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    Chrome Faces Protrude from Drippy, Graffiti Backdrops in Hyperrealistic Paintings by Artist Kip Omolade

    
    Art

    #chrome
    #hyperrealism
    #masks
    #painting
    #portraits

    September 28, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Luxury Graffiti Kace I,” oil, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches. All images © Kip Omolade, shared with permission
    Set on a graffitied backdrop, the chrome masks Kip Omolade (previously) paints appear to emerge from the canvas, jutting out from the vibrant display to confront the viewer. The Harlem-born artist layers dripping colors and typographic markings that contrast the smooth, gleaming faces protruding from the center for his new series Masks: Portraits of Times Square and Luxury Graffiti, which he completed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, he explains the history of the collection:
    In New York City during the ’80s, my tag was ‘Kace’ and I would ‘get up’ on MTA subway car interiors, public walls in Brooklyn, and graffiti black books. Throughout the ’90s, I never stopped tagging. Even when I was painting from life, I was still tagging here and there in random spaces. Years later, I produced a real-life ‘Kace’—when my twin sons were born, I named them Kent and Kace. The ‘Kace’ tags in these paintings reference NYC subway ‘bombing’ of the ’80s, but mostly it’s about legacy. I want my work to represent our shared experiences of the past, present, and future.
    Omolade’s process includes sculpting a resin mold of a chosen subject, which he then covers with chrome and uses as a reference for his hyperrealistic portraits. Many of the masks are reflective, revealing a hidden landscape. In Omolade’s self-portrait (shown below), an American flag in the shape of a bullseye marks his forehead, a nod to racial injustices in the United States.
    To see more of Omolade’s works, check out his virtual solo show at Jonathan LeVine Projects through October 4 and head to his Instagram.

    “Luxury Graffiti Self-Portrait (COVID-19),” oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
    “Luxury Graffiti Kent I,” oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
    “Luxury Graffiti Kent I,” oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
    “American Love,” oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
    “Red Stare,” oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
    

    #chrome
    #hyperrealism
    #masks
    #painting
    #portraits

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    Colorful, Geometric Stitches Embolden Black-and-White Photographs of Historical Figures and Cultural Icons

    
    Art
    Craft
    Photography

    #celebrities
    #embroidery
    #found photographs
    #portraits

    September 24, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    Yayoi Kusama. All images © Victoria Villasana, shared with permission
    When Victoria Villasana (previously) lays a long stitch on a vintage photograph, she’s connecting the pattern or geometric shape to a piece of history, culture, or philosophy. The Mexican artist transforms found black-and-white images of cultural icons and historical figures through vibrant embroideries. Turquoise fibers radiate from Nelson Mandela’s fist, a gold, chevron collar lines Chadwick Boseman’s shirt, and Yayoi Kusma sports a multicolor garment with varying dots and stripes. Emboldened by stitches that often breach the photograph’s edges, the multi-media artworks exude power, strength, and beauty.
    Villasana sources many of the images from the public domain, although she sometimes collaborates with photographers, as well. “I think color helps us to connect emotionally and I like to look at the past and merge tradition and vanguard. I’m also interested in symbolism and geometry in art as a way to communicate deeper meanings with each other,” she shares with Colossal.
    To explore more of Villasana’s geometric additions, head to Instagram, and see the originals and prints available in her shop.

    Chadwick Boseman
    Federica Violi
    Kara Walker
    Nelson Mandela
    Left: Miles Davis. Right: Harriet Tubman
    Ryu Gwansun
    Yayoi Kusama

    #celebrities
    #embroidery
    #found photographs
    #portraits

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    Revealing Struggles and Joy, Expressive Portraits Are Superimposed onto Watercolor Foliage

