surreal

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Art

Hybrid Creatures with Oversized Eyes Reflect Imagined Landscapes in Surreal Paintings by Haoto Nattori

September 15, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Japanese artist Naoto Hattori imagines small fluffy animals with healthy doses of fantasy and some unnatural hybridization. The painted creatures often feature round heads and disproportionately large and reflective eyes. Cat-birds with mushrooms growing on their furry heads and other mashup beasts toe the line between whimsical and eerie thanks to large eyes that reveal unseen forests and landscapes.

These acrylic paintings are small, typically measuring less than 3 inches by 3 inches when unframed. The artist’s style has been labeled as pop surrealist, but Hattori says it’s just what he sees in his mind. Hattori tells Colossal that he has been drawing eyes since he was three years old. “When I closed my eyes, I could see a colorful eye like a mandala and it kept changing shape like a kaleidoscope. I drew hundreds of the eye images. Back then, I was thinking that it was something everyone could see.”

Hattori continued painting eyes as he got older and earned a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. The creatures in the paintings are avatars for the artist entering the world of his imagination.

I’m not particular about surrealism, but I like to draw an image which can’t be expressed in words, such as feelings, thoughts, and emotions in my mind. The eye feels like an entrance to the world of visionary memories. I often paint a piece which visualizes myself as a hybrid creature entering the visionary world. The images are twisted but it feels like meditation and calms me down.

Naoto was born in Japan, moved to New York to study art, and has shown in galleries around the world, including Beinart Gallery in Melbourne, Corey Helford in Los Angeles, and Modern Eden in San Francisco. Prints of many of his animals paintings are available to purchase directly from the artist’s online store. To look into the eyes of more of Naoto Hattori’s hybrid creatures, follow him on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Fantastical Photographs of Opulently Dressed Models in Castles and Mansions

August 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Swan Lake” (2014), all images © Natalie Lennard

Photographer Natalie Lennard, who works as Miss Aniela, creates lavish scenes centered around elegantly dressed models. While each image might seem, at first glance, like a straightforward luxury fashion shoot, further inspection reveals surreal details. A canary yellow tulle gown morphs into birds, and ocean water splashes out of a painting frame.

Miss Aniela’s fantastical scenes are created using a combination of on-site shoots with practical effects, along with extensive post-production and even bespoke C.G.I. (as for the 20,000 fish forming the dress worn by a deep sea diver model in “She Shoal”). The photographer explains that all images are shot on location with the model posed and lit in-frame. “Sometimes I do not know whether the image will be largely ‘raw’ and not require overt surrealism added,” Aniela shares, “until I go through the process to feel what is right for each piece.”

The U.K.-based artist has been working as a fine art photographer for 13 years, getting her start with self-portraits as a university student. In some works, she incorporates direct references to paintings from the art historical canon. Aniela has been working in her current style since 2011, and shares with Colossal that she has noticed a rising interest in her work from art collectors, as the lines between fine art and fashion are increasingly blurred.

You can explore more of Miss Aniela’s immersive worlds on Instagram, and go behind the scenes of production in her explanatory blog posts. Fine art prints are available via Saatchi Art.

“What He Bequeathed” (2016)

“She Shoal” (2019)

“Poster & Plumage” (2016)

“Enter the Golden Dragon” (2018)

“Thawed Fortress” (2015)

“Gilt” (2016)

“Scarlet Song” (2013)

“Away with the Canaries” (2013)

“Pokerface” (2015)

 

 



Art Photography

Photographs of Animals and Architecture are Sliced and Rearranged into Bizarre Collages by Lola Dupre

August 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Spain and Scotland-based collage artist Lola Dupre (previously) continues to surprise and delight with her unusual composite images. Rather than incorporating unique individual collage elements that contrast with each other, Dupre works with repetition and duplication to build bizarrely proportioned pets, buildings, and human figures. By layering and off-setting shards of the same photo in a sort of visual syncopation, Dupre stretches and bends otherwise familiar subjects into surreal images.

The artist recently exhibited work in the show “The Age of Collage 2” at Feinkunst Krueger gallery in Hamburg, Germany, and currently has a piece in “Lunacy” at Prescription Art in Brighton, U.K. You can see more of Dupre’s collages on Instagram and tumblr, and peruse originals and prints in her online store.

 

 

 



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.

 

 



Art Illustration

Black and White Illustrations by Redmer Hoekstra Merge Animals with Architectural Elements

June 13, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Netherlands-based artist Redmer Hoekstra (previously) presents surreal depictions of animals merged with architectural exteriors and everyday objects. The illustrator combines hawks and bell towers, giraffes and toothbrushes, and imagines a goose composed of saxophones rather than feathers. The playful drawings are both literal and abstract: one sad wiener dog is tied in the middle  like an edible frank, and pair of swans’ soft tufted feathers fly off like dandelion seeds. Soon Hoekstra will begin a large-scale drawing titled “Noah’s Ark II,” a reimagining of the famous boat occupied by the animals “that didn’t make it,” he explains to Colossal. You can see more of the artist’s work on Behance and Instagram, and view works for sale in his shop.

 

 



Art Craft Illustration

Intricately Cut Paper and Delicate Illustrated Details Form Character-Filled Scenes by Lucila Biscione

June 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Artist Lucila Biscione works with cut and illustrated paper to create surreal, dream-like scenes. Whether creating a tableau backed with toned paper or a floating narrative displayed in a shop window, Biscione incorporates quirky details, including human-animal hybrids and moments of magic. Intricate hand-drawn faces and hairstyles add emotional depth to each multi-part artwork. In an interview with Playgrounds Biscione explains the theatrical tone of her work:

My inspiration comes from looking, going back and exploring moments that I have lived. They are usually memories or dreams or they can also even be stories that I have been told and I decided to transform. I draw thinking that those characters can really come alive on a stage. That is why I always have in mind the fabrics of the costumes or the materiality of the objects.

The artist, who grew up in Argentina, now lives and works in Berlin. In addition to her personal practice, Biscione also hosts workshops where she teaches the art of papercutting. You can see more of Biscione’s detailed paper-based work on Instagram and Facebook, and prints of select works are available from Toi Gallery.