Carmelo Blandino is an incredibly talented and inspirational artist as well as a great person. I had the pleasure of being his student when he was a teacher at Dawson College in Illustration and Design. Since then we have become friends and he has become a sort of guiding light in this stormy sea of making fine arts a career. As a person, Carmelo is very positive and encouraging. His luscious paintings are masterfully executed in technique, colour and form. His subjects are aesthetically pleasing with the added depth of exploring eastern ideologies and philosophy.
Carmelo Blandino is presently having an exhibition at Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal. His bio is below:
Born to Sicilian parents in Tübingen, Germany, and raised in the culturally charged city of Montreal, Quebec, Blandino studied art and design at the city’s local colleges and began a successful career as a freelance illustrator, working with architects, designers, and advertising agencies. In 2002, Blandino shifted his focus to the world of fine art. Today, his paintings are widely known for their immediacy and their sensual, even lascivious expressions of colour, movement, and shape. His work is exhibited in New York, Palm Beach, Naples, Stockholm, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and his beloved Montreal. He has conducted summer workshops at Von Liebig Art Center of Naples, Florida, and taught drawing for many years at Dawson College in Montreal before transplanting himself to Naples, Florida where he lives today.
Last Fall I was fortunate enough to be part of En Masse’s biggest project yet! 30 artists got together to take over one whole room at the Museum of Fine Art of Montreal! It was a huge success and loads of fun. Check out this sweet video that Fred Caron from put together.
Tristezza Tristezzová, from Bratislava, Slovakia, is a young photographer who creates erotic and surrealist photography. Tristezzová seamlessly uses photo manipulation in her photographs, as most of her images are self-portraits, often with multiple poses of the same figure.
I love figurative photography, mix that with erotic and surrealist depictions of the female figure, and I’m in love. Check out more of Tristezzová’s work on art limited. And while your at it, there are loads of other fantastic artists on that site to explore.
Nick Lepard is a painter based out of Vancouver where he graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. His work is focused around realistic portraiture and the abstracting of it. Lepard’s paintings are beautifully composed with bold gestures that make up faces that sometimes blur the line between beauty and the grotesque. The colours covey a vibrant contentment while the gaze from and the distortions of the human face carry a dark and hollow sentiment.
What really attracts me to this work is the generous application of paint and the playfulness of mark making, not to mention that this work has the slightest resemblance to analytical cubism, which happens to be my favorite art period.
To feed your brain more of his work, check out Lepard’s site.
I came across one of Waldemar Pawlikowski’s paintings on ffffound and I fell in love with it. I needed to know who had created it and what other work this person had. So I began following the trail from ffffound to this artist’s deviantart page. There I found more of his work. I found out that he is from Poland and with a little more google research found out that he is also a singer/ songwriter. Pawlikowski has also done quite well for himself in music as has won numerous music prizes.
Pawlikowski’s artwork is quite beautiful, and above I have chosen some of my favorite pieces. I’m normally not very drawn to landscape painting, but Pawlikowski has managed to capture a ghostly impression of his lanscapes in a beautiful array of delicate colours which I appreciate. What I enjoy the most is his play with light and shadow and the soft treatment to his work.
If you can read Polish, you can find more info on Pawlikowskior website, or just check it out for more images of his work.
Bao Pham is an illustrator based out of somewhere in Iowa. Pham’s work is primarily digital, but isn’t limited to it as he also paints, analog style. A lot of what Pham does is centred around fantasy imagery, such as elfs, fairies and zombies; not that zombies isn’t on it’s way to become a reality or anything…
I poked around the internet and found this little collection of his work, which are some of my favorite pieces from Pham. I love his use of colour, it’s just amazing. I especially love when he uses beautifully delicate colours when depicting horrific imagery such as this zombie above.
Pham primarily sites are on blogger and deviant art. Check him out!
João Ruas is an artist from and based out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He approaches his artwork with a variety of mediums, from pencils, gouache and watercolour to metal leaf and collage. Ruas first introduction to art was comics and later on he studied design in university; elements of which are evident in his approach to his work. But what I find to be completely captivating is his dark and mythological imagery, exploring worlds between archaic folklore and and the shadow of our subconscious.
Ruas’ recent solo exhibition, “Yore” was at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City. For more images and info, check out his past and present works on the gallery site or check out his blog.
Maria Kreyn is a Russian born, New York based artist. She has a wonderful body of work with paintings and drawings that come from a classical approach, with attention to technique and composition.
What I enjoy is not only not only her technical approach, but her use of light and colour, and the intensity she is able to capture in the faces that she depicts.
Check out more of her work on FB or at her site.
