Fiber artist Sarah K. Benning is self-taught in the craft of embroidery but brings her background in fine art to every artwork she creates. Each piece first begins as an illustration where she draws inspiration from the aesthetics of Midcentury design, interior design trends, and often making reference to her own houseplant collection. To better capture her subject matter Benning often eschews traditional embroidery techniques and stitches in favor of bold and improvised methods that better represent contemporary design.
Benning graduated in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in Fiber and Material Studies, and now splits her time between Baltimore and Spain. She frequently updates her Instagram and Facebook pages, and you can find new works available in her online shop. She also sells original patterns through subscriptions on Etsy. (via Booooooom)
Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki (previously) produces figurative sculptures with varying abnormalities and glitches, doubling the eyes on some works, while multiplying the heads on others to convey an impressive array of human emotion. Each piece, with sizes ranging from life-size to miniature, is first sketched directly onto a large section of camphor wood and then chiseled to match the absurd female form. You can see more sculptures from Kanemaki on his Behance and Facebook.
#1 (Grand Prize) Takayuki Fukada, Japan / All images courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase.
Since the 1990s, an intrepid group of aquascaping artists have gradually raised the bar of what’s possible with the design of a traditional aquarium. Using only natural elements, the aquariums you see here are years in the making to ensure plants and animals all exist in harmony while trying to achieve merits on an exhaustive list of aesthetic criteria. Over 2,000 participants from 60+ countries submit designs for the annual International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) and here are some of our favorites from this year.
The 2016 winner was Takayuki Fukada (who also won last year’s grand prize) and you can see more photos on Facebook courtesy André Albuquerque of AquaA3.
#2 Chao Wang, China
#3 Junichi Itakura, Japan
#4 Katsuki Tanaka, Japan
#5 Adriano Montoro Nicácio, Brazil
#6 Yoyo Prayogi, Indonesia
#12 Yi Ye, China
#14 Yanfei Qian, China
#18 Wei Chen, China
#19 Yucheng Pan, China
#21 Hoai Nam Vu, Vietnam
#27 Juan Puchades Rufino, Spain
Commenting on female consumer culture in Japan, artist Aki Inomata decided to dress female bagworms in extravagant attire, handing clippings of women’s dresses to the insects in order to transform them into protective cases. In nature, male bagworms shed these cases when they become moths. Females however, remain in these cases their entire lives, waiting patiently for the attention of a male. Reminded of the similarities to her own gender performance in Japan, Inomata exhibited her work with female bagworms at a department store that sells women’s clothing, her own commentary on what lengths women must still go to in order to be aesthetically accepted by society.
This is not the only time Inomata has worked with bugs or animals to alter their interpretation of the world. From 2009-2016 she crafted shells for hermit crabs based on differently global cities, and in 2009 she took French lessons with a parakeet. Inomata is represented by Maho Kubota Gallery in Tokyo and you can see more of her work on her website.
Canadian artist Annette Labedzki specializes in abstract figurative painting, but she’s also discovered the internet’s insatiable taste for the unusual and obscure with her Instagram account where she shares paint mixing videos. If watching paint dry is the most boring thing in the world, watching paint mix might be one of the more interesting things. For some of her clips Labedzki makes symmetrical versions, where the palette knife is obscured and everything seems to happen like magic. You can see more here. (thnx, kim!)
Artist Levalet (aka Charles Leval) has been extremely busy this year, bringing his unique brand of nonsensical wheatpastes to locations all over Paris. His temporary interventions show a wide range of disheveled characters caught in a world of mischief and misfortune, as they appear to interact with the building facades onto which they are pasted. Levalet’s artworks first began to appear outdoors in 2012, but he’s since begun to produce entire shows of paintings, sculptures, and various assemblage pieces for display indoors that are no less enchanting.
Levalet’s latest solo show titled Little Boxes opens tomorrow at OPEN WALLS in Berlin, and some of his best work was recently gathered into the book Des illusions comiques.