Yosuke Ueno is a self-taught Japanese artist, working in the style of pop surrealism. Born in Japan in 1977, he has been creating his unique and colorful world since his early age, and as a result Ueno’s first solo exhibition was in 1994 in Yamaguchi, when he was just 16 years old.
Weird, creepy but in a beautiful kind of way, Ueno’s art stands out for its interesting juxtapositions and hidden symbolism. Skulls, swans, scissors and amazing characters appear in his paintings, making you wonder what kind of hidden message they all carry.
Hannah Faith Yata was born and raised in a small town in Georgia. She is half Japanese and Caucasian. She grew up with a deep love of nature and animals passed down by the beautiful surroundings in the country and her mother. As a young adult, she studied feminism, psychology, and art in college.
In her own work, Yata seeks to interweave political ideas, (using nature, women, and feminism almost synonymously), environmental degradation, and themes of moral injustice into increasingly chaotic paintings. She uses masks from a mix of other cultures to speak to the different relationships that native tribes and cultures have with the earth, while giving anthropomorphic qualities and symbolism to the animals to speak their consciousness.
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.
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.
Martha’s Vineyard based artist Omar Rayyan‘s bucolic surroundings compliment and help inspire his “old world” aesthetic toward painting. Although looking to the past for inspiration and guidance from the great oil painters of the Northern Renaissance and the Romantic and Symbolist painters of the 19th century, he has picked watercolor as his medium of choice.
Omar’s primary market is geared towards children’s and young adult’s magazine and books, doing cover and interior illustrations. He has also illustrated several children’s picture books.
“From the people who build monuments in the first place, to those who destroy them, from theVisigoths and Vandals sacking Rome, the waves of European colonization, the destruction wrought by ISIS, taggers defacing Banksy’s work and I’ve even seen guys walking down the street keying cars one after another, there is a thread running though all: the universal connection is about leaving a mark.
They are all trying to say: Here I am. I have existed.
Some say it with beauty. Others with destroying the beauty. But the sentiment is the same.” – Matthew Quick
To represent these ideas into cohesive, instantly recognizable visual stories, Matthew Quick started painting existing monuments with specific contemporary items. And while this worked, something curious also happened. What he found was that in many cases the added object altered the focus, causing the viewer to begin questioning the origins of the item and its place in society.
With his attention now turned to contemporary society, suddenly everything was fair game. With their conscious symbolism, the statues provide a foundation for a revisionist take on the notions of beauty, pride, individual freedom, social control, surveillance and nationalism. Historical sacred cows were also up for grabs. With ordinary objects replacing their crowns and thrones, the aura of emperors and gods can be transformed into powerless nobodies. And by gently ridiculing the deceitful behavior of rulers who intentionally fail to act as they speak, it allowed him to question their motivations and subvert their initial grandiose goals.
San Francisco based illustrator Nicomi Nix Turner is recognized for her intricately detailed botanical-scapes, esoteric symbolism, provocative renderings. She conjures up intricate images which explore biological phenomena and subjects revolving around the arcane.
Combining her love of nature with a deep fascination for ancient practices belonging to belief systems such as alchemy and religion, Turner constructs narratives within her work which allude to themes of regrowth, biological deconstructionism and the power of belief.
Her works are created using graphite on paper in a way that has been described as a rare talent for manipulating and “painting” with the basic medium.
Ellie Okamoto’s paintings are a maelstrom of imagery teeming with rainbow-colored human figures, animals, and grotesque creatures. Her art is replete with Japanese folklore, tradition, and symbolism. Her paintings reveal clouds swirling through lush forests, carrying the spirit of animals and mythological creatures; the extinct Japanese wolf is a recurring character, once believed to be like a mountain god and the guardian of peasants since they were great hunters in mountain forests.
We’re taking particular interest in Ron English’s latest window installations in Berlin. Organized and curated by Yasha Young for Project M, it is in the same building that RONE recently scaled to put up his largest mural to date. We are able to take a closer look, thanks to photographer, Henrik Haven: