When I recently bought another Erik Johansson print, I realized I haven't yet blogged about his photographic mastery...or three other artists that have caught my eye recently.
I see the talent of visual art to be magic. To create something so arresting out of nothing is the sort of wizardry that amazes me, and mystifies me. I don't have an inkling of artistic talent that could come close to being presented to the public in any way, and since it's been so elusive to me I really appreciate when the talent simply drips off artists I come across in my adventures as a lover of many creative streams.
This post is dedicated to four inspirational artists who have affected me in some way, some this year, some in the past decade. They hail from across the world, but thanks to the Net you can can check out their portfolio online (although I do encourage you to support the artists by buying any prints or merch that catch your eye).
Here we go...
I don't remember when I first learned about this Swedish photographer-artist, but I've long been entranced by his surrealist work. Johansson is a master of Photoshop artwork, where he snaps pics and then manipulates images to create these new fantastical scenes.
Although it might look like special effects were applied to his work, Johannson has said no CGI touches his art and he fashions new pieces by tweaking photos in PS or combining his photographs to create one new eye-catching photo.
When I first hung up a Johansson print on my wall, many people visiting my apartment for the first time immediately asked about "that weird fish photo." And I told them to see Johansson's work online and every time they've come back to me to say how incredible it was to survey Johansson's viscerally arresting depictions.
If you like a good horror or sci-fi film, you'll fall in love with Karen Jerzyk's photos. I'll soon be profiling her for an article later this month, and rest assured you're in for a treat if you want to learn about what motivates this talented artist with a penchant for the otherworldly.
Jerzyk is a fan of shooting in abandoned creepy homes and warehouses, and using natural techniques (again, no CGI) to create bold new images from her pics. Witches tower over kids in bed, butterflies look as if they're swarming women with flowing robes, and underwater photos showcase a new kind of terror.
I can see why her photos might not be for everyone, especially for those used to relaxing in front of pastoral paintings, but if you got some steampunky and gothy edges in you, Jerzyk's photos will speak to you. I can't believe a horror director hasn't yet employed her yet to work on a film, in any way. It's pure WOW kinda stuff.
Full disclosure: Komi is a buddy, but undoubtedly I'd be profiling him here if I didn't know him personally. The Nigerian-born Ottawa artist and poet has long amazed me with his stunning portraits on canvas, such as the work he created for a poetry festival where several star artists are compiled into one piece. Which is hanging on my wall.
Olaf has impressed audiences globally with his afro-futurism artwork, which is unlike anything I've come across. His use of colour is distinct and vivid, and often faces can be holding expressions that speak novels about their personalities. Olaf has been branching out to work in 3D and augmented reality artwork, which is a digital trend I'm closely watching. I'll be sure to keep my readers posted on Olaf's next big project, because I got a good feeling about this guy's career trajectory.
I only got acquainted with Nado's work this month but I'm a fan. The Quebecois artist won acclaim for a unique creation of typewriters solely made from gun parts. As he writes on his site: "The series elicits a reflection on the strength of words that surpass that of weapons and its impact over time."
I also am feeling his series of sculptures of women made from sewing machine parts, again making a statement with the core machines he used as tools to create new art and artistic statements.
When artists repurpose junk into treasure, I take notice. I've long admired those who can see the beauty in the discarded and who can get both playful and provocative with the artwork they create from the ashes. Nado is an artist to watch, undoubtedly, but so are many other one-man's-trash artists, such as Toronto's Cycle Critters, who fashions new sculptures out of bike parts.
About David's Blog
I write about journalism, freelancing, the arts, Toronto, technology, sports and why egg nog is under-rated.