Kim Byungkwan is a South Korean artist who takes images of Hollywood stars, namely beloved and iconic starlets, and breaks their image with scribbles and smears of paint. He creates them with acrylic on paper, giving you what you need to “get” who the person is—and then he rips it apart. They remind of monsterized and zombified depictions of celebrities but done in a frightening and manic way—but they retail a fascinating beauty. They’re like caricatures made by a crazy person.
A few weeks ago, Opening Ceremony released a quick flash of a collaboration: the renowned fashion makers “collaborated” with surrealist painter Rene Magritte to create a very tiny collection of wild clothing items. The items are extremely limited edition and seem to have been wiped from the brand’s website—but they still can be celebrated for being a brilliant mashing of art and fashion.
Gregory Hayes can make an entire artistic galaxy with a small smudge of paint. He is a hyper-pointilist who makes work that consists of small painted dots. The little parts work together to make a bigger image or movement—and each part has its own beauty. Unlike pointillism practitioners who dabbed a single color at a time to a canvas, Hayes’ “dots” features dazzling, bright marbling. His paintings require a closer look.
Of course the best way to comment on the current state of art and technology has to be through a GIF. What other form could it take? A website? A painting? No: a GIF. (Or perhaps a single channel video on a flat television, a la Brian Bress?) Portland artist Zack Dougherty is colliding classical art with very forward focused technologies that come together in retro future GIFs. They’re mesmerizing and dark, perhaps admonishing the dwindling talents of contemporary artists.
You could describe the music of Sevendeaths as something very visceral. His sound seems to punch right through you, shaking out your ears in order to reveal itself to you. His latest release Concreté Misery is gripping, dark thirty minutes. It is a combination of cold stone techno with foggy white ambience: it’s an intriguing combination and a thrilling listen. The EP’s opener “Petrograde” serves as the best taste of Sevendeaths and truly is a modern masterpiece. It has a sublimeness to it yet feels absolutely based in the earth: it feels like a vision from the past of the future.
A few weeks ago, The Cut named a few photographers to watch. They ran the spectrum of what fashion photography is now and the one who stood out to me was obviously the weirdest of the bunch, Charlie Engman. His image featured an older woman staring at the camera, caught somewhere between fashionable folly and curmudgeonly crankiness. It’s charming and ugly and beautiful, something easy to fall in love with. The image—Above.—is from a series Engmand did called MOM that he did a few years ago for The Room. It’s an incredible series that shows that fashion and style are not tied to age.
While catching the new LP from Los Angeles’ own house maker Magic Touch, we found that he was collaborating with a Brooklyn artist in the same world, Octa Octa. Both are 100% Silk labelmates so it makes sense that they be together but Octa Octa has a little something extra to him that is quite enveloping. He’s making big open house jams intended for you to walk around and soak yourself in rather than dance in and dance out of. It’s certainly body music but, as he describes it, is ultimately “boring house.” That’s kind of a joke (as his music isn’t boring) but it’s intended to be listened to and to connect with not just tune out on while you bump and grind. The best example of this is “Further Out,” a luscious eight minute example of contemporary house music done right.
Dianna Lynn Vandermeulen describes her work in stars. Really: look at her website. Each body of work is explained in symbols! What a cute, playful way of presenting work. It certainly is better than ambiguous names as it captures a specific magical quality her work has. She embraces “girl” colors that she juxtaposes with the dark and she often uses the shiny and the sparkly. She’s not afraid to get big with her work, using the otherwise cloying to be beautiful. This is what makes her collages wonderful: they feel like you are staring into a the sky or into water from the gaze of an enchanted crystal.
Most persons born in the early to late eighties will remember a specific bedsheet that I cannot Google to find because it it something so common yet so specific that it is impossible to find on the internet. It was a play on primary colors and geometry: it was a white sheet with a black grid that had red and blue trim with infrequent green, yellow, and more shapes placed throughout. The concept is something between Memphis Group and DJ Tanner’s bedroom. Sound familiar? I hope so (because I still cannot find a photo of it).
Whoever made these sheets had a big influence on the current crop of designers and artists. That’s why there is so much pattern clashing and playing with geometry. You see it from Will Bryant to Stephanie Gonot—and my theory is that these bedsheets had something to do with it. This idea jumps across the pond too as artist and art director Anna Lomax has felt this too. Her work is a huge playing with pattern playing and collision of forms. It’s artistic play time that is quite wonderful.
John Goldsmith is a Vancouver based photographer. He does a lot of projects and portraits but his street photography has to be his strong suit. It’s not that he’s capturing fashionable street scenes or crushing cultural commentary but instead is finding rich oddity in the world around him. His camera is somehow able to find things the normal eye is missing, to capture specific moments where something is weird, be it from your perception being off or that you are just the right angle. This element of fleetingness is why his street photography is so great: it catches abnormalities in normality.