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Two Star Movies, Five Star Posters: The B-movie artwork of Albert Kallis
02.08.2017
11:47 am

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Art
Movies

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‘The Beast with a Million Eyes’ (1955).
 
Albert Kallis was working as a graphic artist with Saul Bass when the twentysomething B-movie director Roger Corman met him at a poster exhibition sometime during the mid-1950s. Corman liked the high-end artwork Kallis was putting out for the big Hollywood studios like Paramount and 20th Century-Fox. He wanted to know what it would take to have Kallis come and work for him? Kallis said he’d be only interested if after any “general conversations about the approach to the picture” all decisions on the poster’s artwork and style was left entirely up to him. Corman agreed. And that’s how he bagged the talents of one of the greatest movie poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Corman made B-movies. Exploitation. Cheap thrills. Schlock horror. He knew he could make a ton of money if only he could get the teenagers to come and see his films. This was the time of the drive-in when movies came into town for a week and then were gone. When the film houses would only take on a movie if they could guarantee a hefty profit. What Corman needed was someone to sell his pictures with a poster that made the audience say “I gotta see that!” Kallis fully understood this. He produced artwork that made even the trashiest z-list feature look like it was the Citizen Kane of cheap thrills.

Kallis spent some seventeen years working as art director for Corman and then at American International Pictures—-going on to share responsibility (with Milt Moritz) as head of advertising and publicity. Kallis’s artwork exemplifies the best of movie poster technique and composition, taking key elements from a film to draw in the viewer and excite them enough so that they create their own mini-narrative. One look at these beauties and it’s more than apparent no movie could ever live up to the thrills of Kallis’s artwork.
 
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‘The Day the World Ended’ (1955).
 
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‘The Phantom from 10,000 Fathoms’ (1955).
 
More cheap thrills, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Surreal dolls reveal the dark fantasy worlds that live under their ‘skin’
02.08.2017
09:41 am

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Art

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‘Forbidden Fruit,’ by doll artist Mari Shimizu.
 
Fantasy doll maker Mari Shimizu hails from Amakusa, Kumamoto Japan where after graduating from Tama Art University, she dedicated herself to creating and photographing her intricate ball-joint dolls. Shimizu is deeply inspired by the Surrealist movement, especially Nazi-hating Dadaist, photographer Hans Bellmer whose scandalous work often incorporated dolls. Here are a few words from Bellmer on his artistic approach that appear to directly align to Shimizu’s ethos:

The body resembles a sentence that seems to invite us to dismantle it into its component letters, so that its true meaning may be revealed ever anew through an endless stream of anagrams.

Shimizu carves openings in her dead-eyed dolls in order to provide the viewer insight into the inner-workings of her inanimate creations. Themes that run through her work include mythology, religion, death and nature in which rabbits are common themes. Rabbits are symbolic for a myriad of reasons and perhaps as it pertains to Shimizu’s work is how the rabbit is regarded as an “Earth” symbol—as it is the earthly aspect of its existence that allows the animal to retain its composure in the midst of chaos. Rabbits are also categorized as being “tricksters” in various mythological tales and folklore from around the world including Japan. Shimizu’s utilization of the dolls as unconventional artistic vehicles is about as tricky as it gets.

I’ve included a large selection of images of Shimizu’s ethereal dolls below. Some are NSFW. 
 

‘Music of the Summit.’
 

‘Compass’
 
More after the jump…

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‘Come play with us forever and ever’: Custom drum kit inspired by ‘The Shining’
02.06.2017
06:04 pm

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Movies
Music

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A custom drum kit inspired by the unforgettable carpet in the hallways of the ‘Overlook Hotel’ in the 1980 film, ‘The Shining.’
 
The design of this fabulous customized “Overlook Hotel” drum kit inspired by 1980 film, The Shining, was made by UK-based company Badgerwood Drums. In addition to the wrap finish based on the distinctive carpeting found in the corridors of the Overlook covering the bass drum, the snare, and floor and rack toms, the bass drum head also bears the parting shot in the film where Jack Nicholson’s character Jack Torrance finally joins the other ghostly guests and employees of the hotel in an eerie black and white photograph. 

