As a child, the vegan taxidermist Nicola Jayne Hebson wandered the Blackburn, England countryside, the sight of dead animals haunting her memory long after she returned home. The indignity of remains left to rot struck a chord in her, and she finally took a pair of mating, deceased frogs home, gently placing them in a frame, forever bound mid-coitus.
The artist, now 23, taught herself taxidermy, using only roadkill and deceased pets. The decision to use any living or once-living creature for the sake of art raises ethical questions, but Hebson hopes that debate over her work will inspire viewers to consider the ethics of the meat industry.
Ultimately, Hebson’s work reads as an emphatic attempt to reanimate a being that no longer exists, and it that sense it does—perhaps unfairly— claim nonhuman remains as an expression of the inherently human will to be remembered after death. But in this case, the work itself is so painstakingly delicate that it feels surprisingly generous; her careful craft isn’t a boastful display of her own ability; instead, it recalls ancient mummifications or ritualistic burial practices.
Her creations exude a life-like pathos uncommon in taxidermy in part because of her paradoxical choice to rely upon fantasy over strict realism, appealing to a more emotionally heightened realm of poetry and make-believe. One rat appears to lay a loved one to rest, and the viewer is seduced into mournfulness, forgetting for a brief moment that both rats are in fact dead. Other, more surreal creatures exist within what we might imagine to be a sort of afterlife; her seven-headed rat quietly recalls the biblical Book of Revelations.
Hebson’s creations are dizzyingly anachronistic, seeming to draw inspiration from anywhere between the Medieval Gothic period to the Victorian age. Unified only in their deaths, her works speak across generations and inspire us to mourn for those we so often forget. (via BUST and VICE)
String woven to look like lace from NeSpoon, of Warsaw Poland. NeSpoon weaves designs into locations all over the artist’s native Poland and elsewhere, These images are taken from a recent project on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Nice to see people interacting in and around each piece. Each installation looks so natural in it’s setting, as though they just floated in on a breeze or washed ashore underneath a wave. When people hustle so hard to get noticed and make their mark everywhere, it’s nice to see NeSpoon making art that’s in perfect balance with the rest of the world. In this way, everything around us, man-made or not, takes on an unprecedented beauty. (via)
Jody Xiong has created a wonderful collaboration between man and machine, art and science, expression and technology. He has enlisted the help of 16 people with physical disabilities and set as part of an innovative experiment. With a person sitting in a chair wearing headphones, electric signals from their brain are captured and transmitted to a Neurosky processing unit. On the other end of the installation, Xiong has set up a structure with four blank canvas walls in a box shape. Inside is a hanging balloon – filled with the subject’s chosen color. The brain signals stemming from the person then trigger detonators attached to the balloon, resulting in an explosion of paint, splattering on all four walls. This installation is quite literally painting what is coming from inside the mind.
You can see the variations between the abstract paintings from all of the subjects and just how different the thought patterns of each of us are. Ranging in large violent bursts to small, stuttered splatters, the paintings are beautiful recordings of the inside of our heads. Each painting was then sold for 800 Renminbi (about 300USD) and donated to different charities. This installation is a beautiful way of getting back to the core of expression. And hopefully our ideas about limitations and potential will be changed because of it.
It shows that the capacity of the human spirit is unlimited, even though it may be trapped within a disabled body. (Source)
Xiong has been connecting ideas of expression and technology for over 16 years. With a background in creative advertising, he is adept at capturing people’s attention with interesting, simple ideas. He seems to have tried his hand at most artistic disciplines, and is known as an expert and innovator in the worlds of painting, environmental design, video and other cutting-edge technologies. To see more of his unique projects, go here (Keyboard of Isolation) and here (Walk for Green). (Via Designboom)
Women have had the opportunity to rise against the perfection of the ad model. For instance, Jes from The Militant Baker goes against the grain by reinventing the black and white, over-perfected couple shots seen in Abercrombie and Fitch’s stores by posing, as a plus size model, with the regular Abercrombie male model. Many ad campaigns [Dove, Hanes, etc] have also done the same thing countless of times by producing content that celebrates the fact that beauty comes in every shape and size. These ads, however, almost never feature men, but only women.
So what happens with men? Do they not go through the same? Are they not as affected by the distorted ideals of beauty as much as women are?
In this photo series, Jenny Francis and The Daily tabloid newspaper, The Sun [England] teamed up to show how real men compare to the popular underwear ads that showcase the chiseled abs and faked tanned male models.
Four average looking men, stood alongside David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Freddie Ljungberg, and David Gandy to show off what a real life man would look like wearing the same exact underwear and standing in the same exact poses. The photos are quite funny, but they are also quite empowering as the provocative poses and the polarity of bodies shown in the comparisons further examine the different male body types out there, from short and thin, to tall and bulky. Just like women, many men are confronted with the issue of body ideals that are often impossible to achieve. (Via My Modern Met)
French designer and illustrator Maxime Francout’s quirky designs are super fun and are sure to brighten up your day! Much of the time, you can find Francout’s designs on T-shirts (he’s made some for Urban Outfitters), but he’s also designed art zines, loves to create hand drawn type, and he’s even made some wallpaper for Studio Nommo.
At first glance, the artwork of Alexandra Bastien appears to be photographs of a nude woman with a variety of skulls. However, the artist unbelievably renders her hyper-realistic drawings from layer upon layers of color pencil. Bastien’s astonishing ability to create such incredibly detailed drawings allows her to beautifully show the human body in a state of transition. The heavy symbolism that has long been attached to the skull in art history represents death. Bastien illustrates this concept in contrast to the soft, warm body of the nude woman. The women in her work are holding the skulls, embracing whatever darkness they may bring. In one drawing, both skull and human have even merged together in perfect balance. This balance of life and death is shown in a state of transition and transformation, exploring themes of rebirth and the afterlife. Seeing the many different skulls amongst a human in its natural state may be reminiscent to human origins and ancestry.
Bastien’s incredible, artistic skill and talent can be seen in this photorealistic series titled Taming the Beast. She finds inspiration in her natural fascination with the human body and form. The accomplishments of this Canadian artist are just as impressive as her skill. Her work has been included in several publications and magazines as well as been exhibited all over the world.
Moving artistically into photography as a natural extension of his sculptural practice, Kristian Kozul meticulously builds and then photographs, physical dioramas of extraordinary detail designed to tell metaphoric stories and reconstruct histories. As with his earlier sculptures, where concept meets articulation a kind of fetishized totem results. Each piece is based on a certain historical figure that Kozul leverages in pursuit of his cause. Like Captain Ahab and Moby Dick, or famously Don Quixote and his windmills, the fixations and obsessions of Kozul’s protagonist’s speak to universal themes of mania, obsession, and denial.