NIHILIST BEAUTY BY HENRIK ULDALEN

by Ariadna Zierold

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Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen is a self-taught artist whose creative production revolves around classic figurative painting, presented in a contemporary manner. Henrik explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty.

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The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism. His focus on atmospheres rather than narratives and realism leaves his painting open for many interpretations.

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ROBOTIC CREATURES BY NATHAN OTA

by Ariadna Zierold

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For years, Nathan Ota has been pursuing new worlds, both dark and fantastic, to explore in his paintings. Ota has used his stand-ins – a blind bird, a drunk monkey, a one-eyed robot lost in the woods – to travel through dreamlands that hold fantasies and tragedies.

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His early influences came from television cartoons, comic books, photographs and punk rock flyers. Classical art never really interested him so he turned to work by artists he could really relate to: Robert Williams, Olivia, Puss Head, Raymond Pettibon. In high school, Nathan always found himself gravitating toward popular culture—then he discovered graffiti. He still dabbled a little in graffiti once he entered Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, but a whole new world of art was unfolding before his eyes with illustration. Ota didn’t know what he wanted to do when he entered college and left it to the hands of the instructors to lead him in some direction. That’s when he became an illustrator.

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POETIC IMAGES BY JOHAN BARRIOS

by Ariadna Zierold

johan barrios, painting, houston, abstract, portraiture, ghostly, monochromatic, dark, upper playground

Colombian, Houston-based artist Johan Barrios‘ work is a universe of images in movement, whose language goes in search of different features of sonorous expressions, synchronic or asynchronous visuals, elements of action, gestures and silhouettes that pierce his paintings as an ascending vanishing line that sequentially runs through every painting so as to make us understand the meaning of interval between one image and the next, which shows us the power that is communicated by the images and the perceptive impact that stems from viewing a painting and the communicational impression it leaves on us.

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This vibe creates a balance with the levity and the lightness of their bodies and with the body of the artist himself, who announces his presence in the painting, not in an explicit way, but rather from the stealthy perspective of someone who is observing in order to put together, quietly and precisely, the outlines of his characters.

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THE DARK HUMOR OF LAURINA PAPERINA

by Ariadna Zierold

laurina paperina, illustration, drawing, humor, dark, childish, characters, pop culture, upper playground

Laurina Paperina is an Italian artist who lives between Italy and Duckland, a small town in the Universe. She studied at the Institute of Art in Rovereto and the Academy of Fine Arts in Verona, Italy.

She paints, draws, creates installations and video animations.
Working predominantly with the imaginary of contemporary heroes, her works reference contemporary pop culture and the 1980s and ‘90s eras of her childhood. Paperina has over the past years created artworks especially about on the Art World that present a ironic commentary in response to current events.

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TWISTED VISIONS BY JOE VAUX

by Ariadna Zierold

joe vaux, animation, illustration, dark, humor, creepy, bizarre creatures, monsters, upper playground

Los Angeles based artist Joe Vaux was born in Islip, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1994 with BFA Illustration, after which time he started his career in the animation industry. Joe’s fine art has been exhibited internationally and has also participated in numerous group and solo shows, as well as a couple of museum exhibits, including the Suggestivism show at Grand Central Art Center in 2011.

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His work as a director on the the hugely popular animated TV series ‘Family Guy’ has made his name known to most. However, Vaux also engages his boundless imagination and creative skills as a prodigious fine artist, leading viewers into a bizarre, yet strangely familiar world, populated with ghoulish creatures who collectively engender twisted visions with generous spoonfuls of humor. Vaux injects a remarkably playful and distinctly human flavor to his narratives, often shining a light -although a creepy one- on our dreams and fears.

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DARK INK DRAWINGS BY JON MACNAIR

by Ariadna Zierold

jon macnair, drawing, dark, ink, monochromatic, monsters, upper playground

Portland based artist Jon MacNair’s work is greatly inspired by popular children’s literature, fairytales, and Renaissance art. He is well known for his fantastical, quirky ink drawings, often labeled as “dark”.

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Jon’s drawings of horned monsters and other mythological creatures share an aesthetic with their medieval predecessors but underneath their scary exteriors, are not so different from us: they go sailing, take naps in trees, send each other letters, and have lots of misadventures together.

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THE HAUNTING WORK OF ALLISON SOMMERS

by Ariadna Zierold

allison sommers, painting, dark, haunting, upper playground

Allison Sommers currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She primarily uses gouache and pencil to create most of her art pieces.

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Her work ranges from colorful paintings alongside black-and-white drawings to luminous settings that alternate with dark compositions. While certain subjects seem inoffensive enough  other are brutally disturbing. Most of them deal with deformed bodies, humanoid monsters, imaginary insects or more often impossible animals. Things are turned inside out, opened up and fragmented into a chromatic crowd of small biological details.

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DARK FAIRYTALES BY CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA

by Ariadna Zierold

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Camille Rose Garcia‘s art is like looking through the looking glass into a warped, dark fairytale. It’s a place full of dripping scenery, bejeweled forests with elegant swans, deer, serpents, and skulls, and her signature women with bold eyelashes and running mascara, empowered versions of the folkloric and cartoon princesses that inspired them.

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