Into the Uncanny Valley
Hi everyone, happy Wednesday!
I’ll be honest — I almost skipped writing my newsletter this week. Not because of any extenuating circumstances, but because there’s pretty much nothing I wanna do right now except sit on my couch and watch Elden Ring streams. (If you don’t know what Elden Ring is, the New Yorker recently published a profile of its creator Hidetaka Miyazaki that’s a pretty good explainer of FromSoftware’s whole deal — when even New Yorker is chiming in, you know it’s a Cultural Event.)
But if there’s anything I’ve learned from Elden Ring, it’s that no matter what travails, trials, and tribulations one encounters, one must fulfill one’s duty, so here I am, having made it to your inbox despite Twitch’s siren call. Having spent so much time these past few days immersed in a mythical world filled with grotesque beasts and Eldritch horrors, you may or may not notice a slight influence on my picks this week.
Wax On, Wax Off
Although Janie Korn’s wax candles ostensibly feature cheerful subject matters — pets, flowers, a grinning cob of corn — there’s something a tad unsettling about them. Especially when it comes to her custom human portrait candles, which sort of look as if a Picasso painting did its best to patch itself back together and is now seeking vengeance. Although I’d venture to guess that most of Korn’s candles remain pristine — they’re works of art, after all, and priced accordingly — you certainly could burn them, if you wanted to watch the visages of the people you love warp and distort as they melt into a shapeless, sticky puddle.
I used to love playing with paper dolls as a kid, but you know, the normal kind — the pretty girls with the interchangeable dresses. Artist and illustrator Emma Kidd, however, is more interested in crafting girls with bird and bull heads. Inspired by monsters, dreamscapes, and visions of the ocean, her dreamy chimeric creations graft feathers onto cats and fish tails onto monkeys, all rendered in wispy watercolor strokes. If you don’t want to spring for an original creation, she also sells DIY kits complete with brads and pre-printed pieces for less than $5, so you can pick up a whole fleet of fantastical friends.
Pick Your Poison
Forget boring glass vases. Made from gelatin, glycerin, acrylic, and other bioplastic mediums, artist Caroline Zimbalist’s vessels draw inspiration from nature and the organic flow of the materials; her process involves pouring a heated mixture on the ground and letting chance dictate the sculpture’s final form. The results are alternately beautiful and bizarre — they look as if they’ve been harvested straight from some deadly poison swamp. This is definitely not a vase for displaying a bunch of cheerful, straitlaced daisies; maybe better suited for holding nightshade or hemlock?