Spanish illustrator and self proclaimed collector of memories Nuria Riaza creates enchanting biro etched beauties with her inky weapon of choice. Nuria plays with a curious and occasionally dark subject matter, creating wonderfully detailed and mysterious sketches. She loves to draw with her blue pen, scribbling tattoos and unfolding her bittersweet creativity on the paper.
To know one’s self is to be able to observe one’s self. It is to know that the external world is a mere mirror of one’s internal world and that all is connected as one in this vast, yet narrow space we call life.
A relentless explorer of the inner self is Korean artist, Seungyea Park, otherwise known as Spunky Zoe.
Park uses pen and acrylic to artistically express the journey of fear that permeates in the inner self, which she calls, “Monstrousness.” She analyzes the archaic systems in place that use fear and horror to maintain imbalances of justice in the world; fear being the dominant construct that is used to control and subdue people. After all, it is in our primitive nature to orient towards danger, to be prepared for fight, flight, freeze and in the case of the consciousness of the masses, hypnotic paralysis that shuts us down and leaves us comfortably numb to everything around us.
Park’s intriguing art work captivates my attention as I gaze into the juxtaposition of her dark side with the beauty and skill she produces as an act of love. The template of her work is drawn from observing and documenting the contradictions of the “I” inside of herself with the “I” outside of herself. Her knowledge and heightened awareness, combined with mesmerizing artistic skill, will leave my “I” coming back for more.
Toyin Ojih Odutola is a contemporary artist who focuses on identity and the sociopolitical concept of skin color through her pen and ink drawings. Her work explores her personal journey of having been born in Nigeria then moving and assimilating into American culture in conservative Alabama.
Check out the beautifully intricate and marvelously imaginative work of Estonia based illustrator Anton Vill.
The ink drawings of Anton Vill are exquisite and small – about the size of your average fork. Vill is highly skilled in wielding a pen, and he makes tiny marks so fine that they appear as a pencil drawing or even as an engraving from the 17th century. But, looking closely at the subject matter, you discover that they are wholly contemporary, like something out of a nightmare.
We see babies piled in a shopping cart, a grotesque separation of someone’s head, and countless people that are wrapped up in the long hair of a character. Vill’s work is quietly visceral and bizarre, and it doesn’t immediately strike you as strange; this creates a greater impact when you study his drawings. The longer that you look, the more you’ll discover and get a glimpse into the artist’s imagination.
Working mostly in ballpoint pen, Shohei Otomo’s insightful depictions of Japan expose both its commercial facade and deepest underground culture. Delivered with an unmistakable level of biting political analysis and technical perfection, Shohei’s work straddles the worlds of art, graphic design, anime and punk.
This week, Upper Playground is proud to release a unique collectible postcard bookby Jeremy Fish. The SF Sightseeing Tour Postcard Book comes with 8 collectible postcards with vintage photographs of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks adorned with Jeremy Fish illustrations. Featured landmark designs include Trans AM Phoenix, Cable Car Cyclops and Golden Tusk Bridge also available as T-Shirts. Now available in store and online exclusively at Upper Playground.