Edrem, (merde backwards), is a collaborative sketchblog from three French/Belgian designer-illustrators: Sébastien Paquereau, David Zazurca, and Steven Burke. The concept of the project, as is instantly evident to the viewer, is based in achieving volume. Paquereau, Zazurca, and Burke just want to get as many whimsical, stream-of-consciousness graphics out into the world as possible. In Burke’s words:
“We like not to say who we are when we talk about Edrem, because this is not the point of the blog. We try to get…massive numbers of experimentations and funny things [onto the blog], but we don’t care if the drawing is well done or not, it just has to be understandable…”
We all have a tendency to get heavily involved in our various projects, exerting microscopic levels of control on our output. Edrem reminds us that pulling off the reigns a little bit can yield many fruitful results. The Edrem crew staged an exhibition in Spring of 2010 at Michard Ardillier in Bordeaux entitled, “La Palissade”.
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Artist Brian Cooper‘s paintings explore the idea of landscape and space through abstract representation. His work features surreal situations that appear to explode from their ‘real’ counterparts. Check out the way he uses depth by contrasting the ” tension between flat and far” to create eerie and fantastical environments. I love how, as the viewer, I get sucked into the padded rooms and sharp angles of his creative, dali-esque compositions. The structures and strange shapes become more enticing through Cooper’s use of rich colors. There’s a cool tangible quality to the visual textures of the abstract surfaces, especially in Bulge, posted after the jump.
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Israeli artist Chaim Machlev is a Berlin-based tattoo artist, otherwise known as Dots to Lines. Working primarily with black ink (“I believe that black is the nicest color for tattoos; it is closer to our source than any other color,” he said in a recent interview), Machlev’s designs are complex line-based works that weave across skin with fluid, stunning precision. Incorporating mandalas, insects, and other images into his geometric tattoos, Machlev’s work go beyond simple designs into minimal, extraordinarily detailed works of permanent art. It makes sense, then, that Machlev bristles at the idea of grouping his work into any kind of predetermined genre. “I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorize tattoos and other art forms. I could say that I have that split in my designs, just like in my personality; I make those art-minimalistic lines — the computer kid inside me — and very detailed mandalas, the spiritual man inside me.”
That spiritual motif makes way for some of Machlev’s most beautiful designs, such as symmetrical forearm mandalas and Joy Division-riffing chest designs of warped seismic waves. Machlev draws from his experiences traveling in India for the spiritual imagery in his designs, but for the more symmetrical designs, there is a prominent mathematical sense to the work. His line and dot work flows seamlessly over flesh in a way that looks similar to vectors on a computer, sprawling across chests and ribs with stunning exactitude.
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As we wave goodbye to Halloween, let’s take a minute to mediate on the innately striking work of Diane Arbus and her unbiased approach to documenting not just the spookier side of humanity, but even more so, the masks or costumes we present to the world as a species, as human beings, as ourselves . . . year-round.
Now, when I use the word “unbiased” here I am not suggesting Arbus’s eye is roaming and invisible. Quite the contrary. Her eye is always distinctly there: focused, from one frame to the next. This “unbiased” quality has more to do with her indiscriminate examination of each subject in the same oddly intimate and unflinching way– regardless of class, age, gender, sexual preference, or race. In other words, a child with a toy hand grenade in the park looks equally as strange as the a woman lounging next to a toy poodle or a handful of residents dressed up on Halloween at a home for the mentally retarded. No one person, group, or act is more privileged. No one is all the more beautiful. We are all playing dress-up as far as identity and image is concerned.
By seeking out each individual’s innate desire to present him or herself and critically or creatively twisting that into her own perception of costume in each person’s presentation, Arbus became not just a photographer, but an alchemist, shifting our ideas of self, reality, and personal intention. Whether you are a part of celebrity culture or a more marginalized society spread out along the fringe, Arbus’s certain way of looking did not glorify one way of living over the other.