Artur Bordalo (aka Bordalo II) is a street artist who has created a series of wall-sized animal murals using paint and clever reconfigurations of recycled trash. Among his “found” materials are scrap metal, tires, tubing, and crushed bumpers — anything that has been produced, used, and thrown away to last an eternity in the landfill. Stunningly, Bordalo has turned such tarnished objects into delicate feathers, soft fur, and complex exoskeletons, paying a bold homage to the animals he represents. In a clever blend of 2D and 3D art, the creations emerge from the walls like brilliant optical illusions, demanding our attention and curiosity.
Built in urban spaces, the sculpted murals occupy apartment buildings, underpasses, and forgotten corners. Bordalo’s goal is to bring attention to the pervasiveness of environmental degradation, and how our “throwaway culture” transforms natural habitats into graveyards of non-biodegradable waste. The sculptures stand as beautifully sad monuments to the animals that once lived in those spaces, and in other developed and exploited areas around the world. Giving a literal “face” to both our garbage and the fellow species our consumer behaviors affect, Bordalo’s work is both intensely creative and culturally conscious.
The work of Italian artist Alessandro Rabatti humorously comments on the current economic state that the world is in. Using different currencies from around the world, Rabatti rearranges and alters the faces of each political icon and transforms them into a comic book hero. By rearranging and breaking down household faces such as Abraham Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth II, the artist deconstructs their economic status. Each important leader’s status has been elevated from historical legend to fictional superhero, as if their alter egos are really Spiderman, Ironman, and Catwoman. The interesting part about this transformation is that some of these heroes and villains are more recognizable to people than the historical figures themselves.
This series, titled Facebank, comically comments on our economic state and the actual worth of money today. We trust in these icons just as children trust Captain America and the other courageous characters. In creating this series, Rabatti aims to spark a dialogue concerning the current, unstable state of world economics. Another interesting element in the artist’s work is that each face is now wearing a mask. The mask is often associated with hiding one’s identity or giving a false appearance; pretending to be something you are not. This is no doubt another layer in Rabatti’s series, commenting on political figures and their place in society. The artist’s funny and clever artwork combines comic book superheroes, economics, and political satire to create this multifaceted series. (via Design Boom)
Although she is more known for her weaving and looming, artist Kai Sekimachi has shown she can branch out into other areas of expression with her impressive bowls made from leaves. Defying the very nature of the materials she works with, Sekimachi has come up with a way to make a flimsy leaf into a structure that can support heavier objects. By adding Kozo paper, watercolor and Krylon coating to the leaves, she is able to turn a skeletal transparent leaf into something that isn’t those things at all.
Having written numerous books on arts and crafts with her husband, Bob Stocksdale, she is an expert on many areas of handmade items and objects. The pair’s practices are both anchored in nature, and show their extensive knowledge as pioneers of American Craft.
Sekimachi creates distinctive pieces from natural materials such as linen, decaying leaves, shells, and grass, and pairs them with nature inspired motifs. (Source)
Sekimachi is not afraid to try her hand at new things, and proves repeatedly that she is a fast learner. After seeing a group of students weaving at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1949, where she was also enrolled, the very next day, the curious artist spent all of her savings on a loom of her own. She then went and perfected her craft over the next few years.
The influential couple will be having an exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum titled In The Realm Of Nature from July 3 to October 18 in Washington. (Via Bored Panda)
Surprising, colorful patches have been appearing on the scarred roadways in Chicago. In an effort to bring art and beauty where once there was neglect and deterioration, artist Jim Bachor embarked on a project to fill potholes with mosaics of ice cream. Named “Treats in the Streets,” each lighthearted piece blends seamlessly into the cracked asphalt. The best part is, as sturdy pieces deriving from an ancient (and enduring) art practice, the mosaics will likely stand up to the test of time. Bachor speaks on his passion for the medium:
Using the same materials, tools and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice. My work locks into mortar unexpected concepts drawn from the present. By harnessing and exploiting the limitations of this indestructible technique, my work surprises the viewer while challenging long-held notions of what a mosaic should be. Like low-tech pixels, hundreds if not thousands of tiny, hand-cut pieces of Italian glass and marble comprise my work. (Source).
“Treats in the Streets” is also occurring in Finland. In a similar project, Bachor covered potholes with mosaics of flowers. To see me more of his clever and contemporary work, check out Bachor’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.
In a very unique collaboration between man and nature, this exhibition as a part of the Venice Biennale will no doubt impress and amaze you. French artist Hubert Duprat has come up with an interesting and yes, controversial, idea which not only produces a dazzling product and art object, but also comments on the relationship between humans and nature, worker and manager, curator and artist. He has been invited to exhibit his work as a part of the group show Slip Of The Tongue, which addresses friendships, relationships between artists, and the idea
that the activity of the artist is aimed at the preservation and afterlife of objects rather than of their interpretation. (Source)
The art project of Duprat and the Caddis Flies is a perfect example of those themes. He has taken these insects, known for their collecting habits (they naturally collect bits of wood, sand and stones from their environment and build a cocoon around them to fend off any predators) and has instead replaced them with bits of precious and semi-precious stones – rubies, pearls, opals, sapphires, coral, lapis lazuli and diamonds. After several weeks of building up these defensive layers, the insects crawl out of their shells, leaving behind a bejeweled shell.
