Archives for posts with tag: history

We have long commented on the convergence of history and art. They are intrinsically intertwined, reliant on one another in many ways. So when an artist turns the documentation and storytelling aspect of said junction on its head, we surely take notice. For his series The American Revolution Revolution, Denver-based artist Shawn Huckins masterfully juxtaposes early American portraiture with social media jargon. Thoughtfully conceptualized and brilliantly executed, Huckins’s incredible work succeeds on so many levels. And it’s also important to note that these are physical paintings, should Huckins’s artistic ability ever come into question. Huckins is a superb American artist who is clearly inspired by American Neo-Classical painters, as well as more contemporary Pop artists. In his own words, Huckins explains the series: “The American Revolution was conceived through an exchange of a few well-formed ideas communicated in person and by handwritten letters. Imagine what George & Co. could have done with the Internet. Or not. Technology influences how much we know and what we believe, as well as how quickly and intelligently we convey our ideas. But does how we communicate govern the value of what we communicate? The physical act of typing very fast on small devices has undeniably impacted spelling, grammar, and punctuation, encouraging a degree of illiteracy that has become the new social norm. As goes our grammatical literacy, do our social and cultural literacies follow?”

Via shawnhuckins.com

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It is said that art is often an honest reflection of societal issues at large. History shows that for centuries art has been a sort of barometer, documenting larger issues through the lens of the artist. This certainly holds true for the work of Italian artist Alessandro Rabatti. His series Facebank serves as commentary for the very uncertain financial state of the world today, with a humorous bent, of course. Rabatti alters iconic faces on currency (related posts here and here and here) from around the world, “disguising” them as fictional superheroes. Despite the seemingly fun nature of these pieces, Rabatti’s intent and message is likely much deeper. For one, by altering the faces of these historical figures to look like familiar comic book characters with a rich (albeit fictional) history of their own, Rabatti remarks on their economic and political status, looking to them as possible “saviors” of the global economic crisis. There is an implied trust in these figures, both real and fictional, so the dialogue Rabatti initiates with this series could really go on and on. Oh, and these works are just plain cool looking. From conception to execution, we’d say Rabatti has creative super powers of his own.

Via alessandrorabatti.com

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It is often said that art has a way of transporting viewers, whether conjuring past memories or sometimes through the immersion of visual stimulation. In the case of London-based Japanese photographer Chino Otsuka, such transport is a bit more literal, and turned on herself as both photographer and subject. Otsuka’s series Imagine Finding Me is a sort of conceptual time machine, where she digitally inserts herself into childhood photos. In her own words, Otsuka says, “A new journey has begun, on board a time machine built from digital tools. I’m traveling back, transported to places where I once belonged, cities where I once visited and on arrival I find myself from the past. Navigating through the labyrinth of memory I become a tourist of my own history. And throughout this unique journey I keep a diary.” We are absolutely taken with the concept, but it’s Otsuka’s adept skills with said digital tools that really make this series shine. In the hands of a less capable photographer, this would not have been nearly as effective. Huge success any way you look at it.

Via chino.co.uk

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Pop art is alive and well. Having materialized in the 1950s as an alternative to the traditions of fine art, the movement draws from popular culture and often relies on irony. As we’ve noted before, our highly connected, celebrity-obsessed culture is a breeding ground for such art, so it’s no surprise that it seems to be a particularly thriving art scene these days. And many artist have emerged as household names through the years, such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein. Though not quite that prominent (yet), Brazilian artist and designer known as Butcher Billy has a tremendous body of work that pushes pop art forward, while also paying tribute to the past. Butcher Billy is “known for his illustrations based on the contemporary pop art movement. His work has a strong vintage comic book and street art influence while also making use of pop cultural references in music, cinema, art, literature, games, history and politics.” This is just a small sample of his extensive, diverse portfolio. If you didn’t know Butcher Billy’s work, now you do. Killin’ it, indeed.

Via Behance and curioos.com

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Sometimes to be original, you need to draw inspiration from the past, as contradictory as that sounds. Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens did just that with an arresting series with his daughter Paula as his subject. What began as capturing childhood moments morphed into fascinating photographs in the style of seventeenth century Dutch paintings… with a modern twist. Kerstens recalls, “One day Paula came back from horseback riding. She took off her cap and I was struck by the image of her hair held together by a hair-net. It reminded me of the portraits by the Dutch masters and I portrayed her in that fashion. After that I started to do more portraits in which I refer to the paintings of that era. The thing that fascinates me in particular is the way a seventeenth-century painting is seen as a surface which can be read as a description of everyday life as opposed to the paintings of the Italian renaissance, which usually tell a story. Northern European painting relies much more on craftsmanship and the perfect rendition of the subject. The use of light is instrumental in this.” As are Paula’s placid, if not austere, facial expressions… so reminiscent of the work of Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch masters. Kerstens’s outstanding work can be found in museums and galleries around the world, and has inspired tastemakers as diverse as Elton John and Alexander McQueen.

Conceptually reminiscent of the work of Steve Payne (here)

Via danzigergallery.com and Facebook

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When it comes to an art medium we can really sink our teeth into, food is near the top of our list. After all, few things bring people together like food. It’s relatable, familiar, often comforting, and let’s face it, essential to our very being. Philadelphia-based photographer Dominic Episcopo invites viewers to “Meat America” through this engaging and polarizing series of photographs of, well, meat — carved, molded, manipulated — to look like American icons. Episcopo describes the project as “an eye-opening and artery-closing tour of America’s spirit of entrepreneurship, rebellion and positivity.” From Elvis, to Lincoln, to the Liberty Bell as subjects, Episcopo’s carnivorous wit shines through. And his photography skills are not too shabby either. Patriotic protein aside, Episcopo’s sense of composition and lighting is stellar. A less skilled photographer would not have pulled this off so well. Episcopo’s book available here.

More food art here and here and here.

Via meatamerica.com

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The folks at Brooklyn-based Pop Chart Lab have done it again. Their proficiency for infographical treatments is astounding, no matter the subject matter. Whether it be a “Visual Compendium of Guitars” or “Cartography of Kitchenware” or any number of alcohol-related compositions (think “The Marvelous Mixology of Martinis”, “Fantastical Fictive Beers”, “Wineries of Napa”, etc.), the work of Pop Chart Lab never disappoints. It’s like a master class in infographics. And they have finally given such treatment to the very core of their passion: the history of graphic design. This 18” x 24” hand-illustrated diagram (available for preorder at a limited-time discounted price here, to start shipping tomorrow) is not only a decorative piece, but also an invaluable go-to quick visual reference of the most important eras in graphic design. Pop Chart Lab’s team of researchers and designers did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of each style in such a compact, efficient manner. This will be hanging on our walls real soon.

Via popchartlab.com

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For those in the NYC area, venerable type foundry Monotype is putting on a must-see exhibition for designers and type geeks out there (ourselves included). Pencil to Pixel is a comprehensive exhibition spanning over a hundred years, featuring rare artworks and artifacts relating to type history, chronicling the development of typography up to its present technologically-advanced state.

Via penciltopixel.org

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