Mike Lee was born in 1983 in Placentia, California and is currently living and working in New York City. He is a visual artist and he received his Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design in 2006.
Alongside his commercial work, Lee finds the time to devote to his own personal artwork and often exhibits his highly meticulous figurative drawings at prestigious galleries throughout the US. Lee is also an active member of RVMP, a collaborative art group. In 2012, Mike self-published his first book, entitled ‘Bodega’, which revolves around the everyday activities of an urban corner store; each hour is represented in its 24 pages and illustrates the daily life of the neighborhood.
Nan Lawson is a self-taught illustrator from California. Nan enjoys drawing quirky and nerdy things and characters, which are often inspired by hipsters, cult television shows, and flea markets.
Featuring a range of Wes Anderson’s characters, popular figures from fandoms such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, X-Files and Harry Potter, Lawson’s artwork mimics cartoon characters from Japanese culture.
Let’s face it: we’re an empire built on illusions. Media, Social Media, Politics, take your pick. But what if you could program any video, of any person, to say and do what you wanted? Becoming a digital puppeteer of sorts. Right now, face-swapping on Snapchat may be cool for petty amusement, but manipulating Donald Trump’s Fox News interview to advocate building Mosques in San Diego instead of a wall, in real time, might be even cooler.
Visiting Stanford scientist, Matthias Niessner built upon existing Stanford research using web cameras that capture 3D facial gestures as a means of “live facial re-enactment.” As stated in The New York Times, Dr. Niessner’s goal was to use this technique to improve modern technology by means of instantaneous language translation via Skype, and improved qualities of virtual reality and dubbing in movies.
In incredibly simplistic terms, the way Face2Face works is by training itself on a Target Actor (like Donald Trump talking) and a Source Actor (like you or me) to track both facial expressions and gestures by mapping them accordingly via a commodity webcam. Once mapped, the Source Actor can seamlessly manipulate facial re-enactment in real time of the Target Actor, and let the puppeteering begin!
Ben Eine‘s been busy on the west coast working on a new piece in Laguna Beach. The British street artist recently finished this “Charming” mural on a three story wall near Boat Canyon Road and the Pacific Coast Highway.
Eine’s trademark colorful typography adorns streets in cities all over the world, including LA, Mexico City, and Tokyo, and the artist also creates indoor installations and produces works on canvas in spray paint, acrylic, and glitter. Eine gained worldwide recognition when British Prime Minister David Cameron presented one of his works to President Obama during a state visit.
The extremely talented Zio Ziegler recently spent some time in the city of Ross in California where he worked his magic on a massive new piece.
The American artist painted some of his unique tribal-like imagery using repeated motifs of primitive patterns, gigantism, and distortion. Ziegler’s work is currently influenced by Eastern philosophy, French modernism, Egyptology, Xavier Veilhan, Auguste Rodin, Thomas Houseago, Eddy Martinez and Georges Braque.
Over half a decade ago, Upper Playground released the Tectonics T-shirt, one of our favorite designs and our homage to JOY DIVISION’s UNKNOWN PLEASURES. As a token of gratitude to all the fans who have continued to make Tectonics a popular design, we’ve just released a collectible mug version of this unique piece.
Eric Yahnker is a California-based artist who humorously examines pop culture and politics with satirical compositions made with graphite and colored pencil. Check out select work from Eric below and visit his websitefor more information.
Upper Playground is pleased to announce the release of five new logo designs by artist and designer, Benjie Escobar. Benjie brings his eclectic background to the UP design table, creating original logos for Upper Playground and showcasing his style. All new designs are available in store and online at upperplayground.com.
About the Artist: Benjie Escobar is an LA-based, multi-media artist and designer. His work and his aesthetic sensibilities come from a variety of influences that range from his childhood in Pomona, anime, lowrider bike culture, graffiti, raves, streetwear, DJ culture, Japan, typography, design & illustration and perhaps most importantly, hamburgers or was it pizza?
In addition to his creative work, Benjie is also a curator of art exhibitions, inventor of new zine genres, art-director of gourmet burger festivals and brand builder of countless companies and gives priceless off-the-cuff marketing tips to anyone who cares to listen, or just happens to be within earshot.