Take a look at the image above and what do you see? A bat? A monster? A shopping bag? … Something else? Created by Korean artist Kyung-Woo Han, the artwork is a Rorschach test and like any Rorschach its meaning is open to interpretation.
Han is a graduate of both the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There’s a playfulness to his work that really appeals to me and he often incorporates optical illusions within his multidisciplinary practice. For Han, the aim is always to create both a sense of wonder and bewilderment for his viewer.
The simplicity of this work is what I find most appealing. Boldly graphic, the images play with perception; forcing the viewer to question even further what they see in each picture. If you ask me, this series feels like René Magritte’s The Treachery of Images for a generation raised by consumerism. I love it!
See more optical work from Han on his website.
Over the week I discovered the work of Sari Cohen; an illustrator and print-maker from Tel Aviv. I love the colors in her work and I really like the shapes and forms that she uses. The work here was created for an exhibition called La Culture which ran in Tel Aviv at the end of May.
The exhibition was part of a whole festival of illustration which took place in the city for ten days. It was Israel’s first ever Illustration Week and it sounded like they hosted a great series of events. I’ve never heard of a city putting on an illustration week before, and this one in Tel Aviv seems to have really done it well; putting together work from some of the country’s top illustrators as well as hosting dozens of exhibitions, workshops and opportunities for local illustrators and the general public to meet up.
Sari’s illustration was selected as one of the images to promote the week and I think it’s a wonderful image to pick. Called Machine Dreams, the image is a fantastic piece of work celebrating imagination with surrealism and beautiful dream-like moments. Prints are currently available to purchase here, or perhaps even better is the possibility to buy the image on a dream journal which comes with a rather nifty LED pen hidden inside.
More illustrations from Sari can be viewed on her website.
Quiltmaker Linday Stead creates some pretty wonderful work. Her quilts are rooted in tradition yet they have a really modern sensibility. Based in Toronto, her designs combine color and pattern to excellent affect, creating work that would look just as good hanging on a wall as it would draped on a bed.
All made by hand, each quilt is a one-of-a-kind. According to Lindsay it takes between 30 and 80 hours to complete each one, and the results are fantastic. Personally I love the restraint in her designs; her asymmetrical patterns have a bold graphic sensibility and her fondness for minimalism and modernism really shines through.
To see Lindsay at work and to learn a little more about her process and inspiration you can check out this short video created by House&Home:
More work from Lindsay can be viewed on her website.
I’m a big fan of Christoph Niemann. His Abstract Sunday blog on The New York Times is always a great read and his Petting Zoo app might just be one of the most entertaining apps around. I was checking out his site the other day when I discovered these excellent prints of the Brooklyn Bridge and Eiffel Tower.
Like all of Christoph’s work, these illustrations are so effortlessly simple and so perfectly made. The idea is so much fun and the execution just nails it! Produced as a 3 color sikscreen, both images are available to buy through his website. The Brooklyn Bridge image comes in three different colors (though yellow is already sold). I’d love to see this continue as a series; who knows what other monuments could get woven together?
You can see more work from Christoph Niemann on his website. The scope and range of his work is fantastic so please do make the effort to check it out!
Artist Daniel Heidkamp currently has a new solo show on at White Columns in New York and I just love the colors in his work. A native of New York, Heidkamp’s exhibition consists of recent oil paintings that depict the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as seen from the grounds of Central Park. Bursting with brightly colored foliage and trees, Heidkamp’s work really captures the beauty of the area.
The majority of the work was painted on location and Heidkamp’s work gets the energy of these scenes just right. “When painting en plein air I feel the atmosphere on my skin” Heidkamp says, “[...] there is an adrenaline feeling that happens while working ‘live’ and that energy can translate directly into the painting”.
While many of his contemporaries may explore far-less traditional methods of art-making, I feel there’s something special in Heidkamp’s interrogation and exploration of representational painting. Following in the footprints of people like Hopper, Hockney, and Doig; Heidkamp’s focus on ordinary and everyday scenes is as engaging as it is compelling.
His exhibition in New York’s White Columns show runs until July 25th. More work and further exhibition dates can be viewed on his website.
It’s Art School degree show season and so I’m making the most of it by visiting as many shows as I can muster. The other week I hit up London’s prestigious Royal College of Art to take a look at what their students have been up to and I was really impressed by the talent on display. My personal favorite was the work of David Herdberg; a graduate of the college’s Information Experience Design course.
For his major project David designed a TV which, on first impressions, looked fairly innocuous. Sure, the reception was poor but the wooden legs looked nice and they worked well with the white plastic casing. It wasn’t until I sat down in front of the set that I noticed a small label which read “SMILE TO WATCH”. Being the typically obedient gallery-goer that I am I kindly followed these instructions and forced the muscles of my face to form the requested smile. Suddenly the signal quickly shot into clarity. My face – still proudly wearing its solicited expression – was repaid with a montage of surreal clips played out on the screen. As I continued to watch my face began to relax back to its typical scowl and as my faux-cheery demeanor faded, so too did the television’s reception.
For David, the work examines how our society has the ability to access endless amounts of content. He notes that in the past a TV’s reception relied on an antenna to work; this TV plays with that idea, creating a set which must rely on the receptive nature of the viewer to function. “By expressing that we like something, we have very much become antennas ourselves – transmitting the content on to somebody else” he says. By combining a set from the last-decade with modern facial recognition technology (i.e. magic), the piece asks us to re-consider how we engage with content and how we access it. It’s a fantastic idea and David’s execution is simply top-notch!
You can see more from David Hedberg on his website.
I hadn’t heard of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy before but these illustrations by Patryk Mogilnicki have me intrigued to find out more. The images come from the Polish edition of Annihilation – the first book in the trilogy – with illustrations for Authority and Acceptance to follow in June and September.
Patryk is a Polish illustrator and graphic designer based in Warsaw. Besides working with an impressive list of clients in his native country, Patryk also has worked on a number of great independent projects including zines, comics, posters and CDs.
Personally I love this series of illustrations. The limited colors are great and they really hint at the mood of the books. I can’t wait to see how the next two turn out. You can keep up-to-date on Patryk’s work by visiting his website here.
I’m a big fan of sketching. It’s not something that I’m particularly good at, but I do enjoy the process of it and and it’s something I keep telling myself I should do more often. I like the sitting, studying and translating the world into lines and I love the challenge of trying to capture the essence of a place with nothing more than a series of well considered gestures with a pencil. It was through my love of drawing that I discovered the work of Gérard Michel.
Gérard is an architect from Belgium who also teaches courses in sketching and drawing at the school of architecture in his hometown of Liége. A fan of urban sketching, much of his works focus on architecture and he says that every one of his pieces is drawn freehand and on-site. With a Flickr account consisting of nearly five thousand drawings, that’s pretty impressive stuff!
Last year he released a book of his sketches of Liége which I hear you can find in the bookshops of Beligium. I can’t think of a better souvenir to come home with from a trip abroad! Frequently Gérard’s work can be found on the Urban Sketcher’s blog where you’ll also find many more budding artists and sketchers. A video of Gérard in action can be found here, while more images can be viewed on his Flickr account.