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Studio Visit: Claude Collins-Stracensky’s Explorations in Space and Light

As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Claude Collins-Stracensky. See the full studio visit and interview with Claude and other West Coast artists at

Claude’s studio is in a commercial building in Downtown, Los Angeles right where two fairly busy streets intersect. It’s a few floors up, and as soon as Klea and I stepped out from the elevator doors Claude’s Vizsla dogs greeted us with wild tail-wagging enthusiasm and then lead the way into the studio. It’s a huge corner space with tons of natural light streaming in through the wide windows that lends an almost limitless feel to the room. I took a few minutes to wander around and take it all in— the dogs tumbling about together in play, the dust particles fluttering in and out of the hazy afternoon light, and the many projects underway, all of them in various states of completeness. At any given time Claude is often at work on multiple endeavors, taking time with each to experiment, re-think, tinker and tweak. His studio is a like a research lab where he plays around with concepts and materials, creating mock-ups and models, and then tries to bring these ideas to life with his hands. There is a bit of a “mad scientist” in Claude— he approaches his work with unfettered imagination and whimsy, totally unafraid to scheme and dream big, and he seems almost possessed by a rampant curiosity about the natural world and how it works. At the core of Claude’s practice is a preoccupation with physical systems and processes and the innate dynamics of different materials, and the ways in which these forces and elements can interact to bring about a new consciousness of one’s surroundings. Embracing a range of mediums, his practice often plays with perception and aims to expand his viewers’ visual experience and spatial awareness to create impressions that go beyond an everyday understanding of the world. I got the impression that the wheels in Claude’s brain must always be spinning at top speed, never at rest, always at work on questions, always in a state of assessing and hypothesizing. Which is kind of funny, because he comes across as super mellow… but I didn’t let that easy-going vibe fool me!

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We Have The Best Subscribers!

Yes it’s true. We have so many talented artists that subscribe to B/D. Everyday I get to see new work by amazing artists who not only support B/D but contribute to our little creative community. Want proof? Check out the work of Fionn McCabe. Fionn creates mindblowing layered graphics that will have your eyeballs darting side to side. keep up the good work Fionn and welcome to the Cult Of Decay!

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Next Day Flyers Presents: Rey Misterio

I’m absolutely loving the work Buenos Aires based  illustrator and character designer Rey Misterio. His Imaginary Japanese Ad characters are some of my favorite in his portfolio. See the entire series and more after the jump!


Article presented by the sticker printing company, Next Day Flyers.

Photography Spotlight- Alva Bernadine

alva bernadine sadie-coffee-tableAlva Bernadine is a British photographer, so dedicated to his craft that he risks his freedom… literally.  He has a new book called Gratuitous Sex and Violence: My Favourites.  The images investigate the violent nature of sex and the sexual nature of violence.  The images make you feel uncomfortable, but command your attention.  Alva is a seasoned veteran, having worked for 25 years as a photographer for many publications like GQ, Elle and Vogue.  Get mesmerized by Alva’s erotic surrealism!

Benjamin Shine’s Stunning Portraits Made Entirely From One Folded Sheet Of Tulle



The artist Benjamin Shine’s tulle creations look as if they have emerged from a thick fog; by folding and ironing the ethereal fabric into place, he constructs both realistic portraits and more expressionistic renderings of the human face. For each piece, the artist uses a single sheet of fabric, folding it in upon itself to create layered and nuanced shades of blue, black, magenta, and topaz.

With his enchanting, moody fabric tableaux, Shine makes a unique contribution to modern artistic dialogue. As with the modernists and the Impressionists, the materiality of the work is as significant as its content; as Edgar Degas’s spontaneous brushstrokes realize a ballerina’s tutu, so too does Shine’s delicate fabric render the tender lips and eyelids of the female face.

Despite the creative approach and unusual medium, the artist magically maintains a jarringly realistic gaze, nearly replicating famous photographs of glamorous icons like Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor. Where his use of tulle is spontaneous and modern, the actual images are surprisingly conventional; while the Impressionists may have painted en plein air, Shine sticks to traditional portrait subject matter, like posed celebrities. This unexpected marriage of edgy technique with established content results in a truly mesmerizing project, one which occupies an interesting space in contemporary aesthetic conversations.

