Dystopia is the first word that springs to mind when looking through Demizu Posuka‘s art, it’s one of those things you just can’t scroll past.
With obvious inspiration coming from anime/games/comics the sketchy outlines make it feel as though the world is falling apart around these characters. It kind of reminds me of Gerard Way‘s Umbrella Academy series but with a Japanese pop culture twist.
American artist Scott Listfield’s Astronaut Dinosaur series is a breath of fresh air in the world of traditional painting (even though the series started in 1999) tackling pop culture and consumerism in using a traditional art method.
No one explains the series better than Listfield himself…
I paint astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968, well before I was born, so I have no firsthand knowledge of how it was received. I don’t know if people really believed we’d be living in space in 2001, if we’d have robot butlers and flying cars, geodesic lunar homes, and genetically reconstituted dinosaurs helping or eating us. But from Lost in Space to the Jetsons to Jurassic Park, it seems that popular culture has fostered this space-age perception of the future. Generations raised on these TV shows, movies, comic books, and novels are now grown and living in a future filled with mini vans, Starbucks, iPads, and Hip Hop videos. In many ways, the year 2001 failed to live up to expectations. And yet the world today is peculiar in ways unimagined in 1957, when Sputnik was launched, or in 1968, when 2001 was released, or even in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The present is in fact a very unusual place, and it’s strangest in the ubiquity of things we take for granted.
The astronaut in my paintings is simply here to explore the present.
Murakami is at it again (yay!). The superflat artist of our time is back with a new exhibition.
The Japanese artists work usually tackles ideas of consumerism and war, man-made destruction so-to-say. However his latest work has taken a turn, this time looking at natural disasters; the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in particular.
‘In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow‘ is the title of the NY show, the title itself consistent with the contradiction between childhood and destruction Murakami’s work so often focusses on.
His past series ‘Little Brother’ represented how the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in WWII forced Japan into the position of the child and America the overpowering parent. As much ‘Little Brother’ did, ‘In the Land of the Dead…’ also uses destruction and innocence in such a way that once you dig beneath the aesthetically beautiful surface dark themes and ideas arise to the surface.
One new theme creeping into this series is religion, Murakami uses his art to explore how human use faith to cope with destruction.
To me, religions are a narrative…Natural catastrophes, earthquakes, are things caused by nature. Such chaos is natural, but we have to make sense of it somehow, and so we had to invent these stories. That is what I wanted to paint.
And so this new exhibition further ignites my admiration for Murakami, a connection with his work and a want to have a piece of his work hanging on my walls. For now the postcards I bought at the Mori tower in Tokyo will have to suffice.
What I find most intriguing about this series is how through destruction the porcelain figures appear to come alive and are full of movement. Although we know they are being dropped and smashed the figures look like they are almost rising up and breaking out of their confines.
There is a great skill in these images too, Klimas has created images that could never be reproduced, each figure breaks in a unique way and within microseconds of these images being made the objects exist only as a pile of porcelain on the floor. There is something quite beautiful in the idea of life through destruction.
Saying all of this, I think these images would be even better as real sculptures, the beauty and intricacy would be breathtaking.
Words cannot describe how excited I am to start Psycho-pass, it’s next on my list and will most definitely require a full day of duvet and tea so I can marathon it out. From what I’ve read online it’ll be something like a combo of Dredd’s weaponry / themes of future oppression and surveillance meets Minority Report’s ideas of violence and punishment for future crimes that are yet to happen. Let’s hope my impression is right!
This post is just a quick collection of Psych-pass content before I begin and to give you fans some great imagery and videos.
“The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kougami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world. In the future, it is possible to quantitatively measure a person’s emotions, desires, and every inclination. In this way, it is also possible to measure a person’s criminal tendency factor, which is used to judge criminals.” –myanimelist.net
Prolific fashion photographer Nick Knight is constantly re-defining and discussing pop culture in his work, never has this been more true than in ‘Text Talk’, an editorial created for Garage Magazine in 2012. With styling by Katy England and modelling by Lindsey Wixon Nick Knight combines the recognisable imagery of texting and uses them in a way that is reminiscint of Roy Lichtenstein’s work to create a modern take on pop culture.
