Nicole Rifkin, a Brooklyn-based artist who specializes in digital illustration, offers nostalgic, brightly hued narratives in her pieces. Rifkin, who does editorial work for The New Yorker and Medium and founded of the art magazine Ipsum, creates scenes that obscure faces and figures, rendering pops of colorful abstraction against realism.
John Kenn Mortensen is a Denmark native who spends his days directing and writing children’s television shows. But during those off-hours, Mortensen finds a piece of office stationery and creates an entirely new, twisted world populated by towering monsters and fantastic creatures. Mortensen has released a couple books of post-it note scenes and other illustrations, with a dedicated Internet following that delights in his darkness.
San Francisco based artist Lindsay Stripling usually works in watercolor to create her playful illustrations of dreamscapes dotted with simplistic human characters, animals, and objects. But for her new series, exhibiting this week at Flatcolor Gallery in Seattle, Stripling found herself painting in oils after an 8 year break from the medium. “It’s my first real adventure with oils in 8 years and it was fun for sure,” Stripling says, “trying to carry my looseness from my watercolors into these oil paintings.”
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.