Brendan Tang is a ceramic artist who sculpts elaborate pieces that fuse together various cultural imageries and traditions. The series of work featured here, titled Manga Ormolu, can best be described as “mechanized vases”—vases that combine Ming-style ceramics with the biomorphic mechas of comic books and science fiction. The forms are abstract and futuristic-looking; there are pots and plates with rocket engines, valves, wires, tubes, and more. Some of the creations seem to be caught in the moment of “turning,” creasing ceramic skin to expose the robotic structures beneath. As objects of curiosity and ambiguity, Tang’s works look as unpredictable and otherworldly as they do beautiful and decorative.
The seamless hybridity of Tang’s Manga Ormolu explore contemporary discourses on technology and globalization. Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents and currently residing in Canada, Tang brings his own diverse background and experience into his work. As his sculptures evolve into unique cultural-technological beings, they comment on how disparate cultural histories are encountering each other in the present-day world—and the speed at which they are doing so. The harmony embodied by each vase-hybrid, however, also seems to signify a unique form of transnational identity: one that overcomes the limitations and demarcations of national borders without losing its sense of culture and history.
Dean Zeus Colman’s artwork has given us his drug of choice, which is hand molded Ecstasy tablets cast in plaster. His series Love Is A Drug includes sculptures of Ecstasy tablets of all different shapes and sizes that actually exist in real life. Knowing this bit of information, it is shocking to see how many different designs and even logos are imprinted on these little tablets. There are more common images like smiley faces, money signs, and stars on the drug, but a few have images that may be of surprise to you. The Mortal Combat symbol, the UPS logo, and even the beloved Bart Simpson’s head has also been included in this eclectic variety of Ecstasy tablets.
Zeus, based out of London, grew up involved in a subculture where Ecstasy tablets were often present. The drugs were readily available, not surprisingly, while working in the Rave scene. Zeus has long been working as a street artist and has been tagging since the 1980’s, which has influenced and led to the making of Love Is A Drug. Other sculptures of this artist reflect this lifestyle and draw off inspiration from graffiti such as his three-dimensional graffiti text constructed from glass and wood.
Love Is A Drug is currently on view at Prescription Art in Brighton, England, which focuses on street and graffiti art. The exhibition features thirty-six limited edition, larger than life Ecstasy tablets. (via The Creator’s Project)
Brad Kahlhamer uses his Native American heritage and post punk urban culture to paint large abstract symbols across canvas’ and create his own spiritual dolls. He is interested in culture and identity and through his art is building a world where he fits in. His artwork has an undertone of darkness meets the real world. A “third place” as Brad Kahlhamer calls it, where two opposing personal histories meet.
His paintings are filled with totems, poles, teepees, hawks and weaves combined with images from different cultures. It unveils an obsession for his ancestors and the modern life he is living. He is influenced by rock music and multiculturalism which is reflected in his paintings by the tone of colors and the display of the elements throughout the canvas. The dolls are a logical continuation of the artist’s train of thoughts.
Brad Kahlhamer has decorated the dolls with recycled and organic elements; feathers, bicycle-tire inner tubes, his own hair, discarded clothing, rope, and leather. Originally, the dolls are Katsina dolls, cottonwood carvings of Katsinam, spiritual beings in the Hopi religion. Respectful of the amalgam his pieces might have caused in terms of culture appropriation, the artist, always gave credit to the origin of his influences. The tribe he has created is carefully constructed. Blending geometric shapes, nails and wired legs to the essence of the Katsina dolls, the artist is empowering the individuals and blurring the lines between multiculturalism and abstract modernism.
A bicycle made out willow, ash and stinging nettle found in it’s organic and primal form in nature, near the artist’s home in Somerset, England. Michael West has built an intricate sculpture as a self portrait. Imitating each and every components of a real bike from the handlebars to the tires. His process of creation excludes all boundaries, he lets the imagination interpret the symbols he left out on the bike to understand the meaning of his art. He was influenced by Van Gogh’s chair, where the empty chair is used as the personification of its owner. “I chose the bike as society often uses anthropomorphism to reflect themselves within everyday objects, for example a car may be male or female and often given a personality and sometimes even a name”.
