Matthew Craven challenges the sweeping narratives of American history textbooks, appropriating images of historical figures and sites and defacing or reconfiguring them within new aesthetic compositions. With his surreal mash-ups of historical references composed on antiquated paper, Craven creates his own pared-down symbols and mythologies. In combinations of illustration, collage, and painting, a march of tribal chieftains, Masonic leaders, and American generals and presidents appears in his images, their faces blotted out or colonized by Craven’s trademark geometric patterns.
Many of Craven’s images are ambiguous, resisting cohesive narratives or easy interpretation; the artist has said that his compositions are not dictated by any political agenda but are based solely on aesthetic consideration.
Edith Waddell is an illustrator, dancer and nature lover who was born in Peru. Her artwork is the result of an experimental process that combines acrylic painting, linocut printing, cyanotype printing, and Photoshop digital art printed on paper or canvas. By exploring different art media and embracing chance in her process, Edith has been able to give herself more creative freedom, and the end result is a dark, whimsical, and surreal style.
“My artwork is a reflection of my recurrent apocalyptic dreams and my personal relationship with the natural world. The dream world offers me a symbolic language that allows me to understand my own human nature in relationship with the world outside. As an artist, I am very inclined to investigate subjects such as metaphysics, the human psyche and dream symbolization to inspire the concept of my work. Starting from this conceptual material allows me to visualize fantastic, whimsical and occasionally macabre imagery. The main prototype I use is the hybrid animal/human creature, to represent such human dilemmas as overpopulation, genetic experimentation, narcissism, hedonism, or pollution. My goal in this is to force viewers to confront the dark and mysterious aspects of human psyche, our internal emotional conflicts and our relationship with the natural environment. My work is an invitation to an introspective examination and reflection upon our existence beyond the physical world.” Edith Waddell
Tom Eglington is a self-taught artist and writer. He has developed an illustration style that combines elements of vintage Japanese prints, 70s sci-fi, outsider art, comics and collage. From William Burroughs to Jack Kirby via Henry Darger, his work channels a bizarre fantasy world of occult symbols, lowbrow pop art and hallucinatory visuals.
The practice of Los Angeles based artist Jim Shaw spans a wide range of both artistic media and visual imagery. Since the 1970s, Shaw has mined the detritus of American culture, finding inspiration for his artworks in comic books, pulp novels, rock albums, protest posters, thrift store paintings and advertisements.
Providing a blend of the personal, the commonplace and the uncanny, Shaw’s works frequently place in dialogue images of friends, family members, world events, pop culture and alternate realities. Often unfolding in long-term, narrative cycles, the works contains systems of cross-references and repetitions, which rework similar symbols and motifs, allowing a story-like thread to be perceived.
Los Angeles based artist Alex K. Gardner‘s worksare a constant exploration of human nature, which the artist links to water symbols and fluid images, in an unusual cube patterned surreal landscape. Driven or confronted with a force greater than their own, his minimal, often faceless, characters express desire, anxiety, sadness, or the hardship to achieve what they long for.
Danny Fox was born in 1986 in St Ives, Cornwall, and currently lives and works between Los Angeles and London. Fox’s characters are often directly influenced by the homeless community of Skid Row. Despite all odds, these characters radiate a sense of unquantifiable style and swagger that Fox’s aims to highlight in his paintings.
His paintings take on the form of pictographs, coming to life through a didactic composite of symbols and characters, both on horseback and gloved. Similar to the histories of his characters and the genesis of their influences, Fox’s physical canvases are very much allegories in themselves.
Chicago based artist/illustrator Laura Berger works primarily in acrylic and gouache. She also likes making things out of clay and creating little animations. Her work is focused on exploring our connections to ourselves and each other, and the idea of finding novelty and adventure in everyday life. She is interested in and inspired by ritual, symbols, nature, dreams, travel, our quest for self-development, and how we piece it all together to create personal meaning and a sense of belonging to the greater whole.
Boston based artist Caleb Neelon created Signs and Symbols , a project on view at the Boston Museum of Art involving school children learning to convey their own messages through art. On a similar note, Caleb also painted a mural for Children’s Hospital Boston.