Israeli photographer Rubi Lebovitch has a sort of subversive sense of humor, and for the record, we love it. Though his photographs themselves are pretty straightforward, Lebovitch has the uncanny ability to find the absurd in the ordinary. There’s a great cerebral quality to his work, in which the viewer is not guided by a predetermined story arc, but instead can deduce any number of things from his unexpected and beautifully absurd work. For his series Home Sweet Home, Lebovitch utilizes an intimate domestic setting for a veritable fun house. There is a certain charm in Lebovitch’s hyperbole, and ironically enough, you too can display it in your own home in a tidy coffee table book (available here). In his own words, Lebovitch discusses his book: “My photographs deal with domestic scenes captured in straightforward images…characterized by mystery, vagueness and absurdity. I create a twist in familiar sights and build new contexts, thus endowing the scene with new meanings. Mundane objects and domestic spaces are transformed into something strange and surprising. My images do not contain a clear-cut story or plot. The characters are inscrutable to the viewers and difficult to identify; their relationship with the world around them is senseless and they fail to communicate. Rationality is substituted by a twisted and exaggerated worldview. I employ a multiplicity of objects, allowing the objects to grow stronger and take over reality; they occupy and control the space. The scenes depicted in the photographs emphasize what usually remains hidden: the repressed, which cannot be described. The anxiety these scenes arouse undermines the peacefulness and security usually associated with home.”
Via rubilebovitch.com and loeildelaphotographie.com
We are compelled to check in on the work of renowned Russian illustrator/graphic designer Eiko Ojala every so often (here and here) because he’s just so good. Ojala’s style is distinct… we now recognize it from a mile away. These are truly mixed media endeavors, mixing digital illustration, paper textures, and both real and artificial shadows. His adept sense of color, composition and depth are hallmarks of his incredible body of work, which includes illustrations for a variety of impressive clients including The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Herman Miller, Harvard Business Review, Scientific American Mind, Ebony Magazine and The New Yorker. Here’s a sampling of some of his more recent work, including a children’s book he recently illustrated (available for purchase here). Enjoy.
Some “tree huggers” may view paper art (here and here and here) as a gratuitous use of precious paper. But Spanish paper artist Malena Valcárcel may just have found a way to please art lovers and environmentalists alike. Valcárcel “upcycles” discarded or recycled books into quite beautiful sculptures. She is astoundingly self-taught, and her work is intricate and delicate in a way that serves the fine print of her chosen medium (printed matter) really well. She even utilizes lighting in some of her pieces, which adds an entirely new magical dimension. In her own words, “My main inspirations come from nature and everyday life, and I often return to certain ideas again and again. Flowers, trees, butterflies, houses, clouds … without forgetting the sea, really fascinate me. Turning books into sculptures, cutting and shaping paper into different shapes or abstract forms never ceases to amaze me, and when the work is finished, just contemplating it brings a smile to my face. Making things has always been incredibly important to me and it is often an amazing release to get it out of my system. It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work…the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm.” Charming, indeed.
Via Behance and Etsy
In an effort to come full circle in recognizing the very polarizing Common Core testing in New York over the past two weeks, we bring you another “math meets art” post. This time it’s the work of Venezuelan architect and illustrator Rafael Araujo, and his very technical approach to capturing the mathematical brilliance of nature. With simple drafting tools (pencil, ruler, compass, protractor), Araujo takes much pleasure and pride being unplugged from technology while exploring three dimensionality (yes, without the aid of a computer), which can take up to 100 hours to create a single complex composition. We cannot wrap our brains around how one would even begin to approach this, so needless to say, we are in complete awe of Araujo. As are the thousands of backers who contributed to his Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of his work, which began several months ago with a goal just over $20,000. Araujo has since raised over a quarter of a million dollars to date, with the help of Sydney, Australia-based husband and wife team Melinda and Andres Restrepo. The Restrepos were so taken with Araujo’s work online, they approached him about creating a book. Capitalizing on the growing popularity of “adult coloring books” (c’mon, not X-rated, but those touting supposed “stress relieving” patterns), the project to publish the Golden Ratio Coloring Book is forging ahead. When you look at the sampling of Araujo’s work below, just keep in mind that they are all done by hand. Simply breathtaking.