According to the company’s Instagram you can drop them an email if you have any questions—such as can they make you your very own Overlook Hotel drum kit so that you can “bash ‘em right the fuck in.” Just like Jack threatened to do to Wendy Torrance’s brains. I’ve posted some images of this super sweet Kubrick kit below.
 

 

 
More shots after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Charming and baffling Italian musician trading cards, 1968
02.06.2017
02:10 pm

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Art
Music

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Mister Anima
 
The Panini company was founded in Modena, Italy, in 1961 by two brothers, Benito and Giuseppe Panini, who had a knack for selling cute collectibles directed at the children’s market. Panini was essentially the Italian version of Topps, which dominated the market for baseball cards for the entire postwar era.

Panini mostly did sports stickers and cards but in 1968 they decided to put out a large set of cards dedicated to “Cantanti,” which is to say, the singers. The set numbered well over 200, and many of the acts were U.S. and U.K. acts who had been dominating the international charts for years: the Beatles, the Stones, James Brown, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, and so on.

But we’ve seen ephemera from the days of yore with those kinds of people before.

What grabbed my attention, however, were the large number of Italian acts, working away in the “beat” genre, that I’d never heard of before and whose pictures struck me as quite comical and charming. My guess would be that many of these acts are not much more remembered in Italy than they are here, although surely a few were standouts. (One of them, it should be said, I did recognize, that being Adriano Celentano, whose marvelous parody of U.S. rock singing styles, “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” has been featured on DM before.)

Regardless of the often English-sounding names (“The Patrick Samson Set,” “The Rokes”), all of these acts did exist and were Italian, with back catalog lovingly corroborated by Discogs. The two exceptions are “Barbara e Dick,” who were from Argentina, and “Dino, Daisy, and Billy,” which featured the sons of Dean Martin and Desi Arnaz, and were obviously from the U.S.

Can anyone out there translate “I Dik Dik”?
 

I Pooh
 

Barbara e Dick
 

I Ragazzi Della Via Gluck
 
More after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Wear with Confidence: Nick Cave’s beautiful and empowering Soundsuits
02.06.2017
12:04 pm

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Art
Design
Fashion

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Nick Cave is an artist, performer, educator and “foremost a messenger” who works in a wide range of media including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance.

Not to be confused with the antipodean singer and screenwriter, this Nick Cave is best known for his beautiful Soundsuits—“sculptural forms based on the scale of his body” which “camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment” or prejudice.

The idea for Soundsuits came about as a response to thinkingthe brutal police beating of Rodney King in 1991. As cave recalls:

It was a very hard year for me because of everything that came out of the Rodney King beating. I started thinking about myself more and more as a black man—as someone who was discarded, devalued, viewed as less than.

And:

I started thinking about the role of identity, being racial profiled, feeling devalued, less than, dismissed. And then I happened to be in the park this one particular day, and looked down at the ground and there was a twig. And I just thought, well, that’s discarded, and it’s sort of insignificant. And so I just started then gathering the twigs, and before I knew it, I was, had built a sculpture.

Cave carried the twigs he had collected in Grant Park, Chicago, back to his studio where he drilled a small hole at the base of each one. He linked these together with a wire before attaching them to a large piece of material. From this he created his first wearable sculpture or Soundsuit:

When I was inside a suit, you couldn’t tell if I was a woman or man; if I was black, red, green or orange; from Haiti or South Africa. I was no longer Nick. I was a shaman of sorts.

Inspired by this incredible sense of freedom and empowerment, Cave began making more and more outrageous and fabulous creations from materials he found in flea markets and thrifts stores across country.

Cave admits he never knows exactly what he is looking for or how he will use it once found. When he does find some suitable object he will spend considerable time working out where best on the body this item can sit. When this is finally worked this out he then develops each design organically from this point. The finished sculptures are worn in performances devised by Cave. There is an obvious similarity between Cave’s Soundsuits and Leigh Bowery’s performance costumes from the eighties and early nineties. Both take traditional crafts (needlework, macramé  and crochet) and use them them to create powerful and beautiful works of (wearable) art. A selection of Cave’s Soundsuits are for sale at the SoundsuitShop.
 
