nacho ormaechea / le carnet noir.

I’m a major fan of collage. Ever since I first discovered and fell in love with the work of Canadian artist Paul Butler years ago, I’ve been particularly fascinated by the way artists appropriate and juxtapose existing images (and our assumptions of their meanings) into brand new works. Lately I’ve noticed floods of new digital collage styles on Tumblr. As with anything, some are a bit more well done than others. All are art, but particular ones excel, and I’ve been especially excited by the work of Matt Wisniewski, Beth Hoeckel, and Dessi Terzieva.

Now I’m happy to add the gorgeous digital collages of Nacho Ormaechea’s Le Carnet Noir to the list.

A Spanish-born freelance Art Director and Graphic Designer working in Paris, Ormaechea’s work remove the urban dwellers from his obviously European backdrops and replaces them with colourful, incongruous images ranging from the organic – fruit and flowers – to the urban mundane – industrial hallways and electric signs. While his visual collisions might not have as much of a literal play on meaning or political subtext as others I’ve seen, they’re incredibly eye-catching in a straight forward, high def, casually bombastic way. And I can’t get enough of them. If you can’t either, then they’re all up for grabs over at Big Cartel.

erin hanson: reminders.

I’ll admit it; I’m a huge sucker for projects utilizing photograph and text. The possibility for creating a double-meaning between the supposed emotion of the image and the ostensible meaning of the words is like a big ol’ playground. Plus any image that involves cut outs that look like real life old skool refrigerator alphabet magnets is good by me.

Some of my other fave projects in the same vein focus more on emotional depth or existentialist questioning:  Kotama Bouabane’s “Melting Words” is a lonely play on sentiments of love and loss at the end of a relationship, while the large outdoor works of Nathan Coley offer more questions that answers about us, our meaning, and our place in the world.

Taking a totally different route, Erin Hanson’s “Reminders” series is filled with  flashes of our most unremarkable thoughts. Banal, boring, and inconsequential, like little snapshots of the things that run through our minds during a normal day and, more often than not, are dismissed and discarded before we’ve even had a chance to realize we thought them.

To me, though, our hopes and fears can be revealed by piecing together the inconsequential things. Often we push aside everything we don’t feel strong enough to confront into the mundane, and these small thoughts are like after-shocks from much larger quakes. What does our vanity say about our true sense of self-worth, what does our sense of obligation or disconnection to our family say about our sense of home, and what does the need to remind ourselves to wake up or go outside say about our lethargy and our over-willingness to connect and live digitally instead of physically?

Via Share Some Candy

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mystery photo.

I found this incredible snap on Design You Trust™. Unfortunately, the post there doesn’t give any info about the pic. It’s from a site called Zamin Online, which is mostly in Arabic. Does anybody have any ideas on where the pic might be from? I would love to know if it’s some kind of colour-based cultural event, or what the purpose/history (if any…) is behind the amazing vibrancy everyone is sporting.

Click on the pic below to enlarge and see it in its original context at Zamin Online.


alison brady.

New York-based photographer Alison Brady creates images that are mysterious and sometimes overtly violent. Her mostly female subjects look like victims of the  beauty ideal, but whether they’ve sacrificed themselves at the altar of pop culture’s idolization of feminine perfection or if they’ve been been attacked through the result of their own vanity is unclear.




In one shot a plain white hood, pulled on medieval execution style, wraps around a woman, with only smeared red lipstick to denote her face. Others are strangled, alien tentacle-like, by their own manes of silky hair. Her beauty having turned on her, like a parasite. This theme, of the body’s rebellion, is a constant she talked about in an interview at Nymphoto:

“What I find most disturbing is the subtle distortion of something I can relate to, or something that is closest to me. Often just simple daily routines can bring about a variety of ideas. One day while riding the subway, there was this large ad for the removal of varicose veins. That unnerved feeling that one gets when the familiar (something as familiar as your own body –your legs) turns alien and frightening.”





