Marcelo Monreal is a Brazilian collage artist who cracks skulls in the most beautiful way possible. Digitally splitting parts of models and celebrities faces (Christopher Walken and Kate Moss are among them), he fuses beautiful blooms with the broken shapes. Small, colorful flowers grow from behind eye sockets, in the place of noses, and out of mouths. This surreal series is called Faces [UN]bonded.
In Monreal’s opinon, people don’t often tell us who they really are. Instead, they keep parts of their real selves hidden. He opens them up with his collages and reveals the rare moments in which we see the beauty that’s behind their appearance. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Artist Gabriel Schama demonstrates that lasers aren’t just for starships: He uses them to carve out incredibly intricate designs and patterns from materials such as wood, paper, and even leather. His works come alive with “surreal textures” that create a kinetic feeling, the kind you might get from studying a Magic Eye poster. There’s also the structural element, which lends his artwork literal depth as they seem almost excavated, blooming into mandalas and swirls.
The cool thing about Schama’s work is that it’s clearly informed by the natural world, some sporting the same frills as aquatic flowers and others looking like any garden-worthy blossom. There’s also a very rigid manmade feel to his work, though, not just in the precision with which he carves them but in some elements of his designs that look almost retro-futuristic chic.
Schama’s art is evolving, growing from his early hands-on approach that used mixed-media materials. In the description of his second Kickstarter project, he says:
“I have long been possessed with a desire to make my work bigger and more intricate at the same time. A modestly sized cut paper piece could take me weeks of nonstop work to execute. This project is not only the next step forward stylistically, but a means to achieve far more daring and exciting projects.”
Caterina Rossato creates 3D layered landscapes out of old postcards. She seeks to evoke both the familiar and the alien, the specific and the general. “I create landscapes made through a collage of other landscapes, combining images in which the sense of recognition of reality slips from one level to another and it is never clearly identified,” Rossato says in an artist’s statement.
The series, named “Deja Vu” plays with the idea of recognition and the sensation of recognition. Rossato explains:
“The déjà vu is a psychic phenomenon which is part of the forms of alteration of memories (paramnesie): it consists in the erroneous sensation of having seen an image or of having lived previously an event or a situation that is occurring. Although improperly, it is also called ‘false recognition.'”
It’s interesting that she chose to use postcards, which often enable us to live vicariously through friends and family who are traveling abroad. In a sense, we’ve heard about the locations and they are familiar to us in name and description; however, we often haven’t traveled to those distant lands, not enough to know them personally or to have seen them up close. In a way, Rossato’s work brings up the question of how we can truly know something — or know that we know something. (via I Need a Guide)
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.
Rupert Shrive turns his paintings into sculptures by crumpling, twisting, and sometimes including odd materials to create architecturally evocative works. In some of his works, the three-dimensional elements complement his portraits; in others, they deform the faces of his works, twisting cheeks and lips and replacing noses and eyes to create a patchwork of various styles and colors.
When you look at Shrive’s work, you get the sense that there’s something urgent and almost desperate being communicated. At the very least, you feel a slight wince as you think about how much of a calculated risk he must have taken. In an interview with Michael Peppiatt, Shrive says of his process: “… It is painful and I’m always very scared when I start crushing them and it’s very risky because you only have so many movements you can make before you’ve lost the big dynamic crush that you’re going for.”
Risky as it is, that extra third dimension is a crucial element of Shrive’s artwork, enabling him to highlight certain features and create unique landscapes out of his portraits. (h/t I Need A Guide)
Artist Beomsik Won collages images of different architectural works to form one unified structure. The photographs feature a gray wash over the disparate features to increase their sense of cohesion. Won calls this the Archisculpture Photo Project, writing:
René Descartes viewed as beautiful the order and coherency of structures designed by a single architect; the purpose of the Archisculpture Photo Project, however, is to create architectural sculptures by collaging photographs of diverse architectural works from various architects. In this way, Archisculpture Photos are both similar and different to the organic romanticism of old cities built through the works of myriad architects, for they represent the artist’s subjective interpretation and decisions regarding various architects’ numerous designs.
Won’s assemblages create the illusion of a metropolis. “Like collectors who arrange and classify their acquisitions with great care, artists analyze selected city fragments gathered from here and there and with them create their sculptures.” He goes on to write, “What exist[s] now as disparate structures are reborn as beautiful sculptures which retain their diachronic or synchronic histories, or else encompass it all.” They should be looked at as the sum of their parts. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
Illustrator, craftswoman, and designer Helen Ahpornsiri has incredibly steady hands considering the scale she works on. She assembles tiny dried, pressed ferns into shapes based on natural history collections, sometimes no bigger than a coin or a pencil stub. Managing to place flakes of foliage into beautiful patterns, she creates weevils, butterflies, seahorses, owl skulls, dragonflies and moths.
Ahpornsiri initially studied illustration at the Falmouth University and then went on to work successfully for commercial projects including greetings cards for Marks and Spencer, paper flowers for Harrods Knightsbridge and bespoke menus for Coach. Interested in paper cutting and collage, she decided to branch out and try something a bit different. She says in an email:
When drawing a Fern Weevil in ink one day, just for a personal project, I wondered if I could create one with real fern. I already had some beautiful fronds from a Japanese Painted Fern pressed and waiting to be used for something. I have been collecting, pressing and making ever since! (Source)
The pressed fern collection is not the only thing Ahpornsiri has used to show off her precise cutting abilities. She has also created intricately crafted birds from stamp collections. You can also see just how Ahpornsiri puts her work together (the Tiny Robin in this case) in the video after the jump. (Via This Is Colossal)
“Zła uczennica” is a collaborative series between photographer Magdalena Franczuk and Ashkan Honarvar, who is known for his rich surreal collages. The name of the series translates to “The Bad Schoolgirl” and draws its inspiration from coming-of-age stories such as Lolita.
Lush blossoms and flora bloom around the girls in the series, even as the blank spaces behind their their faces and hearts are revealed in an almost anatomical fashion. Franczuk and Honarvar evoke a sense of searching, a limbo between knowing and understanding as the girls in the photos grow and discover themselves. Some of the images seem random at first — snails and cherries — but they make sense in context: one, a hollowed shell in which the true self lives; the other, a symbol of girlhood.
It’s interesting to see the way the two artists’ work interact. Franczuk’s photography brings a subtlety of emotion and ambiguity that we might take at face value, while Honarvar’s collage elements depict the inner struggles of the subjects. In an artist’s statement, Honarvar notes that he “present[s] the human body at the center of microcosmic theaters of dichotomy in which irrationality permeates logic, serenity belies violence, and luxury secretes exploitation.” It seems fitting for “Zła uczennica” — after all, isn’t growing up one of the most universal dramas of all? (h/t I Need a Guide)