The multitalented, Berlin-based artist James Reka uses striking colors and organic shapes to create his unique style of painting. Known as “REKA” as a street artist, his large-scale murals steal the spotlight in any setting, whether it be the railway lines of Melbourne, where he is originally, from, or the alleyways of Berlin. Heavily influenced by pop-culture, cartoons, and illustration, his work possesses a pulsating rhythm that brings the streets alive. His abstracted figures take on new shape and form in psychedelic waves that weave back and forth. With a palette reminiscent of the 70’s, Reka’s curved lines swirl around his compositions, creating a sense of depth that is both flattened and rounded, forming incredibly unique aesthetics.
Reka uses influence from his logo design background, integrating a pop-surrealist style into his murals and paintings. The sharp style of shapes and design used in his work creates a harsh contrast to the gritty walls and abandon buildings where his artwork often lives. His smaller paintings can be found in a more traditional environment, like on gallery walls, or in an even more unconventional place, on discarded, found objects. Reka’s newest body of work can be found at Avant Garden Gallery, located in Milan, Italy. The solo exhibition of the artist’s work, titled Olympus, exhibits paintings of Reka’s that pulls inspiration from ancient Greece. While still using his signature style, Reka renders scenes of bathhouses and Greek columns. This exhibition is on view now until July 10th.
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.
The intensity and electricity in Mickael Jou’s photography can only be matched by his equally immaculate dancing skills. In his series Air Through my Ashes, Jou captures the precise positions of his dance through the lens of a camera. Each movement, leap, and bend is shown being done not on a stage, but through city streets, in breathtaking nature, and even in a grocery store. Jou, now living in Berlin, was trained as a dancer, and started out dancing through the streets of Paris. He got the idea to photograph himself after so many tourists began taking pictures of him as he danced. He then taught himself how to use a camera and turned his dancing into frozen moments in time where he can levitate and defy gravity.
Jou’s dance positions are turned into still statues that pulsate with energy in each photograph. The incredible scenery of the images is almost as breathtaking as Jou’s suspension in mid air. The series has a kind of magic to it that transports the viewer into a world where your feet never need to touch the ground. What makes each composition so dynamic is not only the sheer power felt in the dancer’s stance, but also the addition of a scarf in the dance movements. This scarf that often appears adds color and balance to the rhythm of each photograph as it floats alongside this multi-talented dancer. Jou combines these two art forms harmoniously to create ethereal and graceful photographs. He explains how using these two mediums further his creative vision and expression:
My self-portraits help me express the emotions that I feel while dancing. Dance is a very powerful art form, and I try to translate my emotions into my photography.
The group 1,600 of exquisitely crafted papier-mâché panda bears have already travelled to and occupied cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome, and TaiPei; next month, they will overtake ten Hong Kong historical landmarks and tourist sites. As part of the Pandas on Tour project, these cuddly creatures are crafted from recycled materials by the French artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, PMQ, and All Rights Reserved. Each sculpture has an important statement to make: there are less than 1,600 pandas living in the wild. Grangeon’s small creatures, with their wide eyes and round bodies, are easily be displayed side-by-side, providing a halting vision of the endangered species.
Human forces have forced the panda bears in a state of emergency; mining, tourism, and global warming have all contributed to the distraction of animal habitat in Chinese forests. Wild panda conservation is crucial, as the animals can rarely be convinced to mate in captivity.
Believe it or not, humans have a biological impetus for wanting to protect the species. Pandas have proven to be the most beloved animal for their resemblance to human babies; they too have wide eyes and their paws contain a “pseudo thumb.” Grangeon’s touching creatures are imbued with the tender hearts we recognize in the animals they represent. With poignantly cartoonish eyes, round ears, and emotive facial expressions, the papier-mâché figures inspire a whole lot of empathy. To learn how you can help the panda bears, visit WWF or the Smithsonian’s Giant Panda Conservation Fund. (via HuffPost, Time, and Design Boom)
Sol Calero‘s work investigates the ancestral through a visual language which includes fabric constructions, found objects and images, archives, painting and drawing. Family clippings and photos overlap with house-plants and altered images of ancient ruins, tools for remembering and misremembering. Her recent project “Column Study” includes research into the origins of found West German ceramics, notated on their bases, which are assembled and disassembled, unclear if they constitute an ancient column discovered by archaeologists or a domesticated kitsch Brancusi sculpture. Her fabric works include capes used in abstract ritual performances and also wall pieces which operate in the vernacular of painting, often created with the discarded clothing of her family members. The work is often balanced between worlds, warm traditions with cold minimalism, personal narratives with pages torn from children’s craft books, the hot chaos of Venezuela with the cold European winter. Her project-based practice also includes running the gallery space Kinderhook & Caracas in Berlin with frequent collaborator Christopher Kline.
Christopher Kline is a Berlin-based artist doing some pretty interesting stuff with installation and performance pieces, collage, textiles, and limited-run publishing. Kline’s works, though disparately mixed in scale and platform, maintain a common thread through his personal, vibey folk mysticism and material-based focus. From his “Holy Ropes” zine to elaborate performances involving MMA fighters and battering rams, the artist’s particular vision is a constant presence. Kline’s art finds comfort in the unfamiliar by exploring far out subject matter through down-to-earth means.
Rachel de Joode is a Dutch artist living in Berlin. Recently, she’s produced a prolific number of sculptural works that break down common perception through the use of unique materials, concepts, and execution. Her work is patently of our time, drawing on themes of technology, isolation, and highly saturated levels of information exchange. But her commentary remains singular, even in the face of some fairly evident influences. De Joode is also the co-founder and art director of META magazine.
We asked the artist a few questions about what she’s been up to lately and the various processes surrounding her sculpture-making. You can find her thoughtful answers after the jump.
You’ve probably seen the work of Berlin/Vancouver based collective eBoy (or that of someone biting their aesthetic) at some point. Svend Smital, Steffen Sauerteig, and Kai Vermehr make up the core of the group, and they’ve created their very own world full of pixelated characters and environments through years of illustration, design, and animation work. The eBoy vision is pretty much fully realized, now everyone gets to enjoy taking part in it. The pattern design above is particularly amazing.
Want to see more by eBoy? Check out our exclusive feature on them as well as the cover art they created specially for us in Beautiful/Decay Issue:G