Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

18th Century Craftsmanship

Mechanical Caterpillar by Henri Maillardet

Often there are times I look at the articles and pictures that my fellow artist friends post to share on Facebook, some amusing while other make me just stare in awe before I save it to my computer. I was just scrolling through the news feed on my Facebook account when I spotted something a friend had posted that captured my attention. An article titled This 200-Year-Old Mechanical Caterpillar Does Everything But Turn Into a Butterfly written by Andrew Liszenwski, though brief, talks about a beautifully jeweled and enameled mechanical caterpillar which dates back to about 1820. Personally when looked at this strangely beautiful creation, my first thought was that it was somehow a little known work of Fabergé. I was surprised that within the article, it's mentioned that it's thought that the creator was Henri Maillardet. Having never heard of this craftsman, I decided to go ahead and have a look.
Draughtsman-Writer by Henri Maillardet

18th century Swiss mechanician Henri Maillardet (1745 - ?) actually worked in London creating clocks and other such mechanisms. It is noted that he built a spring-activated automation that draws pictures and writes in both English and French which is known as the Draughtsman-Writer. This automation creation is on display at The Franklin Institute who acquired it in the 1920s and after several years of painstaking work were able to restore it to working order. If you're interested in seeing it in person:

The Franklin Institue
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 448-1200

Mouse & Lizard by Henri Maillardet
While I looked for other creations that Henri Maillardet, I discovered that currently on the website for Christie's (an international company that specializes in fine art auctions) that there is two items of his currently available in The Dr. Anton C.R. Dreesmann Collection. One is labeled as “A Swiss split-pearl set and enameled automation formed as a lizard” and the other is “A Swiss split-pearl set and enameled gold automation formed as a mouse”. The estimated value of the lizard is £25,000-35,000 ($40,337 – 56,472 USD) while the mouse is estimated at £60,000-100,000 ($96,810-161,350 USD). It does make me curious as to the reason why the lizard would be at a lower price then the mouse. The same amount of care and detail went into both pieces but it perhaps is because lizards and snakes in such a decorative format (much like in jewelry) is not as desirable as something along the lines of an insect or bird. It also depends on the opinion of the individuals who appraised the pair. 

After looking at Henri Maillardet's pieces, it does make me wonder if creations such as his and other craftsmen of the 18th century will be seen again or have we as an art community forgotten how to bring into existence something so time consuming and elaborate. Sometimes I think that maybe we have become a little too dependent on computers and programs to do what took our predecessors months and in some cases years to create. I'm not saying anything against the digital art community mind you, since I acknowledge that there is a great deal of skill in itself to do beautifully detailed pieces but it does cause me to raise an eyebrow when someone compliments me on one of my watercolors and asks what program I used to paint it. Perhaps we have simply evolved our trade to work with the ever changing technology in our world, but I think that I will leave such thoughts to my readers to ponder. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sikh recognition at Brimingham Museum

While wondering the internet in the wee hours of the morning since I had yet to pull myself from the computer to get a few hours of sleep, I found myself looking through current exhibits in various museums. One exhibit that starts in the new year (January 26th – April 28th, 2013) that caught my eye was titled Sikh Fortress Turban which will be on view at the Brimingham Museum and Art Gallery located in Brimingham, England. On my screen amongst the colors which blurred slightly due to my overly tired eyes was a small entry announcing the coming exhibit.

With knowledge that California has a rather large, close knit Sikh community, I was surprised that there was to be an exhibit on them in the UK. I have to admit that I was a bit jealous as I read the small entry because I would love to actually learn a bit more about perhaps one of the nicest and most patient group of people I have ever met. For those not familiar with those of the Sikh religion, it was started in the 15th century by Guru Nanak. After a lengthy bit of meditation, where he is believed to have received direct revelations from God, he went forth to teach the world that there is one God and that religious divisions are man-made. The term Sikh itself actually means disciple, student or instruction which makes sense when you look a bit deeper into the religion.

