Miami based artist Jose Mertz is an illustrator/street artist who focuses on pushing an experimental original style with inspirations coming from ancient civilizations and their teachings, science fiction, Eastern philosophy, dreams, myth and the supernatural, expressing his vision about the human condition.
Mertz takes us to the deepest realms of the mind, reveals the complexity of human emotions, deconstructs and reconstructs his fluid characters and opens the door to new dimensions and endless possibilities of perceiving and interacting with our inner and surrounding reality.
Tehran-based artist Salman Khoshroo creates large-scale figures and portraits that practically drip from the canvas. Most of these pieces are several feet tall, composed of enormously precise strokes that veer toward abstraction while eventually leading to a cohesive figure.
Working in his studio in Tehran with a large palette knife to spread oil colors directly on the canvas, Khoshroo’s paintings harness figurative abstraction to evince very concise figures of emotional tension. Beginning with portraits of people he knew, his style evolved from one based on realism to one that draws from abstract art, expressionism and fauvism.
His interest in painting the human face is twofold, both as a conduit of human emotions, made all the more pertinent in his home country where women have to cover up the rest of their bodies; as well as an expression of identity and self-presentation in the age of Facebook.
Toronto based Jen Mann is a talented artist who creates eyecatching and fabulously colored portraits of both men and women. Her photorealistic paintings are often paired with surrealistic aspects and explore subjects such as perceived beauty, identity and freedom.
Mann’s colorful portraiture speaks without words and encompasses a full range of human relationships, narratives, and emotions. They’ve silently spoken about topics ranging from social conceptions to self-reflection.
The drawings and animations of Dutch artist Tja Ling, can be experienced as a symbiosis between the East and the West. Her drawings and animated films show us how she perceives the world around her as a result of her upbringing, where different cultures meet.
With her images Tja Ling denounces our affection for material goods. As an artist she strives to acquire a new way of knowledge through the use of our senses and emotions. As a result the meaning of her drawings and animated films are deliberately left open. Her drawings are there to be experienced.
Colombian artist Herikita’s images and imagery are undoubtedly strange, but in a way that’s relatable. Many of the interior scenes are like a dialogue verbalized, describing her soft, illustrative work perfectly.
Aside from being wonderfully strange, her illustrations are rendered with a tender and delicate attention to detail. Herikita conjures a world of candy-colored awkwardness. She often depicts girls and animals, celebrating imperfections, unconventional friendships and feelings of estrangement. Her characters seem self-reflective and thoughtful, floating between reality and hyperbolic daydreams.
Miami-based artist Jean-Paul Mallozzi‘s work explores the broad spectrum of the human condition. Ranging from youthful to mature content, the work encompasses and reveals the idea that while emotions are amorphous, each one emits a color that echoes complex emotional states that all of us can relate to–no matter what language we happen to speak.
These concepts are layered using Mallozzi’s attention to delicately rendered details in paint and graphite, which emphasize the ebb and flow of these intimate relationships and their ever-changing emotional states. The scenes, layered with abstract textures, create a reflective atmosphere in which these human relationships play out and challenge the male gaze.
Sul-Jee Scully was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including works in shows at the Painting Center in New York, Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, and the Grunwald Gallery in Bloomington. Sul-Jee currently lives in Bloomington with her dog, Ramona.
Scully invents narratives in which the intensity of human emotion of teenage years are examined concurrently with unplaceable feelings of disengagement. The artists who have influenced her include such figurative painters as Eric Fischl, Lucien Freud and, especially, Balthus, the reclusive Polish-French artist known for his poetic yet oddly disorienting images of young women and girls.
Andy Kehoe was born in 1978 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he currently lives and works. In 2003, he graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York, with a BFA in Illustration. Andy’s work has since been exhibited and collected internationally.
His work serves as an outlet to feelings of unrest and anxiety in this unstable world of ours. Also important is the expression of sincere human emotion without the weight of sarcasm and irony which has become overabundant in art these days. Kehoe consummately fills his tales with a spellbinding sense of drama and emotion, largely aided by a undeniable understanding of effulgent light sources which bathe the creatures of his world in a glorious radiance.
Always challenging himself and experimenting with new techniques, Kehoe’s most recent work incorporates intricately modelled sculptural elements submerged within layers of poured resin and paint.
Nicole Rifkin is a Brooklyn based illustrator and co-founder of Ipsum Magazine. Rifkin’s illustrations are a wonderful homage to yesteryear, like high school scenes from American films, of being a teenager, a student, a time that was full of adventure, love and freedom, when nothing mattered and life was lived in the present.
Her aesthetic is rooted in nostalgia precisely for this reason, it holds a commonality, it is a place we all revisit, we all share. The memories that shape us, keep us alive as we get older and forget, as time catches up with us, oppresses us as we struggle to keep up with the chores, duties and necessities of ordinary life. These illustrations are wonderfully rendered, expressive, full of humanity and emotion.