Drawn to art at a young age, but raised in rural South Texas with very little access to any art education, Roberto Benavidez followed a secondary interest into a BFA in acting at Texas State University. After a few years of moderate acting success in the Texas market, Benavidez found himself drawn back to sculpture and headed west to California. He reorientated himself with art classes at Pasadena City College in sculpting, drawing and painting, extending into bronze casting where he initially worked in an abstract, figurative style and exhibited in group shows. He and now specializes in sculpturally elegant and fantastical piñatas.
Lucy Sparrow hails from Bath, in the West Country of England and works mainly in felt to create art that evokes delight and emotional responses from nearly everyone who sees it. Her world is very much about having an emotional response to the work she produces and to bring people closer to her creations. Lucy’s work has often been described as childlike because of the bright primary colors that she uses and the quirky little touches that she adds to almost everything she makes.All ages delight in the ingenious way she subverts everyday objects and turns household objects to life with playful faces and a joie de vivre that is totally infectious.
Already, Lucy Sparrow’s Feltism has caused quite a stir on the urban art scene and this culminated in 2014 with her audacious and fabulously inventive Cornershop. For the entire month of August, Lucy took over a rundown corner shop in Bethnal Green, East London, and filled it with more than 4000 hand-stitched felt replicas of everyday items that you’d normally find in a local shop. Tins of tomato soup jostled for shelf-space alongside felt cat litter and a freezer-full of felt ice pops.
Portland based artist AJ Fosik (previously featured here) creates intricate, vividly colored three-dimensional pieces that reference folk art, taxidermy, and cultural ritual. Fosik’s wall pieces and freestanding sculptures of anthropomorphized animals are carefully crafted from hundreds of pieces of wood that he cuts and paints individually by hand. Once the basic forms are complete, he adds threatening teeth, claws, and eyes to give the objects an intimidating presence. Totems and fetishes, as well as the “random, chaotic and arbitrary nature of existence,” fascinate Fosik.
Aya Kakeda was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Now she draws and creates imaginative worlds in Brooklyn, NY. She has produced art for books, products, posters, magazines, and store installations from clients all over the world. Her sculptures and illustrations often depict cute characters with a bizarre edge to them.
Mexican hyperrealist sculptor Rubén Orozco has taken over the internet thanks to his talent in creating life-like figures of various characters that have attracted the glances of everybody due to their realism. Among his most important monuments are: the statue of Pope John Paul II in Guadalajara, Jalisco; The statue of Juan José Arreola in Ciudad Guzmán and in the Rotunda of the famous Jalisco people; and the statue of Goddess Themis at the Supreme Court of Justice of Jalisco, among many others.
Israeli artist Ronit Baranga’s (previously featured here) sculptures are based on contrast and duality in meaning, unexpected and viewer experience, using the metaphor of the body to transfer unsettling yet powerfully expressive human gestures and emotions to everyday objects, which lose their functionality to become instead active, alive, capable of feeling, of interacting with each other and deciding their own path. Her education in psychology and literature resonates through her intimate and connective works on human nature, that blur the lines between living and still life.
Socially awkward and full of repressed anger, Linda Cordell anesthetizes herself spending mindless hours carving detailed texture on humorous and/or uncomfortable animal sculptures. Her work reinterprets the figurine enabling animals to break the chains of cuteness and noble savagery. An appreciation of the ridiculous, a love of beauty and skilled craftsmanship, and the belief that domestic objects are social propaganda all contribute to her work.
Cordell’s meticulously sculpted, lifelike porcelain figures depict animals juxtaposed with everyday domestic objects, raising questions about our need to control or deny nature’s ugly realities. Cordell focuses on animals’ more base tendencies: hunger, aggression and reproduction. Rooted in an aesthetic reminiscent of the grand European porcelain manufacturers reflecting a lifelike realism and classical style, her meticulously sculpted porcelain figures depict animals juxtaposed with everyday domestic objects, with afflictions or in compromised situations.
Japanese artist Hirotoshi Ito breathes life into stone by transforming it into practically anything but stone itself. His whimsical and unique stone sculptures create surreal optical illusions that can make us forget that they are actually made of solid stone. He is able to create all kinds of objects, ranging from a purse to food, from a t-shirt to a deck of cards. A total and unsettling illusion. The stones come alive in a surprising yet humorist manner. He found his signature in the zipper, as it gives depth and resonance to his treasures.
Dallas based artist Dan Lam (previously featured here) has made a name for herself innovating sculpture using polyurethane foam. Her alien works are known for their remarkable vibrant colors as well as their illusionistic appearance. Lam enjoys the unpredictable quality of her process. This is seen in the way she manipulates the foam structures and handles the resin. She couples this with the tedious and controlled placement of her acrylic “spikes” and surface designs. This opposition is crucial to her work. Whether seen in the process itself, or the final result, which exudes both an intense beauty and an intense uncomfortability, Lam plays with these polarities and examines them closely.
Born in Manila to a Vietnamese family who relocated to Texas when she was a child, Lam spent her formative creative years in Dallas with her mother. She received her B.F.A. in 2010 from the University of North Texas and later completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Arizona State University.
Joshua Smith is a miniaturist and former stencil artist based in Norwood, South Australia. With a career spanning 17 years he has showcased his work in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Japan and all over Australia in over 100 exhibitions. Formerly a self taught stencil artist Josh refocused his career to establishing Espionage Gallery, an Art Gallery based in Adelaide, South Australia showcasing both emerging and well established local, interstate and international artists. For 4 years he showcased over 600 artists from over 20 countries.
In 2015 after the closure of Espionage Gallery Josh refocused back onto his own career this time as a self taught miniaturist. His miniature works primarily focus on the often overlooked aspects of the urban environment such as grime, rust, decay to discarded cigarettes and graffiti perfectly recreated in 1:20 scale miniatures.