Jason Borders has been collecting different animal skulls from before he started school. Always looking for more objects to add to his cabinet of curiosities, he explored his local neighborhoods picking up bits of bones and cartilage. Years later, he has turned that obsession into an art form, showcasing his talent in galleries, shops and collections around the country. He carves patterns and designs that resemble traditional Mehndi tattoos. He usually lets the shape of the skull or bone that he is working on dictate the design he carves. He then covers the work in ink or a striking color.
Borders remembers the day his hobby turned a bit more serious with amusement. After discovering the carcass of an elk while in the desert, and loading it all into his car – an action that almost got him arrested, took it back to his garage. There he cleaned the bones and noticed something that helped him take his craft to the next level.
Looking at the Dremel and looking at the bones next to each other, I picked it up and started working on it. The garage was right underneath my house, and I ended up filling the house with bone dust, and made myself really sick and made my wife really angry. Then I did it another four years, but I’m much more careful these days. (Source)
Borders also paints and carves other items, but has a particular affinity toward skulls. He treats his work as a way of overcoming his fears – particularly ones concerning mortality. He says because he is always working with the idea of death – quite literally, it helps him live his life with intent and purpose. And what a great purpose he has found. (Via Faith Is Toment)
Daniel Aristizábal is a graphic designer and illustrator who creates incredible digital works of art that are surreal and transport the viewers to a topsy-turvy Rube Goldberg-esque world. His Huevos series is playfully inspired by Dali’s “Eggs on the Plate without the Plate,” showing colorful variations on the common egg.
In some of Aristizabal’s work, the 3D elements pop out, almost like digital sculptures. Other works, such as his “Glitched Cubism” piece, utilizes the 2D GIF format to play with the dimensions and perspective of cubism. In an interview with Instagram, he says that his work is a “retro, colorful, geometric bonanza.” His art seems to draw on a palette that is by turns neon and sherbet but always whimsical.
Aristizabal continues to say:
“My main sources of inspiration are random thoughts that pop in my mind, like memories of dreams and places that I used to imagine when I was a child. I think the term ‘pop surrealism’ works well for me. My work is full of simplicity and organic shapes. It is nostalgic in its essence.”
Alana Dee Haynes is a Brooklyn-based artist who turns the bodies of her photographed subjects into illustrated surfaces, transforming blank skin and clothing into undulating patterns and shapes. We featured some of her works a couple years ago, but since then, Haynes has been continuing to create intricate and whimsical pieces. Peruse the flowing imagery and you will see kneecaps split open into eyes, collarbones overlain with lips, and torsos swarmed with circular, overlapping patterns that transform models into scaled, serpentine creatures. In a fascinating interview with Juxtapoz, Haynes explains how she uses individual physical characteristics to inspire her illustrations, thereby exploring alternative forms of bodily representation:
“Everyone has a certain way they see the world. Some things jump out at people, while others pass them by. I see faces and patterns everywhere. When I look at people, I connect their beauty marks, and find faces in their knuckle lines. It’s just the way I live. So, naturally, I see these things in photographs too. It is not synesthesia, but it is a similar way of viewing multiple layers in things.” (Source)
Fashion also plays a significant role in Haynes’ work. Just as clothes can be creatively worn to signify individuality, her illustrations transform the models’ entire bodies into expressive surfaces. “When it comes down to it, I believe fashion should bring out emotions and be relatable, as if wearing your own skin and mind,” Haynes explained to Juxtapoz. “And my skin is definitely full of faces and patterns” (Source). Whereas the face is so often read as the sole locus of emotional and cognitive display, Haynes’ brilliant line work illuminates the dynamism and individuality that exists everywhere: in our arms, legs, hands, clothing, and more.
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)
Missing the cult classic post-punk musicians that changed the course of music history? Never fear! They are back in action…but as superheroes! Illustrator “Butcher Billy” has taken your favorite Post-Punk icons and transformed them into Marvel superheroes. Each legendary musician becomes an ever-popular hero by giving them just a few character essentials like a spandex outfit, bold lines and color, and a catchy comic title behind them. If these unforgettable musicians weren’t already your heroes, they will be after you see them on these specially created comic cover mock-ups that cleverly match each icon with their appropriate superhero counterpart. These incredibly on-point mash-ups include bright, eye-catching titles displaying various infamous lyrics such as “I don’t care if Monday’s blue,” from The Cure or “When a problem comes along” from Devo. After seeing these re-imagined icons, you realize how much they already looked like superheroes, or perhaps villains.