Cosplay Gen is the bible of cosplay, from interviews to tutorials, the magazine showcases the best of cosplay and gives you an insight into the minds of dedicated cosplayers – and best of all it is made by fans for fans.
Below are promo cards for issue 3, taking some of the best cosplays from the issue and mixing them up with illustrations by Cristian Dîrstar – it’s interesting to see cosplayers who dress as real life versions of drawn characters being drawn themselves, seems like a weird paradox but we love it.
Combining traditional Japanese art and manga in a modern way, Natsumi Eguchi’s drawings combined with the dark comedy storyline makes this Manga/Anime so original. I want the books purely for the covers, and immerse myself in this stunning world he has created. His work gives me ideas for a cosplay shoot… watch this space!
With the iconic fetishised colours and atmosphere of Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure – Giorno cosplayers and photographers have no excuse when it comes to stylising. Saturated colours, romanticism and flowers create the perfect look for this unique character. Below are 4 cosplayers that have done a pretty good job at bringing the characters and the style off the pages and into reality.
deviantArt legend Tohad has been creating ‘Badass’ fan art, taking pop culture icons and turning them on their heads, it’s an idea that has been done but never in this way. Tohad keeps the cartoon nature and bright colours, creating a collection of badass characters presented in similar ways. Props to Tohad, I love this series.
In the summer of 1988 Tatsuki Masaru spent time with Japanese truckers who take part in the unique culture of decorating their trucks – DECOTORA. Masaru explores how they used decorating to turn a job that was perhaps an ends to a means into a hobby and passion they loved. Like all subcultures the dedication and devotion these truckers have is mind blowing and fascinating.
Franck Bohbot is a French photographer who recently moved to New York (April 2013), after moving to the big apple he created the series ‘This Game We Play‘.
This Game We Play
This Game We Play
This Game We Play
This Game We Play
This Game We Play
This Game We Play
Franck doesn’t give us much information on the project other than the title – leaving it to us to read what we like. As a UK resident where basketball is something you play at school for one term and little more, this series is reminiscent of American youth culture of the past. Whilst I assume (maybe wrongly) the courts are still used a lot, Francks desolate representations seem to be making a comment on the uncanny atmosphere of a “playing” area with no one on it, could this be a comment on today’s electronic youth culture? Kids not playing outside or a simple attempt at making beautiful imagery? Either way it is a thought provoking and visually stimulating project with a stillness and juxtaposition of busy cityscapes and desolate playing fields.
Every once in a while you come across a very special blog – this is one of them! Let me introduce all you Naruto nuts out there to Naruto x Fashion – a hybrid of high fashion and pop culture. As a fan of Naruto I love how not only has an appropriate outfit been chosen using colours and styles but also how the body language and facial expressions are a perfect match, these images have undoubtedly been made by a fan who knows each characters personality.
Kankuro (カンクロウ) in Mugler fall-winter 2013-14
Kakashi Hatake in Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci spring-summer 2013
Gaara in Kris Van Assche Spring-Summer 2013
Uzumaki Naruto in Siviglia Spring-Summer 2013
Hana Inuzuka in Givenchy
Asuma Sarutobi in Givenchy
These images are just the tip of the iceberg, check out Naruto x Fashion for more characters and their runway looks.
So often cosplay photography is overdone, saturated with colour, photoshop and an excessive amount of flesh. That’s why I think this series is a breath of fresh air. The simplistic approach may have been influenced by the show itself, unlike most cosplay characters Daria and her friends have a subdue almost deadpan energy.
Jane Lane – Daria cosplay
Jane Lane + Trent Lane – Daria cosplay
Props to photographer Annet Voronaya who knows when to tone it down and how to compliment the characters and their show through cosplay photography. A skill that is often forgotten about in and replaced with cleavage and crotch shots.