In other shots women stand unmoving, pillowcases tied around their heads, and do nothing. Her photographs all have a totally unnerving context of stillness: there was violence, there is about to be violence, but each time we are in the eye of the storm. The effects and impact are obvious, but help isn’t yet on the way… or perhaps never will be.

Like Hitchcock, Brady understands that the greatest fear lies in the subtle unseen. That the human imagination, given a hint, will conjure storylines far more disturbing than any picture can capture. In many of her images we only see the legs, dangling, prostrate, filthy. The upper half, the face, the expression, is hidden: in sand, in the ceiling, in the refrigerator. What has happened or how they’ve come to lie there is unknown to us. That visual curiosity, that we’re seeing the conclusion but never the beginning, is the most disturbingly eerie half-knowledge of all.







If you like these shots, then you should check out the body mutation work of Lucyandbart and the many teenage girls of Julia Fullerton-Batten.

Via Life Lounge

brad troemel.

I’m totally digging the big line-up of projects American artist Brad Troemel’s got going on at his site. Multi-disciplinary and thinking outside of the box, Troemel’s projects are creativity let loose. And it’s crazy good.

In his series “Canvases”, he photographs frosting, sprinkles, and other confections on top of raw meat. I love the juxtaposition of the man-made toppings with the organic flesh underneath…

In a similar vein, Troemel mixes the synthetic and organic again in “Coexist”. This time he heads out into natural environments and emulates the environments with synthetic objects:

In “Greatest Ever” he takes a series of images from championship games and matches each with a quote from that game. The grainy RGB images are hot enough, but when layered with the piece of text each one takes on a whole new meaning. Similar to the text/collage work of one of my favourite artists, Paul Butler

In his photo duo “Everything You’ve Ever Touched Was Temporary”, subtitled “Found Image and the Intentional Destruction of my Cell Phone” he pairs his own work, a vintage image, and a little social commentary…

There is tons of stuff to check out on his site, but my final fave is his series “Special. Basically, he hiked into the middle of a forest, shouted compliments for himself at a tree, then rode his bike to Wal-Mart and bought himself a trophy. It’s so totally random that you can’t not love it.

Via Love Life

dmitry maksimov.

I love beautifully shot landscape photography. I love cute little round-faced Kidrobot-esque alien characters. So, really, what’s not to double love about cute little round-faced Kidrobot-esque alien characters that  have been lovingly given a home inside beautifully shot landscape photography? It’s like a three way. Both are awesome on their own, but all together it’s a whole new experience. Yeah son.

Russian designer, painter, and illustrator Dmitry Maksimov takes photographs and inserts his own subject, creating a whole new world of experience and viewpoint. A field of grass is pretty, but once you notice the little aliens walking, almost tentatively, though it the story changes. His work is stellar. Each piece isn’t just an mixture of media and creators, but an enhancement. An elevation. He deftly gives a personality and mood to each altered photo, and each is imbued with a sense of discovery in the moment. Something is always being felt by these l’il creatures…

His site is entirely in Russian, but luckily for me, one of the designers in my office is from Russia. Spaceba Alina! Anyway – she read it over for me and apparently people send Maksimov photos they’ve taken for him to work on and when completed he posts them on his site. Sick looking results and an interactive experience with other artists. Done and done.

Via Design:Related via NOTCOT

denis darzacq: hyper.

From flight to gymnastics to the circus to space travel, no matter how much gravity holds us all together the human mind is always enthralled with new ways to make it seem as if we break free from the Earth’s hold. There’s something fascinating about seeing humans suspended in space, and in “Hyper”, the latest series from Paris-based photographer Denis Darzacq (who also did similar work in his serene, monotone series “La Chute”) we see a beautiful mix of gravity defiance and the cool, clean lines of modern spaces.

To me, “Hyper” is like a collision between the work of two of my favourite photographers: there is the similar visual play of seeing the human body in mid-air, like in Lilly McElroy’s “I Throw Myself At Men”, but now it’s taking place inside the sort of ubiquitous, flourescent-filled, brain-dead, colossal chain-store that Brian Ulrich investigated so tellingly in his series “Copia”.

What really interests me about this is that even though it must have taken a lot of physical exertion to jump in the air, these photos completely belie any supposed effort. Everyone appears as if they’re slowly levitating, and sometimes it’s as if they’re so relaxed that as they float up the very weight of their limbs is what contorts their bodies, not the effort of the jump

Their location makes me not just interested in the fact that they’re floating, but why they’re floating. To me, it’s as if each of them has suddenly just had too much of daily life: like the overwhelmingly mundane task of buying another carton of milk is the the last straw and so their spirit has literally freed their bodies from the Earth. That our physical reactions to having too much consumerism thrust upon us might just be for our bodies to involuntarily rise into the air… sometimes with rage, and other times limp like our souls have been drained out of our skins.

Even though it looks like these works are digitally manipulated, his sites say they aren’t. He used dancers and athletes to pose for the series inside a local grocery store. Obviously it would take someone totally in tune with their body to bring that kind of airborne relaxation to life, but I wonder what happened when they hit the floor? Sometimes, art is pain.

There’s also a short documentary on Darzacq that gives us a total look into his process and interviews with his models on what it’s like being shot by Darzacq. Lucky breakers…

Via SwissMiss via It’s Nice That

meg wachter: dumped.

Sure, one of the many amazing things about photography is its ability to capture the essence and emotion of one split-second in time. Moments that may have run by too quickly had the shutter not been there to snap it up. Of course, this can run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. In my opinion, the work of NYC-based Meg Wachter is both.

There’s something so undeniably Grade Three foodfight-in-the-caféteria cool about “Dumped” – a photographic series in which Watcher takes pictures of various foods falling onto her friends’ heads. It’s brilliantly stupid, the kind of totally unexpected thing that ends up being more fantastic the more you look at it.

A good picture captures emotion: here we have joy, delight, and shock. She’s attacked each picture perfectly, captured just the right millisecond and that exact instance in between each subject waiting for the dump and recovering from the surprise of the dump. Her subjects are right in the very middle of the physical response to the weird feeling of whatever has been slopped on them – it’s a perfect shot of pure, unadulterated, visceral reaction. You can see their bodies moving outside the control of their brain. It’s total emotion. But most of all, and what makes these such interesting picture, you can plainly see the joy, the weirdness, and the exhilaration behind just how much fun they’re all having.

All Images © Meg Wachter Photography

Right now, I’d like to openly volunteer for Meg Wachter to dump anything she likes on my head at any time. I’m hoping I get an email…

Via my friend Jody’s must-read blog Eating Sandwiches

lilly mcelroy: i throw myself at men + locations.

I’m in love with a girl, and her name is Lilly McElroy. I’m still searching for the superlative that will totally encapsulate her particular strain of righteous-quirky-artistic-awesomeness. If there’s anything cooler than someone with the balls to be fearless and trust that it will work out in the end, it’s someone who does it all in public. Basically, Lilly McElroy is the coolest chick ever.

Combining photography with experiential art (with what I’m sure must border on performance art for anyone lucky enough to be in the room when Lilly walks in…), her on-going series “I Throw Myself At Men” is literally that. She walks into bars and asks dudes she doesn’t know if she can throw herself at them while her partner takes a picture of it.

“I started the project by placing an ad on Craig’s list looking for men who would meet me at bars blind date style and let me literally throw myself at them. This worked fairly well, but limited the # of photos I could take. Now , I go to bars with a friend/photographer and approach men who are physically larger than I am. I ask them if I can literally throw myself at them. If they say yes, I have myself photographed doing it and buy them a drink afterwards.”

Ah. May. Zing.