Mixing together cult classic comic characters with equally popular musical icons is genius. Not only do they both have “super powers,” whether it be possessing super strength or being a lyrical genius, but also often adorn themselves with spandex clothing. The best part about these hybrid hero/musicians is that us super fans or comic nerds are not the only ones that love these illustrations. Shown is a photo of Morrissey wearing a shirt showing himself in full hulk form, and another includes Siouxsie Sioux proudly displaying clothing with her own superhero alter ego, complete with her audacious hair and signature make up. (via Shortlist)
Pulp Drunk is an exhibition of strange book cover art and a fascinating display of the wildly weird side of pop culture. Designed to attract new readers to read the words inside the books, the covers of post-war American literature were attention grabbing and bizarre at the best of times. But not only was it the American market who was trying out these tactics – illustrators were having a good time in Mexico as well. There, the cover art tended to be even stranger. Still aimed at selling books, but they tended to be less about in-your-face-sex, and instead included violence, crime, mystery, psychedelia and sci-fi details.
They featured characters having hallucinations and apparitions; super-strength robots throwing cars on a destructive rampage; jealous gorillas who are furious they didn’t end up with the girl; a thieving woman stealing a piglet under the cover of nighttime; and circus murder mysteries. These delightfully weird scenarios could be seen to mirror the supernatural side of Mexican culture and their attitudes toward life, death and mysticism. The press release from the exhibition explains further:
These sensationalized images from the sixties and seventies often feature surreal and lurid images of extraterrestrials, robots, dinosaurs, killers, Zorro and many other icons involving suspense, mystery, romance, and the supernatural. The central characters in the narratives tend to be ordinary people facing the common challenges of day-to-day life. They are not gallant martyrs but commoners who have found themselves confronting outlandish and startling predicaments as a result of poor decisions or risky behavior. (Source)
The Pulp Drunk exhibition may be over, but you can see more bizarre covers after the jump.
The current Le Bestiaire exhibition on display at the Biennale internationale design de Saint Etienne 2015 in France is an adorable collection of grizzly monsters, creatures, critters, beasts and fiends. 14 different creatures of all shapes, sizes, colors and textures were dreamed up by a diverse bunch of artists including Studio Brichet Ziegler, Perrine Vigneron and Gilles Belley, Louise de Saint Angel, Anne Lutz, Joachim Jirou-Najou, Felipe Ribon, Les Graphiquants, Twice, Helkarava, Bonnefrite, Malika Favre, Amélie Fontaine, Leslie David and Ionna Vautrin.
In a workshop inspired by the animals in the exhibition, kids are asked to imagine themselves as a make-believe beast. A project created by Amélie Doistau and Tomöe Sugiura, the different monsters have forms, colors and patterns from actual, real life animals.
The exhibition asks us to think what it means to wear a costume, to don a disguise and to have the opportunity to act out of character.
When we dress up, regardless of whether we become beautiful or ugly, good or bad, marvelous or monstrous, everyone gets into character and is excused of all odd behavior, without being subject to ridicule. The animal kingdom is amazing and rouses the imaginations of young and old alike. Many designers have explored the world of childhood through this unifying theme. They transform everyday objects referencing zoological world. Could it be the desire to tame wild animals that propels designers to represent fierce creatures as docile pets? (Source)
If you get the chance, be sure to check it out for yourself, and you can ponder these questions further. Le Bestiaire runs from March 12 until April 12, 2015.
(Via Pattern Pulp)
Montreal based mural artist Jason Botkin loves to paint large, strikingly colorful abstractions of faces doing weird things. And bodies doing weird things. He likes to paint hands out of scale, eye brows quivering, bird faces animated, alien shapes in bright bold shades and cartoon characters who are larger than life. Recently returning from the Festival Internacional de Arte Público in Mexico where he collaborated with Jeremy Shantz on a series of weird masks and faces, he is no stranger to combining his distinctive pop style with other artists’, to create unforgettable imagery.
Botkin is not only a master of street painting and graffiti-style work, but also of installations and drawings – all which have a surrealistic twist. His work in Cancun is a natural progression on from his more figurative work which is aptly described here after the success of his second solo show in 2008:
Figures turn inside out, dressed in their emperor’s finest; bodies unwrapped to explore inner worlds, emotions, and ideas; vapors and clouds permeate architectural structures of unknown purpose; buildings chart impossible perspectives, cities in chaos; geometric forms emerge from and are swallowed by the imagined inner workings of internal landscapes. These various elements form a tapestry of self divined utopias and personal myths. These offerings are made with the belief that change is possible, when we reinterpret social identities and then test deeply entrenched, and often flawed social realities. (Source)
Leading on from that, Botkin leaned toward painting more cartoon-like heads complete with their own personalities. He adds a healthy sense of humor to his work and enlarges it, places in it a public sphere and allows people to enjoy it at their own leisure. See more of his paintings after the jump. (Via Hi Fructose)