Artists To Know

Artists To Know! Installment Four

I really don’t give photography or sculpture enough love. I tend to have my eye caught most by drawings, paintings, and mixed media because it’s what I do and I understand the process, but there is so much more thrilling art out there in every medium. So, for these next couple “Artist To Know” installments I am going to focus on art forms besides the aforementioned. Today is photography’s day to shine. Though there is also a lot of stunning landscape and animal photography out there (I mean come on, nature is amazing!), I chose to feature a type of photography less often explored, utilizing props, costumes, and often times incredibly extensive handmade sets to create a new and different world that the photographer envisions. These photographs tell a story beyond the appreciation of beauty. These are not about capturing the perfect moment, but creating the perfect moment to capture.

Tim Walker

British fashion photographer Tim Walker shot his first fashion story for Vogue at the young age of 25, and has continued shooting for British, American, and Italian Vogue ever since. He has also created stories for W magazine and LOVE magazine. I love the entrancing worlds he creates ranging from the soft and ethereal to the colorful and kooky. As a kid, I always wished there existed a magic television that could record people’s dreams while they slept, so I could watch others’ dreams (curious and nosy kid, for sure ;)). I imagine Walker’s photos are what the recordings would have looked like. He invites you into his dreams. You really have to visit his website and see his series of surreal photographs featuring well-known actors and actresses that he did for W – they are of the colorful and kooky variety, and some of my favorites. Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Keira Knightley, and Eddie Redmayne? Yes please.

Alex Stoddard

Alex Stoddard’s first exploration with photography was a series of self portraits he began taking at 16. I find people that are able to simultaneously compose amazing shots and also act as model in them and convey the correct body position and emotion on their face mind blowing as it is. It is clear that each of Stoddard’s photographs tell a story, and the viewer is dragged straight into it, no longer just a passerby gazing at a scene or figure but an active participant in whatever is going on.

Lindsey Adler

Lindsey Adler is a professional portrait and fashion photographer, known for her bold, graphic compositions. What is also cool about her is she loves sharing her passion with others, and lectures tens of thousands of photographers each year worldwide. Not every artist is willing to share their secrets, or wishes to take the time out of creating work to teach others, and I find that very admirable and inspiring. What I was most drawn to  about her work is her super-close-up face shots that turn her model’s face into a work of art. There is obvious careful attention to color, space, and line, even when working with the natural hues and contours of a face rather than adding fantastical artistic details like below.

Kirsty Mitchell

Winner of Lens Culture’s Visual Storytelling Grand Prize in 2014, Kirsty Mitchell worked as a successful senior fashion designer for an international label until personal illness brought on unexpected life changes. It is then that she connected with the camera, and she states that it changed her life forever. Her series “Wonderland”; my personal favorite and the series from which the image below is a part; was inspired by her mother, who sadly passed in 2008. The sets, costumes, and props are hand-created and filled with exquisite details, which is what captivated me in the first place. Mitchell says she found herself creating pieces that echoed her mother’s stories, and the need to create the worlds of her dreams and make them tangible grew. The greater meaning behind these images is evident in the awe-inspiring end results of the project.

Michael Belk

Michael Belk is an accomplished fashion photographer whose work has appeared regularly in Elle, Vogue, and many other publications. He always said of his work “There is no hidden meaning in my photography, no agenda beyond the image itself. I am attracted to beauty …” Then suddenly, his focus shifted away from the model of “art for art’s sake” and he began spending all of his time composing modern day biblical scenes. In an interview with The Christian Post, Belk says of the inspiration for his new passion, “I was in New York prepping for a photo shoot a week after 9/11 and saw many people searching for something.” It was out of this realization that in the midst of chaos people were fearful and didn’t know where to turn, in conjunction with Belk’s own experience of faith in what he calls one of his “darkest hours”, that “Journeys With The Messiah” was born. Belk places the stories of Jesus in a modern day context to communicate timeless biblical themes in a way that is sharply relevant to today’s culture and issues. The strong light source and worn, sepia filter over all the images in this series communicate a strong feeling of sincerity, and seamlessly merge imagination and creativity with history. “Journeys With The Messiah” is beauty, with a purpose.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s photography! Next time, it’s sculpture. Have any favorite photographers I didn’t mention in this group? Give me a shout! I love learning about new artists myself.

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Artists To Know

Artists to Know! Installment One.

In my first installment of Artists to Know, there are actually two digital artists, still unbelievably underrepresented in this day and age. Digital artists are highly under appreciated, and wrongly viewed as art “cheaters” in the fine art world. I myself have played around with digital work, and absolutely HATED it! Take it from me, what one can do in 10 minutes with a brush seems to take 10 hours on a computer. Digital art is used to achieve a desired effect, it is by no means a shortcut. I hope you see something new today, maybe something that sparks ideas of your own.

Ray Caesar

Ray Caesar describes his art on his website as “facing something unpleasant with calm and looking beyond what you’re viewing to see the beauty within”. His work is influenced by the time he spent working as a photographer and graphic designer at a children’s hospital, many of whom were abused or suffered from serious physical deformities. After his mother’s death, he had a dream in which she appeared to him as a child. The childlike figures in his pieces aren’t really children but the manifestation of people’s souls. His work is certainly not for everyone, and I know many who find his art too  creepy or disturbing, but it goes to show that as artists, our experiences do inform what we create. He uses digital programs to create a 3D world in which he can change poses, adjust the viewpoint angle, open and close drawers … He has said there are hidden secrets that never show up in the prints such as what are in the figure’s pockets or inside closets. If you have the time, read more in depth about the process by which these digital worlds are created because it is truly amazing and eye-opening.

