portraits

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Photography

Flower-Filled Portraits by Diaja Celebrate Natural Beauty in the African Diaspora

August 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer and designer Ceres Henry embellishes her portrait subjects with floral body paint and fresh blossoms in her Adam & Eve series. The New York-based artist hand-painted each person before the shoot, inspired in the moment by the flowers she had pre-selected, and then worked the three-dimensional blooms into the composition. Henry, who goes by Diaja, explains that she seeks to counter negative narratives and stereotypes with Adam & Eve. “The significance of this series is to highlight the Black and African diaspora as works of art to be admired and celebrated,” she says.

In addition to Diaja’s work as a photographer, she also founded and runs a nonprofit, Artists of Today, which offers pop-up gallery and grant opportunities to emerging artists. The next gallery event is on August 17, 2019, and tickets are available here. See more from Diaja’s multi-faceted creative practice on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Peaceful Portraits Shaped from Bunched and Layered Netting by Benjamin Shine

August 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

For his “flow” series, artist and designer Benjamin Shine crafts portraits of serene faces using lightweight tulle fabric. The fine netted material allows for dramatic differences in opacity depending on how densely it is is bunched or layered. In his artist statement, Shine explains that his work “centers on ideas of energy, impermanence and the relationship between the spiritual and the superficial.” With his most recent sculpture, “Quietude”, Shine scaled up his signature portraits and built an outdoor sculpture that measures over eight feet tall. The fuchsia-toned sculpture was made an 80 by 20 foot piece of recycled high density polyethylene shaped around a steel frame, and its color shifts as natural light changes throughout the day. Take a peek inside Shine’s studio in the video interview below, and see more of his work on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Fine and Street Art Aesthetics Merge in Anthony Lister’s Expressive Murals

August 4, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Australian artist Anthony Lister paints illustrative murals that blur the line between street art and fine art. The subjects on his walls range from figurative paintings of dancing ballerinas, to large scale portraits with rosy cheeks and red noses. Lister’s unique style is a result of his early influences and experience with graffiti, as well as his formal art education at Queensland College of Art and mentorship with New Zealand artist Max Gimblett.

For Lister, blending styles and exploring aesthetic ideas through what he calls “adventure painting” is something that came with time. “I used to try and keep all of my disciplines quite separate from each other, or at least I thought that was what I was doing,” he told Lost At E Minor. “Over time, I slowly let go of keeping one style and approach isolated from the other and so they quite organically and slowly merged to be what it is today.”

Explaining the difference in emotion between his studio work and his street faces (and why he use his full name for the former and his surname for the latter), Lister told LiveFastMag that “a face on the street represents freedom. When I’m painting on the street I don’t want to sweat over problems that I don’t feel comfortable solving in the public world or in front of an audience, because that’s often what painting in public turns into. [In the studio] I’m thinking conceptually and aesthetically, reflecting about anti-beauty, adventure painting and problem solving; whereas on the street I try to keep it simpler for myself.”

Anthony Lister has an upcoming solo exhibition titled “Modern Masters” opening at Mirus Gallery in Denver, Colorado on September 6. For updates on the show and to see more of his studio work and street art, follow Lister on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Yulia Brodskaya Reveals Her Process of ‘Painting With Paper’ in a New Book

August 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Seeing”

We’ve featured the paper-centric work of Yulia Brodskaya several times on Colossal, and the U.K.-based artist continues to hone her craft with increasingly large-scale portraits. Three recent portraits, Seeing, Seeshall, and Pull to the Light, all feature larger-than-life busts of female subjects in a range of traditional dress. Each figure appears to be focused on a point in the distance, connecting with Brodskaya’s sight-themed titles.

Brodskaya’s signature technique of ‘painting with paper’ is a contemporary interpretation of quilling, wherein the artist folds, bends, and spirals strips of colored paper. Rather than densely filling the entire surface with the manipulated paper strips, Brodskaya also incorporates flat fields of color underneath and between each textural element. This two-part technique allows the viewer’s eye to take in the dramatic shapes and shadows.

After developing and evolving this technique over the last twelve years, Brodskaya has compiled a deep dive into her creative process in a forthcoming book, “Painting With Paper”. She shares with Colossal that her book is not a collection of DIY projects.

It’s an insight into my creative process with practical tips on how to work with my methods in various ways of your own. Learn how to work with colors, the importance of testing compositions, which part of the image to start with, and when to consider it complete. I hope you will find the book inspirational and full of practical ideas for artists and paper art enthusiasts who want to advance their creative thinking, or simply get a better understanding and discover inspirations behind my paper artworks.

You can pre-order a copy of “Painting With Paper,” which is set to publish in September, on Amazon. See more of the artist and author’s multi-dimensional work on Instagram, and peek behind the scenes in her time-lapse process videos on YouTube.

“Seeing” detail

“Seeshall”

“Seeshall” detail

“Pull to the Light”

 

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Art

Romania’s Historic Cultural and Civic Leaders are Brought to Life in Sculptural Metal ‘Drawings’ by Darius Hulea

July 31, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Romanian sculptor Darius Hulea manipulates iron, stainless steel, brass, and copper wires to form three-dimensional portraits of historical figures. Ranging from royalty to poets, Hulea’s work often focuses on Romanian luminaries. The artist has rendered Queen Marie, sculptor Grigore Bradea, and philosopher Mircea Eliade along with many others, carefully recreating each subject’s furrowed brows and flowing hair in metal.

In an interview with My Modern Met Hulea explains, “I hope that people will understand that I do nothing but draw in a new way, in a durable material of the past. I can then explore and research, as an artist, mythical, Renaissance, and modern thinking by finding three-dimensional examples that describe us now in a history of the past.”

Hulea received a PhD in visual arts from Cluj-Napoca Art & Design University. He cites his family as inspiration for his creative life: his grandmother and great-grandmother were weavers, while his grandfather worked with agricultural tools. Hulea is represented by Renaissance Art Gallery in Bucharest, Romania. Peek inside the artist’s studio through his Facebook and Instagram accounts. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Art Illustration

Meticulous Portraits of Young Women by Ozabu Are Eerily Fused with Plants and Feathers

July 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mysterious women are delicately rendered in surreal graphite portraits by Japanese artist Ozabu. Working on warm-toned paper, Ozabu uses a combination of meticulous linework and astoundingly smooth blending to create images that are simultaneously dramatic and soft. Young female subjects seem to fuse with ravens, chrysanthemums, and bonsai trees, blurring the boundaries between human and nature. The self-taught artist refrains from speaking about or explaining her work, instead allowing each ineffable drawing to spark the viewer’s imagination. Ozabu is currently working on an upcoming solo show and regularly posts in-progress and completed pieces on Instagram.

 

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Photography

Unusual Details Upend Brooke DiDonato’s Seemingly Straightforward Photographs

July 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) twists bodies into unusual shapes that lead the viewer’s eye in transfixing circles. The Brooklyn-based artist creates seemingly tranquil images with soft colors and soothing textures. But surreal details, like a pair of stilettos on the sidewalk that melt into a patent leather puddle, or a gender-bending figure seated on a bench, make each photograph an object of intrigue. DiDonato exhibits her work widely and most recently showed at Le Purgatoire in Paris. Stay up to date on the photographer’s eye-catching and thought-provoking work via Instagram.

 

 

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