Though understated as far as straight out art goes, the beauty that the Sikhs provide can be found simply in the textiles and weapons they wear along with the people themselves. Perhaps one of their most recognizable trademarks is the turbans that the men wear which, depending on their status within the religion, signifies their level. One wonderful capture of a Sikh follower by one of the photographers on deviantArt is perhaps by SukhRiar.deviantart.com (India). In his picture Nihang, he states in the description:

"Nihang" by SukhRiar
In this picture you are seeing Sikh Nihang (Sikh Warrior), worship to Waheguru (God). They wear approximately 20m to 30m clothe turban.

Sikh warriors known for their bravery, courage and power. They saved their religion by sacrifice their lives.

The word Nihang means crocodile and was introduced into the Punjabi language from Persian. The term owes its origin to the Mughal historians who noticed that these brave armed-monks fought ferociously like crocodiles. Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the guerilla squads of the armed forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The Nihang were also known as Akali. This term is said to be derived from the Akaal Purukh in Punjabi - "the Timeless One", a term for God. Thus Akali translates as "Servitor of the Timeless God". This also symbolises the Akali as the immortals or the timeless warriors.

Read more about them: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihang

"nihang Sikh" by drkingsks
Another beautiful picture as an example of the turbans worn by some of the higher ranking individuals is by drkingks.deviantart.com with his piece nihang Sikh

I know that here in California, we often have cultural festivals put on by the Sikh community which includes their Festival of Lights calledDiwali. SFGate, the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle which covers news and other things within the San Francisco Bay Area just posted this morning an article titled Diwali, The Festival of Lights covering the festival which just occurred last month. For those who are interested in finding out a little more about the calender of holidays should check out the Sikh calender of festivals. Also don't be afraid of checking online to see if there are any events within your area that you could attend. 

So to those who are in the UK or are planning on visiting the area and are interested in checking out the exhibit this next year, here is the information for the Brimingham Museum and Art Gallery:

Brimingham Museum & Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH
Tel: +44 (0)121 303 1966
Entry: Free entrance. Some exhibitions and events may charge.
Opening Times:
Monday - Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10.30am - 5pm
Sat 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12.30pm - 5pm

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A common influence... maybe: Josephine Wall

Lately I've been finding myself wandering the fantasy art community and enjoying the wide variety of styles within it, from light and cheerful to darkly beautiful imagery. Since I had already had brought you Dorian Cleavenger as a representative of the dark fantasy part of the community, I thought that it was only right to go ahead and balance it out with finding someone in the lighter fantasy side. As is my continuing problem with this particular cluster within the art family, I have an ever growing list of artists I enjoy. One artist I've noticed who doesn't seem to get very much notice by name but her work is fairly recognizable is Josephine Wall.

"Secret Land" by Josephine Wall 
English fantasy artist Josephine Wall (1947 - ) studied fine art at Bournemouth College and started work as both a designer and painter of Delphis Ware for Poole Pottery. It is interesting to see that her sources of inspiration include Arthur Rackham, Magritte, and Dali. With such a combination of styles, it makes complete sense when looking at her colorful and heavily detailed paintings with their complex mesh of symbols. By the mid 1970s, her work had gone international with exhibits of her work in Tokyo and Teheran. It was in the 1990s when her paintings had captured a fan base in the United States. A bit of a surprising source of advertising for her pieces actually came from pop star Britney Spears who used several of her pieces on her website. Now her works and products featuring her art is marketed by Sunbeams Initiatives, Inc which is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

While looking through the works of many of the fantasy artists on deviantART, I wasn't too sure if there was anyone who would have been influenced by Ms. Wall. I knew that I was going to be reaching out in to thin air on this but I picked 5 individuals and asked:
"With such lovely colorful pieces, I was curious if one of your inspirations is the fantasy painter Josephine Wall."

