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Ping Zhu

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Ping Zhu aka Pingszoo resides in Los Angeles and does wonderful illustration work.  Dogs, snowboarding animals, and great portraits all in a playful and colorful style.

Check out her work at Pingszoo as well as more after the jump.

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TipToland’s Hyper Realistic Ceramic Sculptures

The characters in Tip Toland’s hyper realistic sculptures are fragile creatures that find themselves at the end of adulthood or at the beginning of childhood. Those stages in life have a certain vulnerability, isolation and innocence in common. Toland attempts to demonstrate the decline preceding death, and the increased separation from others it brings. Their expressions are unengaged and convey a sense of deep psychological detachment that is sad and enigmatic as well as dignified by the process of natural aging. In his article for, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Glen Brown states, “[The works] weigh upon [the viewer] for the simple reason that they reflect the profound, inevitable solitude that envelops the beginning and the end of life.”

While exploring age and aging, Toland’s work attempts to give voice to inner psychological and spiritual states of being. What is of primary importance to her is that the figures contain particular aspects of humanity, which they mirror back to the viewer. It’s the fragility and transient aspect of mankind that the artist is after. That is one reason for choosing very old or very young subjects; they both portray innocence as well as complexity.  While her subjects are sometimes self-portraits, they are meant to convey universal truths about humanity, society and the self.

The hyper realism of Toland’s figures comes from her attention to detail and unique use of materials. Using an encaustic technique, Toland creates a waxy finish for the skin that mimics real flesh. She even goes so far as to incorporate actual human hair into the works. The porcelain eyes create a doll-like realism that is both haunting and entrancing, while carefully defined wrinkles, skin tone, tooth enamel, and bone structure, are remarkably realistic.

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Old Navy Causes A Stir With Insulting Anti-Artist T-Shirts

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Anyone who has ever pursued a liberal arts career has probably heard the opinion: that there’s no future in the arts, or at the very least, it’s going to be extremely difficult. While the latter is probably true (Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so on), the bias against the arts—often in favor of science and the trades—is highly prevalent in our public discourse.

Old Navy recently attracted some heat by releasing two “funny” toddler tees, both emblazoned with the “YOUNG ASPIRING ARTIST” motto, with “ARTIST” crossed out. Scrawled beneath are two alternative career paths: “Astronaut” and “President” (although, really, we don’t think these careers are any easier to attain). Twitter users voiced their offense, and soon after, artist Steve Ogden humorously modified the designs, overwriting “YOUNG ASPIRING OLD NAVY EXEC” with “ARTIST” and “HUMAN.” Here’s a response from the company, as published on artnet News:

“At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously. We would never intentionally offend anyone, and we are sorry if that has been the case. Our toddler tees come in a variety of designs including tees that feature ballerinas, unicorns, trucks, and dinosaurs, and [they] include phrases like ‘Free Spirit.’ They are meant to appeal to a wide range of aspirations. With this particular tee, as a result of customer feedback, we have decided to discontinue the design and will work to remove the item from our stores.” (Source)

Overall, the initial designs and the subsequent outcry reminds us that we shouldn’t disparage our artists. For those who are determined, it is plausible to develop a career in such fields—and there is value in it. After all, who could live in a world without art? (Via artnet News)

 

Douglas Coupland Invites Public To Cover His Head In Chewing Gum

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Vancouver artist Douglas Coupland has made his head available to be vandalized – well an over-sized fiberglass sculpture of his head at least. In conjunction with his solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Coupland installed a seven foot black resin and polyester sculpture on the lawn in front of the gallery. Called ‘Gumhead‘ and described by the artist as a “gum-based, crowd sourced, publicly interactive, self-portrait“, the striking sculpture has a very imposing Soviet-era aesthetic to it.

