portraits

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Illustration

Hypnotic Illustrations Blur Resolute Women into Heavily Patterned Portraits

May 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“MARA” (2017), pencil and black marker on paper. All images © Sofia Bonati

Argentinian artist Sofia Bonati (previously) illustrates arresting portraits that question the distinction between subject and backdrop. She poses her often unsmiling women against dense floral motifs or within dizzying, black-and-white stripes that conceal the bounds of their hair or clothing. Rendered within a tight color palette, the figures stare forward calmly, adding an element of serenity to the otherwise hypnotic works.

Currently living in North Wales, Bonati shares many of her feminine illustrations and glimpses into her creative process on Instagram and Behance. Prints and other goods adorned with the earnest figures are available on Society6.

 

“LUCINDA”

Left: “EUDOXIA” (2016), pencil, marker, and watercolour on paper. Right: “VLADA” (2016), black gesso, pencil, and marker on paper. Right:

“ELGA,” Acryla gouache and pencil on hot-pressed paper

Left: “ANASTASIA.” Right: “ETHEL”

“TARA”

 

 



Art

Unspun Wool Sculpted into Intimate Portraits by Artist Salman Khoshroo

May 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Salman Khoshroo, shared with permission

For Salman Khoshroo, carefully fashioning thick fibers into masculine portraits has a therapeutic effect. The Iranian artist, whose impasto paintings we’ve written about previously on Colossal, says his Wool on Foam series is born out of recent trauma and experience in quarantine. By sculpting the wool rovings into slight noses, puckered lips, and flowing hair, Khoshroo has evoked the delicacy and vulnerability humans face in precarious situations.

We live in fragile times, and I feel the need to find new materials and the mindset to reinvent my practice. Wool brings warmth and intimacy to these portraits and plays with provoking the nurture instinct. Making male portraits with this habitually perceived feminine material is part of a personal journey in re-interpreting the masculine condition.

The artist tells Colossal that he preferred to keep the pigmented rovings in their natural form, rather than spinning them into thread or pairing them down before use. “I laid the wool like floating brush strokes and these are the results. I guess coming to a new material without any predisposition makes it easier to create something without the burden of established techniques,” he says. Khoshroo sees these works as an extension of his established practice that produces similarly abstract portraits. 

To follow his upcoming endeavors, which includes crafting larger wool sculptures, head to Instagram. Check out this process video on his site, too.

 

 

 



Art

Vibrant Skeletal Interpretations of Celebrities and Fashion Icons Define Bradley Theodore’s Paintings

March 30, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

“Anna and Karl” (2017). All images © Bradley Theodore

Energetic brushstrokes, chromatic colors, and the skeletons of pop culture icons make up the prolific work of Miami-based artist Bradley Theodore. His bold use of color is inspired by his roots in Turks and Caicos and the fashionable subjects he’s met in New York and Miami.

The skeletal theme represents something far from morbid. Theodore explained to Omeleto in his documentary Becoming: Bradley Theodore, “a skull for me represents a symbol of a person’s spirit. It’s like I’m wrapping someone’s soul around their skeletal system.” Theodore finds a middle layer of vibrancy that serves as a source of unity.

Theodore is a self-taught painter learning primarily from YouTube and by analyzing the techniques of famous artists, like Salvador Dalí. The artistic practice came from a particularly dark period in his life where he decided that rather than be consumed by darkness, he would metamorphose through art. Theodore spent a year in near-total isolation obsessively painting—so much so that he injured his shoulder from repetitive motion.

Theodore emerged from isolation and painted an outdoor mural of fashion icons Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld together to honor their long-term friendship. The debut went viral and remains one of the artist’s most iconic pieces.

Since then, Theodore has depicted some of the most recognizable icons from fashion, music, celebrity, and history, including Tom Ford, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Kate Moss, Prince, Cara Delevingne, and Queen Elizabeth. His murals can be spotted on the streets of major cities, like Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Oslo, and Paris.

Theodore is represented by Maddox Gallery in London. Follow his vibrant paintings, street art, and collaborations on Instagram.

“Diana Vreeland” (2017)

“Tom Ford” (2015)

“Kate” 2016

“Frida” (2014)

“Untitled Self-Portrait” (2018)

“Queen Elizabeth” (2016)

“Coco’s Flowers” (2015)

 

 



Photography

Human Subjects Distorted by Nature in Double-Exposure Photographs by Christoffer Relander

March 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Miss Autumn.” All images © Christoffer Relander, shared with permission

During the first frost in the southern region of Finland, Christoffer Relander (previously) shot dense patches of branches, ferns, and blades of grass as part of a new set of double-exposure photographs. Titled We Are Nature Vol. 6, the monochromatic project merges human figures with nature to generate a portrait of a woman whose forehead is substituted with overflowing brush. Another image shows two kids whose features are obscured by leaves and vines.

The Finland-based photographer, who has a background in graphic design, tells Colossal that he decides how to pair each subject and natural element based on graphical compositions and forms. “The botanical textures are matched more after the overall mood. If it feels wrong, I will simply trust my gut,” he says.