    
    Art

    #flowers
    #plants
    #portraits
    #watercolor

    September 24, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Being true to your nature III.” All images © Àngela Maria Sierra, shared with permission
    Spanish artist Àngela Maria Sierra, who works as Riso Chan, explores the human psyche through subtly layered foliage. “I always imagine that they are someone’s soul, what we don’t see, our nature,” Sierra says of the delicate botanical assemblages that she overlays onto her subjects’ faces and torsos. Each portrait begins with a focus on texture and pattern as the artist paints clusters of twigs and leaves with watercolor. She then scans those botanical elements and uses Procreate to superimpose the figure onto the original piece.
    Alongside their simple beauty, the pastel paintings, some of which are self-portraits, reflect the narratives and worries that consume the artist’s daily life. She describes her work as “a journal where I express moments or feelings that are important for me during those days. It’s a way to give those feelings space and then let them go.” Tied to both struggles and joys, topics include finding freedom through creativity during lockdown, growing up in an drug-filled home, and the bravery required to move forward.
    Based in Amsterdam, Sierra is the founder of Bloom Art House, which hosts creative workshops throughout the capital city. Keep up with her expressive artworks on Instagram.

    “Freedom”
    “Being true to your nature II”

    “Spring”
    Left: “Turning on the lights inside.” Right: “Being true to your nature I”
    “New Path”
    “Toxic home”

    #flowers
    #plants
    #portraits
    #watercolor

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    Hyperrealistic Portraits by Artist Arinze Stanley Reflect the Emotions of Black Experiences

    
    Art

    #activism
    #black and white
    #charcoal
    #graphite
    #hyperrealism
    #portraits

    September 19, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Mindless #3.” All images © Arinze Stanley, courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery, shared with permission
    Arinze Stanley describes his hyperrealistic drawings as “a simple language of my feelings.” In a statement about his new series titled Paranormal Portraits, the Nigerian artist (previously) says he uses his art as a form of political activism and as a way to amplify the voices of those who are unheard. Stanley noes that the relationships he fosters with his subjects are complicated and more often a reflection of himself:
    In my opinion, artists are custodians of time and reality, hence why I try to inform the future about the reality of today, and through these surreal portraits seen in my new body of work, Paranormal Portraits, navigate my viewers into what is almost a psychedelic and uncertain experience of being Black in the 21st Century.
    Using graphite and charcoal pencils, Stanley draws with such detail, capturing a stray hair or glimmer of beading sweat. Whether featuring a subject wrapped in hands or dripping in paint, the monochromatic portraits are intimate, expressive, and “born out of the zeal for perfection both in skill, expression, and devotion to create positive changes in the world. I draw inspiration from life experiences and basically everything that sparks a feeling of necessity,” Stanley says.
    If you’re in Los Angeles, Stanley’s work will be on view at Corey Helford Gallery starting October 3. Otherwise, head to Instagram and check out this video from Great Big Story capturing his deftly rendered artworks.

    “The Machine Man #7”
    Left: “People and Paper #1.” Right: “The Machine Man #6″
    “Paranormal Portrait #3”

    #activism
    #black and white
    #charcoal
    #graphite
    #hyperrealism
    #portraits

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    Vivid Botanics and Butterflies Encircle Photographer Fares Micue in Striking Self-Portraits

    
    Art
    Photography

    #butterflies
    #flowers
    #portraits
    #self-portrait

    August 26, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Memories of a rainy day.” All images © Fares Micue, shared with permission
    Surrounded by monarchs or a blanket of blue leaves, Fares Micue (previously) captures vividly composed self-portraits. The Spain-based photographer conceals her face and instead focuses on the organic elements surrounding her torso. Whether a series of origami birds or yellow and red twigs resembling flames, the natural additions merge seamlessly with Micue, who bends and contorts her figure to follow the shapely forms of the arranged objects.
    In a note to Colossal, the photographer said she’s been more inclined to create since the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, considering her work an invitation into self-reflection. “I am a firm believer that how we think and feel about life is how we will perceive reality. We must train our brain to always search for the bright side and find hope among the desolation,” she says. While people may not have control over global crises, they are not without agency. “I want them to feel powerful and (acknowledge) the power they have over their life experience and how to use that experience to grow and learn,” she writes.
    Find more of the Micue’s nature-infused photographs on Instagram, and pick up limited edition prints on Saatchi Art.

