It is always exciting and refreshing to see traditional art methods used in a whole new way. Artist Danielle Lawrence‘s fresh eye on contemporary art takes the conventional framed painting and transforms it into highly textural and sculptural work, taking it to another level. In her work, the frame is often still present, but the art inside it is spilling out, exploding from the frame that confines it. It is almost as if the paint has a life of its own, trying to escape from the cage and constraint we have given it. Lawrence explains that the frame is a symbol of patriarchal structures and restriction.
Lawrence’s non-representational painting method allows the colors to melt and drip, creating incredible movement in each piece. These colors appear bent, folded, and manipulated, creating organic forms. Each bright, glossy color erupting from each canvas and frame turns the typical two-dimensional painting into a more palpable, three-dimensional piece that reaches out at the viewer. Her artistic journey began while experimenting using trash as subject. Still pulling inspiration from found objects, the artist’s work often includes items from her studio, including plastic bags and bubble wrap. Lawrence’s take on form and material is both chaotic and structured, creating order out of an eclectic range of colors and media. She flawlessly creates a beautifully balanced mixture of classic painting methods with a new, contemporary approach.
She’s an avowed formalist with an eye to the street. Her works are lustrous and abject, smooth and sharp, blunt and sophisticated. While painting is clearly her passion, she makes promiscuous use of other media: sculpture, drawing, photography and video.
The works of artist Marco Grassi are so realistic, they appear to be photographs of women. However, his work is not your traditional portraits. If you look again, these portraits have an offbeat element, creating surreal characteristics that cannot possibly exist in real life. Because Grassi’s incredible skill in painting allows him to create such hyper-real images, the out of place component in each painting is our only clue to these being oil paintings and not photography. The artist impeccably renders such a variety of texture; until we believe we can feel the glossy, sleek glass and the soft fabric the women are wearing in Grassi’s work. Even close up, you can see the details of each wrinkle, pore and eyelash of every woman he paints, intensifying the illusion of reality.
The twist is, the women in Grassi’s paintings are not normal, they have a hand covered in intricate patterns or a blue tree stretching across their upper torso, both like glowing tattoos on their bodies. One woman even has a design carved into the skin on her back, revealing not blood and bones, but hollow darkness. However strange these unexpected details may be, the women in these portraits remain just as beautiful and realistic as ever. Despite the unusual, serial quality Grassi’s paintings have, they still appear believable. We are left in awe believing in these striking, mysterious women, not knowing why they look as they do. (via Hi-Fructose)
Toronto based artist Trevor Wheatley takes common slang to the streets, placing words and lingo in the public sphere where you cannot ignore it. He constructs large-scale sculptures of words like “real talk” and “nah” and installs them amongst trees and in rivers. Can you imagine hiking and seeing the word “squad” as you looked up into the trees? His often boldly colored text becomes so out of place in the wilderness, creating a very surreal site. Each installation displays strong pop-culture references of phrases commonly used. Interested in typography, Wheatley’s text-based work is range in font, color, and materials.
Wheatley takes this common language and makes it static, giving it a more permanent element. Language and slang changes so frequently, a word or phrase could be outdated as soon as Wheatley has completed the installation. Nevertheless, they bring back nostalgia and even add a bit of humor to their environment. Slang and lingo can often bring to mind a certain type of person or stereotype that we associate with the word or phrase. Wheatley’s sculptures take us beyond these preconceived notions of language by taking them out of their usual context and placing them in a new environment. Like taking a word out of its original context can change it’s meaning, the artist gives new meaning and life to the lingo, as they are located in serene nature. (via Juxtapoz)
Are you hungry for weird, hyper-realistic art? Look no further, the highly unique, wearable art by Japanese artist Norihito Hatanaka will satisfy your taste. Of course, not literally, as the “jewelry” this artist makes only resembles food. Hatanaka is not your typical artist, he is a fake food artist, creating wearable art ranging from bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made to look exactly like different kinds of foods. His bacon bracelets with earrings to match appear to still be sizzling, and his fruit necklace seems to be dripping with juices. The artist explains that in Japanese culture, food aesthetics are extremely important, making Japan a hot spot for impeccable fake-food skill.
How and where would a person learn how to create such a wide variety of fake foods so perfectly, you might ask? Well, Hatanaka is just following the family business. He took over his father’s business of a factory that creates fake food, models to display in restaurants. Having been interested in art as a student, Hatanaka has taken inspiration from this business and crossed over into the art world, bringing it a new flavor. Learning this fake food craft at his factory, he now sketches his appetizing creations and then constructs them into wonderfully gaudy jewelry. Inspired by real life dishes, many of his pieces include a full meal, complete with peas and rice on the side. With Hatanaka’s wearable art, you could literally wear a three-course meal! Although it would take a special kind of person to pull off wearing such a statement piece, I would not be surprised to see one of Hatanaka’s unbelievably crafted pieces worn on the runaway. (via The Creators Project)
At first glance, this series by photographer Stacey Tyrell seems to portray nothing out of the ordinary, just portraits of white women living their lives. At closer inspection, however, you realize all of the women look the same; they share uncanny similarities with just a few differences in hair, eye, and skin color. In reality, Stacey Tyrell has staged these scenes representing depictions of Caucasian women using herself as a model. Interestingly enough, the artist herself is black. The title of Tyrell’s deeply memorable series is BackraBluid. Backra, originating from West Africa, means white master or person. Bluid is a Scotch word for the blood of men or kin. These two words combined represent two different points of origin in the artist’s family heritage. Tyrell explores her ancestry in this series, which includes English, Scottish, and Irish.
