PRIMAL PORTRAITS BY IAN BERTRAM

by Ariadna Zierold

ian bertram, illustration, comic, characters, mystical, grotesque, primal, portraits, drawing, upper playground

New York-based Ian Bertram is an artist interested in uncovering the hedonistic and fatalistic nature of man vs. self. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, Bertram was chosen as the Best New Talent of 2011 by Comicbookjesus.com, and selected to the Society of Illustrators 2012 Student Scholarship Competition.

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By combining precise, meditative mark making, with visceral and sudden actions, he creates mystical, grotesque, and primal portraits of ennui and the strange by way of drawing and painterly techniques.

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ILLUSTRATION HERITAGE BY STEFAN GLERUM

by Ariadna Zierold

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Stefan Glerum lives and works in Amsterdam. Stefan spent four years in Breda studying illustration at the Academy St. Joost. He also worked as an assistant to one of the country’s most celebrated comic artists, Joost Swarte.

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Glerum’s style is like a melting pot of illustration heritage. While its subconscious familiarity has universal appeal, his work is also a study point for those with knowledge of graphic design history. His work is inspired by early 20th Century movements such as Art Deco, Bauhaus, Italian Futurism and Russian Constructivism, which he combines with popular themes, executed in a handdrawn style reminiscent of the clear line.

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INTUITIVE NARRATIVES BY TARA BOOTH

by Ariadna Zierold

tara booth, drawing, illustration, comic, narrative, characters, portland, gouache, pencil, upper playground

Portland-based Tara Booth is a comic book artist who mixes drawing and painting in detailed pieces. She gets most of her inspiration from her diary, displaying unique characters in bizarre situations.

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She begins her pieces with a pencil sketch, layering with textures and patterns, then fills it with color using gouache. Her entirely intuitive color choices are the key to the success of her work.

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“If you could do an X-ray of one of my paintings you would see layers and layers of failed color schemes and patterns. I try to work it out until it feels right.” Tara Booth

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COMPLEX WORLDS BY JESS JOHNSON

by Ariadna Zierold

jess johnson, drawing, illustration, worlds, complex, detailed, pattern, layers, dense, geometric, figures, objects, architectural, colorful, portals, upper playground

Jess Johnson was born in Tauranga, New Zealand in 1979. In 2016 she relocated permanently to New York after ten years of living and working in Melbourne, Australia. Her drawing and installation practice is influenced by the speculative intersections between language, science fiction, culture and technology.

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In her drawings she depicts complex worlds that combine densely layered patterns, objects and figures within architectural settings. Johnson’s drawings are often displayed within constructed environments that act as physical portals into her speculative worlds.

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HOLOGRAM CEILING BY DYLAN JONES

by Ariadna Zierold

dylan jones, hologram ceiling, portland, illustration, drawing, animation, pencil, pens, paper, upper playground

Portland-based Dylan Jones aka Hologram Ceiling was born in New Hampshire. His technique is usually automatic drawing and animation. Usually, he has sort of a rough idea of what he’s going to shoot and then starts moving through whatever idea he is having as quickly as possible before he forgets. Some of his inspiration is Roland Topor, Tiger Tateishi and Andrzej Zulawski.
dylan jones, hologram ceiling, portland, illustration, drawing, animation, pencil, pens, paper, upper playground
Most of Jones’ tools are colored pencil, construction paper, pens and sharpies. He shoots his animations on Dragonframe and edits them on Premiere.

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REVERSE PERSPECTIVES BY MERNET LARSEN

by Ariadna Zierold

mernet larsen, painting, perspective, geometric, humor, upper playground

Florida-based Mernet Larsen is able to create disquieting and unfamiliar feelings surrounding the often commonplace situations she creates through geometry and skewed perspective. Larsen’s paintings are commonly infused with a humor and uncanny juxtaposition, making the works relatable and alien to the viewer at the same time. Her paintings are simultaneously rooted in and distant from reality. Taking inspiration from the geometric abstractions of El Lissitzky and the narrative stylization of 12th Century Japanese and early Renaissance paintings, Larsen’s vertiginous spaces often rendered in reverse perspective, and hard edged figures offer familiar version of reality that is analogous and parallel to our own.

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“I try to evoke a sense of permanence, solidity, weight: time stopped, essences of ordinary events made tangible. As if I were leaving this life and had to take with me only a few very concrete images, filtered through wry detachment. Not ephemeral, but memory turned into object, monumentalized. However, I understand these paintings as makeshift contraptions, statements of recognition that essences-and memory-must be constructed, invented, not uncovered.” Mernet Larsen

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HAND CRAFTED WOODEN MASKS BY TRENT WHITEHEAD

by Ariadna Zierold

trent whitehead, sydney, mask, wood, acrylic, character, colorful, pattern, creature, upper playground

Sydney-based painter and sculptor Trent Whitehead works predominantly in ink and acrylic on wood. Whitehead’s latest body of work centers around a series of hand crafted 3d wooden masks. Each character seems about to burst with some intense expression of anger, frustration or joy. The intensity of the masks captures the effervescence of the artist himself, pooling the experiences of his existence to breathe life into inanimate wood. Trent’s exquisitely patterned and highly narrative works explore the effects of extinction in a fantastical world of horned creatures and bearded villains.

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TOMER HANUKA’S TROPICAL TOXIC

by Ariadna Zierold

tomer hanuka, tropical toxic, illustration, comic, new york, upper playground

New York-based Tomer Hanuka‘s art is incredible, influencing a whole generation of artists with his beautiful line work and distinctive color scheme. It’s in a dreamlike, almost poetic style that this Israeli-born illustrator found his passion for drawing through comic books: drawing with his twin brother on a Persian carpet. His fantastic ability to apply his comic-inspired style has enabled his work to reach all kinds of audiences.

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ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS BY MIKE BILZ

by Ariadna Zierold

mike bilz, illustration, cartoon, humor, creatures, characters, eccentric, upper playground

Growing up, Mike Bilz spent the majority of his youth watching cartoons and drawing. He ventured out to Los Angeles to attend Otis College of Art and Design. In 2006 he graduated from Otis College with a Bachelors in Illustration.

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Bilz’s work walks the fine line between adorable and disturbing; giving life to the odd little thoughts that permeate his imagination by creating eccentric characters that are both endearing and upsetting. Most often his characters are pulled right from the pages of his sketchbook, happy accidents born of boredom and carried on by a wandering stream of consciousness. Other times the monsters are a wrapping for a deeper meaning, transforming everyday thoughts and events into scenes of horrid beauty and humor. But mostly he just gets a kick out of robots and monsters.

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