The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured a short documentary by film-maker Richard Hunter about automata-maker Ron Fuller, ingenious sculptures made by Christopher Locke using scissors confiscated by the TSA, the bewildering array of choices facing consumers documented by photographer Richard Stultz and a series of elaborate pictures of rotting food by Klaus Pichler.

Patterns

Artist Hervé Graumann creates impressive installations using mass-produced every day objects. His works are at once thrones to commodity culture and disdainful commentary on the never ending supply of useless consumer goods. Graumann says, “ My ‘inspiration’ started when I took the ‘computer’ as a model. It was in the 80′s, and it was quite a new subject to observe and to think about at that time: the nature of it, of what was on or under the screen and how to manage it. The act of ‘saving’ an image, to be able to modify or duplicate datas."

Foreclosure Quilts

Urban-planner-turned-artist Kathryn Clark created a series of quilts based on aerial maps of home foreclosures in different cities. The patterns for the quilts are taken from real estate listing statistics. The foreclosed lots are shown as holes in the quilts. Kathryn explains,"These torn holes question the protective nature of a quilt. The situation is so dire that even a quilt can’t provide the security one needs. The neighborhoods shown are not an anomaly; they are a recurring pattern seen from coast to coast, urban to suburban neighborhoods across the US. The problem has not been solved, it is still occurring, just changing shape, affecting more of us."

Film: (Notes on) Biology

One student's daydream comes vividly to life in this clever short film by Danny Madden, Will Madden, and Jonathan Silva of Ornana Films. In (Notes on) Biology, winner of Best Animation at this year’s SXSW festival, we follow a student, Mr. Ellis, who zones out during a dull Biology class and creates an action adventure cartoon featuring a robot elephant bent on revenge against humans.

One + One

Daniel Eatock's latest work explores the unexpected connections between seemingly random objects. A watermelon wearing a swimming cap, an umbrella balancing in a cocktail glass, a basketball sitting in a fishbowl. Daniel explains, "Many of the combinations have been carefully considered and drawn as diagrams in my sketch book before hand. But as I work with the objects new combinations present themselves."

Oreo Sunglasses

I'm sure we have all been told before not to play with our food. However, Minneapolis-based designer/creative Phil Jones seems to disagree. For his latest project, he created some very clever sunglasses made out of Oreo cookies. 

City DNA

Artist Lu Xinjian creates meticulously painted aerial views of cities on Google Earth––including New York, Beijing, Munich, Antwerp, Athens, Basel, and Los Angeles. Each painting uses an abstract pattern the artist derives from views of the cities. The patterns are then made into stencils using Adobe Illustrator and a cutting plotter, and Lu chooses the colors of each work based on the cities’ national flags.

One Third - A Project on Food Waste

Klaus Pichler's photographic series titled "One Third", describes the connection between individual wastage of food and globalized food production. After learning from a recent UN study that one third of the world's food goes to waste, Klaus decided to create a series of elaborate still lifes using rotting food to portray an abstract picture of the wastage.

Film: The Toy Maker

Ron Fuller has been hand making toys, models and automata for over 50 years. His toys lie somewhere between turn of the century German mechanical tin-toys and quirky novelties like the breast clocks and the talking parrots. This short documentary by film-maker Richard Hunter gives us a little insight into his world.

Choices

Richard Stultz' photographs describe what often passes without recognition; they capture our retail reality in a design context. His series titled "Choices', documents the bewildering array of product choices laid before us. Stultz says, "Beyond the astounding quantity and selection, retail displays are often visually striking with interesting design elements, color, and repetitive patterns. But as we shop and try to find the perfect product, we often do not see the perverse beauty of these choices. "

Scissors Spiders

Artist Christopher Locke creates these ingenious sculptures using scissors confiscated by the TSA at airport security checkpoints. Although the TSA website says scissors with blades less than four inches are allowed on airplanes, the individual officers conducting the screening have the authority to confiscate anything they think could be used as a weapon. As a result, hundreds of pairs of scissors are confiscated daily at American airports. Christopher works by disassembling the scissors, bending and welding them together to create these unique metal sculptures.

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured an amazing online project, where every day for 100 days, Andrew Miller will paint one branded object white, beautiful works of art that combine magazine cut-outs and various found objects by Auckland-based artist Peter Madden, a new video from Canadian band Walk Off The Earth filmed in a set crafted from cardboard boxes and a series of sculptural pieces by Portland-based artist Ron Ulicny.

Everyday Objects

Jason Taylor challenged himself to create a brand new product using discarded objects every single day this year, and he’s hoping to continue until the end of 2012. He explains, "I'm going to try and transform everyday objects in someway (cause that's what I do) then post the results, I'm not saying they will be any good but hopefully they will spark my imagination." 

