Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) was a postman by day and a pebble-dashing architectural artist by night. One day he literally stumbled on a strangely shaped stone, picked it up and took it home. From then on, if he found any stones he liked on his daily mail based wanders he would pick them up and take them home.
Ferdinand Cheval lived in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, in the Drôme département of France. He left school at the age of 13 to become a baker’s apprentice, before changing careers to become a postman later in life.
I like art that makes the person viewing it think about it on a deeper level. I also really dig self expression that makes a statement about the world we live in without being obvious. The sculptures of Dongwook Lee are many things, but overall they are disturbing and thought-provoking. Have a look at this human’s way of communicating his creative spirit to the world. I respect what Dongwook is saying through his work…His miniatures convey a profound and realistic message about our society!
Skulls are one of those things that you just can’t have enough of around the house. Sean and I are always on the lookout for people to recruit as skullfinders for us, since we pretty much stay at home and blog like city folk and don’t make it out to the deep woods enough to expand our collection. I like a nice clean yet weathered animal skull salvaged straight from the forest floor, but I am also into decorated skulls. Peter Deligdisch, aka Peter Draws, is doing stunning things with skulls. He burns his line drawings and patterns into the bone, driving the pyrographic patterns into the very cells of the animal. The result is gorgeous, a tattooed kaleidoscope of scorch and ink on the surface of deer, fox and bear skulls. Below take a look at some of the pieces he has created and also a video of his pyrography on a bear skull. You can also pick up a book of his drawings here!
Andrea Hasler’s Matriarch references the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, a historic protest in which 30,000 women gathered at a British air force base to stand against nuclear weapons. According to Hasler, the work metaphorically “[takes] the notion of the tents which were on site during the women’s peace camp as the container for emotions and [humanizes] these elements to create emotional surfaces.”
This year we have an interesting collection of art posts for the Top 6 of 2013 in the Art category. We introduced the “tattoo” category, which has gotten a lot of love from our readers, and all in all, you can see what posts scored the highest with our readers – you bunch of dark motherfuckers…
This book isn’t even out yet, but we learned that just the hint of putting “metal” and “cats” together is enough to cause a huge stir. Our readers love cats. And metal. So By the time Alexandra Crockett gets her book of awesome portraits of metal dudes and their cats out, she won’t be able to print enough copies!
Human beings are obsessed with beauty, but we are also obsessed with its unacceptable foil, ugliness. The sculpture of Francisco Albano captures ugliness in its most human form, showing us without our stuffing and lumps, as sacks of mottled skin. Imagine any of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” without their muscle and bone – they would be some ugly, nasty, droopy skin bags just like any of Albano’s works. Kind of a comforting idea actually. There is no doubt that Albano’s pieces are ugly – however, he imbues them with a grace and softness that almost resembles beauty. Using latex and polyester, Albano lovingly crafts sculpture that looks like something out of Buffalo Bill’s repertoire. Check out a gallery of people bags below…
Death is a normal part of life; the two are inseparable. Most creatures seem to understand this instinctively – allowing death to happen, whether a quiet passing into old age or a violent removal from this world, often to feed or protect another life. But human beings have a strange fascination with death, ranging from denial of its finality and obsession with rebirth, to the need to surround ourselves with images of it. While most animals on earth leave their dead behind to merge once again with the soil and air, humans preserve death, and throughout the ages have found ways to live with it via cemeteries and tombs, photographs of dead relatives, freezers or taxidermy. Christopher Marley is an artist who specializes in taxidermy of exotic insects, snakes and birds, and calls his collection of beautifully preserved once-living sculptures “Reclamation” – of a body that would otherwise rot and decay. He sources his species from those that have died in captivity, and hermetically seals and mounts them in fascinating displays. My favorite pieces are his insect mosaics, because while nothing sends chills up my spine like a large, scurrying beetle, when they are stilled forever and arranged in gorgeous and symmetrical bursts of color, I love them. Check out some of his pieces below, which can be found for purchase here.
Like a lot of broke people with good taste, I often dream about my perfect home – what it would look like, what treasures I would fill it with. I am not talking about stainless steel appliances or heated floors, I mean the artwork that would adorn my walls and tables. When I come across sculptors like Evan Chambers, I put them into my home furnishings spank bank for that distant, doubtful day that I will have shitloads of money to spend on things other than food and rent. Chambers’ sculptures are in fact utilitarian – they are lamps that stand on clawed feet or dangle from tentacles, jars to hold your potions/cookies in and vases for your headless roses and thorn sticks. They have a steampunk vibe to them, with the portholes and rivets and his heavy use of copper, bronze and glass, but they look alive in the perfect way to stand alongside a two-headed taxidermy fanged squirrel skeleton. Not that I have one of those, but I might, one day. Chambers is a skilled metalworker and glass blower based in LA, whose one of a kind creations can be bought online here and viewed below.
Walter Potter was a self-taught Victorian taxidermist in Sussex who became famous for his anthropomorphized taxidermy scenes featuring all types of animals, but mainly kittens, squirrels and mice – probably plentiful in those parts. He is famous for scenes like “The Kittens’ Wedding,” his commentary on social inequity “The Squirrels’ Club” and “The Rats’ Den” and “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin.” My daughter freaked when she saw this, but I also got a kick out of their tiny costumes and perfect gestures. The museum Potter created in his home was broken up and sold for over £500,000, while a bid of £1,000,000 was offered by Damien Hirst for the entire collection but was rejected by auctioneers. Check out some of Potter’s scenes below.
Every year, while much of the world staggers around in a hung-over stupor after a night of mocking death, Mexicans worldwide celebrate their most important holiday of the year – Dia de los Muertos – from November 1st to November 2nd. While Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in many countries, it was founded in Mexico, but the roots of this celebration of the dead go back thousands of years, as the honoring of the dead through festivals was a common practice of many of the indigenous cultures that inhabited the territory known as Mexico, most notably the Aztecs. The Aztec celebration of Mictecacihuatl was merged with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day after the Spanish invaded their territory and forced their beliefs on them. The concept of honoring those who have died, and setting aside days to spend with them in spirit, is a beautiful one. The altars that people build in their homes and communities are meant to welcome dead relatives and friends back to the land of the living for a couple of short days, and cemeteries become gorgeous, candlelit party grounds. Far from the slimy zombies that Halloween offers us, cemeteries that are decorated for Dia de los Muertos are warm and welcoming, covered in marigolds and brightly colored decorations. Definitely what I would want to see if I came back from the grave, rather than a bunch of machete-wielding angry survivors trying to chop my head off. Maybe if I rose to find flowers, tequila and Marlboros waiting for me, I wouldn’t want to eat your brains. Check out some beautiful Dia de los Muertos altars and cemeteries below…