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Crystal Barbre’s Wonderful Animal-Headed Women Call The Shots

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Crystal Barbre, a Seattle painter, has created an alternate universe where women call the shots, their raw glory shining prominently through the head of an animal. These hungry scenes, at first glance, just look like a skillfully painted playground of lust: voluptuous animal-headed women in the throes of passion, yet there is much more at work here. The mysterious and enigmatic quality of rawness within the animal expression offers more to interpret than just sex. Barbre is giving these animals a power they may not otherwise have; with an animal head the women are operating on an instinctual basis; one not vulnerable to the persuasive effect of emotions.Their strength lies in the fact that they cannot be conned, by themselves or others. They are eternally present, and they engage with their sexuality while remaining a powerful, wild, and even threatening figure. Theriocephaly, or, the condition of having the head of an animal, dates back to Greek mythology and is often used in art and storytelling as a symbolic element. Barbre has used this subject matter to explore dealing with sexual abuse, as a way of allotting power where, for many women, there sometimes isn’t any.

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Sung-Myung Chun

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Korean artist Sung-Myung Chun creates eerie sculptures of young boys wearing his face who are usually in a situation that revolves around drama. He works with his life experiences through these sculptures of himself, and presents it to us cinematically by freezing them in moments of great reflection, violence, fatigue, etc – much like in T.V. shows or movies.

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Local Natives Perform Emotional Hometown Show At LA’s Greek Theatre

Taylor Rice of Local Natives. Photo by Barry Belkin

Nick Ewing of Local Natives. Photo by Barry Belkin

Friday the 13th was nothing but lucky for LA’s Local Natives as they headlined the Greek Theatre a couple of weeks ago. The band gave their hometown fans a hard hitting, emotional show full of heartfelt thanks and crushing songs. Not that long ago you could have seen them at any number of clubs in Echo Park or Silverlake, but to see them perform at one of their largest headlining hometown shows to date was something I could not miss. With their latest album, “Hummingbird” released at the beginning of the year on Frenchkiss Records, the band played their hearts out to the enthusiastic crowd of well wishers.

Opening with, “Breakers” from their new record, the band jammed through songs both new and old including, “Wide Eyes“, “You & I, “Camera Talk”, and “Airplanes” and continued to thank the audience of fans, family, and friends up until their final song of the night. With that familiar thumping drum beat and the band bathed in red light, the crowd clapped and jumped along to one of the most intense versions of, “Sun Hands” I’ve ever seen them perform.

Local Natives will be appearing both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 4th and 11th as well some shows in between so check out there tour dates here to see if they’re playing in or around your area before they head off to Europe. Also, check out their new video for their song, “Ceilings” which was directed by their bass player, Nick Ewing.

Painting And Fashion Photography Meet In The Works Of Jean-Francois Lepage

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Photographer Jean Francois Lepage has been recycling. Lepage is a well known fashion photographer who in recent years has been concentrating on fine art projects. One called “Recycle” uses his fashion photography as background to his painting, drawing and cutting. This presents a kind of superimposed painting onto a photograph which has both modernist and classical references. The works hint at Picasso, Calder and Klee, but also finds new ground in the photo image combined with other mediums. Whereas fashion photography mostly projects a self-absorbed glance, Lepage reinvents these same photographs to look within its subject instead of just on the surface.

In some of the pictures, he draws over the faces to hide the features. This turns the picture into a more abstract form and allows the shapes of his subjects to be seen as free flowing objects instead of just perfect physical specimens selling a product. In others, Lepage renders marks which could be interpreted as word bubbles or strange appendages, sometimes outlining and extending beyond the figure. The colors are bold and primary in some while in others he opts to color over in softer pastel shades. The more intriguing works are those with less coloring and just black outlining which lend a sculptural element.

Lepage finds an agreeable shortcut to the painted image. He finds inspiration in the balance of what is real and imagined.

Hilarious Letterpress Notes

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These letterpress cards are the product of a collaboration between Sapling Press and the Dear Blank, Please Blank project.  Dear Blank, Please Blank is a site which asks visitors to write short “letters” written in a  dear…, please…, sincerely, … style.  The letters on site range from humorous to sarcastic to bitter.  Several of the succinct witty letters have been put to letterpress Sapling Press resembling notes typed on vintage typewriters.  Here is a selection of some of Sapling’s and DBPB’s hilarious offerings.

Eucalyptus Infused Luxury

After a long day in front of a computer pushing pixels and designing stuff the last thing I want to do is stare at a treadmill ticking off the minutes. I prefer group activities like yoga, pilates, the bar method, etc. And let’s face it, at typical gym these classes consist of wannabe actors phoning in a tired, repetitive routine until they force you to stop taking their class. On the other hand buying a series of classes at a yoga studio can run you $200 or more a month… what if you get bored of down dogs several times a week?

That’s where Equinox comes in, all of their classes are included in their membership fees so you have the pick of the litter: cycling, yoga, pilates, kick boxing, bar method- you name it. And the classes are plenty challenging, the Cardio Burn class had me running to grab a eucalyptus infused cold towel to keep from passing out. There’s so much to choose from, it leaves no time for boredom. And when you consider how much variety you have, the membership fee is a bargain. Curious? Take advantage of the 3 day trial membership and work up the need for a cold towel yourself.

Ayano Tsukimi Replaces The Dead With Doll Sculptures In Shrinking Japanese Village

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The village of Nagoro is remote location hidden in the valley of Shikoku, Japan. Its small town charm remains enchanting, but its lack of work possibilities has driven its residents to leave for big cities in search for a better life. Nagoro is slowly shrinking.

“When I was a child there was a dam here, there was a company, and hundreds of people used to live here.”

In hopes that she could bring back life to her now desolated hometown of Nagoro, Japanese artist Ayano Tsukimi comes up an unexpected solution.

Tsukimi has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

“I don’t like making weird dolls, but people who blend into the scenery.”

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, director Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi’s doll-filled world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. (via The Verge)