Swiss artist Felice Varini disrupts environments with his anamorphic art. His large geometric perspective paintings take up huge architectural spaces like sides of buildings, walls and streets challenging the viewer to find the exact spot to stand in order to see his works snap into place. Most recently, Varini took over the historic Gran Palais in Paris, where he added an orange polka dot pattern to its classical facade. Created by a combination of stencils and projectors, the monumental work was entitled Dynamo.
French artist Gilbert Legrand adds some whimsy into everyday objects by transforming them into delightful characters. For the past 10 years, he’s found hidden people and animals in things like ping-pong paddles, tape measures, and even water spigots. Legrand reveals them with paint, and creatively uses the contours and details of a particular object to craft a fantastical portrait. The bristles of a brush suddenly become someone’s full head of hair, while the hook of a hanger doubles as a mouse’s tail. For more, visit gilbert-legrand.com.
In his series, Landline, NYC-based artist Aakash Nihalani cleverly pierces human torsos throughout Brooklyn with three-dimensional isometric rectangles and squares made out of neon tape.
His subjects simply stand in front of the camera in white t-shirts while the bright orange, green, blue, or hot pink zig-zags and bars go right through their bodies. The artist’s keen eye for perspective is evident once again in the optical illusions, which are produced with tape, paper, corrugated plastic, and magnets.
To top off the perfectly aligned illusions, the artist has his the performative art documented in front of interesting backgrounds including brightly painted walls, graffiti art, and rooftop exit doors. Nihalani says, “I selectively place [my] graphics around New York to highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself.”
In light of the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup kick-off, Shanghai-based artist ‘Red’ Hong Yi has painted a picture of three of the tournament’s superstars – Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Lionel Messi. These aren’t your conventional portraits, though. The artist used only her feet, a soccer ball, and eight trays of colored paints to complete the large-scale work. Amazingly, she was able to capture their likeness in a way that feels energetic, just like the game itself. This isn’t the first time that Red has created a portrait using unconventional methods; we recently admired her Jackie Chan portrait made out of chopsticks.
To compose the painting, Red dips the ball into the pigment, bounces it between her feet, and carefully maneuvers it around the canvas. She begins by outlining their heads with yellow paint and later adds in the color of the players’ jerseys as well as their defining physical characteristics. By doing this, it makes the three men immediately recognizable to the viewer.
Kara Walker’s sugar sphinx descended upon Brooklyn this summer, bringing well over 35 tons of sweetness to the cavernous darkness of the old Domino Sugar Factory. It’s the same abandoned, 11-acre refinery that’s set for total demolition later this year, a tear-down that will pave the way for condos, leaving behind one lone red brick building as memory of the 19th century fixture.
Walker, via the public art patron Creative Time, has managed to give the structure a summer send-off to remember. She packed in 15 resin-and-sugar statues — tiny characters with masterfully carved characteristics, that harken back to bygone eras, from Egyptian labor practices to medieval design to the 16th century Caribbean sugar trade to early African American history. Then, of course, there’s the sphinx. A massive, naked woman, perched in that familiar mythical stance, with a face reminiscent of the Mammie archetype. Much of the installation points back to America’s sugar slavery, and the decades of consumption that came before and after. The images contradict each other, pointing to vintage edible sugar sculptures (aka subtleties) of high society on the one hand, and the stereotypes we associate with “black memorabilia” and racist collectables on the other.