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More of Nick Cave’s fabulous designs, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘How you like me now?’: Charlie Brown & the Peanuts gang quote Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop & more
02.06.2017
08:49 am

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Art
Hip-hop
Music

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Peanuts characters ‘Peppermint Patty’ and ‘Charlie Brown’ riffing on lyrics from ‘Protect Ya Neck’ by the Wu-Tang Clan. Painting by artist Mark Drew.
 
I’m a huge fan of artist Mark Drew—especially his “Tape Stack” paintings which can be found on greeting cards. I grab a few whenever I’m lucky enough to come across them.

In 2013 Drew created gallery-sized paintings based on one of his many zines. The zine in question featured images of the gang from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic mashed up with lyrics derived from 80s and 90s hip-hop. So instead of good old Charlie Brown uttering his famous phrase “good grief,” we get finally get to see Chuck slaying his nemesis Lucy with a line from “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre: “Fuck around n’ get caught up in a one-eight-seven.” Which seems about right given the fact that Lucy probably deserves to get a cap in her ass for all those times she denied poor Charlie the pleasure of kicking that goddamned football.

When Drew debuted the paintings at the China Heights gallery in Sydney, Australia he called the show “Deez Nuts” in tribute to the moniker adopted by failed 2016 presidential candidate high school student Brady C. Olson. Images of Charlie Brown and his homies Snoopy, Linus, Peppermint Patty quoting their favorite hip-hop lyrics follow.
 

Peanut’s character and notable meanie Lucy reciting a lyric from Public Enemy’s 1988 jam, “Louder than a Bomb” in a painting by artist Mark Drew.
 

Quote derived from the 1992 song by Dr. Dre, “Let Me Ride.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The unintentional beauty of graffiti removal
02.03.2017
02:07 pm

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Art
Crime

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Las Cruces, New Mexico-based photographer and artist Mattie Kannard has spent the past eight years photographing graffiti, but only after it has been painted over by the building owners. The results often resemble an unintentional pastiche of Mark Rothko’s style of abstract expressionism.

She explained her love for “graffiti removal” in an essay posted to accompany her Flickr album titled “Paint Over.”

“I love graffiti. But I love buff even more. When graffiti is removed, it is “buffed.” It gets painted over. As in, “Man! That tag I did last night was buffed this morning.” Before I knew the correct term, I called a buff “paint over,” and in 2009 I started taking and collecting photographs of graffiti that had been painted over. Over the last three years I’ve amassed almost two hundred pictures of beautiful buffed pieces.

Graffiti artists and property owners have an unspoken agreement to be in dialogue with each other. The artist starts a conversation with a tag, a mural, a phrase, an image. The property owner replies with a buff, a paint-over designed to erase the graffiti and discourage a repeat performance.

There’s one problem. In most cases, the paint used to cover the graffiti doesn’t match the original wall or surface paint. When people want to cover graffiti fast, they use what they have on hand – a leftover can or bucket of color, rarely even a distant cousin of the current palette. So instead of erasing the art, the buff becomes art itself… a wonderful, sometimes clumsy, sometimes precise, statement of color – an unintentional ode to what once was. This contrast, this visual band-aid, is what becomes so beautiful. The tag isn’t forgotten, it is unwittingly translated, transformed. It becomes simple, striking, an abstract skin.

Shapes emerge, sometimes vague, amorphous blobs or awkward angles, but more often geometric wonders created by paint rollers as they glide over a graffiti artist’s organic, snakelike scrawls. Corners contain expanses of color, sometimes in a neat rectangle or square. These are often the most striking buffs, but I also love the captivating, irregular shapes, the number of sides dictated by the highs and lows of the graffiti tag, the buffer’s paint roller guided by the spray can strokes of the original artist.”

