No matter how many times I stop to consider artworks by Parisian street artist C215 (previously) I’m left wondering just how he pulls it off. The texture, the color, the detail, all executed with stencils and spray paint on any available surface. C215 says that he frequently portrays “things and people that society aims at keeping hidden: homeless people, smokers, street kids, bench lovers for example,” though one of his favorite muses is his daughter Nina who has appeared in numerous portraits over the years. He also sneaks in references to pop culture, most notably one of the best tributes to Robin Williams I’ve seen yet.
Collected here are a number of pieces from the last year or so, you can see more on Flickr and Facebook. A retrospective of his work opens at Opera Gallery in Paris in October.
When meeting somebody for the first time, or maybe just viewing a portrait, the brain goes into overdrive for a few seconds to quickly form a first impression. Whether we like it or not, rapid assumptions are made based on age, gender, race, culture, physical appearance, the surrounding environment, and especially other people present—all things that help form who we are, real or perceived. Since 1999, Czech photographer Dita Pepe has explored this idea of identity and environment in two photographic series titled Self-Portraits with Men and Self-Portraits with Women, where the photographer seeks to completely assimilate into the lives of other people.
In the beginning, Pepe first posed with people she knew, but now works with people from all walks of life with vastly different backgrounds and family structures, often incorporating her own daughters into the portraits. Each photograph is shot on location where a family or person lives, or engages in their hobbies or daily life. Pepe goes to great length to appear as if she belongs in each portrait, a chameleonlike quality that some compare to the works of Cindy Sherman; however, unlike Sherman’s studio portraits, Pepe’s images appear more like hasty snapshots, bringing a strange level of believability and authenticity to each portrait.
Pepe most recently collaborated with writer Bara Baronova on a new book of photography titled Love Yourself, and you can see more portraits with both women and men on Feature Shoot and at Lens Culture.
Photographer Oleg Oprisco (previously) who lives and works in Kiev, continues to wow us with his vivid style of conceptual photography that places subjects in the middle of surreal and fantastic tableaus. Oprisco spends large amounts of time scouring flea markets and resale shops to collect props, costumes, and other items for each shot which he often sketches beforehand in a sketchbook, with the final shoot requiring 2-3 days of preparation. I love this bit from an interview with 500px earlier this year where he was asked to give advice to amateur/student photographers:
I strongly advise to use your time wisely. Laziness is your worst enemy. Enough looking at photographs taken by your idols. You’ve commented on enough work that you hate. It’s time to take photos. Your best photos. Let go and shoot, shoot, shoot!
left: the girl with glasses by Marteline Nystad | right: Monica Lee’s illustration of the photograph
Malaysian artist Monica Lee is obsessed with details. But then again, I guess you have to be in order to create some of the most stunning photo-realistic drawings we’ve ever seen. “I like to challenge myself with complex portraits especially people with freckles or beard,” says Lee, who often works from photographic portraits to create seemingly identical drawings. Surprisingly, Lee worked in the digital world for 12 years before making the jump to illustration. But it certainly doesn’t show. She now spends 3-4 weeks on a single drawing. The artist attributes her love for hyperrealism to her father, who worked in the field of photography. You can follow Monica Lee on Facebook or Instagram. She also sells her complex drawings as smartphone cases. (via Illusion, IGNANT)
The heads atop each of these surreal graphite portraits seem to act as a canvas in and of themselves, as entire scenes and landscapes spill forth from each oversized face. Drawn by Austrian artist Stefan Zsaitsits (previously), each piece seems to depict an individual who is literally or figuratively encumbered by animals, objects, or metaphorical thoughts. The works here are just sampling of new pieces created for a show at Galerie Lang Wien in Vienna and for Art Austria 2014. You can see all of his recent pieces over on Behance, and many of his collected drawings are available in his book, Headsongs.
Sundust is a new series of ten portraits of fictional sun goddesses by Toronto-based visual artist Sara Golish. Each piece is meticulously executed in charcoal, conté, and gold ink, and marks a distinct evolution in Golish’s style of portraiture. From her statement about the series which was unveiled at Brockton Collective during the summer solstice:
This year, Sara Golish marks this celebration [the summer solstice] with her new series SUNDUST, a salute to the fertility of the sun goddess through ten portraits of women from the continent most touched by the sun’s embrace – Africa. Compelled by the lack of female personified sun deities, Golish aims to revise and re-examine the male dominated sun god through the recasting of the past in order to re-envision the future. Released on the eve of summer solstice, the ladies of SUNDUST represent and celebrate all that is light, powerful, and life-giving.
A few of the originals are still available, and limited edition prints are for sale through her website. You can see all ten works with detailed descriptions over on Facebook. (via Gaks Designs)
Philadelphia artist Kim Alsbrooks recreates historial oil portraits on flattened beers cans and fast food containers. Titled “My White Trash Family” the series was conceived while Alsbrook was living in the south and found herself grappling with prevailing ideas of class. She shares via a statement about the project:
The White Trash Series was developed while living in the South out of frustration with some of the prevailing ideologies, in particular, class distinction. This ideology seems to be based on a combination of myth, biased history and a bizarre sentimentality about old wars and social structures. With the juxtaposition of the portraits from museums, once painted on ivory, now on flattened trash like beer cans and fast food containers, the artist sets out to even the playing field, challenging the perception of the social elite in today’s society.
Filmmaker Jesse Brass recently caught up with Alsbrook to interview her for his Making Art series. Watch it above.