The New Contemporary Art Magazine

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Christopher Konecki’s vibrant paintings, sculptures, and murals distort and create surreal artifacts out of urban landscapes. This vibrant, yet somewhat bleak observations recall work from Jeff Gillette and Masakatsu Sashie. (Also, Josh Keyes, who was recently featured here on the blog, carried similar visual themes in his own early work.)
The acrylic paintings of Coco Bergholm explore the idea of camouflage in an urban context. Recent paintings, in particular, see the Berlin-based artist using pops of color, differing textures, and graffiti to explore this notion. A new show at Germany’s Affenfaust Galerie, titled "Echoes," collects these new works.
After three years, Pat Perry has finished a series that represents another major shift for the painter. With the upcoming exhibition “National Lilypond Songs" at Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Michigan, he shows this new body of work that offers both reflective and piercing moments against quiet landscapes. Perry was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 35, in a feature that talks about the artist's journalist-like approach to his work.
Australia-born muralist Smug One uses walls and structures across the world as canvases for his vivid portraits. Whether it’s his own family members, friends, or pop culture figures, Smug subverts the typical texture and lighting of mural art with his figurative pieces. The artist moved to the U.K. and settled in Scotland a few years back.
Former illustrator turned full-time painter Gregory Hergert’s work has been described as “urban Surrealism”. He paints non-traditional themes in a traditional manner, yet allows the medium to shine through the often brutal settings depicted in his work.
Amy Casey’s acrylic paintings take elements of the urban landscape and creates monstrosities and hulking, twisted versions of the city. Her newest works are collected in show at Zg Gallery in Chicago titled “Critical Mass.” The paintings in this show highlight the artist’s talent for engrossing detail and controlled chaos. The show kicks off this weekend.
Whether it’s on a canvas or an urban wall, Drew Merritt crafts harrowing portraits that are both intimate and elusive, utilizing nondescript backdrops. As vague as some of Merritt’s narratives may seem, each carries an earnest humanity. The artist was last featured on here, and according to a statement, “has resolved to defy categorization.”
Ronch, a self-described “punk surrealistic painter,” blends urban and fantastical imagery for hyperdetailed acrylic paintings. The artist cites influences as varied as “Leonardo to The Clash, Brueghel, Dali, from Bosch to the Dead Kennedys.” The artist is currently based in London, and originally hails from Italy.
Puerto Rico-born muralist Bik Ismo is known for, among other imagery, crafting chrome figures and objects on walls across the world. Playing with “reflective” surfaces and light, the artist is able to create startling illusions. This sensibility has brought the artist’s hand to recent projects in Taiwan, Belgium, New Zealand, and Dubai.
Ron English's oil paintings have long entertained, bewildered, and challenged viewers in each's absorbing strangeness. In a new show at Corey Helford Gallery, titled "TOYBOX: America in the Visuals," the artist offers his latest body of work. The pop art legend’s show starts Dec. 2 and runs through Dec. 30. The new collection deploys “the artist's long established visual vocabulary into multi-layered narratives of ambition and imagination.” English was last mentioned on here.
With a mix of dark humor and an impressive skill at creating inviting, yet dangerous worlds, the artist known as Bub has caught our eye. Click above to read our new interview with the artist and his new body of work, before it's too late.
Robert Proch's acrylic paintings blend abstraction and the figurative, injecting an energy to scenes from the everyday. The Poland native has been able to craft his own visual language with this approach, which he takes to both the canvas and exterior walls across the world. He was last mentioned on here.
Josh Keyes (HF Vol 12 cover artist) and Brin Levinson (covered here) both illustrate an affinity for animals in their paintings. Working in acrylic and oil respectively, their collective exhibition "Reclamation of Nowhere", which opens tomorrow at Antler Gallery in Portland, illustrates desolate environments from the animal's point of view. Josh Keyes chose to convey feelings of liberation and reclamation in his new series. "It is suggesting surrender, or letting go, or loosening of the psychological framework and preconceptions that can sometimes hold and restrain our imagination and natural impulses," he explains. Check out our preview after the jump.
Artist and animation director Joe Vaux paints what he likes. His personal work is teeming with impish demons. His cheerful hellscapes are populated with lost souls, sharp toothed monstrosities, and swarms of wrong-doers. And yet, there’s an innocence to all of this. Click to read the Hi-Fructose exclusive interview with Joe Vaux.
While the collective mindset at some street art festivals seems to be "go big or go home," at NuArt Festival in Stavanger, Norway, the line-up of artists seemed more concerned with creating deliberately-placed works with an underlying political punch. That's not to say that a few mammoth pieces weren't painted. Polish duo Etam Cru (who are featured in our current issue, Hi-Fructose Vol. 32), true to their form, left behind a storybook-like mural that added color to the overcast landscape. The piece pictured a sleeping boy tucked into his bed with a can of spray paint sticking out from under the covers — a young artist in the making.
Kitt Bennett’s stirring, graphical murals have a particular resonance on paved parking lots, sprawling across urban spaces. The sheer size of these works gives viewers the chance to examine the details of his murals on an intimate level. For the past few years, the Melbourne-based artist has built a reputation in both illustration and public art (and he held a a solo show in a public toilet in 2015).
Brazil native Alvaro Naddeo crafts intricate watercolor paintings that examine the consumption of the Western world through enormous, unlikely constructions. The artist, who has a background in advertising, has a particular knack for depicting discarded branded products. For some, his attention to detail and urban iconography likely recalls the work of Kevin Cyr, whose oil paintings have focused on graffiti-adorned vehicles.