    “The power of becoming”
    “Imaginary prison”
    “Growing wiser”
    “Fly me away”
    “Defensive III”

    #butterflies
    #flowers
    #portraits
    #self-portrait

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    Monumental Ballpoint Pen Portraits Are Rendered on Vintage Collateral by Artist Mark Powell

    
    Art
    Illustration

    #found objects
    #maps
    #portraits
    #postcard

    August 9, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Mark Powell, shared with permission
    From his Brighton-based studio on the seafront, Mark Powell (previously) pieces together crinkled book pages and postcards laden with travel dispatches. The vintage collages serve as backdrops for the artist’s oversized portraits of older folks, whose pensive stares and deep wrinkles are rendered gently in ballpoint pen. Often magnified, the subjects complement the weathered, ephemeral surfaces that span multiple feet. “I’m currently working on a series of larger works because they have much more impact on the viewer, more confronting yet comfortable I’m hoping. It is also much more tricky because by just using a ballpoint pen no mistakes can be made, and it would be a terrible shame to ruin a map, document, or letter that has survived hundreds of years only to be destroyed by me,” he shares with Colossal.
    Each enlarged illustration—which sometimes depicts famous subjects, like Basquiat and Hunter S. Thompson— takes about a month to complete, and Powell generally works on more than one simultaneously. Recently, he’s started to slow down his artistic production as he shifts away from creating for dozens of shows every year. “The past two years, I’ve taken a step back from shows slightly to allow that evolution space to breathe. It has meant that the quality of the work has increased immeasurably (still much room for improvement of course),” he says.
    Powell’s detailed illustrations will be included in an upcoming show at Hang-Up Gallery in London. Until then, dive into his repurposed projects on Behance and Instagram, and check out the available prints in his shop.

    #found objects
    #maps
    #portraits
    #postcard

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    Vibrant Digital Portraits by Artist Alexis Franklin Emphasize the Nuances of Emotions

    
    Art
    Illustration

    #Black Lives Matter
    #digital
    #portraits

    August 3, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Alexis Franklin, shared with permission
    Dallas-based artist Alexis Franklin considers her digital renderings a reinvention of the expected. “I’ve always seen the world through a filter that brings vibrance and excitement to things most people wouldn’t notice, and that’s something that I really want to have come across in my work,” she says of her expressive paintings. Through facial expressions, gestures, and color, each work highlights the nuances of the subjects’ experience, personality, and mood.
    A church videographer by day, painting is Franklin’s side-project and one for which she’s received an influx of attention in recent days. She illustrated an affective portrait of Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by three Louisville police officers in March, for the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine. The two-decades-old publication has only ever featured Oprah Winfrey. This isn’t the 24-year-old’s first high-profile cover, though: she also created a powerful rendering of Anita Hill for Time earlier this year.
    Franklin often shares time-lapses of her paintings-in-progress—which you can watch below and on YouTube and Instagram—that document every step of her process. “I tend to stay in the present with my work. I don’t really imagine where it’s headed,” she writes to Colossal. “I just let each project be what it is, and then I move to the next one with fresh eyes. And I’m very grateful that each project continuously seems to find me!” (via Kottke)

    

    #Black Lives Matter
    #digital
    #portraits

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    Formed With Geometric Blocks of Color, Modern Women Exhibit Strength in Artist Luciano Cian’s Prints

    
    Art
    Illustration

    #portraits
    #posters and prints

    July 23, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Luciano Cian, shared with permission
    Artist Luciano Cian’s latest series Geo explores the power, perseverance, and stability of contemporary women through bold colors and gesture. Simple lines and geometric shapes comprise the nondescript figures, who tend to look away from the viewer with striking facial expressions. Relying heavily on the tension between symmetry and asymmetry, Cian tells Colossal he’s inspired the aesthetics of Brazilian modernist artists like painter Athos Bulcão and architect Oscar Niemeyer. Dive into more of the Rio de Janeiro-based artist’s vibrant prints on Behance and Instagram, and check out which pieces are available to add to your collection.

    #portraits
    #posters and prints

    Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.

     
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