Archives for category: Painting

We have long commented on the convergence of history and art. They are intrinsically intertwined, reliant on one another in many ways. So when an artist turns the documentation and storytelling aspect of said junction on its head, we surely take notice. For his series The American Revolution Revolution, Denver-based artist Shawn Huckins masterfully juxtaposes early American portraiture with social media jargon. Thoughtfully conceptualized and brilliantly executed, Huckins’s incredible work succeeds on so many levels. And it’s also important to note that these are physical paintings, should Huckins’s artistic ability ever come into question. Huckins is a superb American artist who is clearly inspired by American Neo-Classical painters, as well as more contemporary Pop artists. In his own words, Huckins explains the series: “The American Revolution was conceived through an exchange of a few well-formed ideas communicated in person and by handwritten letters. Imagine what George & Co. could have done with the Internet. Or not. Technology influences how much we know and what we believe, as well as how quickly and intelligently we convey our ideas. But does how we communicate govern the value of what we communicate? The physical act of typing very fast on small devices has undeniably impacted spelling, grammar, and punctuation, encouraging a degree of illiteracy that has become the new social norm. As goes our grammatical literacy, do our social and cultural literacies follow?”

Via shawnhuckins.com

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On this Election Day, we bring you some of our favorite works inspired by this historic election season. In order: Boston-based artist and collage master Molly Scannell; Brooklyn-based artist and educator David Hollier; Nashville-based artist and sculptor Herb Williams (previous posts here and here); Brazilian artist Butcher Billy (previous post here); Nashville-based (Rochester-born) painter Kristin Llamas. Politics as the subject of art has never been more prevalent. Whether it be the polarizing nature of this particular presidential election, or the reach of social media (probably both, actually), talented artists from all over the country and world have been churning our artwork inspired by this moment in history. Let’s just hope everyone is as energized to vote. Go vote!

Via Instagram, Instagram, Flickr, Behance and kllamas.com

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We’ve featured California-based contemporary artist Andrew Myers before (here), but his awesome work deserves a revisit. Myers amalgamates sculpture and portraiture in some really intriguing ways. Whether intentional or not, on some level Myers’ work bears some resemblance (at least conceptually) to that of the great Chuck Close. Rather than splotchy “pixels” of paint, Myers’ work is comprised of screws (yes, as in something you’d get from a hardware store). He painstakingly drives thousands of screws by hand (ranging from a few thousand to over 10,000) at various depths into his “canvas”, then paints over each screw head to create these brilliant works, that in the end are basically three dimensional sculptures. These stunning portraits are engaging viewed from near or far, but as one gets closer, it’s clear that Myers spends some serious time creating these works. He has an obvious love for working with his hands and clearly knows his way around a tool bench… hardware seems to be a common theme in all of his work, from these aforementioned screws to steel rods and even automotive paint. You will see in the video below, Myers has the hands of a carpenter, and we can see why. Tremendous, tactile work… we absolutely love it.

Via andrewmyersart.com

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On the heals of a dark and bizarre U.S. presidential debate the other night, and the seemingly endless campaign (thankfully) coming to a close in exactly four weeks, we thought it fitting to take a look at artwork with world leaders as subject matter. This is, of course, not regal portraiture hung in the Smithsonian in gilded frames. Israeli illustrator/designer/artist Amit Shimoni’s Hipstory series reimagines world leaders (wanna-be and actual), past and present, is hipsters from all walks of life, complete with piercings, facial hair, and all sorts of hairdos. We appreciate that Simoni’s work (for sale here) is free of political agenda, but rather casts these larger-than-life figures in a new, fresh light. Simply fun and a bit thought-provoking.

Via shimoni-illustration.com

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Legos and art have been crossing paths for years now (here and here and here). These colorful bricks that come in a vast spectrum of colors inspire not only young children, but also creative-thinking adults the world over. We are in awe of this brilliant ad campaign for Lego from a few years back, featuring highly minimalistic configurations of single-stud bricks depicting some of the most iconic paintings by masters from da Vinci to van Gogh. The human brain is truly intriguing. The fact that most people would recognize these works of art, with mere hints of details, really is amazing when we think about it. Kudos to Milan-based art director Marco Sodano for the clever concept and flawless execution.

