Nedda Afsari (aka, Muted Fawn) is a LA-based photographer who infuses fashion photography and portraiture with elements of the eerie, erotic, and strange. Influenced by a combination of music, art horror films, the supernatural, and her own lucid dreams, her images stir the imagination as powerful, semi-surreal visions. Women in strappy, edgy lingerie pose sedately with their faces hidden in washing machines and behind walls; a masked matron symbolically opens an empty birdcage; another sits up on a desert road, her body swathed in plastic wrap. In every image, her figures exude a stunning sense of otherworldly calm, beauty, and confidence.
When I asked Afsari what impressions and feelings she hopes her viewers will take from her images, she expressed the desire to connect and empower:
“[M]y main hope is that the viewer is able to feel an emotion from my photographs and formulate their own meaning. I enjoy photographing women that have a strong feminine presence and love to capture that seductive power and alluring mystique. I tend to be pretty shy, so in a sense I feel like I’m sometimes vicariously living through some of these ladies I photograph and it’s helped me open up a little more personally.”
Afsari explores femininity in a way that crosses the decades of fashion photography, seamlessly blending vintage pin-up-style portraiture with a more contemporary latex-occult fetishism. Feminine power is not rooted in conventional notions of sexuality, exploring women as ethereal and dominant presences. She regularly collaborates with artists who share a similar aestheticism, such as the alternative designers Hopeless Lingerie and Creepyyeha.
As for upcoming projects, Afsari is currently working on collaborations with photographer Kristin Cofer. She is also putting together a gallery show in LA and Miami and aims to create more video projects in the near future. Check out her website, Facebook, and Instagram to follow her inspiring work.
Chad Wys is an artist, designer, and writer from Illinois. Inspired by postmodern thought, Wys’ works examine the reproduction of the image, and the way plural images—as superficial iterations of an original object—operate on us to suggest a sense of meaning and worth.
This theoretical approach is brilliantly exemplified in Wys’ Readymades series, featured here. The Readymades consist of found busts and ceramics that Wys has adorned with eye-popping colors, bold gradients, and silvery tears. By re-contextualizing objects of “antiquity” with garish, modern color schemes, Wys compels the viewer to contemplate their feelings and values in relation to such objects. He explains further on his website:
“By retooling the object and then re-presenting it for the viewer I intend to elaborate on the conversation that takes place between the observer and the reproduction in its ‘initial’ state. Through the reclamation and manipulation of these objects I mean to acknowledge, to underscore, that our possessions can, and often do, manipulate us.” (Source)
Wys observes how, as markers of class and income, art pieces and knickknacks signify arbitrary measures of personal worth. By “disfiguring” the cherished objects, Wys produces a visual, mental disparity that deconstructs their value; the clownish colors show the tenuousness of their “high status.” While subversive in intent, the finished Readymades are curious and beautiful art pieces in and of themselves, at once celebrating and critiquing contemporary art practices and embracing imperfection. The ultimate significance of the works, however, is the viewer’s cognitive responsibility; as Wys states, they are “meant to mean different things to different people who are at different stages of understanding” (Source).
Artist Giacomo Carmagnola uses digital tools to add a unique, glitchy twist to photos of the past. Faces and objects are obscured with long, colorful strands that seem to melt, as if it’s some sort of ooze that’s absorbing the rest composition. The crucifiction of Christ now has green trails that emanating from the cross. Likewise, a guillotine blades have been replaced with the same type of strands. The photographs are still recognizable, but now offer a colorful addition that changes their meaning. And depending on your point of view, make them funny or profane.
The Italian-born creative writes on Dazed Digital, “I’m completely absorbed by glitch art. I’ve always been attracted to its aesthetics; I’m not talking about philosophy or higher concepts, but just its plain visual pleasure.” One way to create this effect is with a processing pixel sorting script that’s applied to the image. “I see these images as an alternative beauty. I find it extremely fascinating how the same image can change so much by keeping its original ‘skeleton’. Of course they’re also visually impactful. But before this, I find them simply beautiful.” (Via Dazed Digital)
Place, placed in Argentina, plays with parts of people and pieces of precipitation. Oh, and is really good at creating surreal and beautiful images. Their most current project is for MTV, making MTV just a little bit cooler (what with no music videos aired anymore, they sure need it).
By now you know I have a soft spot for illustrators that delve into the dark side so it should be of no surprise that I’m posting the blood covered, head splitting, and eye popping drawings of turkish illustrator Elif Varol Ergen. Not only are these works delightfully grotesque but they are beautifully drawn with an iconic color palette of red, black, and baby blue for good measure.
In Jenine Shereos’ series Leaf the intricacies of a leaf’s veining are recreated by wrapping, stitching, and knotting together strands of human hair. Inspired by the delicate and detailed venation of a leaf, Shereos began stitching individual strands of hair by hand into a water- soluble backing material. At each point where one strand of hair intersected another, she stitched a tiny knot, so that when the backing was dissolved, the entire piece was able to hold its form.
The complex network of lines present in this work mimics the organic patterns found in nature and speaks to the natural systems of transformation, growth and decay. Allusions to the vascular tissue of plants, as well as the vascular system of the human body, exist simultaneously; the delicate trace of a hair falling silently, imperceptibly, from one’s head becoming the veins of a leaf as it falls from a tree leaving its indelible imprint on the ground below. (via oddity central )
….the art & fashion of getting caught in a dangle, featuring works by Kime Buzelli and designers Show Pony. I love Kime’s girly-sketch watercolor drawings, they look like magnified classroom love note doodles. Opening this Friday at Gallery Space. Should be fun!
“Para-para Dancing (Great Empire of Japan) vs. Break-dancing (America)”
Tenmyouya Hisashi is a Saitama-based artist who infuses traditional Japanese art with non-traditional media (mostly acrylic paint) and images from modern life. Calling his work “Neo Nihonga,” Tenmyouya seeks to renew the relevance of Japanese-style painting by portraying old motifs through a modern lens, thereby celebrating a long history of Japanese culture and artistic tradition. Among his images are samurai playing soccer, armor-clad animals, and a Japanese/American street “dance-off.” His work is also informed by contemporary cultural theories and critical thinking; for example, in “Japanese Spirit #3,” a man wearing a traditional tsuna rides a motorized skateboard. This painting “draws upon and amplifies the stereotypes foreigners hold of Japan and was intended to be viewed by a foreign audience” — hence the odd mix of traditional Japanese imagery with high-tech apparatuses (Source).
In 2010, Tenmyouya proposed a new art concept called Basara, referring to an aestheticization of defiance, extending from the “outlaw samurais” of the Nanboku dynasty era to the youth subcultures of present-day Japan. Exploring this trend through neo-traditional Japanese art unravels assumptions about a conservative and subdued cultural history (Source). Basara is also a response to enculturation from the West — the inflow of Western culture and media that immensely influenced Japanese life. As written on his website, Tenmyouya seeks through his art to bring back the vibrant “sun” in Japanese art, where before it was relegated as the passive “moon”:
“Basara aims to reverse traditional values in order to restore the fertile light of the sun that originally characterized Japanese art. It is at once an attempt to claim back through relativization within Japanese art—rather than by comparison with the outside—the diversity that it is supposed to abound in so much more.” (Source)