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Illustration

Expressive Portraits, Line Drawings, and Foliage Are Superimposed into Rich Illustrations by Ana Santos

February 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ana Santos, shared with permission

At the center of Ana Santos’s practice is a commitment to discovery. The Salamanca-based illustrator fuses multiple mediums—her work ranges from watercolor, ink-based drawing, and digital painting to embroidery and ceramics—into portraits superimposed with clusters of foliage, birds, and small, black-and-white renderings, a technique she’s developed through experimentation. “Enjoying the process is very important and being open to error has given me unexpected results, which I really appreciate,” she tells Colossal.

Santos begins the layered works on paper, which she then scans to complete digitally in Photoshop. The resulting portraits are expressive and complex, weaving in elements of emotion, fantasy, and nature.  “I don’t like to explain or give a concrete narrative to my work,” she says. “It seems magical to me that the viewer is open to a free and personal interpretation and that the viewer feels that it is their own.”

Shop originals and prints of Santos’s illustrations on her site, and follow her latest projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Fantastical Atmospheres Are Rendered with Dark Impasto Strokes in Digital Paintings by RHADS

February 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Continuation of the Dream.” All images © Artem Chebokha, shared with permission

Impasto strokes in deep shades of blue and gray form the volatile environments that backdrop Artem Chebokha’s surreal works. The Saint Petersburg-based artist, who uses the moniker RHADS, mimics the texture of oil paint in his digital pieces. Situated within heavy clouds and pockets of lightning, elements of unusual scale, like minuscule airplanes or an oversized octopus, create otherworldly atmospheres filled with unpredictable weather and open expanses.

Prints of Chebokha’s dreamy paintings are available on Society6. Head to Instagram to see a larger collection of his pieces, including a 3D shot of the work above, and keep an eye out for his upcoming project that merges art and music. (via Cross Connect Magazine)

 

“A Great Storm Approaching”

“City of Love”

“Floating in the Dark”

“Octosoup”

“The Longing to Air Trips”

 

 



Illustration

Bold Animal Portraits Emerge from Ornamental Backdrops in YoAz's Digital Illustrations

February 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © YoAz, shared with permission

In YoAz’s Ornamental Animals, vibrant portraits of lions, gorillas, and other large mammals pop out of an expanse of decorative flourishes. The new series utilizes an ornate motif that’s consistent throughout each piece, with the faces of each creature delineated by saturated tones that contrast the otherwise pastel backdrop. The Paris-based illustrator and graphic designer shares that for the digital portraits, he focuses on three colors that vary in shade, using one to outline the face, a brighter hue to add density and movement, and another to intensify the animal’s individual characteristics.

Prints of YoAz’s illustrations are available from Society6, and you can find an extensive collection of his work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Illustration

Elegant Figures Inhabit the Surreal Dreamworlds of Thanh Nhàn Nguyễn's Sublime Illustrations

January 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

Season of silence.” All images © Thanh Nhàn Nguyễn, shared with permission

Populated with low clouds, oversized peonies, and birds covered in fish scales, Thanh Nhàn Nguyễn’s dreamscapes merge fantasy and tradition in a celebration of Vietnamese culture. In his series, Season of Life, the artist digitally renders demure figures who wear áo dài, a long, split gown that’s tied to ideas of feminine beauty. The women are enveloped by the magical environment and depicted with pale tendrils grasping their ankles or cloaked by a fiery, plant-filled mass.

“I have relied on the color of flowers and leaves, the surrounding nature combined with the motifs from the Vietnamese culture where I was born,” Nguyễn writes. “What’s important (is) the fact that they come from the feelings inside me—the emotions inside each of us.”

Nguyễn recently moved to Can Thơ, which is in southern Vietnam, and shares a collection of his ethereal works on Behance and Instagram. Prints of Season of Life and other illustrations are available from Society6.

 

“Season inside season”

“Season under the light”

“Season in bloom”

 

 



Photography

A Massive Octopus and Floating Fish Comprise the Imaginary Universe in Ted Chin's Surreal Composites

January 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ted Chin, shared with permission

In Ted Chin’s surreal dreamland, it’s not uncommon to see massive anglerfish swimming through the sky or a figure scooping up shooting stars. The San Francisco-based artist merges idyllic landscapes and outdoor scenes with fantastical details, choosing to upturn an evergreen in mid-air or position an oversized octopus underneath a floating house. Simultaneously uncanny and calming, the composites are eye-catching and rooted in imagination. “There are things in the world that inspire childlike wonder and awe, and it is my passion to recreate and share them with the world,” the artist says.

All of the digital works here, which blend stock images and Chin’s own shots, fall under the scope of Ted’s Little Dream, the fictional universe that the artist created years ago and continues to work within. “Storytelling has always been something that inspired me. When I was in grad school, I was not able to travel as much as I wanted to,” he says. “I’ve always dreamed about visiting different places, to see and experience new things, and to tell stories.”

If you’re a Photoshop user, you’ve probably spotted Chin’s cloudy flamingo work (shown below) as part of the 2021 Photoshop splash screen. To dive further into his meditative universe, head to Instagram, and pick up a print from his shop.

 

 

 



Illustration

Energetic Lines Circulate Through the Dynamic, Vibrant Portraits of Martin Satí

December 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Martin Satí, shared with permission

Just as a ceramicist would smooth the harsh edges of clay, Martin Satí renders the supple contours of a subject’s face with sweeping motion. Thick drops of color form the light of a cheekbone or eyelid crease, and the swirling lines that overlay the Seville-based illustrator’s portraits add a dynamic element. Through implied movement, the expressive works capture the subjects’ energy and momentary expressions.

Satí shares that his practice, while digital, similarly molds facial features as a sculptor would. Despite using impalpable tools, he says that his “material is like semi-liquid and is difficult to model but at the same time is very rich in movement and liveliness… I work with this material, which I usually call ‘Silicone Pie,’ as an artisan works with ceramics. I am modeling the colors with lines of movement until I achieve an optimal level of detail.”

Explore more of Satí’s energetic portraits on Behance and Instagram.