Inside the Work of 'Carry That Weight' Artist Emma Sulkowicz

Emma Sulkowicz

One of the most intriguing artists of our time, Emma Sulkowicz opens up about events leading to the viral performance piece and continuing work. Three years before the #MeToo movement went viral, New York–based performance artist Emma Sulkowicz became famous for the 2015 performance piece Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), in which Sulkowicz carried a 50-pound dorm mattress around Columbia University’s campus for nine months to protest the university’s lack of action against an alleged rapist. After becoming a luminary in the art world, Sulkowicz — who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns — performed Self-Portrait (Performance with Object), in which they answered questions from visitors while standing on a platform at the Caogula Curatorial gallery in Los Angeles, California. Questions that objectified or fetishized Sulkowicz, however, had to be directed toward Emmatron, a life-sized robot in the likeness of Sulkowicz, which dispensed prerecorded answers to preset questions Sulkowicz didn’t        …read more

Viva la Vida: The Life Stories behind Frida Kahlo’s Best Paintings

Frida Kahlo

In celebration of Frida Kahlo’s birthday, July 6, explore the indomitable Mexican artist’s best paintings and the stories behind them. Frida Kahlo’s art is haunting, from tortured self-portraits to surreal works blending magical realism with her distinct folk art style. Her paintings are intensely personal, like visual diary entries, and she doesn’t shy away from the gory details of her physical and emotional pain. Every painting tells a story, and each one is a brushstroke on the canvas of her legendary life. According to Frida Kahlo scholar Hayden Herrera in her book Frida Kahlo: The Paintings, Frida was born — and died — in the “Blue House” in Coyoacán, Mexico, which is now the Museo Frida Kahlo (Frida Kahlo Museum). In her short life, Frida created 143 stunning — and sometimes disturbing — paintings. Frida Kahlo had no formal training aside from a few high school art classes, and she        …read more

Rebecca Parham of Let Me Explain Studios on the Rise of YouTube Animation

Let Me Explain Studios

Just one year after Parham quit freelancing to become a full-time YouTuber, her Let Me Explain Studios is among the most popular animation channels on the platform. When Rebecca Parham of YouTube channel Let Me Explain Studios posted a collaboration video titled “How to Creep Out Your Fav YouTubers at Cons” in May of 2017, the freelance animator could’ve never anticipated the reaction she’d get — or the life changes that were in store. The video, which featured lines voiced by fellow YouTubers TomSka, Jaiden Animations and Daneboe, sent her subscriber count soaring. Just two months later, the night before she left for VidCon, she hit 100,000 subscribers. That was only the beginning. In July of 2017 the Ringling College of Art & Design graduate quit her freelancing job and became a full-time YouTuber. With more bandwidth for what she loves, and with the support of the YouTube animation community,        …read more

‘What If?’ Movies Reimagined: The Art of Peter Stults

Peter Stults

In his imaginative poster series, Peter Stults casts classic performers like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean in popular movies of our time. Anthony Hopkins as Trainspotting’s Renton. David Bowie as Doctor Strange. Audrey Hepburn going creepy in Black Swan. Welcome to the fever dreams of Peter Stults, a New York artist who applies his unique casting choices to films ranging from Die Hard to Inception to Captain America, inspiring us to look at Hollywood in a new light. Such intermarriages of Hollywood luminaries aren’t just for surface entertainment. When you look deeper into Stults’ choices, you can see how the affected film could be enhanced by time-traveling into an era of bespoke suits and shaken-not-stirred martinis. Sean Connery would be perfect as The Fifth Element’s main character, played by Bruce Willis, bringing a swagger that Willis might not showcase. Christopher Walken as the T-1000, the villain, in Terminator 2? Yep,        …read more

A Brief History of Shia LaBeouf Doing Weird Shit

Shia LaBeouf

Ahh, Shia LaBeouf. You lovable scamp, you. People say you’re crazy, Shia LaBeouf. They say you’ve lost the plot. They tell me to stop writing you letters — that you’ll never respond. But I know you read them, Shia. I know you’re reading this right now, Shia. I know everything, Shia. I can read your mind, Shia. Oh yeah? Prove it, friend, is what you just said to your screen, Shia. Now you’re freaking out. You’re trying to trick me, trying to think completely random things to prove to yourself that you aren’t crazy and that I’m not reading your mind. But I am, Shia. Purple lemur in roller skates spinning gracefully on an upside-down Toyota. See? I’m in your head, Shia. Accept it. Embrace it. I’m not writing this article for my fans, of which there are plenty. No, I’m writing this for you. See, I’ve been watching you. Studying        …read more

