So its been a bit of a day. Running injury, weepy kiddos, and an 18-month old who just learned how to stamp her foot and say “Nnnnnoooooo!” in public. Even now my daughter and the lovely little girl I watch occasionally are upstairs jumping up and down in their cribs just in case I thought they might be sleeping. So when I saw this dramatic photograph by Federico Bebber, it really spoke to the kind of fractured stress I’ve been feeling.
Federico Bebber‘s work is a little creepier than I usually prefer, but it is perfect for this kind of day. In his artist statement, he says that these images are a result of restlessness caused by discomfort. This guy has my number for sure, and I love that even such dark and frustrating emotions can result in this kind of beautifully detailed and profound work.
An artist profile of the amazing Cheryl Sorg! Since Monday I was burning my long weekend on a fruitless attempt to potty train my toddler, I didn’t have time to post this very adult, artsy, fascinating profile. Believe me when I tell you, I would rather be blogging.
Cheryl Sorg makes these amazing book-related collage pieces, many of them specifically tailored to the life and loves of the person they’re made for. I love how she brings literature into the realm of visual art and in such a respectful and effective way. Here’s some about her in her own words, enjoy!
What do you love about your medium?
There are a couple of things I love about it.
The first thing I love about it is its very simplicity – I am somewhat gear-averse and like to keep things really simple. My favorite forms of exercise are walking and yoga, largely because they require minimal gear and you can do them anywhere. In my art work, while my process is complex (as well as labor intensive, one might even say tedious), my materials are certainly not – they consist of paper, tape, scissors, a sticker machine – that’s pretty much it!
The other thing I love about my medium is that it is hands-on and labor-intensive, which makes it a sort of meditation for me that soothes my over-active (and often not in a good way) mind.
Describe a piece of artwork that you find superficial or boring.
While I can’t recall a specific piece of artwork off the top of my head, I can say that, living in a small beach town that caters to beach-going tourists, one sees a lot of kind of traditional or kitschy seascape paintings and while there is no doubt I find the ocean beautiful (it kinda goes without saying), I have to admit my reaction to these sorts of paintings is often dismissive.
When did you first call yourself an artist and why?
I have always been one, always knew I wanted to do art in one form or another, but I spent a lot ( a LOT) of years cycling through many of the various ‘practical’ applications for my artistic leanings. All through my childhood I was sure I was going to be a fashion designer and would spend endless hours filling pages with drawings of dresses and shoes and the like. But after a year of college as a fashion design major, it became clear that wasn’t going to be my thing (though I still adore fashion and dream of being able to fill my closet with designer wares). I dropped out and was a bit lost for a while after that, thinking maybe I’d be an art teacher, an art therapist, who knows, until I got a camera at age 26 or so and then decided to return to college as a photography major. I studied photography (with some of the most incredible photographers as instructors) at MassArt in Boston and loved it. But the gear aversion, various experiments with other media, and, well, life, steered me in yet another direction and I began creating things with texts and book pages – collages, installations and sculptures instead of making photographs. I certainly thought of myself as an artist while in school. It’s part of the absolute glorious nature of art school – making art is your full-time job for a while there and it’s fantastic. But in addition to art courses, I took tons of literature courses and literature independent studies and even thought I might go on for a higher degree in comparative literature, so I still wasn’t calling myself an artist to the outside world so much. I think that finally happened during my time right after graduating in 1999 – at age 31. I was working a wonderful ‘day job’ as an administrator at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, in which I had a fantastic boss who was just so supportive of my art life and also in which I got the chance to interact all day with diverse, bright, cultured, lovely students all day. It was a job that supported me financially and psychologically and while I worked there I was able to crank out tons of work in my off time and begin exhibiting regularly.
Describe a piece of artwork and/or an artist that you find consistently inspiring.
Oh boy – there are so many. Two that come to mind immediately are from two very different artists, but I find them equally inspiring. One is a video piece I saw years ago at the San Francisco MoMA by Sam Taylor-Wood that was just so genius I was instantly jealous of her and so wished I had thought of it. It appeared at first glance to be a still photographic image of a scene of people sitting in a cafe displayed on a screen, but if you stood there for a few minutes and watched, you would notice that the woman’s cigarette was burning down, that you could see the tiniest tremors that come when people sit so very still for that long. It was brilliant, and I know I will never ever forget it. The other that comes to mind – especially because I got to see it in person for a second time this past summer on a trip to Paris – is a Van Gogh self-portrait. It is so gripping, so riveting, draws me in so completely I have cried both times I’ve stood in front of it. It’s so beautifully rendered I feel him looking at me, and as a person myself who experiences profound sadness and hopelessness and psychological despair myself more often than I care to think about, I don’t know, I don’t know how to explain it – I feel like I feel his pain, I feel a profound empathy through that eye-to-eye connection. In front of that painting, I’m a little like the museum-goer in Ben Lerner’s‘Leaving the Atocha Station’, who the protagonist watches, mockingly (somewhat enviously?) sobbing in ‘a profound experience of art’.
