Tag Archives: portraits

New Hand-Sculpted Clay Portraits and Illustrations by Irma Gruenholz


In a fine balance of sculpting, painting, lighting, and photography, Madrid-based artist Irma Gruenholz (previously) creates portraits and still-lifes that could easily be mistaken for 2D images found in storybooks. Gruenholz refers to her pieces as clay illustrations, and works with a variety of materials including modeling clay and plasticine to achieve different effects. Her work appears in advertisements, books, posters, and magazines around the world, and three of her portraits were selected for the Society of Illustrators 57th Exhibition in New York earlier this year.

Gruenholz just shared a new series of illustrations over on Behance, and you can read a recent interview about her process on Brown Paper Bag.










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The Wonderland Book: Photographer Kirsty Mitchell Honors Her Mother Through Lavish Conceptual Portraits

24_She'll Wait For You In The Shadows Of Summer

Fine art photographer Kirsty Mitchell’s (previously) award-winning series of conceptual portraits titled Wonderland will soon be available as a book by the same name. Wonderland began as a small project in 2009 when Mitchell decided to explore childhood stories shared by her mother, an English teacher, who died from cancer several years earlier. Models dressed in lavish costumes were shot against natural settings like deeply wooded forests to evoke the elements of mystery and fantasy enjoyed by Mitchell’s mother. While portraits from the series are extremely detailed and vivid, they remain intentionally ambiguous enough for readers to project their own stories onto them.

The success of her first few photos drove the artwork into uncharted territory as the photoshoots grew into increasingly ornate endeavors where costumes and props for each image were sewn, painted, and assembled by hand, requiring up to five months of prep for a single shot. Mitchell recounts the series’ evolution in an essay on her website. The full collection of 74 storybook images will soon be available in an actual publication currently funding (with wild success) on Kickstarter.

3_Wonderland images collage 1

4_Wonderland images collage 2


5_Wonderland London show

21_The Stars Of Spring Will Carry You Home

23_The Fade Of Fallen Memories

1_Kirsty in Studio

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Artist Nelson Makamo’s Dynamic Portraits of Johannesburg Children


With a dizzying flurry of oil paints, watercolors, silkscreen & monotype printing techniques, charcoal, and ink, artist Nelson Makamo captures the daily life of South African children as reflected in their charismatic faces. Based in Johannesburg, Makamo prefers to refer to himself as a storyteller or narrator of what he encounters everyday. “I document each day visually because for me each day is a blessing, being able to capture movements and feelings of people who live around me.” His portraits depict hopeful faces filled with laughter and confidence, awash in spirited dashes of color. Via Salon Ninety One:

Key themes informing Makamo’s practice include the city of Johannesburg with its dizzying dynamism, portraiture, the narrative of the artist’s personal history – an unpolitical archive of personal experience, as well as themes of migration, urbanization, identity, masquerade and the transition from childhood to adulthood. Makamo ultimately strives to communicate a universal experience, which viewers can relate to and access through his artwork.

Makamo has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in South Africa, France, Italy, the U.S., The Netherlands and Scotland over the last few years. You can see more of his artwork at Candice Berman Fine Art or follow him on Instagram. And just in case you were wondering, his shoes. (via Lustik)









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Artist Sean Yoro Paints Meticulous Seaside Murals While Balancing on His Paddle Board


Riding atop a paddle board, artist Sean Yoro (aka Hula), paints murals while floating on the waves, placing his works just above sea level. The murals, all portraits of women, have a hyperrealistic quality that appear as if each is existing just above the tide. Due to the works’ position above the water they reflect perfectly into the waves, the image extending out far from the painted surface.

