The personal work of illustrator Simon Prades implements both ink and watercolors, using text and negative space to create engrossing drawings. Even with the artist’s sparser works, the tangible elements of each piece are packed with detail. By the day, the artist works as an illustrator for publications like The New York Times, Esquire, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Wired, and others.
Ben Tolman, an artist based in Washington, D.C., crafts intricate urban scenes that are absorbing at every inch. His new show, titled “Weltschmerz: Recent Drawings by Ben Tolman,” brings a new series of works to Gallery Neptune and Brown in DC. The word means “world pain” in German, and like his ink and gouache images prior, his work reflects both precision and insanity. Or as the gallery says, “in the tradition of Hieronymus Bosch and M.C. Escher, Tolman delves in to the fantastic imagery of impossible chaos.” Tolman was last featured on HiFructose.com here. The show runs through Feb. 25.
Justin Lovato, a California native, is a self-taught artist who blends abstract shapes and patterns for scenes that traverse worlds. While his paintings tend toward wild, overlaid landscapes, his works on paper often feature interdimensional beings entangled in the artist’s backdrops. Lovato was last featured on HiFructose.com here, in a piece that focuses on his acrylic paintings on canvas.
Those who have seen Jon MacNair’s work might be surprised to learn that he is greatly inspired by popular children’s literature, fairytales, and Renaissance art. The Portland based artist is well known for his fantastical, quirky ink drawings, often labeled as “dark”, and we don’t mean his monochromatic palette. “Some of my most distinct memories as a kid were of looking at picture books and being entranced by the images,” he says. “Even though most of these books were for kids, there were some pretty dark undertones in the illustrations that stuck with me.” These eventually led to his current body of work which turns classically ominous imagery on its head.
Victorian art and literature is characterized by Romantic poetry and Gothic horror. London-based artist Dan Hillian plays with these tensions to create contemporary ink drawings and Photoshop collages animated by fantastical landscapes and uncanny events, all connected by exacting geometries. In an interview with Creative-Mapping, Hillian discusses his desire to “transport people to somewhere a little bit mysterious.” This, he certainly achieves, with exploding shapes that radiate out from a central figure. The protagonists of Hillian’s images approach the supernatural, especially those that seem to morph into plants and animals before the viewer’s eye. However, the transitions are also clues to the figures’ personalities, fears and desires.
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.