Artist James Bullough channels the spirit of graffiti and street art in his incredible figure paintings. He combines a realistic style with a geometric twist that breaks his paintings into fractured imagery, creating an additional element of line and shape. Each image is close to Realism, as his figures look like they are out of a photograph. However, Bullough creates a disruption in the rhythm, like a glitch in the painting that alters its shape. He dissects his figures into different segments, dramatically cutting right through the composition in carefully placed segments. If the artist does not slice across the painting with shifting fragments and splashes of paint, then he creates patterns from the missing pieces. In several of his paintings, Bullough leaves out pieces of the figure’s body. These precise chunks of the composition that he leaves out create different patterns and shapes sprawling across his work.
Although Bullough’s paintings are created in oil paint, the artist is also known for his skills with spray paint. He is not only a talented painter, but also an unbelievable muralist with works all over the world. Originally from Washington D.C., Bullough now resides in Berlin, Germany, home of a plethora of talented street artists. In a city filled with amazing murals, Bullough’s work stands out, as his combination of hyperrealism mixed with elements of fractured imagery certainly demands your attention. Influenced by urban graffiti, the artist creates work that embodies the flavor of the streets while still harnessing incredible technical skill.
Artur Bordalo (aka Bordalo II) is a street artist who has created a series of wall-sized animal murals using paint and clever reconfigurations of recycled trash. Among his “found” materials are scrap metal, tires, tubing, and crushed bumpers — anything that has been produced, used, and thrown away to last an eternity in the landfill. Stunningly, Bordalo has turned such tarnished objects into delicate feathers, soft fur, and complex exoskeletons, paying a bold homage to the animals he represents. In a clever blend of 2D and 3D art, the creations emerge from the walls like brilliant optical illusions, demanding our attention and curiosity.
Built in urban spaces, the sculpted murals occupy apartment buildings, underpasses, and forgotten corners. Bordalo’s goal is to bring attention to the pervasiveness of environmental degradation, and how our “throwaway culture” transforms natural habitats into graveyards of non-biodegradable waste. The sculptures stand as beautifully sad monuments to the animals that once lived in those spaces, and in other developed and exploited areas around the world. Giving a literal “face” to both our garbage and the fellow species our consumer behaviors affect, Bordalo’s work is both intensely creative and culturally conscious.
Taking cues from a 17th century practice known as taolennou, Gurt Swanenberg creates a new series of compelling sculptures. The original idea of taolennou was intended to provoke awareness of the seven deadly sins to a largely illiterate population through visual imagery.
Swanenberg takes the same idea and brings it into the present. Using various animal skulls he paints commercial logos related to each of the seven sins and makes statement about how they’re interpreted in the present day. Ideas such as gluttony are depicted on a pig skull with junk food logos painted on it. Wrath shows violent imagery on a lion head skull which includes gun and nazi references.
Even though the skeletons are painted Swanenberg takes references from sticker culture and collage. His overall aesthetic uses anthropology with brand name culture to comment on society’s ills. The original seven deadly sins surfaced around the 14th century. It was put forth by the Catholic Church to call awareness to man’s tendency to sin in the areas mentioned. According to the church there are two types of sin; venial which is relatively minor and the more serious mortal or deadly which is considered to compromise the grace and charity of a person’s nature. (via supersonic)
The massive large scale ink drawings of French graffiti artist Deck Two are a narrative that you can really get immersed in. At over 29 feet long, his sketches are a part of a series called Expanding Drawing. And they are exactly that – drawings that stretch out and don’t end at the usual borders. For this particular project he was based in Tokyo and has tried to capture the all-encompassing feeling of the city. Every inch is filled with intricate details about city life, and we can really see just how much of a living, breathing organism major metropolises are.
His drawings are like precise, architectural illustrations made of a future city. Motorways curve around beautifully, and merge together, running into the center of the urban sprawl. Deck Two profiles mega cities with a gracefulness reminiscent of the Francis Ford Coppola film Koyaanisqatsi. He talks about his idea of a utopian place:
My idea of a perfect town is a place where young and old people can live together; poor and rich, who always have access to culture and art. (Source)
The French artist is interested in many different forms of art, involving different aspects of the urban landscape. From motion design to illustration, VFX to storyboard, drawing to graffiti – Deck Two likes to switch from computer to wall painting, and vice versa. He has painted walls, cars, and numerous murals. Be sure to check out his other work and a few videos showing the artist at work, here and here.
