with pop culture
UK-based illustrator Richard Wilkinson created a series of fantastical insects based on the most famous Star Wars characters. It’s easy to imagine these incredibly life-like renderings truly existing as creatures crawling on a planet far away, and each is given a cheeky scientific name with Latin roots that relate to its sci-fi counterpart like Roboduobus Deoduobus for R2D2 or Chaetebarbatus Bonamicii for Chewbacca. Wilkinson has previous experience creating scientifically-minded illustrations for publications like New Scientist and Intelligent Life Magazine.
These first 10 illustrations titled Insects From A Far Away Galaxy are just the first set in a much larger body of work for a planned book, Arthropoda Iconicus Volume I, that will make references to other pop culture characters like Pokemon, Marvel Comics, and Disney. The pieces seen here are now available as limited edition prints, and you can follow more of Wilkinson’s work on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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Netherlands-based artist Super A (previously here and here) has a new series of painting and sculpture that explores the truth behind fantasy, slicing through pop culture figures to examine the reality that lays at their core. Trapped features characters such as Tweety, Mickey Mouse, Snow White and even Ronald McDonald as their recognizable features unfurl like ribbons, revealing realistically formed birds, mice, and people caught inside.
The series intends to address our skewed perception of reality through easily digestible cartoons, demonstrating that there can be no objectivity when it comes to our daily view of the world. A certain lens is always employed, a myth disguises the harsh truths.
“Nowadays the most dominant myths we have embraced as an warm blanket of truth are liberty, property and individualism,” said Super A. “We tend to see these as absolute objective truths which suit the best interests of all humanity. But aren’t we just trapped within our cozy reality? And if it’s cozy… Should we even dare to break free?”
Super A has shown works from the series in a variety of exhibitions. The Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck paintings were recently shown at Vertical Gallery's group exhibition Portrait, Tweety is on view at Pow! Wow! Exploring the New Contemporary Art Movement curated by Thinkspace Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art, and Snow White and Pierrot will be shown at an upcoming exhibition with Galerie Droste.
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South Korean ceramicist Jae Yong Kim creates deliciously glazed donuts out of clay, glitter, and swarovski crystals. The faux desserts present a glossy perfection in their paint application, yet contain an irregularity in shape to trick the eye into believing they might be an edible treat.
Kim chooses patterns and images that evoke a sense of pop culture both past and present, with several pieces imitating the style of famous painters such as the splattered marks of Jackson Pollack or concentric dots of Yayoi Kusama. These references, alongside their presentation as food, ask the audience to consider what they are really consuming when viewing his small, spherical works.
“Without my intention, references to Pop Art have been a consistent occurrence throughout the entirety of the donut artworks,” said Kim in a statement. “Questioning myself regarding the donuts falling in line with a specific genre has brought questions and need for understanding. Each individual donut has invariably read to me as a small painting; color, pattern and physicality have been the ultimate procedure for my personal expression.”
Kim is a graduate of the Hartford Art School and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Kim splits his time between Korea and New York, and works form a studio in Jersey City, NJ. You can see more of his donut-based paintings on his Instagram, and take a look at previous ceramic works on his website. (via Design Milk)
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Angered by the gendered division perpetually seen in classic Western films, painter Felice House decided to create her painted series Re-Western. The collection of works are a re-imagining of her favorite Western films cast with female leads instead of the traditional male cowboys, painting females in place of actors such as James Dean, John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. The women in her paintings are strapped with shotguns riding horses, fiercely looking out onto a deserted plain, and strongly staring into the eyes of the audience clad in plain button-downs and bright red cowboy boots.
“The western movie tradition is so established; so accepted, so mythologized that it spans the globe,” said House to Colossal. “I love the genre, and at the same time when I sit down to watch a Western movie, I start to feel angry. For the most part, the roles in Westerns are totally inaccessible to me.”
Deciding to start a conversation with this frustration, House choose to paint these reimagined Westerns to ask straightforward questions to a society that continuously handed over these roles to males. House seeks to ask what society would be like with this imagined reversal—how would education be changed? What would our reestablished priorities look like with females as the lead role?
“I would argue that in today’s culture portraying women without objectifying them is an intentional and political act,” said House. “The art historical and current cultural norm is to portray women to extol their sexual beauty and to encourage possessiveness. For centuries men have painted images of women for men. Now that women have access to education and training, women are painting women as we see ourselves.”
House uses her female gaze and voice to create strong, female heroes in environments we all know, reestablishing our connection to the well-known historical settings. Working with the idea of a hero, House paints her portraits larger than life. She encourages the viewer to look up and become dwarfed by the women and their power, hoping this change in physical perspective might encourage a change in mental perspective as well.
Several of House’s female portraits are currently in the group exhibition Sight Unseen at Abend Gallery in Denver through March 25. Pieces from her Re-Western series will be included the upcoming exhibition Woman as Warrior at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago in August. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram. (via The Creators Project)
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Adam Lister (previously here and here) recreates famous artworks with watercolor paintings that appear as if they have been pulled directly from a 1980s Atari. The modulated technique makes each image appear futuristic, even if the work is a reimagining of the late 19th century Georges Seurat piece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
In addition to producing recreations of famous paintings in this nearly cubist style, Lister also paints portraits of famous pop icons, previous works including Popeye and Darth Vader. This September Lister had a solo exhibition at White Walls in San Francsico titled “Elucidation.” The exhibition featured many of his regular-sized works as well as a few miniature paintings that featured subjects from Monopoly boards to Damien Hirst’s famous tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde (“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living“).
You can browse his limited edition prints and new releases on his website here.
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I’ve never specifically asked myself what Yoda and and Darth Vader might look like if reimagined as classical Greek nudes, but I can’t say I’m disappointed that somebody made this non-dream a reality. Artist Travis Durden took this idea to an artistic level, using digital technology to sculpt five Star Wars figures out of faux-marble. The heads of each of the sculptures are pulled directly from the movie franchise, while the bodies are sourced from statues found within Paris’s Louvre. The new amalgamations display a softer side to the characters, Darth Vader now sporting tendrils of hair that fall from his once menacing mask, and a stormtrooper casually reads from an ancient text.
The artist behind the sculptures chooses to remain hidden, his artist’s name a mash-up of characters from two of his favorite cult films. [I can only guess where his last name comes from.] Durden is interested in also creating mash-ups within his work, opposite worlds converging to create an original composite. His Star Wars sculptures are his newest works, and can be seen in the exhibition “Contre Attaque,” or counter attack, currently at Galerie Sakura in Paris. Prints are available on Galerie Sakura’s website here. (via Designboom)
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Editor's Picks: Animation
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