We can only imagine what early explorers venturing off into the new world must have felt. Medieval maps and encyclopedic bestiaries give us some idea of the strange lands they expected to encounter, inhabited by mysterious figures and loathsome, fictitious beasts. Montreal, Canada based painter Peter Ferguson, previously featured here on our blog, seems to evoke this same combination of wonder, horror, excitement, and intrigue with a unique sense of bizarre humor in his artworks.
When asked about his venture from comic illustration to his more abstract and surreal illustration, artist Graham Yarrington offers a candid observation: “I’ve always found that painting is the best therapy. I think that sadness and struggle will always play an important role in my growth as an artist.” Growing up Rochester, New York, his work is informed by his childhood surroundings- “lots of open space and trees”- manifested in highly imaginative ink and gouache landscapes. Though his work is at times bright and fantastical, the stuff of daydreams and Grimm’s fairy tales, there is also a darkness that the artist can’t shake.
In traditional Chinese landscape painting, the image not only served as a source of visual information, but also expressed philosophy and emotions. Though artist Evelyn Wong appreciates a careful study of nature, her drawings share in this very principle where she communicates nature’s expressiveness. Withering plants like fruits, flowers and foliage are of particular interest to the South Carolina based artist, rendered in a style that she describes as “grunge”, a reference to her materials like dirt, carbon, charcoal, and chalk pastel, on synthetic papers. Her ongoing series titled ‘Finding Romanticism Among Grunge” consists of drawings inspired by her studies of botanicals.
Leilani Bustamante has always balanced a romantic beauty with the darker themes in her art. The San Francisco based artist, featured here on our blog, voices themes of mortality exploring elements of death, and rebirth, and her newer works explore the loveliness of the macabre. Ripe with symbolic elements, her paintings feature figures rendered with in the tradition of classical beauties that are arranged in abstract and darkly fantastical montages.
Kelly Vivanco, previously featured here on our blog, counts a wide variety of artistic styles among her influences, ranging from Disney movies to Dutch master painters and artists from the Golden Age of illustration. Her study of classical fine art has contributed to her depiction of cartoony, boldly outlined characters in the rich colors that she chooses.
Ice cream and childhood memories go hand in hand. For San Francisco based artist Kelly Tunstall, some of her earliest memories often revolved around eating an ice cream cone or a popsicle. Her colorful illustrations of elongated sparkly-eyed girls and quirky characters, featured here on our blog, have always had a sugary-sweet palette of bright yellows, pinks, blues, and reds and other delicious shades. She once told us, “I have really innate reactions to color- I really fall in love deeply with colors for awhile but then there’s the basics. I always feel like I’m learning, but I really FEEL color.” Her upcoming exhibition “Soft Serve” at Stranger Factory in New Mexico explores a world of colors inspired by her ice cream dreams and sugar’s place in her happiest moments.