This Week’s 5 Major Art Fucking Picks #3

Art is the only domain in which you can play God without needing permission or resources. Art is the only domain in which asking for permission means hanging your spirit, the only domain in which censor will hopefully always lose battles in the continuous war. We are constantly hungry for amazing artists: old and new, known or not, disturbing, with the power of making us cringe and crave. Breathtaking, human, inhuman, striking, painful and liberating, demonic, psychedelic.

This is a new column and varied Cultartes editors will contribute to it. So we are searching and saving and promoting what makes our darkness itch and our hearts melt, whats sets us off, confuses us and makes us want to taste more. What leaves us bare, scared and delighted.

That being said, mighty reader-soldiers, here are our top 5 choices for this week:

John Wilhelm

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(c) John Wilhelm

John from Switzerland mixes the passion for photography with technology.

Although he grew up in an environment of cameras, magazines, lenses, darkrooms and funny weddings, his profession is IT and he wasn’t always a fan of photography, especially in the past when the digital boom seemed somewhere far, in a possible future (kind of how his manipulated images seem).

It was when he first touched a digital camera that he discovered the desire to pursue a dream that was already in the family (his father was doing photography as a hobby as well).

What came next? Experimenting – a journey through lots of camera systems, techniques, experiences and finally software products. Once he found his way to use digital cameras and Photoshop in an unique way in which he can speak his mind and his heart, he came up to our interest. And I mean all of us, not just the people who write about him.

John is a somewhat atypical artist for Cultartes. Or maybe not? What got me hooked is the innocent humor his work presents. There is the trivialism of everyday life and then there is the humorous oddness of digital processing which after the smile on your face leaves the message you tend to avoid. He strikes matters in your face, packed up nice and clean.

For example, the image above is the embodiment of self-image distortion which pushes many women (and men) to go to incredible lengths in order to look like the distorted image in their heads. And yet, the image is not disturbing, but the leftover is.

Now I’m not saying that choosing body modification means you have a problem. I’m saying that maybe, maybe you have some unresolved issues if you push that to an extreme. Like undergoing dozens of surgical procedures to look like a cartoon character or similar things.

As society is made of each one of us, I think we promote extremely superficial, unhealthy and self-destructive things. Because they are flashy, they represent the pleasure of the moment. Jumping from one pleasure of the moment to another, can in time, shut down what is actually going on and that often leads to disastrous results.

So I see John’s creation – apart from his obvious enjoyment and fun when producing new artwork – saying. “We laughing, we laughing. But what are we gonna do about it?”

Richard Serra

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(c) Richard Serra

No, no, he is not a photographer. Richard is an American sculptor, which means that the sneaky walls from the image above are his creation.

Richard Serra is one of the preeminent American artists and sculptors of the post-Abstract Expressionist period. His work has played a major role in advancing the tradition of modern abstract sculpture in the aftermath of Minimalism.

Although he was kind of in the shadow of other “greater” artists such as: Constantin Brâncuși, Pablo Picasso, and Julio González, Serra both inherited and advanced the tradition of abstract sculpture, adapting the medium of welded steel (originally a concern of early twentieth century Cubism) to new values of the 1960s and 1970s.

Now, you might look at this and say, what the fuck man, there are just some huge curved panels you walk through, what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that Richard used the opportunity of what was done before in sculpture and came up with a new way to think of the importance of it. One which intertwines with design. He said ok, we had these past years so much focus on sculpting deities and people and humanoid settings, but how can a certain shape relate intimately to a person in a specific setting? The similarity with design lays in what is evoked within the viewer. For example, if you sit in a chair that is made to make you feel uncomfortable, you will feel so, but then again there are those chair where you love to nest up with a book and something good to drink, just to relax.

Richard explored exactly that. To create spaces (or environments) in which a viewer can experience universal qualities of weight, gravity, agility, and even a kind of meditative repose. He was aware of the fact that what surrounds us can influence our perception of reality and the way in which we feel about this reality.

