Archive for March, 2011

Andy Ralph

“Lawn Chairs” (2010): San Diego sculptor Andy Ralph has an affection for household objects and seeks to bring them to life by playing with their conventional structures, materials and measurements. Ladders, trash cans, rulers and lawn chairs – once relegated to dank garages – gleam with new anthropomorphic purpose. Ralph’s fascination with turning traditional items into avant-garde sculpture suggests that art is all around us, just waiting to be unleashed. See more of this artist’s work here:


“Poon”: Step into the absurd text-and-image landscapes of painter, puppeteer and production designer Wayne White, whose lauded Word Paintings are known for their satiric and irreverent messages. Bold typography dominates reproductions of banal, vintage-looking landscapes, creating a juxtaposition that triggers a comedic or thought-provoking response. “Poon” is a fairly straight-forward example of White’s project, but other phrases jostle the landscape for space, often bending to his whim or disappearing into the horizon lines of the tepid nature scenes. These are the kind of images hanging on grandparents’ walls, and the kind of half-baked quips you hear in passing conversation. The combination of the two is wonderfully unexpected, and all in the name of poking fun. White writes, “I’m often as frustrated at the world as most people are. But I think frustration is hilarious. One of my missions is to bring humor into fine art. It’s sacred.” Wayne White is also known for his work as a set designer on Pee Wee’s Playhouse and his direction of music videos. Don’t take anything too seriously as you peruse his website:

Glenn Karlsen

‎”Skater” (2008): Hailing from Norway, digital photographer and master Photoshop manipulator Glenn Karlsen produces razor-sharp images often accompanied by his signature High Pass filter, which extracts high frequency details and in the case of portraits, softens skin. Karlsen began working in this medium in 2007 and has carved out a niche in advertising, band, artist and athlete photography. I like his personal and experimental imagery best, like this highly saturated photo of a skater on a downhill ride. See more of his portfolio:

Dawn Ng

“I Fly Like Paper Get High Like Planes”: This unrestrained paper-plane explosion was created in 2009 by New York-based multimedia artist Dawn Ng. With a background in commercial art, Ng proves to be a versatile gem, whose guerilla exhibitions and carefully executed installations convey playful attitudes toward art-making (she documents a 2008 foray into food sculpture entitled “Dawn Don’t Play With Your Food” on her website). According to the artist’s statement, her work is “reflective of an urge to hijack, subvert and toy with the obvious to surprise people with the truth.” Here, paper planes (ranging from the size of her palm to the size of her body) represent a powerful nostalgic pull for Ng, who negotiates her double nationality (American and Singaporean) with the idea of flying home – inundating the viewer with a barrage of planes bursting from a single window. See more here:

Mike Maxwell

“In Expectation of Finding Balance” (2010): Mike Maxwell is a self-taught San Diego artist (born in 1979). In addition to painting his signature blue-faced historical-looking figures on various surfaces (some of my favorites are on smooth, rotund gourds), Maxwell hosts a weekly podcast called Live Free in which he interviews other creative types and talks about the current art scene. From his artist’s statement: “The work has a lot to do with his personal re-education & a desire to learn & understand things that are so prevalent in our society but are often forgotten by the masses”; one can almost see Maxwell working through an American history text and reinterpreting many of the characters, crimes, and triumphs that he discovers there. He has an upcoming solo show at the Subtext Gallery beginning mid-May:

Kate MacDowell

“Entangled” (2010): Kate MacDowell is an American artist who sculpts porcelain figures – drawing out the translucent qualities of the medium in skeletal cross-sections of animals, ghostly open hands waiting for deliverance, and flowers lit by incandescent lights. Her work deals with the human effects and abuses upon nature, carving out a lyrical and lost world that references mythology, fairy tales and parables from around the world (before becoming an artist, MacDowell studied Literature). Browse more small renderings of death at her portfolio here:

Andy Kehoe

“Under the Gaze of the Glorious” (2011): Welcome to the forested dreamscapes of Pittsburgh, PA painter Andy Kehoe, a BFA graduate from the Parsons School of Design in NY. Kehoe’s distinctive palette of autumnal hues color this world of childlike wonder, where bearded dragons have chance encounters, flower-laden trees reign supreme and monsters definitely exist. Gorgeous stuff from an artist to keep an eye on:

