Hyperrealistic Art – come visit the beautiful Uncanny Valley

Enjoy the uncomfortable sensation of the inanimate object tiptoeing the brink of life. Here are just a few. Click on the images to enlarge.

Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Thomas Kuebler
Thomas Kuebler
Jamie Salmon
Jamie Salmon
Sam Jinks
Sam Jinks
Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini

Lana Del Rey’s ‘Honeymoon’ Album Review

Whilst ‘Ultraviolence’, Lana’s last album, rode a theme of desperation, loneliness and unrequited, abusive love, ‘Honeymoon’ is about a love laced with quivering hope, freedom and vengeance – so only more tormenting. Lyrically, Lana has somewhat brought back the sass of her debut album ‘Born To Die’. Melodically, she has not returned to pop, and sings longing, legato notes in her high, Marilyn-esque pitch. For tracks such as ‘High By The Beach’ however, we do hear the lower end of her range, pining over distorted, hip-hop beats. Throughout the album, the epic, natural string section that Lana is so well known for is occasionally quietened, making room for either mellow electronic organs or exotic percussion, concocting visions of The Godfather films, especially the song ‘Salvatore’. The all-consuming obsession with Americana and its darkest corners remains the overbearing force behind Lana’s work, and ‘Honeymoon’, despite being not as dreary as ‘Ultraviolence’, is somewhat more haunting for this reason. ‘Honeymoon’ paints a vision larger than “the other woman” from ‘Ultraviolence’, depicting instead a tangled story of hazy nights out, anonymity as a ‘Freak’ in California, and the desire to run away and have it all. The theatrical tone is chilling and strange. In the interlude ‘Burnt Norton’, we listen to Lana recite a philosophical monologue about the nature of time, of present, future and past, over the top of psychedelic sounds and vibrations, and the mirage of drugs, neon lights and the glamour of sadness thickens. Successfully again, Lana will pull you into her world of self-made illusion, that grapples onto beauty in a tragic reality. Her music’s openness about suffering from irrational infatuation, and from one’s vicious disenchantment with their existence, is what continues to make Lana Del Rey’s work, and the ‘Honeymoon’ album, so uncanny and addictive.

‘Phantom’ – Leigh

Lily-white beauty, never gets dirty, even her bare cold feet.
She is the phantom we want to become, nameless and careless and free.
She is the nightmare, yellow-eyed creature, giggling, sweet white teeth.
Dying, so tired, gimme your powers, voices deep as the sea.
She is the lighthouse, bring ’em in closer, sugar-kiss on her tongue.
Trying forever but I don’t get better, she is all that we want.
Open up and tell me how, how to break these chains,
kiss me in the darkness, baby girl, let it go, let it go, makes me crazy waiting for you.
Lily-white beauty, never gets dirty, even her bare cold feet.
She is the phantom we want to become, nameless and careless and free.
Open up and tell me how, how to break these chains,
kiss me in the darkness, baby girl, let it go, let it go, makes me crazy waiting for you.

https://soundcloud.com/leighofficial/phantom

‘Champagne and Wax Crayons’ by Ben Tallon

Champagne and Wax CrayonsBeing creative is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m trying too hard or if I’m lazy, but such is the doubt that comes hand in hand with creativity. Pursuing a creative career can be much harder than working your way up the ladder of 9 to 5’s. There is no set route, no guidelines, nobody setting you tasks, nobody setting you goals. It is such unknown, ever-changing territory, and there are never two stories the same from those who have been successful at making their passion their livelihood; a sure-fire strategy doesn’t exist. From a more positive angle, there is no right or wrong in the creative industries, and you are in charge of your art and your hours, and that is all part of the dream. So it depends how you look at it.

Ben Tallon’s first book, Champagne and Wax Crayons, is an autobiography starting from childhood, about how he got to make a good living from freelance illustration, managed to tick off his ultimate client bucket list within three years of graduation, and why we must value the journey just as much, if not more, than reaching our destination. At the end of each chapter is a list entitled “What I’ve Learnt”, summarising the key lessons of each stage in Tallon’s life, and every single one is invaluable. This book came to me exactly when I needed it. I had actually purchased Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway on my kindle the night before – so you can guess the kind of mindset I’ve been in recently. I got as far as the third chapter, feeling just as hopeless. When you’re at the stage of purchasing self-help books in early hours of the morning, it’s hard to take the suggestion of post-it-noting your entire home with inspirational reminders seriously. My cynicism levels went through the roof.

Champagne and Wax Crayons has given me clarity and courage about taking the road less trodden. It is absolutely honest, which is what makes it so useful, as well as endearing. It presents the reality of sacrifice and how, actually, that is one of the greatest parts of the endeavour. There is deep satisfaction to be found in the obsessiveness and the struggle, and you’re not crazy to think so, too. The book teaches the same mantra as Susan Jeffer’s, to feel the fear and do it anyway, but it does so implicitly and thoughtfully, through real-life, tried and tested experience. It suggests that the key to progressing in your creative pursuit is to simplify things as much as possible. Follow your nose as opposed to the target, as long as you’re enjoying yourself. Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it. And above all else, thank you, Ben, for the reminder: it is okay that you do not know what you’re doing. Nobody else does either.