"Phung" by xnhan00
A digital artist from Vietnam focusing on graphic design and illustration, Nguyen Thanh Nhan also does works in pencil. His subject matters range from piece to piece, ranging from human forms to abstract depictions of nature. His color palette also changes depending on the mood he's aiming to evoke within the piece but all of the works he has up in his gallery have an airiness to them and a rather gentle feel.
Website: xnhan00.com
"Hi DawnstarW,
It's a great artist! But I do not take these works as inspiration.
My inspiration is the beautiful color photos!
Have a nice day,
Thank you!" ~xnhan00

Unfortunately, the remaining 4 artists have yet to respond so I present their work to you so that you may decide for yourselves if their inspiration was somehow sparked by the works of Josephine Wall or not.
"Swarm" by thienbao

thienbao.deviantart.com (United States)
Bao Pham, a digital artist located in the United States, is perhaps one of the few within the fantasy art part of the community who straddles the line between light and dark. From zombies and demons to beautiful women and fairy folk, his gallery shows a wide range of subjects, colors and experimental styles that he chooses to work in. This can be seen in some of his more well known pieces such as Narcissus and Tempered. Digging deeper into his gallery, you will come across his beautiful oils on canvas depicting flowers and fruit which he had done back in the latter part of 2010. There are also other traditional works of his which he had done as far back as 2008 on display which also include portraits.

"Dream of Spring" by umedama

Located in Japan, Umedama Riko is a digital artist who seems to have been heavily influenced by Western art styles. Her works, featuring mostly children and animals, is filled with detail and a warmth to them that brings a smile to the viewer's lips. One of the favorites among deviantART viewers is perhaps one of her oldest pieces, Stray Child (2008), which is one of the examples of how her work can pull on the heart strings of those looking at the piece.

"Veide" by Folda
An artist residing in Russia, Yaroslava Kuznetsova works in both traditional and digital mediums. Keeping to mostly fantasy her pieces range from some well known mythological sources, creating Morgen theharpist (2010), to beings of her own imagination for the Berserk Trading Card Game as seen in Elderly Storm (2010). Complex and detailed, her pieces are brought to life with the use of earth and cool blue tones. 
Website: zhurnal.lib.ru/s/shatt_i_a/ (only viewable by those with Russian Federation access)
"Autumn" by PaulCZero9

PaulCZero9.deviantart.com (United Kingdom)
Paul Cartwright, a digital artist located in the United Kingdom, actually only have a few of his pieces up on his deviantART gallery but has a large collection of his body of work located at his website which he uses as an online portfolio. His work seems to be balanced in three ways with concept pieces, illustrations and sketches. It is surprising to discover that he has been featured several times in Digital Artist Magazine and Corel Painter Magazine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Art of Gaming: The Dream Machine

Since I've started this little adventure of looking at various Indie games, I have found some that just made me wonder why someone thought it was a good idea and others that I thought was an interesting concept. In most cases however, I come across games that I have never heard of be it from my friends or those I've come to listen to online. One such game that captured my attention strictly from the unconventional way the developers decided to make their game is The Dream Machine.

Created by Cockroach Inc., a game studio in Sweden run by Anders Gustafsson and Erik Zaring, The Dream Machine game has been a labor of love for the men. The game itself (chapters 1 & 2) was released towards the end of 2011 and the pair have announced that chapter 3 has just been released with 4 and 5 currently in the making. Why in installments? The answer is that the entire environment and everything in the game is handmade. Advertised as “An award winning point and click adventure game made by hand using materials such as clay and cardboard”, the blog that they have for the game (dreammachinegame.blogspot.com) shows and explains parts of the process that they take in order to create the game. The first images I saw captured my attention and made me want to see the trailer. 

Beautiful, dark and rather unsettling, when I watched the trailer for the game I have to say that I was impressed. Stop-motion claymation isn't exactly the easiest way to create something, in fact it is one of the most time consuming form of art that crosses over from studio and sculpture to performance art. To make a movie is one thing but the fact the gentlemen at Cockroach Inc. decided to create a game from it is impressive. Saying it as an interactive claymation on the lines of Wallace & Gromit, Tim Burtan's Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), or even the more recent Henry Selick's Coraline (2009) would be incorrect and rather unfair in a way. I'm not saying that those movies are bad, but the game seems to be in a category of its own. The style itself seems to have elements of older claymations such as those from Clash of the Titans (1981) but there was imagery that reminded me of Mirror Mask (2005) and Immortal (2004). There was some things about the game that I just couldn't put my finger on. There must be something else that was used as inspiration for this game. I sent my question to them and waited patiently, being thrilled at finding a response this morning:

