We are compelled to check in on the work of renowned Russian illustrator/graphic designer Eiko Ojala every so often (here and here) because he’s just so good. Ojala’s style is distinct… we now recognize it from a mile away. These are truly mixed media endeavors, mixing digital illustration, paper textures, and both real and artificial shadows. His adept sense of color, composition and depth are hallmarks of his incredible body of work, which includes illustrations for a variety of impressive clients including The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Herman Miller, Harvard Business Review, Scientific American Mind, Ebony Magazine and The New Yorker. Here’s a sampling of some of his more recent work, including a children’s book he recently illustrated (available for purchase here). Enjoy.
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.
Pop art is alive and well. Having materialized in the 1950s as an alternative to the traditions of fine art, the movement draws from popular culture and often relies on irony. As we’ve noted before, our highly connected, celebrity-obsessed culture is a breeding ground for such art, so it’s no surprise that it seems to be a particularly thriving art scene these days. And many artist have emerged as household names through the years, such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein. Though not quite that prominent (yet), Brazilian artist and designer known as Butcher Billy has a tremendous body of work that pushes pop art forward, while also paying tribute to the past. Butcher Billy is “known for his illustrations based on the contemporary pop art movement. His work has a strong vintage comic book and street art influence while also making use of pop cultural references in music, cinema, art, literature, games, history and politics.” This is just a small sample of his extensive, diverse portfolio. If you didn’t know Butcher Billy’s work, now you do. Killin’ it, indeed.
Via Behance and curioos.com
Given the somber mood surrounding all things politics and money in Europe, particularly Greece, this installation street art, fittingly titled “Crisis”, is especially relevant. Conceived and created by Madrid-based artist SpY, and installed in a central neighborhood in the city of Bilbao, the piece consists of 1000€ (almost $2,000) in 2 cent coins making up the word “CRISIS” on an outdoor wall. Not totally surprising, passersby helped themselves to the money, and all the coins disappeared in less than 24 hours. In some ways, that feels like blatant defacing of public art, but in other ways, that was likely expected and part of the point to begin with. SpY seems very much in touch with the political climate around him, and we love his out-of-the-box creativity. There’s good reason he’s been making such relevant urban art since the mid-eighties. In his own words, his work “involves the appropriation of urban elements through transformation or replication, commentary on urban reality, and the interference in its communicative codes…. a parenthesis in the automated inertia of the urban dweller. They are pinches of intention, hidden in a corner for whoever wants to let himself be surprised. Filled with equal parts of irony and positive humor, they appear to raise a smile, incite reflection, and to favor an enlightened conscience.”
Some of the best, most thought-provoking art and design is best viewed from a variety of angles. In fact, the work of Brooklyn-based artist Michael Murphy relies on varying vantage points. Murphy’s large-scale, complex structures are profoundly awe-inspiring (these photos surely don’t do them justice, they are best viewed in person). His multi-layered, multi-dimensional sculptures consist of suspended objects that, when viewed from different perspectives, reveal something more. Murphy explains, “[my] large-scale works seek to dominate the viewer’s physical and mental space, captivating the critical thought process as one circles around the various entities that form a cohesive whole. Pieces initially experienced on a visually flat plane resonate with meaning upon closer inspection, opening up cerebral capacities to perpetual reconsideration. The mesmerizing effect of the varied angles and ingredients of [my] sculptures provoke thought, using aesthetic titillation as their gateway.” Murphy’s conceptual approach, paired with his calculated orchestration of these phenomenal installations, is a true marvel on a many levels. Wow.
When it comes to an art medium we can really sink our teeth into, food is near the top of our list. After all, few things bring people together like food. It’s relatable, familiar, often comforting, and let’s face it, essential to our very being. Philadelphia-based photographer Dominic Episcopo invites viewers to “Meat America” through this engaging and polarizing series of photographs of, well, meat — carved, molded, manipulated — to look like American icons. Episcopo describes the project as “an eye-opening and artery-closing tour of America’s spirit of entrepreneurship, rebellion and positivity.” From Elvis, to Lincoln, to the Liberty Bell as subjects, Episcopo’s carnivorous wit shines through. And his photography skills are not too shabby either. Patriotic protein aside, Episcopo’s sense of composition and lighting is stellar. A less skilled photographer would not have pulled this off so well. Episcopo’s book available here.
More food art here and here and here.