The results are whacked out and joyous; I’m not sure what’s more entertaining: the glee with which McElroy hurls herself through the air or the look of abject panic on the faces of the men who know that their manhood pretty much rides on how successfully they catch her.

“I Throw Myself At Men” has a very spontaneous fun-house sort of feel, but in “Locations” she works in a similar style to a more disturbing, reflective affect. She choses specific locations – always a privately-owned public space, and always a place where people are in a hurry to move around. Wearing just a nightgown, McElroy quietly lays down and documents people reactions. Or, more importantly, their non-reactions.

The quality of the photos is so great that it’s hard to believe they’re not controlled sets. Knowing that these are genuine public spaces that she simply walked into and laid down gives them a unsettled feel – like you want to rush in and make sure she doesn’t get stepped on. Or driven over by a car.

I especially like how her poses don’t insinuate violence or alarm; she doesn’t appear to have fallen down or been hurt. She looks like she’s napping, and that very laid-back serenity in these most robotic of public places make her sojourns there all the more dynamic. One of the most telling results of “Locations” is that while shooting the entire project she was only approached and asked if she needed help three times.

“A considerable amount of our time is spent in those locations where conduct is regimented. This has become especially noticeable due to the current practice of reigning in public expression. Fear of non-conformity has made uncommon behaviors virtually impermissable… When not dismissed as absurd, my actions were responded to with anger; re-emphasizing the fact that public behavior has become highly restricted”.

Marry me, Lilly McElroy!

As if I wasn’t already endeared enough, amongst her gloriously bizarre projects, in her “Recent Acts of Self Portraiture” series, she’s got a video still called “Things from my floor that stuck to my hand”, where she mummified her hand in masking tape and, true to her word, saw how much stuff from the floor she could snag up. How fucking random is that? I love her. Behold:

All images © Lilly McElory

Via SwissMiss

lucy mcrae + bart hess: lucyandbart.

These pictures make me want to barf… in the good way. The disturbed, electric-skinned, light-headed, border of nausea kind of way. I tried to file these images away and forget them, but they keep slinking their way back into my mind. Into that hard to shake place right behind your eyes where views of car accidents and starving African babies and liposuction operations go. The kind where your conscious mind doesn’t want to be grossed out but the deeper reaches of your brain know that you’ve seen something important, and so you shouldn’t forget it, and so it won’t let you. When you close your eyes, you remember them even more furiously. These are images that challenge you to keep looking at them. In fact, they dare you to turn away…

“Lucyandbart” is a collaboration between artists Lucy McRae and Bart Hess. In it they imagine human bodies and faces physically altered with a shocking but artistic realism. Globules of foam, asymmetric spines… fascinating and repugnant simultaneously, the pictures become even more disturbing because they don’t hint at the emotional state of the subject. Each transformed human looks blankly back at you, neither horrified or surprised or excited about their change of form, but merely present and allowing it to be shown to you. I guess it’s that sort of lucid acceptance, clearly not hiding the kind of imperfections and oddities that society mostly trains us to be ashamed of, that make staring at these “mutants” even more unnerving.

There’s something so primal and immediate about seeing human bodies mutated. It calls into questions all of our ideals about beauty and they way we judge people based on their surfaces. This odd sort of artistic mingling – where the colours are beautiful, but the shapes are grotesque – is really jarring. Or maybe it’s the way they seem to know something about their aberrations that we don’t. Like we’ve yet to have any idea the kind of powers that lie inside their new bodies and hands and faces, and as long as we judge them we never will.

The greater question, are these mutations or evolutions? Are these people improved or impeded? And would we willingly put ourselves into their shoes or chose to remain the same… if we had a choice?

You can check out a great interview with Bart Hess at one of the world’s best modern art sites, We Make Money Not Art. Lucy McRae, amongst other projects, also has a beautiful video detailing her ‘Skin Probe Dress’, in conjunction with Philips Design Probe: wearable creations that “explore the space between the body and the near environment by conceiving dresses that blush and shiver”.

Via Trendhunter