It’s inarguable that making great art begins with a good foundation in the basics. And when access to studying foundations in art is free and available anywhere by simply signing up on Craftsy for one of their free online mini classes, studying drawing foundations becomes delightfully accessible to all.
Craftsy offers a wide array of online classes from drawing essentials to watercolor. Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide, taught by accomplished artist Patricia Watwood is one of the most popular classes. It’s the perfect way to try out Craftsy and experience the ease and convenience of taking a class from your home, at your desired pace. Watwood goes over the basics of rendering the figure with drawing materials in this free mini class. By guiding her students through stages, such as working with graphite pencils for sketching out simple angles, to moving into hatching for shading, drawing a figure becomes demystified. Watwood, whose gorgeous paintings are featured here, has exhibited her work worldwide at galleries and museums and has been featured on the cover of art magazines. Her understanding of drawing the figure is clear in her work and her ability to share it with her students is demonstrated in class drawings.
This online class is developed with live models, using classical techniques, making it a great fit for students at any level, from beginners to more advanced artists who simply want to brush up on basics. Convenient features such as being able to bookmark key moments, take video notes and re-watch concepts with the 30-second repeat feature make for a great student experience on Craftsy. Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide is free, so there’s no reason not to explore and give it a try!
Stockholm-based Anders Krisár is interested in exploring issues surrounding the human body. Employing realistic casts of body parts Krisár then modifies them. He imbues typical torsos, arms or faces with atypical assets and surreal qualities that are at once quiet and horrific, striking and bizarre.
Evoking a sense of how fragile the human body is, Krisár’s forms stir up feelings of discomfort. Unnatural, ridiculous and sometimes even violent, the sculptures are so successfully disturbing because they are so meticulously executed. Rendered exactly and simply—skin looks like skin, body parts almost appear to be moving and breathing— Krisár’s works are convincing. But at second glance there is always something distinctly wrong. Torsos are freakishly imprinted, headless or morphed. Bodies are severed, separated or broken. Krisár’s works thus become visual representations of the unfeasible. This un-reality gives the pieces a psychological edge.
Beyond the challenge of confronting the bizarre so perfectly portrayed Krisár incorporates ideas of splitting, mirroring and twinning, which are frequent themes in psychoanalysis. Erie yet captivating this psychological aspect gives Krisár’s work the ability to be emotional. Though the work has a quiet quality, its effects are powerful. A viewer’s sense of certainty is challenged and replaced with insecurity, question and an overall awareness that what we know only scratches the surface of what is possible.
With his collection of delightful three-dimensional GIFs, the illustrator Dain Fagerholm creates whimsical universes that are both wondrous and terrifying. Filled with monsters reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s “wild things,” the precious animations exist in a space caught between childhood nightmares and dreams. The artist draws each by hand, and the illusion of three-dimensionally of the work is expressed by a fast-paced alternating between a few images drawn from similar but differing perspectives.
Fagerholm’s lovely work is infused with a playful sense of anxiety; his characters, both human and otherwise, curl on the ground of tightly enclosed spaces like affrighted children. Wide-eyed and appearing to move manically back and forth, they hold their knees close to their chest. In these strange, surreal narratives, we are invited to feel the claustrophobia of a time out, recalling the lonesomeness and isolation of being bound to our rooms. One girl seems to be trapped within a TV screen, seemingly sucked into a blue, static-filled haze by her own imagination, peering curiously and excitedly outward.
These sweet, solitary creatures play and daydream in a dark state of nighttime unease. A seven-headed dragon evokes images of the beast from the biblical text Revelations, recalling (in an unexpectedly adorable way) frightful notions of eternity and punishment. As if pulled from films like The Shining or Poltergeist, Fagerholm’s characters transcend the real world, reaching instead for a chaotic, nervous aesthetic. With eyes dazed like hypnotic spirals, these little monsters seem to wait impatiently for sunrise and open air, for someone to keep them company. (via Demilked)
Photographer Danny Ghitis started to take these photos of the BDSM and fetish subculture in New York City with a particular goal in mind. He wanted to know more about his own sexual identity, preferences, gender, and social norms by contrasting them with those of his subjects. He decided to seek out and connect with people on a social network called Fetlife. Described as being “similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me”, Ghitis found himself meeting people through this site he normally wouldn’t get the chance to encounter.
He became familiar with the world of transgenders, dominatrixes, submissives, and kinksters, and proceeded not to exoticize or eroticize them, but rather to familiarize his viewers with them. Ghitis says:
I am truly a sucker for anything of an absurd nature. I also love the classic style of old propaganda posters. So when I stumbled upon the collages of Miss Grycja Erde, twas a happy moment. The nature of Grycja’s collages made me assume she was an older artist, since they have a mature approach to absurbity (in my opinion). But I was surprised to find out she’s just 23! Enjoy these tasty treats coming to you from Ukraine.
Fascinated by the natural world, Joel Rea paints the pulsing elemental forces of our planet interplaying with human relationships formed in our society and consciousness. Driven to explore universal meanings around the human condition, Joel is also interested in depicting the underlying inner forces which drive human behaviour. He presents these narratives visually through the use of vivid surreal landscapes, seascapes, animals and self portraiture. Joel also harvests ideas from his dreams and draws subject matter from his life journey and his own personal struggle to become a professional painter, a life long ambition which was many times nearly derailed by the unpredictable turmoil of his years coming of age as a young man. (via)
Disturbing creatures and creations bursting out from the photographs of Sarah Sitkin. The Los Angeles based artist renders dark and intriguing images that entice and generate space for introspection. The subjects of the photographs represent the kind of ugliness that attracts. She leaves it to us to draw the limit of where hideous stops and beauty starts.
Sarah Sitkin edits digitally to a minimum. Limiting the use of photoshop, she hand makes most of her props. Costumes, artificial body parts, dramatic lighting and projections are invented by instinct to fulfill the artist’s desire to give birth to her vision. Within the gloomy set up, symbols which seem dear to the artist appear sporadically. Geometric patterns such as triangles and diamonds mimic genitalia shapes. Body parts; fingers, skin and facial features are twisted and rounded until they don’t make sense anymore.
Leaving reality to reach her fantasy world, Sarah Sitkin is inviting us to come along and share her journey. Inspired by Jodorowsky and Kubrick movies, she says she is captivated by images more than plots and dialogues. The photographs do not reflect agression or anxiety. They are the depiction of Sarah Sitkin’s unique field of vision; one where deformation and anamorphosis constitute the basis of an aesthetically beautiful inner world.
Through Cleon Peterson’s paintings, we encounter a world riddled with anxiety, corruption and savage ferocity, where deviance and violence equal the usual state of affairs. Peterson describes his bedlam as “a gray world where law breakers and law enforcers are one in the same; a world where ethics have been abandoned in favor of personal entitlement.”
Peterson depicts life as war between displaced individuals in a dystopian world. Acts of brutality, abuse and perversion serve as rituals of power, revealing narcissistic indulgences in violence, sex, religion and drugs. In exploring the tension between the individual consciousness and unconscious psyche, Peterson’s paintings bring to light the resulting possibilities when varying moral schemes are personified. When faced with the dilemma of fight or flight, it’s fight. We observe an ongoing struggle in the thick of a contemporary world, where the instinctual desire to survive through primitive actions takes reign.
See the above works and more currently on view in San Francisco at Guerrero Gallery. On view until April 7th, 2012