Only in Shine’s more expressionistic works, titled the Tulle Flows, do we dive head first into the daring medium; here, as the tulle unfolds according to its own natural momentum, faces give way to abstracted shapes. Here, human subjects appear as if they are looking out from behind a veil, like invisible creatures pressing their faces against a foggy cloud. Take a look. (via My Modern Met and Demilked)

Anna Ladd’s Photographs of Things She’s Said Online But Not Outloud

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Photographer Anna Ladd’s poignant series, Things I Told the Internet, But Didn’t Tell My Mom, examines the way that blogging has impacted her life. The Philadelphia-based artist has been sharing her thoughts and feelings via this medium for the past six years, and it’s changed her conception of privacy. Intimate and revealing admissions are made to seemingly countless anonymous people on the web, but has never been talked about in person.

Ladd’s photos depict landscape scenes of backyards with concrete walls, scalloped awnings, and parked bikes. The everyday places are adorned with cut-out letters attached to strings that spell out a phrase that was directly taken from something that she posted online. Sentences, while obviously out of context, communicate sadness and the pains that come from things like loss of love, growing up, or some greater trauma.

There’s a peculiarity to these images, a cognitive dissonance of sorts. We first see the letters like you would at a party, like they are decoration.  But a phrase like, “I want to puke and sleep for six days” is not something you’d celebrate. It could be a metaphor for the facade we put on towards the outside world, where we seem happier than we actually are. The anonymity of the web knows our true thoughts and feelings.

Spine-Chilling Paintings Of Suffering by Dr. Kevorkian, Practitioner Of Assisted Suicide

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The late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, known for his life’s work of advocating assisted suicide and for helping to end over 130 lives with his ominous-sounding Thanatron, or “machine of death,” was also an oil painter. The doctor, who spend 8 years in prison, created a little-known body of work tinged with the horror of pain; illustrating his controversial ideas on compassion, the paintings take aim at his religious critics and appeal to a nuanced moral ideal where death is seen simultaneously as a terror and an escape.

Kevorkian’s Thanatron takes its name from the ancient Greek personification of death; in his paintings, he also uses mythological themes. In “Fever,” he illustrates a hell composed of the ill and suffering; like Dante’s Virgil, he leads his painted patient through the depths of agony and fear with wide, sweeping brushstrokes. The Christian Brotherhood is reimagined as a monster characterized by multiple grotesque, sharp-toothed heads vaguely reminiscent of Inferno’s Satan.

Seemingly drawing inspiration from symbolist painters like Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch, the artist, often referred to as “Dr. Death,” distorts the form of his subjects so that they might express psychological despair and heightened anxiety. In one image, titled “Coma,” a man, draped in a bed sheet, is inhaled by ghostly skull, his body absurdly foreshortened and his lined feet disproportionately swelled to express profound weariness. As the monstrous spirit of “coma” sucks him in, his tiny, darkened eyes beg for release. In “Paralysis,” the body becomes a prison, the brain removed and bound in chains.

When exhibited alongside the doctor’s paintings illustrating his love of music (Johann Sebastian Bach, a treble and bass clef), as they are at Gallerie Sparta, the more frightful images take on a strange operatic quality, evoking eery tonal climaxes with expressionistic bursts of color. 11 of the doctor’s paintings will be on view through April 30. (via Huff Post)

Pixels and Blocks in Real Life from Pard Morrison

The work of artist Pard Morrison seems to reference both the analog and the digital at once.  His hard edged fields of color are reminiscent of image pixels or two dimensional mock ups of some sort.  Morrison often contrasts these blocks of color with a natural landscape barely touched by technology.  His work addresses how experience is increasingly mediated by technology – how a three-dimensional landscape is increasingly lived in two dimensions.  While these pixels and blocks build many images we experience everyday, they also can hide and obfuscate them. [via]