Artist Philip J Bond created a set of illustrations depicting the women who've been to space. They're beautiful and full of personality and style, and really do justice to their subjects. I just showed these to my five year old daughter, and she was as entranced as I was.
Working for months at a time just penciling a comic book I started these portraits to get a bit of inking and colouring out of my system. I shouldn't say 'portraits', I'm not going for much of a likeness. Usually I'll glance at a couple of photographs and then go off and draw a vague impression. Margaret Seddon is blonde, Judith Resnik is a bit barmy looking, that sort of thing.
Sculptor Jeremy Mayer writes, "This is my latest project- a portrait commission. The client, Mark Pelzner, came to me with 3 typewriters bequeathed to him by his late father, Marvyn Pelzner. Mark wanted me to take those typewriters and make a likeness of his dad that would be mounted on a box which holds Marvyn's ashes. There are some parts in the sculpture that came from other typewriters in my stash, but most of the parts are from Marvyn's typewriters. The eyes, for example, are made from his Smith Corona desktop, the shoulders from his Underwood portable, and parts of the head were from his desktop Underwood No. 5.
"Marvyn was an Optometrist in the San Francisco Bay Area who was a big San Francisco Giants fan and a doting grandfather. Many thanks to the Pelzner family for coming to me to work on such a powerful and personal project. I feel very fortunate to have been entrusted to do this. As usual, I made this using only typewriter parts- no solder, no glue, no welding, no armature."
Scott Edelman sez, "Artist Sarah Guthrie (whose work I discovered at the Crystal City, VA art installation Artomatic) believes that since Citizens United grants corporations the same legal status as human beings, they's surely want their own portraits. And so she has painted AT&T, Mattel, General Mills and other corporations in the style of the old masters in a series she calls Corporate Masters. She writes: 'The corporations selected are large multi-nationals that have been highlighted in the news recently: for legally paying less in federal income tax than you and me; for market domination; for bringing the economy to the brink of disaster.'"
Julian Cash's The People of Burning Man is a beautifully produced photo-portrait book shot over many consecutive years at Burning Man, the giant, weird, delightful art and culture festival that takes place every summer in Nevada's Black Rock desert. Cash -- who's quite an accomplished and experimental portraitist -- does a wonderful job of bringing out the decadence and playfulness of Burning Man. There's plenty of the nudity that often comes to mind when people think of Burning Man (this is, after all, the home of the Critical Tits topless bicycle ride), but Cash manages the fantastic trick of allowing his nudes to be sensual and sometimes sexy without ever being pornographic or salacious. These aren't "tasteful" nudes -- but they are exuberant and above all, fun.
People of Burning Man is to be celebrated also for its admirable lack of text. There's very little narration here, because very little is needed. The pictures tell their own stories -- sometimes in a frozen snapshot, and sometimes over time, as we visit with the same Burners over consecutive years (including one woman who appears first in a very pregnant state, and then with a babe at her breast). What little text there is -- a bit of background on the art of shooting portraits in a harsh desert, a little bit of biography supplied by the subjects -- complements the images without upstaging them.
Cash was good enough to supply a gallery of (NSFW, naturally) photos that are included below. There's plenty more -- and lots more material, besides -- at his The People of Burning Man site. The book was independently published with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and it's both a beautifully made thing and a thing of beauty.
A visitor looks at a work by South Korean artist Hyung Koo Kang at China International Gallery Exposition 2012 in Beijing, April 13, 2012. [Photo: Jason Lee / Reuters]
15th century Flemish portraits recreated in airplane lavs using toilet tissue, seat-covers and paper towels
It all started when artist Nina Katchadourian went into an airplane bathroom and spontaneously improvised a 15th century Flemish costume from a toilet-seat cover and shot a suitably posed self-portrait. This inaugurated an ongoing series of wonderful 15th century Flemish-esque portraits shot in a series of airplane lavs, in which a variety of replica garb is improvised from toilet tissue, seat covers and paper towels.
While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory's own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone. At the Dunedin Public Art gallery, the photos were framed in faux-historical frames and hung on a deep red wall reminiscent of the painting galleries in museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.