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Jeff Friesen Uses Legos o Satirize The 50 US States

West Virginia: Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper.

West Virginia: Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper.

Washington: We can only close our eyes using clothespins.

Washington: We can only close our eyes using clothespins.

Texas: Rounding up little doggies who have lost their way.

Maryland: Today the crabs decided to have a picnic of their own.

Canadian Photographer Jeff Friesen uses the iconic Legos to build dioramas that he later photographs. In the series 50 States of Legos, Friesen satirizes each state in the United States using the toy’s characters, blocks, and accessories. Scenes are set against colorful backdrops like mountains, beaches, and grassy lands. Some include aliens, cowboys,and even historic figures like George Washington.

Each state has their own legacy or a reputation for something. Friesen plays on these associations and includes witty captions that accompany them. I live in Maryland, for instance, where eating crabs is a cherished pastime. Friesen pokes fun at this, turning crabs against a couple trying to boil a crab. Other places receive the same, if not more over-the-top treatment. Alaska features a Yet fishing with an Eskimo. A cowboy in New Mexico is prodded by an alien. There is a dragon in the mines of West Virginia. Friesen’s series is a light-hearted look at the states, which are made even more amusing the more time you spend with them and their details. (Via Honestly WTF)

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Angelika Arendt’s Bright and Intricate Clay Sculptures

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Angelika Arendt creates her vivid sculptures out of a variety of materials. Arendt often twists and shapes polymer clay to form dripping and swirling patterns, but also uses foam, wood, and acrylic paint to fashion similar forms that are rich in texture and movement. These intricate patterns lend her work an organic touch, something psychedelically oceanic, perhaps. A quick look at her illustrations reveals her incredible ability to transform intricate two-dimensional designs into three-dimensional models. Arendt lives and works in Berlin.

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Mathew Zefeldt’s Paint People

Hold on to your eyeballs, Matthew Zefeldt‘s paintings just might wipe them out. Matthew’s enormous paintings seem to use every possible color and it’s obvious that he doesn’t just “like color”– he loves it, and is really good at it. Using color to give control thick, abstract figures form and depth, and flattening his pedestals, Zefeldt’s paintings are a new and wonderful take on impasto abstraction, so thick that some of them look more like a gum wall than a painting. His work is also great because he uses his goopy application to show what portrait paintings really are–paint! But instead of taking a cynical approach to the problem–“oh no, how could we be attaching so much significance and power to these things that are really just a bunch of paint”–his view seems more enthusiastic, as if to say, “yes, this is a bunch of paint–that’s why they’re the best!” I can’t wait to see more. If you want to see some in person, he has a piece hanging until the 10th in a FFDG Gallery group show  The Diamond Sea  along with curiot and lots of other young up and comers. If you’re not in the bay area, you can see more of his work after the jump.

Jake Fried’s Psychedelic “Moving Paintings”

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Raw Data from Jake Fried on Vimeo.

It’s problematic calling the work of Jake Fried either animation or painting – it is a bit more than both.  Fried uses exceptionally simple materials: White-Out, coffee, ink, gouche, and paper.  He creates and image, and adds countless layers.  The result is an evolving and unfolding psychedelic image.  Fried appropriately calls this type of experimental animation “moving paintings”. Using the image of a face as its foundation, Fried quickly elaborates on the painting barely allowing the viewer’s brain to keep pace.  You can see more of Fried’s work previously featured here.  [via]

Uta Barth’s Photographs Quote The Lightness In Her Own Life

Uta Barth - Photography

Uta Barth - Photography

Uta Barth - Photography

Uta Barth uses photography to capture her own personal dreamy moments with light, and in doing so, exposes its environmental power over our solitude and romance . . . or romance with solitude.

As a viewer, I find myself drawn to the window, the curtain, and the wall in each piece, not only because it’s illuminated accordingly with sharp visceral attention, but also because I’m intrigued with how the mundane awakens. It feels childlike, reminiscient of a world without technology and other busy distractions. Ironically, or maybe not so, it also feels wise– close to death. There’s drama in the little details as the hand pulls back the curtain or the camera approaches the glow. It’s not so much about being a voyeur as it is about being here and being still– sharing the space where light opens into mood and reflection.

Of her work, Barth notes, “In most photographs the subject and the content are one and the same thing. My work is first and foremost about perception.”

To say these pieces are only about composition: space or pattern, would be to ignore the aura around the intention of these images, which are all shot inside her home– there’s a depth that resonates with an almost intrinsic documentary feeling. Unlike James Turrell, she does not appear to be mathematically immersing us in the immediate moment of light and awareness; instead, she’s quoting from the lightness in her own life, and we are privy enough to bear witness.

The Dark, Elegant Self Portraits Of Noell Oszvald

The Dark, Elegant Self Portraits Of Noell Oszvald

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Noell Oszvald, a Hungarian photographer with a penchant for dark, elegant, self portraits, is becoming a master of the surrealist photographic image. The 23-year-old photographer found wide acclaim after releasing a series of 22 photos to her flicker page early this year. The images are remarkable, but she’s only been shooting photos for a little less than two years. It makes you wonder what the motivations are of this emerging prodigy.

“I don’t want to tell people what to see in my images,” said Oszvald. “This is the reason why I never really write any descriptions other than titles. It shows what I wish to express but everyone is free to figure out what the picture says to them. It’s very interesting to read so many different thoughts about the same piece of work.”

Oszvald’s soft, black and white palette is a touch grainy and filled with contrast. And her images posses a striking amount of warmth in a dark frame. These compositions are solid—and the artist’s own physical beauty, and her affinity for a minimal frame add to the overall conceptual depth. (my modern met)

Angel Olsen’s Voice Shines Bright on her New Album, Half Way Home

Angel Olsen has one of those rare voices that deserves to be heard. You might actually have already heard it and didn’t even know it from her work with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang, but when I first heard her debut Strange Cacti a while back, I was instantly mesmerized by her unique voice. She self-describes it as, “Never changing, always changing” which makes perfect sense after listening to her newest album Half Way Home from Bathetic Records. I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions regarding what she’s learned from being on the road, as well as how she came up with the cover art for her new record.

In regards to the cover art for Half Way Home… “The cover work for the album began as a photograph of a girl looking out into the mountains from a high point. It was taken from the top of Knapps Castle, just outside of Santa Ynez. I asked Steve Krakow/Plastic Crimewave  to make a drawing based upon that image. I’ve always been a fan of his magazine, Galactic Zoo Dossier, and his column in The Chicago Reader “The secret history of chicago music”.  He’s been a friend for years and I thought if anyone should work on this, it should be him.” As for why she didn’t use a photo… “I didn’t want to use a photo of myself in the end. I felt that I shouldn’t be framed this time around, something else should be.”

Beautiful/Decay 2011 New Years Sale!

2011 is going to be one hell of a year, so to start things off on the right foot we’re giving you 30% off the entire b/d shop for one week. Get that new b/d shirt, the missing copies of back issues to complete your Beautiful/Decay magazine collection, or perhaps even a grayscale beanie to keep your head warm. Just use discount code: new30year during checkout and you’re all set!