Alex Schaefer’s Portraits Explore Fears Of Death And Powerlessness

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Alex Schaefer, a senior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, creates portraits that explore the surreal and dark nature of the human experience.

Through bizarre props and Photoshop tricks, Schafer creates the ultimate, dreadful parallel universe- a landscape that enables us to coexist with what most of us fear: loss of control, death, and powerlessness.

Although sometimes comical, the artist places his subject, a man, in several different scenarios that deem him weak. Whether he is being tied down and unable to escape, crushed by rocks, or lost within a television screen- he has reached an endpoint.

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Video Game Designer Paul Robertson Creates Mesmerizingly Entertaining GIFS

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Paul Robertson is an Australian animator and digital artist who is known for his pixel art  used in short films and video games. He is mostly known for Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: The Game and the recent release, Mercenary Kings. Apart from his seasoned career as a game designer and movie creator, Robertson has been recently spotted on Tumblr with these GIFS.

His interest in inserting flashing neon colors, geometric shapes, Japanese character animation, and 1990’s computer imagery, deems his work as heavily influenced by the Seapunk/Vaporwave aesthetic.

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Maciek Jasik’s Surreal Photography Blurs The Identity Of Nude Bodies

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Polish photographer Maciek Jasik creates blurry, colorful compositions that feature both female and male nudes. Jasik’s subjects exist in a surreal, hazy and colorful landscape, one that nullifies their identity but exposes their natural state of being. The artist is particularly interested in conveying privacy, expression through a medium [photography] that, for the most part, focuses on revealing detailed and realistic portrayals.

Inspired by the emotionally charged impressionist painting of the 19th century, Jasik insists in creating work with photographic techniques that more or less do the same as a loose brushstroke on canvas.

“I began experimenting with an in-camera technique to dissolve the focus and saturate the space with color. There were several post-Impressionist paintings there that stunned me with how emotionally powerful they were, with scarcely any detail, I wanted to evoke that same feeling in photography by emphasizing color and movement.”

(via HuffPost)

Purity Portraits: Young Virgins Promise Their Purity To Their Fathers Until Marriage

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Stockholm-based photographer David Magnusson captures bizarre father-dauther portraits in the U.S. These portraits are inspired by a very disturbing ritual called Purity Balls, a relatively new Christian religious, wedding-like ceremony that inspires American virgin girls (as young as four years of age ) to promise purity to their fathers.

The formal events tends to include ballroom dancing, a keynote speaker, and a lot young girls in white dresses. During the ceremony, the fathers, the so-called “High Priest of the home and family,” make a pledge to protect their daughters’ “purity” during the affair; often times they exchange purity rings.

“You are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” – A father says to his daughter during a Purity ball.

Intrigued and fascinated  by an article about the topic, Magnusson took the iniciative to investigate these balls, and its participants, further.To create this photographic series, the artist spent five months traveling to and attending purity balls in Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. On each occasion, he spent about an hour interviewing and photographing the father-daughter pair. The interactions between father and daughter on camera were up to the subjects themselves and not at all directed by Magnusson.

Many of us would think that the photographs look and feel odd; and not that there is anything weird about hugging and holding your father’s hands, but the way in which these pairs interact…most of us can agree that it is a bit creepy. The artist, however, keeps his judgement out of the picture and he tells his audience that for the most part the fathers are caring and respectful, and the daughter possess their own character and are often very independent. How true this is to each of us personally differs, of course. This very point, the idea of relative truths and opinion, is what Magnusson is most interested in:

“The purpose hasn’t been either to belittle or glorify the ceremonies–the interpretation [of the photographs] is all up to the eye of the viewer.”

The series of photographs are now part of Purity, a book of text and images put together by the artist himself. Purity comes out in August, and you can order it here. If you are interested in learning more about this ceremony you can check out The Virgin Daughters, a documentary that further examines the nature of Purity Balls. (via FastCo Design)

Dr.Martens Releases Merchandise Featuring Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden Of Earthly Delights”

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Fashion for the stylish art history nerd alert: Dr. Martens has drawn inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”

You can now find a collections of combat boots, oxfords and satchel bags that beautifully display the heaven and hell imagery of this 16th century Flemish masterpiece. The Capsule Collection items are now available on the Dr.Martens website and in select dealers around the world, amongst them Urban Outfitters and Journeys.

Nicolas Jolly’s Stunning Drawings Made With Thousands Of Fingerprints

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Through some intense thought and focus, French artist Nicolas Jolly meticulously pieces together thousands upon thousands of tiny black streaks (from his finger imprints) in order to create a cohesive image. The end product comes to be this series of eerie landscape scenes that take inspiration from the early works of the symbolist movement.

Jolly’s practice involves the alterations, in width and length, of his finger markings in order to simulate light, shadows, and shape. When viewed from afar, the images seem whole with a magnificent sense of movement and texture. Jolly’s ability to create figurative work with small abstract markings is, clearly, quite remarkable.
(via My Modern Met)

Samantha Keely Smith’s Landscapes Resemble The Flux Of Emotions

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New York-based artist Samantha Keely Smith paints abstract landscapes that resemble the swirling, unknown depths of the ocean. Although Smith’s work appear to depict real sceneries, she is inspired by inner worlds- precisely, by the energies and colors that mirror the flux of emotions.

“My images are not at all real places or even inspired by real places. They are emotional and psychological places. Internal landscapes, if you will. The tidal pull and power of the ocean makes sense to me in terms of expressing these things, and I think that is why some of the work has a feel of water about it. My work speaks of things that are timeless, and I think that for most of us the ocean represents something timeless.”

Working with oil paint, enamel, shellac, and large scaled canvases, the artist creates grand   works of art that feature multiple translucent layers of color, soft but large and imposing brushstrokes, and sweeping gestures that evoke crashing waves, surging tides, and stormy floods. ( via My Modern Met)

Brendan Monroe’s colorful paintings explore the process of becoming who we are

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Oakland based artist, Brendan Monroe, creates bizarre compositions that feature imaginary ‘moving’ landscapes and faceless, alien looking creatures that resemble the human body. Monroe takes inspiration from the study of science and his interest in existentialism and self-discovery.

His characters, often portrayed in purple and reddish hues, find themselves in these  multilayered, remote landscapes that present themselves as chaotic, or always in motion. The stringy, cool colored worlds precisely double their existence as a wonderful yet confusing space. Monroe is also interested in presenting his funky characters the same way he does his landscapes, as intricate forms that are always in motion.

We can take Monroe’s aesthetic and conceptual approach as one that tries to visually explore what it means to be human in a world that is contingent upon the variety and complexity of our actions, state of mind, or simply the passage of time and the progress it brings with it.

Each is a way of looking at and figuring out life. It’s that human question of what and who we are, how we are here. I also like the emotion and feeling of discovery and also the solving of a puzzle that was not known before. I lean in the direction of sciences I think mostly because I was raised that way, and I like to do my own investigations and draw conclusions.