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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Clocks-by-Stefan-Strumbel-5German artist Stefan Strumbel hails from the infamous Black Forest, and is internationally known for his abstractions and reinterpretations of the banal elements that you’d find in the average household. His process involves taking the paradigms of what we consider “home”, “traditional” or “folk art” and fully questions their concepts, eradicating all sense of what is accepted and flipping clichés on their head. His favourite subjects include the über traditional German cuckoo clock, ever-present crucifixes, and the wooden masks of the Alemannic Carnival, elements found in run-of-the-mill Catholic homes. These objects are exaggerated in Strumbel’s hands, as he redefines them under the aesthetic qualities of pop culture and urban street art, creating a new context, allegorizing social status symbols, and inciting dialogue.

His provocative works replace the traditional with hyper-aggressive motifs that deal with touchy subjects such as death, war, pornography, and violence. Acorns are replaced with grenades, birds with dead rats, deer with pigs, and dripping paint proliferates all. Sticking to a bright and colourful palette, these images don’t faze the viewer at first, until they lean in to see the details, assaulted with an extreme and decadent display of shiny, well-polished taboos, reflecting on society’s deficiencies, truly redefining what the traditional really means to us in this day and age. His works have sold to clamouring audiences worldwide, including celebrities and designers. What I would do to get one of those clocks in my house, I can’t even begin to describe… wow! Love ’em!

Check out more of his works at Circle Culture Gallery and also on his website.

Decrypt the German, and you can check out his blog.

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Judith-Supine-Jonathan-Levine-AM-07Brooklyn-based street artist Judith Supine is quite possibly one of the most interesting artists I’ve ever come across. Growing up mute until a month after his seventeenth birthday, he’s been communicating mostly through imagery in his formative years, aside from the odd squeak and grunt, and has amassed an enormous collection of work, thanks to the fact that his mother saved a lot of it over the years. His materials of choice include objects that are either totally free or incredibly cheap – Exacto knives, glue sticks, leftover paints, and discarded magazines that the world’s garbage cans have proffered – from the local dentist’s office, to bankrupt porn shops. The sleazier, more garish, more sexually disconcerting, the better.

His main focus is on figurative elements – severed limbs, eyes, lips, curves. Elements when taken out of their porno/fashion context take on new meaning in a freakshow of dayglow weirdness. A beautifully blasphemous curiosity to behold that throws the mainstream back in it’s own face, revolting against the “shitty graphic design” of the day. A monstrous techno pop explosion for the senses that laughs in the presence of consumerism and self-obsession. In an interview with Brooklyn Street Art, he has commented that,

“What I like about Street Art is the feeling of the transgressive part of it and the illegal nature of it. That’s what’s exciting to me about it. You know, what qualifies as street art now is like legal murals and that shit just seems kind of boring to me. It’s kind of just like in the style of… it just kind of loses its power.”

Chopping out human body parts and faces from printed ephemera, and arranging them into bizarre collages, he then takes these basic assemblage pieces to Kinko’s, where he magnifies them onto three foot rolls of paper in greyscale. Taking them back to the studio, he then tints and colours his work in a very thinly layered, limited neon acrylic palette, each section having an exclusive hue all on it’s own, in stark juxtaposition with the next. After he’s content with the colourization, he applies a thick coat of polyurethane varnish, which not only preserves the vibrant colours, and paper for decades, but it also serves to improve the quality of light reflected from the colours themselves, making everything pop. Once this is accomplished, the excess paper is cut away and the piece is mounted. The main issue he has with this process is the toxicity level that this varnish emits, as he has made himself very sick trying to complete a series for a big show in the past, hospitalizing him for some time.

Here’s hoping he keeps himself in better shape enough to give us more in the years to come.

Visit his website, check out his flickr page, or follow him on Instagram.

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SungaPark3There is something to be said for the delicate simplicity of well placed line and colour and knowing when to stop. These are the qualities I love about the gorgeous watercolour work of self-taught South-Korean designer and illustrator Sunga Park. Her images seem to bleed into the page, without restraint of finite definition, evoking a dream-like stasis. Image and substrate blend into one and the same, as lines and colours wash across the page in a sheer fragment of reality.

Her architectural studies involve buildings from around the world, in such landmark cities as London, Paris, Istanbul, Busan, Venice, and Oxford. Having a firm grasp of both positive and negative space to create her imagery is essential to the structure of her illustrations, blurring the lines between the two in soft washes of colour and sharp contrast of detailed lines. It forces the viewer to almost envision the rest of the piece in their own interpretation, creating a real synergy between man and piece.

Her metro sketches are also a treat – she captures the emotions of her subjects caught in a moment of banal reflection, in a voyeuristic way that isn’t intrusive. Keeping with the dream-like quality of her architectural works, they profess to have a rich background that only you can imagine, without being blatantly shown.

Check out more of her work on her Behance or flickr pages.

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