Loyal B/D reader, let me introduce you to Erik Beehn, a supremely talented painter, photographer, printmaker, and all around excellent artist. Erik’s work tends to focus on spaces, and the details that define those spaces. Says Erik, “It is the small details within a space, such as the lighting, textures, shadows, and even the balance of negative space between objects that grasps my attention. My work investigates the use of emptiness within a space, and its relationship to either its viewer, or its occupant.” Erik recently moved his studio to Las Vegas, and has been working like mad on several different projects, while always keeping his eyes open to the subtleties of the american landscape. I caught up with Erik the other day, and asked him some questions about his former life as a master printer, his unusual painting techniques, and his new life in Sin City.
Painter and sculptor Emma Hack‘s collection, “Wallpaper,” is a series of meticulously painted models made to blend in with the designs behind them – true wallflowers! Hack must have been incredibly patient when working on canvases that move and breathe; her work is so precise, if you blur your vision, the models effortlessly become part of the wallpaper.
Swedish photographer Pieter ten Hoopen has worked within all aspects of photography, from journalism to commercial. At this point in his career he is a well known and distinguished photographer: he has received many prestigious awards, amongst them the Photographer of the Year in Sweden, and the World Press Award; he has published books of photography on Tokyo and Stockholm, and is currently working on a film project about Hungry Horse, Montana, through MediaStorm.
Ten Hoopen shoots mainly on a Nikon but also uses Yashica box cameras and a Widelux. He has worked all over the world, and travels out of known safety to deliver raw and emotionally jarring footage from places far away, many in turmoil. In the past, he has worked in Pakistan, composing images from the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, an intimate glimpse into the pain and hardship as families continued digging through rubble in search of buried survivors. He shot the small village Vladimirskoe, Russia, which, lying next to the mythically invisible town of Kitezh, occupies a strange grey area of being juxtaposed next to a national attraction while being invisible and struggling itself; problems with alcohol and unemployment make life difficult for most of its inhabitants. In Japan, ten Hoopen visited a forest that lies below Mount Fuji, known informally as the “suicide forest,” where, yearly, nearly a hundred people travel there to commit suicide. The forest is dense with vegetation and stands on the remains of a volcanic eruption, making compasses completely useless and getting lost in the woods very easy. People tie ropes to trees to prevent themselves from getting lost, and many go in there with the intention of never coming out.
There is a stillness in his images, the composition forms its own poetry, and the emotional charge of the situations he encounters stand squarely in the frame. Within the same vein of documentary photography as Sebastião Salgado, ten Hoopen brings an unprovoked sense of art to the frame; providing a visual means with which we can connect to these feelings as viewers, even halfway across the globe, even never having stepped out of our own country. That is the most powerful aspect of this kind of a photographer, he gives voice to what he witnesses, and brings forth the unexplainable beauty and devastation that words cannot do justice to.
Artist Brandon Muir creates dark, creepy, digital collages. With creatures such as a vintage pilot whose nose seems to have been burned off, a smiling blue child with red melting eyes, and a boy with a mutated head including a third eye complete with tentacle arms, Brandon Muir’s potential patrons of hell are truly what nightmares are made of. They are reminiscent of The Twilight Zone meets The Munsters meets Basket Case (1982). They are undoubtedly demonic, however, the work also has this sense of playfulness (perhaps solely because they are displayed using the lighthearted platform of the GIF). Muir’s work has an of aura of jest, perhaps taking notes from the type of kitsch found in 1950s horror films. In his own words “[My] one intention with these animations is to ride the line between a disgusted cringe and a smooth chunky chuckle” (source). His process begins as any collage artist’s would — he collects images taken from magazines such as National Geographic and LIFE magazine. After he creates his more traditional collages, he then uses programs such as Photoshop and AfterEffects to formulate the digital rendering. By placing the work into a digital format, Muir allows himself to explore more complex textures, colors, and juxtapositions, creating striking images you can’t seem to get off your mind. (Via The Creators Project)
Michelle Devereux is a contributing artist for Austin multi-media label, Monofonus Press, a member of a female-centric video collective called Austin Video Bee, is a co-founder of an art-circuit tap troupe known as What’s Tappening?!, and plays drums in an apocalypse inspired chick band called Storm Shelter. When Michelle isn’t busy working on the many projects listed above she makes mind blowing, 80’s video arcade inspired drawings focusing on themes of innocent fantasy and finding beauty in the obvious and the embarrassing. Her drawings have to me one of my favorite new discoveries so I really hope that she makes more very very very soon!
Working out of Melbourne, Australian photographer Jessica Tremp produces some lovely creative pieces. Her technique is rather dusty, as if her work was produced some sixty years ago; complementing her taxidermic subjects and derelict settings. Each piece impresses the viewer with unsettling beauty.
SpY is a Madrid based artist who playfully disturbs urban signs and signifiers, often confiscating them, transforming them, then installing them on the street. I love his really simple gestures, like putting orange construction cones on a sculpted bull’s horns–they just have the hilarious edge of an adolescent prankster (who went to art school and secretly adores Duchamp.)