MELANCHOLIC WORLDS BY MILENA HUHTA

by Ariadna Zierold

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Helsinki-based illustrator Milena Huhta creates worlds filled with conflicted and melancholy characters. Huhta draws girls and guys, but the girls take center stage in her recent work. Huhta instills in her subject matter a shameless self-awareness that she learned from characters like Sailor Moon.

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Huhta loves sci-fi themed manga: Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Aeon Flux. She’s also a fan of Fifth Element and the Alien films. The colors she uses in her illustrations take her work to the next level. The addition of color is an instinctual process and the powdered colors paired with a few neons make it feel so right.

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BRUTALIST PIXEL ART BY UNO MORALEZ

by Ariadna Zierold

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Russian illustrator Uno Moralez’s work is eclectic, to say the least. Uno’s work looks like the byproduct of pixel art and manga, a dark and mysterious world where the most insane things can happen. Unquestionably menacing and monstrous figures lurk smiling in shadowy rooms, bodies and objects arranged in inscrutable ways that nevertheless imply an unimpeachable in-story logic. Uno’s work is mysterious. Every single image is a short story that deserves contemplation, and because of this, it is extremely entertaining.

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SINISTER GIFS BY MATTIS DOVIER

by Ariadna Zierold

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Mattis Dovier has a talent for creating GIFs that are pleasing to the eye but have a habit of turning your stomach ever so slightly. His eye-popping GIFs are on another level.

Dovier works in an unmistakable style, one he described as “stripped of unnecessary details.” First Dovier draws each frame by hand in low resolution. Then he fills in shadows with pixel grids converted in Photoshop’s bitmap mode. The end result is somewhere between numeric and classic aesthetics like engravings, as well as the screentone process characteristic of manga.

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THE BIZARRE WORLD OF AYA TAKANO

by Ariadna Zierold

aya takano, superflat, manga, anime, cartoon, futuristic, japan, dreamy, upper playground

Aya Takano is a member of the Japanese Superflat movement. Born in Saitama, Japan, Takano spent most of her childhood reading science fiction books and magazines in her father’s library. Fascinated by the exotic animals and landforms, Takano turned them into the themes of her futuristic artworks. Osamu Tezuka’s  sci-fi manga also had a lasting impact on Takano’s dreamy perceptions of the world.

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FANTASTIC CREATURES BY KEVIN HONG

by Ariadna Zierold

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Kevin Hong is an Illustrator born and raised in New York. His work draws from his passion for anime, manga, comics, JRPGs, video games, woodblock prints, and the internet. He graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in 2015. With his work, Hong leads us into a magical world populated with fantastic creatures and haunting spirits, sometime reminding the poetic universe of Hayao Miyazaki.

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TRIPPY COMICS BY BEN MARCUS

by Ariadna Zierold

ben marcus, illustration, comic, lines, clean, trippy, manga, narrative, upper playground, chicago

Chicago-based artist, Ben Marcus makes comics that feel inspired by all things trippy, alien, and David Bowie. His favorite manga is Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo. His comic has a particular clarity in the line work because he wants the reader to keep track of the plot. Clean and clear language for dramatic and poetic purposes.

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“The proportions of the facial features is important to me and I draw and re-draw them. Too many times. I wanted my characters to have a contemplative complexity to them. A depth of consciousness that a sense of animation is born of.  I drew everything by hand and scanned it and added the half-tones in photoshop.” Ben Marcus

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“DEEP FRIED GHOST” BY TEPPEI KANEUJI

by Ariadna Zierold

teppei kaneuji, sculpture, mixed media, manga, wood, plastic, neon, colorful, polyester, upper playground

Quirky yet thoughtful sculptures by Tokyo-based artist, Teppei Kaneuji. Kaneuji is an omnivorous artist whose work is often described in musical terms cribbed from remix culture: his work is a mixtape, while he is a DJ. Such metaphors reflect both his preoccupation with pop culture and his penchant for combining divergent themes.

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Kaneuji grafts together the detritus of overconsumption, creating candy-colored sculptures and prints with Manga-influenced lines that are the product of the overly stimulating, image-saturated culture in which he was raised. He incorporates diverse materials into his work, such as wood and colorful plastic tubing, sticky white polyester resin and neon toy parts.

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ANIMATED WORK BY JENN LIV

by Ariadna Zierold

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Toronto artist Jenn Liv‘s work is influenced by her pop culture inheritance. Whereas some artists are keen to establish their credentials through lists of canonical and well-respected influences, Liv goes the other way: anime, Manga and video game works have helped to form her own practices.

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“A lot of my artistic influences come from the narratives and imagery I stumble across while watching all different kinds of animation. My tastes have evolved over time but I constantly go back and re-watch the heck out of old favorites, trying to study all the factors of what makes them so great. It’s always been a dream of mine to pitch a cartoon someday so I try to create comics whenever I can as a way of taking what I’ve learned and putting it into practice.”

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