Franz Szony

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(c) Franz Szony

Franz Szony from Nevada and based in LA is a photographer, set and costume designer, lightning and make up artist. Basically, he is all he needs to create an image that is at the border between photography and digital art, from scrap.

He started to take art lessons when he was seven years old and hasn’t stopped ever since.

To me being an artist is something inherent, you come into the world with it, and it progresses if you nurture it. – he said.

Franz’s work is driven by the desire to fill the void of fantasy and elegance he feels around himself. Or shortly put, his own filter of seeing the world is painted in shades of fantasy and elegance. I must admit that the glamorous air is what has hypnotized me about his work. You see, most often fantasy is cut into pieces which create several subgenres. You have the SF part, the industrial, grotesque, fairy like and steampunk or post apocalyptic. By comparison, adding glamour to a phantasmagorical context is found less or it isn’t as much brought into attention+.

I think this influence comes from the way in which Franz grew up. Both his grandfather and father we’re in the business of creating spectacles and so the American creator saw as a youngster the final curtain on many classic Vegas productions, shows that only huge casinos could afford to produce.

He got used to “do everything” from illustration to photography, makeup, retouching, lighting, composition, because at first he simply had no other resources than himself to use in order to expose in his work what he saw in his mind. Now he has a wonderful team in Los Angeles, but isn’t afraid to admit:

the desire to create an image from the ground up is something highly enriching. and he continues in an interesting interview to say – ‘Reality’ is boring and almost always unrepeatable. I don’t understand the majority of what’s current. The terms you listed are all a part of the headspace I choose to exist in, they all represent ideals of surrealism from bygone eras – although we now see these terms as being ‘classic’. The best thing any artist can do is to learn how to take the image he or she sees in his/her mind and give it life without losing a spec of information in translation. One of my favorite sayings is that ‘We are not the owners of our talent, we are only the managers’.

To continue lining up the aces up his sleeve, Franz also started to mingle with music. Apparently he always wanted to explore music and after years of burying somewhere deep, he realized that almost any artistic medium has the same goal: storytelling.

Chad Michael Ward

 

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(c) Chad Michael Ward

 

Critically acclaimed artist, photographer and filmmaker, his more than 15 years of experience with shooting celebrities in America brought him to this grungy, shady, dark and trashy-mysterious style.

He begun his career in the late 90s (see, I told you, grungeeeey) designing cover albums for European metal acts such as Soilwork, Crest of Darkness, Darkane and Naglfar.

As the world passed into a new century, so did Chad decide to take his work to the next step and started doing photography or attaching it to his artistic spirit. He shot bands like: Combichrist, gODHEAD, Fear Factory and *drum sounds* Marilyn Manson. He designed Manson’s “Best Of…” album, the music video for the single “Personal Jesus” and others.

That was when Chad started getting into the world of music videos, directing for a variety of musicians including: Billy Idol, Slash and Derek Sherinian. However, he didn’t stop there and in 2007 joined the film industry as a still photographer and production designer.

What’s he doing recently? He photographs and directs some of the biggest names at the moment, whether we’re speaking of quality or celebrity: Black Veil Brides, Motionless in White, Get Scared, Davey Suicide and Aiden.

Chad isn’t a stranger to galleries either. He appeared in numerous exhibitions, magazines and books. His work has also been collected into several monographs like: Black Rust, Autopsyrotica, DevilEngine, Dangerous Beauties Storyteller and Storyteller: NUDE. His first feature film is already 3 years old. Strange Blood was released in April 2015.

 

Gueorgui Pinkhassov

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(c) Gueorgui Pinkhassov

The power of our Muse lies in her meaninglessness. Even the style can turn one into a slave if one does not run away from it, and then one is doomed to repeat oneself. The only thing that counts is curiosity. For me personally, this is what creativity is about. It will express itself less in the fear of doing the same thing over again than in the desire not to go where one has already been.