Hi Dawn!
Here´s a brief list of inspiration for our game:
Director Roman Polanski (the Tenant)
Director David Cronenberg (Videodrome)
Jan Švankmajer (experimental animation)
Zdzisław Beksiński (polish filmposter art)
The Secret of Monkey Island (1990, adventure game )
... that´s at least a start for you. I hope that you´re not entierly familiar with all mentioned above:)
Bye for now and take care

I have to say that looking at the list, I was impressed. I had heard of TheSecret of Monkey Island in passing at least once or twice and have seen Zdzislaw Beksinski's (1929-2005) work several years ago but the others I'm not familiar with. Director Roman Polanski (1933 - ) is perhaps more well known among cult horror movie enthusiasts for the movie Rosemary's Baby (1968) and seems like a rather interesting through perhaps slightly odd source of inspiration until I took into consideration his directing style of keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and keeping their minds engaged with the story. Director David Paul Cronenberg (1943 - ) is known for his movies Videodrome (1983) and M. Butterfly (1993) along with a string of other horror and scifi genre films. The fact that his directing style is paired up with Polanski's strangely seemed like a good match. Jan Švankmajer (1934 - ) is perhaps the most interesting individual in this line up with his films Faust (1994), Dinner for Adele (1977), and Jabberwocky (1971).  With such a combination of inspirational sources, it makes more sense when I re-watch the trailer. 

If you're interested in playing The Dream Machine, you can find it here: 
store.steampowered.com - The Dream Machine (Chapter 1 and 2 ) $4.99
The Dream Machine Bundle (All 5 Chapters) $14.99
The Dream Machine: Chapter 3 $4.99

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A common influence... maybe: Hyung-tae Kim

There are times when I find an artist that is relatively unknown to mainstream artists. It might be because of the field their work is in really isn't viewed all that often except by a small group or because their name is almost unheard of but their art has been seen widely. One of the artists that falls in this category of almost unknown name but well known work is Hyung-tae Kim.

"Juclecia" by Hyung-tae Kim
Korean artist Hyung-tae Kim (1978 - ) is perhaps more well known for his work on the Magna Carta game series and the later installments of the War of Genesis game series. Surprisingly enough he originally started his career as one of the people who worked on the background music for video games. He didn't start into the art community until he branched out and was a guest cover artist for comic books. With his his highly stylized works and character concepts, he became one of artists for Magna Carta. There are publications that contain his illustrations such as the Ragnarok Online Official Fan Book, OXIDE, KOREAN Illustration, and Io: Art of the Wired.

This is perhaps the first time where I have found 5 artists and none of them responded to my question:

"Of the various places you get your ideas from, I was wondering if Hyung-tae Kim (lead character designer for the Magna Carta game series on PlayStation 2) was one of your sources of inspiration."

"Salvation" by MarioWibisono
Either because of language barriers, busy schedules or something I didn't even foresee such as not being on deviantART for a period of time but I will still present their works and let you decide if these artists were influenced by Hyung-tae Kim.

A digital artist perhaps more well known on deviantART for his creations of beautiful warrior women, his gallery is filled with works which are either private commissions or for the role-playing game Legend of the Five Rings. With an equal amount of scifi and fantasy with a heavy amount of Asian design, his beautiful images also hold a sense of urgency or foreboding. He doesn't seem to have a particular color palette that he favors but he does enjoy putting in a lot of detail in his pieces.

"Red Angel of Revenge" by yangqi

yangqi.deviantart.com (People's Republic of China)
A digital artist living in China known for her lovely soft pieces, she has apologized to her audience that her English is not very good. Pushing that aside, each of her pieces speak for themselves. With beauty, grace and her own bit of humor, what pieces she has up on her gallery shows her unique style of fantasy. It has been some time since she has posted any updates but it's understandable with her busy schedule. She does however have new pieces on display up on her blog so if you're a fan of her work or interested in checking out more of her pieces, it might be a place you would like to check out.

