Argentinian artist Francisco Diaz (aka Pastel) uses a distinct visual language in his murals. He fills his walls with patterns based on the local flora of the area he’s painting in — an effective way to connect with the communities he encounters in his travels. His botanical references often address history, geography, society, and politics. Along with these nature-based elements, Pastel often paints ancient, Stone Age tools to glorify humanity’s strength without referencing a specific culture. His distinct yet decorative style lends itself well to collaborations with other street artists, such as Pixel Pancho and Agostino Iacurci, who both worked with Pastel recently.
Kazuki Takamatsu (HF Vol. 33 cover artist) paints layers of translucent, white gouache that appear to float over his matte, black backgrounds. His hologram-like, female characters look digitized, though they’re executed entirely by hand. That’s because the artist turns to depth mapping software for inspiration for his images and painstakingly renders his figures as if they were parceled into pixels. For his upcoming solo show “Even a Doll Can Do It,” Takamatsu presents a new series of paintings centered around ghostly depictions of nymph-like girls floating in cyberspace. The exhibition opens February 14 at Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome and will be on view through April 4.
Haris Purmono’s hyperrealistic portraits illustrate resilience. The Indonesian artist began his practice in the 1970s under Suharto’s military government and the battle-scarred faces of his civilian subjects symbolize the country’s difficult past. Purmono’s sitters are everyday individuals whose faces the artist embellishes with bandages and dragon tattoos. Despite their different ethnicities and social classes, these symbols unite the subjects of his work and hint at their shared cultural history.
The captivating paintings of artist Joel Rea presents a take on surrealism that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The richly colored scenes that Rea creates look like stills from a vivid dream, featuring men in suits and a tiger on a seemingly endless beach. The intense detail of Rea’s renderings, combined with his use of composition, gives the paintings a breathtaking, larger-than-life feel. His human subjects look almost helpless compared to the vast grandeur of the crashing waves threatening to swallow them whole. Even the more modest scenes that Rea paints inspire a deep feeling of humility. We featured some of his previous work here and today we bring you his latest paintings.
Jon Fox’s paintings (featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 30) unfurl epic battles where human characters appear minuscule and inconsequential amid the spirits and deities running amuck in his otherworldly dimension. Fox’s scenes are large and sprawling, with multiple narratives occurring simultaneously. The UK-based artist’s new work will debut at his next solo show, “If You Don’t Object Then You Must Agree,” opening at White Walls Gallery in San Francisco on January 31.
Fred Stonehouse’s paintings look like they take place within the innermost crevices of a troubled mind rather than in any semblance of a real place. Unshaven, rugged, yet boyish, his characters seem to battle internal conflicts, feelings of guilt, and insecurities. Their inner demons come across as loaded visual symbols (and sometimes actual demons), which Stonehouse elucidates with text scrawled within each work.