Michael West believes in playing with the subconscious to create. Blending an adult and a child’s vision, he gathers many layers, clue information such as symbols, signs and colors to clarify his intentions and his claims towards society and politics.This process creates a dynamic relationship between the artist and his object. The details characterized by a slow construction, attention to detail and means chosen carefully mirror the artist’s personality. This assembled bike, at first and abstract piece; becomes the reality of Michael West and soon an extension of himself.(Via Junkculture)
Some may say basketball is their religion. Well, if you worship the game, then these stained glass basketball backboards might be right up your alley. Like stained glass windows that depict religious icons in churches and cathedrals, artist Victor Solomon places breathtaking and beautiful stained glass windows in place of basketball backboards. These are not likely to be used at any court that you’ve ever seen, as they are likely to shatter into a thousand pieces. Each piece is ornamented in luxurious materials and gems, including the basketball goal’s net and rim. This series, cleverly titled Literally Balling, embodies the lavish lifestyle and luxury that NBA all-stars. These superstars being like royalty, Victor Solomon adds an age old, delicate art to their domain.
Solomon hand assembles these brilliant and intricate creations in the timeless beauty of the Tiffany Style. What is ironic about this work is that although hypnotizing to look at, none of the remarkable basketball goals are by any means functional. They are as fragile and as easily broken as success and wealth. If a basketball player gets injured, they can be done with playing the game forever. Their career could be over. Solomon’s goals embody this brilliance, power, and delicateness that a life in the sports industry can have. If you want to see more of Victor Solomon’s amazing work, you can see more of his work here.
Canadian artist Drew Mosley paints vivid scenes of anthropomorphic animals on layers and layers of resin. Being an artist and a carpenter, his work contains layers of resin that sit inside custom made wooden frames. Being surrounded by incredible nature in his hometown of Ontario, he draws inspiration from the breathtaking beauty of the wild. The little forest creatures he depicts in his artwork are no doubt animals that he has come across on hikes or in daily life. Drew Mosley’s furry friends look like characters from a storybook, with lots of personality and quirky qualities. Although the critters are wild, they act somewhat like humans by carrying objects such as traveling packs and flags.
Drew Mosley creates in depth atmospheres by painting on individual layers of resin. Each animal almost seems to be popping out of its lush habitat, appearing three-dimensional. Even the feathers of the owl seem to be standing straight up, creating a very real sense of volume and shape. By using this technique, the artist renders extremely realistic textures of fur, feathers, twigs, and leaves. Many of his dioramas include found objects that sit right in the resin, jutting out from the piece. In Mosley’s work titled The Egg Thief, a real quail egg is included in the composition, making the entire piece look all the more realistic. The artist also being a carpenter, he creates sculptures and installations of his wild critters. (via Colossal)
Artist Valerie Blass reimagines an age-old subject in art, the figure, and uses her distinctive artistic vision to create her intriguing sculptures. She manipulates and abstracts the human form until some of her subjects look like entirely different beings. By constructing her artwork from an eclectic variety of different materials, each figure becomes highly stylized and unique. Ceramic, Styrofoam, paint, plaster, and even artificial hair are just some of the materials that can be found making up Blass’s artwork. Referencing material culture, one can see the many textures and elements transforming each figure.
Valerie Blass’s figures hold in intense, psychological quality due to their lack of identities. Although there are many fine details in her work, Blass often leaves out the figures’ face. Sometimes, even part of the body is gone. These aspects are replaced by surreal characteristics such as a heap of black hair or a colorful, organic mass. Each piece of Valerie Blass’s takes on a life of their own, with their own, unique textures and colors forming a new kind of creature. Her work is both bizarre and beautiful all at the same time, leaving you puzzled about what exactly it was that you saw. This Canadian artist has an impressive body of work, with her art being owned in both public and private collections around the world.
Tomás Saraceno is an Argentine artist who creates pieces that explore alternative, sustainable ways of viewing and interacting with the environment. Previous works include floating iridescent and geometric installations that affect the way we perceive the relationship between the earth and sky. In this project, titled “Becoming Aerosolar,” Saraceno has woven together a patchwork of plastic bags into a massive hot air balloon. Trapping the heat of the sun in a greenhouse-like effect, the plastic canvas lifts majestically into the sky, transforming stigmatized, non-biodegradable waste into a work of liberating beauty.
Exploring the creative crossover between environmentalism, history, art, and human perception, Saraceno notes how the hot air balloon “came about as a means of escape and protection in the late 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. It is significant that during these times of uncertainty, people looked to the sky to escape the reality on earth” (Source). As an innovation deriving from crisis and a longing for freedom, the plastic bag balloon takes on a contemporary significance: in an age of environmental turmoil, when the planet we inhabit verges on irreparable damage, the sky (and beyond that, outer space) becomes the frontier of hope. However, beyond signifying that upward glance of salvation and survival, “Becoming Aerosolar” optimistically reminds us how repurposing our materials and shifting our perspectives could lead to changing our trajectory on Earth.