“NEW YEAR ROT!” BY LOUISE ZHANG

by Ariadna Zierold

louise zhang, chinese, australian, sydney, australia, painting, sculpture, installation, colorful, vibrant, neon, repulsive, horror, nianhua, new year rot, upper playground

Louise Zhang is a Chinese-Australian artist based in Sydney, Australia. Spanning painting, sculpture and installation, her work negates the space between the attractive and repulsive. With an interest in horror cinema, particularly body horror, Zhang investigates the idea of the visceral as medium, method and symbol in negotiating horror as art form.

louise zhang, chinese, australian, sydney, australia, painting, sculpture, installation, colorful, vibrant, neon, repulsive, horror, nianhua, new year rot, upper playground

Nianhua (年画) is a popular kind of print in China adorning people’s doors to celebrate the new year and to act as a sign of good will that says goodbye to the past and hello to the future. A great portion of these print depict pudgy babies in states of low-key glee as they recline on giant flowers, rid fish or cuddle peaches; it’s a concoction of sweetness that just makes you want to spew up all over the place.

louise zhang, chinese, australian, sydney, australia, painting, sculpture, installation, colorful, vibrant, neon, repulsive, horror, nianhua, new year rot, upper playground

‘New Year Rot!’ brings together this Nianhua imagery with the visual language of the realm of purgatory known in Chinese mythology as Diyu (地獄). This project is a continuation of the artist’s recent research into how situating her desire to attract and repulse her audience is a consequence of the kinds of feelings the horror film genre, and particularly body-horror, generates.

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SURREAL SCENERIES BY DEXTER MAURER

by Ariadna Zierold

dexter maurer, switzerland, martigny, illustration, illustrations, illustrator, fantastic, landscape, landscapes, surreal, bizarre, dynamic, vibrant, colorful, upper playground

Martigny, Switzerland based illustrator Dexter Maurer‘s works transport us into fantastic worlds, where bizarre creatures battle with humans in a surreal scenery of conquer and defeat.

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Some drawings bring to light human fears, worries and emotions, while others reveal solitude, sadness and a macabre imagery, in a constant switch from static to dynamic, from intense to mild colors or even black and white, depending on the depicted story or state of mind. The details, the recurring symbols and motifs corresponding to the themes approached by the artist, the range of colors and the narrative, all define an unique and very interesting style.

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WICKED ILLUSTRATIONS BY CUTE BRUTE

by Ariadna Zierold

cute brute, brooklyn, illustrator, illustration, illustrations, humor, funny, fun, pop art, colorful, bold, cartoonish, quirky, clever, upper playground

Brooklyn based illustrator Cute Brute‘s images (previously featured here) are pure insane-pop-art-genius with each piece telling at least a thousand stories. Cute Brute’s sense of humor is wickedly on-point, as the illustrator’s style is cartoonish yet polished and so acutely observed, the images always remain on the right side of smutty. The quirky and clever work of Cute Brute appears solely on Instagram.

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REALIST FIGURATION BY ERIC BASSTEIN

by Ariadna Zierold

eric basstein, painting, paintings, figurative, realist, dutch, collage, layers, colorful, upper playground

Dutch artist Eric Basstein started painting on an early age and at the age of 19 he went to art school. Although he didn’t had the right degree the school decided to take him in by judging his work. After two years he decided to quit school and start focussing on one of his other passions, music.

eric basstein, painting, paintings, figurative, realist, dutch, collage, layers, colorful, upper playground
After 10 years in the music scene he felt that the need to paint again got bigger and bigger. In 2015 Eric decided to switch back to painting and this time with full focus. He took his experience from his musical background with him, and used that for his paintings. The use of multiple layers and all sorts of existing samples to create a new song inspired him. This is how Eric came up with the idea to make collages with samples of old paintings, comic books and fashion magazines. These collages are sketches for his paintings.
eric basstein, painting, paintings, figurative, realist, dutch, collage, layers, colorful, upper playground
Eric’s blend of the historical and modern is sublime. His paintings blends realist figurative work inspired by old masters with abstractions taken from comic books and fashion. His work combines contemporary and classical references to create an astonishingly resonant dialogue with the viewer.
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AURAL DREAM APPRECIATION BY DANG OLSEN

by Ariadna Zierold

dang olsen, painting, illustration, los angeles, oakland, aural, portal, dream, psychedelic, lsd, vibrant, colorful, surreal, upper playground

Los Angeles based artist Dang Olsen makes bizarre, vibrant paintings from childlike cartoon drawings and gives them a psychedelic treatment. Olsen doesn’t just tinker with your existing paradigm; he provides an aural portal for you to join him in his crusade for deeper dream appreciation. The paintings take on innocent themes as well as more mature ones, standing somewhere in between the traditionally playful LSD-inspired smiley faces and something more substantial, always hinting at an exploration of a larger concept.

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GEOMETRIC NARRATIVES BY TOMOMI MIZUKOSHI

by Ariadna Zierold

tomomi mizukoshi, colorful, geometric, illustration, illustrator, geometric, humor, upper playground

Illustrator Tomomi Mizukoshi’s uses color, form and composition to create her own reality and give us a peek into her wild imagination. Using compasses and rulers to create her shapes, Tomomi controls over each element, providing an unusual neatness and order to the surreal nature of her colorful illustrations.

tomomi mizukoshi, colorful, geometric, illustration, illustrator, geometric, humor, upper playground

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(via It’s Nice That)

HAPPY BREAKFAST BY GARY CARD

by Ariadna Zierold

gary card, happy breakfast, new rave, colorful, neon, vibrant, creatures, monsters, dripping, zine, upper playground

Gary Card is a set designer, illustrator and all-round creative talent. Gary’s Happy Breakfast zine –mid-‘00s new rave scene– is splashed across 22 pages in gungey greens, ink stain blues and near-neon yellows to stage the dripping backdrop to a nightmarish collaged cast of Gary’s signature monsters.

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THE WORK OF KEIICHI TANAAMI

by Ariadna Zierold

keiichi tanaami, painting, paintings, japanese, japan, pop art, surreal, cartoonish, colorful, vibrant, pop culture, iconography, upper playground

Keiichi Tanaami is a seminal figure in Japanese Pop art. “Most of my expressions are based on my actual experiences,” he has said. “The countless amount of stimulative experiences, happenings and encounters…they become the keywords of my expressions.”

keiichi tanaami, painting, paintings, japanese, japan, pop art, surreal, cartoonish, colorful, vibrant, pop culture, iconography, upper playground

Best known for his cartoonish and colorful paintings that blend dream figures and references to childhood experiences with pop culture iconography, Tanaami has also worked in video, animation, as well as graphic design and commercial illustration, drawing profound influence from the work of Andy Warhol.

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STYLIZED NATURE BY SARAH EMERSON

by Ariadna Zierold

sarah emerson, atlanta, georgia, painting, paintings, nature, stylized, geometric, colorful, surreal, abstract, geometric, patterns, pattern, landscape, landscapes, upper playground

Sarah Emerson is an artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her paintings and installations present viewers with highly stylized versions of nature that combine geometric patterns and mythic archetypes to examine contemporary landscape.  She uses the camouflage of beautiful colors combined with a deliberate composition to explore themes that reflect on the fragility of life, the futility of earthly pleasures, and the disintegration of our natural landscape.

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