"Happy Midautumn Festival" by dorset
dorset.deviantart.com (Hong Kong)
An anonymous artist located in Hong Kong, Dorset has apologized to their viewers for the lack of updates and explains that at the moment they are focusing on their schooling. Stepping away from that, their gallery is filled with beautiful digital works which includes fanworks of such animes like Hetalia and Gintama along with original creations. With action and details galore, Dorset doesn't seem to have a favored color palette since so many of their pieces are vibrant with a few pieces in grey tones.

"End of Day - Leigh and Sophie" by JayAxer
JayAxer.deviantart.com (United States)
Perhaps a bit more well known among the deviantART community, digital artist Jay Axer has an unique take on character creations. One of the crowd favorites is his original character Leigh but he also has done fanworks for such things as Sonic and Team Fortress 2. Some of his newer pieces (2011-2012) are in a different style then what he had been doing (2005-2011). Perhaps he is experimenting with having things both detailed and a bit more realistic in appearance but it still has his flare to it. Recently he has let his audience know that he also has a gallery on FurAffinity.net.
"Elvynn Evlibris" by auroreblackcat

Illustrator and digital artist located in France, Aurore's works is rather popular among the European artists on deviantART. She does have a couple of publications (Pixie and Elinor Jones) and has several of webcomics such as Harfang. She does a wonderful job on portraying emotion with her characters, carefully choosing a color palette that helps with showing the mood. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A common influence... maybe: Dorian Cleavenger

There are times that I wander into genres that I personally wouldn't work in but admire those who do. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it's completely opposite of the subject matter and even color palette that I work in but I sometimes find myself drawn towards the works of those who specialize in the genre of dark fantasy. One such artist is Gerald Brom (which I mentioned back in late September) but another is Dorian Cleavenger.

"Dance of the Dragon" by Dorian Cleavenger
Originally starting off as a free lance artist for large companies at the start of his career, Dorian Cleavenger soon broke off and started producing images of his own. As an acrylic painter, the medium allowed him to work quickly to create pieces in his unique style of nearly realistic feeling fantasy imagery. It didn't take long for his popularity and fame to go world wide as word spread through publications of his work, starting in Germany followed by South Africa, China, Russia, Belgium and the United States. There are some who would also consider him one of the top dark erotica artists due to the common theme of suggested sexuality in many of his pieces.

When it comes to dark fantasy, it's always difficult to really tell who might have been influenced by a single person or not. It's mainly due to the fact that many tend to blend the inspiration and influences from a handful of artists into their work. Even with this bit of a challenge, I went about my search and picked out 5 artists to ask my question:

“With your beautiful creations, I was wondering if perhaps the dark fantasy artist Dorian Cleavenger was in some way one of your sources of inspiration. “

"Present for Caroline" by Cathrine Nodet
A digital artist located in France, Catherine has a dark though elegant flare to her work. Mainly doing commissions for clients which results in some beautiful character concepts, she has done book covers for a couple of indie writers such as Lynn Perretta and Wendy Tyler Ryan. With a soft touch, her works make the viewer want to know more about the characters she has created or take the route of tossing that information out and making stories of their own. It's perhaps the fact that there is a glow of some sort in her pieces that causes her digital paintings to come to 'life' in some way.
"No sorry not at all!
Instead artists like Mélanie Delon, Linda Bergkvist, Luis Royo, Boris Valejo... and many classical painters. ^^" ~Catherine Nodet

SteveArgyle.deviantart.com (United States)
"Praetor's Grasp" by Steve Argyle
Professional digital artist living in the United States, Steve Argyle is one of the favorites of deviantART. Balancing between bloody and beautiful, he uses a deep rich color palette along with a hefty helping of shadows which is perfectly countered by an ethereal glow which pushes the envelope just enough. His subject matter usually consists of fantasy and scifi with creations of his own imagination and a healthy dose of Star Wars Universe characters to help fill things out.
"Yep, that guy is pretty awesome." ~Steve Argyle

