I first got into Zach Johnsen’s work a few years ago when he lived in New York. But for a while now, he’s been in Portland, and it looks like he’s making his raddest stuff yet. He always incorporated fantastic characters into his mixed media work, and he’s continued to do so, creating more wooden cut-out installations and a series of graphite drawings infused with explosive watercolor elements. Johnsen’s always done a great job of rendering the darker side of life. His characters are full of dark eyes and yellowing teeth. Seriously awesome stuff from this dude, always.
Brooklyn artist John Breiner never seems to pin himself down to one medium. Whether he’s using watercolor or ink, he always brings a lot of humanity to the table without sacrificing any aesthetic value. Breiner creates work that is really full- both in composition and technique. He’s also pretty heavily involved with music as well. Seems like he’s got too much going on creatively to really be pinned down in any one place. Definitely not something for us to complain about.
Diggin’ on these illustrative ink and watercolor works by James Ulmer. His repetitious, almost vintage-looking characters roll on and on across the page in a flood of really earnest, straight-up human appeal.
According to the artist’s website, we can look forward to seeing his work in a group exhibition at Grass Hut in Portland very soon.
Carol Carter is a contemporary watercolor artist based out of St Louis, MO. She is such a prolific painter that it proved nearly impossible to select just seventeen images to feature out of the hundreds documented throughout her website. Her subject matter is incredibly varied, ranging from swimmers, nudes, flora and fauna, to interiors and landscapes of the Everglades and Italy. In spite of painting such a vast range of subject matter, her work remains consistent with her personal style; painting with an electric color palette, she saturates values of light and dark with a brilliant range of unpredictable color that often takes on the effect of solarization. Her technique shifts between wet-in-wet application and controlled execution, producing work that is peppered with an incredible amount of detail and spontaneity. Carol’s mastery of watercolor and divergent way of seeing the world is apparent in her remarkable paintings.
CF, offspring of Fort Thunder, and Providence-based artist/musician has consistently created some of the best comics in the underground genre. His work in undeniably his own, and although it is often duplicated, his work remains distinguished from the rest. The delicacy and humor of his masterwork, POWR MASTRS (1,2,3), puts him easily in my top 10 for contemporary comic artists. He blogs and twits, he is a Picturebox regular, and he performs under the moniker Kites while he blasts out sonic booms. He is a gem.
Painter and illustrator Caitlin Hackett now works out of Brooklyn, but she spent much of her early life in northern California. It was in her home state that she first developed and nurtured a love of nature, animals, and mythology, all of which inform her art today. Using mostly ballpoint pen and watercolor, she creates wildly imaginative creatures that are somewhere between human, animal, and spirit.
Says the artist: “My work alludes to the boundaries that separate humans from animals both physically and metaphysically, and how these boundaries are warped by new scientific data, mythology, history and religious beliefs alike, blurring the lines between us as science, religion and culture clash over what it is to be human, and thus, what separates us from the beasts of the wild.”
Take a closer look at Caitlin Hackett’s dark imaginings after the jump.
The illustrations of young Russian artist Dima Rebus may not be in-your-face flashy or neon bright, but they are bright in a different way. Less is more in these cases, as he inserts subtle humor into just about every piece he makes. He imagines a world in which handcuffed delinquents enjoy a spot of tea before their booking and where the riot police cavort with rioters in the streets – and any art that lets me use words like ‘cavort’ when talking about it, well, it’s alright by me.