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James Ulmer’s Organic Flood of Humanity

Diggin’ on these illustrative ink and watercolor works by James Ulmer. His repetitious, almost vintage-looking characters roll on and on across the page in a flood of really earnest, straight-up human appeal.

According to the artist’s website, we can look forward to seeing his work in a group exhibition at Grass Hut in Portland very soon.

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Joel Tretin Makes Jokes With His Camera

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Joel Tretin calls himself a Photo Humorist and that description seems perfectly apt. His photo series Stranger in Paradox “looks at what’s true and totally screws with it.” At first glance, the pictures seem deceptively straightforward—portraits of the city shot in a somewhat generic ad-agency aesthetic. Hidden in plain sight are the visual jokes: a parking ticket on the windshield on a sports car in a building height ad; a carousel over a revolving door; an elephant walking though the green murkiness of a subway. The Photoshop manipulations are mostly seamless—it really looks like that woman is pushing an eight-seat stroller, and that sporty yellow cab looks real next to its stodgier brother. A stack of cars make the most of a lone parking space.

The subtlest images make you work for them. A lit Wall Street façade, American flags… oh, there. The don’t walk sign is flipping the bird. The traffic sign points to the “Road Most Taken” an apparent play on Robert Frost’s Road Less Taken.

Photo manipulation in art is often used to create surreal imagery. And these pictures are surreal in that they portray things that are unreal and often fantastic, but the photos lack the intention and technique that transform pictures into fine art. Which seems to be just fine with Trentin, who says:

I am a failed stand up comedian, who now tries to make people laugh through photography.

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Ara Dymond and Jesse Willenbring Show

 

Ara Dymond and Jesse Willenbring have a great show of their paintings and sculptures up at the Laurel Gitlen gallery in NYC. Check it out if you’re in the area!

“In this overcrowded, if appealing, two-person show, the eye ricochets between Dymond’s jocular sculptures made of synthetic materials and Willenbring’s screen-printed doodles on wood. Several of Dymond’s lime-green and pink plinths display images of absurdly cute dogs printed on aluminum cutouts; others sport digitally carved designs reportedly inspired by Lucio Fontana. One catchy drawing, sketched by Willenbring straight onto the wall, repeats a motif of overlapping light bulbs—an A.D.H.D. bright idea. Through Oct. 14.” – The New Yorker

Top 20 A’ Design Award Winners

Artificial Topography by Ryumei Fujiki and Yukiko Sato

Artificial Topography by Ryumei Fujiki and Yukiko Sato

Double Cross Game Packaging by Mr. Pip

Double Cross Game Packaging by Mr. Pip

The Hex Kite by Wind Architecture Studio

The Hex Kite by Wind Architecture Studio

Heaven is a Place on Earth Swarovski Veil by reginadahmeningenhoven

Heaven is a Place on Earth Swarovski Veil by reginadahmeningenhoven

With a highly respected and influential panel of judges and an award that offers international audiences and recognition, the A’ Design Award & Competition is one of the world’s leading annual juried competitions for design. While design-lovers would be interested in perusing past years’ winners, artists and designers should know: the application period is now open.

The sought after “A’ Design Prize” entails an extensive winners kit including a certificate, a trophy, inclusion in a hardcover yearbook publication and much more, culminating in invitations to an exclusive gala-night in Italy. Winners also receive vital tools for international promotion and marketing such as project translation into more than 20 languages, media appearances through the press partners of A’ Design Award & Competition as well as press release preparation and distribution.

Each year, submissions are judged and winners are ultimately selected by a panel of leading designers, academics, entrepreneurs and prominent members of the press. This diverse group of panelists are selected from a variety of fields for their recognition and, more importantly, their experience and technical knowledge. To ensure fair evaluation, the basis for any proper design competition, the panelists abide by a conflict of interest policy and a jury agreement and judge the submissions anonymously using a rigorous methodology.

Does your work fit in with past winners and panelists’ favorite projects? I may not be a panelist (or even describe myself as “esteemed”), but enjoyed picking 20 winners from past years that especially caught my eye. When the results from this year’s competition are made public, we’ll feature a selection of our favorites once again. Enjoy the collection and best wishes!

The call to entries is now open. Find out more information and register here.

Video Watch: Kirsten Lepore’s Stop Motion Animation

Due to the horrifying amount of time it takes, stop motion animation is something of a dying art these days. Luckily, though, Kirsten Lepore is out there keeping it alive and keeping it real. I’ve been a huge fan of her work for a while now. If you enjoy animation, colors, laughter, or can at least appreciate someone spending thousands and thousands of sweat and tear filled hours to make something five to ten minutes long for an uncertain audience, then you might just be a fan too. Watch some of Kirsten’s greatest hits after the jump!

Georgia Theologou’s Morose And Glittery Portraits

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Georgia Theologou (or Georgia Th as she is also known) is a self-taught Greek artist who paints hauntingly beautiful portraiture. Created by combining traditional and digital media, Theologou’s intentionally limited palate and trademark visual rendering gives both a soft lushness and a harsh reality to her subjects, like mascara tear trails being transformed into softly dabbed paint glitter.  In a conversation with Beautiful/Decay (and with the help of Google Translate), Theologou explains what inspires her symbolic subjects,

“Creating something is a way to express the feelings that are inside me that I maybe didn’t even know about before. It’s a way to explore myself and what I have on my mind, so when I am making my work I feel like I find something new about me and about how I see things that I did not even realize was present.”

Theologou’s internalized subjects are taken from many sources of art research and random bits of internet ephemera, and blended with other imagery that gives each portrait an allegorical depth and visual tension. Noting themes of nature ranging from human and animal, the stars and the cosmos in many of her colorful works, Georgia explains these combinations, saying

“I don’t paint people but the existence of a person. The subject of my paintings is the feelings of this existence or the situation they experience that moment. All of the objects I use in my paintings are random, but this helps me to create the right place and mood, so I choose objects that are common on fairy-tales and dreams. Nature and space are also places with the same strong sense of vitality, so the person can feel closer  to his/her inner world. My paintings are not about a story or a specific idea or symbol, I think about painting “that” moment.”

Amy Lombard Documents The Bizarre World Of Live Animal Shows

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Amy Lombard - Photography

Photographer Amy Lombard is no stranger to the fringe cultures. Last year, she attended Bronycon in Baltimore (previously featured on B/D here), where she captured some of the festivities. During the year, she also frequented different animal shows and photographed who and what she saw there. The result comprised a series titled, Welcome to the Show.  The types of animals range from cats, dogs, lizards, horses, and bugs. Lombard not only documents the animals, but their owners, and the relationship to one another.

The shows she attended are not the likes of the Westminster Kennel Club. Instead, they appear to be local and amateur. Since we don’t know what the context is of the shows, it makes the photographs all the more alluring. Some seem to double as pet shops (it’s only $5 for a painted hermit crab). Her style is candid, and her subjects not posing for the camera.  Instead, they go about their business of show, looking, buying, and selling.

Welcome to the Show is the documentary of a niche interest. It’s not particularly glamorous, but is interesting and amusing. Lombard’s eye captures subtleties like small, amusing moments. A dog is wearing a skirt (or apron) with a $1 bill tucked in it. There are numerous people that look like their pets, which doesn’t seem surprising at an event like this.