The paintings of artist Jeff Soto are nightmarish and captivating, as they seem to glow iridescently in cool colors of greens and purples. As if from another planet, Soto’s artwork shows landscapes of an extraordinary nature, covered in shiny crystals, mossy skulls, and unforgettable owl-like creatures that stare at you with hypnotizing eyes. Each painting is a world upon a world, as many of his figures and forms sprout out from even more bizarre, living things. Even his frequently repeated spiky, happy heads contain an eerie quality. Each painting seems to have a story behind it, perhaps representing a mythical fable.
The Los Angeles based artist is a triple threat; a painter, illustrator, and muralist. As you may have guess by his surreal style, his technique is influenced by traditional painting methods, but with a razor sharp edge. Inspired by graffiti and street art, Soto’s otherworldly landscapes heavily embody a pop-surrealist, contemporary style that appears almost futuristic; like a window into the future when our planet is transformed into a whimsical landscape with foreign creatures. This is a place both frightening and beautiful, full of strange magic. His work leaves us filled with a sense of wonder, wishing that we could travel and explore these unusual places and meet these frightening creatures. Jeff Soto’s amazingly adventurous body of work draws inspiration from youthful nostalgia and pop-culture. With an ominous and haunting palette, Jeff Soto’s unique style exudes originality and imagination. (via Hi-Fructose)
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.
Brushing the edges of Pop-Surrealism, Bill Dambrova’s expressive paintings explode with color and anatomical imagery. His work is hard to ignore, as his cartoon-like style hits you in the face with exaggerated facial and bodily features. Each piece is like a louder, more graphic and fun illustration from a medical or anatomical textbook. His technique is both abstract and representational, as he paints unnaturally colored organs and molecules moving through his compositions. Pulling inspiration from physical healing and spiritual growth, Dambrova’s work explores the stories and memories held in each of our biology, exposing humankind internally. The artist’s work uncovers not only human anatomy, but the insides of animals as well, unifying our biology. Each painting beautifully shows us the commonality in the biology in living things, while still exploring the unknown. This Phoenician artist investigates themes in science, animism, and archetypes in his work.
Although Dambrova’s work holds traditional imagery, such as animals and a human heart, they are shown in a different light. In his work, bodies are split open, organs function outside the body, and rays of organic light flow through each being. Each composition Dambrova constructs is as intricate as the human anatomy itself, with each color and shape intertwined with the next. The very talented artist is one of the recipients of the Contemporary Forum award given to emerging artists in Arizona. His work can be seen on view now through May 31st at the Phoenix Art Museum.
There’s a pervasive sense of childlike fantasy that seems to underline many pop surrealist works. Make-believe animals that don checkered coats, tight rope walkers and re-imagined cats all vibrate within and beyond the confines chosen by each artist at hand.
The alluring world of pop surrealism frequently ushers in a sense of mythical innocence and humor, unifying the superficial world of popular culture with the recesses of the unconscious. With underlying themes of fragility and the macabre delicately hidden beneath a veil of cultural kitsch, saccharine sweet dreamscapes transform and redefine a caustically bright world enamored with packaged goods. The fantastical worlds created through the lens of the following artists explores the relationship between the seemingly pristine and the accompanying bittersweet decay that dwells beneath it. Featured artists include: Casey Weldon, Mac Sorro, Rafael Silveira, Leslie Ditto, and Britt Ehringer.
Painter Troy Brooks creates curious and unsettling canvases. Painting in a Pop surrealist style, Brooks depicts scenes where something terribly strange has just occurred or is about to unfold. Each piece is dominated by a female figure, all similar in appearance but clearly different in personality – some bored, some subversive, other outright violent. Brooks makes use of a sort of symbolism transforming each setting into an allegorical scene.