Via Behance

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Painting rocks is a favorite pastime of many, but Michigan artist/illustrator/designer/author/educator Aaron Zenz has taken it to a whole other level. In preparation for what is now known as the “most-attended public art event on the planet”, ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan (happening right now), Zenz and his six children collected and painted over 1,000 rocks over the course of a year. Zenz describes the project in his own words: “I painted them 7 solid base colors, representing myself and my six children. I invited these family members to fill the rocks with any kind of faces they wanted. All the rocks were painted in matching pairs. I took half of the rocks, 500, and arranged them outside the Children’s Museum in a sprawling display, creating a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and patterns. I took the other matching 500 rocks and hid them all over Grand Rapids in random locations. As your family enjoys the day at ArtPrize, keep your eyes open! You will notice details of GR streets like never before. How many of the 500 hidden rocks can you spot? Who in your party has the quickest eyes? When you spot one, leave it where it is and snap a photo. View and share photo discoveries on social media with the hashtag #RockAroundGR to get the complete community building experience.” What a fantastic undertaking on so many levels. With all the often somber headlines lately, this home-grown, positive interactive art experience is certainly a welcome highlight. We only wish it was closer! Think of it as a Stone Age Pokémon GO.

Via artprize.org

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We’ve seen many reinterpretations of Disney characters and themes over the years (here and here and here), but nothing quite like Las Vegas-based painter Heather Theurer’s take. Theurer, who surprisingly doesn’t have a formal art education, takes it well beyond simply fan art. Her skill set and techniques are rooted in fine art, more specifically Renaissance painting, consisting of “a multitude layers of paint and glazes (as many as 20 or so in some cases) to reach the desired depth and detail that dominates her work.” Self-taught or not, Theurer creates some gorgeous work that has actually been commissioned by the big cheese, Disney, which is undoubtedly a great source of pride and validation. With such a deep catalog of characters and stories from which to draw, the possibilities for Theurer’s incredible series are endless.

Via heathertheurer.com

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Fresh on the minds of Americans in this spirited election season, and following last night’s first presidential debate, Donald Trump has firmly cemented his Q Rating (whether favorable or not) into the public consciousness. It should come as no surprise, then, when artwork reflects current affairs (related posts here and here). We’ve discussed the awesome and thought-provoking work of Brazilian artist Butcher Billy not long ago (here), and thought it fitting to share his recent series featuring Trump. Butcher Billy’s skill is clear, and this homage to Belgian surrealist René Magritte, aptly titled Trump X Magritte: The Surrealist Series, draws on his keen sense of color and composition. As Butcher Billy says himself, “Because nothing is more surreal than The Donald.”

Via Behance

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Denver-based artist Jaime Molina has a very specific aesthetic. Clearly influenced by folk art, Molina’s work seems to be part of a larger narrative, complete with characters and such. We love it all, but are really taken with his 3D sculpture work, which has a whimsical, yet rustic feel. We particularly love how Molina uses nails to form the hair of his bearded characters. Though the nails are of varying sizes and seem to be placed almost haphazardly, there’s also a uniformity that’s really intriguing. Some of these intricate pieces even open to reveal a sort of center “skull”. Awesome work, so imaginative.

Via cuttyup.com and Instagram

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Pointillism, a painting technique in which distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image, dates back some 130 years, though the technique is actually analogous to four-color CMYK printing process and RGB displays we designers are all too familiar with. Some of the most notable artists who have employed this technique are van Gogh and Seurat, but the art movement was relatively brief. But contemporary South African artist Gavin Rain makes a great case for bringing it back. Rain seems to have mastered the complex technique, as exhibited in his stellar body of work. In his own words, Rain explains that he developed his style “from the need to tell a story – to present a perspective. I usually dislike art that doesn’t communicate anything. I also hate it when I’m viewing art and I don’t know the message. I wanted to avoid that – everyone has to get my message – which is to step back.” We imagine Rain’s layering process takes quite some time, but the result is absolutely breathtaking. His unique perspective, and ability for visual conveyance, is just incredible.

Via gavinrain.com

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