Asuka Ohsawa masterfully uses gouache on paper to create a world rife with dichotomous flair. Long Japanese scroll paintings depict cute anthropomorphic animals frolicking the town in seeming innocence and naivete but upon closer inspection there is a child ready to detonate a bomb and a crowd ready to capture and devour. There is underlying tension in all her works, reflecting on ideals and grievences of family and home, social and cultural norms, sexual moires, and moral righteousness. Each character and its surrounding environment is tightly rendered and outlined in sharp and precise lines, executed in flattened perspectives and limited color palates.
In the current state of Reality TV and backstage blogs, we as a world have lost our sense of wonder. And it’s because of one brave artist, Jon Bernad, that we will get it back. He was part of the Venice Art Walk AUCTION, not just as himself, but as an offer for an experiential possibility that attendees could bid on for a good cause, since the money would go directly to The Venice Family Clinic. What that means was that he fearlessly walked up to strangers with a bid sheet around his neck, as opposed to on a table or wall like the other artworks in the auction, and pitched to each new person a different adventure he felt they would want to go on. Everything from skydiving to dinner came up and during his time there he was offered to join unfamiliar faces on white water rafting trips and treks in the Amazonian Rain Forest. I like to say that Jon takes people on Art Adventures, but it’s really so much more than that. He is the only artist that embodies the ultimate truth. For he is only but himself, but his self is great.
Kira Leigh‘s website comes with a warning: “Many pieces deal directly with the symptoms and sisters of depression and are therefore triggering.” While on the surface, Leigh’s work may seem fun and fantastical, it is also highly personal and psychological, addressing subjects of anxiety, body dysmorphia, life obstacles, and feminist issues. Taking inspiration from gaming culture, Leigh turns the escapist pastime on its head, creating a “surreal fictional gaming universe” in which she courageously battles her real-life demons through “a self-insert mage/ alchemist” named KUURA THE STRANGE. The result is a magical mystery tour through Leigh’s psyche, where the cute meets the grotesque in the form of distorted human figures and oozing intestinal forms, turning the often difficult parts of human experience into captivating, colorful adventures.
Asger Carlsen is a camera user with escaping needs and wants. In the dialogue of grains and tones, the subjects escape through a hole in the sky. The moments captured deface, defile, and subvert – in the best way possible. I want more.
Gehard Demetz was born in 1972, in Bolzano, Italy. Currently he lives and works in Val Gardena on these amazing woodcarvings. His vision is on point, and his work is nothing short than breathtaking. Check it out.
Photographers Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida (previously here) found love through photography while attending art school, but they also found a way to combine their interests in gourmet food and miniature worlds by combining them all into playful scenarios. Their most comprehesive series, MINIMIAM, has been an exploration of visual solutions in miniature since 2002. Says Ida, “We’re both food photographer in our daily work, and we’re both quite crazy about cooking, eating and everything about food. So when we started this small people series, naturally we created the stories related to the food.”
The series (a portmanteau from mini and miam, meaning yum! in French), sets miniature figures in whimsical settings, opening up the possibilities of food photography and creating stories from visual puns. The figures are found from model train set kits (usually 1/87 scale), and seen sledding through icing like snow, blowing air into raisins with a handpump to explain the origin of grapes, and recalling Michelangelo by carving away the shell of a peanut to set free the trapped sculpture (peanut) within.
Derek M Ballard just announced that Drippy Bones Books is releasing CARTOONSHOW once December comes around. Judging by his past body of work this book couldn’t be anything but amazing. Somehow he’s married erotica with angularity, which is no easy task, and the result is just downright sexy perpetual motion. In this interview, Derek fleshes out his influences, his process, and his awesome past occupation. To see more of his work, just head down here. Dude’s gonna get huge any day now.
The Centro Financiero Confinanzas Skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, has been home to 3000 squatting residents since October 2007. Alejandro Cegarra took five months to create The Other Side of the Tower, a photo-series that documents the lives of the abandoned building’s inhabitants. Although it is in no way an ideal life – Cegarra reports that there are places without railings where drunk people or children have fallen, and that the water and electrical systems are not adequate – the Tower of David, as it has been nicknamed, is a place where people have created their homes to live mostly peacefully.
Cegarra’s photographs provide a candid look at the community, and how they have developed the unfinished building into something livable. There are shops, and even an unlicensed dentist working in the building. Although the elevators do not work, people ride motorcycles up to the 10th floor in place of them. Residents live up to the 28th floor, meaning some walk 18 flights of stairs even with the use of a motorcycle.
The photo-series brings up an interesting issue of living standards and help versus enforcement. After difficult negotiation, government officials agreed in July to move hundreds of families to new social housing in Cua, south of Caracas. There has apparently been interest expressed in developing the rest of the building for its original purpose, but the government states it is open to a dialogue concerning the use of the building. Still, considering some residents would have been living there for 7 years, is dislocation the best option? Could the government have invested money in developing the building as a better home to those who already live there, or is it a-moral to nurture inherently unstable conditions.
Cegarra’s photographs help to illustrate the perspective of those most affected. Although his own lens may equally distort in favour of the tower’s inhabitants, romanticizing their condition, it may be closer to the truth than anything else offered. Ultimately, it should be the inhabitant’s needs that are considered the most heavily.
Cegarra has been awarded the Ian Parry Scholarship for The Other Side of the Tower. (Via TIME Lightbox)