Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley are a couple of performance artists with extremely well-developed senses of balance. Their three collaborative performances; In Orbit, Stability, and Counterweight Roommate all involve both of them living in constructs of their own creation for days on end. In Orbit is basically a fully-furnished giant hamster wheel with Ward living in the exterior (about 30 feet off the ground) and Alex in the interior (due to his fear of heights). They access the various built-in furniture through carefully coordinated movements, thus, when one wants to go to the bathroom, the other must also do so. Stability, on the other hand, is a 25-foot structure which strongly resembles a see-saw and the artists need to move closer or further away from the fulcrum in order to keep the piece balanced. Counterweight Roommate has both artists living in a vertical ‘dorm’ and strapped to a harness. The only way for them to access any floor is for the other to act as a counterweight and go up or down as need be.
Joey Iurato is a New Jersey-based artist who is the man responsible for various tiny wooden figures casually posing in public. A turtle-riding toddler, a couple of strumming guitar players, and a few graffiti makers caught in the act – these are but a few of Joe’s creations you might stumble upon in Manhattan. In an Interview with Brooklyn Street Art, he said: “The subjects vary, but they’re all very personal – they sort of tell the story of my life in stages. From break dancing to skateboarding to rock climbing to becoming a father, all of these things have helped define my character.” He also added: “My art is nothing more than the exploration and documentation of personal experiences. It is the questions I have, the conclusions drawn, and the love, disgust, joy, and sadness I feel. I paint what I know or what I wish to understand.”
Kekai Kotaki grew up in the big and beautiful island of Hawaii. Distracted by the all the sunshine and picturesque views, he moved to Seattle to attend art school. His first artistic job was as a lowly texture artist at ArenaNet, the makers of the Guild Wars franchise. A favorable mix of talent, oodles of hard work, and a dash of luck, he was made a concept artist. He spent a little more than eight years at ArenaNet before taking a big plunge and went solo. Nowadays, he can still be found at Seattle enjoying his growing career as an illustrator. His list of clients include prestigious names like Tor, DC Comics, and National Geographic. Kekai also travels the world doing workshops.
Shania McDonagh is a 16-year-old prodigy who has been consistently winning the Texaco Children’s Art Competition for four years in a row. She entered when she was but 12 years old and hasn’t lost since. Most other entries never even came close to her level of skill. This young Irish artist has gained the attention of the online world and is slowly gaining the respect of the professional art world as well. Shania called her most recent piece “Coleman”. The original image was a phottgraph taken by James Fennel of one Coleman Coyne, a fisherman and seaweed harvester. I daresay Shania’s work is even better than the photo.
Harvezt is the awesome artist behind these re-imagined covers of well-known albums. He painstakingly made a totally believable flip side to each cover. He made absolutely sure that each of his ‘flipped’ versions perfectly matched the original covers down to the last detail. It’s amazing how he got the texture, lighting,and style down to pat. Future generations would probably think that the covers did, somehow, have a flip side to them.
They say that all jokes are half-meant. WuMo’s infographics on the other hand, are nothing but the truth, generously coated with humor and shaped into a graph to make them look scientific. WuMo is actually a contraction for the hilarious Danish duo Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler. They previously called themselves Wulffmorgenthaler, but realized that the name was too long and a bit of a mouthful to boot, so they shortened it. Mikael is a writer while Anders is an artist. Their sarcastically snarky ideas coupled with simplistic design has won them the affection of a lot of netizens out there. They started their rise to fame as cartoonists when they won a cartoon competition. It allowed them to have their work published for free in the local paper for a month. Their popularity soared and several years later, they’re regularly running a cartoon strip in the New York Times.
His real name may be a tightly kept secret, but Blu has a rather long Wikipedia article devoted to him. Blue is the pseudonym of the elusive yet extremely talented Italian street artist whose characteristic style began appearing in the walls of Bologna in 1999. Like so many street artists, spray paint was his first medium of choice, but as the years and his style progressed, he began using housepaint and rollers mounted on telescopic sticks. Nowadays, he has filled the sides of entire buildings with his clever and slightly political works of art. He is also a digital whiz who has created a great number of animations and videos. Wikipedia describes his inspiration as “…motivated by a belief in an open source philosophy, persistent in its anarchical revolt against contemporary art conventions and unique in beauty.”
Alana Jones-Mann is Brooklyn-based baker who specializes in combining actual candy with eye candy. She has her very own blog which showcases her considerable talents in baking. Alana describes herself as: ‘a self-taught baker, with an intense passion for crafting, designing, and styling’. She earns her living in New York as an event planner, and as such, meticulously plans everything down to the smallest detail. Alana believes that personal touches can make any occasion unforgettable, which is probably what led her to create a series of mouth-watering desserts featuring prickly cacti and other succulents. Daunting though the spines may be, I bet each of those cupcakes taste heavenly.
Miguel’s Chevalier turned the whole floor of the former Sacre Coeur church into an interactive light display. ‘Magic Carpets’, as his installation is called, mimics cellular biology as the colored squares and swirls divide, multiply, merge, and mingle in time to Michel Redolfi’s music. The display was made in collaboration with Cyrille Henry and Antoine Villeret, Voxels Productions, and Casablanca French Institut Software. One blog describes it as “an organic world combined with a digital one that perpetually replenishes itself”. Miguel is currently based in France.
Sipho Mabona folded his first paper airplane when he was five years old, and he hasn’t stopped folding paper since. Having run out of paper plane models to fold, he turned his attention to nature and managed to create schools of koi, rhinos, tigers, bears, grasshoppers, and one gigantic paper elephant. The elephant is made out of one whole square piece of paper measuring 15 meters on each side. It took Sipho a month to develop a pattern for the elephant. The sculpture is more than three meters tall and took nearly a dozen people a month to complete. The project was, incredibly, funded by the net-based crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Sipho’s white elephant is currently on display in a museum in Switzerland.