James Rallison on TheOdd1sOut Comics, Animations & New Book

TheOdd1sOut comics

The creator takes us back to the beginning of TheOdd1sOut comics and his enormously popular YouTube animation channel and teases his new book. On June 14, 2012, 16-year-old James Rallison posted the first in a new webcomic on his Tumblr page. It took him 100 comics to gain 100 followers, about a year to settle on a defined style of sketching, and more than two years to make the transition to YouTube. But since these humble beginnings, the now-21-year-old animator amassed a following of more than seven million YouTube subscribers (at the time of this writing) who wait with baited breath for new videos to appear on his channel, TheOdd1sOut. With a quirky sense of humor and self-voiced characters, Rallison’s personality is at the heart of what makes TheOdd1sOut such a hit — his comics aren’t just funny but also relatable. While videos like “My Thoughts on the Science Fair        …read more

The Many Faces of Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí, Salvador Dali

“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” On Salvador Dalí’s birthday, May 11, we remember the surrealist painter’s equally surreal life. In 1924 French poet André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto, in which he explained an emergent post–World War I movement in art and poetry called surrealism. The goal of surrealist art was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality,” which was often achieved by contrasting the mundane and the fantastic. French poets may have created surrealism, but Spanish artist Salvador Dalí perfected it. Born May 11, 1904, Dalí was an intelligent but easily distracted child. He later said, “At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” Dalí was a natural with a paintbrush whose talents were evident early on. At the        …read more

Dave Pollot Brings Pop Culture to Old Thrift Store Paintings

Dave Pollot creative expressions

Dave Pollot populates thrift store paintings with pop culture icons. Mario, Bowser and other MarioKart characters careen through a pastoral forest. A Gremlin looks out from an otherwise staid collection of fruit bowls and flower vases. X-Men’s Magneto scans a picturesque beach with a metal detector. Welcome to the art landscape of Dave Pollot, who creatively places pop culture icons into thrift store art scenes. The New York artist’s favorite films and TV shows slip into his paintings and murals, from Star Wars to Batman to Ghostbusters to Deadpool. What makes his pieces stand out is how seamlessly these cultural stars find their way into background artwork that you wouldn’t glancest at twice. Pollot embraces that ho-hum thrift store look as the ideal setting to let movie and TV characters display a different shade to their personalities. For example, the creepy girl from The Ring isn’t slinking out of a        …read more

Artist’s Hyperrealistic Repaints Turn Celebrities into Lifelike Dolls

lifelike dolls

With a little paint and a lot of love, Instagram’s @Cyguy83 designs incredibly lifelike dolls. Cyrus Bronock’s day starts just like anyone’s might: He rises early, brews some coffee, gets dressed, gives his still-sleeping husband a quick kiss on the forehead — Kamden is a college professor — and then it’s off to work. But here’s where his day diverges from the average nine-to-fiver’s. Bronock, known to his fans as Cyguy83, is a repaint artist who specializes in lifelike dolls. Specifically, he takes prefab 11.5-inch fashion and character dolls, strips off their assembly-line paint, then lovingly re-creates them into astonishingly accurate one-of-a-kind representations of celebrity actors and musicians in some of their most iconic incarnations. Bronock starts work in his second-floor studio just as the sun is coming up. “I wake up super early because I’m usually excited about the doll I’m creating at the moment,” he told Crixeo. The        …read more

The Little-Known Works of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss

Beyond ‘The Cat in the Hat,’ Dr. Seuss created political cartoons, films and even a couple of books for grown-ups. On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Twenty-seven years later, under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, he released his very first book, The Pocket Book of Boners. The book, which is very much not what you’re likely thinking it is, collected “boners” — a now-outdated term for silly errors, found in classroom papers. It sold 1.34 million copies by 1945. In 1937, after dozens of rejections from publishers, Dr. Seuss made his first contribution to children’s literature: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Within two years, he’d released two more children’s books and begun a hugely successful relationship with Random House that would last the rest of his life. In 1939 he released a book for an adult audience, a humorous spin on        …read more