The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: graphite

In her graphite drawings and paintings, Catriona Secker finds inspiration in biology textbooks and vintage natural history tomes. In the drawing above, in particular, the artist said she found inspiration in the reproductive system of a cockroach. Secker, whose work has been exhibited in Hong Kong, Australia, and beyond, is based in Sydney.
Dasha Pliska's pencil drawings carry drama and ghostly grace. The Ukraine illustrator works primarily in monochromatic modes, elegantly moving between skin tones and billowing forms moving across the page. And recent personal projects, such as "repletion," show the artist's knack for utilizing negative space.
Ryan Travis Christian’s small-scale graphite drawings are the latest to occupy Arsham/Fieg Gallery, the minature gallery inside KITH in New York City. The artist crafts daily meditations that are influenced by vintage, handdrawn animation and contemporary issues. The 7”-by-10” works are shown at the space through April 2.
Armed with charcoal and graphite, Amandine Urruty continues to craft scenes packed with characters and surprises in every corner. In recent works, the artist’s Victorian sensibility gorgeously renders both human and pop-cultural figures alike. Urruty was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 44.
The graphite drawings of Christopher Charles Curtis resemble collages in how they pull in imagery from disparate and vintage sources, yet all elements are crafted by the artist’s hand. The Oklahoma-born artist has recalled tales from fantasy in his work, as well as the real-life influence of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Each work carries its own mystery, further underscored by the lack of color in most of these works.
Tokyo artist So PineNut’s stirring drawings pull from spiritual influences. Often referencing figures and narratives from the Bible, the works carry darker Judeo-Christian themes rendered with both ancient and contemporary characters. The artist's practice includes these graphite works, plus painting, graphic novels, printmaking, pottery, and more.
Using just a pencil and paper, Nicola Alessandrini crafts striking, surreal imagery that explore the subconscious. The Italy-born artist creates scenes in which intimate figures are unraveled, producing strange growths and stripped of their normal defenses. Gender and sexuality also often play a role in Alessandrini’s works, as well as totems from childhood.
Randy Ortiz’s stirring drawings adorn gallery walls and album covers, each showing the artist’s knack for horror and surrealism. Works such as "Rejoice, for Tonight It Is a World That We Bury" (below) offer disconcerting narratives in progress, rendered in graphite.
The intricate drawings of Ben Tolman are featured in a new show at Jonathan Levine Projects in New Jersey. "New Drawings" collects works that emphasize the artist's talents in conveying varying structures, textures, and approaches. The show runs through July 21 at the space. The artist last appeared on this site here.
Colombia-based illustrator Alejandro García Restrepo is known for crafting strikingly realistic and strange drawings, often playing with the contours of natural objects to create surprising flourishes. Though many of his works have been illustrative in nature, they often stand alone as stirring works.
Brandon Locher is a New York-based visual artist and musician with a prolific output in both areas. His "Mazes to the Motherlode" portfolio contains 50 pieces of art created over the past few years. These ink and graphite labyrinths differ in approach and convolution, yet all are alluring in their intricacies.
Illustrator Zoe Keller's absorbing, hyperdetailed odes to the natural world are rendered in graphite and ink. The Portland-based artist uses landscapes, field guides, and her own memories to source the varied flora and fauna that appear in her works. The artist says that she blends "hints of narrative" into her natural explorations.
Matt Gordon is a mixed-media artist based in Plymouth, Mich., where he crafts both surreal acrylic paintings and graphite drawings. In these images, skeleton characters, bat-human hybrids, and other creatures interact and frolic in different scenarios. Or, as the artist puts it, his works in both mediums "take place in the same dreamy world of happier times."
Houston-born artist Shayne Murphy blends realism and the abstract, with his oil paintings featuring explosions of graphite. Using sharpened backdrops and geometric flourishes, the artist tilts perspectives and toys further with reality. Murphy currently has a solo show titled “Fluorescent Gray” at Anya Tish Gallery in Houston, which runs through Nov. 12.
In Laurie Lipton's recent works, featured here, the artist take us into a world that feels overwhelmed with technology. It is a place where wires, screens, emojis and other aspects of our modern day communication devices define this world's movement and style. She calls it a "Techno Rococo" of sorts, the title and basis of her latest series of drawings which debuted over the weekend at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles.
American artist Renée French draws endearing portraits of bizarre creatures that look like dark versions of fairytale characters. First featured in an insert for Hi-Fructose Vol. 35, French considers herself a "graphite addict", who keeps a child-like innocence about her adult graphic novelist and comics rooted works. Her fantastical imagery is in part inspired by Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch, especially the macabre and nightmarish depictions within his fanciful world. She will debut her latest series at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles on October 2nd.
Paris, France based artist Amandine Urruty has always overflowed her whimsical drawings with fantastical characters. First featured on our blog here, Urruty is unique in her near exclusive use of the pencil medium. There is something about a pencil's 'primitive' and simple nature that initially attracted her to it. Her illustrations exhibit a remarkable control of the medium, and despite its easy use, she says, she is able to embellish her work with detail and varied palette. Most recently, her palette is almost entirely monochromatic black and white.
Taisuke Mohri has been drawing since his teens, eventually leading him to study industrial design. It should come as no surprise that he specialized in the design of elaborate objects with visual patterns, elements he now adapts in his drawing work. We previously featured Mohri's realistic pencil renderings of mysterious young people on our blog. He has said that he finds it disturbing when something appears too perfect or real. Mohri's latest works intend to interrupt "perfect" people and creations in nature with smudges and cracks.