Towers of Power

For their project titled "Towers of Power", New York studio Triboro has created a series of oversized match boxes with motivational messages seamlessly photoshopped onto photographs of 'smokestacks' from the  Brooklyn area. David Heasty of Triboro explains. "Smokestacks are common landmarks in post-industrial towns along the east coast and rust belt in the US. As businesses have shifted away from some of these towns, the abandoned smokestacks remain as the last visible reminder of a once great manufacturing legacy."

String Mirrors

South Korean artist Hong Sung Chul creates intriguing three-dimensional portraits using numerous staggered elastic strings on which an image is printed. The artworks communicate the deep desire for human contact within our society. Hada Contemporary describes Sung Chul's construction as "a visual representation of what ties humans together from the earliest stage of life — the umbilical chord."

Video: Keaton Henson - Small Hands

Joseph Mann directs his debut music video for ‘Small Hands’, the latest single from Keaton Henson’s critically acclaimed debut album 'Dear'. Echoing the deeply personal sentiment of the track, “Small Hands” is a tale set in a beautifully handcrafted forest inhabited by wild animals. Working with Blinkink puppet supremos Jonny & Will, Joseph brings these creatures to life and tells their heartbreaking story of love and loss, filling the simple world with emotional and powerfully charming storytelling.

Soft Houses

Artist Brian Tolle has created a series of soft silicone sculptures that resemble scaled down versions of mass produced houses. Tolle has arranged these pliable rubber skins with other objects in order to infuse some life into their deflated state. The objects, which include a rocking chair, an ironing board, a bicycle, a wagon, sports equipment, tire swing, etc. either support the rubber skins from underneath or help to suspend them.

100 Days of White

Andrew Miller created an amazing online project called "Brand Spirit", where every day for 100 days, he will paint one branded object white, removing all visual branding, reducing the object to its purest form. This reminds me of a similar project by Cody Hamilton.

Mimicry

For their collaborative project titled "Mimicry", creative duo Giesen/Leenders (Maurits Giesen and Ilse Leenders) created a series of photographs, exploring the concept of identity. Via their website: "The inspiration of the series 'Mimicry' came from the uniformity of human beings. People from whom the identity is missing and those who are inconspicuous in our society. Just like animals they adapt to their environment."

Houseplants

James Grashow's 'Houseplants' appear at first glance to be delicate and beautiful flowers, but are actually intricately crafted buildings and houses evolving from carved stems and leaves. A tiny cottage replaces a rose; irises and lilies become Victorian homes. The word Houseplant is a perfect metaphor for the fragile relationship between nature and man.

Peter Madden's Scultography

Auckland-based artist Peter Madden creates these beautiful works of art by combining magazine cut-outs, paper and various found objects. Describing his own working method, Peter says: "I consider myself a ‘Sculptographer’; a ‘post-conceptual photographer’. A mediator between genres & dimensions, between you, the other and I. I suppose I am an altogether different collagist, maybe a collagist of difference."

Video: Little Boxes - Walk off the Earth

Walk Off the Earth hooked up with the wonderful folks at pd3 and O2 to cover Malvina Reynolds song 'Little Boxes' using instruments made out of boxes. The band worked with the super-talented Canadian director Sean Wainsteim in Toronto to film the performance in a set crafted entirely from cardboard boxes – including cardboard curtains, a cardboard TV and a cardboard grandfather clock.

Ron Ulicny: Viscurrealistic Fabrications

Earlier this month, the Spoke Art Gallery opened its doors to a solo exhibition from Portland-based artist Ron Ulicny. His collection of New Works features sculptural pieces that have been created by transforming ordinary and familiar things into new objects. The show includes sixteen new pieces, each challenging the viewer to find new purpose in the transformed items while showing off Ulicny’s humor and wit.

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured a series of Damien Hirst-inspired works recreated using M&Ms by Henry Hargreaves, pop-up books reimagined as fascinating miniature landscapes by Swedish artist Andreas Johansson, a series of brain-teasing covers designed for Wallpaper Magazine by Israeli illustrator Noma Bar and photographs of abandoned offices of companies that have gone bankrupt by Phillip Toledano.

Imagine

"Imagine" is a new ad campaign created by Jung von Matt for the Danish toy manufacturer LEGO. The idea for the campaign was to recreate minimalist versions of characters from popular animated TV shows like The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and South Park. Made out of just a few assorted pieces of LEGO, the characters are at once immediately identifiable and as simple as one could imagine.