Critics say Duprat’s practice is no different to acts of animal cruelty, and that he plays no part in making the final product. Duprat even says himself:
……I am playing a bad trick on them… I feel as if I am exploiting my workers….It is their work as much as it is mine. (Source)
And while it is true the Caddis Fly does all of the physical work itself – it’s excreted silk thread is what joins the pieces together – Duprat has applied his imagination and experimentation to turn something quite mundane into something extraordinary. He has made visible what would normally remain unseen, and that is truly an art form. (Via Design Boom)
German artist Martin Roller constructs assemblages of objects in hilarious and astonishing ways in his body of work. Taking found object from the streets of Berlin, he photographs interesting mash-ups of everyday objects and remnants of trash, transforming their original function. Setting the scene similar to commercial photography, each newly created object looks as if it is on display in an ad, waiting to be bought. Who knows, maybe Roller’s banana shoes will be the next big thing, although they are not exactly wearable. This colorful and clever series is both aesthetically appealing, with its perfect color blocking, and intriguing, as each item is not altered digitally.
At first glance, you may think that Roller’s images are digitally spliced photographs that together create the finished product. Although this would take some skill, each object is more impressively built by the artist’s own hand, and therefore, actually exists in real life. Roller explains that we live in an age where technology has given us endless possibilities that are accessible to a vast majority of people. Because these digital alterations, as well hand-cut collages, are so common today, these techniques are of no interest to him. He instead aims to assemble his own “collage” from a more realistic source, the objects themselves. Each image displays an amazing combination of real life objects, with an eye on modern design.
Crystal Wagner‘s immersive installations are attractively textured, instantly eye catching, elegantly dramatic, and undeniably wonderful. She carefully arranges pieces of paper bought from office stores into organic explosions of florescent color. She invites visitors to walk through and navigate her neon universe of oceanic waves, throbbing bubbles, and swollen mountains.
Wagner’s work is not only aesthetically organic, bu so is the very nature of her process. She talks about how each complex piece is created:
Each installation, and each drawing is a different conversation I am having. The gesture is the introduction, the first impression, and everything else tumbles out. (Source)
Wagner uses her time spent in the many National Parks of America as a lot of her inspiration. Aspects of Yellowstone and Joshua Tree National Parks find their way into her work. The scale of her installations do make you feel as if you are standing in front of a gigantic cliff – dwarfed and in awe. But she is also a child of the modern world, living in an urban jungle, and is very familiar with plastics, paper, and concrete. Wagner explains the importance of this dichotomy in her work:
My latest installation titled Urban Kudzu explores ideas related to people and their disconnection from the natural world… In my own experience with the world, I have a deep rooted understanding of what the plastic feels like, of what man made materials and spaces feel like, and tend to perceive the natural world through a very exotic lens. (Source)
Her work reminds us that although nature is wonderfully powerful and can annihilate anything at any given time, the modern world can also be just as destructive. In both situations we are reminded of our smallness and how easily we can loose control of that around us. (Via Sweet Station)
No matter what the medium, artist Shanti Grumbine manipulates her work by slicing it into fractals of distorted imagery. In her series titled Looking Awry, she uses front-page images from the New York Times, and prints them in large format. She then cuts and divides the image into hundreds of smaller pieces and rearranges them before mounting the squares onto wooden dowel. Each square resembles a pixel, creating a strange mix of visual information since they are not placed in their original spot. This hodgepodge of colors and shapes are referencing a digital file that is corrupted, in which we can no longer see what is originally intended to visually display. Although altered and skewed, we can still make out some of the original image in Grumbine’s work. If you look closely, you can see a woman’s face or remnants of a human body. Grumbine explains her journey while creating her wall reliefs.
These wall reliefs become monuments to the untold levels of mediation between my creative acts and the rest of the world.
Much like digital files move across digital highways or frequencies, Grumbine’s work seems to travel across the composition in waves. As each cut out “pixel’ is mounted on a wooden dowel, the dowels are all different lengths, creating a wall relief. These varying levels, confronting the viewer, form a new textural and visual element. Further engaging the viewers are small, square mirrors that Grumbine integrates into each piece, replacing some of the “pixels.” Now, each captivating piece is not just reaching out at you in waves of visual complexities, but also include fractals of the viewer and its surroundings. You are now a part of the piece, a part of an endless source of aesthetic, digital information. A master at carving new meaning into different materials, this Brooklyn-based artist also has a series of incredibly detailed newspaper cut-outs titled Zeroing, also utilizes New York Times newspapers. New visuals are sliced into each word, and even a wall relief in the shape of an orb is formed from its text.