"Dead Birds" by Lizzy John
Lizzy-John.deviantart.com (United States)
Also located in the United States, digital artist Lizzy focuses mostly in the fantasy genre. Presenting characters of her own imagination that are often for other projects she's involved with or concepts that come to her. Her choice of color palette actually depends on the subject matter she's working on but blues, greys and yellows seem to be a theme in her earlier pieces where as more recently she has started using more pinks and brown tones.
"Nope, never heard of him before this note. After a google search I can say that while we've got a similar dark fantasy theme going on, much of his work is more sexual than anything I've ever done. He's obviously got a lot of skill, though.
Thanks for the kind words!" ~Lizzy

There has been 2 artists who have yet been able to contact me so as always, I present to you examples of their work so that you can decide on your own if they were influenced in some way by Dorian Cleavenger.
"Warrior Mermaid" by Michelle Monique

A photographer in the United States, Michelle has already risen up in the ranks on deviantART in a short period of time with her concepts and pictures. All of her work is photography (of course) but there are a portion of them which are enhanced digitally in order to get the feeling she's after. This can be seen in her works where her model is cosplaying as a game or movie character. She does have a list of her clients and the awards she has received posted on her journal which impressive to see considering she is still fairly young in the community.
"Eros and Thanathos" by Sara Forlenza

Digital artist living in Italy, Sara's works seem to be an even divide between fantasy and scifi. From Star Wars to World of Warcraft (WoW) and her own character creations, she shows an amazing amount of action and emotion in her pieces. It's thanks to her unique style that each piece seems so dark yet vibrant at the same time. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Man's Trash is Another's Harmony

As a theme that seems to pop up pretty regularly in the various posts of my blog is the fact I keep finding inspiration in some of the strangest places. This morning, while scrolling through the news feed on Facebook for my account, I noticed that one of the pages I'm subscribed to called Upcycled which is for The Old Cinema located in London which specializes in upcycled and refurbished furniture had an update. It wasn't so much an update as they were sharing a video of a teaser for an upcoming documentary called “Landfill Harmonic”.

ukuleles by Shelly Rickey

As I watched the short video, not only did I find myself wanting to watch more of it but the fact that the passion for music and human ingenuity are able to come together to create something rather special. I found myself wandering the internet to see if there were others who have found ways to create musical instruments from common items that would otherwise be discarded. One of the first ones I came across was actually posted by www.apartmenttherapy.com with a small introduction to Rotterdam artist Shelly Rickey and her ukuleles made from cigar boxes and other materials. They themselves mention that Bust Magazine had featured her before them with her tutorial of how you could make them. 

The Garbage-Men (photo by Robin Rosen) 
As I continued on this hunt, I discovered that earlier this year there was an article on a small teen garage band in Florida calling themselves The Garbage-Men that was posted in Time for Kids. Why would this be any significance to this entire subject? The fact that all of the instruments played by the boys are made of trash. Though not to the degree of what was shown in the trailer for Landfill Harmonic, you can see that there was a lot of time that went into their instruments.

(photo by Norberto Duarte/AFP/Getty Images)
Something that causes everything to come full circle to what was featured in the video is actually noted in an article posted by www.theatlantic.com titled Recycling Around the World. The article itself ends up showing various pictures and bits of information on examples of recycling and reusing of materials. Of the 33 pictures shown, number 26 catches my attention which presents a Paraguayan violinist performing with a recycled violin with the following caption:

A violinist with the Paraguayan symphonic orchestra takes part in "Trash Melodies," a program in which musicians play instruments made out of recycled materials, in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 28, 2011. The instrument maker, Paraguayan luthier Nicolas Orue, was inspired by the "Sounds of the Earth," a classical music education project led by Paraguayan musician Luis Szaran.

 It took me a moment to realize that the program mentioned in the short description is by the same education project that is featured in the video. The article itself was posted Nov. 9, 2011 where as the teaser video seems to have been made earlier this month. So I suggest to my readers that if this has sparked your interest, go ahead and keep an eye out for more from this humble Paraguayan group because I seriously doubt that this is going to be the last the community of creative and performing arts has heard from them. 

