Aaron Hobson’s Cinemascapes series of open ended narrative photographs are amazing. Here is more about him and the project in the artists own words:
“I was raised in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in one of the poorest city neighborhoods. It has been described as “Appalachia in the city”. I’ve had my back fractured by baseball bats, been picked on, and did too many drugs before I was 14 and then dropped out of High School in the 10th grade. It wasn’t until 3+ years ago that I picked up a camera after a decade of living in a small town in the remote Adirondack Mountains and decided to mix my memories with imagination.
The cinematic style of my work intentionally mimics a society full of oversaturation to TV, cinema, youtube, video games, and more. The images pull inspiration from the most basic elements of human emotion; fear, sex, abandonment, and curiosity to name a few. The moments of each image are fleeting and never exact, but hold an untold story of what happened before and what will happen after. It is up to the viewer to decide how far or how comfortable they feel delving into them or even sympathizing with them.”
Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre’s “recarved” sculptures are aptly named—Lasserre takes existing clichéd figural wood carvings and “exposes” the skeleton underneath. Of course, the new carving only seems like a reveal of what lies beneath. Part of the success of these works is how inevitable they feel.
Lasserre’s drawings and sculptures explore the unexpected potential of the everyday through allegories of value, expectation, and utility. Elements of nostalgia, accident, humor, and the macabre are incorporated into works that induce strangeness in the familiar, and provoke uncertainty in the expected.
In the style of an anatomy book, the bifurcated sculptures preserve the existing sculpture on one side while exposing the fantasy skeleton on the other. It’s a reverse of the classical artist’s process of learning about anatomy in order to draw more realistic figures. Lasserre is taking fully realized figures and imagining their bones. In an interview with Joseph Kendrick, Lasserre said,
“There is an intrinsic honesty and humility to the carving process. There is no magic, no hidden technology or trick, just the simple subtraction of what was already there. This humble quality makes the amazing alchemy that carving can achieve so much more interesting. … Like the physical materials I use, and the processes I apply, there is something categorical about death/mortality. The aspect of it that I try to coax out is that death is a potent sign of life — albeit an ended one. To carve skeletons into inanimate objects infers their past — and maybe even future — potential for life.” (Source)
Although these sculptures are whimsical, in concept if not execution, there’s an “Alas, poor Yorick!” undertone that’s sobering. Those who are fortunate enough to be healthy and whole rarely think of the inevitable end, the skull beneath the skin. Lasserre’s skilled carving work reveals what was never there, and in doing so makes us think of what eventually will be.
Brooke Shaden places herself within worlds she wishes we could live in, where secrets float out in the open, where the impossible becomes possible. Brooke’s photography questions the definition of what it means to be alive.
Based in the Netherlands, artist Stefan Bleekrode creates astonishingly intricate drawings and paintings of landscapes, architecture, and urban environments. For his Cityscapes series, the artist has rendered unbelievably detailed drawings depicting metropolises both existing and imagined.
Using ink, Bleekrode composes dense and realistic images of buildings, streets, lights, and bridges. With stark tonal contrasts, precise perspective, and a stunning amount of detail, the scenes portrayed in each drawing look almost photographic, as if each one were taken from a bird’s-eye view.
While some of his pieces are set in very distinctive and familiar locations, like London Bridge& the Shard or Broadway and 5th, most possess ambiguous—albeit conceivable—titles, such as Italian City, City in Holland, or City at the Foot of the Mountains. This is because Bleekrode works entirely from memory, describing his completed works “as snapshots of things I’ve seen when traveling or just going through my everyday routine, small bits of beauty in familiar settings.”
Whether representing actual settings or conveying scenes rooted purely in fantasy, the cities depicted in Bleckrode’s elaborate drawings are surprisingly realistic and undeniably impressive.
Toronto-based artist TALWST creates works in a miniaturized scale. The tiny sculptures are constructed in reclaimed ring boxes and feature landscapes that are inspired by current events, dreams, and icons in pop culture. TALWST’s details are incredible, and it’s only after careful inspection that you see every fleck of paint, particle of moss, and patterns drawn on clothing. The artist also paints the top inside of the boxes and creates a small yet all-encompassing world.
While the attention to detail is one reason to intensify your gaze, the other is the subject matter. TALWST is timely, and although some scenes might conjure the past (their backdrops, especially, look like old paintings) the artist portrays contemporary issues such as Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths. These miniatures his prototypes for creating responsive, diversified and inclusive history, unlike we have now. “The work’s small scale allows me the opportunity for a very particular kind of meditation,” TALWST explains. (Via Skumar’s and Junk Culture)
Wolfgang Stiller‘s series Matchstickmen are a depiction of people that are literally burnt out. The sculptures resemble giant match sticks, the the charred match head like a human head, ignited and tossed about the gallery. A play on the phrase ‘burnt out’, the series comments on the unending demand of human labor. Interestingly the installation was created while the German artist was living in China. However, Stiller says of the work:
“I don’t want to see it only as a critique on the Chinese system. Any other system in the world has the same problem. Big companies exploit their employees to make larger profits, all over the world. As long as we have affordable T-shirts or sneakers, we don’t really want to know whether they are made by children in India or not.” [via]
I tend to be drawn towards imagery that confuses me; where I can’t quite tell what is going on. I find I ask myself that very question with many of illustrator Kelsey Dake’s drawings. But more than that, I am digging on the concentrated, black lines that feel as though gravity is getting the best of the ink… there’s a nice mix of humor in the work as well.
Jen Mussari is a Pennsylvania native fine artist, illustrator, typographer, and maker of DIY handmade art. She is now at MICA in Baltimore working on her BFA. Check out her new series of hand printed poster series called Very Important Posters, which are a combination of hand-drawn typography and minimal illustration to communicate varied messages. These messages range from critical to welcoming, comical to concerned. You can collect all eight on her ETSY store!