portraits

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Craft Illustration

Paper Quilling Process Shown Step-by-Step in New Video by Yulia Brodskaya

February 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Jaguar.” All images © Yulia Brodskaya

Known for her technique of “painting with paper,” Yulia Brodskaya (previously) has crafted a new piece titled “Jaguar,” a portrait blending human and cat features. In a recent video posted to her Facebook, the U.K.-based artist shares her creative process, starting with a sketched figure on a black board. Brodskaya then fills in small patches with neutral-toned paper, clipping them in place until she attaches the next piece. The artist even utilizes a tweezers to position some of the singular layers and shows her quilling technique up close as she bends strips of paper before wrapping the edge around the folds. For more of Brodskaya’s paper paintings, head to Instagram.

 

 



Art

Memory and Self-Love Highlight Profound Portraits of Black Figures by Harmonia Rosales

January 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Summer,” (2018), oil on linen and gold leaf, 24 x 24 inches. All images © Harmonia Rosales, shared with permission

Chicago-born artist Harmonia Rosales says her striking portraits speak to “the part of me that has been the least represented in our society.” Rosales tells Colossal that much of her work⁠—⁠she largely features a central black figure surrounded by floral and animalistic details—is linked to her Afro-Cuban background. “I empower women of color through art that challenges ideological hegemony in contemporary society,” she writes. “The black female bodies of my paintings are the memory of my ancestors expressed in a way to heal and promote self-love.”

In “Harvest,” a seated woman holds three children, while two others gather at her bare feet. A small stack of nondescript books, a brown skull, a broken string of pearls, and a writhing snake line the steps, providing contrast between the natural and human-made elements. Although she often utilizes religious iconography, like in her Orisha’s series, Rosales says she hopes instead to give her viewers healing tools rather than spiritual indoctrination. Frequently offering alternative portrayals, Rosales’s 2017 work “The Creation of God” garnered viral attention because the artist presents God as a black woman.

Rosales’s upcoming project Miss Understood, which considers the relationship between feeling dissociated from ancestral cultures and still trying to protect that history in America, will be on view at MoCADA in Brooklyn from February 28 to April 16. Head to the artist’s Instagram to follow her profound projects, and check out the pieces she has for sale on Artsy.

“Compromise” (2019), oil on canvas, 24 × 24 inches

“Birth of Eve” (2018), oil on linen

“Oya” (2019), oil on linen with gold leaf, 12 x 12 inches

“The Harvest” (2018), oil on linen and gold leaf

 

 



Art

Animal-Human Hybrids Spotted on New York Subway in Surreal Paintings by Matthew Grabelsky

January 12, 2020

Andrew LaSane

Images courtesy of the artist, used with permission

Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Grabelsky (previously) is back with a new collection of oil paintings of people with animal heads casually navigating the New York City subway system. The paintings combine the mundane with the surreal, as others on the commute and the environments remain neutral to the hybrid creatures.

Grabelsky’s paintings are inspired by the years he spent riding the subways in New York as a kid and by his early fascination with Greek mythology. Small details including zoo posters, stickers, T-shirts, and toys add humor to the art, while light reflecting off subway tiles and molded sets show the artist’s technical ability to paint hyperrealistic scenes.

In a recent interview with Thinkspace Project‘s blog Sour Harvest, Grabelsky shared that his characters will soon leave the subway, but added that he wants the shift to be organic. “My concept is that these characters started on the subway and then go out into the wider world. I certainly want to do paintings set in different locations in New York. I was born and am currently living in Los Angeles and so I expect that my characters will make it out to LA at some point.”

To witness the characters’ eventual emergence from the East Coast underground, follow Matthew Grabelsky on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Portraits of Venezuelan Families Reframe the Harrowing Journey of Immigrants

January 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Arianny Torres packed a few changes of clothes, a couple toys, medicine, diapers, a baby bottle, photos of relatives and her bible into her backpack. With her son, Lucas and daughter, Alesia, she traveled 976 kilometers from Maracaibo to Bogotá. Sometimes they hitched a ride. Other times they caught a bus, cutting into the small amount of money Arianny had put aside for food. Now she sells candy in Bolivar Square and though things could be better, at least life is more stable than it was in Venezuela and her kids are able to eat three times a day. I see Arianny’s determination to find a more hopeful life in her fixed gaze.” All images © Gregg Segal, shared with permission

In his Undaily Bread series, Gregg Segal photographs Venezuelan immigrants with the entirety of their belongings lying around them. Created in collaboration with UNHCR, an organization that helps refugees worldwide, the affective project shows a glimpse at what life as a Venezuelan refugee looks like, from the meager ingredients of their daily meals to the battered sneakers on their feet. Every image posted on Segal’s Instagram also includes a lengthy caption describing each family’s difficult journey.

