Fantasy Meets Photography In The Striking Images of Zhang Jingna

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Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.

“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)

The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.

“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)

Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)

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French Artist Julien Spianti’s Deconstructed Spaces

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French artist Julien Spianti‘s oil paintings almost look like watercolors. The way he blends and creates depth, color, and texture creates a dreamy and familiar aesthetic. His work often features human figures in various environments that seem to bleed into the canvas. Spatial relationships are deconstructed and appear fluid, a sense of disappearing space and the blurring of boundaries. Landscapes and interiors blend into each other, and the effect created is mythical and resonant.  Each painting’s evocation depends on what element of the composition he chooses to blend or blur into cloudy ambiguity. Spianti’s paintings remind me of dream images that are familiar, but hard to place, an image that lingers after you wake, knowing for certain that particular people were present, though their faces are unclear. Spianti’s work is largely influenced by his immersion in aesthetic philosophy, a field of study in which he holds a Master’s. Spianti lives and works between Brussels and Paris as a painter and filmmaker. (via two headed snake)

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Paintings That Explore Classical And Contemporary Myth

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Laura Krifka’s work feels both classical and contemporary– a collection of myths that transcend time, stuck on the spin cycle from one era to the next. There is a soft religious quality in each face as he or she slowly responds to pending doom, lurking out of view. Such off stage suspense, feels exactly this way– theatrical.

The dramatic cliche breathes with familiarity, reminding us of our own cyclical head space in relation to history, story archetypes, life, and to our own animalistic emotions or neurotic human obsessions. It’s why we make art and why we repeat ourselves generationally and artistically.

Of her paintings, Krifka states, “I create a world populated with naive and innocent figures acting out their own legend, blind to the dangers around them or those that exist within themselves.  In my work the fantasies and clichés of our own world combine and breed, creating a hyperbolic landscape populated by a society lost in their own myth.” 

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Stacey Rozich’s Masked Myths

Seattle based illustrator Stacey Rozich’s work is littered with vibrant tribal patterns and drawings based on folklore. She brings an animated, lively, modern perspective to stories of myth. Her pattern work and line work are nothing short of exhilarating, playing reference to southwestern art, and tribal marks.

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