Errors In Production

"Errors in Production“ is a collection of various small objects with individual manufacturing errors compiled by artist Heike Bollig. Since 2004, Heike has been working artistically on the theme of mistakes in our everyday lives as they arise in manufacturing errors, malfunctions and in our perception of mistakes. He explains, "Due to strict quality management in production and the striving for perfection and efficiency it is extraordinarily rare to find such lone objects that deviate from the canon of industrial standardisation. Each object tells a special story about its production and makes a concise record of the moment that went out of control."

Nathan Skiles: The Clockmaker's Apprentice

Artist Nathan Skiles combines recognizable iconography, such as woodworking and drafting tools, with cuckoo clocks and birdhouses to directly influence our traditional perceptions. His show, titled "The Clockmaker's Apprentice" at The Hunterdon Art Museum, on view through Mar. 25 consists of a series of foam rubber sculptures that are a fusion of traditional kitsch, contemporary craft and mechanical construction. 

Used Goods

Dmitry Gutov’s series 'Used Goods' is a set of 13 wall assemblages which combine objects from the Soviet 60s into handmade still-lifes. Bicycles, vacuum cleaners and other various household objects are attached to improvised handmade metal frames and hung weightless against a sky of deviating vertical tracer lines, "singular trajectories of satellites and rockets flying up through socialist outer space toward communism, or falling down, to crash into an impending neo-capitalist reality."

Noma Bar's Brain Teasers

London-based Israeli illustrator Noma Bar was recently commissioned by Wallpaper Magazine to create a series of eight special newsstand covers using products from each of the territories featured in their Global Design issue. Each illustration is actually a carefully-staged interior, "painted in a three-dimensional studio and enhanced with actual products." Bar says, "Most of them will require a second reading, or take a minute to interpret. So sit back, relax, and try to spot the intrepid matador, the American eagle, or the Eiffel tower in the brain-teasing mix."

Matchbook Landscapes

Artist Krista Charles creates small graphite drawings on matchbooks depicting screen grabs from Google Street View based on the exact Google Map location listed on the matchbooks. Krista creates these drawings as a way to document the consequences of urban development over time. She explains: "Sometimes the places advertised on the matchbooks are still in business even after decades have passed, some businesses have changed names and are under new ownership, and some buildings are empty or have been torn down and replaced by new buildings or parking lots or highway expansion programs and even empty fields."

Elodie Antoine's Industrial Lace

Belgian artist Elodie Antoine uses traditional lace-making techniques to create beautiful industrial landscapes. Unconcerned about conventions and traditions, she uses this technique on a less classic way; she diverts it, she mixes cheerfully its rigidity and its flexibility. Structures such as a crane on a building site, or a succession of electric pylons, replace the traditional lace image of flowers, animals and curly patterns.

Pop-Up Landscapes

Swedish artist Andreas Johansson reimagines pop-up books as small fascinating miniature landscapes. His show titled “From Where the Sun Now Stands” at Galleri Flach, on view through March 25, consists of a series of oversized photo collage pop-up books with 6 pages each, showing different perspectives of the same vacant lot. As the poetic title indicates, it is about exploring the surroundings from a more general position that symbolically points towards the sun. There is a particular sharpness in the images that highlights every detail, even if the source of the light remains unclear, and never identified.

Culture: Bicimáquinas

Founded by engineer and bicycle enthusiast Carlos Marroquin, the Maya Pedal Association began recycling scraps of bicycles to create simple machines capable of performing a number of tasks that would otherwise require electricity, which is often unavailable in smaller villages.. Bicimáquinas are pedal-powered blenders, washing machines and threshing machines hand-crafted in Maya Pedal’s warehouse in San Andrés Itzapa, where volunteers operate a bike repair service and build these ingenious contraptions.

M&M's as Art

For his latest project titled " Can I get a show at the Gagosian?", photographer Henry Hargreaves created a series of Damien Hirst-inspired works using M&Ms! Hargreaves explains, "Right now Damien Hirst is having a worldwide retrospective of his Dot paintings at every Gagosian gallery around the world. I have always been fascinated by this guys work and that boarder of what is and isn't considered 'Art.' I decided to recreate some of his dot paintings made from M&M's. At a distance they look just like his works but at closer inspection the iconic 'M' is visible on each dot."

Bankrupt

When the American economy plunged into its worst financial crisis since the 1930's, photographer Phillip Toledano began taking pictures of recently abandoned offices, and the things people had left behind. “When I started shooting bankrupt offices, I found it to be more archeology than photography,” he explains, "There was something very strange about walking into a recently abandoned office. The heavy, Pompeii-like stillness, punctuated by the occasional sound of the air-conditioning, turning itself on. A coat-hanger waiting patiently for a coat. A limp happy-birthday balloon on the floor. A drawer stuffed with take-out menus. Everywhere, there were signs of life, interrupted."

