Artist Bio: Lucea Spinelli

Dreams. Light. A world just outside our visual conception. Artists have spent centuries exploring these types of ideas through visual art, looking to the ways we can bring the internal and otherworldly into an experience that resonates with everyone. Each of us, after all, have experiences that aren’t simply about the objective world around us, but involve our feelings, spiritualities, emotions, and more.

In general, art about the otherworldly or simply non-visual experiences tend to come from artforms that lend themselves to the abstract: painting, animation, and the like. But that doesn’t mean these cannot be experienced in the more “grounded” of arts, including photography. This is where the art of photographer and visual artist Lucea Spinelli comes in: combining the familiar, the real, with the unfamiliar, the experience outside the visual realm.

Lucea Spinelli’s latest series of photographs, Phōtosgraphé, aren’t photography in the strictest of sense, Spinelli herself, in an interview with Architectural Digest, describes each of the portraits as “stop motion, light painting, long-exposure photography, motion art, et cetera. I usually refer to them as spirit portraits or, as the name suggests, light drawings.”

Each of the photographs, or light drawings, in “Phōtosgraphé use long exposure and light sources to add an element of surrealism to standard photographs. A picture of a swing set at night, for example, becomes a picture of light swinging from an abandoned swing. Seeing the piece brings a number of questions: what causes the swing to move? Who is there just beyond our usual perception? How does our world obscure our objective experiences?

For Spinelli, Phōtosgraphé is a chance to create something that blends photography, moving art, and philosophy into a single experience. “Studying philosophy and politics gave me language to understand realms of consciousness that exist outside our perception,” she explains in the interview, “I see dreams, spirits, and interpretations of the divine as stemming from these realms, and they are what drive my creative exploration.”

Possibly an unexpected side effect of her pieces is how they translate onto the web. Each moving image in Phōtosgraphé is instantly gif-able, as it were, and many of them are showing up online as continual loops of experience. The way her art moves from real world to online experience makes the series one with our virtual selves, which adds a layer to the otherworldly experience the pieces speak to and cause spectators to feel.

Spinelli grew up surrounded by photography, with both her parents working as commercial photographers when she was a child. She “had a camera in hand from a young age” and while she never had formal training, a “childlike fascination” with the medium has led to truly unique results. Like the pieces themselves, Spinelli’s work exists in the fringes, on the borders, and in this space she is able to create feelings in her audience that traditional approaches to photography and art simply cannot.

Website Profile: Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine

As street art becomes more prevalent, more accepted, and discussed more on the public stage, it’s easy to forget that it’s a place where weird things can happen. Street art began its modern life in alleyways, on the sides of abandoned buildings, and under the cover of darkness. It was something that happened in secret and often in small, isolated groups. The artists who started modern street art were often barred from other kinds of then-accepted forms of artistic expression. When they couldn’t have their work in art galleries, they spray painted the sides of buildings. When no one thought spray paint was good enough to create art, they made impressive artistic leaps. And when their content was deemed “too risqué,” they responded with getting weird.

Bizarre Beyond Belief is a website and publication dedicated to keeping the weirdness of street art, design, and artistic expression noticed, discussed, and documented. It embraces the courageous and the bold, the artists who strike out and make something that captures people’s attention for any number of reasons, from the artistic stylings to the strange subject matter. It makes people remember that street art isn’t conventional and can do things that “high culture” art can only dream of.

The website regularly features profiles, interviews, photo galleries, and more of the weird and wonderful things happening in the world. They look beyond street art when looking for the bizarre as well, with sections dedicated to design, photography, and other artistic modes to see what’s truly weird in the world. By doing so, Bizarre Beyond Belief often discovers smaller artists before they break, making it an excellent resource for anyone who wants to stay current with the art world outside of the usual galleries.

Many websites struggle with revenue, but Bizarre Beyond Belief has managed to foster a dedicated and loyal audience that takes pride in their subscriptions. The website is now known for its wonderful merchandise almost as much as its content. The wide variety of apparel, pins, and more help the website stay in business, but it also offers an opportunity for its readers to have a small piece of what the website profiles.

Bizarre Beyond Belief is a website that proves street art, no matter how popular it gets, will always be on the outside. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of the best artists in the more accepted art galleries are or were street artists, and graffiti has become a major influence in many recent artistic movements. By staying weird and on the outside, street art is able to inject new ideas into the world without the usual gatekeeping and barriers set up to stop them. And with that, our society and our art culture can grow, warp, and continue to catch people off-guard.

