VINTAGE PHOTORREALISTIC PAINTINGS BY ANNA DI MEZZA

by Ariadna Zierold

anna di mezza, painting, collage, narrative, vintage, monochromatic, bizarre, australia, upper playground

Australian artist Anna di Mezza creates photorealistic paintings based on found vintage photos removed from their original context. Combined to unexpected landscapes, she describes the result as bizarre visual narratives. Her body of work is influenced by found vintage photos, and films, superimposing images on unrelated and unexpected backgrounds to create a visual narrative.

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Her paintings are of a mostly monochromatic palette with occasional pops of color. They invite the viewer to make up the plot in their own mind as if the images were taken from a surreal film frame. The inspiration for the concept of her work is the beauty and culture of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, the artists Magritte and Giorgio De Chirico as well as the film makers Hitchcock, Kubrick and David Lynch.

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LAYERED NARRATIVES BY LARS ELLING

by Ariadna Zierold

lars elling, portrait, portraiture, canvas, painting, photography, narrative, abstraction, figurative, atmosphere, blurred, upper playground

Lars Elling‘s paintings are layered narratives told in a fragmented visual language that incorporate allusions to film and photography, sometimes also invoking nostalgia with references to private photo albums.

lars elling, portrait, portraiture, canvas, painting, photography, narrative, abstraction, figurative, atmosphere, blurred, upper playground

In Elling’s large canvases, human bodies rarely take entirely conventional forms. Rather, their faces and limbs melt into nonfigurative elements–atmosphere, blurred color, scrubbed-out regions of neutral tint–gesturing toward a broader horizon, nodding at persona and narrative while ultimately frustrating any drive toward coherence or story.

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CRISPLY RENDERED PAINTINGS BY GREG ITO

by Ariadna Zierold

greg ito, los angeles, painting, illustration, bold, colorful, narrative, upper playground

Los Angeles-based artist Greg Ito’s paintings are crisply rendered, each with several symbolic images: a pair of hands; a burning candle; an hourglass; a distant view of a tropical isle; and a burning pleasure boat, airplane or house. His work suggests an open-ended narrative, part fantasy and part nightmare, existing somewhere in the twilight zone. Plucked from a widely distributed and universally ‘agreed’ upon language, the messy chaos of intimacy is compressed into a coherent and singular narrative.

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EMOTIONAL NARRATIVES BY ANDREA JOYCE HEIMER

by Ariadna Zierold

andrea joyce heimer, emotional, illustration, narrative, figurative, symbolism, scenes, flat, upper playground

The focus of Andrea Joyce Heimer‘s work is narrative painting. Much of the work speaks from her status as an adult adoptee whose records are sealed, meaning she have no access to her own biographical, birth, and heritage information. The narratives represent different perspectives of her experience as an adoptee: first-person autobiographical, the outsider-looking-in neighborhood observer, the archetypal orphan (the charming tramp). Self-authored mythologies of her own origins as well as mythologies of her home state, Montana, are interwoven with these themes.

andrea joyce heimer, emotional, illustration, narrative, figurative, symbolism, scenes, flat, upper playground

The figurative elements focus on the interactions between human beings in moments of disconnection or detachment. Emotional themes of loneliness, anger, and longing are performed in symbol-laden environments including houses, yards, forests, and bodies of water. The distinctive flatness with which the scenes are rendered recall the flattened perspective of medieval art and speak to the “flattened” experience of the adoptee, whose lack of background knowledge represents a deficiency of depth to one’s selfhood.

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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.

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

“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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ISOMETRIC EPIC BY DAVID JIEN

by Ariadna Zierold

david jien, illustration, narrative, isometric, perspective, epic, narrative, creatures, anthropomorphic, science fiction, pencil, paper, upper playground

Los Angeles-based artist David Jien’s epic narrative is about the chronicles of an allegorical future detailing a battle in which human and anthropomorphic beings continue the struggle against a race of balloon-headed creatures and cold-blooded reptilian overlords who seek world domination.

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Taking inspiration from the infinite possibilities of science fiction, the isometric perspective and narrative geography of Nintendo and Chinese scroll paintings, the eroticism of Japanese pillow books and the limitless transformations of graffiti, Jien has crafted these intensely detailed scenarios in colored pencil on paper.

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NOMAD CHILDREN BY ARX LEE

by Ariadna Zierold

arx lee, painting, post apocalyptic, children, narrative, surreal, dream, illustration, upper playground

Arx Lee was born in 1978 in Zhongshan, a city of Guangdong province, near Hong-Kong. The artist now lives and works in Guangzhou. He graduated from the Guangzhou Arts Academy and his natural love for cartoons encouraged him to found a Comic Studio and also to start a short career as an illustrator. He creates fascinating narratives that feature a very colorful dream world. Puppets and children are nomads in what feels like a kind of post-apocalyptic place.

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MYTHOLOGICAL REALM BY JAMES JEAN

by Ariadna Zierold

james jean, chinese scroll, painting, portraiture, cosmological, mythological, narrative, upper playground

James Jean is a Taiwanese American visual artist, known for both his commercial work and fine art gallery work. Jean fuses contemporary subjects with aesthetic techniques inspired by traditional Chinese scroll paintings, Japanese woodblock prints, and Renaissance portraiture.

james jean, chinese scroll, painting, portraiture, cosmological, mythological, narrative, upper playground

By experimenting with different styles and art-historical genres, Jean depicts detailed cosmological worlds that focus on both individual and universal experiences. His small-scale pieces feature single figures engaged in everyday tasks, and are focused on specific narratives and emotions. Layered with imagery drawn from both contemporary culture and age-old allegories, the artist imagines a collective realm of mythological proportions.

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ABSURD SITUATIONS BY RALPH PUGAY

by Ariadna Zierold

ralph pugay, painting, narrative, aituation, absurd, humor, mundane, colorful, portland, upper playground

Portland-based artist Ralph Pugay makes modestly-scaled paintings of humans in situations that are often as absurd as they are mundane. Pugay creates his work around contradictions as they relate to different kinds of human alienation. The figures are rendered in a naïve, almost cartoon-like manner and the colors tend to be bright.

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INTUITIVE NARRATIVES BY TARA BOOTH

by Ariadna Zierold

tara booth, drawing, illustration, comic, narrative, characters, portland, gouache, pencil, upper playground

Portland-based Tara Booth is a comic book artist who mixes drawing and painting in detailed pieces. She gets most of her inspiration from her diary, displaying unique characters in bizarre situations.

tara booth, drawing, illustration, comic, narrative, characters, portland, gouache, pencil, upper playground

She begins her pieces with a pencil sketch, layering with textures and patterns, then fills it with color using gouache. Her entirely intuitive color choices are the key to the success of her work.

tara booth, drawing, illustration, comic, narrative, characters, portland, gouache, pencil, upper playground

“If you could do an X-ray of one of my paintings you would see layers and layers of failed color schemes and patterns. I try to work it out until it feels right.” Tara Booth

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