It’s that time of year… Halloween-inspired art comes to the forefront, and is somehow appreciated just a little bit more, given the increased interest in all things ghosts, goblins, werewolves and the like. Say what you will, but there is no less artistic merit in thoughtfully conceived, masterfully executed art, no matter the subject matter. British paper artist Marc Hagan-Guirey, also known as Paper Dandy, is like a wizard with little more than an Xacto and a single sheet of paper (yes, no glue or adhesive of any kind). He’s well-versed in the art of “kirigami”, a variation of origami that includes cutting of the paper (from Japanese “kiru” = to cut, “kami” = paper). It is also called “Kirie”. From “Kiru”= to cut, “e”= picture. Hagan-Guirey’s latest project, cleverly titled Horrorgami, draws its inspiration from classic horror films. The recently released book (available here), derived from his well-received exhibition a few years back, features “20 gruesome scenes to cut and fold”. We love the intricate details Hagan-Guirey achieves, and the expression in his work. The photos throughout the book are also notable, lit in such a way that really brings each piece to life. More paper art posts here and here and here.
Continuing the theme of our fantastic experience at Create Upstate last week in Syracuse (previous post here), we’d like to introduce you to Curtis Canham of CSA Creative Studio. Canham is an art director/designer/educator based in the Albany area with an impressive and diverse portfolio, from sophisticated packaging to illustration-driven infographics to consumer-facing web design. Along with running a full service design studio, Canham also finds the time to educate the next generation of designers as a design professor at The Center for Art and Design at The College of Saint Rose in Albany. With all of this important work, Canham, believe it or not, is also working on publishing a fundamental typography book. Busy guy, indeed. Last week, Canham ran a table in the marketplace at Create Upstate extolling the virtues of a-holes that quickly caught our attention. A-holes? What the what!? Canham drew us in with his impassioned discourse about his forthcoming book, A-holes: A Type Book. He enlightened us on such things as the anatomy of a-holes, historic a-holes, famous a-holes. and families of a-holes. All of this perceived potty talk may elicit gasps from those who don’t know any better. But being the typography nerds that we are, we, of course, understand and appreciate the double entendre. Aside from the obvious, an a-hole is also the negative space, or counter, within the “A” characters. Canham’s book taps right into a brand of humor we Barbour folk love. With only 5 days left, Canham is in the home stretch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a first printing of his 130-page book. Don’t be an a-hole… pledge a few bucks, please.
Via csacreativestudio.com and Kickstarter
Gabe was particularly taken with all of this, and his name was fittingly drawn for an A-hole t-shirt at Create Upstate! In his own words, “you are what you wear.” Bahahahahaha!
A couple members of the Barbour team had the honor of witnessing a speaking engagement by the incomparable Dana Tanamachi at Create Upstate in Syracuse last week. The event itself was terrific, from the impressive venue (great food, btw), awesome vendors, and stellar lineup of speakers. One highlight was undoubtedly the inspirational work and philosophy of Tanamachi. Honestly, we’re not saying anything new here, just bowing down, as most who are exposed to her transcendent work tend to do. Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based Tanamachi, whose lettering work is quite ubiquitous (you’ve probably seen it, or a rip-off of it, and may not have realized it was hers), seems quite gracious, humble, passionate and sincere when discussing her craft. She’s not some Brooklyn hipster who is too cool for school. Her tremendous talents seemed to have emerged over time, and her rise in the design world happened organically, which we truly admire. Tanamachi is a rock star among our peers, and we are just happy to have spent an engaging hour in her presence. Here’s a small sampling of her formidable body of work… prepare to drool.