Helena Hauss's Hell Hath no Fury ceramic sculpture set

A picture of a blue ceramic grenade, Morning star, spiked baseball bat, and battle axe

Dangerously beautiful from artist and sculptor Helena Hauss.

A set of custom made sculptures hand painted in the delft blue style of ceramics. It’s an approach to represent the inner strength and fury that comes with being a woman, in contrast to an appearance of delicacy we’re too often branded with. 

I love the visually dissonant nature of Hell Hath no Fury. Just keep the baseball bat away from me.

Blue and feminist related: Seitō – a 1911 Japanese magazine exclusively for women

The internet art of Mazaccio & Drowilal

Skɪz(ə)m exhibition view (copyright Martin Polak, 2020)

Mazaccio & Drowilal are a French art duo that make artworks from found internet images.

Whether it’s IRL still lifes of desktop icons, dogs staring wistfully into sunsets, or celebrity snapshots defaced with paint and tape, the duo’s subject matter is universally familiar to anyone who’s found themselves in a thumb scroll wormhole, and that’s exactly the point.

Quote from It’s Nice That

It’s all trés cool, trés French, and trés internet. That sentence didn’t make any sense. But the art does to me and that’s all that matters.

Internet-related: Internet Archaeology: a gallery of early internet images

The cool doodles of Lei Melendres

Lei Melendres is a freelance illustrator and professional doodle artist from Manila, Philippines. I’ve been a huge fan of his work for a while and I own a silicon ring with one of his designs on it.

I love doodles and Melendres’ work is so imaginative and expansive, with or without colour. He gets a lot of out the space he’s given on his canvasses and I love that too.

Follow him on Instagram and grab one of his colouring books on Amazon.

Related: The Posca pen wizardry of Oskunk, the wonderful art of Upendo, and the plantlife illustrations of Jim Spendlove.

A samurai made out of a single piece of paper

A samurai made out of a single piece of paper

A Finnish origami artist named Juho Könkkölä made an incredible samurai in plated armour with nothing but a single sheet of 95x95cm paper:

Juho Könkkölä spent upwards of 50 hours scoring and folding just one sheet of Wenzhou rice paper to create this painstakingly detailed samurai complete with plated armor, traditional helmet, and sword. Beginning with a 95 x 95-centimeter page, the 23-year-old Finnish artist used a combination of wet and dry origami techniques to shape the 28-centimeter-tall warrior of his own design.

Juho has over 15 years of experience in origami modelling and takes inspiration from “history, folk tales, mythologies, books, movies, video games, and real-life observations”.

  • Tired: trying to fold a piece of paper more than 8 times
  • Wired: trying to fold a piece of paper into a crane
  • Inspired: trying to fold a piece of paper into a samurai

Related: Indo apples, samurai, and Japanese farmers and Yasuke, an African samurai in Japan

The folding process of origami Samurai Warrior

(via Twister Sifter)

Vini Naso's "The Masks We Wear"

I watched a very wild video involving anti-maskers in the US fighting with people wearing masks (as you should). It devolved into physical abuse and shouts of “China communists” and “mask Nazis”. People are trash and COVID is real.

Masks are necessary. They inspired the Cultrface logo (RIP DOOM) and have represented a lot of meanings in life and art for centuries. Canadian artist Vini Naso understood this when he created his visual art series, “THE MASKS WE WEAR”:

In this series I wanted to bring together the folkloric fused with a futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic to create something that felt timeless or time agnostic. Ironically, the pandemic has made this series especially timely for our ‘new normal’.

This series has recently been featured on Vogue Italia on an article about leading artist working at the intersection of Art, Beauty and Technology.

If I could see and breathe through something like that, I’d probably rock one on weekends to scare the maskless who choose not to stay safe.

Check Vini’s Behance project to see the series in full.

The Black American collages of Tay Butler

The best kind of revisionist history is when people of colour revise textbook history to give us the truth. Tay Butler does just that with his blend of collage, photography, music, and video.

Constructing revisionist histories that are fictional but true, authentic yet imagined, the stories and scenes created act like braids and weave together a rich tapestry that can last longer than human memory. 

Butler, an artist based in Houston, Texas, has worked with the likes of Jansport J, Reggie Bonds, and Haz Solo and produced work featured all around his hometown.

