Using an iPhone and Instagram, Kalen Hollomon has taken collaging to a new level. Although Hollomon sometimes works in a traditional way, cutting apart images and reassembling them into hybrids, his New York City collages are often made on the fly as he inserts a cutout image into a photo as he takes it. The resulting images are a sly wink to the viewer as pants are replaced with porno magazines nudes and subway riders are given unexpected seatmates. The fact that Hollomon leaves his fingers in the shots is another play on altered reality. How does he compose these impromptu collages in real time?
“I will find an image in a magazine or a book that speaks to me and I’ll cut it out and have it with me. And I’ll usually have between one and five in a folder in my pocket. And when I’m out in the city I wait until I come across a situation that works with one. And I’ll get super excited and pull it out. It’s just waiting for the two worlds to come together.” (Source)
In the most meta of these collages, Hollomon stands holding his phone in an empty bathroom, reflected in the mirror over the sink, holding a picture of a naked, smiling man apparently leaning over the countertop. In the reflection you can see Hollomon holding the cutout and in the photo, you can see Hollomon’s fingers. It plays with the idea of real and unreal, lifting the curtain while obscuring the illusion.
“You can create a powerful image that at first looks nice and maybe is a bit funny but if you look a bit deeper, it also might have something more to say than that. … I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface. I hope to create conversation that is rooted in questions related to learned social rules, identity, the subtext of everyday situations and perception.”
Though it might look like any other Polish chapel from the outside, the Kaplica Czaszek chapel sets itself apart: behind a humble pair of wooden doors, it contains the bones of thousands. After visiting shallow grave sites commemorating the fallen soldiers and civilians killed in the Silesian Wars, the Thirty Years’ War, plagues, and cholera, a local priest named Vaclav Tomasek collected and cleaned skeletal remains, embedding them in the chapel walls.
Constructed between 1776 and 1804, the building’s architecture stunningly deconstructs the human skeleton; skulls and leg bones are meticulously arranged over the ceilings and walls, while other bones are hidden behind a trapdoor and kept in a crypt. The repetitive patterns that emerge from a single human bone laid out a thousand times over serves to remind us of our connectedness; while each individual femur or cranium stands in for a deceased individual, it takes on a deeper, more universal meaning as part of this expertly-constructed whole.
Within this celebration of oneness, Tomasek set apart strange and unusual bones, placing them on the church altar. Alongside the skull of a mayor and the chapel founder, sits a skull morphed by syphilis, one of a rumored giant, and a few penetrated by bullets. In this way, the structure daringly elevates the macabre—and those who suffered from uncommon maladies—to the spiritual level of relics left behind by local religious and political leaders.
Within the context of the church and its representations of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, the remains offer a potent juxtaposition between the spiritual and the corporeal. Visitors cannot escape this powerful reminder of mortality, but if they so wish, they are poignantly invited to consider the possibility of salvation and eternal life. (via Lost at E Minor and Smithsonian Magazine)
James Nares makes one seemingly fluid stroke full of action to create his paintings. His artwork is extremely minimalist, and full of expression. The viewer can follow the stroke like a path, witnessing his every step in the splashes, interruptions, and slight wavers. His colour palette is vibrant, mostly blues and greens, with luminous whites and sensuous reds. They’re very three dimensional, the ones running horizontally seem to move like long slithering dragons or snakes.
It’s interesting to consider the time it may take Nares to create each one. Although they appear to be quite speedy, it must take either a great deal of control or repeated attempts to produce such pointed work. The works aren’t redundant, nor are they overloaded. Although each is done with a repeated strategy, they are executed with refinement. His artwork actually reminds me of Alberto Seveso’s Disastro Ecologico series. We have featured other work of his before, here.
Nares has said of his own work:
“I try to embody the nature and combine the forms—it’s like one and one making three—to expose a metaphor of some kind. It’s searching for metaphors, for likeness, like a breeding ground. It seems to me, that’s how a language develops. Everything breeds through metaphors.”
For “Phonies,” the UK photographer Dan Rubin turns celebrity selfies into works of fine art. In his unusual street photographs, the smartphone itself stands in for the face of passersby, projecting the grins of social media-savvy stars like Kim Kardashian, James Franco, and Harry Styles. Rubin’s series is equal parts playful and scathing, capturing the narcissism of celebrity in the 21st century in such a way that highlights the anonymity of the digital age.
Within the medium of street photography, normally characterized by raw and gritty from-the-hip shots, Rubin replaces candid captures with shiny screens projecting perfectly made-up celebrity faces. In these clever doubles, these photographs of photographs, notions of identity are complicated. Our faces, especially in photographs, have the power to betray our innermost selves and to define our perceptions of that self; here, the subject’s visage is shown only to be a reflection of the media we consume. As we are continuously bombarded with social media, how do we shape our egos in relation to the rich and famous?
From images, we derive meaning. Flawlessly inserting the HTC One mini 2 phone into his compositions, the artist creates a hybrid human that is simultaneously a celebrity and just another face in the crowd. As we become more vain and the innocent selfie borders on arrogant self-indulgence, do we stifle our individuality? Here, the realm of social media is ambiguously seen, a powerful force that is both fun and disconcerting. Take a look.
Casey Grossblatt is now officially part of the elite Beautiful/Decay intern Alumni. Casey goes off into the dark unknown to discover forbidden planets full of groundbreaking art and design. During the Cult initiation process Casey posted many a blog post, drew eons of illustrations, and helped us ship out billions of orders to the mighty cult of decay all over the world. But before going off into the abyss Casey leaves us her fantastic design portfolio full of typographic goodness and hand drawn illustrations. Thanks for the hard work Casey and enjoy the AMAZING adventures that awaits.
San Francisco based artist Ryan De La Hoz has expanded upon his ink and paper cut practice to include laser cut sculptures made with hand manipulated found imagery, textile works, and pieces made from custom fabricated puzzles that have been meticulously disassembled and rearranged to form dynamic compositions. This new media is presented along with his signature hand cut paper and ink works for the first time in his new solo exhibition What New Mystery Is This at RVCA SF. The exhibition presents a fractured alternate history where statues warp and pulsate alongside dizzying Op-Art. The exhibition is on view daily 11 – 7 through May 25th at RVCA | VASF 1485 Haight St San Francisco, CA 94117. Photos: Sami Naffziger.