12/19/2012 - Unfortunately it would appear that YouTube has taken down the video of the 'Landfill Harmonic' due to repeated claims of copyright infringement by third parties. Not exactly sure what's going on but if you're able to do a search, I strongly suggest that you check out the documentary. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A common influence... maybe: ARYZ

With some of the circle of artist friends I've been spending time with, I have been getting exposed to much more of the urban art community (graffiti, murals, etc.). A friendly and passionate group of folks, listening to them talk about different techniques of how to get a desired paint affect from a spray can is always entertaining. Ever so often I even find myself wandering YouTube and watch this collective body of artists create their works which always has a sense of raw creative energy to them. One such artist I cam across goes by the name of ARYZ.

mural by ARYZ
A muralist living in Spain, ARYZ's large scale abstract murals can easily be found not only on the sides of buildings but on trucks and pretty much any location he can in not only his own country but in various parts of Europe and overseas such as Poland and Puerto Rico. Almost like blown up illustrations, using the surface of a wall as his canvas, his colorful and sometimes cartoony works are a visual feast though perhaps slightly jarring when seen for the first time. He has been featured many times by Juxtapox Magazine just within the time of May 2011 to December 2012. His work has also been shown at the Montana Gallery Barcelona and in GKo Gallery along side artists GRITO, KIKX, Poseydon, ROSTRO and RGTD for the Mixed Media Print Show.

It took me a while to actually decide to pick Aryz as a spotlighted artist simply because I was trying to figure out for the past several months how I was going to find artists on deviantART who might have similar style to him. After searching through a large collection of galleries, I picked 5 and asked:

“With your eye-catching and colorful visuals, I was curious if the Spanish muralist ARYZ was one of your sources of inspiration or influence.”

"oO Mural Oo" by pacman23
pacman23.deviantart.com (United States)
A digital artist located in the United States, Francisco Perez's style lends itself very well with the common theme of gaming and popular comic/anime culture. Muted colors, shades of grey, striking highlights and bold outlines fill his gallery as he puts his own twist on the various subject matters he chooses. There is very much an urban influence coming through these digital illustrations and is fascinating to see the amount of thought that when into each piece though many have a flat color palette (little to no shading, using blocks of color to suggest direction or change).
Website: www.pac23.com
"You know I wasn't familiar with his work until I saw the cover of Aesop Rock's Skelethon and did some research on the artist. His work is amazing and I'm definitely a fan!" ~ pacman23

"You don't really want to know" by BenjaminCee
Australian artist Benjamin Cee's pieces are filled with abstract human forms and tons of details. With a gallery of disturbing visuals yet strangely addictive illustrations, his unique story telling is interesting to check out if you're someone who enjoys indie comics.
"Hi there, no well I'm not familiar with the artist...are they making art now or in the past? Perhaps we have similar influences. Cheers" ~BenjaminCee

"Wait what" by Skaffa

skaffa.deviantart.com (Netherlands)
Traditional artist from the Netherlands, Skaffa works in a wide range of mediums in order to accomplish the look he's wanting. His flare to urban art shows a bit of an anime twist to it which catches the viewer's eye, bold colors and bold outlines making each piece entertaining to look at.
Website: www.teoskaffa.com
"Aryz is not an influence or inspiration directly, but he does make ridiculously awesome work " ~Skaffa

The remaining 2 artists haven't been able to respond yet, either due to the fact that it's the holidays or the language barrier. Either way, I would like to present you their works and give you the choice to decide if they were influenced by ARYZ or not.

An artist out of Spain, Felideus's gallery is filled Steampunk style imagery and a warm color palette. From Cthulhu to Alice in Wonderland and everything in between, his whimsical take on some literary favorites is always entertaining to check out. Full of details, these whimsical illustrations cause the viewer to want to create stories for each piece.

"Circus Clown" by monez04
An artist located in Indonesia, Monez works in both traditional mediums and digital art to create his eye-catching illustrations. Monsters, zombies and his own unique characters fill his gallery with a mix of vibrant colors and grey tones. Even with such exaggerated forms, his pieces have a sense of humor though perhaps just a little bit on the dark side.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Collaboration with Rebecca Tripp – part 9

With being away from my computer most of the day because of errands and being at Blue Moon Gallery for our monthly Artist Reception, I hadn't been able to go into any of my in-boxes until just an hour or so ago. When looking through the messages for my deviantART account, I found that Rebecca had sent me a message.

