With stunning cinematography (and no CGI), director Oscar Hudson pays homage to Japan’s social phenomenon of ‘Hikikomori’.
A dreamy, disconnected electronic beat plays as a Japanese teenager wakes up in his bedroom, visibly troubled at the thought of facing the day ahead of him. But there are tricks at play, as he walks through the door, only to find a replica of his bedroom ahead, and of him too, staring into the mirror. And then there is another, and another, till we see a series of bedrooms and the boy in it – only the room appears to be becoming smaller and more crowded as the boy gets bigger.
This linking of the psychological and the physical space plays as the perfect foil to British music producer Bonobo’s inspired number No Reason. Director Oscar Hudson mines the Japanese phenomenon of Hikikomori – when young people find themselves overwhelmed and end up as housebound recluses. According to the government, the number of hikikomori between the ages of 15 to 30 in Japan in 2015 numbered some 540,000.
The cinematography No Reason is inspired by the 2014 Oscar-winner Birdman. The vocals by Nick Murphy (also known as Chet Faker) contribute to the dream-like sequence and the feeling of overwhelming monotony. “We achieved the film using only in-camera physical effects and we designed an entirely new way of moving our miniature camera to get it to fit through the tiny doorways. Doing this film with CGI would have been a thousand times easier, but for me, it’s physicality and imperfections are what make it different, and, I hope better,” said Hudson.
I’ve been creating art most of my life. I started painting seriously about ten years ago, showing my pieces at various local shows in the Allston, MA, area where I was living at the time. Six years ago, I made the decision to get serious and go back to school, graduating in 2015 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
I’m interested in decay, distressed or worn and used objects, dark humor, emotions, and the underlying stories often overlooked. I love Surrealism, Pop Surrealism, Fantasy and Lowbrow, but don’t strictly define my work in any of those genres because often I stray outside of them.
My preferred mediums are oil and occasionally acrylic. I use traditional methods such as the Flemish seven layer method to build dense, rich backgrounds, and these days often mix accidental/abstract components with realism to create my fantasy landscapes and scenes.
Many of my images and ideas come from my dreams and early fantasies. As a child, I had a very active imagination and I’m still working with some of my thoughts and stories from my past. I’m influenced by fantasy, horror, science fiction, my life experiences and what I see around me in the world today. Some of my themes are completely imaginative and brightly whimsical, others more political and intensely disturbing. To all of this I sometimes add a lowbrow twist, often with dark humor.
Here is a short list of five surrealist things I am thinking about this week.
1. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Endless Poetry
Through renowned father of the midnight movies Alejandro Jodorowsky’s intensely personal lens, Endless Poetry tells the story of his years spent as an aspiring poet in Chile in the 1940’s.
Against the wishes of his authoritarian father, the 20 year old Jodorowsky leaves home to pursue his dream of becoming a poet, and is introduced into the bohemian and artistic inner circle of Santiago where he meets Enrique Lihn, Stella Diaz Varín, Nicanor Parra, all unknown at the time, but who would later become driving forces of twentieth-century Hispanic literature.
2. Deep in the Mexican Jungle, One Man Created a Surrealist Paradise
“An English dandy with an abundant inheritance from the railroad industry, Edward James voraciously collected surrealist art, rare orchids, and parrots. He took up mysticism, rubbed elbows with Salvador Dali and Aldous Huxley, and fancied wearing ponchos sans pants.
To those who knew him, James was “the last of the great eccentrics.”
James’s outlandish nature, however, was best captured in his magnum opus: Las Pozas, a fantastical sculpture garden nestled deep in the Mexican jungle. Forged over the last 22 years of his life, what he called his “Surrealist Xanadu” would become one of the globe’s greatest curiosities.”
– Via Artsy
3. Naoto Hattori
Part whimsical illustration, part surrealist creatures, part eye candy, but 100% awesome, we can’t take our eyes off of Hattori’s intricate artwork. We always come back to his strange unique creations.