Koren Shadmi

“Ebb & Flow” (2010): Koren Shadmi is a prolific Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based illustrator who I have been interested in for a few years. His work – playful and whimsical drawings with a touch of biting irony – has been published in dozens of magazines, and in addition to graphic novels he updates a web-comic biweekly ( Shadmi’s talent for editorial illustration is uncannily innate – from the first rough-drafts in pencil to the digitally-colored final piece, his unique outlook on sometimes-overdone subjects (i.e. college applications, national healthcare) are poignant and fresh. This piece (the Gold medal winner at the Society of Illustrators annual show) draws upon Japanese woodcutting for inspiration. Enjoy more of this artist’s work here:

“Totem”: Amsterdam-based illustrator Raymond Lemstra draws upon a myriad of source material to compose these elegant, extremely detailed images: primitive masks, totem poles, antique signage and Japanese pop culture come together in an understated, cool color palette. Lemstra explains that his work exhibits “distortion as a result of selective emphasis; parts of interest are emphasized, unimportant parts reduced or left out.” In this particular image, I love the seamless and symmetrical blending of characters, and the shape of the totem is suggestive of the medium in which it was created – a pencil. See more at his site:

Judith Supine

Judith Supine is a Brooklyn-based street and mixed media artist known for his surreal and technicolor collages, which he posterbombs around Williamsburg and Lower Manhattan with an adhesive mixture called wheatpaste (also known as potato paste, flour paste, rice paste, and Marxist glue). Supine rejects the idea of precious material in his work, instead making beautiful mess from magazines absconded from the trash, a utility knife, cheap glue sticks and an industrial copy machine at Kinko’s. Enlarging the images to an assortment of scales, he then paints these anxious-looking creatures in garish, neon colors and releases them into the metropolis around him. Check out more of his work here: 


I wish I knew more about the artist known as Bednij, but the truth is that my online translation of his Russian livejournal into English has been almost fruitless (how do I read into his statement “I respect rich, satisfied and thick”?)… No matter. His work is a visual playground of contrast and shadow, experiments in black and white and digital manipulation. Many of his pieces incorporate nothing more than burnt matchsticks on shapes: I adore the simplicity of Bednij’s art-making sensibilities. Enjoy more on his journal:

Gabe Leonard

“God Forgives, I Don’t”: As a young struggling artist in Los Angeles, painter Gabe Leonard began selling copies of his work on Venice Beach, and has since graduated to art festivals and gallery exhibits. His work revolves around the fringe worlds of the Wild West, pirates, mobsters and famous musicians. Most of the subjects are stoic and armed, hardened by their hard-knock existence and unaware of the cinematic cult following these archetypes inhibit in our world. I especially like the backgrounds of these images: morbid-looking paint drips and ingenious smoke-filled blending. See more at his website:

Sea Hyun Lee

“Between Red-46” (2008): Sea Hyun Lee is a South Korean artist (b. 1967) whose captivating series Between Red depicts the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Lee describes being in this area during his military service: “I would wear night vision goggles, which coated everything in red. The forests and trees felt so fantastic and beautiful. It was unrealistic scenery filled with horror and fear, and with no possibility of entering.” Despite the monochrome effect of the red washes on white canvas, these images are incredibly detailed and evocative of a nostalgic Never Never Land on the sea. Enjoy more of the Between Red series here:

Evgeny Kiselev

“Futurecity” (2011): The abstract designs of Russian illustrator Evgeny Kiselev are the stuff of acid-soaked pipe dreams, cellular cross-sections of psychedelic alien life forms, newborn starburst robots gaining self-awareness… Pardon the gibberish, but one look through his prolific portfolio suggests that Kiselev has a colorful vision and is inspired intergalactically and globally – like his “Spicy” collection drawn while traveling in Indian & Nepal. He has also collaborated on a website called Endless Mural (, an interactive art project. Drop a half-tab and enjoy the colors at his website:

Zach Johnsen

“Stressed 3” (2009): The unsuspecting worker bees in Zach Johnsen’s ‘Acid Over Easy’ series are secretly suffering from inundation of cubicle culture until they reach the point of combustible explosion. Johnsen, an illustrator and mixed-media artist in Portland OR, used graphite, watercolor and coffee to compose these startling images. I adore the juxtaposition of the perfectly executed graphite bodies with the unleashed catharsis of color. Johnsen’s entire repertoire is worth browsing at his website: