Shohei Otomo Reveals The Reality Of Japanese Culture By Hand Drawing Traditional Fantasy Characters

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Reality and fantasy. Two concepts depicted in Shohei Otomo’s ballpoint drawings. Black and white illustrations blending traditions and the punk spirit of Japanese culture. Through the eyes of the artist, we are taken to the center of the effervescence, Tokyo.

Shohei Otomo unfolds the contradictions and the touching face of Tokyo to the rest of the world. He plays the role of a middle man, channeling key information to both parties, highlighting Japan as an isolated and singular country.
He claims people have this clean image of Japanese people owning a calm and patient temper at work and in their personal lives. He is proving that reality is otherwise. His work is targeted to a global crowd. Yet the symbols he uses are meant to report the actuality to foreigners and to act as a satire for his Japanese audience.

His drawings consist of simple characters wearing traditional versus pop items. A girl is posing wearing a kimono with men and women gender symbols. She is wearing a wig decorated with a rose, a love sign, condoms and a mask. A policeman is smoking a joint through a bong. The drawings are hyper-realistic, hand drawn with a ball point. This simple method reveals the talent of the young artist who is also the son of Katsuhri Otomo, creator of Akira, the renown animated cyberpunk thriller movie. (via Booooooom).

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These Illustrations Were “Painted” With Microbes And Bacterias By Microbiologists

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Microbes as paint and a petri dish as a canvas. These are the conditions in which biologists and artists collaborated together to create organic and innovative pieces of art. Organized by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the ‘Agar Art contest’ called all ASM members to demonstrate by a visual expression of their science the beauty of bacterias. The rendering of the contest led to entertaining designs and for some cases, deeper and profound interpretations.

If we look at the end results on the ASM Facebook page, without knowing the origin of the work, we could have guessed it was achieved by drawing and writing with colored sharpies on a gel texture. It’s astonishing and amazingly well done. The winners, microbiologist Mehmet Berkmen and artist Maria Penil won twice.

First with their ‘Cell to Cell’ design, a symmetrical design in orange and fuchsia colors. The captions explain the colors were obtained by isolating ‘yellow Nesterenkonia, orange Deinococcus and Sphingomonas’. Who knew bacteria existed in such superb tones?
The duo also won with ‘Hunger Games’, a 3D skeleton face literally symbolizing life and death. As explained in the description, the main bacteria which forms the textured effect of the eyes, nose and mouth grows in defense to a famine condition within its environment. Death had to be created first to generate life. The examination of the biological world via bacterias not only produced surprising designs, it also created a space for a spiritual introspection. (via Junk Culture).

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Benze’s Ultra Detailed Ink Drawings Are An Explosion Of Pleasure For Your Eyes

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Extremely detailed back and white drawings. Benze is an Hungarian artist who hand-draws ink illustrations. The work in singular. Looking like tattoos from far away, up close; it’s an invitation to explore every single detail forming the elaborate face, animal or flora.

Benze compares his process to a “distillation”. An attempt to part the traditional oil painting and the modern back and white graphics. The result is a blend of calligraphic style, an “art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner”; and perfectly traced features. The artist’s intention is to give pleasure to the eye. The explosion of intricate characteristics within a general shape calls the attention. Benz tells a story within a story. Leaving the viewers the option to just see the bigger image or to go deeper into the thousands of fine-drawn hidden elements.

“The tattooed looking components are very important parts of my drawings because they continuously open up new interpretations of the image”.
The designs imitating tattoo graphics open the imagination for endless new interpretations. The structure of the drawings create an energy which can never bore the eye. (via Illusion Magazine)

Max Siedentopf Illegally Pimps Your Ride With A Little Help From Some Tape And Cardboard

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Max Siedentopf is a car transformer. He pimps cars which, in his opinion need an upgrade. He sneaks up at dawn in the streets of Amsterdam and with a couple of euros tapes cardboards onto the cars. The add-ons recreate the design of race cars, low budget style.

It’s all thought through. All the major components, rear wings, side pods and front wings, help imitate a fancy expensive supercar. Max Siedentopf cannot get his head around the fact that in a world where personalization and self-expression is craved and sought after, cars are still so poor looking.

Car owners are usually like pet owners, proud and close to the subject they affectionate and take care of daily. They usually end up looking alike. Would this mean ugly looking cars have ugly looking owners? Thanks to Max Siedentopf, and if the owners keep their upgrade on, this will never be brought up anymore. 

Paul Rucker’s Provocative Artwork Takes Back America’s History Of Racist Imagery And Symbols

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KKK robes recreated, bullets shot on purpose on white paper, a video pointing out the current incarcerations and lynching images depicted on a throw.  Paul Rucker’s exhibition is comprised of texts, a video, quilts, textiles and installations. All with the aim to tell stories that will shock, question and reflect on America’s police violence. According to Paul Rucker, it’s an ongoing process, hence the title of his exhibition: ‘Rewind’.