Whereas many of his previous projects had been blended in-camera, Relander altered his method for this series thanks to extra time indoors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “I decided, however, to still bring inspiration from both the multiple exposure film algorithms (negative film) and some basic darkroom techniques,” he writes.

When doing it in-camera, the manipulation is basically done instantly. Then while using external software (Photoshop) I get more flexibility and options. Not always for the better. I have ruined artworks by taking it too far. Doing it in-camera can feel really rewarding when done right. But the pressure can be tiring.

For more of Relander’s works that expertly blend themes of nature and humanity, head to Instagram or Behance.

“Blood tie”

“Butterfly mind”

“First frost”

“Frosted back”

“Guardian”

“Resting butterfly”

“Triplets”

 

 



Art

Picasso-Inspired Portrait Sculptures Rendered by Digital Artist Omar Aqil

March 15, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Omar Aqil

Pakistan-based art director and illustrator Omar Aqil (previously) continues his Character Illustrations series with more collaged portraits made from stacks of 3D objects. Using digital software including Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D, Octane, and Adobe Illustrator, Aqil creates Picasso-esque faces and places them into random, casual scenes.

The shadows, highlights, and colors make Aqil’s rendered sculptures and plinths appear as built-objects in a physical location. Implied facial features give each character a personality that is helped by humorous expressions and mundane scenarios. “Making this series I have explored the new simplicity of shapes and forms to make a character’s inner expression which told the whole story,” Aqil writes on Behance. He adds the while the main sources of inspiration for the experimental project are Picasso’s portraits, the work also is inspired by random situations that he and other designers face.

To see more of Aqil’s portraits, check out the illustrator’s portfolio on Behance and follow him on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Bold Outlines Delineate Expressive Portraits by Agnes Grochulska

March 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

Oil on canvas, 17 x 19 inches. All images © Agnes Grochulska, shared with permission

Agnes Grochulska imbues her portraits with various emotions but leaves room for the viewer to determine which ones, preferring to create works “in which not everything is fully realized.” In The Outline Series, the Virginia-based artist uses impasto strokes to capture the distinct facial features of her characters, while drawing less attention to the rest of their figures. She finishes each portrait with a bold outline, adding bits of the vibrant blues, purples, and yellows to highlight portions of the face and neck.

While my work is anchored in representation, I try to not only focus on depicting the details of my subject but also try to capture the emotion—the essence of it. That particular ‘something’ that drew me to that subject in the first moment… There is a moment when I look at the painting and feel the emotion is there. This is the moment to step aside and realize the painting is finished.

Grochulska tells Colossal that the outline colors are intuitive and that she chooses them near the end of each piece, often gravitating toward one that either directly compliments or contrasts the rest of the work. “The outline acts as a metaphor here… It also represents the contemporary aspect of the painting in its bold and vibrant expressive character,” she says. “My hope is that the abstract form of the outline adds an emotional weight and highlights the human subject by drawing attention to the portrayed face they frame.” You can find more of the artist’s lively portraits on Instagram.

Oil on canvas, 17 x 19 inches

Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches

“Yellow Outline,” oil on canvas, 14 x 14 inches

“Yellow Outline,” oil on canvas, 14 x 14 inches

“Red Specs,” oil on canvas, 16 x 16 inches

 

 



Art

Life’s Sublime Moments Unearthed in Cubist Paintings by Connor Addison

February 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Innocence Lost” (2020), oil on linen,172 x 94 centimeters. All images © Connor Addison

Barcelona-based painter and photographer Connor Addison situates his recent series of oil paintings within the context of philosopher Edmund Burke’s theory of the sublime. That notion is based on the idea that “whatever is in any sort terrible or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling.” Aptly titled Sublime Affliction, Addison’s works often feature one or two people lying or sitting still, their expressions conveyed by the shaded geometric shapes that form their fragmented faces and bodies. “Brother & Sally” even expresses the bond between species, portraying a man with his arm slung over a sleeping dog.

Employing muted reds and blues, the artist’s angular paintings explore the human emotions inspired by art, love, and relationships. “Sublimity comes from somewhere beyond, or deeper than immediate sensation—it cannot be literally visualized,” he says of the project. “Thus, figures in the Sublime Affliction series interact with mysterious overbearing entities, sources of sublime power, fear and anxiety.” To keep up with Addison affective pieces, follow him on Instagram. (via Booooooom)

“Innocence Lost” (2020), oil on linen,172 x 94 centimeters

“Luke II (After Yves Klein)” (2016), oil on linen, 50 x 70 centimeters

“Objects of Desire (After Laurence Weiner)” (2016), oil on linen, 196 x 196 centimeters

“Luke I” (2014″, oil on linen, 50 x 70 centimeters

“Brother & Sally” (2012), oil on linen, 140 x 100 centimeters

“Untitled (Reina Sofía, After Richard Serra)” (2019), oil on linen, 100 x 81 centimeters