 

“Graffiti removal” photo courtesy of Mattie Kannard’s photostream
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
Beautiful portraits of the Iconic Stars, Bad Girls and Pioneering Women of Hollywood’s Golden Age
02.03.2017
12:48 pm

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Art
Feminism
Movies

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Artist Charles Gates Sheldon (1889-1960) is best known for his cover art for publications like Photoplay, the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s Magazine. His work also included advertising and book illustration. But I like to think of Charles Sheldon Gates as the man who reinvented religious iconography for the twentieth century by replacing the portraits of angels and saints with pastel portraits of the silent movie stars and Hollywood legends of the 1920s and 1930s.

Sheldon’s portraits of actresses deserve to be glorified. These women were all tough dames. Most came from blue collar backgrounds and made their own way to the top in Hollywood at a time of autocratic studio bosses and sex pest producers. Some like Clara Bow lived a life of excess and ultimately paid for it. Others like Katharine Hepburn were strong-willed and fiercely independent who relished their freedom and privacy. Many died far too young. But all had a talent to entertain, inspire and bring a little hope—the kind of thing people get from religious paintings.
 
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The original ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow.
 
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Clara Bow.
 
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The original ‘sex symbol’ and ‘Blonde Bombshell’ Jean Harlow.
 
More icons of the silver screen, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Is this seat loaded?’ Artist makes a chair from gold-plated AK-47 rifles
02.02.2017
01:32 pm

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Amusing
Art
Design

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Well here’s something for the gun nut in your life…. a 22ct gold-plated chair made from a batch of AK-47 rifles.

Why? You might ask. Well why not?

There doesn’t seem to be any reason for this pricey butt-holder other than it’s a functional work of art created by Austrian artist Rainer Weber, who (apparently) “transforms his imagination into reality.” 

If this is your idea of reality then I’m pretty sure you’ll appreciate the way in which Weber has welded together these “still in service” AK-47s to serve as the legs, frame and armrests of this beast. Then finishing it all off with some damn fancy handwoven upholstery. If this is your heart’s desire then it will cost you $127,000.

Weber explains his inspiration stating he was always “fascinated by concepts such as design, technology and functionality” ever since childhood.

I have always been keenly interested in art and seating furniture of any kind. My incentive is to create seating furniture that is unique in its form, meaning absolutely different from other pieces of furniture.

The idea for the AK-47 chair was born while I was reading a book about Mikhail Kalashnikov and I decided to transfer the inspiration into a chair.

But if you think all these gold leaf guns are just a wee bit tacky then maybe you should go for Weber’s original AK-47 chair—price on request.
 
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More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Beautiful handmade Venetian carnival masks
02.02.2017
09:54 am

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Art
Fashion
History
Sex

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‘Damask Joker.’
 
Reading The Story of My Life by Giacomo Casanova set me off on a browse of the beautiful masks famously worn during the Carnival of Venice. These masks were originally used to celebrate the victory of the Most Serene Republic of Venice against Ulrich II of Aquileia and his failed attempt to bring the city under German rule circa 1162. By the time Casanova was living in the city in the middle of the 18th century, citizens were allowed to wear masks for up to six months which enabled the wearer to indulge in an excess of food, wine and partying, and to mix freely with those of other classes. The masks also provided anonymity for those seeking to indulge in a bit of sexual shenanigans. Such hedonistic pleasures led Venice to gain its reputation as a strict yet deeply licentious city.

But back to Casanova who was much more than just a bed-hopping sex beast. He was a soldier, a musician, a dabbler in the dark arts, a novelist, a spy and eventually a librarian to Count Joseph Karl von Waldstein at his castle in Bohemia. Casanova also spent time in the Piombi prison for “public outrages against the holy religion.” Quite incredibly, he escaped from this jail situated in the upper floors of the Doge’s palace by climbing through the roof in 1756. He then fled to Paris where he set up a lottery to raise money for the French army. Casanova was a rather ingenious man and I think it fair to say throughout his life he quite literally donned various “masks” like an actor as he tried out the different roles he played. The real Casanova only became apparent when he sat down to write his memoirs when working as a librarian in Dux.

These gorgeous handmade paper mache masks are inspired by many of the traditional designs worn in Venice during Casanova’s era. They are for sale and though expensive, are utterly beautiful.
 
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‘Casanova.’
 
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‘Jolly.’
 
More beautiful masks, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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