Have you ever finished a painting and completely destroyed your brushes, wondering if you would ever use your beloved, mangled, crusty tools again? Well, here is one artist that has found good use of old, filthy brushes. Rebecca Szeto takes found, used brushes, especially ones that could never be used again, and transforms them into little masterpieces of their own. The handle of her brushes are carved and painted to appear as fancy women, while the bottom bristles of the brush are left to look as they originally appear. With a little creativity and ingenuity, Rebecca Szeto makes the wider bottoms look like dress skirts. The stained, curled up bristles are now fringes to an elaborate gown, the paint being its silk.
The women Szeto’s brushes magically become many different kinds of women, taking on the form of all different shapes and sizes. They include women of different ethnicities and origins; one even portrays a mother adoringly holding her baby. You may have noticed some of the brush-women looking familiar to you. This is because several of the characters hold an art historical significance. For example, one woman is obviously Vermeer’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring, while another, maybe not so obviously, is the little girl in Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas. Rebecca Szeto has cleverly taken an object that would normally be discarded, and with a little patience and skills, transformed it into something unique and amazing. Szeto explains further her intent behind these little women and what they convey.
“These works are an homage to an often lost sensibility and quality of touch and thought, not simply the superficial look of Old Masters’ works. The lady-like portraits are a playful strategy I use to introduce the more indelicate and subtler aspects of waste management and working women (underestimated, underpaid, unnoticed, yet unyielding).”
Erupting skulls and beautifully powerful hybrid animals take over the streets in the work of Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz. His work looks more like illustrations at first glance, due to their brilliant line work and convincing detail. However, each bizarre creature is much larger than life, climbing up each wall and towering over the viewer. Mixing a concoction of different animals to form entirely new species is one of the more recognizable trademarks in Diaz’s artwork, along with the repeating, iconic skull. Normally a mark of death, Diaz’s skull often spring forth life, as many of them hold birds that sprout from the cranium. Vivid colors and expressive detail show off this street artist’s skill.
The imagination seen in Alexis Diaz’s work is both incredible and intriguing, as combinations of animals come to life on the walls of the streets. In one mural, an elephant sports tentacles like that of an octopus, while in another, a bear and a buffalo become one creature. In one of Diaz’s most immense and striking murals, a hybrid snake and eagle circle around their prey of a skull with vessels of a heart. The animals rendered in Diaz’s work create a whole new space in which to live, as well as a whole new kind of animal. His handiwork can be seen sprawled all over the walls of the world in places such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, France, Austria, and Mexico.
(via This is Colossal)
Hyperrealist Kit King has created an extraordinary body of work filled with realistic rendering of intense portraiture. This Ontario based artist possesses an unbelievable skill in painting, which she used to create her larger than life images of emotionally charged faces. She does not merely recreate a person’s face in her paintings, but adds a focus on the moment behind the still image on what the person expresses. Many of her subjects look tormented, as their eyes appear weary, stunned, or bloodshot. The lighting King uses in her work adds a force of drama, drawing you into the transfixed gaze of the subject. She aims to spark your attention and capture a transient moment in time where one might feel the sting of these emotions.
The texture is as palpable as the complexity that is often found in the eyes of her subjects. We can almost feel the tangibly wet eyes in Kit King’s paintings as well as the smoothness of the skin. Even the make up in her paintings seem to be flaking right off the canvas. Her husband Oda King also being a talented artist, she often collaborates with him on several of her paintings. Kit King explains the intentions behind her concentrated skill and focus.
“Through a focus on hyperrealism, my paintings are reflections of the ephemeral visual relationships around us. Capturing fleeting moments that affect our emotional state from a singular glance, under the aegis of a heightened sense of reality.”
At first glance, these twisted, manipulated, and camouflaged bodies appear to be the work of a photographer who is very skilled in Photoshop. However, the subjects in these photographs are not the product of digital alteration, but were transformed at the hand of a simple paintbrush. Artist Natalie Fletcher uses the body as a canvas, applying her paint and imagination directly upon the skin of her subjects. Formally trained at art school, she broke away from the traditional method of painting after graduation and began her pursuit as a master of body art. The artist uses the lines and color applied by paint as a means to create a variety of different captivating and puzzling optical illusions.