The NYC-based artist paddles out to paint the murals, balancing his acrylic paint on his board all the while. Hula grew up on the island of Oahu, where he spent most of his days in the ocean. Although he grew up dabbling in graffiti, watercolor, and tattoo art, he didn’t take his work seriously until he began to paint the the human body when he was 21. Hula also uses cracked surfboards as a surface to paint his female portraits, more of which you can see on his Instagram, @the_hula. (via Street Art News)

Hula_02 Hula_03 Hula_04 Hula_05 Hula_06 Hula_07

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New Historical Portraits on Flattened Cans by Kim Alsbrooks


Kim Alsbrooks (previously) began painting historical portraits on crushed cans in 2004 while living in the South. The series “My White Trash Family” was born out of the frustration of prevailing ideologies of class distinction, ideas she decided to challenge by placing portraits of the past onto everyman’s consumerist leftovers. These paintings are typically depicted straight from 17th to 18th centuries, and tend to match the material environment they are placed upon (either through color choice, content, or both).

For each painting a gesso layer is applied first, followed by a drawn image in graphite, and finally oil paint and varnish. Alsbrooks only uses detritus she finds on the streets, faithfully sticking to cans that have already been trampled and crushed flat. Difficulty comes in finding the perfect cans, as they must be free of wrinkles that would impede upon on the paintings she places within the center of each surface.

Alsbrooks estimates that she has painted more than 700 of these portraits over the last 11 years, and the series will culminate with an exhibition at the Racine Art Museum in September of this year alongside jewelry maker Nikki Coupee. Alsbrooks often elaborates on the background of the portraits she paints, descriptions behind the portraits’ selection can be found on her blog here.

J.Davis (2)






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Photographic Portraits of Famous Artist’s Paint Palettes by Matthias Schaller

Palette of Marc Chagall

Since 2007 photographer Matthias Schaller has photographed raw, abstract paintings. The paintings however are not found on canvas, but rather smeared onto the tools used to craft each work of art—the palettes. His series, Das Meisterstück (The Masterpiece), claims these behind-the-scene objects as portraits of the artist, while also giving a direct insight into the detailed techniques performed by each painter.

Schaller was first inspired to begin his photographic collection during a visit to Cy Twombly’s late studio. During the visit he stumbled upon the artist’s palette, which he discovered to be an accurate reflection of the artist’s paintings. Encouraged to further discover the similarities between palette and painting, Schaller has gone on to photograph over two hundred of these historic portraits. His search has led him to collect palettes from all across Europe and the United States, finding the objects in major museums and private foundations and in the custody of artists’ relatives and collectors. The palettes he’s photographed so far in the series belong to seventy painters from both the 19th and 20th century, and include such artists as Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso. To accurately analyze the details from paint hue to brushstroke, Schaller presents the images in large format, each work existing at approximately 190 x 150 cm.

Schaller’s practice focuses on non traditional portraits, which he considers “indirect portraits.” Other subject matter has included children’s rooms in Naples, Italy, 150 Italian opera houses, astronaut suits, and early punk vinyls. Through June 8, the Giorgio Cini Foundation will present Schaller’s Das Meisterstück alongside the Venice Biennale, an exhibition that will focus on 20 of Schaller’s palette photographs. (via Hyperallergic)

Palette of Paula Modersohn-Becker / Palette of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Palette of Wassily Kandinsky, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller,Lenbachhaus, München;

Palette of Claude Monet / Palette of Édouard Manet

Palette of Edgar Degas

Palette of Eugene Delacroix / Palette of Georges Seurat

Turner - Royal 004
Palette of J.M.W. Turner, 2013, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, The Royal Academy of Arts, London;

Niemeyer 302
Palette of Francis Bacon, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin.

Niemeyer 451
Palette of Cy Twombly, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, Collezione Nicola del Roscio, Gaeta;

Palette of Pablo Picasso / Palette of Henri Matisse

Palette of Vincent van Gogh, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, Musée d’Orsay, Paris;

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Double Exposure Animal Portraits by Andreas Lie


Norwegian visual artist Andreas Lie merges verdant landscapes and photographs of animals to creates subtle double exposure portraits. Snowy mountain peaks and thick forests become the shaggy fur of wolves and foxes, and even the northern lights appear through the silhouette of a polar bear. Lie is undoubtedly influenced by his surroundings in Bergen, Norway, a coastal city surrounded by seven mountains. Many of these are available as prints and other objects on Society6. (via Beautiful/Decay, Blu)










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