Leipzig based graphic-designer and artist Robert Deutsch works on a twisted pop-surreal inspired world reflecting the incongruous human behavior and thinking in a chaotic upside-down society, dominated by the image of the anti-hero.
Bizarre comic-landscapes and ludicrous humor impel the works of Deutsch into the absurd, although their essence is not far from reality and its current social and political issues. He represents and builds his characters with a bold artistic approach referring to various actions and topical allusions.
Brooklyn based Hai-Hsin Huang paints and draws quickly, basing the compositions on images she finds on institutional websites: government, schools, hospitals, and news outlets. The photographs she uses are vaguely propagandist, and her resulting paintings both poke fun at and reveal the horror in such images.
Huang’s works explore images indicative of contemporary life. She is interested in the ridiculousness and fear in society, the absurdity and the loneliness. As part of a generation marked by hedonism, people seem to know more but feel less. Catastrophes become assumptions; we practice suffering and crisis with laughter. Huang tries to highlight the lives of this easy and comfortable generation, and in particular, their lightness of being.
Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki carves life-size sculptures from wood, but with a twist of mortality and transience. The disturbing pieces hinge often hinge on grotesque as the combination of the bulging weight and density of wood heightens the certainty of death that looms over all his creations. Each piece, with sizes ranging from life-size to miniature, is first sketched directly onto a large section of camphor wood and then chiseled to match the absurd female form.
Amsterdam based Folkert de Jong is best known for his theatrical narrative that address themes of war, greed and power. A sense of tragedy and absurdity, a comically desperate psychological state, permeates his work, particularly through the sculptural material for which de Jong became known: industrial Styrofoam and Polyurethane insulation foams.
Johanna Walderdorff is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator currently based in Leipzig. Focusing on digital collages at the moment she’s also able to draw naked cats and to build visually disturbing snowmen. Her pieces are large and characterful, humorous in their warped inner workings.
Lisbon, Portugal based collagist and graphic designer Raf Cruz is influenced by various different things he sees and hears – politics, news, emotions/gestures, jazz, colors, book covers and graphic arts, the Russian avantgardists, the dadaists, the renaissance and sustainability just to name a few. Since childhood, Cruz has created images from scratch using collage as a paradoxical tool to escape from reality yet remain in the midst of things. Some pieces are totally disturbing, others are simple and fun. Colorful and colorless, they bring relieve even if they are not as sweet as we are expecting.
He uses old print materials like magazines, books and even school manuals to crafts the collages and builds them either by hand or in digital form. Anyway, the results are illustratively absurd and vivid ensembles expressing an emotional and dramatic world, where the dark, ironic and even comic elements are living side by side in beautiful harmony.
Lale Westvind primarily focuses on the potential madness of futuristic and alien worlds. Often depicting simultaneous perspective and motion, her characters bounce and blast their way through desolate deserts and impenetrable tangles of organic and mechanic matter. The expansive quality of her sprawling intergalactic terrain ranges from the outer limits of the cosmos to the inner-workings of the mind.
Her early influences are punctuated with intellectually weighty comics from the likes of R. Crumb and spastic capers on the lawless fringe of civilization like Tank Girl. She also devoured the works of Moebius and Jodorowsky, and her work is steeped in the traditions of otherwordly environments these authors operate in, often constructed to reveal deeper truths of modern life and the desire to return to the spiritual in a world saturated with technology. Westvind has a knack for seeing the potential in seemingly absurd or outlandish ideas.
Alex Jenkins is an illustrator and cartoonist based in the suburbs of South London. He graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2015 having studied an Illustration BA.
In his work, he explores satirical and critical subject matter through a distinctive and vivid style. Jenkins tries to avoid the pretense but wallow in humor, whilst touching on the absurd and surreal.
Portland-based artist Ralph Pugay makes modestly-scaled paintings of humans in situations that are often as absurd as they are mundane. Pugay creates his work around contradictions as they relate to different kinds of human alienation. The figures are rendered in a naïve, almost cartoon-like manner and the colors tend to be bright.
Alex Pardee and Zerofriends has a message. Fight racial inequality with absurdity. Its not as simple as that, but there is a new tee-shirt and manifesto written by Mr Pardee in regards to the message. Read that here.
And this is one of the colorways of the tee in response to absurdity. There is a black and sea foam shirt. Buy them here. All profits from the sales of the ALIENS VS. PREDATOR shirt featured in this video will be donated to MALDEF to help continue to battle Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.