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Pooktre Tree Shapers

I know this is a bit outside of what we usually post and I apologize for the cheesy type that’s on these photos but you have to admit that a stick figure tree is pretty amazing (get it? literally STICK figure!). Starting in 1986 Pooktre Tree Shapers has been making all sorts of amazing living tree sculptures, gradually shaping the trees over many years. Check out some of my favorite pieces from their site after the jump!

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Mary O’Malley’s Sea Creature Encrusted Pottery Mimics Our Daily Fight Against Nature

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Mary O’Malley is a New York based potter trained in traditional English and Japanese techniques. Her work is primarily an ode to her craft and an homage to her childhood spent by the sea. However, it is also structured around delicate binaries involving the human need to search for beauty. She states:

“The technical difficulties I began to encounter when enveloping the service ware with ferocious and unforgiving aquatic life got me thinking about a common need we all have to control our own representation of beauty. There is so much fastidious control involved in creating each one of the Bottom Feeder pieces, but with ceramics there is always a margin for error, and some degree of control must be sacrificed. The composition of barnacles and crustaceans populating each piece, the way the iron oxide discovers every nook of the creatures I’ve created, the way the tentacles warp in the firings, etc., is always a surprise. I’m never exactly sure how anything’s going to turn out.”

She fuses different modalities, both literally in her potting techniques as well as what each form represents. The more classic aspects of porcelain, the cream white tea pot, the gold rimmed vase, correlates with a more tamed, predictable side of life. These pure little moments of calm crafting are then overtaken by octopus tentacles, barnacles, and coral, representing the aspect of chaos the is inevitable in everyday life. She explains:

“This play between total control and inevitability has sustained my interest and attention because it mimics life in so many ways: we try our hardest to compose the aesthetics surrounding us—from the buildings and environments we live in to the way we dress and present ourselves. Our daily fight against nature is a fruitless pursuit, yet one we never seem willing to abandon. I find this play between forces endlessly challenging. The dance that results from trying to find a balance between what we can control and what we cannot is where I believe true beauty lies.” (Via Colossal)

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Too Many Mountains

Too Many Mountains is brought to you by our friends at Dailyserving, where critic Catherine Wagley discusses the work of Joel Kyak currently on display at Francois Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.


As a kid, I lived in a Seattle suburb for a year. We could see Mt. Baker out the living room window – the whole, majestic mountain was right there, nearly always in plain view. Before that, my family had lived in Chicago and Minneapolis, where there are hills and “bluffs” but no real mountains. When I told the other kids this, that I’d come from a place without mountains, most thought I was pulling one over. I remember, when the dad of one disbelieving six-year-old got transferred to  Minnesota, thinking, “now he’ll see.”

Probably, I’d seen mountains in picture books before I had Mt. Baker constantly in my line of site, but even if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have doubted the existence mountains. But I guess  it’s easier to believe in what you haven’t seen than to believe that, somewhere else, what you have seen doesn’t exist.

Stephen Cheetham’s Iconic Laugh

This  Stephen Cheetham character sure knows how to pack a lot of laughs into his illustrations. Nothing says cancer like a a lung with a dozen hands and a butt head!

Niyoko Ikuta’s Elegantly Layered Glass Sculptures

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Niyoko Ikuta sculpts with glass, creating elegant layered shapes that seem at once severe and inviting. There’s a glacial quality to Ikuta’s sculptures, imparted by both the ocean blue palette of soft blues and marine greens as well as the brittle edges of each layer of glass.
In an interview with V&A, she says, “In creating my pieces it is like imagining an architectural space when viewing blueprints, deciding on an image by reading into the intentions of the architect, or imbuing a space with dynamic energy to bring it to life.”
Her sculptures do seem almost like three-dimensional blueprints. They could be compared to a wire model, implying the way a shape might take up space or giving us a sense of motion without actual movement. The result is ethereal: delicate curves and swirls that seem like they could evaporate at any moment.
Ikuta says of her work,
My motifs are derived from feelings of gentleness and harshness, fear, limitless expansion experienced through contact with nature, images from music, ethnic conflict, the heart affected by joy and anger, and prayer.” (via This Is Colossal)

Sarah Roesink

IMG_6248-503x336 Sarah Roesink is a London based photographer with a strong interest in recording the atmosphere of the moment.

Interview: Special Problems

Special Problems is a multi-disciplinary creative studio composed of Campbell Hooper, Darron Lilley and Joel Kefali. Their work fuses hand drawn, painted, video, animation and illustration–often recontextualized in new and surprising ways. They recently interviewed with Beautiful/Decay to discuss their design collective, their approach, and thought processes behind their videos. 

Pantone Color Chip Rainbow

pantone rainbowNo this image was not computer generated. The rainbow was manually made with 5,000 Pantone color chips glued onto wood boards. The project focused on promoting Pantone color guide books to art college students and faculty, and to convince them that Pantone has the most color selection for their printing guidance. To grab their attention, they re-created a rainbow (8 meter in length and height of 4.5 meters) consisting of Pantone color chips in the middle of college’s park. Pretty rad.