The Brazilian duo Bicicleta Sem Freio (‘Bicycles without brakes”) have broken away from murals and are now concentrating on some fine art work. Its two current members Douglas de Castro and Renato Perreira first met while attending art school in Goias, Brazil and started collaborating on large scale outdoor and concert poster projects. This led to a series of street art and other prominent commissions all over the world. They recently had their first gallery exhibit in London at “Just Kids” art space. This allowed visitors to see the work on a smaller scale in a white box environment.
Christina Pettersson is a Florida-based (Stockholm-born) artist who draws on mythology and classic literature in the creation of large-scale graphite works that depict scenes of tragedy, savagery, and beauty. With realistic shading and elaborate textures, the images have a narrative-rich and highly expressive style that is reminiscent of historical paintings. Fascinated by the role such ancient, emotional, and metaphorical stories have on contemporary culture, Pettersson writes:
“I want to restore that epic and mythological dimension, a sense of awe and reverence for the world. The fact is they are not much about my personality. I want to be a storyteller. I want to believe that life is still wild” (Source).
Central to Pettersson’s illustrations are references to classical female figures, including the huntress/protector Artemis and Shakespeare’s Ophelia. Most of the images are dark in their imagery and/or atmosphere: Artemis, holding her bow, confronts the viewer with a fatally impassive expression; Ophelia, still awake, sinks into an oceanic abyss; while other women, unnamed, lie slain and bloodied. What Pettersson seems to be exploring (and critiquing) is the female body-as-sacrifice in such mythological traditions. These women — whose deaths are often treated as incidental plot-devices or metaphors in otherwise male-centered narratives — are given representation that mourns the tragedy of their deaths, and in many cases, signifies a liberating rebirth. Desdemona, for example, murdered in her bed, lies beside her peacefully-sleeping resurrected self; Ophelia, submerged in water, remains conscious while a ship — a symbolic “lifeboat” — turns her way. In a beautiful poem accompanying the latter image, Pettersson explains how she seeks to reclaim Ophelia from Shakespeare’s lethal sentence:
We are accustomed to your cruel pen,
the way it marks a creature for death, death only,
but this is too much.
I am taking it back,
taking it all back. (Source)
Stefanos created a Euro Banknote Bombing project by incorporating minimal ink bled illustrations of a callous nature and torpid situations. The human figures he incorporates into the Euros embody the social and economic instability in Greece has been facing for the past few years. On a 100 euro, the Grimm Reaper “reaps” in the shadows. A “bomb” effect to showcase social decay and violence. This is just one of the many heartless illustrations that grace the paper.
Stefanos hijacks the European document, exemplifies artwork through a lack of reality, then returns it by spending it-sending it flight for circulation. By defacing the euro, he expresses his dissatisfaction for the economy to share in the hands of others. The graffiti euros have successfully branched all over, showcasing his depiction of this noise that Greece faces.
LOL, I have so many visas, would you like to marry me? No kidding, Leonard Combier. He takes ordinary passports and transforms them into a magnificent compact world of intrinquite drawings, quotes, tiny details and intertwined stamps. Depths of ink cover these passports with Gotham Googly looking characters with large bubble eyes.
His carefully calculated doodles are constructed with hundreds of shapes, forcing you to take a closer look at the passport and dissect the different stories. Eyeballs are common throughout his drawings and staring back at you-makes sense on a passport. This circus spectacle must be a sight for customs officer!
Spanish illustrator Irma Gruenholz constructs hand sculpted, three-dimensional scenes using clay. Her surreal compositions primarily involve portraits of rosy-cheeked humans coupled with fantastical characteristics. A woman, posed like a frog, captures small human flies with her long tongue. Another illustration features a woman catching small bits of light between two chopsticks. Gruenholz forms the clay into smooth, elegant figures that don’t immediately read as handmade – they look like they could’ve been digitally produced.
A lot of work goes into crafting these illustrations. Gruenholz individually creates each character each character and scene using sculpting tools and paint. They’re held in place by stands and posed correctly. Scenes are photographed and later edited to remove the supports and produce the illusion that they could possibly be real.
Japanese artist Junko Mizuno’s candy-colored works draw us into a world full of dark and erotic food fetishes. Meant as a metaphor the female sexual appetite and power, Mizuno’s illustrations feature women enjoying eggs, bacon, noodles, and more. Her maximalist style weaves geometric shapes, naked creatures, and luscious patterns into each composition. Coupled with the strong presence of a female character, it results in artwork that’s simultaneously grotesque, cute, playful, and alluring.
Mizuno’s inspiration comes from a range of historical and cultural influences, as well as traditions found in both Eastern and Western worlds. Fairy tales and the works of Aubrey Beardsley and Eric Stanton are also visible. Narwhal Contemporary writes about her paintings, stating, “One reoccurring image is that of the iconic multi-armed goddess cloaked in symbols of life and wisdom, surrounded by fleets of devoted minions and enveloped in flames that will never consume her.” They relish in their unapologetic gluttony.
Mizuno currently has work in a solo exhibition titled Ambrosial Affair at the Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto. This is the second in a three-part exhibition series titled Junko Mizuno’s Food Obsession. It’s on view until March 15 of this year.
Sonya Fu’s digital paintings seek to open the third eye and unlock the limbo between wakefulness and sleep. Rendered in soft vibrant colors, her characters are lit up, though from within or without we are uncertain. Shapes and bubbles of light play on their faces, like projections from an unknown dimension. Their half-closed dreaming eyes add to the eerie yet somehow peaceful quality of the paintings, as though we’re witnessing some mystical wandering of the mind.
“Art is a powerful visual language and creating art is a calming and therapeutic process,” Fu says. “I would like to share with people my dreamscape, its beauty and its oddity.” Her paintings are the product of sleep paralysis, a state where the mind is only half-awake and the body is still convinced it’s slumbering. In more superstitious times, sleep paralysis has been attributed to everything from death itself to hags who would come and sit on the sleeper’s chest. As though channeling that supernatural power, the girls in Fu’s paintings gaze off into the distance, thoroughly raptured away and unaware or perhaps undisturbed by their surreal surroundings. They are composed, high priestesses of some fantasy world that only blossoms in the twilight hours.
Fu explains: “It might be an eerie creature, a whimsical scenery or a disturbed beauty who speaks words of wisdom – they are all embodiments of my subconscious mind.” (via Hi-Fructose)
Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos created a military vessel that holds the sun—well not really but beyond its moon exterior is an illuminating golden life-size sculpture made by Brazillian artistic duo Os Gemeos. It’s small lemon peep hole is difficult to avoid as it entices you to look within.
The magnificent glow and brilliant tones of sharp cheddar and canary yellow draw you to the hidden figure inside by its projection of warmth. It’s like discovering an oyster with a pearl. The flame of color that shines from the tiny circular barred glass on the vessel’s exterior allures the viewer to take initiative and discover what’s beyond its walls. Opening the door exposes the true color from within and a human sculpture who’s physique is slender, expression content and dressed in a golden glimmer buttoned up top with floral patterned bottoms—carefully constructed from head to toe, visit site.
His shirt is detailed with hundreds of gold pieces mended together one by one. Surrounding him are unique sketches and disheveled illustrations; from the back of the vessel is another glass window to take a look in from behind him. (via design boom)