Berlin based illustrator, Melissa Murillo , better known as “Meyoko” her work reflects the darker side of Art Nouveau. Executed in free hand, with a fountain pen Black China ink and more recently Gold, the artworks by Meyoko are like open doorways to a microcosmic wilderness populated by divine entities and mythical creatures. Forests made of luxuriant hair are inhabited by tattooed flowers and plants ;by ravens and hummingbirds with strange silky bodies in place of feathers. An organic apotheosis executed with extreme minutia and with an endless creative sensibility.
Mikie Poland does what he wants, and that is awesome. Some might read this and think that it’s juvenile, but in a world where most people play a passive role in their own lives – I’m truly inspired by someone who is willing to pursue their passions with everything they have at their disposal. Poland is on the road about half the year touring with one of the two bands he plays in (Giving Up or State Champion), and spends much of his remaining time working odd jobs and helping to promote Sophomore Lounge Records in whatever way he can. As the web manager, primary art director, and right-hand-man of the label’s creator (Ryan Davis) you might wonder where he finds time to do much else. As it turns out, there is a good amount of “downtime” in the van in between gigs, and Poland often spends this time productively. Whether he is drawing posters for upcoming shows or clever illustrations referencing everything from Jazz to Dracula – Poland stays busy.
The nature of his practice could force a comparison to Raymond Pettibon, but Poland’s aesthetic is very much his own. There is certainly a gritty quality to the work, but his quick wit and keen understanding of texture and mark making have an intentionality to them that belies the crude manor in which many of his illustrations are fashioned. Having a fine arts degree from a conceptually oriented school like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where Poland received his undergraduate degree) often leads one down a path of pretention that can be hard to escape, but Poland manages to keep things in perspective. His observations are honest, the tone is real, and I enjoy looking at the work. If you scroll through these drawings and at least one of them doesn’t put a smile on your face I think it might be time to re-evaluate how seriously you take yourself. Giving Up will be on an east coast tour this June, and if you like what you see below I encourage you to check out their shows and pick up one of Poland’s expansive zines at the merch booth.
Adrienne Kammerer’s exquisite graphite drawings depict an ongoing narrative exploring the history of magic set in a fictitious past. Through beautifully rendered figurative portraits and environments, Kammerer intuitively combines historic folklore with documented and imagined instances of magic, mythology and the occult. Drawing influence from the fear and superstitions rooted in childhood, Kammerer’s images conjure memories of the past while offering a subtly dark humor indicative of their present existence.
Jeremiah Maddock is a hard guy to pin down. Many have spoken of him as some sort of ghost- a shadowy figure that passes through bars and cafes with a suitcase full of muted drawings, and an unknown past. This legend surrounding the artist, who lives -most of the time- in New York City, creating richly patterned mixed media works populated with ghoulish creatures and tramps, is likely a product of his obvious lack of desire for external validation. It’s clear that Maddock, who has no personal website, maintains a very pure process; he is interested more in the act of creating -and the motivations behind such an act- than any finished product.
I caught up with Jeremiah in-between his extensive travels throughout the interior of the country. Read the interview after the jump, which includes the artist’s thoughts on steez-biting Mayans, art fairs with Josh Keyes in high school, and collaborating with the dead.
British artist Charlotte Mann is known for her elaborate wall drawings and drawn room installations. These densely detailed 1:1 scale drawings of rooms in rooms are invariably made with thick black marker pen on a white ground. The medium may be simple but Mann’s obsessive attention to detail pushes her work into a new realm creating dizzying installations that make you take a second look at your surroundings.(via)
Kyle Kogut is a recent graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. His mixed media work often blends technical printmaking techniques with expressionistic, supple applications of paint. Set within a refreshing, distinctive palette, his compositions are full of energy and variation, yet never come off as cluttered or overly busy. This ability to conduct myriad elements within a functioning, harmonious whole works well with his current subject matter- Nature, and organic life. From the artist’s website:
“While impossible to surpass Her, my study of Nature and the phenomenon that is life has been a continuous investigation of organic patterns and forms, stemming both from visual observation and also subconscious mark-making.”
Kogut just closed an exhibition at Philly’s F&N Gallery. Make sure to check out his tumblr.
Originally from Armenia, artist Ana Bagayan studied illustration at California’s Art Center College of Design. Her many paintings and drawings are populated with doll-like youths and human-alien hybrids, showcasing the artist’s special interest in the metaphysical. In particular, many of her hybrid creatures were inspired by the stories told by avowed alien abductees while under hypnosis. Bagayan’s drawings and paintings have been displayed in galleries across the US, including most recently at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California. Take a look at more metaphysical marvels after the jump.
Until recently I was unfamiliar with the artist Alex Ebstein, but I am glad to have rectified my lack of awareness. There is an honesty to Ebstein’s work that I find readily engaging. The use of yarn or string in an artist’s practice can often shift the aesthetic towards a decidedly crafty end result, but Ebstein manages to use the material with such purpose that it might as well be a drawn line in an architectural blue print. The effectiveness of the work hinges on her ability to merge direct compositional tactics with a more playful approach to the selected materials. Ebstein’s use of string also elevates the intentionality of her mark marking, and then quickly reasserts itself as a method of creating illusory depth in what would otherwise be relatively flat pieces. Taught angular moments combined with purposefully relaxed textures start a visual conversation that I am more than happy to participate in.
I could have just included the ‘eye chart’ pieces because I found them extremely aesthetically pleasing, but the back-story provides a bit of insight that I think most would enjoy. Think of it as a ‘Director’s Commentary’ for the work. Courtesy of Miss Ebstein, “…then for the eye chart pieces. They are more of a weird reflection on (and obsession with) eyesight and my existing eye problems that force me to visit the doctor every month. I’ve had four eye surgeries in three years… I am always nervously checking my vision against things, one eye at a time, so these drawings were kind of my own dark humored joke about being an artist and constantly worrying about my vision.” I am of the belief that ‘going blind’ is one of (if not) the most terrifying things any artist could imagine, and I appreciate the candor with which she addresses what could be an immobilizing reality to those with a more pessimistic outlook on life. Ebstein will be starting grad school this fall, and I am eager to see how this focused environment will affect her work. I also encourage anyone interested in contemporary art to check out the consistently interesting programming at Nudashank – a gallery she co-runs with Seth Adelsberger in the Baltimore area.