Akiya Kageichi is a Japanese illustrator who calls himself Golden Gravel, a name which may refer to Japanese rock gardens. His sinister jesters, lazy rulers and clandestine warriors are set within scenes full of chaotic imagery. Astrological symbols, particularly moons, are heavily prominent, suggesting the mysterious forces of dark nights are at work. In a single plane, objects morph, creating dynamic and active scenes. Kageichi reveals hidden underworlds and secret futures, in which sorcery and witchcraft pull the strings and determine what happens in the real world.
Spanish street artist Fabio Lopez, aka Dourone, was born and raised in Madrid’s countryside where he taught himself how to paint from an early age. His combined style of graphical illustration and surrealism developed from studying artists like MC Escher, Mohlitz Philippe, Jean Giraud “Moebius”, and Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Dourone defines his unique style as “Sentipensante”, named after a style invented by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano. His latest mural was painted for the first Roscella Bay Festival which was held in La Rochelle, France last month.
Jakub Rozalski (aka “Mr. Werewolf”) is a Polish concept artist and illustrator who describes the world in his paintings as a futuristic 1920s Eastern Europe, or “1920+”. Previously featured on our blog, Rozalski’s works contrast the soft nostalgia of 19th and 20th century inspired scenery under attack against giant mecha robots. While warring nations combat mechanical beasts in epic battles that feel alien and also vaguely familiar, Polish shepards and farmers in the countryside work their land alongside wild animals. “I like to mix historical facts and situations with my own motives, ideas and visions,” he says, “I attach great importance to the details, the equipment, the costumes, because it allows you to embed painting within a specified period of time.”
New York based illustrator Chris Buzelli paints character-driven images with a marvelous sense of realism. Working primarily in oil, Buzelli renders different concepts that are based on the real world with a common acceptance of magic. Often, his subjects seem to enter a supernatural realm, as if caught between two realities in a dreamlike state. Inspired by literature, particularly his commissions for book reviews, Buzelli’s work makes references to fables and myths, featuring hybrid creatures and impossible scenes from the likes of Little Red Riding Hood and Finnish writer Jean Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela.
Berlin-based illustrator Kaethe Butcher draws girls with fiercely unique personalities. Written words are dropped onto her drawings, revealing the internal thoughts of young women figuring out the complexities of love and life. Her quirky characters are the kind of girls who smoke cigarettes in bath tubs while contemplating their existence in a chaotic world. Many of Butcher’s sweet, sensuous drawings border on erotica. Butcher’s women waver between losing themselves in passionate throws and drawing away in jealous suspicion. They question their lovers just as they question themselves. The combination of exacting body language, block text and a monotone color palette reinforce her character’s inner world as opposed to her physical actions or being.
Korean artist Moon Chanpil paints imaginative illustrations of people and animals coexisting in a witty, and sometimes unsettling, world. Her bear, tiger, and chimp characters act like silly humans, wearing colorful suits and protesting early mornings. Meanwhile, their human companions take on animal-like roles as they curl up like cats and generally laze about in their underwear.