This short film/instructional video by Russian art collective FaceHeads is a simple, clever exercise in spontaneous art-making. Narrated by an anthropomorphized chunk of cardboard, Instant Face Maker details how to create a myriad of accidental characters by marking a page full of erratic lines and superimposing a set of eyes on top.
I love the way this short embraces the intuitive and accidental side of creativity. By reducing the parameters, the participants have to use their imaginations to assign meaning to the random shapes on the page. It’s surprisingly easy to do once the only context is a pair of eyes and its immediate surroundings. The human brain loves to find order in chaos. You can find more work by FaceHeads here.
British illustrator Dan Stafford creates some really vibrant and fresh graphic images combining digital vector shapes and soft, airbrushed figures. I love the combination of those two elements in his work, especially the pieces featuring abstracted, trippy renditions of Kermit the Frog, Scrooby Doo, and Ren & Stimpy. They’re the perfect rendition of Nostalgia incorporated into a contemporary image-making sensibility. Dan has a great body of work on his site which you can check out here.
Analog-synth weirdos Black Moth Super Rainbow make some pretty strange videos to accompany their brand of warbly, vocoderized psychedelic music. With the release of their 2012 album Cobra Juicy, the first two videos from the album express that weirdness in very different ways.
Lead single Windshield Smasher starts with a familiar tale of an argument over a GPS malfunction that quickly leads into a frighteningly surreal confrontation with a crowd of latex-orange-skull-masked hoodlums assaulting the protagonists by giving them haircuts and force-feeding them birthday cake. I love the juxtaposition of uneasiness and lightheartedness in this video. The visceral reaction to the seeming danger makes the cake and haircuts even weirder to watch.
The second video, Hairspray Heart, starring Dustin Runnels (a.k.a. Goldust, of pro wrestling fame), reads less like a linear story and more like a hallucinatory transmission from something like an imagined public access television station. I feel like this video is like a confused, nostalgic dream of a kid from the 90s who’s been watching too much pro wrestling. You might want to watch some cat videos after this.
These short animated pieces by Swiss artist/director Greg Barth are a brilliant exploration of clever, minimalist 3D aesthetics all done without the use of CGI. There are camera tricks and green screen elements, but all of the sets and objects were physically filmed. Barth uses these scenes to tell an abstract, surreal tale with some heavy conceptual framework including commentary on American consumerism and the Arab Spring. This sobering subject matter contrasts surprisingly well with the clean, dimensional imagery and adds to its surreal effect. I particularly enjoy the final piece of chapter 2 with gravity-defying cans dressed in world flags. I still can’t quite figure out how it was shot. Barth is an accomplished designer/director working in the commercial realm as well; you can browse some of his other work and read more about the process behind Essays on Reality on his site.
Mike Perry is back with a second installment of the live drawing event and exhibition “Nudes”. Last year he and Josh Cochran put out an open call for nude models for a marathon drawing session leading up to a one-night exhibition of all the work. This time, the roster of artists has increased to eight, including Deanne Cheuk, Jon Han, Lisa Hanawalt, Santtu Mustonen, Leif Parsons, and Niky Roehreke, along with Perry and Cochran. This is a unique spin on a classic subject familiar to most everyone who has ever taken a figure drawing class in art school, but with a more abstract approach indicative of each artist’s individual approach and aesthetic. I’m excited to see the range of interpretations this lineup is sure to produce. The drawing sessions are this Friday and Saturday, January 25th and 26th, with the exhibition following Saturday night at Kinfolk Studios in Brooklyn, NY. The call for models is still open, so if you’ve ever wanted to be a nude model for a group of amazing artists, now is your chance! Sign-up info can be found here.