Greek artist and art director Dimitris Ladopoulos (previously) continues to use the Houdini algorithm, referred to as treemapping, to interpret paintings from the art history canon. The program calculates the density of information in a user-provided image and then divides it based on selected parameters, creating a pixelated effect that forms distinct color tiles of varying heights. In a statement about the project, Ladopoulos draws a comparison between treemapping and the original painter’s use of varied brushstrokes to bring fine detail, color variation, and texture to select areas of the canvas. You can see more of Ladopoulos’s work on Behance and Instagram.
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Using acrylic, gouache, ink, and graphite, artist Firelei Báez creates intricate portraits that blur the boundaries between abstraction, realism, and surrealism. Báez forms human figures with skin comprised of swirling bursts of color and pattern, while meticulously rendered strands of hair and piercing eyes anchor the vibrant abstracted shapes as people. In a statement on her website, the artist’s practice is described as “a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.”
Báez was born in the Dominican Republic and now lives and works in New York, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and Hunter College, respectively. She was recently commissioned by New York’s Metro Transit Authority to create an elaborate mosaic mural. The colorful multi-part work is part of a station redesign in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
Báez has exhibited widely and her first solo show in the Netherlands is on view through May 12, 2019 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. You can keep up with her latest work and creative endeavors on Instagram.
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Brooklyn-based photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) poses bodies in twisting forms, skewing the viewer’s perception of where one body ends and the next begins. DiDonato also combines subjects and scenes in surreal ways that question the division between human and nature, presenting limbs popping up from a field of sun-baked crops, or capturing a stream of bountiful flowers spilling generously out of an open spout.
The above image of two men’s intertwined bodies was inspired by a previous image DiDonato made for a shoe campaign that featured two separate subjects wearing the same pair of shoes. She wanted to revisit this concept while incorporating full bodies to play on the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
A selection of DiDonato’s images from her series “As Usual” is included in The Fence, one of the largest traveling photography exhibitions in the world. Upcoming locations for the open-air experience are Boston, Denver, Houston, and Calgary, Canada. You can keep up-to-date with her portraits and other images by visiting her website or Instagram.
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In an impressive feat of dedication and patience, artist Jake Fried (previously) spent seven months creating Brain Wave, a hand-drawn animation using only ink and white-out. Fried reworked the same black-and-white drawing 1,440 times, scanning each new iteration into Photoshop and sequencing the drawings to play at 24 frames per second. He then added an original music track that frantically connects the hundreds of drawings into one 60-second video.
Centered both literally and narratively around a single, ever-changing face, the short animation takes the viewer through a wide range of emotions, settings, and themes. Because every frame is a new work of art, the piece as a whole feels like snapshots from a dream that have been remembered, recreated, and reassembled.
Working without an outline or storyboard, Fried explained to Vimeo that each successive drawing dictated what would come next. “There is an inherent logic or rhythm that emerges as I make the work, I have developed an instinct or gut-feeling for when the next frame is ready to be scanned. I can get quite obsessive about the smallest shifts within a fraction of a second.” The filmmakers’s work will be featured later this month at the Flat Earth Film Festival in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland from February 10-14, 2019 and in a group exhibition at Mills Gallery in Boston from February 23 through April 28, 2019. To see more of Fried’s work online, follow him on Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
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Painter Kehinde Wiley is renowned for his large-scale portraits of Black subjects (perhaps most notably President Barack Obama). His most recent body of work is on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and draws inspiration from eight works of art in the museum’s collection, which are referenced in all but one of his paintings’ titles. Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is comprised of 11 portraits of people the artist met in 2017 on the city’s north side and in nearby Ferguson, the community where 18-year-old unarmed Black citizen Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014.
“My job is to see things in an accurate context in a society where so often black people are reduced to simple stereotypes,” Wiley explained in an interview with the St. Louis American. “What I’m doing is slowing down and taking time to honor people from every little detail of their being. From their nails to the type of jeans that they are wearing – or that sort of timidity or boldness of their character.” The resulting portraits are filled with Wiley’s signature jewel tones and elaborate pattern work that interacts with his subjects, both showcasing and enveloping each figure. As contemporary Black Americans in their own clothing strike the grand postures of white Europeans of centuries past, Wiley juxtaposes the traditions and tensions of race and representation in the art world.
Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum (which is free and open to the public) in Saint Louis, Missouri until February 10, 2019. You can watch a video of the artist’s in-depth talk at the museum here. Wiley also shares his completed and in-progress works on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)
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Over the last two weeks, Redditors have been slowly but steadily breaking the internet’s space-time continuum with a series of recursive paintings. The fateful catalyst was posted on Reddit two weeks ago, with a photo of a woman (the Redditor’s mother) holding a painting of a bird, her second painting ever. The photo’s caption, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting,” inspired another user to paint a painting of the woman holding her painting, captioned “I painted somebody’s mom,” and mayhem ensued from there.
Each successive painting includes a caption chronicling their location in the multi-branched series. The result is a fascinating chain of events that connects online and offline experiences, and has gotten more than a few some-time painters back at their brushes. You can follow the progress of this real-life meme via Nick Kapur on Twitter.
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Model Moostapha Saidi Questions the Audience’s Gaze with Highly Stylized Portraits Shot by Justin Dingwall
Photographer Justin Dingwall recently collaborated with South African model Moostapha Saidi on a series of images that speak to themes of perspective and of perception. “A Seat at the Table” was informed by Saidi’s experiences living with the skin condition vitiligo, in addition to conversations between the photographer and model. Taken at face value, the images showcase a man with missing skin pigment, but as the South Africa-based photographer explained to Colossal, the ideas and symbolism are more than skin deep.
Brightly colored and stark white sets contrast Moostapha’s dual-toned skin in each of the images. Dingwall uses precious stones and googly eyes as a commentary on the way that Moostapha is objectified by strangers who stare, point, and see him as an other because of the way he looks. “I worked with the old saying ‘a seat at the table’ to represent the idea of an opportunity to be heard, to be seen, to have a voice and an opinion, and in this way to make a difference,” he explains to Colossal. “The images that I have created with Moostapha aim to start conversations about preconceived ideas and perceptions based on appearance, and how what we see affects what we think.”
Dingwall says that during his first collaboration with the aspiring model he learned about his story and about the disease that, at first, was a challenge and later became a source of pride and confidence. “Vitiligo is a topic that I did not know much about and I am always interested to expand my world through my art and learn about something that is not seen as ‘usual,'” Dingwall tells Colossal. “I decided to create a body of work that engages with this topic on a much deeper level, and that raises questions about perspective, as well as how the media and representations subjectively perceive the world and other people.”
Because of his appearance, growing up was difficult for Moostapha, Dingwall says, but things have changed. “Through these challenges he has gained strength and confidence from looking so different. He no longer sees his vitiligo as a hindrance, but as something precious and unique… As in previous bodies of work, I hope in these images to highlight beauty in difference. In these images it is now Moostapha who is staring back at the viewer. Questioning our gaze.”
“A Seat at the Table” has helped Saidi pursue his dream of becoming a model, as he is now signed to one of the top agency’s in South Africa. In 2019 Justin Dingwall plans to create more images in the series, has three new bodies of work planned, and a few upcoming exhibitions in Europe. Follow him on Instagram for future updates and to see more of his photography.
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Editor's Picks: Design
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