Contemporary Art, Culture

Your Instagram Photos Could be Worth $90,000

You’ve probably been warned before: don’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your employer to see.

But is it art, if it technically isn’t yours? This month at the Frieze Art Fair in New York, painter and photographer Richard Prince rattled some bones in the art world; pushing the limits of ownership and creativity. He’s proven that anything on the internet can be shared and sold because of flexible copyright laws and displayed giant screenshots of other people’s Instagram photos without warning or permission.






Photographs from Gagosian Gallery and The Independent UK

The 6 foot tall inkjet prints of the screenshots belong to his “New Portraits” series at the Gagosian Gallery booth showing pictures of celebrity and internet-famous women and sold for on average $90,000 each selling all but one by the end of the May 13th VIP preview.

According to copyright laws, he isn’t doing anything wrong. He’s simply making slight adjustments to photos which technically means they’re his. He’s been “re-photographing” photos for decades now and has honed his technique by making minor changes to the originals. In this case, Prince removed the captions and added comments but didn’t alter usernames or the photos themselves.

This series was on display last year at a private show at the Gagosian’s Madison Avenue location and even then, created a buzz and was fiercely criticized. Not only because his work debates the fine line between copyright infringement and artistic freedom, but because most of the images are of women in compromising poses some of which included porn stars and a candid selfie in the gynaecologist’s office.

Prince’s “Original” series, another “re-photographing” collection is now showing at the Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan until June 20th.

Truth is, Prince is either the art world’s most celebrated or the mot hated artist at the moment. What’s your opinion?

Contemporary Art, Culture

Urban Geode x Paige Smith

Meet graphic designer, handbag entrepreneur, and artist Paige Smith aka A Common Name.

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"Deranged Amalgamation" at Maker City LA

“Deranged Amalgamation” at Maker City LA


Geode #9 Downtown LA


Smith installing a geode

Geode #3 Downtown LA

Geode #3 Downtown LA

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It’s particularly her Urban Geode street art series that drew me to her. Her sculptures are made entirely of hand cut or folded paper and resin casts putting them in nooks and crannies in buildings, walls, inside a pipe, and the interior of abandoned phone booths in Los Angeles and across the world. She says this installation acts as an invitation to look and discover things that are normally ignored to celebrate the beauty of urban space and to participate in a global treasure hunt.

She has also started a beta program for anyone to install geodes in their own cities. Some successful installations include Jordan, Turkey, South Africa, Korea, and France. Email here if you are interested. If you are also interested in supporting Smith’s project, please consider donating on her website.

Here is video of a panel of female street artists in LA featuring Smith, Kristy Sandoval, Anna Drumm and artist manager and publicist Heidi Johnson:

Contemporary Art, Culture

Venice Biennale 2015

As the preview for the Venice Biennale’s 56th edition of the International Art Exhibition opened last week, the art world has been exploding with works from artists around the world. 89 national participants are exhibiting in these historical pavilions and here are a few of my favourites:

British Pavilion: Sarah Lucas’ “I Scream Daddio”

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“Deep Cream Maradona” fills the room in the British Pavilion. 

Hungarian Pavilion: Szilard Cseke’s “Sustainable Identities”

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Plastic is slowly inflated and large white balls are pushed through tubes by air.

Croatian Pavilion: Damir Ocko’s “Studies on Shivering: The Third Degree”

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Mirror fragments used to distort the subjects in the film as a part of Ocko’s installation. He explores questions about the human body and its physical realties. The film shows abstract close-up shots of burnt skin and edited with images reflecting the crew while filming.

Japan Pavilion: Chiharu Shiota’s “The Key in Hand”

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Keys collected from thousands across the world, and 400,000 metres blood red string seem to explode from and surround an old boat. Shiota explores the concept of memory.

Turkish Pavilion: Sarkis Zabunyan’s “Respiro”


“Respiro” meaning “breath” in Italian explores the concepts of transformation and shared human experience. The neon rainbow light a series of 36 stained glass panels that depict imagery reflecting nature, spirituality, and the sublime.

