Maggie Chiang (previously) remains as one of my favorite contemporary illustrators. Her work is technically beautiful and conceptually intriguing—particularly when she delves into sprawling landscape illustration. The abstract horizons leave much to the imagination as figures contemplate what’s ahead. These spaces, no matter desert or forest, permeate her imagery—even when it comes to portraiture. This dedication to spaces both near and far play into Maggie’s larger ideas of her work.
I want to live in the colorful illustrations of Kiki Ljung. The Paris-based creative crafts vibrant imagery that’s inspired by the natural world—even her illustrations of people are seeping with beautiful blooms on their clothes and in the background. While nature driven, Kiki creates an interesting juxtaposition: her artwork is defined by geometric shapes and digital production. It really symbolizes the world today; that we love the outdoors, but also our devices.
Illustrator Lee Eunjoo explores the notion of “fantasy consuming” through her series Goddess of Fantasy. It’s inspired by Krishan Kumar’s The Ends of Utopia, that says that “modern man could consume their own fantasy, and in doing so create utopia.” Lee’s illustrations connects this with social media—specifically, the idea of “consuming images” on social media.
Have I ever told ya’ll how much I love interior illustrations? Because I do—they’re fascinating! You can learn so much about a person from the objects they own. It’s why I’m drawn to the illustrated homes of Liz Rowland. Simply called Interiors, they feature “small scenes from around the world.” There’s a window and a plant in Mexico, sunflowers in London, and a messy desk in Melbourne. Each has artifacts telling us about the person who inhabits the space, done in a style that recalls the great Jonas Wood.
For many months, I’ve admired the Instagram account of illustrator Jane Newland. Particularly, her patterned landscape illustrations. Each piece is a slice of paradise as houses are tucked away in bustling forests or along the banks of a river. They’re escapism at its best.
Influenced by vintage pottery, fashion, and mid-century architecture, Anne M. Bentley paints curious portraits of mysterious folks. Clad in oversized sunglasses and 70s-inspired outfits, they pose with big cats, poodles, and feathered friends.
Anne’s bright colors and bold visual approach leave me wanting more. I wish I knew the stories of these illustrated portraits—but, I can always make up my own back stories of these people. That’s part of the fun.
Unless you were in an isolation chamber this past weekend, you probably heard and/or participated in a Women’s March. I was fortunate to be able to make it to the main Washington, DC event (Baltimore is just an hour train ride away). It was incredible! The streets were full of people marching for the equality of all women, while also protesting Donald Drumpf’s disgusting attitudes and actions towards women.
Art and activism go hand in hand. The signs I saw were powerful, often incorporating humor or puns to make a point. Some were beautifully illustrated to boot. Here are some of my favorites I’ve seen around the web from the marches in DC and around the world.
Erin Robinson, better known as Brooklyn Dolly, creates gorgeous portraits in a smattering of mediums. Look closely at her dreamy imagery and you’ll find watercolor, ink, charcoal, stenciling, collage, as well as digital work. Together, their layers are visually rich and celebrate Erin’s subjects—the “feminine shape and the many shades and coifs of Brooklyn.”
Erin sells her work through the Brooklyn Dolly Etsy shop.
During the winter, without fail, I dream of the flowers in spring. (There’s only so much gray I can take—especially in the concrete jungle.) A woman (and mom) named Vicki—one half of the shop Sister Golden—has created floral art that’s the perfect escape from the dreariness. Using succulents, dried leaves, and fresh blooms, she arranges them into exquisite portraits of women. One of her most popular pieces features Frida Kahlo cleverly drawn using stems and sticks. They’re a great substitute for a pen or paintbrush!
These pieces, and more, are available through the Sister Golden shop.
Svabhu Kohli created some of my favorite illustrations this year, with his intricately detailed nature images celebrating the world’s splendor. Full of color and texture, these compositions beg you to study them for a long time. These particular pieces are a riff on his Ocean piece of 2015—the sea creatures are the focal point framed by a beautiful floral landscapes.