Eddie Martinez details a strange and wonderful world of googly-eyed pots, Cosby sweater wearing owls, recurring characters and colorful, quirky compositions. In a recent interview, Martinez details his no-nonsense, back to basics approach to creating work. Unlike the intense philosophical considerations and conceptualizations inherent in so many artists’ meandering methodologies, Martinez takes an almost blissfully ignorant approach in the laconic tradition to making his works: “Sometimes an idea will work its way into a drawing … I don’t know…I don’t really make plans for [the painting] so much.I usually just start it.”
Alva Bernadine is a British photographer known for his color-saturated, surrealist style and subversive content. Contained within his oeuvre are several series of unconventional nude photographs; from conjoined torsos to uncanny perspectives to disembodied legs and fetishized footwear, his works are story-filled portraits that engage and entice as often as they confound (or even repulse). Inspired by surrealist artists such as Rene Magritte and photographers Cheyco Leidmann and Guy Bourdin, Bernadine’s works contain elements of absurdity mixed with eroticism, glamour, mystery, and oftentimes humor.
This particular series incorporates mirrors to attain Bernadine’s signature stylistic effect. He was inspired to create these images when he bought six small mirrors in a £1 shop. “I have used mirrors before in my work but never in multiples,” Bernadine explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay. “After initially trying to get as many into an image as possible, I then started thinking up different permutations, finally working my way back down to one mirror […]. As the mirrors were so small, you can only reflect a small portion of the body with one, which led me to try to reconstitute a woman with several.”
The results are provocative, to say the least. From playful self-examinations to fragments of orgasmic bliss, the images entice us with a unique — but not wholly transparent — form of voyeurism. We can see the nude models engaged in acts that hover between private intimacy and exhibitionism, but we are not given the whole picture; we are never truly certain of what is occurring in the room behind the camera. This ambiguity heightens the erotic effect by taking some control away from the viewer/voyeur in their engagement with the photos. Speaking of his work generally, Bernadine expresses how he is consistently trying to “produce a sort of unresolved picture, an inconclusive narrative, that the viewer has to finish for [him]” (Source). Thus, instead of passive consumption, Bernadine’s images stimulate the imagination, engaging us on both cognitive and erotic levels.
Bernadine’s work has become deservedly well-recognized over the years. He worked his way up as a self-taught artist and collaborated with magazines. He eventually won the Vogue Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award for young photographers for The Fetish, a series of photographs showing a high-heel shoe in a variety of strange contexts. In 2001, Bernadine published Bernadinism: How to Dominate Men and Subjugate Women, which won him the Erotic Photographer of the Year in Britain (2002). Another book, titled Twisted, recently came out in 2014. Visit Bernadine’s website and Facebook page to follow his fascinating, creative, and unconventional work.
The internet is currently swarming with stories, tributes, and memorials to the late, great Robin Williams who passed 3 days ago. Some people may not know that in addition to being an actor, comedian, activist, and improv performer, Williams was also an unabashed lover of video games, comic books, and graphic novels, and that this loss resonates throughout these communities as well. Yesterday, Nick Gazin over at Vice posted crowd-sourced illustrations that pay tribute to the performer, his characters, and his life. (via vice)
Sam Alive is a New York city-based photographer who has truly aced the digital lens of an iPhone. His project “Through the Phone” features stunning landscapes, urban cityscapes and natural sceneries all captured with a mobile camera.
The key to Sam’s work is the juxtaposition between the sharp and detailed view presented on the mobile screen and the blurry unrecognizable background behind it. To mock the late influx of smartphones in our lives, artist takes these wide breathtaking vistas of sea shores, valleys and skyscrapers, and crams them into a tiny 4-inch display. Thus, limiting the viewer’s vision and making a good point about the change in our perception.
“Life is like an adventure, because you never know what is going to happen next; you only have one life, all we can do until we die is live everyday to the best of our ability. As long as I am still alive, I will continue to take pictures everyday of my life.”
Sam started his project “Through the Phone” two years ago and already had a chance to travel and take photographs all over Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York. In his Tumblr blog, he promises to keep on traveling and updating his project with more captivating shots through the phone. (via designboom)
Like many of us, artist Anna Gensler joined the social media app, Tinder. Like many women who are on there, she received crude, objectifying messages from men. Her way of retaliating against this unacceptable behavior was to draw the message senders’ unflattering naked bodies and post the finished pieces on her Instagram account.
