Do you remember this photo series by Frieke Janssens?
Photographer Frieke Janssens controversial series, Smoking Kids, saw children ages 4-9 dressed in outfits that evoked particular periods of cigarette culture. While the costuming and posing of the children evokes perhaps a certain glamour that some still find in the begone ‘Mad Menesque’ era, visually you are forced to see the ugliness of smoking when juxtaposed with the youth of her subjects. These photo narratives question whether or not the fascination for cigarettes is as enticing when viewed on children. Now, the cigarettes used in the photos were actually fashioned out of cheese, candles and incense – though I doubt that will make most comfortable with the subject matter.
A lot of Janssens’ work tackles addiction and social change. The uneasiness the viewer experiences while looking at her photography parallels that of our society’s approach to tackling these long standing obstacles. We’ve allowed ourselves to view many of these as acceptable modern societal norms – and she challenges that.
Her latest series Animalcoholics goes surrealist as it imagines alcoholics down to their base selves, after loss of self control and self consciousness has reduced them to their primal selves.
Link up: Frieke Janssens Website / Instagram @friekejanssens_photography
This is Alex Eckman-Lawn’s bio… “Alex Eckman-Lawn is a Philadelphia born illustrator who lives in the gutter and sleeps in the sewer. His work has appeared in comic books, on album covers, book covers, T-shirts, music videos, and posters. He is currently hard at work trying to burn his name into the ground and pull the sun out of the sky.”
Yup, he is that freaking cool.
No matter what medium he’s working with, it’s trademarked with complicated dark overtures layered in emotion. Our personal favorite — his contemporary framed cut paper collage pieces, each layer stacked upon another create a dense narrative that unveils a story slowly being released to the viewer.
At first glance, the narratives of his work seems peppered with themes of loneliness and fear — but the graceful shafts of light and placement of color betray a sense of hope and redemption. It’s not hard to see the painstaking care and finesse layered in his pieces – so exacting in trying to maintain a compulsive control over chaotic worlds.
Check out the video below to see Eckman-Lawn discuss his process.
Alex Eckman-Lawn on Social Media
Website/Instagram / Tumblr
Alex’s work appears in the following comics:
Awakening Volumes 1 and 2, Popgun volume 4 (Rusted: Faded Signal), Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard (Leviathan), The Graphic Canon Vol.1 (Forgive Us Our Trespasses), and Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. He is working on an all-ages adventure book called Thanatos Diver right now.
Artist, Drew Leshko’s take on capturing the commentary concerning neighborhood gentrification is to architecturally document the buildings in his Philadelphia neighborhood. His scaled-down, wall hanging, three-dimensional sculptures take weeks of carving, cutting, and layering varieties of paper and wood.
The painstaking attention to detail on these miniature replicas immerses the viewer in a storytelling that romanticizes the buildings flirting with decay or verging on redevelopment, presenting a feel of nostalgia – an unstated narrative where the art becomes a tangible form of a society’s appetite for change.
Link up with the artist – Instagram
Genre: sculpture artist
UK based street artist, Conor Harrington envisions the historical with street art styling, producing hypermodern murals that toss you right into the fray. His over-sized dramatic figures, regally attired in tattered historical garb loom over the viewer, poised in the throes of epic fights fought out on the side of buildings and city walls. Each scene drips with a sense of visceral urgency, bringing life to these amazing oil painting mimics.
Like most recorded history, it’s all mapped out and planned before its written down. Scenes are staged like large-scale compositions and photographed in the studio before they’re executed outside. Oil paintings from the days of our forefathers never looked like this. But if there was some Colonial Fight Club action taking place, chances are, it went down like this.
Watch it evolve:
Link up: Conor Harrington Website / Instagram @conorsaysboom
Genre: Street Art
B is for Boy Kong. We caught Boy Kong’s work a few years ago during Armory Week, at the Fountain Art Fair and developed an instant connect. Since then, we’ve been enjoying his stylized show pieces – they are vibrant, collaged images in motion that emote enough energy to taunt a viewer into standing there long enough to catch the moment they break free of the framing.
Boy Kong jumps around from painting, to illustrating, to muralist, but his gallery pieces are our favorites. You’re just as likely to see a piece at a show or on the street – a double treat.
Until then, you can check out his work by following these links: Instagram: @BOYKONG Facebook: BOY KONG
Genre: Contemporary Art
Poplar Street Was Like A Dozen Others To The East Or West Of It And Friday Nights Looked Like This, 10 PM Parents Bedroom Light Goes Out Girls Room Lights Stay On 11 PM Boys At The Window Hand Over Fists
A is for Andrea Heimer, whose incredibly detailed paintings are humorously dark, undressing the normal white-picket fence facade of her suburban upbringing in a perverse and yet strangely appealing way.
Don’t Miss: Her paintings’ long titles that read like opening lines of a David Sedaris essay.
Check out our first chat with Heimer here on hahamag.com and then go on to discover more:
Website – Andrea Heimer / Instagram
Genre: Outsider Art