Jeremy Nichols is an artist hailing from Portland who creates graphite on paper works that he often refers to as “alien worlds.” In his youth, Nichols spent time traveling between upstate New York and Tokyo, which he says created a strong sense of displacement within him. He takes these memories of unsettled feelings to create worlds that feel otherworldly, using recognizable patterns and textures to create layered drawings of floating clusters of energy. Nichols wants his viewers to walk away questioning the beauty beyond their immediate world and take a closer look at the things that they see everyday - things they tend to overlook.
Montreal based artist Nathalie Lagacé plainly draws ties between humans and nature in her latest graphite series of hybrid baby-animals. Titled "Legacy", her drawings portray screaming newborn babies who express the same emotional rollercoaster as our relationship to the environment. In a way, they are almost comical in their bizarre pairings of animals like babies with chicken legs and "duck lips", others posed like a Thanksgiving turkey ready for roasting.
Attention all artists! In partnership with our friends at Squarespace, Hi-Fructose will be highlighting five artists who are currently using Squarespace for their website or portfolio, to be featured on This week we are featuring Newcastle, England based artist Vanessa Foley, who expresses an affinity for wildlife in her realistic portraits of animals. She grew up in the Northumberland countryside surrounded by nature which left a lasting impression on her. In her artist statement, she writes, "My love of nature and art are inseparable, and I could never imagine one without the other."
New york-based Dominican artist Samuel Gomez (first featured here) creates enormous detailed renderings with a steam-punk aesthetic. Using graphite and ink, Gomez's work offers a glimpse into a mysterious dystopian society dominated by machinery. His drawings are particularly well known for their impressive larger than life size, with some pieces measuring up to 18 feet long. His latest pieces, titled "Decrypted Savants" and "Oasis" will be revealed on July 31st at Mike Wright Gallery in Denver.
New York based artist Mike Lee draws tiny, typical urban places that seem to float in negative space. We previously covered his graphite drawings here, mostly portraying an aerial view of a dollhouse-like world. Lee's latest series, currently on view at Giant Robot's GR gallery in Los Angeles, pushes the peculiarity of his artworks a little bit further. They still contain simplified spaces populated by chubby Lego-like urbanites, but have been spliced up to a more abstract effect.
"I think that there is a lot to point out, and to work against in daily life, particularly with respect to American culture," said Dane Patterson in an interview with Art Plural Gallery, where he had his last solo show in 2013. "We are creatures of habit and we can quickly fall into routine. We’re rarely aware of the way we compartmentalize everything in our lives, or have had things defined and compartmentalized for us." His graphite drawings begin as documentations of daily life — but they evolve into strange hybrids of images intended to stir up the ritualistic qualities of our mundane existence. Patterson works from photographs in a process he describes as sculptural. First, he stages a scene, shoots it, and then combine the resulting photographic image with other sourced material to create a meticulous, surreal pencil drawing on paper.
British artist Joe Fenton infuses his immensely detailed graphite and mixed-media drawings of interplanetary iconography with inspiration from religious artifacts from centuries past — the ornate frames of gilded Orthodox icons, Tibetan Buddhist altars with their elaborate wood carvings. East and West come together in these large, fantastical works. Fenton is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, but his personal work tackles heavier topics. The artist says that much of his drawings explore the idea of death, namely the fear of death — an anxiety many appease through religion and spirituality. Fenton’s baroque, intense scenes are cramped with hellish visions and strange spirits, densely filling each page with deities and demons from a fantasy belief system rife with occult symbols.
Austrian-born Stefan Zsaitsits creates intricately-detailed and deranged works with a sense of humor. Take for instance “Puppet,” an uncommon portrait of fairytale icon Pinocchio — half of his sweet face is scratched off with harsh dark lines. His wooden arm seems worn and his one bulging eye shows a mix of fear and sadness. Other anonymous figures seem to come from sort of equally distorted children’s tale. If you line up Zsaitsits’s quirky characters in a row — a little boy with a still-feathered chicken in mouth, a Magritte-like figure with no face except glasses and a floating ear — they look like clues to a larger narrative where it seems things went comically wrong. The artist’s paintings look more somber and eerie in contrast with many severed body parts and depressing scenes. No matter the medium, the artist creates intriguing scenes that entice the viewer even while threatening to turn them away with unsettling details.
Portland-based Korean artist Samantha Wall draws perceptive representations of women who exhibit a range of emotions and attitude. Her experience with ‘multi-raciality’ between living in Korea and now the United States inspired her latest drawings, “Indivisible” but it has roots in her previous works. Her simple yet profound drawings are the result of her own experiences and feelings. Emotional desire creates moments of hyper awareness, a characteristic specific to human nature. Wall believes that how we position ourselves in the world directly relates to our bond with others. Read more after the jump.
Whimsical worlds are neatly constructed in the works of French illustration and graphics duo Violaine Orsoni and Jeremy Schneider, better known as Violaine & Jeremy. Out of their hand-drawn pieces fly portraits bursting with personality: anthropomorphized woodland creatures, or human faces revealing character quirks with simple props — a crown of leaves and branches, a raven perched on a shoulder — a subtle nod to the vintage-style portraiture.
New York-based artist Melissa Cooke uses herself as a primary reference point, both physically and emotionally. While many of the subjects of her large-scale graphtie drawings are modeled after the artist's own likeness, her works go deeper below the surface to investigate the uncomfortable crevices of the psyche one must traverse in order to truly know oneself. Her most recent series, Plunge is a meditative series of close-up self-portraits of Cooke in her favorite place of solace: her bathtub. A place of escape from frantic New York City life, the tub is a safe haven for the artist. The drawings are not entirely utopian and placid, however: There are notes of tension as water and suds splash her face like the turbulent tides of the ocean.

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