The work of Cezar Berje straddles that difficult line between utterly absorbing and repulsive. In his illustrations, he uses his immense talents with color and detail to create portraits that warrant study. His projects for companies like Netflix and the Hangloose surf brand show how this sensibility can adapt. Berje has a particular knack for recontextualizing pop icons, absorbing them into his colorful, unsettling world.
There’s a tradition in the faceted approach to depicting figures that goes further back than than the pop designs of Tim Biskup or the vibrant multimedia works of Okuda. David Mesguich’s large public sculptures add to the contemporary side of this approach, with dramatic pieces that use light and shadows in unexpected and enormous ways. The sculpture below plays on the artist’s past work as a graffiti artist and self-professed “vandal,” using recycled plastic from street advertisements.
The flamboyant, eye-popping works of digital artist Kota Yamaji carry touches of psychedelia and surrealism. Using both stills and motion work, his pieces blend textures and patterns to absorbing effect. The Tokyo-based artist has also created music videos for tilt-six and INNOCENT in FORMAL.
Whether on a wall or canvas, you can feel the influences of pop, graffiti culture, advertising, and both high- and low-brow art in James Reka’s work. The artist maintains both a mural and gallery practice in this sensibility, presenting the figurative in both vibrant and unexpected ways. Reka was last mentioned on HiFructose.com here, and he was featured in Hi-Fructose print publication in Vol. 17.
Cuban artist Alexi Torres crafts oil paintings that appear as though they’re woven, tethering both contemporary iconography and human subjects. In the artist’s portraits, the effect hints at the complexity of these figures; in his broader, more cultural works, the style hints at how so much of our interests and icons are tethered. His process is multi-layered, intricately taking the familiar and adding his “knitted” sensibility.
The intimate paintings of London-based artist Emma Hopkins carry both vulnerability and absorbing detail, as rendered in oil in the artist’s visceral style. Each of the works carry a story, often directly depicting a subject Hopkins knows. “When I work with people I develop a body of work based on the individuals themselves and the ideas that come from the experience of working with them,” the artist says. The artist was last featured on HiFructose.com here.