Josh Jefferson is a Boston-based artist who paints and draws raw, coarsely layered, and geometric portraits. Viewing the face as the locus of emotion and individuality — as well as a mask we shape to convey our identities — Jefferson’s rough-yet-sophisticated style allows him to represent the structures of the face while simultaneously exploring the symbolic interiority of each portrait; with loose and boldly-colored brush strokes and layered washes of paint, Jefferson gives each portrait a constructed superficiality as well as a deeper, visible core: translucent shapes become thoughts floating around inside a skull, eyes sink into deep vortexes, and mouths smile and grimace all at once. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Jefferson described his style and motivations:
“What really gets me excited is when I see a painting that seems effortless — when an artist has confidence and it appears that the painting came about like one fast whiplash, a slaphappy moment. If I could convey that feeling of loose abandon and control I would be happy. The distortions and geometric interpretations in my drawings and paintings act as structures for me to build on and react to. I kind of need to repeat things to find their meaning, and the structures help with this process.”
Just as our emotions shift, fluctuate, and blend together, Jefferson’s imaginative-yet-structured portraits manifest the complexity of inward experiences — experiences that may seem abstract or unreadable to anyone not enduring them personally. As Jefferson strives for that balance between “abandon and control,” there is a distinct sense of chaos and order, childhood lightness and adult stoicism; shifting between semi-transparent shapes and bold lines, Jefferson’s faces invite and repel us. In showing the imperfections amidst an otherwise bold exterior, the portraits allow us to view identity as a careful construction — a facade — over a complex and vulnerable personal world.
Jefferson’s works will be featured at Head First, an exhibition at the TURN Gallery in New York City running from June 24th until August 16th. The gallery will be hosting the opening reception on the 24th from 6-8pm. Check out Jefferson’s website to see a larger collection of his work.
As an animal lover I’ve always been sensitive to animal rights issues. However even the biggest steak loving, McDonalds eating, “I Love Hunting” carnivores will be touched by the amazing and shocking documentary!
In a sleepy lagoon off the coast of Japan lies a shocking secret that a few desperate men will stop at nothing to keep hidden from the world. At last, the truth of THE COVE comes to the fore in an act of covert filmmaking that turns a documentary into a gripping action-adventure thriller . . . and a heart-pounding call for help from the worlds oceans.
As soon as I saw these jumping guys on Stephanie Homa‘s homepage, I knew I was in for a treat! Her artist statement, below, perfectly describes her style:
“My works are of a spontaneous and impulsive nature. Inspired by the playfulness and imperfection I discover in everyday occurrences, I am interested in carrying these values into my work, intending an intuitive and instant expression.
I aim to visualize indistinct moments of perception, thoughts and ideas by creating series of swift and automatic works such as drawings and paintings. While experimenting with spontaneous thoughts, randomness and accidents in my practice, the boundlessness in the use of expression, material and format plays an essential role in my work.”
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)
Aidan Koch, a comics writer and illustrator who’s previously been featured on Beautiful/Decay, has started a new blog entitled Field Studies to help fund an extended period of traveling. Koch, who hails from Portland, Oregon, is drawing intriguing sights she encounters during her travels – often depicting local flora, or a recurring pup named Edie – and selling each original piece for $20 through PayPal. The payments go back into Koch’s travels, thus generating even more field studies.
The studies themselves manage to come off as both timeless observations and, with the focus on plants, for instance, articulations of the zeitgeist. They are austere without being restrained and composed without being constrained. Most usefully, they serve as visual inlets to her larger body of artwork. For those not already familiar with Koch’s comics and styles of drawing, a good place to start is her comic book The Whale published by Gaze Books.
As part of her season of traveling, Koch will be the artist-in-residence at Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, during the month of June. As there is a lot of America in-between Portland and Columbus, I suggest checking out Koch’s drawings that are after the jump, then finding one that suits your daily décor needs on her site.
Looking like a set of architecture models for a Gaudi building, Richard Sweeney‘s paper sculptures are organic, poetic, intricate, and mostly made without the aid of glue or tape. Taking his inspiration from the shapes and forms that occur in nature – like clouds, mounds of snow, he folds paper into beautiful geometric pieces. Not confined to working on a small scale, Sweeney also constructs wonderfully complex forms that hang from the ceiling to the floor.
He was recently part of a show called Above The Fold, and is a part of a group of talented modern day origami masters. Taking the ancient art of paper folding to a new level, Sweeney and his contemporaries are redefining the limits of what can be done with paper. Biological structures, and the essence of form and function are Sweeney’s inspirations. He talks to Design Museum more about what motivates and inspires him:
As I have mentioned, architecture is a great inspiration to me, but aside from the man-made, I am also inspired by natural forms. It is not so much the organic shapes, but the means by which they are generated that interests me. It makes great sense to borrow from elements from biological structures, as these forms demonstrate the pinnacle of material, structural and functional efficiency. (Source)
Like a true designer, Sweeney is giving the humble piece of paper new life and function. You can even attempt his paper folding technique at home by watching this short tutorial here. (Via Exhibition-ism)
Dorothee Golz’s mash ups of modern bodies and faces pulled from classic painting will make you take a double take as you go through her site. Mixing everyone Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring to the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, Golz’s photographs will make you re-examine the past and wonder what these historical paintings would look like if they were made today. (via)