Iconograph Magazine has just released its stunning second issue in an edition of 750. The magazine is curated and published by Justin Blyth, with contributing editors Hassan Rahim, Justin Van Hoy & Andrew Pogany. Justin, who runs the expertly curated massive found image blog Them Thangs has produced an amazing encapsulation of contemporary dark esoteric imagery and writings. “Iconograph #2 is the second print offering in an ongoing series that gathers an eccentric collection of visual media and literature exploring the contemporary use of Ritualistic Iconography—the systems of symbols, mythic representations, and religious imagery from which we seek meaning. Iconograph #2 is an 80-page curated document, offset printed on an 8-color Heidelberg press in Belgium, in an edition of 750. It is privately funded and contains no advertising, promotion, album reviews, or horoscopes.” You can pick up a copy here.
Paul Robertson is an Australian animator and digital artist who is known for his pixel art used in short films and video games. He is mostly known for Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: The Game and the recent release, Mercenary Kings. Apart from his seasoned career as a game designer and movie creator, Robertson has been recently spotted on Tumblr with these GIFS.
Last week, BuzzFeed published a video featuring three women who were given complete makeovers based on “diverse traditions of beauty,” transforming them into figures from their cultural, historical pasts. Their backgrounds — which were Indian, English-Irish-Scottish, and Chinese-Taiwanese – were researched, and then clothes, accessories, hairstyles, and makeup were selected to recreate the looks. The women are fascinated and excited by the stylists’ creative interpretations of their heritage, and as one participant expresses, “It’s traditional, but at the same time, there’s an edge to it.”
A possible criticism of this video would be that it risks essentializing ethnic identities and notions of beauty; it’s always important to remember that cultural histories and traditions are infinitely diverse and nuanced. However, BuzzFeed’s goal to creatively explore a range of backgrounds is valuable, in that it aims to celebrate cultural difference and disparate histories. The video provides positive representation to alternative-and-equal cultural understandings of traditional beauty, which is important in a world wherein the media is so often dominated — or at least influenced — by Western standards and ways of thinking.
Check out the video above, and share with us your thoughts. What do you think about these depictions of diverse, traditional beauty? (Via designboom)
Spanish illustrator Irma Gruenholz constructs hand sculpted, three-dimensional scenes using clay. Her surreal compositions primarily involve portraits of rosy-cheeked humans coupled with fantastical characteristics. A woman, posed like a frog, captures small human flies with her long tongue. Another illustration features a woman catching small bits of light between two chopsticks. Gruenholz forms the clay into smooth, elegant figures that don’t immediately read as handmade – they look like they could’ve been digitally produced.
A lot of work goes into crafting these illustrations. Gruenholz individually creates each character each character and scene using sculpting tools and paint. They’re held in place by stands and posed correctly. Scenes are photographed and later edited to remove the supports and produce the illusion that they could possibly be real.
DIY Gallery is pleased to present Making War curated by Los Angeles based Cassandra Simon.
Even in his commercial work French photographer Laurent Chehere clearly has a creative and curious eye for his surroundings. An avid traveler, Chehere enjoys exploring the cities he visits. This becomes especially evident in his series Flying Houses. The series contains a number of photographs of floating buildings. The buildings seem otherwise ordinary, perhaps tethered by power lines, quietly floating in the sky. Chehere achieved the effect by taking photographs of buildings throughout the suburbs of Paris and digitally manipulating them. A gallery statement (translated from French) from a recent solo exhibit explains Chehere’s inspiration for the series:
“The artist isolates buildings from their urban context and frees them from their stifling environment. Houses fly in the clouds, like kites. Inspired by a poetic vision of old Paris and the famous short film The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, Laurent Chéhère walked the districts of Belleville and Ménilmontant gazing at their typical houses. The images of the artist seize an unexpected levitation: held to the ground by unseen hands, like so many balloons used by the boy, these old buildings floating in the sky, sliding on the surface, they reveal to us their hidden beauty. Some houses are adorned with drying laundry or flower pots, outweigh other brands and shops fleeing the flames of a fire … All seem to find a second life. Uprooted from their hometown, they go to new heights. It’s a true invitation to travel and metaphor for the transience of the world, Flying Houses Laurent Chéhère’s series plunges us into a dreamlike and changing world full of gaiety and humor.”
In Phillip Toledano’s new book, A New Kind of Beauty, you will find photographs of those whom have gone through extreme cosmetic surgery. The images are quite shocking, but there is also something quite unusual about them; you can see, through the sitters’ victorious stances, that they actually feel quite powerful and actually beautiful.
‘A New Kind of Beauty’ possesses an interesting aesthetic. The photographer decides to portray his subjects, not under a glamorous light, but instead in way which exudes an air of strength and power. Although the artist says that he is referencing 16th century artist Hans Holbein (which he is) I say that he is also reflecting an aesthetic that very clearly references that of Greek and Roman sculpture. I find it compelling that Toledano’s juxtaposes something so contemporary as cosmetic surgery, to something so dated. But, his line of thought makes sense.
We all know that the Greek and Romans were obsessed with beauty, perfection and youth. They found beauty in perfect young bodies, hence the many grand sculptures of young naked bodies (usually men). Their stance, for the most part, was stoic; emotion made the beauty fade away…their stance was always upright, a symbol of power and honor. Similarly, the photographer renders his sitters in poses that clearly show off their wannabe young bodies and faces (some are covered by draped robes and veils, yet another detail that references this particular stylistic period). They stand tall and emotionless, even if their highly transformed faces say otherwise. Their ‘beauty’ is fake, but it is theirs, and they are owning it.
In a way, Toledano is documenting contemporary human beauty as well as ‘admiring beauty’ in the same way the Greeks and Roman did in their time.
“We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution.”
However, it differs in that this kind of beauty is manufactured and maybe not so beautiful after all. The photographer wants to make sure we realize that this is our society’s standards of beauty. Whether it is actually beautiful or not, real or not, well that’s not something to fret about. It is an obvious fact that the public is eager for perfection, youth, and hypersexualized physical attributes, so here’s the outcome of the pressures to be just that.
“I wanted to make beautiful and distinguished portraits of these people. … I wanted to represent a particular part of beauty from our time. It will be very interesting to see in a few years time how I compare physically to these projected images.”