In her series titled Just An Illusion, op art breathes new life on the skin of her subjects, as she covers the bodies in spiraling lines. The bends formed in the patterns seem to warp the bodies so to us they appear twisted, sunk in, and even cut open. In another series of Natalie Fletcher’s, titled Against the Wall, an illusion is still apparent, as each body has been blended into the background thanks to her painterly magic. In some cases, it is difficult for you to decipher where the wall stops and where the paint begins. Fletcher’s talents in body painting has not gone unseen, as she has won GSN’s “Skin Wars” and is in the process of traveling across the country, painting two bodies in each state.
The view looking out of a window is often one filled with daydreaming and contemplation. Artist Jim Darling creates abstracted images inspired by the view of looking out of an airplane window. His brilliant, wispy use of color and impressionistic style perfectly breaks down the fleeting shapes and colors seen through the perspective from an airplane. His thick, impasto style depicts the aerial views just as they are seen in real life, swift and in motion. The abstract scenes seem to rush in and out of your view as you get a glimpse of the many wonderful colors lighting up the sky at different types of day.
Created from acrylic paint, aerosol, and woodwork, the artist constructs the frame of each piece to appear just like the window in an airplane would, with the window shade and all. He depicts purple mountains, cool, blue skies, a bustling cityscape, and even a wing of an airplane in his scenes from above. Darling takes us on a journey through the sky through different ecological forms, environments, and cities. Because the scenes are abstracted, we cannot tell exactly where his window views are taking us. Even the city is not specific to one exact location. This allows everyone to insert their own memories of travel into the paintings so that we can feel a connection to his work. Darling evokes strong emotions of nostalgia of travel and adventure, as many of us feel while we are aboard a flight.
The street art and murals of artist Okuda San Miguel drip with color and burst with energy, until they are no longer held on a brick wall, but spilling out into real life, in three-dimensional form. The Madrid-based artist uses a pop surrealist style to create large scale murals that transform public spaces into places of geometric, vibrant color and imagery. His work is so incredibly stunning, that it is almost as if the street walls cannot contain them. Public works like his painted phone booth contain an element that explodes from the piece. Color drips from the phone booth, fusing Okuda’s work with the real world. He often transforms his murals into three dimensional sculptures, creating an even more dynamic and captivating piece. As if Okuda’s mural that resembles a multicolored starburst didn’t demand our attention enough, he has a sculpture piece that brings the mural into the third dimension.
Okuda’s beautifully fractured, geometric style is applied to murals, street art, smaller scale paintings, and sculptures. Whichever medium the artist so chooses, he creates works that are both mesermizing and transfixing. His paintings often use similar imagery, such as velumptuous, nude bodies, animal heads, and skulls. A fascinating juxtoposition is formed when certain subjects of Okuda’s paintings are covered in colorful shapes, while others have a smoother texture rendered in black and white. It is interesting that often the face or head will be full of color, while the more organic forms such as a nude body or a tree branch will be absent of it. Okuda portrays what lies underneath the bright shapes as monochromatic forms, exposing our sameness and human connection below our exteriors.
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.
It’s a girl’s world in these scenes of playful mischief created by an eclectic array of delicate materials by Amanda Michelle Smith. Rendering tiny girls full of energy and angst, the artist uses oil paint, golf leaf, and ceramic pieces to construct her highly textured work. Smith’s talents in painting spritely girls are only matches in her ability in ceramics. Her light and airy palette combined with the rich glazes of the ceramic creates incredibly eye-popping aesthetics. The surface texture and detail in each leaf, tree, and flower jump out at you as they are formed from ceramic, creating a relief.
Although Smith’s work is full of little girls in dresses and bows, things are not always giggles and tea parties. Except, when there is actually a tea party, there are strange ghoulish guests dining in front of a black sky. Each scene has a bizarre flare that is both whimsical and somewhat dark. These are places where grumpy girls hide in a house while tons of little people seek to get inside. Proportions are skewed, size doesn’t matter, and little girls have a mind of their own. These feisty young ladies get into peculiar situations that are so beautifully and intricately constructed. Smith’s use of clay is flawlessly blended into her painting style, creating finished pieces that are begging to be touched. This California based artists creates three dimensional ceramic pieces as well, make sure to check them out on her website!
(via The Jealous Curator)