Romanian artist Mircea Popescu‘s series Head Stock unravels the typical portrait. These obsessively detailed pieces are linocut prints – the image etched, inked, and impressed on paper. Portraits often become stand-in’s for the sitter they identify. Instead, Popescu’s faces float independent of bodies and clear facial features. The images seem to be piled with countless layers hinting at a physical face and pointing to something deeper behind it. The complexities of the Popescu’s faces reflect the intricacy of identities behind portraits.
Kyle Field, an Alabama native living in San Francisco, was born in the 1970s– and his artwork tends to reflect the mood of not only these two places, but also that era. Each craftily drawn watercolor depicts a folk narrative infused and confused with melodious psychedelic tendencies. It’s all so playful and harmonious. We find it challenging not to think of Field’s work in any other way but musical.
The first fantastically pliable medium we ever enjoyed sloppily sculpting with our teeth, molding around our gums, and blowing joyful pockets of life into, is the perfect subject matter for artist Julie Randall, whose entire body of work teeters between mystical and marvelously grotesque.
“Blown,” her most recent series, is a deep meditation on, yes, chewing gum: it’s strange shapely pleasure, born from a certain oral fixation which moves beyond youth and into darker more cryptic mouths.
With your face close to Jacob Everett‘s ball point pen drawings, you’ll notice they look very similar to the endless swirling pen marks of a distracted mind. The kind of meaningless doodles we may do while speaking on the phone. If you zoom out, however, the doodles turn into detailed portraits of celebrities. For his Well Known Faces series, Everett painstakingly arranges the tiny swirls to create huge portraits. First, he sketches and graphs his subjects before layering them in swirls section by section. He says of his work:
“I am interested in the contrast between the minute, repetitive mark-making and the highly personal image that is created. The process is similar to mass production. I work from photographs, concentrating on one section of the face at a time. Over several shifts spent in this way, the work culminates in a finished product which is, paradoxically, an authentic and personal portrait.”
Angela Dalinger’s illustrations are difficult not to fall in love with. They are funny, whimsical, strangely stiff, and make us nostalgic for our own lofty teenage renditions of music, art, and adulthood.
The playful bio on her website only adds to the cryptic childlike mystique-
“I’m 29. I live in a very small town very close to Hamburg since I escaped from there. I am busy working on my career in illustration, means I’m mostly busy painting and drawing and being nuts. I’m born as Sandra Angela Wichmann and use my artist name since 2 years, simply because I really hate my real surname.”
The work of Italian artist Franco Clun may lead you to believe he’s a photographer. Clun’s artwork, though, are created simply by putting pencil to paper. Clun carefully crafts each drawing to an unbelievable realism. Each drawing he completes seems to expand on the skill of the previous one. He says, “For each new drawing I dedicate more time and attention and I try to push forward my technical limitations. I learn something new every time I take a pencil in my hand.” [via]
Gary Ward uses charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and an overall sharp wit to examine humanity’s mess of emotion over the confusion of body and identity.
His Archeology Series, collected here, is a playful response to the quandary of life after death: how, despite fame, class, or notoriety at the end of it all, we are basically just a slew of skulls with slight form variations.
Regarding process, Ward, a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles, says he is “interested in how the mind and hand talk to each other in one uninterrupted sitting.” He likes to see the authorship of a flawed line and honors how each mistake can spontaneously charge the work in a new direction.
Rob Sato’s watercolor paintings are whimsical clashes of documented history and personal dreaming: a magpie pictorial narrative of his own internal processing system or as he says, an “extension of writing” and “sifting through garbage. Getting a lot of trash out of my head.” His ability to condense worlds, communities, and landscapes into one surreal solid depiction, interestingly enough, conceptually harkens back to Vincent VanGogh’s statement on the watercolor medium itself as “a splendid thing” to “express atmosphere and distance, so that the figure is surrounded by air and can breathe in it.”