Pinkhassov discovered his passion while he was still in school and pursued it up to studying cinematography at The Moscow Institute of Cinematography. After that he went right off to work at the Mosfilm studio and begun to be a set photographer. He also joined the Moscow Union of Graphic Arts and obtained the status of an independent artist in the late 70’s and apparently Andrei Tarkovsky was a fan. He invited Pinkhassov to the set to make a reportage about his film Stalker (1979).

After moving to Paris in 1985 he joined Magnum Photos.

Gueorgui’s work lives somewhere in the past. In an untouched one, with a music of it’s own. I would say it’s some form of jazz or blues. There’s a carelessness which the characters in his images evoke that makes me want to buy a pair of glasses which will apply the same filter to my eyes. Like a chilly summer breeze in an afternoon that’s too long, where time stands still and yet only because everyone is still moving.

Bonus

Since my lucky number is 6 and I hate respecting any rules 100% (even my own), there always has to be a crack made for slipping through. This week’s slipping crack is from Romania – like a tender alter ego, like an escape, the beauty of the unexpected.

Casandra Burz Pînzaru

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(c) Casandra Burz Pînzaru

ascult teatru radiofonic
delir în doi, în trei, în câți vrei
de ionesco
e despre un el și-o ea
despre specii diferite
despre violențe verbale,
singurătăți,
orgolii,
dependență,
timp îndelungat
petrecut împreună
de doi
din specii ce par diferite

din când în când
o voce din off
care explică decorul
și vocea din capul meu
care trăiește trecutul.

Sometimes I wish there was an art place for every creative spirit who does not want to pursue the delirious art field. Maybe then we would start appreciating people because of who they are.

Now you need a pass. You need a pass to deserve a praise. You need a job to be a good citizen, you need a social status to be considered an important, trustworthy or quality person. You need an imaginary medal brought from the collective memoir to attract a physical medal. You need to state who you are, what and why. That’s how it works, you have to offer others the “privilege” to take time to analyze your profile data and offer a majority agreed to etiquette. Or ethic.

You won’t find Casandra exhibiting in fancy galleries. In fact, I don’t think you know her as an artist (maybe not yet), she is not a photographer (although I found some snaps I liked, like the one above), but she writes. I often find myself thinking about what she writes. In one of those lines of thought it crossed my mind – the questions I now want to ask you, dear reader.

How many people do you know that surprise you with something every day? Surprise you enough to keep them in your memory. How many of them surprise you with things which are completely different from what they do. Does your doctor friend have an excellent taste in music, does he make you think that you’d want to go to parties where he is the man with the music? Is you call-center girl a library of interesting books? Do you always call her to ask for book recommendations?

You know the Cultartes motto. It’s fuck your standards. So I’m kindly going to step on each one which requires class and world recognition and ask if you still appreciate someone outside of the things they want to be appreciated for. If you still put in that effort to read and know and feel a person enough to ( but never fully) see they are much more. Do you still push away at times what the chaos of information throws and judge on your own? Can you still trust a given word or you’re still thinking of the fact that maybe a signature would’ve been more assuring.

In the era where you can build fake artists as easy as a script character and fame from nothing, you could just as easy do the reverse medal. You could pay attention, you could listen to what is next to you, but that’s not what’s trending, right? That’s not what everyone is going to talk about the next morning.

Do you take the time to stop hating the lack of value in the media and look around to see the value you ignore, just because it doesn’t have a commercial, a boosted post or a link in the description?

For a fame hungry machine there isn’t such thing as bad publicity. Facebook counts the “this is lovely” comments just as much as the “fuck you” comments.

For someone you know, according a minute of presence in any form can still change something. Something that maybe, in the future will influence enough to make a difference, maybe even influence enough stop this continuous obsession with making one.

 

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Bucharest-based artist. Psychedelic photographer, brain-scratching writer / poetess and priestess of the macabre.

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