The week-long mural event Festival Inspire recently took over Moncton, Canada, adding 31 new murals to the city. The festival used both internationally known and local artists to create works on varied backdrops throughout the region. Among the names include were Canada's BirdO, Bordallo II of Portugal, Etien, Jon Fox, Jose di Gregorio, and several others.
French artist Astro takes flat urban surfaces and creates passageways into the void. Using shadows and light, calligraphy-inspired designs and winding curves, the artist’s optical illusions are made for public consumption. And even when they’re not so obvious to some passers-by and cars on a quick route to work, Astro has many of us looking at the big picture.
Rimon Guimarães is a young, Brazilian artist who has painted murals across the world, visiting locales such as the Netherlands, France, and Gambia to leave pieces of his work behind. Guimarães' works typically feature mask-like characters and bright colors and patterns — perhaps an homage to the prevalence of African diasporic traditions in his native country. Indeed, the pieces he created in Gambia look right at home, juxtaposed with local women passing by in their exquisitely patterned dresses. His work exudes happiness and adds vibrance to any urban setting.
As a tribute to this “most wonderful time of the year” artists Lauren YS and Makoto Chi have created twenty-eight works (and a mural) for their new “Five Poisons” exhibition. We’ve interviewed the artists about the work. Click image above to read it, or else.
Vibrant and bold, Oscar Joyo’s latest body of work which was exhibited at Thinkspace Projects in Los Angeles, vibrates the retina; while delving into his childhood memories childhood in Malawi and themes of Afrofuturism.
The sculpted figures and paintings of Carlos Ramirez are constructed from a slew of materials and found objects. The Mexican-American artist reflects on "inequalities within Mexican-American communities and champions the common man as underdog." The artists counts among his influences: tattoo art, Oaxacan sign painting, vintage revolutionary posters, and much more.
Juanjo Surace’s expertise in animation and character design comes through the murals he crafts on walls across the globe. His surreal work often confronts themes from our own reality, from death and solitude to technology and consumption. The above work, "The Trip," was painted over 14 days in Vinaròs.
The acrylic paintings of Olan Ventura reference the still-life paintings of the Old Masters, yet take a contemporary turn in conveying what only appear to be printing errors that run hues off the canvas. While conveying “glitches” with paint can be found in the practices of contemporaries, Venture is able to navigate both ends of time in his faithful recreations.
In Aryz's recent, enormous murals, the painter is able to emulate the loose traits of a pencil or crayon sketch. The effect is deceptively simple, with the artist's broad strokes and figurative decisions creating a kinetic and striking final product. The artist was previously featured here, showcasing a style that varies from his current approach.
Whether it’s her massive work “Catsquatch” or her "Mirror Constructs" series, painter Shyama Golden’s work is both experimental and at times, humorous. The artist has both fine art and illustration practices. Yet, even within her gallery work are varying approaches, ranging from the mythological to portraiture.
“Sawdust provocateur" AJ Fosik crafts totem-like wooden sculptures influenced by taxidermy, rituals from varying cultures, and folk art. He's also one of three artists crafting installation projects at SCOPE Miami Beach's atrium (Dec. 4-9), marking Hi-Fructose's 14th year in publishing. Fosik was the cover artist for Hi-Fructose Vol. 18 and was last featured on here. Below, he talks to us about what's ahead:
Jamian Juliano-Villani’s surreal, unsettling narratives are rendered in acrylics, implementing both brush and airbrush techniques. Found in these scenes are icons of popular culture and Western living, presented in ways that invoke examination, chuckles, and every so often, a bit of recoiling.

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