The ink drawings of Anton Vill are exquisite and small – about the size of your average fork. Vill is highly skilled in wielding a pen, and he makes tiny marks so fine that they appear as a pencil drawing or even as an engraving from the 17th century. But, looking closely at the subject matter, you discover that they are wholly contemporary, like something out of a nightmare.
We see babies piled in a shopping cart, a grotesque separation of someone’s head, and countless people that are wrapped up in the long hair of a Cousin It-type character. Vill’s work is quietly visceral and bizarre, and it doesn’t immediately strike you as strange; this creates a greater impact when you study his drawings. The longer that you look, the more you’ll discover and get a glimpse into the artist’s imagination. (Via Faith is Torment)
Melbourne-based artist The Black Math (TBM) changes the meaning of portraits by adding simple line art to the subjects of the photographs. This fusion results in a unique style where parts of a model’s face is completely obscured by black or white shapes and different symbols and markings are drawn over top. It shifts the emphasis from fashion and lifestyle and to something that has an entirely new narrative. Now, there’s something mystical and mysterious as we try to make sense of what TBM has drawn.
All of the photos that the artist altered are of conventionally “beautiful” people, and he transforms them into something we don’t recognize. They’re made especially eerie when the pupils are removed from the eyes. At one point these people’s aesthetically-pleasing appearance probably sold some sort of product. Now, given an entirely new voice and meaning, they are saying something entirely different, which doesn’t necessarily pertain to consumerism.
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!
Susannah Martin is a German-based artist whose subject matter is timeless. Her realistically-rendered pastel drawings and oil paintings feature nude subjects who are exploring an idyllic landscape. As they wade through streams and pass by mountains, men, women, and children encounter different wild life. The poses and scenarios aren’t sexually motivated, and instead we see Martin’s figures presented in a much more classical, art historical way. She explains:
The history of the painted nude in landscape documents exactly this eternal longing. Setting aside for a moment, any erotic motivations, the nude has always also been a symbol for man in his purist form, his original form, his primordial form. Stripped of all social indicators; clothing, possessions , etc., he exists independent of identity in a time of pure being ( ein Zeit des Seins). Being is our eternal home. Nature does not possess an identity, it is. The nude in a natural setting has always been associated with our return to a time of pure being, a return home.
As time has passed and technology rapidly advances, we become more disconnected with the natural world; so much so that we’re more of visitors than inhabitants. Martin goes on to write:
Nature is no longer home to us, she is much more a tourist destination. Certainly no representation of the nude in landscape in the 21st century can escape conveying our extreme estrangement from nature, intentional or not. There is an unavoidable strangeness or feeling of dislocation which envelopes the most sincere attempt at harmony. How absurd man seems stripped of his possessions and identity crutches and yet it is indisputable, he gains strength, clarity and beauty when we contemplate him abstractly , as a phenomenon of nature. My experimentation with contemporising the nude in landscape takes place within this framework of tension between these two poles of self-perception.
… if we accept that realism now includes virtual realism, that is it incorporates a high degree of improbability, a hyperbolic realism. Man may return once again to his original landscape, his eternal home, all be it this time as a tourist, a primordial tourist.
We normally think of the Playboy Bunnies as busty blondes with smiles on their faces. Taylor Marie Prendergast, however, shatters that stereotype in her pen and ink drawings that feature the women in a much different light. The models that she depicts, while still in “sexy” poses, aren’t glowing. Instead we see every brush stroke that’s paired with muddy, dirty-yellow hair and a blank expression on their faces. While Prendergast has handled the media well and demonstrates a variety of techniques, we can’t escape the fact that these women wouldn’t be the “Playboy type.” And, according the artist, that’s the point. From her statement:
I’m challenging the contemporary zeitgeist by incorporating historically loaded images and abstracted figurations. The juxtaposition of the glamorous and the repulsive are necessary tools in order to create this reaction in the audience. At first the piece entices the viewer with aesthetically pleasing elements, and as the viewers settles into the work they’re confronted with disturbing details.
While the ink is still wet, Prendergast loads the drawing with more pigment and allows it to bleed onto the paper. It creates a dripping effect that’s both beautiful but in the context of a figure, a little gruesome. This allows the artist to subvert popular culture, and as she explains, “They [the viewer] are invited to re-consider the cultural state of both themselves and humanity. As the viewer inhales the work, there is a subtle yet significant revolting shock.”
Because Younger Looking Eyes Never Go Out Of Fashion
Maybe She’s Born With It
British artist Oliver Jones scrutinizes the media and its impact on self image for his newest exhibition titled, Love the Skin You’re In. If that phrase sounds familiar, that’s because it was an advertising slogan for Olay beauty products. Jones specifically draws from these industry campaigns and pairs them with photorealistic chalk-pastel drawings to demonstrates what these phrases do in shaping our ideals of beauty.
The large works feature zoomed-in portraits of faces as they’re doing something that’s directly tied to making themselves look better. We see an older woman wearing a facial mask while a doctor is examining the wrinkly skin around her eyes. A relatively young-looking man is about to undergo the knife as his forehead is marked with a plastic surgeon’s pen. While that’s more extreme, Jones reminds us that even something as simple as laying cucumbers over your eyes is a way of obtaining society’s defined “beauty.”
“Capturing both the translucency and fragility of the skin’s surface, Jones’ drawings scrutinize subtle variations, colorations and superficialities. The meticulous and time-consuming process by which the artist creates his work is in direct contrast to the immediacy of imagery captured in today’s society, and negates the rapid pace at which we are accustomed to consuming images.”
At the Joseph Gross Gallery on September 11, 2014, Brooklyn-based artist Ted Lawson will debut his solo show entitled The Map Is Not The Territory. The new series of work will consist of three dimensional wall-mounted pieces and free-standing sculptures made from MDF wood, brass plate etchings, and large-scale drawings rendered in the artist’s own blood. Yes, blood. The bodily fluid will be fed intravenously to a computer numerical control (CNC) machine using a technology similar to a 3D printer.
The idea behind using blood in conjunction with the computer is to challenge the notion that an artist whose practice utilizes technology is somehow disconnected from their work. Afterall, they aren’t crafting it with their hands; a machine is doing it for them in the form of coding, etc. Here, Lawson will give up part of himself for his work, intimately tying the worlds together and making it hard to argue otherwise. (Via Lost At E Minor)
Antonio Basoli was an Italian artist who lived between the 18th and 19th century, and was a man with a vision. He created this architectural alphabet engravings called Alfabeto Pittorico (Pictorial Alphabet). The images don’t just depict letters, but elaborate buildings that use letterforms as their structure. It includes every letter except for the j, because it doesn’t exist in the Italian alphabet. They called it i lunga and it’s written with an i.
Soft, monochromatic images are full of intricate details, and we’re able to see every brick of a building in addition to the billowing clouds in the background. With each letter, Basoli creates a different setting and mood. Some landscapes are tranquil and idyllic-looking, filled with lush vegetation. Others are war-torn, and we see giant cracks in the foundation of buildings. Whatever the occasion, each is its own story with a compelling narrative of men versus themselves and also versus nature. (Via Sploid)