Ray Caesar

Catalina Estrada

This lady does everything – Besides the typical art prints, she covers greeting cards, bedroom comforters, clothing and bags, even umbrellas with her beautiful designs; prints wallpaper; has her art made into difficult 1000 piece puzzles that I would probably end up throwing across the room in frustration! She embraces the concept that art doesn’t just have to hang on a wall, and captivating designs that make people smile and feel inspired can cover every imaginable surface. She makes her work accessible, and that is awesome.

Catalina Estrada

Elena Kotliarker

From the Ukraine, Elena classifies her work as Judaic Art. The flow from one element to the next in her pieces is so spot on, the effect is calming and dynamic at the same time. I love all the tiny details within each piece, so that you keep noticing new things the longer you look at it. Also interesting is the cultural symbolism she integrates into each work. I discovered her on ebay actually, and now have a gorgeous little ACEO prints as a souvenir.

Elena Kotliarker

Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia is an artist you can spot immediately. I love that all her art just GOES TOGETHER to form a cohesive body of work based on her distinctive style alone. While maintaining this continuity, she continues to keep things fresh and different with widely varying genres, stories and narratives, and color schemes. Much like Ray Caesar, I feel like her work is something you get or don’t. Being the fan of almost any form of surrealism or warped storybook illustrations that I am, I am in love.

Mia Araujo

Mia Araujo is interested in the complexities that make each individual unique, and the invisible universes that thrive inside us all. Manifesting inner landscapes through art, making the invisible visible, is something I am also passionate about as I touched on in my last post. It’s no surprise why I am so drawn to her work. Each piece has an entire fantasy story within it to absorb. For lovers of portraits, you’re in luck, because within each piece are embedded innumerable portraits, from the main subject(s) to the tiny faces embedded in the background and sometimes even within the subject’s hair or clothing. Can you tell I’m into detail?

Mia Araujo

I hope you’ve enjoyed exposing yourself to some artists you may not have heard of before. I did go heavy on the surrealism as that is what I tend to be drawn towards most, but even if the subject matter or style is not your bag, there is always something to learn by observing other artists’ technique. I’m constantly finding new artists and images that inspire me, so I will definitely be sharing more in the future – be on the lookout!

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Artist Bio

Throwback Thursday – Art Is An Organism

I have always had an attraction to the unreal. Part of this is I have always been a vivid dreamer. I recall crying one morning, my heart filled with the sting of injustice, because I’d dreamed my mother had promised to fill my room with pink balloons and when I awoke, lo and behold not a single balloon! I unfortunately also had frequent nightmares, see first drawing below. Coupled with this was a fierce sense of individualism. I had a strong aversion to directly copying any influence. It seemed like cheating. I was also a coloring book addict, and due to this strong attachment to individuality, I ended up with quite a few pictures of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” with purple hair, or green skin, or even shooting metallic red and gold lasers from her fingertips at the personified wardrobe. Color her jumper blue? Please.

I suppose I always figured if you’re going to draw something that you can already look at right in front of you in real life, the live version is always going to look better anyway. Show me something I CAN’T see. What I’ve learned, however, is that the whole “You have to learn the rules before you can break them” thing I was always told in school by teachers (which I HATED, by the way) is totally true. Just as an inventor certainly can’t go about building a time machine if he doesn’t know how to rewire a lamp, if an artist doesn’t know the basic techniques that allow him or her to replicate reality, he or she can’t know how to bend it. The very last drawing of the girl with the crazy possessed sword was a project for school my junior year based on a fantasy novel I was writing at the time. I said, “gather drawing references? Grid the facial proportions? Psh, boring!” and went full steam ahead. Note the oddly shaped alien skull, the giant mutant hand larger than said skull, and the strangely sized and placed nose and eye. Like, her eye is literally way up where her hairline should be. If you have innovative, mind-bending, insane ideas, never abandon them! Keep sketching! But in between all that, practice some of that “boring, mundane” stuff in between, because this practice is the key to unlocking the worlds inside your head, allowing you to transfer them into plaster, paper, wood, corrugated cardboard…! Go on google image search and look at pictures of eyes, of hands, and practice sketching them. Look outside your window and even if it’s just for 10 minutes, grab a pencil and try to draw what you see. Use scrap paper, the backs of envelopes from all those credit card applications that fill our mailboxes day after day and just DRAW WHAT YOU SEE once a day. I promise you’ll notice a difference. Each person’s art is like a little organism, and it has to keep evolving.

So there's the regular mom, and then there's the mom with sharp teeth. Note the little girl on the left looking up and being like, "Oh shoot, it's on!"

So there’s the regular mom, and then there’s the mom with sharp teeth (Thank you real mom for the convenient labels!). Note the little girl on the left looking up and being like, “Oh shoot, it’s on!”

Early 80s punk hair, fangs, a bug infested abode with poor sanitation standards and broken windows ... nothing good can come of this.

Early 80s punk hair, fangs, a bug infested abode with poor sanitation standards and broken windows … nothing good can come of this.

Lest you think I'm morbid, here's a perfectly normal drawing of a girl in a bohemian skirt and bangle bracelets jamming out to a cassette player.

Lest you think I’m morbid, here’s a perfectly normal drawing of a girl in a bohemian skirt and bangle bracelets jamming out to a cassette player.

Behold, Emmie the four legged girl! Having only two legs is for squares.

A later drawing from high school. Behold, Emmie the four legged girl! Having only two legs is for squares.

Amethyst Eyes, the fantasy epic that never was. What evil being is living inside that sword, and why does that woman have such a flat head???!!!

Amethyst Eyes, the fantasy epic that never was. What evil being is living inside that sword, and why does that woman have such a flat head???!!!

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