Beautifully Creepy Bonsai Skulls

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It’s a rare sight – a traditional bonsai garden and a graveyard perched atop a skull, cherry blossom trees cradling eye sockets, there’s something so fragile about the delicate balance of life and death they maintain.

Each skull by handmade by Australian artist, Andrew Firth.  The skulls are cast in PVC plastic and molded from a real human skull.  Firth’s company, Jack of the Dust gets its name of an obsolete United States Navy occupational designation. The term has its origin in the royal navy of the early 1800’s when ship’s stewards were known as “Jack-of-the-dust”, referring to the dusty atmosphere created by issuing quantities of flour and dried biscuit.

It’s a rather unique take on “Momento Mori,”(which means “remember that you can die” in Latin).

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Where Literary Meets Art: The Paper Sculptures of Su Blackwell

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To Kill a Mocking Bird

In the spaces where literary meets art, UK based artist, Su Blackwell transforms words from the page to tangible manifestations of imagination.  The Paper Sculptures of Su Blackwell enchantingly capture the essence of a story, turning them into dizzying tales of deconstructed lore artfully reconstructed as a thing of childlike beauty. Under her hands, she brings to life beloved stories – transforming them into fragile ephemeral whims that make you want to inhabit these places.

“I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculpture, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional diorama’s, and displaying them inside wooden boxes. For the cut out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle color.”

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Girl in the Wood

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20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Cabin in the Trees

Cabin in the Trees

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Matilda

Take some time and check out her installation work as well.

Links & 1 Charming Video: Su Blackwell Website

Insomnia: Sandro Giordano’s Photo Series ‘Bodies with no Regret’

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I’m currently losing sleep over the work of photographer, Sandro Giordano.  The malarkey is all detailed in his Instagram where broken bodies fall almost hilariously over themselves and into ridiculous scenes where the quest to hold onto material possessions has some serious consequences. The photo series, In Extremis, was born out of a firsthand experience with this pitfall. Giordano himself suffered a fall while riding his bicycle. As he fell, he held onto an object in his hand instead of using his hands to stop his fall. A few weeks later, a friend broke his leg on some rocks while trying to avoid dropping his smartphone in water.

It’s gold – once you start peering into these insanely detailed sets, your mind will wander effortlessly into playing out the scenario of how his victims met their twisty tragic ends. Giordano states: “My photos tell the stories of people who live life at an exhausting pace, experiencing sudden blackouts. When the demands of the modern world become too much to cope with, our body rebels against our brain wreaking havoc in our day-to-day life.”

 

Still Sober/Rome 2015

84 Perry Street/New York

Till Death Do Us Part/Calcata 2015

Happy Birthday to Me/Rome, 2014

Where You Run/New York, 2015

Solo_Per_Amore-650x650More info: Instagram | Facebook
All images © Sandro Giordano

Drake channels James Turrell in Hotline Bling Video

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YUP, it’s true. Drake’s new video “Hotline Bling” is his official love letter to light artist James Turrell.

I can’t stop watching this mashup – it combines two things I never expected to see bathed in Turrell lighting, Drake and booty… and I don’t mind it one bit. It’s a damn near perfect blending of hip-hop and fine art that I’d like to see more of.

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Image from Chestnut Hill Skyspace / HAHA MAG

Image from Chestnut Hill Skyspace / HAHA MAG

Here’s a Cliff Note for those of you unfamiliar with Turrell:

James Turrell is an American artist who creates with light and space. In the 70’s he began experimenting with Skyspaces. A Skyspace is an architecturally designed room, painted in a neutral color with a large hole in its ceiling which opens directly to the sky. From the perimeter of the room, observers view the sky in such a way as though it were framed. LED lights surround the hole changing color to affect the viewer’s perception of the sky. It’s an immersive experience where the viewer offered an amazing space for reflection – a silent study of nature and light accompanied with their unfiltered thoughts.

The video is stirring up art curiosity from the unlikeliest of people.  Today, I received a text message from my cousin, wanting to know if he could “go with” the next time I visit a Skyspace.

