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Art Photography

Lorna Simpson Photographs Rihanna in an Elegantly Collaged Collaboration for ESSENCE Magazine

January 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Of Earth & Sky (Blue Cumulus)” (2020), collage and ink on paper. All images © Lorna Simpson, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth

An extraordinarily glamorous collaboration graces the pages of ESSENCE’s January/February 2021 issue. The print publication paired acclaimed artist Lorna Simpson and pop icon and businesswoman Rihanna for a striking interpretation of modern beauty.

Within the Of Earth & Sky series are 12 collages and the cover image, which features Rihanna, eyelids coated in bright blue, staring directly at the camera. A diamond collar drapes around her neck, and she’s adorned with a roughly textured crown of crystal derived from 19th-century lithographs.

Many of the superimposed collages feature the Barbados-born singer framed in archival imagery, from star-studded galactic coiffes to bright bursts of watercolor. Others in the collection stray from hairstyle transformations and instead position her against vintage backdrops, including one shot of Rihanna donning an elaborately feathered headdress and lingerie in front of the city skyline.

Brooklyn-based Simpson is known for her kaleidoscopic collages centered on Black women that pull imagery from back issues of Ebony and Jet, a treatment she applies to ESSENCE‘s first-ever commission. The layered works are paired with an essay by the artist’s daughter, actress and model Zora Simpson Casebere, about Rihanna’s lasting influence on her own career. For more of Simpson’s collages that intersect contemporary culture and retro imagery, head to her site. (via Artnet)

 

“Of Earth & Sky (Nebula)” (2020), collage on paper

“Of Earth & Sky (Cover)” (2020), collage on paper

“Earth & Sky #24” (2016), collage on paper

“Of Earth & Sky (Bivalve)” (2020), collage on paper

“Of Earth & Sky (Moving Planets) “(2020), collage on paper

“Of Earth & Sky (Bridge)” (2020), collage on paper

 

 



Art Craft Photography

Colorful, Geometric Stitches Embolden Black-and-White Photographs of Historical Figures and Cultural Icons

September 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

Yayoi Kusama. All images © Victoria Villasana, shared with permission

When Victoria Villasana (previously) lays a long stitch on a vintage photograph, she’s connecting the pattern or geometric shape to a piece of history, culture, or philosophy. The Mexican artist transforms found black-and-white images of cultural icons and historical figures through vibrant embroideries. Turquoise fibers radiate from Nelson Mandela’s fist, a gold, chevron collar lines Chadwick Boseman’s shirt, and Yayoi Kusma sports a multicolor garment with varying dots and stripes. Emboldened by stitches that often breach the photograph’s edges, the multi-media artworks exude power, strength, and beauty.

Villasana sources many of the images from the public domain, although she sometimes collaborates with photographers, as well. “I think color helps us to connect emotionally and I like to look at the past and merge tradition and vanguard. I’m also interested in symbolism and geometry in art as a way to communicate deeper meanings with each other,” she shares with Colossal.

To explore more of Villasana’s geometric additions, head to Instagram, and see the originals and prints available in her shop.

 

Chadwick Boseman. Photography by Marcus Smith

Federica Violi

Kara Walker. Photograph by Ari Marcopoulus

Nelson Mandela

Left: Miles Davis. Right: Harriet Tubman

Ryu Gwansun

Yayoi Kusama

 

 



Art Craft Photography

Colorfully Embroidered Vintage Photos of Artists and Cultural Icons by Victoria Villasana

October 27, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Working with appropriated vintage photographs of artists, musicians, and politicians, Mexican textile artist Victoria Villasana applies a colorfully whimsical layer of embroidery atop each image. Criss-crosses of color and bright highlights around the eyes seem to lend a sense of empowerment to the works which often depict feminist icons from singer Nina Simone to artist Frida Kahlo. Villasana also takes her works into the streets and creates hybrid yarn bomb paste-ups from small stickers to entire murals. You can see more of her recent work on Instagram.