4. ‘Torrey Pines’ tells autobiographical story through beautiful, surreal stop motion
“In “Torrey Pines,” the childhood of its director Clyde Petersen unfolds through beautiful, handmade stop motion animation. We see a pre-transition 12-year-old Petersen — a devoted Trekkie with an ever-present USS Enterprise T-shirt. He yearns to escape the humdrum life of his Southern California hometown, and he gets his wish when his schizophrenic mother takes him on a cross-country road trip. The film is an endearing blend of sweet anecdotes and surrealism, and the result is a story that feels warmly joyous.”
– Via DailyCal.org
5. FROM THE MOUTH OF SHADOWS: ON THE SURREALIST USE OF AUTOMATISM
by Kasper Opstrup
“From surrealism’s beginnings around a Parisian séance table, it oscillated between the occult and the political. One of its key methods, automatism, provided access to both the esoteric and the exoteric: it took form in the mid-19th century as a spiritualist technique for communicating with the other side while, simultaneously, this other side could address political issues as equal rights, de-colonisation and a utopian future with an authority coming from beyond the individual. By tracing the development of automatism, the article shows how automatism in surrealism became a call for both a re-orientation of life and an institutional re-organisation by becoming a divination tool for a future community looking back to hermeticism to find a way forward. The article argues that not only can surrealism fruitfully be understood in the light of an occult revival in reaction to crises but, additionally, that it marks the return of and a reaction to a kind of magical thinking in the modern – due to waning religious and socio-economic orthodoxies – that echoes eerily into our own big data contemporary of social medias where we tend to substitute equations with associations.”
Is your Instagram knee-deep in narcissistic selfies? Acquaintances you don’t dare unfollow? (It would be impolitic.) Motivational quotes by your in-laws? (Yeah, he just discovered multi-level marketing & thinks he’s an entrepreneur.)
We need to talk: you need to follow some artists. And before you think, “Ugh, I do, and it’s unbearable.” No, those are Artistes. You don’t follow these artists. So leave the Derrida on the shelf and have a seat because we’re going to show you some good sh*t.
You need weird art.
Call it what you want. Surreal art. Fantastic art. Lowbrow art. Visionary art. Psychedelic Art. Or just plain weird. It comes from the imagination of someone askew. And it makes you stranger. You need to follow these 17 mind-blowing surreal artists.
You need these surreal artists it in your Instagram. Otherwise, you may unfollow those annoying in-laws. So don’t have a rather awkward holiday next year, get some surreal art in your Instagram.
Following these mind-blowing surreal artists on Instagram will make your feed awesome.
Brosio makes terrifying paintings by juxtaposing mundane scenarios. 60-foot Chickens. Ominous tornadoes behind small towns in middle-America. Little girl with bats. Brosio’s unnerving paintings subvert our expectations. He plays with themes of pop culture, Americana, nostalgia and the unexpected in gorgeous, cinematic imagery. Website. Our previous coverage.
You need to follow Podhajsky. Podhajsky’s face-melting, psychedelic art is some of the most powerful art being created today.
Podhajsky’s work is constantly evolving and surprising. Stare at a Podhajsky long enough, and you may become a Buddha. If you fall as in love with it as much we have, he has prints available on his website.
Leif is an artist and Creative Director. His work explores themes of connectedness, the relevance of nature and the psychedelic or altered experience.
Podhajsky’s work has been described as “striking abstractions of nature – mirrored vistas, engulfing waves, rippling, melting cosmic landscapes”
Remember the last time you were out in nature? There was that well-tended-to area in the middle of nowhere. Nicole Watt shows us the creatures from the other place that live there. In her gorgeous, eerie sculptures, Nicole Watt creates the inhabitants from a magical realm. Watt’s strange creations tap into the tapestry fairy tales, mythology, and our shared cultural imagination.
Nicole Watt is an internationally exhibited self-taught mixed media sculpture artist living and creating in the wilderness of Southern Tasmania, Australia. Her exquisitely simplistic and emotionally driven characters blossom from a world long forgotten; a world hidden in the shadows of imagination where the wind blows wild, the trees groan with ancient secrets born from the whispers of the fae.
Casey Weldon paints amazing pop-surrealist paintings. If you’ve ever thought to yourself: “This cat would be cooler if he could shoot laser beams from his eyes,” then you need to follow Casey Weldon. Weldon tripled Steve Buschemi’s awesomeness by doubling his eyes. Website
Beeple is a visual and video artist producing mind-blowing art and eye candy. (And producing amazing music videos and more.) His success is also a testament to the power of the internet. With an internet connection, we truly are free to live anywhere if we produce great work and share it. Beeple makes awesome art. Everyday.
Beeple is Mike Winkelmann. He has released hundreds of extremely popular live visuals under Creative Commons. In 2007 Mike also began working on an ‘everyday’ series that continues to this day. Over the last 8+ years he has produced an image from scratch every single day and uploaded it. These images are viewed by 100K+ people daily and have inspired hundreds of other artists to start their own everyday projects.
Khan Nova (Mathieu Saunier) is a french digital collage artist. His Retro-Sci-fi surrealist collages explore the past, future and feature figures with a wide range of ethnicities. Juxtaposing epic desert landscapes, clouds, larger-than-life figures, pyramids, and design elements, Saunier creates a sense of beauty, power, and magic. Saunier chases infinity.
French digital collage artist Mathieu Saunier, who goes by “Khan Nova,” creates compositions as colossal as his name suggests. Inspired by visions of the future from previous decades, Khan Nova fuses together elements of past narratives with current conversations to create otherworldly conjectures. Such images as men and women in vintage ski clothes posed in front of sleek buildings echoing the Great Pyramids of Egypt convey the spirit of Retro-Futurism, in which the contemporary viewer experiences the excitement past generations held for a hyper-modern future.
— via hifructose.com
Rewinda Omar’s brooding, black and white photography features figures against desolate landscapes. With a lyrical use of dark-clothed figures against these stark desert backdrops– her work somehow communicates more subconsciously than seems possible. Omar does not give us a lot to go on. Layers of meaning defy analysis. Words will not do justice to the magic found behind Omar’s metaphysical pieces. The work is highly spiritual, personal, and yet speaks to something profoundly universal.
Inspired by my personal demons.
Everyone is like a moon has two sides; The bright side and the dark side.
All the time every human only see the bright side of the moon because the dark side of the moon is invisible that always faces away from earth. This photo series is about the dark side.
Thomas Easton creates art juxtaposing the everyday with epic sci-fi/space visuals. His imagery has a retro feel and he cleverly sources his images from vintage 1970’s magazines that add a certain nostalgia to the work. Easton’s mind-bending collages are both elegant and sophisticated. A perfect addition to your quickly improving Instagram feed. Reasonably priced prints are available at society6.com, and will make any room in your home more creative and interesting.
Thomas Easton is a UK based digital collage artist. Lover of the surreal and abstract arts that bend the imagination and leave you thinking for a while. Writer, Musician and poet.
Mark Ryden: The Godfather of Pop Surrealism
Mark Ryden should need no introduction. Ryden ushered in the Los Angeles Pop Surrealism scene by walking the sacred line between fine art and popular culture. His work is subversive. Everything is just-so. And darkly, gorgeously just-so. Yet the subject matter isn’t what “they” want you to see. Who are they? The meat industry. Virginia Beach Arts Commissioners, haha. 🙂
Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art. His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, “Pop Surrealism”, dragging a host of followers in his wake. Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation.
Agostino Arrivabene was born in 1967, lives and works in Gradella di Pandino (CR) Italy.
Arrivabene’s approach to painting stems from his artistic influences Gustave Moreau and Odd Nerdrum. He follows traditional methods that include grinding his own pigments and the almost forgotten technique of mischtechnik. In mischtechnik, egg tempera is used in combination with oil-based paints to create translucent layers which, when laid over each other, refract light creating a sense of luminosity. This attention to the minutiae has resulted in Arrivabene’s paintings actually embodying a process of alchemical transformation, in which the physical matter of painting itself is transmuted into extraordinary light-filled visions.
via Cara Gallery
Agostino Arrivabene creates spiritual, surreal, occult paintings with a nod to the symbolists. Alchemists aimed to turn lead into gold: the seeker into the initiate– from suffering human to enlighted being.
Arrivabene seems to want us to have a limitless appreciation for the unknown, the hidden, the unknowable: the mysteries of the universe are unbounded. To have an appreciation of one’s own ignorance is paramount. Arrivabene’s paintings live in the liminal space between psychology and magic. They expand and make tangible the mysteries of the Western Spiritual Tradition. And in doing so, they are a reminder that while Newton was right, so too was Mandelbrot. Our minds are linear, limited, and ruled by reductive cause and effect and a bias towards narrative. But the world is messy, dirty, and with infinite causes, effects and unpredictability. The future and present are opaque. Arrivabene’s work creates a space for the mystery, the unknown, and the hidden.
Drømsjel is drugs. His face-melting psychedelic illustrations should not be illegal. But a prescription should be required. Please view Drømsjel under a doctors’ supervision. You probably shouldn’t view Drømsjel at work, or if you have a heart condition. Side effects can include elevated awesomeness, weirdness, and loss of reality. Ask your doctor if Drømsjel is right for you. (Prints available)
Drømsjel’s artworks ﬂoat freely between illustration and collage, traditional and digital. The artist splices vintage photographs of well-groomed ladies and gentlemen that evoke the standards of 20th-century propriety, turning them into bastions of surreal visions.
Zankoul is an emerging contemporary photographer. Her photography has surreal qualities.
Look at a Zankoul photograph for long enough, and you may become the Buddha; her work stares back from the abyss, and it is silent.
Lara Zankoul was born photographically in 2008. Driven by passion, she taught herself photography and started an enriching journey in the artistic field. During 2009, she completed her 365 project, a personal mission in which she committed on taking a picture every day in a row for a year. She has participated in several local and international collective exhibitions such as the ‘Women’s Art Exhibition’ in Art Lounge Lebanon in 2011 and the 3rd edition of the Festival Photomed in the South of France in 2013. Part of the Shabab Ayyam incubator programme, she was an award recipient at the 2011 Shabab Ayyam Photography Competition. In her solo show at Ayyam Gallery in January 2013, she presented for the first time, her cinematographic work, which was auctioned in April 2013 at Christie’s Dubai.
Thrilled to announce my 3rd solo show in Ayyam DIFC on 20 sept! #Repost @ayyamgallery with @repostapp ・・・ Lebanese artist Lara Zankoul's exhibition 'As Cold as a White Stone' opens on Tuesday, 20 September in Dubai (DIFC). Highlighting an eponymous body of work, 'As Cold as a White Stone' explores what the artist describes as ‘the coldness, resistance, and numbness of human relationships nowadays.’ Read more on our website. ___________ Image: Lara Zankoul 'Triangle', As Cold as a White Stone series, photography on archival cotton paper, 130 x 160 cm, edition of 5 #larazankoul #ayyamgallery #ayyamgallerydubai #difc
Mariano Peccinetti summons surrealistic, space-age visions from beyond time. Surrendering to juxtaposition, loose-association, and dream-logic, new realities emerge from beyond. I see a art movement of artists like Peccinetti, Thom Easton, and more, of artists creating amazing collage art and selling it on sites like Society6.com
Visual Artist & Musician (Collage al Infinito – Las Luces Primeras)
In Matthew Stones work we see visions of the future of art. We see three-dimensional paintings that the user can walk around in. We may be able to walk around in a virtual painting. No more screens. Holograms and connected contact lenses. Or maybe that’s not the point at all– perhaps Stone is showing use an alternate world that we can grasp if we could see the world as a shaman.