My sweet Instagrams from the Skyspace couldn’t lure him in. When I tried to organize a family field trip to the Skyspace near us, his eyes glazed over as I was explaining the experience. Drake, however, apparently only needs to throw up his arms and do a couple of un sexy squats (sorry Drake, it wasn’t easy to watch that part – but I totally get that you were feelin’ it.) and he’s down for the cause. If this is what leads to a new generation of museum-goers and art lovers, I’m for it.

Incidentally, this is the same cousin engaging me in conversation about Picasso at family functions (thanks, Hov).

It all feels so momentarily out of the blue.  The media are going crazy, making speculation, referencing to art and hip-hop like a cultural anthropology lesson. That’s not a dig. It’s pretty thrilling to see the conversation take this road.

Last year, Rolling Stone shadowed Drake during his visit to Turrell’s retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “I fuck with Turrell,” Drake says to the interviewer. “He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour.”

(photo via @esther___ruiz/Instagram)

(photo via @esther___ruiz/Instagram)

Lest, you think this video was some sort of collaboration, Turrell put out this statement, “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake fucks with me,” he wrote, “I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the ‘Hotline Bling’ video.”

All I have to say is, ‘Hip-Hop keep doing what you do’.

Learn More: Visit the James Turrell Website

View More: There’s nothing like experiencing a Skyspace in person. But if you can’t, use this video to take a virtual trip.

[VIDEO] James Turrell “Second Meeting” | Exclusive | Art21, Art21 2013

Photo: Screenshot, “Hotline Bling“

Caitlin McCormack Stitches Together Memory In Her Solo Show MNEMOSYNE

Title Card for Mnemosyne

MNEMOSYNE – Mne·mos·y·ne \ni-ˈmä-sə-nē, -zə-\- memory

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen. -Edward de Bono

In a room of silent things, everything whispers as Philadelphia artist, Caitlin McCormack’s solo show Mnemosyne explores the mind’s attempt to reconstruct fragile remnants of memories before they are tainted.

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McCormack sets the tone of the show with various cabinets of curiosities – drawers open to reveal slumbering stitches arranged in categorical boundaries yet to be defined, beveled shadow frames.  Within this realm, McCormack marries found threads to existing pieces, embracing the melancholy of time overlapping memory in her delicate play of intersecting loops. In the crocheted bones of her discordant creations, lay manifestations of resurrected truths and birthed falsehoods; a balance of beguiling recollections arranged in unnatural juxtapositions.

MNEMOSYNE’s sense of fragility underscores a precious attempt to preserve that which has fallen into Obscura – to present a persistence of memory, as new life is stitched together in the parameters of anamnesis where memories live as beautiful fabrications that belie a beginning and beg off an end. There exists a haunting calm within the delicate wisps trying desperately to be more than retired graces of things they never were. ‡

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Menmosyne skeleton

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Mnemosyne_inside shadow table

“It is the second installment in a cycle of exhibitions; an examination of the consequences of my practices, as they pertain to the scrutiny of memory’s authenticity. I am drawn towards a vacuous well of recollection, in which the fibers connecting a network of truths and fabrications fade in and out of darkness, at the bottom of which resides a glimpse of memory’s mass extinction.” – Caitlin McCormack

‡version of this article was originally featured on ParadigmArts.

Mnemosyne is up at Paradigm Gallery until Friday, November 13, 2015.

*Photos courtesy of Jason Chen

Thomas Robson: Collision Art

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The absurd defacing of classic portraits juxtaposed with pixelations and thick strokes of pigmented color draw you into British artist Thomas Robson’s amplified work – a modern appropriation of old narratives colliding with a new visually provocative story in hyperbolic color.

His work edges along often dramatic boundaries of graphic and fine art, confronting the viewer with a new contextualization.

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Collsion Art, Yellow on old grounds

Collsion Art, Yellow on old grounds

Collsion Art Landscape

Collsion Art Landscape

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collision art; interventions; Thomas Robson;

collision art; interventions; Thomas Robson;

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At The Blot of Art

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How much attention do you spend staring at your ink-stained cloths?

Tim Moore, fashions that same question with his book, “Tim Moore: Not My Blotting Tissues: A sensitive collection of incidental expression”.

