Archives for category: illustration

British artist Nick Smith speaks the visual language of a true contemporary artist. His work is thoughtful, compelling and current. Seemingly inspired by 8-bit graphics of his youth, Smith recreates recognizable paintings from a variety of famous artists using little more than a brilliant sense of color and some custom Pantone Color Chips. Though the work he’s recreating employs broad ranges of color and is often very detailed, his pixelated reinterpretations are still remarkably recognizable. True to Smith’s attention to detail, he does not use standard Pantone chips, but rather customizes them with specific names that relate to the artwork they comprise, adding another layer of dimension to these already impressive works.

More pixelated work here and here and here.

Via smithandstuff.com and Instagram

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Posters are some of our favorite, yet challenging, projects. Poster design is a marriage between visual aesthetic and the delivery of information, between textual and graphical elements… the very fundamentals of graphic design. It should come as no surprise, then, that an institution as important and influential as the New York Film Festival places great emphasis on this visual embodiment of its annual event. Festival organizers manage to recruit some truly respected artists and photographers year after year for its remarkable posters. Below is just a sampling, starting with this year’s by renowned sculptor Richard Serra.

Via nytimes.com

Having a close relationship with marketing at ESPN, we see (and create ourselves) lots of sports-related designs. We recently came across the work of a young Texas-based designer by the name of Nick Bascus. His growing portfolio as a whole has a very nice aesthetic, and he has a clear grasp of graphic design fundamentals like color and typography. But the work that really shines is Bascus’s series of low-polygon illustrations and posters featuring some current NBA stars. These killer designs hit all the right notes, from composition to color choices. Bascus could easily expand on this series with great success, and we honestly hope to see his work on the pages of ESPN The Magazine (nudge, nudge… @espnmag) someday soon.

Via nickbascus.com

Autumn is finally upon us, and time for all things pumpkin spice (don’t get us started), as well as corn mazes and such. Which got us thinking… have you ever seen rice paddy art? Originating in Japan, rice paddy art is achieved when people plant rice of various types and colors to create giant pictures in a paddy field. Inakadate, a Japanese village in the prefecture of Aomori is thought to be the birthplace of this fascinating art form that dates back not thousands of years, but to the early 1990s. As a way to revitalize their village, officials of Inakadate decided to cleverly capitalize on a natural resource of 2,000+ years as a way to boost tourism and celebrate their culture. Since then stunning aerial masterpieces have been created year after year, gaining Inakadate recognition not only through local tourism but also through astounded onlookers by way of the internet (much like yourself). Media company Great Big Story, with their uncanny ability to tell stories, recently produced a beautifully shot piece profiling Inakadate, which garnered their stunning landscape and ingenuity further attention.

Via greatbigstory.com and vill.inakadate.lg.jp

In honor of National Coffee Day, we thought it fitting to showcase an artist who (subtly) uses the magical brown elixir to make art. Maui-based mixed-media artist Alessandra Maria creates beautifully detailed, dark and delicate portraits using little more than a pencil, black ink and gold leaf on coffee-stained paper. Inspired by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, Maria’s haunting life-like portraits evoke fantasy and mystery with intricate details set on an eerily enigmatic surface achieved through the coffee’s dark brown grounds. There are even religious overtones in these thought-provoking masterpieces. Maria’s work is simply beautiful and poignant.

Via alessandramaria.com

Melbourne, Australia-based contemporary artist Ben Frost has a pop art aesthetic with a subversive, confrontational spirit. In some of his most recent work, Frost essentially uses mainly (junk) food and pharmaceutical packaging as a canvas for his bold illustrations inspired by pop culture, Roy Lichtenstein, and manga. His mashups are not random, though… Frost exhibits his mastery of juxtaposition with these works in a way that can be truly provocative. Through his work, Frost continually pushes boundaries and challenges social norms while addressing our advertising-soaked, consumer-obsessed culture. In his own statement, Frost describes: “By subverting mainstream iconography from the worlds of advertising, entertainment, and politics, he creates a visual framework that is bold, confronting and often controversial.”

Via benfrostisdead.com

LEGO bricks are no longer just plastic construction toys, they have permeated all facets of pop culture lately… showing up on the silver screen, in video games, on clothing and even fine art. Classically trained Italian artist Stefano Bolcato has had such a penchant for the timeless toys since childhood that he began using them, and specifically the yellow minifigures, as subject matter for years. Recently, Bolcato took this a step further by reimagining classic paintings with LEGO figures in his series titled People. From Andy Warhol’s legendary Marilyn Diptych to Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird and Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (La Belle Ferroniere), Bolcato’s oil paintings are fun and approachable. We’d love to see him expand on the series…. The possibilities are endless.

More LEGO art here and here and here.

Via stefanobolcato.com and Instagram

What do you get when you unite a talented, young, rebellious artist with discarded artwork? Renaissance paintings that demand a double-take, for one. French artist Blase, aka Blasepheme, has artistic skills rooted in time-honored techniques. But his subversive sense of humor will not allow him to simply restore flea market finds. Blase does much more than that… he scours sales and brings old paintings back to life with fresh concepts and often satirical touches. Some may question a lack of respect for artists who came before him, but Blase can rest easy knowing that he is in the business of resurrecting these otherwise unwanted works, and giving them relevance. Proved by this very post… we’re talking about said paintings from some 3,600 miles away over the internet in 2017! Blase’s work is nothing short of badass, and we applaud not only his artistic prowess but also his defiant spirit.

More artistic renegades here and here and here.

Via blasepheme.com

In recent years, much has been made about America’s addiction to sugar (eye-opening 60 Minutes piece of journalism, here). It really is an epidemic whose impact has yet to be truly realized. But we are slowly waking up to the fact that our sugar-loaded diet is not only making us fat, but it’s also killing us with covert toxicity. New York-based production company Dress Code recently tackled the subject through a thoughtful animated short, aptly titled Coke Habit. Though Dress Code’s usual workload is of the commercial variety, original content plays an important role in any creative enterprise. This superbly crafted surrealist mini masterpiece, featuring arguably the most iconic brand on the planet, tells a true childhood story of staffer “Mike” and his Coke addiction… as in seemingly benign Coca-Cola. From their adept use of color to their masterful storytelling, Dress Code hits all the marks with this brilliant little film.

Via Vimeo and dresscodeny.com

Our penchant for serial works never diminishes. There’s just something about the natural order of things that is so satisfying. Glasgow-based illustrator/designer Jack Daly taps into that systemization while exploring his love of illustration, typography, and travel with his aptly titled Wanderlust Alphabet. And we have to say, the results, so far, are pretty great. It goes without saying that Daly is a terrific artist, and his adept use of color and sense of composition really make each of these pieces sing. Having just tackled the very beginning of the alphabet so far, Daly differentiates each letter/city with signature landmarks, architecture, local customs, etc. We are really taken with Daly’s style and cannot wait to see this alphabet grow. The possibilities are endless! In the meantime, prints available here.

Via Behance and Instagram

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