Wait? Fuchsia and Wisteria? Which painting of mine did she dig up this time? Now my curiosity was peeked since my dear composer friend has a strange talent of pulling out paintings that I have long since forgotten about. I had to watch the video to find out.

Ud - Pipa comparison 

Her newest creation Waltzing Under Wisteria has as an almost Asian quality to it this time around, accomplished with the marriage of what sounded to be piano, harp, and perhaps what seemed to be hammered dulcimer. Of course I could be wrong on the last stringed instrument but the Eastern influence was certainly there to me. It actually reminded me a little of Red River which was performed by Liu Fang on a pipa (a stringed instrument that similar to an Ud but has a longer neck, both being types of lutes) but there were bits that reminded me of some traditional Guzheng playing such as a piece called Spring River Flower Moon Night or even A Water Lily which has both Guzheng and I believe Erhu play in it. Rebecca's Waltzing Under Wisteria also seems to be an almost Westernized version of traditional music from China which is difficult to accomplish but the blending of the instruments she chose for the piece work perfectly together.

"There was a Kingdom" by Dawn Star Wood
While watching the video, I couldn't help but laugh when I discovered which painting she had managed to find deep in the archives of my gallery. Somehow she found a painting I had done back in 2008 titled There was a Kingdom which was part of an unfinished series I was working on at the time where I was trying to tell a small story through a group of different floral paintings and their titles. At the time I realized that what I wanted to do was not where my skill level in painting was so abandoned the project to perhaps redo sometime in the future. The painting was also done at a time where I was experimenting with a combination of watercolors, India ink and gold paint. At the time I was pretty happy with it but now that I look at it, I can tell in comparing the piece to my more recent work that I have improved greatly. Now it makes me ponder if I should, at some point, return to the project idea and completely redo it. Looks like it will be something that I will need to think on.

So Much Coffee

Discussing the Coffee Review segment of my blog with one of my super close friends this morning and out of no where he blurts out “You should make a blog post where it's a list of ALL of the coffees you've tried so far”. I just sat in my chair a moment looking at my screen, staring at his words. All of the coffee I've tried since I started the blog in March? I asked him why would he want me to, to which he responded that he was curious. Thinking a moment, I realized that there were perhaps others as well who were slightly inquisitive about what I've tried so far. Going through all of my posts and locating them all was going to be an interesting undertaking but even I was curious about the types I've tried up to this point. With a shrug and small giggle, I delved into the blog's archives and started going through all of the Coffee Review entries to make the list. It took about 20 minutes or so to find them all but it was worth it. So to those readers who have been wondering what I have and haven't tried yet, here is the list all linked up to their respective Coffee Review installments. Keep in mind this is only from March to today.

Hills Brothers - Original Blend Medium Roast
Gevalia Kaffe - Traditional Roast
Chocolate Fish Coffee - Macchiato & Fazenda Esperanca
Wild Hawk Coffee - Original Blend Medium Roast
Seattle's Best Coffee - Iced Latte
Johnsons Irel - Pure Ground Coffee
Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee Company - Chocolate Macadamia Nut
Karma Cafe - Regular Coffee (Trader Joe's Dark Roast)
Tchibo - Gold Selection Ground Coffee
World Market - Texas Turtle Ground Coffee
Kaui Coffee - Koloa Estate Dark Roast
Don Francisco's Coffee - Family Reserve
Trader Joe's - Vanilla Chai-Spiced Coffee
The Organic Coffee Company - Ground Java Love
Havana Cappuccino - Mocha Cappucino
Eight O' Clock - Ground Coffee
Dunkin' Donuts - French Vanilla
International Delight - Vanilla Iced Coffee
Entenmann's - Hazelnut Ground Coffee
Bay AreaCoffee - Christmas Traditions Ground Coffee
Godiva Chocolatier Coffee – Peppermint Mocha