His pictorial book storylines an unseen process of creating incidental art as through the use of blotting tissues he collected from the art studio of artist Del Kathryn Barton. The tissues are streaked and impregnated with brilliant colors and untrained lines that mirror abstract works

Moore worked as Barton’s studio assistant, during that time he collected the delicate white tissues that Barton blotted paintings with or wiped her brushes on. While tissues used to blot pieces of art aren’t the most thrilling of subjects, I suppose I can understand that one can find beauty in the ordinary.

You know what they say, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder’

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To purchase the book, which features 95 images of the tissues, check out Formist’s website.

via The Formist

Ivan Sikic – It’s My Party and I do What I Want To!

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It’s My Party and I do What I Want To! aims to comment on the widening wealth gap. Conceptual artist Ivan Sikic aims to maintain that debate with his installation denounces this system. He placed 99 balloons held by a fake gold bar over 7,000 thumbtacks.

“This is the political and social context Iván Sikic aims to respond to in this instance by presenting It’s My Party and I do What I Want To! In a corner of gallery Luis Adelantado, Valencia, 99 helium filled balloons keep a gilded brick afloat. During the two months that the work will be open for viewing, each week, a newly inflated balloon gets added to supplement the ones that will continue to deflate. These remain, deflated, in the spot where they land, as a crude testimony that their replacement is both cheap and inevitable. On the ground, a small and helpless thumbtack army dramatize the inanity of their posture against the relentless golden brick.”*

*quote taken from artist statement.

This is an evolving work, Sikic invites everyone to check back at the end of September for the finalized documentation of the piece.

photos via artist website.

‘And Then Art Walked Into The Fray’ or the less dramatic title ‘They Called it Moonshine Kingdom’

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“Moonshine Kingdom” on the side of 56 Wyckoff Avenue. Photo by London Kaye

BUSHWICK, NY – Might as well view it now, because it’s gone.  This piece featuring Sam Shakusky from Wes Anderson’s 2012 Moonrise Kingdom holding hands with Delbert Grady’s daughters from The Shining got tangled up in a bigger social conversation – and it ain’t about street art aesthetics.

Yarnbomber, London Kaye (@madebylondon) installed this 15-foot crochet mural on the side of a family’s building adjacent to the Brooklyn Flea in Bushwick.  It was put up without the family’s permission.  In all fairness, Kaye thought she had the owner’s blessing.  Rob Abner, the flea’s founder, gave Kaye permission to erect the crochet piece, Abner did not, however, ask the family if he could decorate the facade of the home.  Rightfully, the family was a bit pissed.  Matters only got worse when their interactions with Abner requesting its removal went poorly (read all about that here, on The Gothamist – where the story was first reported).

Tenant advocate and Bushwick native Will Giron’s aunt owns the property.  In frustration over the artwork being erected without consent, Giron took to Facebook to air his family’s grievances… and that’s all she wrote.  We all know that the internet loves to reblog and comment on issues like this one.

The rage isn’t about the art, the debate is really about gentrification in urban neighbourhoods – it’s not easy to shake.  The lack of permission coupled with the poor communication Giron experienced with Abner just perpetuated the larger problem at hand – a lack of awareness and burgeoning sense of entitlement the residents were feeling from the new communities moving into their neighborhoods.  The beginning of the shift is usually an influx of artists who find the low rents affordable.  They bring a certain flair to the neighborhood which then attracts developers who attract wealthier individuals. While the affect is higher property values, unfortunately, the effect is the displacement of lower-income families and small businesses.

Kaye told The Gothamist

 “The last thing I was thinking about was making somebody upset with my art. The whole thing I wanted to do was make people happy.”

Can’t help but think of the comments I’ve heard in the past questioning the validity of street art’s ability to provoke conversations on social issues…

You really should read the rest of the story at The Gothamist

ARTIST BRINGS BOOK COVERS TO LIFE IN GIF SERIES

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Chilean art director Javier Jensen’s took a break from his day job as art director in a publicity firm in Santiago de Chile to create to these GIFs, bringing the cover of some of the most loved works of literature to life with the slightest of movements.

