Get Social:

Animals Being Human: Darren Holmes’ Photography Explores The Dichotomy Between Instinct And Intellect

Darren Holmes - Photography

I Look Pretty While Doing It

Darren Holmes - Photography

Always the Chosen Ones

Darren Holmes - Photography

Cavalcade of Victors

Darren Holmes - Photography

Eaten by the Rushmore Presidents

Darren Holmes is a photographer whose works explore the dichotomy between instinctual, “animal” life, and the rationalizing, “civilized” mind. Entitled animals being human, this series depicts nude (or nearly nude) paint-splattered men and women engaged in strange and frisky behaviors, such as crouching and crawling on the floor, burrowing in hay, and playing with cardboard props. Each image is abstract, elaborate, and tinged with humor, with a lot of “meaning” intentionally left to the imagination: what are they doing, and for what purpose? The confounding, playful absurdity is entirely Holmes’ intention, as he seeks to unravel our innate drives and behaviors from the constructions and constraints of intellect and social conditioning. As he explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay:

“To me, all of the things that unify us as really human are things beneath intellect, the guttural stuff like pain response, elation, pleasure, anguish, anger, the search for warmth and companionship, that kind of thing.  They’re all concerns of the body, instinctive and what we associate with animal behaviour.

Then we have these clever, intellectual, analytical minds which maybe sit over top of it all, rationalizing, regulating us, attempting to moderate all the stuff underneath.  There are probably good reasons we need to do this sometimes, to act civilly with each other.  But in some ways, I think intellect becomes how we distract ourselves from facing some truths.”

What Holmes’ work signifies, then, is a playful deconstruction of the “human,” a species category which is so often defined in opposition to “animals”. In many cases, contemporary (and intellectualized) humanity has actively separated itself from earthly “filth” — mud, blood, excrement, and anything “messy” — in order to achieve a sense of species-based superiority. “I mean, we must be more enlightened than those that came before us … right?” Holmes writes, tongue-in-cheek. “Maybe we just want to believe certain things to avoid facing issues, like how little we’ve changed … that we’re just dirty, shitting, fucking, fighting primates, and how temporary we really are in this world.”

Given the delightfully absurd energy of Holmes’ photos, I enquired about his method, which he described as a “live performance”; each scene is a holistic accumulation of energy and creativity, involving “like-minded people who want to use their bodies to capture something that can only come from a sort of lengthy, improvised dance punctuated by exchanges [and] ideas.” The props are similarly spontaneous; mostly limited to “cardboard, canvas, wood, [and] paint,” the models indulge in a youthful approach to these objects, making the props imaginative and representational rather than over-intellectualized and “concrete” in their meaning. In this way, Holmes deconstructs adulthood as well, that phase in our lives when we are taught to overanalyze and constantly moderate and rationalize our behaviors.

Visit Holmes’ website and Facebook page and follow him as he explores physicality and the intimate, pre-intellectual connections that exist between all of us human animals. (Via Art Fucks Me)

Advertise here !!!

Sage Vaughn

Sage Vaughn
Wildlife and Wildlives make up the world of artist Sage Vaughn. Swarming brightly colored butterflies along with strangely dressed kids makes for some interesting subject matter, and there is definitely a feeling of tension between the natural and unnatural elements in these paintings. Born in Jackson, Oregon and now working in Los Angeles, Sage also helped illustrate a killer music video for N.A.S.A. that you can see here.

Advertise here !!!

Photographs of Miniature Plastic People Interacting with the Nude Figure


Maybe a little exploitative but well done nevertheless, these shots from photographer Allan Teger are done in single exposures. Natural, bodily curves take the place of hilly landscapes as miniature  “people” go about their business perfectly naturally. A nice way to celebrate the human form through re-contextualization, or just pretty shots of naked people- what do you think? Whenever I see these little plastic guys being used in such a way, I always think of Slinkachu’s “Little People Project”. I guess this is a common thing now. But Teger’s been doing it for a while. (via)

Erin Rachel Hudak’s Public Installations Celebrate Love And Color

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 8.37.58 AM You-Are-My-Reflection Erin Rachel Hudak Erin Rachel Hudak

The always-colorful work by Erin Rachel Hudak has the distinct ability to seduce with its bright and vibrant appearance.  Hudak consistently produces work that looks happy and exudes love.  The attraction, while complete, can be somewhat misleading, and upon closer inspection Hudak has often encoded a message, lesson, or suggestion hidden within the colorful work.

“Love You Forever,” a temporary installation in both New York and Idaho, included mylar balloons.  An adoring public service announcement in both locals, the installations became  celebrated destinations.  However, despite the message of everlasting adulation, the installations were completely fleeting.  On the one hand the works were romantic and beautiful gestures, or from another perspective they were impossible promises.

Often Hudak entertains such distinctions, juxtapositions and opposites—using the way ideas are defined by separation from other ideas.  The concept is almost always referencing, or completed by, the viewer.  Her outdoor installation-to-be at Paul Artspace in St. Louis involves a mirrored sculpture that reads “You Are My Reflection,” involving the viewer in a process of self-analysis.  Combined with a rich visual vocabulary involving metaphors and language, Hudak’s works are always highly symbolic.

Catch her latest installation at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show taking place this weekend in New York.  “Waterfall Wall” installed in the stairway of the SPRING/BREAK space is a cascading barrage of color and reflective surface.  It is the visual manifestation of Hudak’s observations about power, freedom, access and restriction.

Nathalie Lagacé Renders Delicate Creatures Stuck Between Human And Beast

Nathalie Lagacé - GraphiteNathalie Lagacé - GraphiteNathalie Lagacé - Graphite

Nathalie Lagacé renders hybrid creatures that are both beautiful and hideous, half human and half beast. Her beautifully rendered drawings display tenderness and anguish, as she lovingly creates these intriguing creatures. However, they are stuck somewhere in limbo, between two beings as they cry out. Highly skilled at drawing, Nathalie Lagacé forms very believable creatures, which make them all the more disturbing. These seemingly cute babies become alarming with their pig heads and rat-tails. Perhaps the most shocking image is Lagacé’s drawing of a baby with bird legs, but they appear to be cooked, ready for you to pick right off the body. Lagacé has created a series that will not soon leave your mind, as the strange images of these bizarre creatures are unlike any that you will ever see.

This series, titled Legacy, points a stern finger at the way we impact the world around us. Much of her work is strongly environmental, displaying what our actions could possibly cause in the future. These crossbreeds of animals like zebras, pigs, and rabbits with humans represent our “legacy,” what we leave behind. The artist’s work reflects upon nature and our relationship with it, the positive and negative. Her art is full of harsh contrasts, whether it is between two conflicting creatures or the dark graphite against the stark white background. Make sure to check out her other black and white, graphite drawings, which have a similar environmental message. (via Hi-Fructose)

An Interactive Building That Changes Colors Depending On Your Perspective And Time Of Day


Founder of Los Angeles-based architecture and design studio Urbana, Rob Ley has yet made another venture into the world of interactive architectural installations. This time large-scale. His project “May-September” features a field of 7,000 angled multi-color metal panels constructed onto the facade of Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.

According to Ley, the project began when he started wondering about the typical notion of the parking structure. Often these huge concrete constructions are unappreciated and ignored by public. Ley posed himself a challenge to turn it into a dynamic system that would interact with the viewers as they pass it by.

Together with Indianapolis Fabrications, they’ve built a huge angular aluminum and stainless steel installation (12,500 square feet) that also features an east/west color strategy (yellow and blue). The visual experience of changing colors and patterns depends on observers’ perspective and speed when they move across the hospital grounds or drive along the street. The piece also interacts with nature as every sun beam or cloud can shape the hues and saturation of colors.

As in nature, the volume and shade offered by the piece shies away from harsh, geometric patterning – instead tending towards a gentle, dappled variability in form <…> [parts of installation] work together as brush strokes to create a dynamic façade <…>.

The Oddball Realism Of Painter Eckart Hahn

eckart hahn paintingeckart hahn paintingeckart hahn paintingeckart hahn painting

Instead of using mixed media or found objects Eckart Hahn paints them. With a painful realism he creates opposing materials to find his pictures. A gorilla’s hairy body paired with crumpled garbage bags produces a strange dynamic which is visually captivating. In another, a group under multi-colored plastic bags disguised as a nativity scene is even more unique. It’s hard to find striking subject matter to paint because nine out of ten times it’s been done before. But somehow Eckart Hahn manages to reinvent. People have called his work “new age surrealism” which is true but there are also fantasy and advertising motifs at play. Hahn’s use of fast drying acrylic paint allows him to finish pictures quickly lending a spontaneity that goes well with his oddball subject matter.

Creatures appear consistently in many of Hahn’s paintings. He repeatedly identifies with different species of bird. The winged animal can represent freedom, wisdom and renewal.  In Hahn’s paintings these characteristics manifest into a biopic figure, one that seems to echo Hahn himself. All art is biographical in some way or another and provides a chance for the artist to explore unresolved or untouched emotions or feelings. The bird in Hahn’s work has alluded to death, friendship, love, humor and awkwardness. Perhaps these were the same ideas he was feeling at the time of creation. The German born artist is self-taught and has exhibited his work worldwide. (via juxtapoz)

Alicia Martín’s Cascading Book Installations

Alicia Martín

Alicia Martín

Alicia Martín


Alicia Martín (formerly featured here – as well as in our Best of 2012) has kept busy this year, expanding on her signature style of cascading book installations that we first saw in BiografíasEach installation begins as a wire and aluminum structure, to which hundreds and thousands of books are attached, creating the illusion of waterfalls of pages and spines wrapping around objects, wrapping around themselves, and pouring from windows and underneath walls.

In works such as Singularidad, the Madrid, Spain-based artist focuses her waves of books into a more circular shape, resembling a vortex rather than a waterfall. Playing with the idea of a black-hole, or naked singularity, the collective swathe of books consumes itself, rather than bursting forward. In Contemporaneos, Martín plays with the idea of the books being the background, the support, or what’s behind the object, pouring out of (or cracking through) a wall – engaging in a dialogue with more indoor, site-specific contemporary installation. However, Martín continues to re-imagine her waterfalls, with newer pieces expanding on previous work’s pouring from buildings, as well as running down streets, through windows and around trees, with pages blowing in the wind at each amazing installation. (via mymodernmet)