Israeli artist Chaim Machlev is a Berlin-based tattoo artist, otherwise known as Dots to Lines. Working primarily with black ink (“I believe that black is the nicest color for tattoos; it is closer to our source than any other color,” he said in a recent interview), Machlev’s designs are complex line-based works that weave across skin with fluid, stunning precision. Incorporating mandalas, insects, and other images into his geometric tattoos, Machlev’s work go beyond simple designs into minimal, extraordinarily detailed works of permanent art. It makes sense, then, that Machlev bristles at the idea of grouping his work into any kind of predetermined genre. “I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorize tattoos and other art forms. I could say that I have that split in my designs, just like in my personality; I make those art-minimalistic lines — the computer kid inside me — and very detailed mandalas, the spiritual man inside me.”
That spiritual motif makes way for some of Machlev’s most beautiful designs, such as symmetrical forearm mandalas and Joy Division-riffing chest designs of warped seismic waves. Machlev draws from his experiences traveling in India for the spiritual imagery in his designs, but for the more symmetrical designs, there is a prominent mathematical sense to the work. His line and dot work flows seamlessly over flesh in a way that looks similar to vectors on a computer, sprawling across chests and ribs with stunning exactitude.
Artist Sam Songailo uses bright colors, straight lines, and bold, graphic shapes in his outdoor and indoor installations. Geometric repeating patterns span span floors, ceilings, and walls. Lighting plays a role in his work as it enhances color and gives the work a sense of space and a depth of field. Once the viewer is immersed in the space, all of the elements of Songailo’s work transports them to another place.
Outdoor installations, like the ones on a city street, work with the existing landscape. Songailo’s patterns fill and conform to every inch of the given space like a mutating organism. The high-contrast colors and intricate trellis-like shapes create a disorienting effect. Not so much when viewing it as a whole from above, but walking through it leaves little indication of direction.
Before he started large-scale installations, Songailo was a graphic designer. This is evident in the execution of his work, especially in one of his few indoor installations, Zen Garden (directly above). The piece mimics the lines of sand, with a few “rocks” that are spread throughout the gallery floor. Songailo is able to have full control over the space, and uses principles of design to make it not only attractive, but to effectively transport the viewer to a minimalist, geometric zen garden.
Staring at the solid blocks of color, the light shifts and patches of bright light begin to pull forward from the wall—where works by artist Jay Shinn exists with perfect geometric precision. Angular and illuminated by a small overhead projector, the pieces seem to float just above the surface of the wall, feeling simultaneously tangible and ethereal with their reflective, neon-like rays. Shinn has previously worked with elements of symmetry, suspended light, and illusion with his varied serial investigations in mirror, pencil-on-paper, neon and paint. He experiments with placement, perception and disorientation in these works, paying careful attention to color selection, form and relative scale. The result is slightly mesmerizing, if not entirely hypnotic.
Artist and designer Haley Ann Robinson has a passion for exploring shape, color, line and simple forms—something that translates well into her hand-shaped wooden objects. She treats some of the smooth, angular sides of each object with a vibrant selection of colors, designed to highlight specific visual planes and grain patterns in each piece. Robinson pulls a great deal of inspiration from geometry and nature, resulting in objects that display a playful engagement with shape, medium and surface.
I’m really digging the often surreal, always vibrantly colorful and playfully geometric paintings of Paul Wackers.
From his artist’s statement: “My work is first a response to the world and then a reaction to what it has to offer. Images surround me as abstract concepts, presented by the curious interaction of forms, feelings, and situations. They offer a glimpse into the way the world is constantly being reloaded with opportunities and options for reinterpretations and impressions. It might start with a beam of light passing through a window in the afternoon and that within that beam there is the potential of a full spectrum to appear. In my paintings I try to create the feeling of getting lost in the thoughts that are easily ignored or put aside.”
Louisa Chambers is an artist with with a penchant for the edges. Her work is quick and toned. It doesn’t hide in its edges, and seems to root for structure. Every piece wants you to know you’re safe, even if you’re surrounded by sharp points. The ideas are there, and their universe is waiting for you.
James Joyce is a London based artist and designer. His work is a mixture of simple typography, bold colorful colors, and crisp geometry. Joyce designs are very bold and eye-catching. I enjoy the simplicity of it but, like the “Chemical World” poster, it has a not so simple message.
Hvass&Hannibal are an art and design studio based in Copenhagen. They tend to employ an exquisite mixture of modern execution and a childlike naivete. They employ many different techniques for image production, which makes each project feel different from the next and makes their portfolio a very enjoyable scroll.