The artist’s vision is plural. The exhibition translates a dramatization of how the history of racism is affecting our present lives. The Klan robes are made out of new fabrics to strike and draw curiosity. He is using powerful symbols of racism to lead our current society to communicate and debate. His subjects are intentionally provocative.
When he stitches killing images on throws that are originally suppose to bring warmth and comfort, he is deliberately choosing to oppose two major elements: life and death.
In a ten minute video, he represents the 2.3 million people currently imprisoned on a map. The use of different color make the rendering visually more effective and speaks a greater deal to the eye.

Another series consists of shots on pieces of white paper. They are created with a pistol and are named by the city and date of the event. The artist runs a series of statistics and unveils that a number of unarmed individuals were shot by the police. Once again Paul Rucker wants to make a visual impact. Instead of explaining and narrating a story, the shots on the white papers create tension. It’s an effective summary of a thousand words.

The purpose of this exhibition is to make a clear testimony on what has happened, is happening and will, undoubtedly happen again in the future.
Paul Rucker’s ‘Rewind’ exhibition is displayed at the Baltimore Museum of Art until November 15th 2015. (via huffington post)

Laurie Anderson’s Provocative New Collaborative Installation With A Former Guantanamo Bay Prisoner

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An artistic collaboration between a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner and a multimedia artist. One sitting in West Africa, the other in New York. The dialogue between Laurie Anderson and Mohammed el Gharani took place two days ago at the The Park Avenue Armory. The installation/performance titled ‘Habeas Corpus’ is a concept demonstrating the possibility of untangling stories and their interpretations though a simple dialogue.

Laurie Anderson imagined the installation to take part in separate stories. In a first room, the entire body of Mohammed el Gharani is live by the process of projection-mapping in a large auditorium. He is projected as four times his size in a statuesque position inspired by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. . In another room, Mohammed el Gharani appears on a large flat screen, in front of benches set up for visitors. This presentation is filmed as a documentary where the former prisoner narrates his experiences. 

The visitors are given prior to the installation a leaflet explaining the circumstances of the making of what they are about to witness. The context of Mohammed el Gharani’s emprisonnement from the age of 14 to 21 and transcriptions of his stories.
The young man is describing his story, what he experienced through those years; but without being too precise about the details. Laurie Anderson, the artist, didn’t want to emphasize that aspect. Her purpose is to tell in her own way, how a testimonial, an interrogatory can be told and retold and how it can loose its dominant meaning. (via The Creators Project). Photos by James Ewing

Dustin Yellin Densley Collaged Lifesize Figures Are Beautifully Suspended Between Layers Of Glass

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Glass boxes reveal human silhouettes made out of drawings, newspapers and discarded cutouts of images. Dustin Yellin, an artist based in New York, piles up layers of glass sheets and ripped up medias. It took up to 6 years for the artist to complete this work initially produced for New York City Ballet’s annual Art Series. He was influenced by the movement and the discipline of the dancers.

The artist’s work consists on drawing on slides of glass. He collects newspapers, magazines and cuts out heads and shapes he finds interesting to apply to the character he is working on. He only depicts humans. By stacking up the collages, drawings and the slides of glasses he creates a “window sandwich”. The 3D silhouette designed in the end is poetic, colorful and up close extremely creative. He calls the series of his 12 characters, “Psychogeographies”, or archive in the shape of humans.

His purpose is to redefine the insides of individuals. In order to bring humans together and to evolve together towards a brighter future, we need to make one.
He claims that countries, borders and religions are not relevant when it comes to human kind. Instead of being divided by external elements, Dustin Yellin believes in exchanging as much as we can before the world of differences we produce and live in collapses. (via High Fructose). 

Choi Xooang Depicts Hyperrealist Human Sculptures To Extract Collective Emotions

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Naked hyperrealist sculptures made out of polymer clay. South Korean artist, Choi Xooang, uses the human naked body as a mean to express pure emotions. The artist doesn’t represent his personal state, he is trying to extract collective emotions.

Choi Xooang manipulates the outcome of his sculptures, enabling us to relate faster to the point he is making. It’s easier for most of us to connect with a human body than a painting, or an abstract sculpture. The characters are bold and skinny. Attributes that accentuate our vulnerability. The artist, by using these shortcuts, has us standing in front of his pieces with all our fragility and our compassion at the surface.

The purpose of Choi Xooang is twofold. He is presenting his humanistic vision of the world. Human emotions are the only thing that were given to a man and a woman apart from their social status in a capitalistic society. Therefore, he has chosen to show through his art, the most intense and dark emotions an individual can come across such as fear, sadness, desire, sexual tensions and relationship confusions. If this process is not clear when facing the sculptures, the realization that something is touching us deeply eventually happens.

We might not know exactly what it is. The weird combination of animals and humans, the poses of same sex characters, the suggestive poses and the non expressive stares have us reflect internally. We are seeing in this sculptures what we are feeling inside. It might not be obvious at first, and we might not know what detail sold us out, but we are. (via Juxtapoz).