Japanese Pop Surrealist Keiichi Tanaami Crafts a Lewis Carroll-Inspired Anime
One of Japan’s foremost pop artists, Keiichi Tanaami, presents a joyfully psychedelic animation inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, unveiling an underworld of kaleidoscopic cosmetics in the form of perfectly made-up third-eyes and chirping lipstick butterflies. Tanaami has had a varied career as one of his country’s most vivid and playful creatives, from creating a record cover for Jefferson Airplane, to becoming the first Art Director of Japanese Playboy. Today’s surreal short was made as an artist commission from Lina Kutsovskaya, Sephora’s Creative Director formerly of Teen Vogue and Barneys. Tanaami’s resulting Alice takes a trip through an imagined world of beauty and artistic fancy, crossing over into a landscape populated by 100 creatures. Invented from both his dreams and drawn from favorite artworks, Tanaami reimagines Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” spiders by Odilon Redon and from the 18th century, “The Elephant and Whale” screens created by Itō Jakuchū.
A Soaring Portrait of Daredevil Motocross Riders High Above the Nevada Desert
“As a sport that involves great personal risk, freestyle motocross is a perfect way to create a sense of story and proved a beautiful way to look at menswear,” says NOWNESS contributor Sharif Hamza. The V, Vogue and W photographer's black-and-white portrait of professional motorcycle riders Tim O’Brien and Greg Garrison captures the duo revving across a barren Nevada plain. “I love spectating people who are able to do something with their bodies and minds that I understand but couldn’t be capable of.” With the stuntmen flying overhead, Dreams of Levitation features model Shaun de Wet clad in metallic, biker-inspired gear by up-and-coming New York-based designer Tim Coppens, and a hypnotic voiceover written by Laura Albert and read by De Wet. “The voice she created is that of the rider in his later years, washed up and living a normal life,” adds Hamza of the contribution of Albert, who under the pseudonym JT LeRoy became the provocative voice of the literary counter culture in 1999. “She helped me to think about who the man is beyond his sport. He’s a roadside mechanic, reminiscing on a peak in his life, a time when he was capable of anything.”
Liz Goldwyn Directs the Award-Winning Actor in a Dark Burlesque Portrait
Perched in a dreamy rose garden, a seductive and melancholic Jena Malone narrates this poetic 19th-century-inspired short by filmmaker and author Liz Goldwyn. Part of a series of works devoted to demystifying the sex industry, The Painted Lady casts the future Hunger Games: Catching Fire star—who made her name in Donnie Darko and Saved!—as a young woman who recalls an encounter with a lushly powdered call girl. As Malone's distinctive voice glides over the hazy footage, intercut shots transform her baby-faced ingénue into a defiant, colorfully made-up femme fatale against a floral backdrop. Only 21 when the vignette was filmed six years ago, the actor’s performance was informed by her own personal transformation at the time. “I was definitely a girl on the verge," explains Malone. "Liz had the sense to see the woman that was crystallizing inside of me. It felt comfortable and somewhat voyeuristic—like the woman I was to become was having a muse’s sitting with my younger self, asking her to remember things." Much like Goldwyn's acclaimed HBO documentary Pretty Things, an exploration of American Burlesque culture, The Painted Lady and its sister project, Sporting Guide, spark discussion of broad social issues, such how our view of the body impacts feminine identity. “In all the work that I do I'm promoting an intelligent conversation about sex,” the director explains. “Jena might look glamorous, but there's a lot of darkness in these stories.”