Gumhead was unveiled in May, and Coupland invited the public to plaster their chewing gum all over it for the duration of 4 months. He hoped to build up such a thick layer of gum, that his features would become obscured. Here he comments on witnessing the process:

At first the added gum looked like jewels against the black. And then the Excel chewing gum van parked beside it during the Jazz Festival and took the whole head to the next level. And then we had a heat wave and the gum started to weep. And now it has a 24-hours cloud of bees and wasps around it. It’s a dream. (Source)

People have reacted to the piece in many different ways. Coupland was delighted with the interactions:

People went directly to snot. They tried big earrings but they would fall off. During the last month, we’ve had the Ebola outbreak so everyone started doing hemorrhagic bleed-out from the eyelids. (Source)

With plans of washing the gum off the sculpture and starting the whole process again in January, when the show moves to Toronto, Coupland is interested to see what else unfolds. Admittedly, he is a bit unsure about it’s success during the Canadian winter, especially the -10 degree temperatures and if the gum will even stick. (Via Escape Kit)

Jean-Michel Basquiat Three-Part Documentary Presented By Christies

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Before his untimely death, even before he was taken under the wing of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat was something of legend.  He’s since become an enduring art icon.  His street art sensibility, youthful energy, and handling of themes of racism, class, psychology, and popular culture keep his art relevant from year to year.  However, Basquiat’s popularity is enjoying a special renewal over the course of 2013.  The hugely popular Basquiat retrospective at Manhattan’s Gagosian Gallery will be followed by another at Gagosian’s Hong Kong gallery later this month.  Additionally this month, Basquiat’s painting Dustheads is expected to fetch up to $35 million dollars in auction at Christie’s.  In conjunction with the auction, Christie’s has released a three-part video series on Jean-Michel Basquiat.  The first video features Basquiat’s early partner in graffiti, Al Diaz.  The second in the series speaks with fellow contemporary artist Toxic on Basquiat’s transformation into an art-star. The third installment (featured after the jump speaks with Macklemore, one of many contemporary rappers to express inspiration from the late artist.   [via]

Meet the Man Who Spends 6 Hours Everyday Putting On His 100 Pound Turban

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What’s your morning routine like? Maybe it takes you 15 minutes, or perhaps an hour. Whatever it is, Avtar Singh Mauni from Patiala, Northen India has you beat. He spends six hours a day getting his turban ready before he ventures to the local temple. The devout Sikh’s impressive headdress measures 2,115 feet (about 645 meters) when unwrapped and weighs about 100 pounds.

The 60-year-old is proud of his turban, which took him 16 years to assemble all of its parts. He’ll wear it until he physically can’t any longer; Singh doesn’t consider it a burden and says that he’s happiest when he has it on his head. In fact, when he doesn’t have it on, part of him feels incomplete.

While most people who follow Sikhism wear turbans, they are comprised of a length between five and seven meters and probably don’t weigh all that much. Singh’s, in further comparison, has purple and orange fabric that weighs 66 pounds, while the decorative elements make up the extra weight. This is coupled with a sword and heavy bangles that weigh an additional 87 pounds.

Singh’s ritual sits at the bizarre intersection of art, fashion, and religion. Do you think it could be considered a type of performance art? Or just a fervent dedication to cultural guidelines? (Via Lost At E Minor and Oddity Central)

Kimm Whiskie

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All the way from Lithuania, Kimm Whiskie shoots the type of photographs that make my heart twinge with nostalgia for all those ephemeral moments that just slipped by…

 

Website Builder Made With Color Presents: The Installation And Sculptures Of Alexis Zoto

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Premiere website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Website builder Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This excited to share the sculptures and installations of Alexis Zoto.

The work of Los Angeles artist Alexis Zoto is inspired by her Albanian Orthodox heritage, art history, antiquities, family stories and her personal experiences as a woman, wife and mother. Her work is distinctly feminine and feminist. The starting point of the work is found materials such as a piece of discarded furniture found on the street and family lore/cautionary tales. Often these stories highlight struggles with acculturation. Drawing from both from high and low culture as a source of inspiration and materials,  she uses buttons, birds, lace, plates, chandelier, motifs from traditional Albanian textiles, furniture parts, and evil eye amulets in her work to connect the past to the present, the personal to the public, and the intimate to art history.