It’s hard not to be absolutely delighted with this story and these illustrations. Mica Angela Hendricks is an illustrator and graphic artist who used to keep her art projects separate from her daughter’s as a way to maintain control of artistic direction. One day, that changed when her 4-year-old insisted that Hendricks share her new sketchbook with her, finally berating her with, “we might have to take it away if you can’t share,” something Hendricks told her daughter often. So Hendricks let her finish the bodies of many faces she’d started (informed by old black and white movie stills), and was surprised and delighted with the results. Hendricks claims her daughter often has a focused direction when finishing a piece, and that her imagination is unpredictable.
After her daughter finishes drawing, Hendricks adds color and highlights, texture and painting to complete them. Her daughter critques most of them a bit harshly, but ultimately enjoys their collaboration. As for Hendricks, the collaboration means more to her than the creation of interesting and unique illustrations:
“…From it all, here are the lessons I learned: to try not to be so rigid. Yes, some things (like my new sketchbook) are sacred, but if you let go of those chains, new and wonderful things can happen. Those things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little. In sharing my artwork and allowing our daughter to be an equal in our collaborations, I helped solidify her confidence, which is way more precious than any doodle I could have done. In her mind, her contributions were as valid as mine (and in truth, they really were). Most importantly, I learned that if you have a preconceived notion of how something should be, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just ACCEPT it, because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it.”
You can purchase prints of these delightful illustrations here. (via)
German artist Claudia Rogge digitally transforms her photography to create patterned and rapturous images of masses of people. Often the subject matter of her work appears bleak or apocalyptic, but ultimately portrays the vulnerable beauty of these deliberately arranged human figures. Even in the photographs that are a bit more chaotic, you can sense Rogge’s careful attention to the patterns she creates, and the order contained within them. Her meticulously composed photographs evoke both a sense of euphoria and foreboding while demonstrating the fractal-like beauty of people en masse. One of Rogge’s biggest challenges in her work is creating a scene that looks genuine and believable with digital effects.
Of her work, Cluadia Rogge says, “The fascination the theme “mass” exerts on me lies both in the content as well as in the formal and aesthetic aspect. As regards content, it is indeed exciting to live in a time that on the one hand trains people for absolute individuality, but an individuality that is defined by mass media, mass consumption, mass tourism etc. Aesthetically, the patterns and rhythms developed from masses are unique. You can find them in shoals and flocking birds as well as in major gatherings like military parades, processions, concerts etc. Regarding this, I do not resort to already existing masses in my works, but simulate my own.”
Jessica Dunegan’s surreal paintings and portraits are beautifully complex both in content and technique. Using a mixture of epoxy resin, acrylic paint, and archival prints, Dunegan creates organic work with physical depth. After squeezing paint into a layer of liquid resin and creating opaque, delineating strands of paint, she repeats this process many times. Much of her paintings mediate between a sense of tense turmoil or unrest and peaceful tranquility. There is something both romantic and disorienting about her subjects and composition, and her formal process speaks eloquently to this particular aesthetic.
“My subjects are more than superficial objects. They may look realistic from afar, but upon further inspection, they are comprised of suspended, chaotic lines. I want to capture each animated form in time and celebrate its imperfections.” (via)
Dunegan currently lives in Boston. You can watch a video of her process here.
Erin Hanson’sReminders series captures everyday thoughts and places these reminder-thoughts near an appropriate domestic location. These colorful reminder text designs inject daily mundane tasks, like washing dishes, brushing teeth, reading, and watching television with fun, humor, and whimsy. Hanson’s appropriately titled blog, Recovering Lazyholic, began as an attempt to combat laziness and mainly feature two things she loves: photography and graphic design, both of which comprise this particular series. These multi-colored letters remind me of the colorful alphabet magnets commonly found on refrigerators, and my first encounters with them as a child. Whatever the task at hand, Hanson’s designs and photography remind us that we need to accomplish these tasks, but also to live these tasks a little more colorfully and playfully. Hanson lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Edinburgh-based artist Polly Verity creates detailed and intricate sculptures out of paper and wire. Most of her subjects are animals or mythological creatures and the size of her sculptures range from palm to life sized. The wire for the sculptures is built up into a 3D frame and this becomes the contour and outline of the creature. The wires are joined together through wrapping and pinching; no heat is applied to forge the wire. She then applies wet fine paper that she first sizes with glue onto the structure. The paper dries and tightens up while formed on the frame. Her creations are usually kept encased in a glass dome or box for protection and display.
