Blake Neubert is an American painter, illustrator and writer now based in Fort Collins, Colorado. His art specifically concentrates on the last quarter of the 19th-century American West and images of cowboys, ranchers, and American Indians.
Although he began his career painting relatively standard Western Americana, he has recently blazed a bold new trail into more strange and surreal work. On his Instagram page and YouTube channel, you’ll find multiple videos of what is quickly becoming a signature style: he paints a figure, typically something you’d expect to see in your great aunt’s collection of kitschy thrift store art, then to finish the piece, slides a razor blade across the top layer of paint to reveal a hidden perversity beneath.
The finished work is a morbid curiosity—you just can’t help but stare and wonder why exactly Superman has terrifying bloodshot eyes or how the blonde beauty got a ball gag in her mouth.
Born in Brighton in 1989, Emma Hopkins studied at Brighton and Hove City College from 2005 to 2007, thereafter she went on to study at the University of London from 2007 to 2010, where she was trained in the special art of prosthetics for performance. Since then, Hopkins has studied Drawing the Human Anatomy at The Royal Drawing School, London, in 2015. She now lives and works in London.
Based upon her understanding and knowledge of the human anatomy, Hopkins allows parts of her work to revel in the deep analysis of concrete substance; skin, flesh, and bones. By focusing on the parts of the body that we use most to express our thoughts and feelings – the face, hands, and eyes – she simultaneously allows her work to flow freely in between as if the blood is feeding oxygen to a preserved life force.
Toronto based Elly Smallwood is a contemporary artist who focuses on expressive portraits. In her portraits, Smallwood explores the distortion of the face through movement and expression by abstracting the form through messy brush strokes and sometimes even layering multiple images/sketches over the top.
South African born Ryan Hewett (previously featured here) is renowned for his brooding and evocative paintings. For Hewett, the portrait is not about capturing an external likeness of a subject; but rather creating a portal to the inner journey of self-exploration. He relies principally on the free-flowing processes of memory and creative imagination.
Costa Rican contemporrary artist John Paul Fauves‘ work is full of meaning and critique; covered in color and intensity. Both his alias and his style are influenced by Fauvism, but his game of faces, tones and brushstrokes add a vibrant touch of singularity.
“I have painted since I can remember, I now understand that this passion for art is the soul trying to express through colors and strokes. My inspiration comes from the Fauvist movement. This being an individualistic style that lacks a classical order , and which in turn uses color to communicate feelings . Expressionism is clearly my interpretation of Art.” John Paul Fauves
Mark Paul Deren, more commonly known as MADSTEEZ, is an artist and designer based in California. He is known for his vibrant, large-scale and multi-layered paintings, often mixing odd and familiar characters into abstract landscapes.
Mark’s eclectic personality breaths through each colorful piece he masters. From Dennis Hopper to Carlton Banks, MADSTEEZ’s inspiration ranges from personal heroes to pop-culture legends.
Midwest based painter Stuart Snoddy works on paper and on canvas. He moves between the wistful and the contemplative.
“I paint fantasy. I paint the fantasy of me. This is my story complete with the screw-ups, the pleasures, and the pleasant fictions. Who am I? I wasn’t born here. I have never known a “blood” relative. I’ve never looked upon the face of someone with the same genes as I have. Never seen my eyes in someone else. I paint people that surface from a yearning imagination. Some are illuminated by the refulgence of past encounters like a glowing filament in a freshly turned off light bulb. And some come from…who knows, or wherever. I guess I just miss my friends. Nostalgia is real sticky stuff. But this fantasy nurtures the narratives of our lives as cohesive intellectual and emotional beings. I indulge it.” Stuart Snoddy
Surface often provides the dominant metaphor in the work of Sally Bourke and more recently this has turned towards thinking about the nature of fabric and its relationship to skin with its capacity to project an image of self and to protect at one and the same time.
The faces and scenes she portrays in her work are attempts to make reconciliations with her past, live in the present and imagine the future. She paints people from the inside out. At any given moment she is working on around ten to twenty paintings at a time in the studio. That way she can sit with them and see which demands her attention the most. She works across multiple mediums and is constantly experimenting with them to create new ways of telling her stories.
UK artist Carl Beazley’s portraits are twisted and multiplied, clearly surreal, yet based on real faces with their pores and blemishes. Completely self-taught, the 26-year old artist credits his unique point of view to being able to find his own voice absent the outside influence of teachers or mentors.
“By not going to University and not studying the all different painting techniques from history, I feel it has given me the freedom of learning from trial and error. I am always trying to look for something new and original that’s never been done before, and although I love the paintings of the old masters, it is important to me to look to the future so that in a hundred years from now we have our own history, not just a regurgitated version of the generation that came before us. If we don’t try to take art to the next level by looking forward, we will just end up going in circles.” Carl Beazley
The paintings of Irish artist Genieve Figgis are possessed of a wicked, unmistakably Irish sense of humor. They ironize our attitudes to conspicuous wealth, land ownership, and social hierarchies by reimagining canonical paintings—commissioned to preserve the glory of their subjects—as nightmarish scenes, suggestive almost of depravity.
Her scenes depicting bourgeois homes, traditional portraits, or landscapes are often haunted by spectral figures and leering creatures with canes and top hats. A sense of the charmingly macabre emerges from Figgis’ combination of an apparent pictorial banality with dreamlike qualities.