These eye-catching GIFs are surely an enticing way to grab a reader and thrust them into a good story.  His homage spans the genres with across the board picks from JRR Tolkien’s fantasy adventure The Hobbit to that beloved Dr. Seuss children’s classic Green Eggs and Ham…

“I wanted to go back to the books that made us live, dream and believe in different things and reflect what I always imagined when I looked at their covers.”

Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover?

 

Hobbit Gif

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Green Eggs Gif

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Moby Dick Gif

Great Gatsby Gif

via The Guardian

gifs from the artist’s Behance page

Insomnia with: @maisiecousins

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I keep a list of internet phenomena I hear people rave over, that hit top ten lists, that get featured in zines I pick up at random.  Then I wait till I have a typical bout of insomnia, lay in bed and troll through them.  Sometimes it’s just superficial website browsing that leads me to something unusual.  The moment always feels charged and I’m determined to write a quirky, late night post about it, but that’s normally right before I start drooling and pass out on the keyboard.

Tonight – no today, right? Anyway, the Instagram account of London-based photographer Maisie Cousins (@maisiecousins) is kinda what I want to gush about.  At first glance, it seems like a throwaway.  Matter of fact, I think I immediately wondered what all the fuss was about. But, hey, I’m punch drunk and unable to sleep so what else was I going to do after successfully failing to fool myself into thinking I could comprehend Tolkien at this time in the morning.

Cousins’s work is creepy.  I think I should say unsettling because that eludes to still being approachable doesn’t it?

I stop thinking randomly about what I think I know and delve further what I don’t in attempts to attach myself to a feeling.  I wonder what dog-eared book of essays fires off in her head during a shot?  What tube station does she regularly get off at?  Because I want to think about what part of London inspires her most.

I feel like I’m looking at stills from my beloved John Water movies (Divine) and takes from old seventies mod psychedelic Londoner movies (free thinking babes with liberal morals).  These pics are all so messed up ‘good’, like the beginning a good buzz.  Another sleepy gaze and I can see it’s a photo log of feminist tropes in art school formats – she’s got a voice, it’s angsty and pure and filtered through a mind aiming to log in thought-provoking gender art in a way that’s never seen.  That’s what we all think before graduation and a couple of art fairs.

Bold and uncontrolled, not unlike the newer underground art Instagram’s I stumble across – this one’s got sexy unshaven legs and she doesn’t care if you see them.

Ok, it’s sharing time.

Lil friend 🐌

A photo posted by MAISIE 💋 (@maisiecousins) on

An old webcam pic from when I was really sad A photo posted by MAISIE 💋 (@maisiecousins) on

Real good set up @irisimc great sheep bed

A video posted by MAISIE 💋 (@maisiecousins) on

A photo posted by MAISIE 💋 (@maisiecousins) on

Camo

A photo posted by MAISIE 💋 (@maisiecousins) on

A photo posted by MAISIE 💋 (@maisiecousins) on

Corso Zundert Parade Celebrates Van Gogh with Millions of Flowers

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Corso Zundert

Photo credit: Erwin Martens

The Netherlands renowned Corso Zundert Parade rode beauty upon beauty through the streets of Zundert. Millions of giant dahlia bulbs adorned massive floats inspired by the works and life of Van Gogh – after all, it is the iconic painter’s hometown and the Holland tourism board has declared 2015 the year of Van Gogh.

The Zundert Flower Parade is but one of the many events planned this year to commemorate the region’s 125-year influence of van Gogh.  After a whole year of work and preparations, the parade is celebrated on the first Sunday of September.  The parade dates back to 1936, celebrating the region’s reputation as a global supplier of the dahlia bulb.  Each and every dahlia is individually affixed to the floats, which uses about 400,000 flowers per design.  The art of building the floats has been passed down from generation to generation, each one is designed and built by volunteers, even down to the cultivation of the dahlias.

 

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Photo credit: Werner Pellis

Corso Zundert Flower Parade

Photo credit: Werner Pellis

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Photo credit: Erwin Martens

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Photo credit: Werner Pellis

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Photo credit: Werner Pellis

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Photo credit: Erwin Martens

Corso Zundert

Photo Credit: Malou Evers

Corso Zundert

Photo Credit: Malou Evers

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Photo Credit: Malou Evers

 

via My Modern Met