Hell’O, also known as Hell’O Monsters, is a collective of Belgian artists who use individual talents to create work within a cohesive, bizarre fictional world. The trio was born out of Jerôme Meynen, François Dieltiens, and Antoine Detaille meeting in the 1990s, and they populate their works with hybrid beasts taking part in both humorous and bleak narrative scenes. The works shown below are examples of the group’s acrylic paintings.
There’s a palpable darkness that permeates the surreal oil paintings of Philippine artist Leslie De Chavez. Rendered on large, black canvases, the shadowy landscapes are home to ghoulish, distorted figures and act as settings to various scenes of violence, corruption and suffering. Born in Manila, De Chavez uses his art to reflect upon current socio-political issues that affect his homeland. Through use of powerful text and imagery, his works explore religion, national identity, global capitalism, power struggle, and corruption within modern government. While the works appear dismal and often sinister, De Chavez is driven by the hope that his art can create awareness and inspire positive, progressive change within his community.
The scenes in Mernet Larsen‘s paintings appear familiar, at times even mundane: doing yard work; sitting in a staff meeting; waiting on a subway platform. Yet running through these representations of daily modern life is a distorted sense of reality that suddenly leaves one struggling to find footing within these worlds. Larsen has been painting this way since the early 2000s, channeling both the geometric compositions of El Lissitzky and 12th century Japanese narrative paintings. At the center of her works are block-like characters resembling vintage graphics in an old computer game – both abstract and figurative representations of ordinary people. Applying concepts of reverse perspective and what the artist refers to as “Rorschaching” to insightful, often witty narratives, Larsen inspires us to reconsider the ways in which we relate to the world around us.
For almost a decade, Beeple has sat down every day and made something. The digital artist uses a variety of programs and apps for his Everydays Project, an ongoing series of works uploaded to the artist’s site every day. Beeple is the moniker of artist Mike Winkelmann, who describes himself as making “a variety of art crap across a variety of media.”
The tropical worlds of Pedro Varela (b. 1981 in Niterói, Brazil) look like they belong in a psychedelic dream or the pages of a storybook. And while the artist’s style builds on fairytale imagery and fantasy, his works also engage with history — namely, the 17th to 19th century “artist-scientists” who rendered an exotic vision of Tropical Paradise and the “New World” in their travels to Brazil. Blending Baroque still life, colonial iconography, and modern styles such as Neo-concretism, Varela engages with the past to create his own version of “paradise” that is at once alluring and cautionary.
The late painter Thomas Kinkade, a self-monikered “Painter of Light,” garnered a reputation for his idyllic and realistic scenes that brought him worldwide acclaim. Though his career was avidly followed by enthusiasts of pastoral paintings, some may be surprised by an early involvement with Ralph Bakshi Studios’ “Fire and Ice,” the 1983 cult animated film conceived by Bakshi and Frank Frazetta. Kinkade helped craft the movie’s rich and gorgeously illuminated backgrounds.