He uses historical artefacts that tell stories through literature, folklore, local and national magazines and newspapers, and then goes through a lengthy process of digitising, photographing, interpolating and collaging into something new via the old. The results are unique but familiar.

See his portfolio on his official website.

The super realistic art of Arinze Stanley

PAINFUL CONVERSATIONS

Arinze Stanley Egbengwu is a hyperrealist artist from Lagos, Nigeria.

Starting at an early age of 6, Arinze had always been enthusiastic about drawing realistic portraits on paper. Being exposed to his family’s paper conversion business, Arinze grew to love paper and pencils as his toys at a very tender age. Over the years He gradually taught himself how to master both Pencils and Paper in harmony as a medium to express himself through what he calls his three P’s namely Patience, Practice and Persistence. These have guided him throughout his journey as an artist.

His work has featured in exhibitions around the world including Lagos, Los Angeles, London, Miami, New York, and New Jersey.

Whenever I see photorealist art on Twitter, I quote tweet it with something like “DRAWING?!” or “PAINTING?!” and this is no different. The detail is incredible and shows Black people as Black people. No special lighting, just Blackness in art.

See also: Charles Bierk’s photorealism

STiCH and its Basquiat-inspired art

STiCH is an “artist, machine, design researcher and artist intelligence” according to Urbancoolab, its creator. The AI machine spent over 700 hours learning the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat to produce a series of art in the late artist’s style (or an adaption of it).

For me, the results are derivative and closer to mediocre Picasso than anything else. Basquiat’s work and style had specific meaning and context—his life, surroundings, and, most importantly, his Blackness. AI could never replicate that because it’s AI and using Basquiat for this was a bad idea.

“Our team met the challenge to see how an AI machine with no emotion can learn to express itself with gestural abstraction while remaining to be visually intuitive. We’re focusing on Basquiat as his work continues to inspire others, and his message continues to be relevant. There would be nothing more incredible than to have Basquiat’s work continue. His conceptual and aesthetic appeal will always remain strong because of the inherent emotional depth and power it communicates.”

Quote from Urbancoolab founder Idris Mootee via Creative Boom

There was no malice in this, I’m sure, but it’s tiring to see Basquiat recreations in AI or yet more of his work selling for millions at Christie’s.

The painted paper art of Mark Bradford

mark bradford

Black gay artist Mark Bradford spoke to Francesca Aton of Art in America about his use of paper in his paintings.

Mark Bradford was born in Los Angeles on 20th November 1961. He’s best known for combining paint and paper collage to create his work, as well as using the themes of masculinity and gender.

End papers, small rectangular sheets of translucent paper that protect hair during the perm process, are the basis of Los Angeles–based painter Mark Bradford’s early artworks. While working in his mother’s beauty salon, Bradford began integrating the papers into abstract paintings, creating a layered scrim through which the paint emerges. The artist, guided by an interest in common materials, has incorporated items from around Los Angeles—including fragments of posters, broadsides, and billboards—to tackle issues of civil unrest.

Bradford on his use of paper and how that evolved:

I hadn’t given much thought to the materiality of the end papers until I started experimenting with other types of paper. End papers are similar to tissue paper, and are very absorbent and translucent. When I was painting, it was a lot easier to achieve layers of color due to those qualities of the end papers. As I started adding more opaque materials, like billboard and poster paper, the paintings looked flat. That’s when I began dunking paper in water. I thought maybe if the pulp disintegrated, a little bit of light could pass through. This addition really shifted my practice. To this very day, I still use water because it’s the only thing that pulls the paper apart and makes it flow like paint.

And how COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have impacted his work:

At the beginning of the pandemic, I had a lot of triggers because in some ways it reminded me of the AIDS epidemic. It’s been great to see that so many have mobilized in this moment for positive change and have found creative and interesting ways to make their voices heard. I’ve learned to be kind of fluid and keep creating work. I like to say that I’m not on Pacific Standard Time, but rather on Pandemic Standard Time—and I chuckle when people send me calendar invites for upcoming events.

Read the full interview on Art in America.

The influential art of Aaron Douglas

aaron douglas

Aaron Douglas was an African-American artist who became a significant part of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. His work included illustrations and paintings depicting the racism and segregation suffered in the US.

