Ukrainian-American artist, Maya Hayuk, takes inspiration from an unlikely combination of places, everything from Ukranian Easter eggs and Mexican woven blankets to Mandalas and rorschach tests. Hayuk uses any and every material and subject matter to create whatever fantastic world of shapes and colors she can imagine, all supported with a deep-seated understanding of composition and form. Armed with genuine inspiration and disciplined skill, she is completely unafraid to make whatever excites her, whether that be giant psychedelic murals, Aztec-Disco designs for 10 inch ceramic plates, or custom designs for Sony laptops.
The most fascinating thing about Hayuk is not only her prolific body of work, but how seamlessly she transitions from one medium to the next. Her website features works using acrylic, ink, glitter, spray paint, watercolors, tape, ballpoint pens, and wheat paste on everything from gallery walls to wood panels to the side of a barn. While her work maintains a continuity of style, there is no mistaking how she repeatedly breaks out of her own box, and challenges not only the conventions of visual art, but her personal progression as well. In her works ranging from vibrant patterns to neon or wood-paneled copulations that could make the artists of the Kama Sutra blush, Hayuk confronts both the cerebral and corporal with genuine enthusiasm and an obsessive love for symmetry. In the wild compositions, there is an inherent freedom of expression that is both playful and considered. It’s as if Hayuk is actively exploring the universe through her work, and all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
The art of Skinner is full of mullets, monsters and metal heads, not to mention the lurkers, samurai and lil’ devils. The self-proclaimed nerd for life takes inspiration from the world of fantasy, giving life to the dreams (or sometimes nightmares) of Slayer fans and Dungeon masters everywhere. The beautifully detailed works combine the aesthetics of street art, comic book illustrations, and something akin to black velvet paintings on acid. Each work has such an immense sense of epicness, it’s hard to not get caught up in the world created. And while many of the paintings and drawings convey infinitely complex scenes that you could look at for hours, Skinner also makes lighter works that are hard not to love, especially when they’re called things like Eternal Jamnation, and have a dark, glowing monster jamming on a guitar, surrounded by bats. It’s the kind of work that just oozes passion, because no one could make images so far from reality without being totally immersed in the process. It’s like a Metalocolypse Halloween episode 365 days a year. But, despite the awesome appearance of his work, Skinner is extremely introspective and self-critical, constantly challenging himself as an artist and working to create something completely innovative. His determination to return to a more childlike inspiration, a time when “it was just raw freedom, there were no expectations, there were no ideas of good or bad it was just being in the moment and trying [his] best to do something that looks good.”
If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.
As long as there have been artists, there have been people who recognized that the innovation and creativity of truly unique individuals should be nurtured. Beautiful/Decay Magazine is very pleased to announce its collaboration with the Canson & Royal Talens family of art supply brands on the Wet Paint Grants project.
Canson, Royal Talens and Arches have been manufacturing the highest quality art materials that inspire artists for centuries. Likewise, artists have been playing a key role in development of products that they make at their own mills.
Most recently, Canson and Beautiful/Decay teamed up to choose eight artists in the United States, who exemplify a passion and commitment to their craft. Over each of the next eight weeks, Beautiful/Decay will announce a new recipient of the Wet Paint Grant. Each artist chosen will receive a year’s worth of art supplies from any of the Canson family of brands. We hope the generosity of these grants will help each artist to leave limitations behind and produce the work that compels them. While the outside support of artists is an integral part of Art history, above all we congratulate and thank the artists, who are the impetus to brands like Canson, Royal Talens and Arches to continue encouraging the arts. Read about our first Wet Paint Grant recipient Wendell Gladstone after the jump.