or making it resemble a scrunched up ball of paper, Jong Rye is one competent carver. She splices different layers of wood together and builds up new shapes, alluding to the actual growth patterns of the raw material. The spikes, recesses, folds, indents and bubbles she makes are her way of allowing the life and energy of the wood come to the surface. One curator talks about her work in a very holistic way:
Flowing with immaterial energy, her sculptures represent the external and inner rhythms of all beings in nature in the state of complete absence of ego. Those little sharp forms composing each work are wriggling upward as if to touch the sky. They, that is, the modules are getting smaller upward as if to indicate the layers of time piled up in nature and universe. They are twisting upwards in their own disparate directions, until they evaporate or disappear into the limitless, leaving only their points. (Source)
Whatever the wooden forms of Jong Rye represents, she does inject a beautiful serenity into them. Her sculptures have a calming effect about them; as if we were there with her in a meditative trance while she was making them. The physical act of her carving the repetitive forms are for sure some sort of way of Jong Rye closing herself off and letting the wood be wood, or in this case, letting it be whatever it wants to be. (Via Dayraven)