“Graffiti Girls” is a stunningly beautiful portrait series by Austin TX-based artist Kevin Peterson. His blend of both hyper realistic portraiture and natural graffiti penmanship is a new one, and his command of both styles is impressive. Peterson uses the rough and jagged shapes of wall tags to directly juxtapose the soft beauty of young girls; the ragged and worn versus the innocent and clean. Though subject and backdrop are polar opposites, the girls seem empowered by the art behind them, instead of shying away from it. They may live in a world that’s tagged up, but they aren’t scared of it. The color and design of the spraypaint behind them seems to enhance the girls’ beauty and personalities, especially with Peterson often coordinating the tags with the girls’ outfits. These portraits help to make the argument that graffiti is becoming a more normalized form of public art, and though it’s not always pretty, younger generations growing up in this world are used to its presence, instead of threatened by it.
What at first may look like a Styrofoam Mona Lisa is actually incredibly detailed marble work by Italian artist Fabio Viale. Yes you read that right. Marble. Viale does some incredible work to modernize this “old-fashioned” medium, like re-creating Greek Korus torsos and hands covered in tattoos. He is able to transform this heavy, bulky material into creations that seem light and airy, like old beat up tires, popcorn or crumpled paper bags. Viale even went so far as to create a marble motorboat he called Ahgalla, which remarkably he used to navigate the rivers north of Italy.
NYC-based artist Julie Evans creates these floating abstractions out of water-based paints on mylar (plastic sheeting). She lets the colors pool in bright puddles, cuts out individual sections, and collages them together to create new, but organic, shapes. Occasionally, soft pencil marks are added to form edges and shadows. Her creations look like something out of biology class; a cross section of a plant, a fragment of a mineral, or a grouping of cells. Though these collages are fabricated by hand, each piece looks like it came straight out of the natural world. Evans is currently displaying her work at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, NY.
Giuse Modica (aka Giuse) is an artist/illustrator who really loves skateboarding. In his self-explanatory new series called Animals Skateboarding, Giuse gives some beasts of the wild a chance to share his passion. There’s dogs doing ollies, and eagles doing 360 flips. With a background in drawing and character design, it’s no wonder Modica is able to bring so much personality to each of these animals. Modica attended the Williem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, while also studying abroad at the Art Institute of Boston. Modica also loves doing illustrations for children’s books, so don’t be suprised if you see some of these anthropomorphic characters again!
Here’s a quick look into the Barry McGee exhibit at the Berkley Art Museum. It’s been up since the end of August, but you’ve only got one more month to check it out, since it closes December 9th.
You may know him as Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, P.Kin, Ray Virgil, or Twist, but whatever moniker he’s creating under, McGee is an incredibly talented artist. Trained as a painter and a printmaker at the San Francisco Art Institute, McGee is now one of the most influential names in graffiti and street art. During his time in college, he began to take what he was learning to the streets off the Mission District, tagging under different pen names and switching up his styles. Now, he’s brining the streets he knows so well into gallery spaces, creating imaginary urban worlds in his installations. These new landscapes are filled with paintings, sketches, graffiti and sculptures, and visiting them feels a bit like walking around in McGee’s own mind.
Dale Edwin Murray‘s “Hip Hop Heads” are a collection of iconic rappers designed with a distinct early-60’s feel. It’s almost as if Sterling Cooper was their ad agency. Murray, a designer and illustrator based in the UK, started the collection as a personal project, which quickly gained attention for his precision and creativity. His scanned-in textures really make this portraits pop. Murray’s ability to recreate some of the most colorful characters in hip hop, such as Kanye West and Notorious BIG, pictured above, in such a strong geometric style is impressive.
They may be a little rotund, but Peter Taylor‘s illustrations of tattooed figures in yoga poses all seem to be in a state of incredible peace. His characters bend and fold their bodies into soft but flexible poses with a look of blissful calm. Taylor writes that his work focuses on “finding balance, and finding joy in the search for balance”, and this is certainly reflected in his figures’ serene smiles. Taylor is a Vancouver-based artist, with a background in graffiti, who has begun to experiment with illustration and collage. He has most recently been working with pen and pencil, and including cut paper elements into his work.
Brooklyn-based artist Leah Yerpe‘s charcoal drawings depict the true beauty and joy of movement. Her work somehow captures the both the constrains of human anatomy, and also the freedom we can experience in our own bodies. Her figures are twisted, but graceful; tightly bound, but free. Her figures’ faces are typically obscured, which leaves their expressions and emotions a mystery. Their poses could represent pain or ecstasy. They could be falling or flying. They overlap like elements in a collage, but the larger image is one of cohesion as bodies blend together to create beautiful new forms.