Mattias Adolfsson is an artist and illustrator working from his studio in Sigtuna, Sweden, just outside of the capital city of Stockholm. His path to being an illustrator took several turns, beginning with his interest in Mathematics and Architecture in his university days – eventually finding his rhythm as an illustrator after years of work doing 3D animations for the game industry. Infused thoroughly with a wonderful sense of humor and whimsy, Adolfsson’s work is a combination of hand-rendered ink drawings with watercolor accents that he meticulously produces in his sketchbooks. Adolfsson’s latest book, The Second In Line, has garnered the artist the prestigious Most Beautiful Swedish Book award by the Swedish Bonkkonst.
Toronto based photographer Robyn Cumming often uses the figure as her canvas, rather than main subject, in her experimental imagery. Her subjects’ personalities come through in their poses and the unexpected elements that she mixes into the picture. In her “Lady Things” (2008) series, for example, she completely obscures their faces with things like flowering shrubs, birds, and smoke. While simultaneously unsettling and seductive, there is a compelling mystery in the obscurity of Cumming’s work. It leaves the viewer to reconsider how we collect information about each other visually and use that to define a person’s character.
Czech sculptor David Cerný has a reputation for being a “bad boy” artist. Although he rejects labels, he is most certainly a political artist, one whose works visually lash out against his government’s hypocrisies. One of the first pieces to put him on the international map was a pink Soviet tank that served as a war memorial in Prague, followed by such sculptures as the Czech patron St. Wenceslas riding an inverted horse, and giant stainless steel babies crawling up the city’s TV tower, to name a few. They are witty and bizarre but come from an intellectual place, even though the artist refuses to take himself too seriously. While he recognizes that his hometown in Prague is easily shocked, he does not create art for the sole purpose of shocking his audience.
Erika Sanada’s ceramic sculptures of puppies and other animals, featured in HF Vol. 31, are sweet yet a little chilling. Her surrealistic pieces give animals a dreamlike quality that draws the viewer in. Their disquieting nature is a reflection of Sanada’s own fears and anxieties in her daily life, which she expresses through her artwork. In her artist statement, she calls this her “dark side”. Sanada is looking to finally conquer these feelings in her new series, which she is now preparing for her next exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery. Take a look at our photos from Erika Sanada’s studio after the jump.
We live in a society that is constantly upgrading and disposing of the past, something Philadelphia based artist Drew Leshko aims to preserve. With a skilled attention to detail, Leshko miniaturizes the places, vehicles, and machines he encounters into paper sculptures. Recent subjects have included a local strip bar, his grandfather’s 80s camper, iceboxes, and even dumpsters, all replicated to 1:12 standard dollhouse scale with accuracy in cut archival paper and wood. He highlights these symbols of urban life in hopes others can begin to appreciate their every day surroundings.
Lebanon remains at the heart of fierce conflict, which makes toy photographer Brian McCarty’s “War Toys” project an ongoing effort. The project is currently focused on representing the perspectives of Iraqi, Syrian, Kurdish, Palestinian, and Lebanese child refugees as a result of continuous war. Covered here, he has also visited West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, Ukraine, Sudan and Colombia. Today, there are over 1 million refugees alone – out of a total population of 4.8 million in Lebanon. Since 2014, McCarty has been working throughout the region to gather various accounts from Lebanese and Syrian children in cooperation with the Kayany Foundation and his team, including art therapist Myra Saad.