In 2004, artist Kim Alsbrooks began painting regal portraits on discarded cans in a series titled My White Trash Family. The work, which features both male and female subjects dressed in elaborate wigs, stately ascots, and enormous hats, is a juxtaposition of literal trash and fine portraiture. It was as initially inspired by Alsbrooks’ friend, a women’s history professor, who pointed out the historical biases that are present in art. In response, Alsbrooks’ tiny paintings mimic those that you’d find in museum collections. The fact that these exquisite works are produced on trash rather than quality materials is both ironic and amusing.
My White Trash Family is prolific; Alsbrooks has produced over 600 paintings since it started. All beverage cans are pre-flattened, mostly by passing cars or trucks. She describes her technique, writing, “One cannot flatten the trash. It just doesn’t work. It must be found so that there are no wrinkles in the middle and the graphic should be well centered. Then the portraits are found that are complimentary to the particular trash. Generally I depict miniature portraits from the watercolor on ivory era (17th-18th century more or less). The trash is gessoed in the oval shape, image drawn in graphite, painted in oils and varnished.”
Part of the success of this series is found in the dedication to craft, and the fact that she paints miniature portraits really well. But, what ultimately makes these works appealing is not necessarily tangible. The reference to high society and its traditional paths challenged by cheap, “lower class” items is instantly recognizable and relatable at a time when the one percenters rule the world. (Via Booooooom!)
So we have all heard or read about the different scandals over celebrity photographs being leaked to people who they shouldn’t be leaked to. Whether they are nude photographs, private images, or untouched magazine cover shoots, we’ve all seen pictures of certain people that we probably shouldn’t have. Well, Spanish artist David Lopera takes this idea and pushes it to the extreme. He uses images of well known people including Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, Michelle Keegan, Katy Perry, and Park Shin Hae and changes our perception of them.
With some Photoshop trickery, Lopera adds pounds to the celebrities, creating cartoonish caricatures of themselves. Promoting another type of body image, he ‘fleshes’ the women out, fetishsizing a plumper figure. Originally Lopera modified these celebrity photographs for his own amusement, but after receiving requests from other people for more transformations, he decided to up his output. He writes to Daily Mail:
Men are always writing to me asking if I can make their celebrities crushes look a bit fatter. Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian are some of the most popular requests I get. These women look much better when they’re overweight. (Source)
Effectively promoting a more positive body image, he taps into our obsession with self image and vanity. He could also be fetishsizing a different type of body, but in an equally unhealthy way, but it seems to be humorous, or at least enjoyable to men and women alike. Lopera’s artist site on Deviant Art has an interesting survey explaining that most people only want to see the morphs of women (77 percent of participants want only women, and 23 percent want both men and women to put on the pounds). Perhaps you could even write to him to request your own favorite celebrity transformation…. (Via Demilked)
I wanted to issue an apology for committing the ultimate blogging sin: mixing up two artists’ works (!!). So here is my attempt to correct my error.. the HARMLAND/CHARMGLAND post I made was actually composed of two Flickr accounts’ works: Hardland/Heartland and Portrait Painters. This post is about HL/HL, and the next will be Portrait Painters. Damn, the internet is a tricky business.
This description is taken straight from the horse’s mouth:
“Hardland/Heartland is an amorphous cluster of artists working to create an ongoing visual investigation of our own personal histories, cultural interactions and possible futures. Using intuition and collaboration, we have embraced multiple mediums and methods that allow us to present our findings, not as definite statements, but instead as a more pragmatic communication of ideas that can be built upon and developed over time. These results are pieced together to form a lexicon of personal symbolism that serves as an authentic record of our creative endeavors and interaction.”
For a while now, Gerry Judah has produced extremely large-scale outdoor installations. And he’s become pretty good at it. Especially notable are his automobile-themed works, which suspend scale-sized model cars high in the air as part of whirling, vertigo-inducing sculpture work. Kinda like Steve Tobin’s work, except with horsepower. (via)
We first featured William Emmert’s work last year but he’s back again with a great new body of work revolving around posters from his childhood bedroom and other objects of nostalgia. Join him as he takes us back to the 80’s when Urkel was king and the Undertaker ruled the WWF.
The work of artist Ted Lawson reveals a persistent interest in the human body. Though his work is attractive to look at, or at least hard to pull away from, there is clearly a deeper fear being expressed. His art investigates processes related to the physical body such as growth, its needs, its decay and death. Really, these sculptures are physical representations of modern psychological concerns. The tenuous relationship between the body and the mind has been a highly scrutinized theme throughout much of contemporary art. Lawson’s work, though, has a way of striking an especially carnal chord.
What do you get when you combine thousands of toothpicks, glue, and ingenious craftsmanship? You get the work of artist Scott Weaver, who has created a model of San Francisco out of these materials after thirty-five years of creative determination. Nothing more than these two simple materials, toothpicks and glue, forms the intricate layers of this concrete jungle. Scott Weaver began this structure, titled Rolling Through the Bay, in 1974, but has been building sculptures out of toothpicks since he was eight years old. His early work began as abstracts formation, much smaller than his San Francisco masterpiece.
As if constructing such a complex, detailed, city replica out of miniature objects was not impressive enough, Weaver’s piece Rolling Through the Bay is interactive! The structure is kinetic, as it navigates ping pongs balls like tourists through the many infamous sites and neighborhoods that make up San Francisco’s lifeblood. You can see city attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown in his mass of toothpicks, but much more is to be seen. The delicate intricacy of this astonishing sculpture speaks volumes to Scott Weaver’s skill and patience. It is not surprising to know that the artist is a San Francisco native, as is many generations of his family before him. The love and pride of San Francisco can be seen in the time and care that Rolling Through the Bay took to create.
(via Colossal) All Photography by The Tinkering Studio