Ryan Heshka was born in Manitoba, Canada, and grew up in Winnipeg. Fueled by long prairie winters, he spent a lot of his childhood drawing, building cardboard cities and making super 8 films. Early influences that persist to this day include antiquated comics and pulp magazines, natural history, graphic design and music, movies and animation. Formally trained in interior design, he is self-taught as an artist.
The artist blends his childhood memories with the image of a postcard Canada, a snowy land of evergreen forests and frozen lakes, the habitat of deer, beavers and legendary creatures like the Sasquatch, or Bigfoot merged with clichés and stereotypes, attempting to construct an original image of his nation, balanced between reality and fiction, past and future.
Australian artist Anna di Mezza creates photorealistic paintings based on found vintage photos removed from their original context. Combined to unexpected landscapes, she describes the result as bizarre visual narratives. Her body of work is influenced by found vintage photos, and films, superimposing images on unrelated and unexpected backgrounds to create a visual narrative.
Her paintings are of a mostly monochromatic palette with occasional pops of color. They invite the viewer to make up the plot in their own mind as if the images were taken from a surreal film frame. The inspiration for the concept of her work is the beauty and culture of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, the artists Magritte and Giorgio De Chirico as well as the film makers Hitchcock, Kubrick and David Lynch.
Danielle Krysa is a Vancouver based artist with a BFA from the University of Victoria in Visual Arts with a focus on painting, printmaking, and art history. After a summer backpacking through Europe, she attended Sheridan College in Ontario and received a post-grad diploma in Interactive Design. She has worked as a designer in Toronto, and as a Creative Director in Vancouver in the world of advertising & branding.
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.
Julie Cockburn is an artist based in London. Her work is best defined by its delicate craftsmanship and by the transformation of every day and found objects into works of art. Cockburn’s pieces are elaborate, intriguing and beautifully executed, with an autonomy that makes one want to believe their existence.
Her photo-based collages embellish and distort vintage images using tools that range from embroidery to Photoshop. To begin each piece, Cockburn trolls junk shops and garage sales for old photos, often studio pictures from the middle of the last century. She scans them and uses the computer to plan what she wants to do. Then she transfers the digital sketches back onto the original, and proceeds to cut or sew or draw or paint. The results subvert the decorum of the tidy portraits and landscapes she chooses, making something strange and beautiful.
Philadelphia-based artist Armando Veve, creates drawings of surreal scenes and constructions, though each element is rendered in realism. With obsessive attention to detail and a mind that can conjure up epic and surreal scenes, his art becomes a world within its self. His work isn’t just exotic, exquisite, and excellently crafted, but he injects an odd and weird sense of humor that draws viewers to further explore his artistic realm. The style recalls both pointillism and vintage illustrations in reference books.
“The way I compose some drawings is very similar to how a sculptor arranges physical objects. I love to think of the drawings as blueprints for physical things.” – Armando Veve.
Düsseldorf, Germany based artist Roman Klonek combines the styles of classic cartoons and pop advertisements with the medium of woodcut printing. For the past 15 years, the Poland-born artist has constructed pieces made with knives, chisels, and wood, even if his creations have the precision of other methods. These works ape propaganda, construct original monsters, and recall vintage design.
As a young boy, Roman was hugely drawn to his father’s collection of Polish and Russian Super 8 cartoons, which still provide him with inspiration to this day. Klonek’s creative subconscious conjures up a colourful and eclectic parade of intriguingly whimsical characters, frolicking amidst a geometric wonderland filled with mysterious text and curious situations.
Zoé Byland was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1975 and currently splits her time between Bern and Vienna, Austria. Her paintings exist within a carefully constructed monochromatic universe; exuding a curious timelessness and imbued with a palpable atmosphere.
Through her protagonists, Byland invites us on a journey into intriguing territory, where past and present collide, providing us with opportunities to explore the relationships that exist between all facets of our cultural experience from high to low, the ways in which we form personal memories and how these serve to alter our expectations and perceptions. The nature of identity is also under scrutiny, as Byland’s characters often appear in disguise, or are partially obscured, inviting us to project ourselves forth, and once again granting us the occasion for valuable introspection and the convergence of philosophical contemplations.
Travis Louie was born in Queens, New York in 1964 and is currently living and working in the Hudson Valley area. He paints fascinating portraits which appear to have been unearthed from dusty vaults originating from the bygone days of some 19th century alternative reality. Louie’s portfolio is a truly magnificent archive of monochrome and sepia tinted imagery, all populated with curious characters and charismatic creatures, adorned in their finest Sunday bests; which, one can only assume, were lovingly pulled off the hangers from within their Victorian era closets and worn with pride.
Although Louie’s aesthetic may affectionately borrow from the past, much of the inspiration for his thematic content is very much rooted within his experiences in the present. Being an Asian American and having been exposed to the torment of racism and xenophobia while growing up, Louie imbues his wonderful ensemble of characters with his powerful empathetic emotions, through which they essentially personify a triumphant celebration of our contemporary cultures’ multiracial diversity.