Scottish illustrators Kyle Noble and Jamie Irvine travel the world individually but remain tethered together through the constant exchange of twisted, fantastical comics. Emerging from their psychedelic landscapes -- some of which hardly resemble landscapes at all -- come floating heads with third eyes, praying mantises with Madonna streaming out of the top of their heads, fungal universes, and possible tractor beams. Noble and Irvine's collaborations are inspired by Exquisite Corpse, a Surrealist invention that serves as a mode of artistic interplay between individuals. Drawings are exchanged back and forth to evolve an image spontaneously and to create an organic, ever-unstable narrative. In the case of Noble and Irvine, this results in works that they describe as "unutterably absurd, sexually graphic and loaded with scientific as well as 'new age' theories" -- a natural output considering their respective influences. Noble cites interest in themes such as "the origins of man, Megalithic monuments, ancient civilizations, shamanism, psychedelia, cultural truth, skepticism, and spiritualism", and Irvine finds equal interest in "the exploration of the subconscious and the relationship with mind, sold, and body." Madness unfolds from there, to be seen in the batch images below. Some of Noble and Irvine's solo works to follow. (9 IMAGES TOTAL)

 

San Francisco artist Alexis Arnold loves to explore unpredictable three-dimensional sculptures. With previous works centered around everything from training bra nets to faux-lawn upholstered decorations, her more recent Past Of Our Future and The Crystallized Book Series sees Arnold mixing scientific experimentation with everyday objects. Combining Borax crystals with things near and dear to human hearts, like vintage furniture and weathered books, Arnold grows wonderfully organic forms out of objects both malleable and solid, invoking nostalgia all along the way. As Arnold says herself in the following interview, "Time (and its physical/visual presence) is an ever-present concept in my work, as well as a large factor in crystal growth" -- and it is this idea that adds even more importance to the past in her sculptures, as it contrasts with the present.
"Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway." -- J.D. Salinger - Catcher In The Rye

 

Seattle artist Bette Burgoyne creates intricate colored pencil drawings that flow like the mechanizations of the universe. Inspired by geometry and pattern-based forms as well as nature, science, mathematics, and music, Burgoyne places heavy reliance on how perspectives and viewpoints shift and unfold over time. As she states simply in her personal statement, "My intention is to reveal a spectacle of wood, water, light and atmosphere; to share my enthusiasm for these processes and patterns that overlay, harmonize and echo one another." In the Q&A below, Burgoyne expands on this intention by describing her approach, factors that led her to her current body of work, and how music plays a significant role on her process.

 

I discovered the work of Belgian artist Arn Gyssels years ago, thanks to Flickr. At that point, he seemed like he was just beginning to hone in on a tripped out collage style full of decay, glitches, and geometries, and I was instantly captivated. Now, on May 25th, 2012, Gyssels has a solo show in Antwerp, at the H.O.T.F.O.X gallery. Binary Fluidity will showcase "a series of contrasting fluidic forms that are believed to represent, within our own streams of consciousness, certain aspects of reality. It is exactly this content of experience and discovery in all its simplicity that will give the observer a visual tour on the border of an ectoplasmic experience." Gyssels has come a long way in defining his style, and in working his worldview more and more into his visual style. Below is a short Q&A -- just an introductory preview of the artist before a more in-depth collaborative feature with Gyssels and his girlfriend, Line Oshin.

 

(R) "This is one of the creatures that came out of putting black and white acrylic paint on a paper, scanning it in, and mirroring it from one side. You can see some form of underwater intelligent entity."

 

"Love and light. Everything should be treated with the utmost respect and understanding."

 

Portland artist Ian Michael Anderson's latest collection of gouache paintings contrast earth tones and light pink hues with symbolic imagery, to powerful and striking visual effect. In Anderson's own words, his paintings aim to address chaos and conflicts in life as well as order, to help him gain insight into their distinct natures. He explains by saying, "... Dualistic narratives take shape [and] opposing forces are typically revealed: Life and death, good and evil, man and beast, predator and prey, war and peace. These dreamlike and often nightmarish fables reflect an outward and subconscious view of man and his destructive role in this world. Through this lens, my own place in these mostly impossible scenarios can be triangulated, and I am on my way to resolving the confrontation and understanding the need for such destruction." You can see these pieces in person on First Thursday, May 3rd, at Backspace Gallery and Cafe (115 NW 5th Ave) in Portland, and read a brief Q&A with Anderson below.

 

With variation in degrees of shading and texture, the black and white watercolor and graphite pieces by Ottawa's Nimit Malavia seem to be caught in varying degrees of completion. The epic 26 Point Stag, above, seems like a page out of Greek mythology or a fantasy novel, while Arranged, below, bleeds and combines geometries like a page out of a manga or graphic novel. These pieces are showing now at Spoke Art (816 Sutter Street, San Francisco), through April 28th, 2012. See more colorful and poetically romantic images, such as the ones on the bottom of this post, on her website, along with more black and white whimsies.

 

UK musicians Amplifier are offering an insane limited edition treatment for their album, The Octopus, complete with silver cover made of KEVLAR, an animation, and a three-disc box set. Limited to 750 copies, below is a sampling of some associated graphics, created by artist Goni Montes. Watch as a male character gets swallowed up in a burst, an infinity symbol, and an octopus -- which, as a spirit animal, traditionally symbolizes the infinite. Incredible!