Optimism is the Vital Force that Entangles itself with and then Shapes the Future.
– via matthewstone.co.uk
Terry Ringler, also known by his online moniker Trash Riot, is a prolific purveyor of the otherworldly. His work combines imagery taken from period photographs, vintage culture magazines, and what seems to be the best astronomy and geology images published by magazines like National Geographic or Scientific American.
Karen is an analogue and digital collage artist who loves to reinvent vintage imagery into surreal retro-futuristic landscapes.
Inspired by vintage photography, especially the colour palettes of kodachrome and ektachrome photography, Karen studied English Literature and Drama (BA (Hons) Flinders University of South Australia) and is drawn to the beautiful lines and shadows of expressionist, film noir and avante garde cinema. Architecture, geometry and the incredible colours of nature are also frequent sources of inspiration.
And, as with his Fables work, the paintings and illustrations are often suffused with a dreamy romanticism and lyricism worthy of Maxfield Parrish, even as Mr. Jean subverts those and other isms.
Surrealism Today! That’s us! Follow us to get introduced to more great artists. 🙂
Note: at least two artists we’ve featured that had a notable 365 (everyday projects). If you’re an artist just starting out it is a great way to push your work and get it out in public. At the very least after one year you will have a lot of work to choose from to put in your portfolio.
Eugenia Loli creates surrealist collages from vintage magazines. Her work blends nostalgia with psychedelia in a retro-futurist space-age epoxy that rivals the Dadaist collage masters.
Collage artist Eugenia Loli uses photography scanned from vintage magazines and science publications to create bizarre visual narratives that borrow from aspects of pop art, dada, and traditional surrealism. Loli’s background is almost as diverse as the imagery she employs, having been born in Greece and living in Germany and the UK before settling in California. She previously worked as a nurse, a computer programmer, and as a technology journalist, but has only recently found a calling in collage work with publication in numerous magazines since 2013.
About Eugenia Loli
Q: Who the heck are you?
A: I’m Eugenia. I grew up in Greece, but I’ve also lived in Germany and UK. These days I live in California. I’ve been a (terrible) nurse, a computer programmer, a (rather successful) technology journalist, and a filmmaker. In April 2012, after I had just finished an animated music video, I decided to try collaging after the knowledge I gathered from making the animation. I got hooked ever since! Here is a short list of my publications so far.
Some random tidbits: I love sci-fi and sushi. I’m a major geek. I’m a (gluten-free) Paleo dieter for life, since I credit it for saving it after 10 years of major health problems. Finally, I’m an INFP.
Q: Do you have an artist’s statement?
A: “Eugenia Loli originated in the technology sector, but she left that impersonal world behind in order to build new, exciting worlds via her art. Her collages, with the help of the title, often include a teasing, visual narrative, as if they’re a still frame of a surreal movie. The viewers are invited to make up the movie’s plot in their mind.”
Q: How do you make your collages?
A: I start by finding a “base” image, and then I sort of build around it. Sometimes I have a concrete idea of what I want to do, and sometimes I leave the images to fit together by themselves. Sometimes, after a lot of juxtaposing, the “base” image might not even be part of the final collage. Most of the time, I try to “say” something important via my art, but other times it’s just about doodling.
Q: What are your influences?
A: I got into collage because I loved Julien Pacaud’s illustrations, but it was Kieron “Cur3es” Cropper who became my main influence. The guy’s a genius. Bryan “Glass Planet” Olson and David Delruelle are also influences of mine. From the older artists, I’d have to say, Magritte. However, I collage on many different styles: from “pop” to dada, and from modern illustrations to traditional surrealism. I don’t believe that artists should “find their style”. That’s artistic death. If I have a style, it’s probably some “meta” aspect of it (e.g. the sarcasm that I usually employ in my collages), rather than something visual.