The exhibition continues until November 22, 2015 at the Giardini della Biennale and at the Arsenale.

Contemporary Art

CJ Hendry

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It’s crazy how much an artist’s career relies on the internet, and those that know how to work it definitely draws attention. Being in February CJ Hendry, Brisbane artist created 50 hyper-realistic food drawings in 50 days and posted a new piece to her Instagram every 24 hours. While it might take someone else weeks if not a few days, she would complete a black pen masterpiece in just a day. She doesn’t only draw food, but large-scale drawings of fashion items. Check out the rest of her work at Analogue/Digital. Hats off to you!

On a side note: She just insured her right hand for $10 million. Let that sink in.

Contemporary Art

Joey Camacho

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In 2014, Vancouver-based 3D motion and graphic designer Joey Camacho started his 365 day project Progress Before Perfection creating a render everyday for a year using Cinema 4D using themes such as biology, sound, and geometry to practice and improve his craft. He rose to internet fame on Tumblr and requests world wide for prints came pouring in. Recently, he was featured in Saatchi Gallery’s Instagram, where I found him. He’s also devoted in brand development and 3D design creating designs for numerous brands such as Under Armour.

You can check out more of his work or buy his prints on his site, Raw and Rendered or Behance.

Artist Profile, Contemporary Art

Babeth Lafon

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Images from Babeth Lafon

I have found my spiritual inspiration and it comes in form of the illustrations of Babeth Lafon. You all know I have an unhealthy obsession with aesthetically pleasing and pretty things and Lafon’s illustrations just feeds it. Ever since my friend and artist, the very talented Francesca (you should also check out her website, Francesca Valvassori) introduced me to Anna and Nathan Bond from the Rifle Paper Co., I have loved the intricacy of graphic design, font design, and illustration.

Lafon is a freelance beauty and lifestyle illustrator who studied in Paris and currently lives and works in Berlin (how chic). She’s been commissioned by companies such as Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Glamour, AD Magazine, in a few L’Oréal TV Spots as well as published illustration books.

Naturally, I am obsessed and now follow her on all social media platforms. You should too.

Art History, Artist Profile

Happy Birthday Keith Haring!

keithharingKeith Haring was born today in 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania. At an early age Haring was interested in drawing and design and eventually moved to New York City and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts. There he discovered an alternative art community including artists Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and other performance artists and musicians. This group developed outside the conventional gallery and museum setting and thrived on the streets and subway, and eventually he began to organize and participate in exhibitions and performances at Club 57 and others.

He began experimenting with performance, video, installation, and collage as well as drawing and sought to communicate with a larger audience and thought to use unused advertising panels covered with matte black paper in a subway station. Using white chalk, he produced hundreds of these public drawings between 1980 and 1985 and commuters on the subway would start to recognize and engage with the artist and his works. The subway became a “laboratory” for experimenting with his simple lines and seeing through his ideas. 

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His empire and following thrived as he completed many public projects from animation for the Spectacolor billboard in Times Square to designing watch designs for Swatch and advertisements. Throughout his career, Haring’s public works also had social messages producing works worldwide for charities, hospitals, children’s day care centres and orphanages, and also held drawing workshops for children around the world. You all know his Crack is Wack mural of 1986 and is a landmark along New York’s FDR Drive.

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In 1988, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS and founded the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989 which provides funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children’s programs while expanding the audience for his works through exhibitions, publications and licensing of his images. He even used his imagery during the last years of his life to send a message about his own illness, and generate activism and awareness about AIDS.

In his short years of being a world-renowned artist and philanthropist, he was able to reach a wide audience by expressing universal themes of birth, death, love, sex and war using simple lines to direct his message.  He died at the age of 31 from AIDS related complications on February 16, 1990 and would have turned 57 today.

“I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.”-Keith Haring