Appreciation of art is largely subjective. While you may not give two figs for the artist or even their style, what you stays with you is whether the composition resonates with you, or not. Speaking of media in art, have ever heard of creating art with microbes? London-based textile designer Natsai Chieza creates art on a textile ‘canvas’, using bacteria. From coffee art to body parts, here are ten more artists creating art with verrrry different media.
10. Steve Spazuk – Soot From A Candle
Over the past 15 years, Spazuk has created pieces that start as undefined masses of soot and gradually develop into detailed pieces. Spazuk uses feathers, colors and is awesome at creating art using fire. He specializes in intricate portraits, birds, insects and dancing figures.
9. Val Thompson – Paint & Ashes
Sunderland-based artist, Thompson decided to combine both to make one final tribute. Mixing the ashes of the deceased with colours, she creates art that will serve as a lasting memory. Creating her first portrait on a whim, she soon found that there were no providers of the service in the market, and people seemed to welcome the idea. She has since set up Ash2Art, where she takes commissions. With her paintings costing up to $1,150, there’s no doubt there is a demand for it.
8. Honoré Fragonard – Embalmed Human Bodies
Fragonard pioneered a technique which he used to create his famous collection of écorchés (flayed figures). He obtained bodies from executions, medical schools, even fresh graves! He’d embalm them with his proprietary formula, then extract each organ. His art comes from the way he rearranges the organs. In some cases, he swapped the position of organs around the body and even between species.
He finished his art by painting blood vessels in and varnishing the piece to keep it safe. Fragonard created 700 of these pieces, but only around 20 are on display today. Fragonard was also the anatomy professor at Ecole Veterinaire d’Alfort, till he was fired for being a madman and a ‘weirdo.’
7. Milo Moiré – Body Art
Moiré was stark naked! She had painted parts of her body with the names of the items of clothing she should be wearing (“bra” across her chest, “jacket” down her arms), but that was it.
But even that paled in comparison to her exhibition outside Art Cologne in August last year. Calling the project, the “PlopEgg Painting Performance – a Birth of a Picture”, Moire straddled a platform and proceeded to drop paint-filled eggs out of her vagina and onto a canvas. The ‘stained’ canvas was folded up, smoothed out and unfolded to a create a symmetrical splash of art.
6. Hananuma Masakichi – Wood, Dovetail & Glue
The sculpture uses neither nails nor screws, all the pieces are fitted together using dovetail joints and glue. Not content with the likeness he had achieved, he drilled microscopic holes for every pore on his body, plucked the corresponding hair from his body and stuck it in the statue. He also pulled his teeth and fingernails to put in the statue. He even added props like his glasses, clothes and a tiny mask he had made.
The final work was so life-like that audiences who came to see it couldn’t tell the difference between the statue and Masakichi, who often posed next to it. The artist died of the disease, a decade later. Damaged in the 1996 California Earthquake, the statue is reported to be currently stored in London’s Ripley’s Odditoriums. Apparently there hasn’t been anyone with the same level of skill as Masakichi, that can properly restore it.
5. Marc Quinn – Blood Sculpture
But with his ongoing project titled ‘Self’, Quinn outdoes himself. Self is a sculpture of the artist’s head, made from nine pints of his own blood, extracted from his body over a five month period. The sculpture is ‘redone’ every five years, making it a living diary of Quinn’s aging. Quinn hopes that upon his death, all his blood will be drained and used to create one final head.
4. Millie Brown – Paint Vomit
Claiming traditional painting methods made her sick, 27-year-old Millie Brown has trained herself to puke on demand. Swallowing colored milk, she pukes it back up, aiming to splash it in patterns on a white canvas. Her process involves not eating for two days prior to a performance, allowing her stomach to be devoid of any food particles. She claims this allows the colored milk that she regurgitates to come up “beautiful and of pure color”. She also says she allows a one month break between performances.
Her unique ability has landed her parts in a Lady Gaga video and she regularly features in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! One 2011 piece, Nexus Vomitus, was created with an operatic accompaniment and it sold for $2,400.
3. Vincent Castiglia – Blood Painting
With his focus on the themes of birth, life, human condition, mortality and death, blood seems like the right option, but draining enough for a tableaux can be debilitating. The artist pencils in a sketch, before extracting up to 15 vials of his own blood, to complete his painting. Describing his works as ‘hemorrhages’, Castilgia is one of the few artists to be featured the H.R. Giger Museum, in Switzerland.
2. Lani Beloso – Menstrual Cycle
She literally sat over a canvas and let the blood flow, for her first piece. Since then, she collects the blood and applies it to a canvas, then ‘seals’ it in with resin. She created 13 canvasses chronicling a years’ worth of periods. She claimed the act was cathartic and allowed her accept the otherwise painful menstrual cycle. She is currently taking time off painting with blood, but is open to other applications of her flow. One strange effect was that her periods became much less painful after that year of creating ‘art’.
1. Lina Viktor – Gold
The concept artist chooses to use the more expensive gold leaf instead of ‘cheap’ gold paint. Costly? Yes, but Viktor says she won’t have her vision interpreted any other way. Occasionally adding splashes of deep blacks, stark whites and vivid blues, Viktor cites the late Gianni Versace as her role model.
Showcasing her art from Dubai to Nigeria, Viktor was also part of “WU HA | 20 20”, the Wu-Tang Hybrid Arts initiative that celebrated the 20th anniversary the Wu-Tang Clan.