“For me, photography communicates better than simply words. Statistics are important, but people are not that interested in statistics,” Segal tells Colossal. “They’re emotional because they describe how little the people have.” This consequential series is an offshoot of Daily Bread, Segal’s well-known project that captures images of kids from around the world surrounded by what they eat each day.

“Nathalia Rodriguez (9) who walked from Barquisimeto, Venezuela to Bogota with her mom, ate only bread, crackers, arepas, chips, water, juice, lollipops and the one fruit they could afford, bananas. It’s been 3 years since Nathalia’s eaten an apple. Apples run 5,000 Bolivas now in Venezuela, about $12 US. Despite the harsh road she traveled, Nathalia projects resilience and resolve.”

“Yosiahanny’s daughter feels for the kick of her brother or sister in her mother’s womb. They made the journey from Venezuela surviving on arepas and water. Though life in Bogotá is difficult, Yosiahanny is grateful she’s able to eat more than once a day. What makes the crisis tolerable is love, she says.”

“When I met 7 year old Williams, he showed me his backpack in which he carried a few things from home including his last homework assignment. He misses his grandmother’s arepas and stewed chicken. On the long walk from Venezuela, there was only bread, water, cookies and fruit to eat.”

“Michell, a single mom, made the trip with her two kids twice. During the 2nd attempt, Michell had an epileptic seizure and lost consciousness. 16 days later she made it to Bogotá and was admitted. In her portrait, Michell contends with the dueling energy of her kids, trying to soothe her daughter while her son appears to be driving the bus. After the shoot, her little boy held onto two loaves of bread, carrying them around the studio, tucked under his arms for later.”

 

 



Art

Thick Impasto Strokes Form Abstract Portraits in New Paintings by Salman Khoshroo

December 31, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Salman Khoshroo

Iranian painter Salman Khoshroo uses a palette knife and sizable layers of paint to create the emotive portraits in his recent series, “White on White.” In contrast to his previous work that relied on swirling reds, blues, and yellows, Khoshroo’s latest impasto pieces are monochromatic. Starting with a hunk of paint, the artist then forms the portrait’s outline before shaping the rest of the face that lacks distinct physical features. Viewers can follow his creative process step-by-step by looking at the edges of each stroke.

Khoshroo tells Ignant that he hoped “to capture a human spark with minimal intervention,” and create portraits of “people that make you feel something, people you didn’t even know you were looking for.” Stay up to date with the artist’s lively work on Instagram and check out his available pieces on his site. You also might enjoy taking a peek at Joseph Lee’s colorful portraits.

 

 



Art

Striking Portraits Featuring Powerful Women of Color Painted by Artist Tim Okamura

December 23, 2019

Grace Ebert

“Rosie no. 1.” (2016), 29.5 × 44.19 inches

In his portraits of women, Brooklyn-based painter Tim Okamura explores the human relationship to identity. His powerful works largely feature a single black woman in an exceptionally strong pose, with some pieces including natural elements like butterflies and rodents and others using graffiti reminiscent of city landscapes. Originally from Canada, Okamura “investigates identity, the urban environment, and contemporary iconography through a unique method of painting—one that combines an essentially academic approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media.” In an interview with Nailed, the artist spoke about why he began spotlighting people who are often underrepresented in art, saying he wanted a way to learn about those different from him and to question his conceptions of his own identity.

With art – you come to realize – its not just about the work, it just doesn’t end there but, who made it. Sometimes it doesn’t always line up as the viewer imagined. That part of my work I didn’t intend to be conceptual, but it has challenged people’s ideas of who can represent who through art. People can quickly sense if artwork is from a place of authenticity or not – my messages are positive and so are my representations and this is a celebration of my community.

Several recent works by Okamura are currently on view in the group exhibition Still I Rise at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art through May 25, 2020. Find the artist’s available portraits on Artsy, and follow him on Instagram.

“The Parlor,” (2019), Oil on canvas, 80 × 56 inches

“Courage 3.0”

“Revelation No. 1” (2019), Oil and acrylic on wood, 42 × 30 inches

“From the Spark Comes the Light” (2017), Mixed media on canvas, 48 × 36 inches

“Artemis”

“Stay Warm Keep it Cool”

“Presence”