Through the lens of Mona Kuhn, images turn into memories that slip through your fingers. Her photography captures fragmented pieces of time, filled with shameless beauty with an ethereal aura. An enigmatic narrative flows through her series Private, as Kuhn offers us delicate and intimate moments filled with breathtaking nudes and spider webs. Kuhn explains that this particular series is a personal journey of hers, exploring beauty and mysticism. The color palette in Private is serene, airy, and embracing all at the same time. Seeing each photograph of Kuhn’s is like uncovering a clue to a past life, like looking inwards through your memories that have slipped through the cracks of time.
In Kuhn’s equally stunning series Acido Dorado, translating to “acid gold”, the nude also appears often. Kuhn’s nudes represent a timeless sense of self, of all humans, and our direction on this earth. The artist often pushes the nude figure to abstraction, creating new context and meaning. There is a mysterious atmosphere that follows Kuhn’s work that is both seductive and mesmerizing. Both series’ are filled with surreal scenes and abstracted imagery that is like a mirage. Large format nude photography being a reoccurring theme in Kuhn’s work, she explains the draw to this raw form of a person or subject.
“I realized I ought to photograph the human in us, without shame, without regret, free and timeless.”
Jenny Morgan’s paintings are cool portraits of women (mostly self) and other odd figures that seem to recall kool-aid acid test colors and the feelings that go along with them. They speak to a lighthearted whimsey which looks at the fairer sex through rose colored glasses. The one thing the viewer notices is the positive energy which flows from them. Even though based in true realism Morgan messes the canvas up a bit with her odd use of color in places that might symbolize different feelings and aspects of someone’s personality.
Her titles give hints to some of the narratives. “Venus in Furs” is especially telling. For those who do not know the title is taken from a story about a man so obsessed with a woman that he offers himself up to her as slave. In Morgan’s rendition she incorporates a cat which is a funny metaphor to how most cat owners become willing slaves to their fur ball. In another called “Everything will be Okay” a woman is painted with a skull on top of her head and a tear in her eye. It might explain in a lighthearted way what it means to be able to overcome heartache. The key in Morgan’s case is to use the mind to find clarity over the body or aka emotion.
Morgan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently holds an mfa from The School of Visual Arts. She has exhibited her work worldwide including group shows at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and Postmasters Gallery in New York.
Istvan Sandorfi (1948-2007) was a Hungarian painter known for his hyperrealistic oil paintings of cloth-draped and vanishing figures. In his works, pale skin melds with the surrounding atmosphere, and bodies embrace and pull apart from one another, twisting in silent expressions of pain. Engrossed amidst states of transfiguration, Sandorfi’s “incomplete” characters exhibit both profound vulnerability and strength.
From detailed facial expressions to the minute details of wrinkles and bones beneath flesh, the paintings bear a photorealistic effect that is troubled by a fragmentary surrealism suggestive of digital manipulation. Such meticulousness came from Sandorfi’s never-ending dedication to the craft of painting, which he did mostly alone and at night. As he himself humbly claimed, “I never had the impression that I really knew how to paint, not in the past, not now. If you paint, you are simply never satisfied” (Source).
Sandorfi’s ghostly images have been shown on display around Europe for the last three decades. His works remain in several private collections and museums around the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee de la Ville de Paris, and the Taiwan Museum of Art (Source). As a master of his medium who could replicate and expressively unmake the human body, Sandorfi’s oeuvre is one that deserves ongoing appreciation. His work can be followed on Facebook. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Antonella Arismendi is an Argentine fashion photographer and visual artist whose colorfully esoteric works explore alternate planes of consciousness. In a striking divergence from mainstream fashion photography, Antonella splices her work with dark symbols and glitch-like art, dissolving bodies into a white-noise fuzz and superimposing faces over volcanic eruptions. In some of her more quiet and scenic pieces — such as Tephra, for example — Antonella uses fashion to explore haunting-yet-spirituality rich worlds, depicting a model who stands in reverence beneath an empty, alien sky. By blending darkness with light and incorporating multiple symbols, Antonella produces beautifully obscure images of enigmatic and ever-transforming power.
What inspires me the most is to isolate myself from everything that has already been done visually and create something new. It’s an intense process to convert ideas from the ethereal to the tangible plane — it’s when the alchemical act happens. (Source)
By utilizing and fusing symbols of the occult, the Cabbala, and astrology, Antonella’s expressive photography reinvests such symbolism with contemporary meaning; like a visualization of cyber-age witchcraft, the images are portraits of inherited, ancient spiritual practices, blended with visual art to show the plateaus of meaning between apparently disparate traditions. As she continues in the interview, “I believe that the spiritual movements that have occurred in different times arise from the same origin and have simply reinterpreted it. […] One of my greatest motivations is based in astrology and spiritual knowledge. Photography is simply the tool to express them.” (Source)