Benjamin Affagard is not another graffiti artist. His work is strictly small scale and couldn’t even be classified as street art. A first glance at his work might leave the viewer unimpressed, but a closer look will reveal that the graffiti is actually part of a small, realistic, handmade diorama. The scenes, inspired by real life locations, are meticulously recreated with all sorts of things like wood,cardboard, acrylic paint, potato bags,and plastic straws. Benjamin sends the miniature walls/storefronts to various graffiti artists for them to paint giving the finished product an authentic feel.
Takahiro Iwasaki is the artist behind these industrial landscapes made with bits of fluff, grit and bristles. The sculpture up there is part of his “Out of Disorder” series – sculptures featuring miniature industrial landscapes made out of human hair, toothbrush bristles, used cloth fibers, lint, and actual dust. The sculptures resemble urban land leveled by an air raid, form the base of the Kawasaki series. Takahiro, based in Hiroshima, Japan currently has his work displayed at the Kawasaki City Museum as part of the Open Museum Project.
Ana Teresa Barboza is an artist who thinks out of the box and decided to elevate the art of embroidery. Her creations are not limited to the embroidery circle. They flow right out and practically begs the onlooker to touch them. Ana uses threads of various colors, sizes, lengths to achieve this effect. She said: “Both embroidery and crocheting are techniques that require time. I use these techniques in order to make a connection between manual work and the processes of nature; creating thread structures similar to the structures that make a plant for example.”
Yusuke Asai is the artist behind this extraordinary mural painted right into the walls of a classroom in India. Yusuke is part of the team of artists sent by The Wall Art Project to Niranjana, a school located in Bahir (East India). The Wall Art Project is a Tokyo-based non-profit organization whose goal is to bring art into schools in far flung areas like Tibet and India. Yusuke is best known for making absurdly beautiful works of art with pretty much anything he can get his hands on. A trait which came in handy in East India. The extraordinary wall painting you see up there was made with seven different types of local soil, cow dung (don’t ask why), straw, and water. The wall art disintegrated after several months but I bet it’s beauty lasted in the minds of those children long after it completely washed away.
Loren Stump is a California-based artist who decided to master the ancient art of creating murrine sculptures. Murrine is created by layering different colored glass around a core. By heating, stretching, and twisting the glass, a design is created on the inside. The design is revealed when the glass is cut crosswise. The process originated in the Middle East and was later adapted by Venetian glassmakers in the 16th century. Loren has been perfecting his technique for over 35 years and his most complicated piece to date is an interpretation of Da Vinci’s “Virgin on the Rocks”. The slices are worth more than $5,000 each.
Hirotoshi Ito takes the cake for crafting these awesome, weir, and downright bizarre rock sculptures. He takes ordinary river rocks and turns them into zippered, sliced, and grinning versions of themselves. Hirohito juxtaposes the natural cracks and seams in a rock into whatever shape he happens to fancy, topping it all off with shiny (sometimes fluffy) modifications that bring them to life. It’s not uusual for his rock sculptures to grin right back at you, or reveal treasure hidden within. He said: “Although I work with various kinds of stones, most of my work consists of optimizing a stone’s original shape.”
Benedict Radcliffe is a designer and sculptor who has gained world-wide popularity with his frame cars. The cars are startlingly realistic for something completely made out of wire. They look like something an invisible man might ride to work. The hollow, see-through,make-believe automobiles are innocuously parked on curbs, daring passersby to “drive” them Flintstones style. Benedict is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow. He has been involved in various architectural commissions and signature sculptural pieces for international clients. When not traveling, he is currently based in London where he has his own studio.
Those realistic sculptures of clothes and plants are actually nothing more than cleverly layered pieces of birch plywood meticulously crafted by sculptor Ron Isaacs in the trompe l’oeil fashion to resemble the real thing.Sure, he could’ve just used actual leaves and clothes, but that’s just too easy, where’s the challenge in that? In his artist’s statement, he said: “ I could use real objects to make assemblages, installations, or collages, but that’s too direct. My three primary recurring subjects are vintage clothing (for the way it continues the life of the past into the present, for its rich structures and colors and shapes, and for its anthropomorphic presence as a stand-in for the figure); plant materials in the form of sticks, leaves, and flowers (for too many reasons to list); and found objects. They combine in appropriate or surprising juxtapositions, sometimes purely as a visual “poem” of sorts and (if I’m lucky) sometimes as an image with real psychological resonance. Objects occasionally reappear in other contexts and take on new meanings, like a repertory company of actors playing different roles in different plays.”
Patrick Commecy and his team has done a great job of transforming boring building facades into fun and witty works of art. His hyperrealistic style would make anyone take a second look at the buildings. Patrick likes to incorporate local famous people from the town into his work. An example would be his trompe l’oeil mural in the town of Montpellier where he cleverly six influential residents of Montpellier including Antoine Jérôme Balard, the scientist who discovered bromine. One of my favorites is his mural based on Gabriel Chevallier’s popular novel “Clochemerle”. He accurately sketched the novel’s larger-than-life characters doing what they do best – drinking, loving, and living life to its fullest.
Trina Merry is fine art bodypainter who makes sculpture out of humans, because marble is for pussies apparently. You carve marble, and it stays that way. Naked, painted models tend to sweat, breathe, and scratch an itch. The image above is from her series “Human Motorcycle Project”. According to Terry, “Everyone has seen the pictures of scantily clad women next to motorbikes and cars, and it can look a bit trashy.”. True, that. So she turned the concept of trashy right around by making bikes entirely out of naked athletic models. The effect is surprisingly classy. She said: “My surface is living, breathing human beings making this a highly relevant & immediate medium. I use non-toxic hypoallergenic paint applied with a brush or airbrush. The painting is temporary, like a Tibetan sand painting, beginning to change into another work as soon as I stop painting, changing texture & color.”