Interestingly, I find both of these pieces both inspiring and devastating. There’s a small part of me that feels I should throw my hands in the air and give up this crazy art-making thing when I see work so moving, so amazing, so doubtful am I that anything I create will ever move someone in that way. But I don’t. Throw my hands in the air and give up, that is. Because I have to make art, period. And if I can give, one of these days, just one person that feeling, ‘a profound experience of art’, well that would be pretty f*ing awesome.
What is your unique purpose for creating work?
I love the written word. I love books and the stories held within their pages. I am so inspired by them and comforted by them. My purpose is to celebrate those stories, as well as tell a few of my own. I’ve had this idea of ‘celebration’ in my mind lately (perhaps a summer in France did that?), and new ideas are creeping up as a result. They are not fully formed yet, are a little kooky, and revolve around this phrase: book party. Woo!
First, apologies to anyone who tried to reach this site yesterday or the day before and received an error message. The hiccup has been conquered by the cute husband and all is well in the land of creative compassion.
To make up for the missed days, I present to you some fun with naked bodies. Carl Warner puts together these amazing landscapes composed entirely of photos of naked skin.
What I love about these pieces is how they illustrate the sheer beauty of the human form, even just the skin and muscles, apart from any overtly sexual reference. The body is beautiful in and of itself, not just as a tool for orgasm. The coloring and curves are simply mesmerizing, and as I look at these pictures I’m really struck at how many human-made objects are in some way imitating the perfect shape and dynamism of the body.
For some Friday sexiness, check out these gorgeous black and white photos by Susa Dosa. This Finish photographer take photos that are not nudes, but these are the ones I like the best. They are beautiful, sensual, and lend a feeling of intimacy I rarely get from other types of nude art. Her close-up almost macro style makes me feel like I’m part of that embrace. It’s lovely.
On a slightly more ranty note, if you are an artist WATERMARK YOUR IMAGES. If you’re going to post artwork anywhere on the internet CREDIT THE ARTIST. The amount of amazing art that I can’t post on this blog because I have no way of crediting the artist is absolutely unbelievable. In general I’m a fan of putting work out there and making it accessible, but there is no good reason why an artist’s name shouldn’t always and obviously be attached to their work.
I apologize for even insinuating that I couldn’t find great photographic images, I was not looking hard enough. I’ve found this just amazing plethora of macro nature photography, and this is one of my very favorite images.
This photo was taken by the great Ralph Gabriner, who won my heart first with this sensual and strikingly simple image, and then when I read his artist statement on Artful Home. He said, “My goal as an artist is to exquisitely state the case for tenderness.” I’ve been writing for a very long time, and I can’t state my personal artistic goals even half that profoundly.
And if you’re wondering, does Lauren have a fascination with nature images that look vaguely like vaginas? Yes. Yes, I do.
Two posts in one day, what? Yes, I found this unbelievably amazing photographer and I just can’t help myself. Check out the photographic stylings of Ghaith Salih.
Mosque Al-Dawla Al-Kabeer
One of the most beautiful Mosques in the provinces of Iraq
The Mosque consists of two large halls for prayer Designed in a modern way and high-tech decor. The mosque is located in the central province of Ramadi. This image has been processed by 10 pictures in different lighting to create the final image.
I pulled that description right off of Salih’s website, because I like all that information and I couldn’t pick just one fact like I usually do. Go click on his photo stream here, because it will blow your mind in just the best way.
After my slightly ranty art update on Wednesday, I did receive several images depicting happy or laughing women (with faces). They are fantastic, and they were all discovered for me by the wonderful Kristina Miller. Thank you, my dear friend.
Now that is some art that’s good for the soul. Admit it, you smiled too.
I really wanted to post some artistic photography, but I had a harder time finding something I loved than I usually do (I love a lot of things). A quick search for “photography” on Pinterest returned a frankly shocking number of bridal and burlesque photos but not much else. But fear not, I believe that the photo below might be the best thing ever.
Again, apologies for the sidebar issues.
What I love about this photo is that it includes the baby’s smiling face and bright eyes. I think if it were cropped to show just the young and old hands, it wouldn’t have caught my eye as something special, because the implication of the photo would be too obvious and not very interesting. But that child’s face adds so much import and magic to this photo, which might be why I’ve spent so much time looking at it.
This phenomenal image was captured by Amanda Martin, a professional photographer who takes a lot of those bridal photos I mentioned before. I have no knowledge of her taking burlesque photos, but I didn’t look that hard. Amanda Martin also has a pretty great blog that you should check out, especially if you’re a mom and into to mom related blogs.
I have finally submitted to Pinterest, and it is even more amazing than I’d heard. Usually when I hear someone reference Pinterest, it has to do with some super-perfect Martha Stewart-y creation that I wouldn’t have spent time or thought on. They are usually very cool super-perfect things, but still. No one told me that there are immeasurable stores of mind-blowing artwork on Pinterest (or if they did I didn’t believe them). It is phenomenal, and I may never do any actual work again. After spending almost my entire weekend on Pinterest, here is one of my favorite finds.
This is a photograph taken by Koto Bolofo, a self-trained photographer from South Africa. He has many stunning images, but this is my favorite. Every time I look at it I’m struck by something different about it, and I have spent outrageous spans of time just staring at it. Enjoy.