Born in Cologne, Germany, former tattoo artist Mike Dargas paints portraits of women dripping in honey. His hyperrealistic oil paintings are painted on a large-scale and appear as impressive photographs. With such provocative titles as “Golden Thoughts,” “The Ecstasy of Gold,” and “Carpe Diem Baby,” the portraits exude a certain opulence, suggesting honey as a metaphor for gold. Using this analogy, his paintings may be interpreted as commentaries on the role of monetary wealth in contemporary society. With closed eyes and probing tongues, Dargas’ women become greedy narcissists caught in moments of private ecstasy.
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.