 

Says Goni of the project: "Sel [Balamir of Amplifier’s plan was to create a sequence of paintings inspired by fractal imagery. The process was exciting as Sel gave me this one solid starting point then urged me to run with any possible inspiration that came of it. Like walking a dog to the park and taking the leash off, I went crazy." Below, the full fractal sequence, followed by initial sketches and links where you can purchase the epic collection (for a fairly reasonable price, all things considered).

 

Seattle artist Joey Bates has spent the last handful of years adhering to a breakneck schedule of shows, and he's ready to slow down.I caught up with Joey during a self-imposed hiatus; he has decided to take a break from showing and spend more time exploring new directions in his work. "I'm actually feeling really lost with what I'm doing art wise," he happily admits, "and there's something invigorating about that." For all his professed uncertainty, Bates does not come across as someone who is feeling creatively lost, and the works in progress that adorn the walls of his workspace in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood are testaments to his steady productivity.
Seeing Bates' home studio is like opening a brand new pack of colored pencils: everything is satisfyingly uniform and perfectly laid out by color, and his drafting table seems too meticulously organized to be in actual use. But Bates in person is as precise as his paintings, and he keeps his studio organized to an extent that, like the photo shoot of a sparsely furnished modernist home, elicits a twinge of envy for a level of immaculate attention to detail that most of us will never be able to sustain. Bates works in graphite and gouache to segment the planes of the face and figure into a series of nestled curves, creating portraits that read almost as topographic maps. He reduces the arcs of the human form into shapes that draw the eye into a constant sense of movement, and the meticulous detail of his linework is so thoroughly exacted that it gives the deceptive impression of being effortless. His first pieces concentrated almost entirely on faces, and by honing his focus in on the minutia of his models' features, he shifted the emphasis away from his subjects as individuals and instead created psychological studies of specific expressions. Bates originally began observing the human face because of an interest in capturing variations in non-verbal communication, and his compositions are meditations on the myriad small parts that comprise the whole. His interest in expression arose from observing the ways that people communicate. "There's something universal in expressions," Bates tells me, "but there's something very much not universal in how we read them, in the way we empathize and connect with each other."
There's something universal in expressions, but there's something very much not universal in how we read them, in the way we empathize and connect with each other." -- Joey Bates
(L) Jillian, in collaboration with Shaun Kardinal; Helga, in collaboration with Amanda Fiebing

 

 

Chicago-based illustrator and artist Jacob Van Loon has recently taken inspiration from the films of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. Two of Van Loon's latest pieces, The Moguls (Stalker) and Let Alone A Planet (Solaris) -- named after two Tarkovsky films of the same name -- are chaotic and multi-layered mixed media works inspired by the content, moods, and color palettes of those films. "I can't think of a director who has done more with film as a medium," says Van Loon of Tarkovsky. "I was dealing with the assignment of dense conceptual material during the painting process. I found it easier to speculate on the latent aspects of both films; the psychological confrontations posed by the pace, sound, and color." Though Van Loon readily admits that both films felt initially inaccessible to him, the Q&A below will show how repeat viewings led to the gelling of his artistic style with philosophical and psychological interpretations of Tarkovsky's themes.

(TOP) The Moguls (Stalker) Diptych 24"x40"; (BOTTOM) The Moguls (Stalker) Detail - Watercolor, graphite View entire Stalker Series On Jacob Van Loon's Website

 

Our Hands Will Eventually Destroy Everything Beautiful, a new body of work by Japanese illustrator Fumi Nakamura, is the result of a personal period of growth. After a mental breakdown and a year of hiatus from art, Nakamura realized that she needed to leave behind a past of pain and suffering to grow into the person she is now becoming. "I was chasing after unrealistic thoughts and hopes during that year... Then one day, something inside of me snapped and I came to the realization that I need to move on and get rid of my 'problems' -- beautiful memories with someone I loved, childhood trauma, pains of growing up and literally everything since they were the core source of my regrets and grudges..." Nakamura says in an interview with Thinkspace Gallery. "... I had (and still do have) a problem with holding onto the past heavily to the point where it was making me so miserable. I wanted to change and stop running away from reality -- in order to do that, I decided to "destroy." So I can maintain pieces of life together, survive in a place called "life." I became honest, out-spoken and decided to cut all the things out that are affecting me and my life negatively." These new pieces by Nakamura use negative space and delicate graphite and colored pencil drawings to accentuate the"intense but fragile," and ultimately, serve as captive reminders of human fragility. Though these images are beautiful, there is a darkness to them; animals are shot straight through by arrows, eyeballs are held in hands, and symbols of death are given significant attention.

World-renowned Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere makes sculptures that challenge the idea of bodily form, of becoming and unbecoming. Using organic and inorganic materials, she creates mangled figures that truly should never be -- headless, eyeless, and sexless forms that speak novels of pain by way of contortion. Her sculptures from...

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Battles
Battles - Gloss Drop
A suite of amorphous blobs unify Battles' year of singles and full-length releases. Different in material and style yet similar in overall form, these sculptured mounds are colorful, strangely compelling, and without a doubt represent some of the most visually iconic album art off 2011.
Record Label Warp Records The Artists Design & Art Direction - Dave Konopka Photography - Leslie Unruh Mediums & Materials Photography, Sculpture