Most everyone in post-colonial societies, especially in the Western world, is the descendant of a diverse range of ancestry, producing many individuals with what may appear to be ambiguous ethnicities. These individuals may identify with one, multiple, or even none of their racial or cultural identities. However, by nature, humans want to make sense of their surrounding and tend to place others in categories. Stacey Tyrell has experienced this first hand. She explains the significance of this experience in relation to Backra Bluid.
Upon viewing my physical features I am automatically assigned a racial identity by whoever is looking at me. Skin color often obscures and over-rides the features and markers of other races that may be present in my genetic make-up. By simply changing my skin color and making subtle tweaks to my features I wish to show that if someone were to take a closer look at my face they would see that it might not be that much different from their own.
Can you imagine trying to fit images of the cosmic universe into a circle only an inch, inch and a half wide? Artist Lorraine Loots accomplishes this with nothing more than watercolors and an incredible eye for detail. Watercolor is known for its unpredictable nature and organic qualities. Being able to control this medium in a realistic manner in such a small space speaks volumes to Loots artistic skill. She renders her miniatures paintings on themed days throughout the year, completion date included.
In the series titled Microcosm Mondays, extremely tiny watercolor paintings depicting celestial images of outer space are created, one of which is a reference to a real photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This project gives us other equally clever names, each with their own mini-series. These include Tiny Tuesdays, Free Fridays, and with a play on words, Fursdays. Each series having a different theme, guess what this artist draws on Fursdays… cute little furry animals! All so incredibly detailed, down to the last hair and whisker. Each series is drawn on different days of the week, and at the end of the year, a total of 100 microscopic paintings will be completed. What makes Loot’s small masterpieces even more fun is that once one is completed, it is auctioned off on Instagram! So now there not only an element of surprise what day she will post her delicate piece, but also a factor of chance as you bid to have one for yourself. Don’t miss the action and check out Loots Instagram here. (via MyModernMet)
Australian artist Elspeth McLean takes ordinary ocean rocks and turns them into colorful, geometric Mandalas. Through intense detail and repetitive patterns, the artist finds meditation in painting these found stones with endless acrylic dots. The acrylic paint used on her pocket-sized creations allows her to add an element of dimension in her already layered colors. These intense colors create a palette so crisp and brilliant, it is as if the stones are encrusted with jewels. Painting dots has become so embedded in McLean’s art process, that she even coined the term “Dotillism” to describe her unique style. Each dot that is painted to create her intricate, endless patterns takes an incredible amount of patience and focus. Although completing these Mandala patterns may seem like a difficult task, McLean describes this process as a grounding experience where she can find enjoyment and experience reflection.
The Mandala is a spiritual symbol in Eastern religions that holds meditative properties. It is no wonder McLean has chosen such a strong, healing symbol in her work, as she believes in the healing nature of color and art. She pulls influence from seasons, cosmos, mythology, and ancient art to create her hand-held Mandalas. Her interest in the cosmos can be seen in her stones that are painted not as a geometric pattern, but instead as incredible constellations, still painted in her dotted signature style. An avid traveler, the Australian artist is now living in Canada, gathering inspiration from the new landscapes she perceives throughout her journey. (via Demilked)
At first glance, the artwork of Alexandra Bastien appears to be photographs of a nude woman with a variety of skulls. However, the artist unbelievably renders her hyper-realistic drawings from layer upon layers of color pencil. Bastien’s astonishing ability to create such incredibly detailed drawings allows her to beautifully show the human body in a state of transition. The heavy symbolism that has long been attached to the skull in art history represents death. Bastien illustrates this concept in contrast to the soft, warm body of the nude woman. The women in her work are holding the skulls, embracing whatever darkness they may bring. In one drawing, both skull and human have even merged together in perfect balance. This balance of life and death is shown in a state of transition and transformation, exploring themes of rebirth and the afterlife. Seeing the many different skulls amongst a human in its natural state may be reminiscent to human origins and ancestry.
Bastien’s incredible, artistic skill and talent can be seen in this photorealistic series titled Taming the Beast. She finds inspiration in her natural fascination with the human body and form. The accomplishments of this Canadian artist are just as impressive as her skill. Her work has been included in several publications and magazines as well as been exhibited all over the world.