In 1922, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and worked as an instructor at Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri before his talent came to the attention of important people in Harlem, New York. Two years after gaining his fine arts degree, he left his teaching job for New York at the behest of Charles S. Johnson, the first Black president of Fisk University.

He went onto become one of the most influential artists of the era and returned to teaching in 1944, when founded the Art Department at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He taught visual art there until his retirement in 1966.

Recommended reading and viewing

Below is a video about one of Aaron Douglas’s most beautiful pieces, “Aspiration”.

A beacon of hope, Aaron Douglas's Aspiration

The paintings of Peter D. Harris

To the station, 28 x 36", oil on canvas, 2020. Available from Mira Godard Gallery.

Hyperrealism is very much my thing when it comes to art and Peter D. Harris’s work fits the bill. The Canadian-based artist has been painting urban landscapes for over 25 years and his depictions of empty urban areas are astonishingly accurate.

His work portrays the common elements of the city: parking lots, building, gas stations, restaurants, subways, etc. These often overlooked aspects of the urban environment are presented as an opportunity to re-examine the spaces we inhabit. Painted in a crisp, realist manner, his paintings are recognizable for their depictions of urban settings at night, absent of people.

After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Fine Arts degree in 1997, Peter went onto showcase his work across North America and some of his work can be found in private collections in Europe as well.

Check out his work and his personal essay on driving his mother back from Florida during the pandemic.

The visual art of Uzoma Chidumaga Orji

Uzoma Chidumaga Orji

Uzoma Chidumaga Orji is a visual artist and creative technologist from Nigeria. His work is representative of his heritage and focuses heavily on identity as an Igbo Nigerian.

As a technologist he seeks to design engaging human-centred digital experiences that bring the arts and tech into the same conversation.

As an artist he observes and then creates representations of society and of history; visual metaphors that explain his millennial Igbo Nigerian cultural context and the cultural environment he hopes to one day live in.

The essence of his practice is indeed identity, particularly as pertains to self, culture, and nationality. His work uses his notions of his identity as a point of exit to interrogate who we are, how we have come to be and who we aspire to become.

He also works as a web dev which seems like the perfect bridge between both media.

Check out his website and follow him on Instagram.

Kehinde Wiley – The World Stage: Jamaica

Photos of Kehinde Wiley's The World Stage: Jamaica exhibition

Back in 2013, African American artist Kehinde Wiley presented his first ever UK solo exhibition, entitled “The World Stage: Jamaica”. Stephen Friedman Gallery hosted the exhibition with Frieze London and it featured Jamaican men and women emulating poses from 17th and 18th Century British portraits. The concept demonstrated the relationship between Jamaica’s citizens and the island’s former colonialists with Wiley’s trademark “naturalistic” style.

Wiley embellishes his paintings with intricate, ornate backgrounds that contradict the sombre posturing of the subjects and allude to the bold styles of urban fashion. Pieces of these symbolic patterns overlay and entwine the figure, both harmoniously fusing and creating opposition between the two contrasting elements that form the work. In previous series, this decoration has been inspired by a fusion of period styles, ranging from Islamic architecture to Dutch wax printed textile and French Rococo design. In this new body of work, lavish patterning informed by the British textile designer William Morris surrounds the figures.

via Kehinde Wiley’s press release for the exhibition

About Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley was born in 1977 in Los Angeles to a Nigerian father and an African American mother. His mother supported his art and, after enrolling in after-school art classes, he went to art school in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the age of 12.

After spending time with his father in Nigeria, he returned to the US and earned his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from Yale University, School of Art. He has since presented 13 solo exhibitions, won countless awards, and worked with the likes of Puma and Givenchy.

In an accompanying video, Wiley discusses his initial artistic inspirations and how traveling around the world opened his outlook. For the Jamaica exhibition, he explored British art museums for inspiration and commented on portraiture in British colonial history:

“[…] in particular, I saw the works that had a direct relationship to the Caribbean. I love the history of art, I love looking at the beautiful images but I also recognise that there is something quite sinister about their past. High portrait making points back to the history of art and in that history, art has always been in a cosy relationship with the state and with the church.”

Kehinde Wiley

Stream the 7-minute video below. And Happy Independence Day, Jamaica!

Check out some of the exhibition below and head to the official Stephen Friedman Gallery page for the rest.