Once again, Kirsten Sims has captured an incredible energy in her paintings that recall the spontaneity of pencil sketches. Her latest series was created for the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg, and they feature vibrant outdoor and indoor scenes that act as a yin and yang—the beauty of solitude, as well as the hustle and bustle of large groups. Each is lively in its application of paint; the colors swirl and mix on canvas, diffusing and abstracting the illustrations. It’s as if they represent one long, fantastic dream… or better yet, a memory!
I’ve written here before about my penchant for 100 days projects, and artist Samantha Russo has recently completed one that’s full of color and pattern—plus, it’s all contained in her sketchbook. Page after page, she uses paint, markers, and pastels to create vibrant abstract compositions that experiment with scale and texture.
If you’re looking for a project to start 2017 (or finish 2016), this seems like a good one. It makes you focus on play, and I’m sure that elements from these pages will be incorporated into Samantha’s work somehow.
Artist Robert Bowers paints tranquil jungle scenes that feature four-legged friends nestled within their lush green leaves. His work is 50% to 75% plants that make it impossible to see beyond their walls of tropical flora… but I’m not complaining. The low depth of field is otherworldly, and Robert’s images offer a form of escapism in which animals rule the land and we’re merely visitors.
Tomorrow, I’m traveling from Baltimore to Los Angeles for an exciting reason—I’ve curated a show at the Flower Pepper Gallery in Pasadena! It’s called Inside / Outside features works that explore indoor and outdoor spaces. I’ve lined up fantastic artists and illustrators, so I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together.
The opening is this Saturday, August 13, from 6:30PM to 9:30PM at Flower Pepper Gallery on Union Street. If you’re local, please stop by! I’d love to meet you and say hello.
Here’s a sneak peek—a few more pieces that’ll appear in the show!
If it looks like a stump of wood… it might not be a stump of wood—it could be a book! Artist Pochiko HO has done exactly this with a handmade text that’s about insects. The clever book’s natural-colored pages are contained within a small chunk of tree bark. Simply remove the book from the circular stump and reveal the winged insects that live inside.
Here’s another mixed media piece, also about insects:
Hayley Mitchell paints people that you want to meet. Clad in bright colors, the Cubist-inspired ladies are adorned with beautiful headpieces and jewelry. They’re abstract, yes, but still display unique personalities, and the pigments give us some insight into who they are. Wouldn’t you like to know?
Hayley has created prints of these characters and sells them all on Etsy.
Artist Monica Rohan combines elements of realism and fantasy to create works that are as beautiful as they are alluring. They’re inspired by a “rural-idyll of a childhood in South East Queensland” and 19th century novels. Each contemplates the genre of autobiography, using this form of mysterious self portraiture to do so. Here, the figures’ faces are obscured by colorful blooms, tall grass, and patterned fabrics. Though they’re partially grounded in some sort of space, the area around the subjects is empty, giving us the feeling that these people are floating in some sort of abyss.
Saddo is an Romanian artist whose career has switched gears. Starting out as a muralist, his style was was noticed by advertising agencies and galleries in cities around the world.
Saddo’s visual language has many disparate influences, including horror movie posters, comics, Hieronymus Bosch, Henri Rousseau, naturalistic illustrations of plants and animals, pop surrealism, and religion. Wow! This is reflected in his paintings and illustrations, which feature realistically-formed figures that are often in busy, lusciously-colored scenes.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you might remember when this artist collaborated with Aitch on Memory. Check it out—it’s my favorite iteration of the classic card game.
Using an X-Acto knife and some careful cutting, Ukraine-based artist Eugenia Zoloto creates intricate silhouettes out of twisting vines, beautiful blooms, and winged insects. The large, lacy portraits—around 15 inches by 11 inches—look stunning against a range of backdrops (check out the vibrant green grass, below). Some of them are now available in Eugenia’s Etsy shop, where you can frame them however you like.
I’m a long time fan of Kate Pugsley’s paintings and illustrations. They feature a fantastic mix of styles, riding a fine line between realism, fantasy, and abstraction—it’s what makes her compositions so memorable. My favorite pieces involve figures in flattened landscapes where the trees and plants are stylized versions of palms and cacti. I find them both aesthetically pleasing and conceptually interesting—what will happen to these heroines?!
Collage artists—need some inspiration? Here are some of Kate’s scraps: