Rory Kurtz, based out of Chicago, is a modern illustrator in the fact that he uses “digital paint.” Self-taught, his works are a taste of fashion and celebrity, as well as odd little black and white illustrations that remind of the works of Edward Gorey, one of my favorite pen and ink illustrators. Kurtz’ use of mixed media makes for a whole new genre of illustration.
The submissions have been steadily rolling in for the “Art Works Every Time” Design competition we launched in collaboration with Colt 45! Check out the Gallery page to size up what your competitors have been up to! The clock is ticking, though- just 2 weeks left until the April 15th deadline to submit and win 1,000.45 Colt/cold hard cash and a gallery show curated at Synchronicity Gallery! You can visit our Colt 45 + B/D microsite to find out more details. Read full rules, regulations and how to enter HERE! Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to win cash and further your art careers!
Bjorky is an illustrator and animator living in Los Angeles. His work, according to him, is social commentary depicted through the fantasy realm. Whatever the reason behind his art, there is no denying how cool and interesting it really is.
Rajni Perera’s work is a wondrous fusion of different mythologies, cultures and viewpoints. Her wildly colored drawings combine Hindu imagery, pre-historic animal beasts, galaxy prints produced by the Hubble Deep Field Telescope and the figures of exotic women. She works with techniques and symbols from Indian miniaturist art, Blaxploitation and pop culture references, forming her very own mythology.
Born in Sri Lanka, Perera is drawing on her own immigrant background and her transient state moving between Eastern and Western cultures to illustrate a unique standpoint that it both specific and universal. Her work is an exploration of what it means to be cross cultural in today’s world, and is her trying to dissect those layers in a way she, and us, can understand. A big subject in her work is the representation of female sexuality, and also the presentation of Asian and South Asian cultures in a predominately male Caucasian world. But she says perhaps it isn’t that straight forward.
I don’t know if I really want to make statements about racial prejudice, at least maybe I feel I’ve moved past that in my work. More like I try to make images questioning the projected, or fabricated sexuality behind circulated images (be it on screen, print or the web) of the colored female body in pop culture or otherwise, i.e. ethnic pornography. (Source)
We’ve all seen them- they’re these hyper-stereotypical web images of African girls in beads and wood, Japanese girls in kimonos, and Indian girls in saris; all very subservient, all very saleable; this is my point. There’s something for sale there. (Source)
For Perera the thing that is a common thread connecting Eastern and Western cultures is Kitsch: The idea of culture being re-appropriated by, or passed between, one another. Hollywood and Bollywood are essentially two heads of the same beast, and Perera certainly draws that beast spectacularly.
Good buddy and painter extraordinaire Alison Blickle turned me onto the work of Christoph Ruckhäberle the other day and my mind was immediately blown.These paintings are completely bizarre and incredibly beautiful. Everything from the choice of color, the abstraction of the human body, and the strange vintage imagery sets it aside from work that you see on most gallery walls!
A thousand chairs creating chaos in the middle of a plaza. Baptiste Debombourg is the messenger from the skies. With his installation ‘Stellar’ he transports us above and beyond infinity. A snapshot of a movement, dancing chairs all linked in the air to connect with the public once landed on the ground, is the artist’s vision for this temporary installation.
It took Baptiste Debombourg 1200 chairs, 300 meters of steel tubes and 11 months to set up the installation in the middle of plaza du Bouffay in Nantes, France. Chairs are an important part of the six coffee shops symmetrically facing the plaza, they are the symbol of conviviality. Imitating that concept, he created the installation, structured yet taking us elsewhere, a relaxing place. From each coffeeshops, the sculpture can be perceived from a different angle; creating a different point of view.
Baptiste Debombourg was inspired by the French artist Robert Delaunay’s installation exhibited in 1937 (see the black and white photo far below). The shape’s roundness and exhilarating feeling is reproduced, except the artist chooses to incorporate ordinary materials: chairs that come in six different colors. His purpose is to nourish the eyes, to get a reaction and to defy specific contexts. In many of his installations he is not afraid to deconstruct and recompose, preferring being close to reality and see his work alive.
Baptiste Debombourg’s ‘Stellar’ installation can be viewed at the plaza du Bouffay in Nantes, France until August 2015.
Even in his commercial work French photographer Laurent Chehere clearly has a creative and curious eye for his surroundings. An avid traveler, Chehere enjoys exploring the cities he visits. This becomes especially evident in his series Flying Houses. The series contains a number of photographs of floating buildings. The buildings seem otherwise ordinary, perhaps tethered by power lines, quietly floating in the sky. Chehere achieved the effect by taking photographs of buildings throughout the suburbs of Paris and digitally manipulating them. A gallery statement (translated from French) from a recent solo exhibit explains Chehere’s inspiration for the series:
“The artist isolates buildings from their urban context and frees them from their stifling environment. Houses fly in the clouds, like kites. Inspired by a poetic vision of old Paris and the famous short film The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, Laurent Chéhère walked the districts of Belleville and Ménilmontant gazing at their typical houses. The images of the artist seize an unexpected levitation: held to the ground by unseen hands, like so many balloons used by the boy, these old buildings floating in the sky, sliding on the surface, they reveal to us their hidden beauty. Some houses are adorned with drying laundry or flower pots, outweigh other brands and shops fleeing the flames of a fire … All seem to find a second life. Uprooted from their hometown, they go to new heights. It’s a true invitation to travel and metaphor for the transience of the world, Flying Houses Laurent Chéhère’s series plunges us into a dreamlike and changing world full of gaiety and humor.”
In Lauren Roche‘s paintings, like the best portraiture, there exists a story found in discrepant details. Amidst heavily applied broad stroke of paint and drips, black dots appear to be lactating from human and animals, insinuating teets as opposed to breasts. Teeth are bared in grinless maws not typically associated with people or their pets. And yet there exists an honest and humble beauty in Roche’s rendering of her subjects. Explaining that many subjects are taken from faces of friends and pets, as well as old photographs used for reference, the Minneapolis-based artist adds,
“The figures in my images are facets of my subconscious and take action in a pictorial language and don’t transfer into names for me. I like to leave the interpretation of personality up to the viewer, because that’s what I do.”
Roche’s paintings possess a rawness that cannot be denied, balanced in equal measure by a deft rendering of facial expressions. Perhaps the beauty of these paintings comes from their singular nature, and their anachronistic charm, evocative of a different era of capturing images. When asked the purpose of a focus on portraiture, particularly in an uploadable Digital Age, Roche responds,
“The purpose of portraiture is to give the maker and viewer the space for an interpretation of the subject that is private and flexible, fluid and idiosyncratic. Its difficult to compare portraiture to a cell phone picture because the process is so different. Drawing portraits is like a form of meditation and reflection for me and taking a cell phone picture feels more like a superficial gesture to prove that I’m enjoying myself.”
Roche’s work will be featured in the upcoming Two Dark Horses at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, MN, alongside Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr (who when painting collectively go by AMTK, previously featured here) and Lindsay Rhyner. The exhibition, named after one of Roche’s paintings (top of page) opens this Friday, March 21st and runs through April 26th, 2014.