Scottish artist Paul Chiappe creates pencil drawings derived from old photographs. These drawings are meticulously small (some so small that the use of a magnifying glass is required), and upon closer examination, reveal odd smudges and white-outs that seemingly construct distorted versions of the anonymous memories they represent.
Using nothing but charcoal, sandpaper and scalpel blades (the latter two for applying texture), Scottish artist Douglas McDougall creates hyper-realistic portraits with a stunning lifelike
depiction of weathered skin and grey hair.
“My medium is charcoal/graphite on 300gsm Snowdon Cartridge, it’s a combination of drawing/painting/sculpture with a nod towards the discipline of trompe l’oeil; an ongoing
tribute to the classical history of drawing.”
Czech artist Michael Kukla takes his cues from potent acts of nature: cells rapidly dividing, the searing effect of wind, roots pushing through earth, and employs a range of materials to explore form in both two and three dimensions.
In his drawings, he uses hexagonal shapes that can be manipulated into cubes or flattened into endless nets through a subtle shift in mark-making. His sculpture, however, is primarily focused on carving or subtracting material to reveal a hidden structure. He pierces slabs of marble, pieces of slate or laminated plywood to allow holes of light to permeate the form.
“Though the act of carving is nearly the opposite of ‘building’ shapes in my works on paper, the two pursuits inform one another.”
French artist Sylvie Guillot (1972, Paris) started drawing in criminal courts, which in her view was the best drawing school imaginable; with just that element of urgency to get straight to the heart of the matter and produce a drawing that bears witness and shows emotions. Over the years her work has gradually focused more on the human figure, particularly the nude.
“I like the ideas of tension and movement, using compositions where the body seems either to stretch, to fall or to huddle up. I also like to emphasize the tension within the body by drawing contorted torsos, sharp shoulders or strong and nervous hands.”
Artist Ariana Page Russell creates images that explore the skin as a document of human experience. She uses her own “dermatographia” – a hypersensitive skin condition that causes raised lines to appear on skin when scratched – for her art, by drawing on her body and taking pictures of the embossed patterns that occur.
When American artist Leah Yerpe captures her models twisting, floating and falling on a ground she sees them transformed from free individuals into symbolic figures. The influence of mythology is often hinted at in the titles, though her work is not a direct illustration of the stories.
Spanish artist Patricia March was trained in Fine Arts and Cinematography, hence her interest in movement and time. She aims to incorporate a cinematic style in her drawings and captures movement in terms of her own time perception, which is something like water; it erodes and destroys forms while building new ones.
‘Falling’, a series of sculptures and drawings, visualises Clara Lieu’s personal experience with depression and anxiety. Unable to “release” herself from these episodes, she waited for the physical limitations of her body to end them.
Artist Simon Beck spends five to nine hours a day walking the snow in snowshoes to create huge sized patterns of snow art. He designs and redesigns the patterns as new snow falls, sometimes unable to finish a piece due to severe snow fall.
“The main reason for making them was because I can no longer run properly due to problems with my feet, so plodding about on level snow is the least painful way of getting exercise. Gradually, the reason has become photographing them.”
Paul Cadden (1964) is a Scottish-born hyperrealist artist who creates intimidatingly realistic artworks using only graphite and chalk. He has been drawing since the age of six and has always been fascinated with emotion portrayed through literal illustrations of a particular scene or subject.
“Although the drawings and paintings I make are based upon a series of photographs, video stills etc, the art created from the photo is used to create a softer and much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living tangible object. These objects and scenes in my drawings create the illusion of a new reality not seen in the original photo.”
Works by Paul Cadden
Maria Khan completed her Masters with Honors in Visual Arts from NCA, Lahore. Her work revolves around deformity and celebrates the idea of being who you are. It is about a woman’s inner nature and visualizing the more disturbing aspects of the self, which are normally kept locked in our heads away from public scrutiny. “I paint women in savage forms”.
Source: Asia Society
Works by Maria Kahn
Fractals are extraordinary complex geometric patterns where shapes and configurations infinitely repeat themselves. While fractals are a mathematical construct, they are found in nature. Examples include clouds, river networks, mountain ranges, craters, snow flakes, crystals, lightning, broccoli, systems of blood vessels and ocean waves. DNA and heartbeat can be analysed as fractals, and even coastlines may be loosely considered fractal in nature.
Needless to say that fractals have been a huge source of inspiration to many artists and designers. Cyberneticist Ron Eglash has suggested that fractal-like structures are prevalent in African art and architecture. Decalcomania, a technique involving pressing paint between two surfaces and pulling them apart, used by artists such as Max Ernst, can produce fractal-like patterns.
Fractal patterns have also been found in the paintings of American artist Jackson Pollock. While Pollock’s paintings appear to be composed of chaotic dripping and splattering, computer analysis has found fractal patterns in his work.
Richard Rosenman has created a stunning set of experimental 3D fractals generated with various software applications for the technical and creative exploration of computer generated abstract mesh creation. Some examples:
I absolutely adore (and am slightly envious of) Marty Poorter’s ”intuitive” work. She is a Dutch artist to whom the relationship between humans and animals are an endless source of inspiration.
“I just follow my hand without thinking. In a state of apparent emptiness I surrender to a kind of inner music. Each new line is my own creation, yet later I am sometimes surprised by the strange creatures that have appeared. Creatures that have something of a human being as well as an animal; as if they merged.”
“My visual work is my way of speaking; of my place in the world. My source is desire, the longing for gestures I have not previously made. Gestures that reflect my outlook on the world; my reality. I am “talking” about the living world in its loneliness. Its separateness. In its being different. Without land, without origin. Suffering. Loving. Vulnerable, yet grand: strange! That mystery I want to show.”
Marty’s work breaths an utterly intriguing vulnerability that is capable of truly capturing my attention in terms of observation.
Some of my favourites:
Ever since the introduction of the mirror somewhere in the 15th century, I guess there have been many different reasons for artists to make self-portraits, varying from vanity to pragmatism and everything in between.
I once had the brilliant idea to draw myself at least once a year as to later have a reference regarding my changed – or unchanged – self-image. I still think it’s a brilliant idea, but – alas – lack of time-travelling facilities will prevent it from ever happening. And that is a shame, because from the few self-portraits I do have I can already tell that my perception of self and place in the world have changed tremendously over time.
Drawings by Nathalie Graafland
I’m an admirer of Alberto Giacometti’s work, so last autumn when in France I visited the exhibition at the Maeght Foundation (a private European art foundation), reflecting the close relationship between the Giacometti brothers and the Maeght family. Featuring over 120 works – paintings, drawings, sculptures, portraits of members of the Maeght family and film of Giacometti at work – it certainly contained some work I had never seen before.
Finally, I took the time to take pictures of some of my nude drawings…
Drawings by Nathalie Graafland
Related post: Every inch softly curved
Yes – finally – I started drawing in my journal. At first, forcefully, interrupted by much staring at blank pages and without being able to translate any inspiration. Then, when Twitter pal @rdenker suggested I simply try focussing on things that I like (instead of turning to another glass of wine), without thinking too much and by just doing it. The result: nothing too complicated, mind-blowing or thought-provoking (which, naturally, is always the aim), but surprisingly it appeared to be a useful exercise.
As an artist one is expected to focus on “one” theme, perhaps a few sub-themes, work in “one” style and with “one” set of favourite materials. Despite having worked in branding – thus fully aware of the power of “one” very recognisable face – I struggle with this. Tremendously.
At the basis for my career change lies a rather extreme and overpowering need to be able to operate autonomously. Which translates into many things, but on top of my list that states: being able to be “completely me” in my work. And it just happens to be that I am a generalist, that I am interested in a zillion topics, that I am at my best when searching for the yet unknown (to me) and at my worst when I get bored; that I therefore have a serious issues with repetitional tasks and too much of the same thing.
However. Oddly, when not thinking too much and just doing the creating bit, certain things, themes and topics start to recur. Apparently, even I have subconscious preferences. To be continued…
My favourite activity when studying at the Academy of Arts was model drawing. Especially women. Chubby women that is. Softly curved lines, highlights and shadows to be captured in either pastels or ink and many years later – when I started sculpting – in clay or wax. Pure bliss.