Before I start this isn’t a game review – I’m not a die hard gamer who wants to analyse this game – I thought it was cool so I wanted to share it with you guys.
‘The Wolf Among Us‘ is popping up everywhere, which is no surprise as it’s pretty awesome to play. A great storyline based on Bill Willingham’s comic book series ‘Fables’. The game does the beauty of comic book art justice with an almost rotoscoped/ Tarnation-esque look it’s mesmerising to watch and enchanting to play. The story sees you playing Bigby the Sherif (The big bad wolf from red riding hood in human form) who is in charge of keeping all the other fables characters from killing and making sure they maintain their human form. The game follows a series of murders for which you aka Bigby make all the important decisions in regards to solving them, all of which have massive consequences – the gaming experience is sure to be different for every player. Part 1 was epic so bring on parts 2-5!
Korean photographer Jee Young Lee is the ultimate artisan – using her small studio space she spends weeks at a time coming up with concepts, creating props, putting the scenery together and making photos. Her inspiration comes from Korean Fables and events in her own life.
The outcome are these beautifully haunting images which are not just aesthetically pleasing on the surface – they must be very special to Jee Young Lee who spends weeks on end spent immersed in/ creating one idea within a small intricate space which must then be taken down to make room for the next concept. The process of creating and replacing adds a depth and respect to the artist and her images.
Two lots of advances have been made on the trading cards. The first is feedback from collectors, I asked online about why trading cards are so desired and what makes them valuable, in a hope I could learn how to make my trading cards more then just pieces of paper.
The second area of development is in terms of card content, Jon Levy showed me how powerful the character in my images is without the context, taking her away using a tight crop could really work well on a card. I’ve been playing around and here are some designs I came up with, at the moment I am trying loads of looks to see what looks best.
Font: It’s important to note the font I’ve used is a historical reference to Japanese pop culture. Lolita and Kawaii came from school girls hand writing, as strange as it sounds it is true. Girls started dotting their i’s with hearts, this cute style spread into stationary then fashion and later everything else. Hense why the Japanese school girl is such an iconic image, it’s where the modern pop culture themes derived from.
Izima Kaoru is a Japanese photographer based in Tokyo, his ‘Landscape with a corpse’ series which spread over 13 years explores themes of death and beauty via depicting the fantasies and fears actresses and models have about death and then bringing that situation to a photograph. What makes the images so powerful is the juxtaposition between these beautiful women, their perfect appearances and the unusual surroundings.
Kaoru discusses how fear of death is one thing we all have in common and is a fear that he has too. His work is a visual exploration into this fear. What’s interesting is that in exploring death and subsequently religion Kaoru was unsatisfied with what the world had to offer, so turned to nature and produced the series ‘one sun’.
‘One sun’ is a beautiful series, however ‘Landscape with a Corpse’ is more relevant to my project. By taking elements of reality and fantasies Kaoru creates a character and places them in a relatable scene, then positions the character so they resemble a corpse. This is something I need to start thinking about, I am always talking about how I will show consumerism as a poison so how will I do this? Without being cliche?
Here are some more images from Kaoru’s ‘Landscape with a corpse’ series.
I consider my photography Art, but this doesn’t have clear boundaries. I am looking at the photo as art to so how I can be influenced in my work and what makes a photo Art. This book seemed the perfect place to go to see some photo art and hopefully get some inspiration.
Belin’s work inspires me through it’s aesthetic nature, the lifeless faces and use of lighting make the models appear to be made of plastic.
Rut Blees Luxemburg’s images use the strange nature of twilight much like the photographer I have been looking at, the colours and light are beauitfuly and carefully composed.
Despite only finding 3 relevant photographers it was worth carrying that giant book for this one. Kaoru’s work is stunning, it has elements of Cindy Sherman and Mariko Mori, who create characters and places them in a story to make a comment on an issue in society. I will explore her work in more depth in a futur post once I have read up on her work and read interviews.