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured a series of sculptures made of kitschy figurines by Patrick Jacksonbeautiful portraits created by using ordinary dust collected from vacuum bags by Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortsonmixed media assemblage set within vintage suitcases by Lina Puerta and familiar objects transformed into fresh guacamole by PES.

Paper Skins

Mathilde Roussel's paper and glue sculptures, explore the way we imperceptibly change every day as if we were changing skin like a snake. " These sculptures make visible this metamorphosis through imprints of a body at the specific time," she explains, "They are clothing of empty skin that we fold and keep to put on a new one. This skin becomes the trace of the time passing and the memory of an anterior life."

Pantone Tarts

French food designer Emilie de Griottes was recently commissioned by French culinary magazine Fricote to create a special feature for their latest issue. Emilie recreated Pantone colour swatches. using berries, carrots, lemon, candies, and other foods arranged upon a tart base decorated with the correspondent Pantone number and colour. Recipes for making the tarts are available in fricote issue number 6.

Video: Fresh Guacamole by PES

In this follow-up to his stop-motion hit Western Spaghetti, director PES transforms familiar objects into fresh guacamole. The video is being featured as part of Showtime’s Short Stories series.

Suspended Reality

For his ongoing project titled "El Directorio" German artist Thomas Stüssi created a series of sculptural pieces constructed entirely from found office furniture and building materials. These clever three-dimensional objects are designed to blur the line between furnishing and art, challenging our perception of reality.

Wire Anatomy

Montreal-based architect, Federico Carbajal creates beautiful anatomical sculptures using galvanized wire, stainless steel and acrylic. Influenced by the early works of Alexander Calder and current digital 3D media and architectural representation, Federico combines drawing, architecture and sculpture in order to create what he calls "spatial sketching".

Sweeping Beauty

While continuing his Calligraffiti Upside Down Tour 2012 , Dutch artist Niels 'Shoe' Meulman once again demonstrated his amazing talent as a calligrapher by creating a temporary graffiti on the streets of Singapore using a simple broom and water.

Patrick Jackson's Tchotchke Stacks

Patrick Jackson's "Tchotchke Stacks" are a series of sculptures made of kitschy figurines, layered between sheets of glass and stacked to human height. All the objects are selected and arranged based on their scale, and ability to hold weight. Patrick explains: "When I find a piece at a thrift store I scratch it with a fingernail and apply pressure with my hands. If it passes this durability test I make the purchase and eventually incorporate it into one of the stacks."

Dust Paintings

Los Angeles-based artist Allison Cortson creates these beautiful portraits by using ordinary dust collected from vacuum bags. Her work invites existential questions about our everyday experiences with our surrounding environment. Allison explains: “Over a period of months I collect the dust from a subject's home via their vacuum bags. The painting is completed by rendering the subject in a realistic manner with oil paints and the rest of their environment is made solely out of the dust from their home, which I sprinkle on the canvas and manipulate with a brush. When finished the dust is coated with an acrylic sealer.”

Sketch by Martin Creed

Conceptual artist Martin Creed has transformed the Gallery restaurant at London’s iconic Sketch, in the first of a new long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants at the venue. The project seeks to blur the boundaries between art, food, design and functionality. Creed created a chevron pattern in 96 different types of marble across the floor and filled the space with a glorious hodgepodge of found furniture and tableware.

Nature Uncovered

Lina Puerta is a Colombian-American artist who lives in NYC and creates sculptures in mixed media assemblage, using clay, resins, wood, found objects, artificial and live plants set within vintage suitcases of varying sizes. Via her website: "Inspired by the physical commonalities within nature and the human body, I create hybrid anatomical and botanical scenes that evoke surreal, magical worlds. I am interested in the spiritual oneness and interconnectedness of body and nature as one living force, as well as, its inherent menacing and destructive power."

The Week-End

Our most popular posts this week featured a series of imaginary buildings made out of paper bags by Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde, a bedroom with a split personality created by French graffiti artist Tilt, white polyester resin covered action figures and found objects by Teppei Kaneuji and an amazing retrospective exhibit of work by the late sculptor John Chamberlain.

Guest Checks

Guest Checks is a new blog featuring a slew of great artists doodling on, you guessed it… Guest Checks! The blog is curated by Oakland-based artist Super Ugly and will feature new submissions everyday. There is so much talent on display at Guest Checks, including Super Ugly himself, Bay Area artists Cody Williams, Matt Ritchie and Daniel Logan.

Video: La Cena by Ceci Soloaga and Ygor Marotta

For their latest animated short titled 'La Cena', Brazilian duo Ceci Soloaga and Ygor Marotta (aka vjsuave) created an eerily beautiful stop-motion film by projecting colorful, hand-drawn images of a snake and other wild creatures onto a nighttime jungle-scape in Argentina.