At the beginning of the month, I was in San Diego with Montreal’s art based initiative, En Masse, to do some live painting for Art San Diego. There was four of us from Montreal, Jason Botkin, Fred Caron, Kirsten McCrea and myself, and we joined forces with San Diego’s Mike Maxwell and Kevin Peterson. We painted throughout the fair, completing the collaborative piece by the last day. It was a huge success and we were told it was a definite highlight of the event.
I’m really happy to participate in this project whenever I can, and look forward to it growing all across the continent.
Check out more about En Masse here.
Pakayla Biehn is a multidisciplinary artist based out of San Francisco. Featured here are a selection of oil paintings from her “Double Exposure” series. Biehn used a variety of photographs as references for this body of work; some are from single exposure shots from photographer and friend Jeff Enlow, which Biehn digitally composited in Photoshop. Other photographs are double exposure shots from photographer Tamara Lichtenstein.
Biehn’s paintings have a soft and delicate approach, light colour range, which coupled with the a ghostly double exposure effect, gives the work a dreamy, contemplative feel.
Biehn is currently exhibiting at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver city. Check out her webpage or this wonderful interview on Erratic Phenomena.
Shawn Barber, based out of L.A., focuses on the portraiture and tattoo culture. His paintings are lively and expressive, and range in technique from tight, beautifully executed renderings to expressive markings all in the one piece. Barber will often superimpose numerous limbs on his figures, suggesting the passage or time, or as I like to think, an ethereal and spiritual plane as you would see in Hindu representations of gods and goddesses.
On his site, Barber has a great write up about his story, and especially on being a professional artist. Check it out!
James Jean may need little or no introduction at all, but I thought that I’d share a few thoughts and feature some of my favorite works of his from 2010.
Jean’s style is a unique union of influences and techniques. It’s a beautiful and at times grotesque experience gazing upon his works. Jean masterfully combines traditional Chinese painting, or guó huà 国画, elements of surrealism and a variety of mark making that describe abstract forms which depict a range from elegant, enchanted and wispy arrangements to guttural, agressive hard lines. Jean is experimental and delivers a wealth of variety in his work. Jean’s also plays with an array of colour palettes, from intensely colourful to monochromatic and sombre.
I think Jean’s work is truly inspired and I would love to have one of his works in my home. I suggest you check out more on his site.
The line between ‘fine’ art and commercial art is beginning to blur, more and more. This is in fact the mission of some curators and art galleries including Artifact Gallery in San Francisco.
Featured here is Jeff Simpson, a Montreal based illustrator, concept artist and colourist. Simpson’s paintings are digital, which you may find hard to believe. While some of his work is obviously more geared towards the gaming and comic world, the works featured here are more on the painterly, textured and contemplative side. I really enjoy Simpson’s work, and I’m drawn to the mystic female imagery in his paintings, the dramatic lighting and the subdued colour palettes with accents of bright colour.
While there is, for the most part, quite the resistance to blend fine art and commercial art worlds, I’m in support of the integration. There is a resurgence and demand for talent and technique in visual arts, and artists who work in illustration and design are more than qualified. If artists, no matter which angle they are coming from, can present something worthwhile and meaningful, I say let’s be open to what can be achieved.
Check out Simpsons full range on his website, Surreal Sushi.
Angela Fraleigh is an artist based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Fraleigh’s paintings range in scale from very large canvases, as the work featured above, “The Quietest Sounds on Earth” which is 96″ x 192″, to small scale works of only 11″x14.” I feel it is important to include the scale of her work to give you an idea of how much of a presence they would have in person.
Fraleigh states “My work twists and exploits notions of nostalgia for a lost youth, when everything was seemingly possible, and a longing for an idealism somehow unmarred by defeat and failure. This lingering desire to hold sweet and superficial ideals collides with an unraveling discomfort and dissolution. There is an attempt to freeze the past, yet the future continues to creep in, distorting and disturbing the vision.”
There is dynamic movement in Fraleigh’s compositions and a captivating balance of light and dark, realism and abstract. The marrying of her realistic figurative renderings and the ethereal abstractions take us to a world of limbo, emotional memory and transformation.
Check out more of Fraleigh’s wonderful work on her website.
Justin Mortimer’s paintings are wonderfully executed. He demonstrates a masterful use of paint, and negotiates an erie sense of spacial relations. Mortimer’s imagery is nothing less than unsettling, and the selection of works here are some of his safer, less horrific examples. Looking at his site I got a sinking feeling in my belly, without any interest to look away. Mortimer paints scenes of devastation, human fragility and desperation in what seems like a post apocalyptic world.
Looking at Mortimer’s work reminds me this obsession of looking at the horrific imagery of the recent tsunami in Japan as it plays over and over in the media; I find it heart wrenching and saddening, yet I don’t look away. My heart goes out to the Japanese.
So I ask myself, what can we take away from such realities and situations? I suggest we reach out and show our love one another a little bit more.
If you are willing to stomach it, check out more of Mortimer’s paintings on his site.