Art Basel Festival

One of the great things about the art world today is how much appreciation and investment it can get in many different forms. While some funding can be difficult, the opportunities to connect people to the art world, and art professionals to other artists, has only grown in the digital age. But just because it’s easier than ever now doesn’t mean it has always been that way, which is why some of the world’s best art festivals are also the oldest. One such art festival is Art Basel, a festival with nearly fifty years of history, success, and, of course, beautiful and compelling artwork.

Art Basel was started in 1970 in the town of Basel, a bustling city in the northwest of Switzerland right on the river Rhine. The city has a long and fascinating artistic history, both in terms of the artists is has produced and the position it holds in the European art community. In 1970, three local gallery operators, Trudi Bruckner, Balz Hilt, and Ernst Beyeler, came together to create the inaugural Art Basel. It was designed, as they say on their website, to create “an exciting environment that deepens and strengthens the relationship between gallerists, artists, curators and collectors.” That first festival was in itself a monumental occasion, with over 90 participating galleries and an estimated 16,000 visitors.

After that first event, Art Basel expanded extremely quickly, hinting that it had tapped into something that was desperately needed in the European art scene. By its third year, it had grown to 30,000 attendees, with 281 participating galleries. But not content with keeping the festival in just Europe, the founders looked elsewhere to expand in the early 2000s. As such, Art Basel Miami was celebrated for the first time in 2002 under the leadership of art director Samuel Keller. A third festival was added in 2013 in Hong Kong, focusing mainly on the art scenes happening in China and eastern Asia.

Many existing art collectives use Art Basel as an opportunity to promote and encourage the work that happens in their organizations, such as the Wynwood Walls Project. Based in Miami, where Art Basel made its first expansion, Wynwood Walls is an art revitalization project in the Wynwood district, a place known mostly for its abundance of warehouse walls. The project has sought world-renowned muralists to paint these walls, and the organization creates events to encourage a rotating art experience. In conjunction with Art Basel, Wynwood Walls launched its Walls of Change initiative, which saw the creation of 14 new murals by some of the best artists in attendance for Miami’s Art Basel festival.

Art Basel is an excellent example of why art festivals matter both historically and in our contemporary world. While connecting artists to audiences and other art professionals has become easier in our digital age, festivals like this provide an even better stage for the world of art. Art Basel has and remains at the forefront of the contemporary art world, showcasing some of the best and most up-and-coming art projects in the world, all while keeping the focus on art and artists.

Artist Bio: Jade

Street art, in many ways, changes from place to place. Not simply in style, since different artists are working in different cities, but in terms of culture, of subject matter, and of what’s depicted. After Los Angeles enacted its infamous street art ban, the city’s street art took a noticeable turn. Styles morphed as artists had less time, and other things on their minds, as they made their art. Meanwhile, Sao Paulo completely legalized street art, encouraging artists. As a result, the city’s street art became more ambitious, more influential, and many world famous artists began to emerge from the scene.

Peru is an exceptionally large and disparate country, one that stretches from the Northern end of Chile all the way up to Ecuador. From its capital of Lima in the south west, the country spreads out, with pockets of beautiful landscapes run completely by locals to the dense, tourist-heavy areas of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, where some of the most fascinating Incan ruins remain. Being so large and so disparate, the country has managed to produce a varied street art culture. Partially derived from the disparity found in the people, and partly in the variations you can find in the country itself.

One artist who has managed to capture Peru in all its varied glory is Jade. Growing up in Peru himself, Jade has tapped into something that is truly important and truly beautiful about Peru: its own relationship with nature. From the mountains that house Machu Picchu to the rain forests in the north to the desserts in the west, Peru has an extremely varied landscape, one that has been met with its fair share of exploitation and abuse. But the country has been fighting to keep its nature beautiful, and has made extremely successful headways into truly progressive environmental policy. It’s a testament to the country’s love of its land, from its individual citizens to its place on the world stage, and artists like Jade have managed to tap into this unique relationship.

Jade’s artistic pieces, which range not only in size but in ambition, try to connect the human body back to nature in unique and beautiful ways. It can be simple, like a painting of a boy on a giant rock, or it can be quite abstract, like Jade’s tendency to add ghostly birds and beaks to depictions of modern day people. With all of it, Jade makes certain to connect the human subjects to nature, to bring the important relationship the Peruvian people have with their landscapes to the forefront, and Jade does so with an intense colouring that you would associate with South American countries like Peru.

What Jade’s art can show us is that street art, while somewhat dependent on an urbanized space, doesn’t necessarily have to ignore the natural. In fact, the relationship between people and their environment can be showcased as beautiful and intrinsic. Jade’s art manages these spaces, and Jade does so while making something that is truly Peruvian.