Gensler’s intention was for the male subjects to not enjoy these images, and she makes them look fat, unappealing, and not very well-endowed. “It was sort of the most basic, juvenile, immature thing I could possibly do, which was completely perfect,” she told Buzzfeed. “These guys are immature and their lines are incredibly juvenile, yet they are still offensive to the women they are aimed toward. The same can be said for these doodles.”
After a month of posting these drawings, Gensler embarked on another part of her project. She now sends her drawings to these men and documents their reactions. Not surprisingly, they are hostile towards her about how she’s depicted them. While some are just plain angry, others convey a more nuanced view of what she’s doing (but still insult her).
This project hasn’t afforded Gensler any clarity about why guys are creeps on dating websites, and why they feel they can speak to someone in this way. She told Slate, “I feel like girls get a lot of messages and matches on places like these, but I don’t actually think that guys do, necessarily. You’d think that when they do get a match, they would actually try to say something nice and intelligent. But I guess not.” (Via Buzzfeed)
Proving that snow globes aren’t just kitschy souvenirs, artist duo Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz create mini worlds covered by glass domes that are dark, gloomy, and slightly sinister. The scenarios they build are usually set in a stark wintery landscape and feature characters carrying out strange, ill-disposed acts on each other.
Working together since 1994, Martin and Muñoz source different figurines or model making elements, cut them up and re-assemble them as victims or criminals at a crime scene. They use plumber’s epoxy to build the base of the scenes, and cover it in a water resistant resin. Then, they fill up the globes with a water and alcohol solution, to create the authenticity of the object.
Taking inspiration from dreams, movies, and literature, the pair is happy to build on a bizarre or surreal narrative. Their scenes are very dark indeed: A man is caught in the act of dropping a boulder onto another man’s face, or we watch a woman suspiciously planting a dead tree in the snow, or two men vindictively dangling children over a deep dark well, all surrounded by the stillness of snow and winter. They see their snow globes as a celebration of that uneasy feeling you get when you are lost in a crowd, or left alone somewhere uncomfortable. Martin reflects on the environment that he grew up in and those feelings he experienced within them:
I always liked a good snowstorm, and so many of my best memories revolve around those occasions. The water is the thing in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Everything that comes out of it, everything that you can do on it, or in it, is special. (Source)
Their globes and a number of other artist’s impressions of winter were also featured previously in a post on B/D. Click here to check out the different ideas of just what that wintery spirit is all about.
Dealing with the ups and downs of an independent business can at times be a drag, but getting packages like this in the mail makes all the work worthwhile. I first met Justin B. Nelson when he entered our contest with Colt45. Justin was one of the top ten finalists and his work was entered in our show at Synchronicity Gallery. I loved Justin’s work in the show but was blown away when I met him at the opening. At first I thought Justin had drove an hour or two, but he flew in all the way from Tampa, FL just to check out the show! If that’s not dedication I don’t know what is. Since then, Justin’s been part of the Cult of Decay. We’ve only met each other once but we probably email or send each other tweets at least once a week. It’s amazing to be able to connect with creative people without the restrictions of distance. (The internet kicks ass!)
Anyways back to the package… Yesterday our mailman brought us an envelope all the way from Tampa. it included not only a print of one of my favorite pieces in the Colt45 show but also a note from Justin. It might not seem like much but it’s a great feeling to get feedback like this. We get caught up in all the chaos of running the show and sometimes forget that YOU are out there reading our books, wearing our shirts, and spreading the good word of decay! I’m glad that you guys are out there. Without your there would be no Beautiful/Decay.
P.S. You can check out a larger image of Justin’s print after the jump along with his note. You can also get a copy of his sick print here.
Derek McDonald & Scott La Rock are keeping the art of the hand-painted sign alive at Made For Glory Sign Co.! I had the opportunity to watch these two in action last weekend at the Tiger Rose Tattoo & Music Festival where they demonstrated, in person, their steady hands and their unique art form. This duo hails from the California’s Bay Area but their work can be spotted around the world; from Barcelona, to Spain & even Japan