In addition to these incredible sculptures, Verity also creates geometric origami paper art and wearable paper art. Her ability to meticulously create such delicate and intricate designs out of basic and simple tools like paper and wire is impressive. Be sure to check out her Flickr page for more photos, including some of a project she worked on with her brother involving the sculpting of crumpled tissue paper organs.
Most of Ana Teresa Barboza’s embroidery work centers around the body. There are usually sharp contrasts of color imagery embedded in her work, and sometimes, she will use graphite to draw on her fabric before beginning to stitch. These mixed media pieces address the fragmentation of the body, as well as the ability to mold and sculpt our bodies, and how we use them to cultivate identities. Barboza’s work also makes us deeply aware of the internality/externality of our bodies and the primality with which they exist in relation to others.
In addition to these basic concepts, her work is often humorous. Something about embroidery in general renders its subjects playful, as it never seems to take itself too seriously. It therefore becomes the perfect medium for Barboza’s subject matter. A scene that would normally be perceived as grotesque – such as a woman pulling our her entrails – becomes absurd and funny. Perhaps it has something to do with the delicacy and softness of the form and medium. Regardless, Barboza’s work leaves me with a smile.
Javier Pérez’s video, En Puntos, features a ballerina who puts on a pair of pointe shoes that are extended by a pair of sharp kitchen knives. Once she has the shoes on, she begins to balance herself on top of a grand piano, the tips of the knives scratching, scraping, and cutting the surface of the piano. At times, she finds herself on the edge of the piano, and she yelps as she struggles to keep her balance and maintain her strength. At the end of the video, the curtains close on her “performance” in an empty theater. Meant to resonate with the idea of a music box, Pérez’s video captures the fragility and discipline embodied in ballet, while also demonstrating the vulnerability and despair brought to stage performance in general. Also apparent is a delicate violence that makes you wince as the ballerina traverses the piano’s surface.
“Through this work, Javier Perez investigates and reflects once again upon the human condition. Using a strongly metaphorical language rich in powerful symbolism, he reveals the weaknesses that become the boundaries between seemingly irreconcilable concepts such as: beauty and cruelty, fragility and violence, culture and nature or life and death.” (via)
Mary O’Malley’sBottom Feeders is a series of oceanic ceramics that look as if they were discovered among sea wreckage. These “porcelain crustaceans” appear delicate and dangerous, as the aquatic life that crawls among the porcelain seems as if could consume and become the dish itself. Inspired by her home by the sea, O’Malley created this series with porcelain, red Iron oxide, 22 karat gold luster, and a cone 6 glaze that shes makes herself using a recipe called Alfred White. She enjoys creating work that juxtaposes seemingly disparate imagery or ideas, such as the series of urns she created that she intended to be humorous. Of this series, she says,
“What interested me with this series, is by applying the creatures to plates and bowls I was reminded of naturally occurring circumstances where nature takes over man made scenarios. Humans are constantly vying for power against the natural world but we can never quite seem to win. Once I started to create these pieces I then started to notice the same pattern going on in the world around me: moss growing on a concrete wall, barnacles growing on the side of a dock, tufts of grass poking up through cracks in the sidewalk, etc. Maybe I am interested in this series because it is a truer representation of the world we exist in.” (via)
Be sure to check out O’Malley’s Etsy shop, where you can purchase some of her work. She currently lives in New York.