Luciana “Lupe” Vasconcelos is a Brazilian artist and illustrator whose art explores the realms of the mythical, mystical and occult. In her ink drawings, Vasconcelos traces the remnants of fantasy & memory in her dream-like imagery. These artworks fuse the familiar tropes of magic and myth in haunting pieces, in the tradition of 19th century Symbolism. With a dark, surrealist feel, these ink drawings create a fantastic aesthetic, channeling the occult and themes of darkness in her gorgeous hand-made illustration. By tapping into the collective symbolism of mythology, Vasconcelos creates art that is both familiar— resonating with our cultural memory— yet these poetic & haunting works of art are new, compelling, and unique.
Travis Louie Artist Statement
Travis Louie’s paintings come from the tiny little drawings and many writings in his journals. He has created his own imaginary world that is grounded in Victorian and Edwardian times. It is inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters who appear to have had their formal portraits taken to mark their existence and place in society. The underlying thread that connects all these characters is the unusual circumstances that shape who they were and how they lived. Some of their origins are a complete mystery while others are hinted at. A man is cursed by a goat, a strange furry being is discovered sleeping in a hedge, an engine driver can’t seem to stop vibrating in his sleep, a man overcomes his phobia of spiders, etc, … Using inventive techniques of painting with acrylic washes and simple textures on smooth boards, he has created portraits from an alternative universe that seemingly may or may not have existed.
Travis Louie was born in Queens, New York, about a mile from the site of the 1964 World’s Fair. His early childhood was spent making drawings and watching “Atomic Age” Sci-Fi and Horror movies. There were many Saturday afternoon trips to the local comics shop and noon matinees at the RKO Keith’s cinema on Northern Blvd. Where he marveled at the 1950’s memorabilia: the rocket ships, the superheroes, the giant monsters, and old pulp art covers. He did thousands of sketches of genre characters like Godzilla, King Kong, and a host of creatures from Ray Harryhausen movies.
After high school, he went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated with a degree from the communication design dept. with the intent on pursuing a freelance illustration career. The work wasn’t as rewarding as he had anticipated. After a few years freelancing, he created a body of paintings and began showing them in local art galleries. The response was very encouraging. He stopped actively pursuing illustration work and began taking on more private commissions and concentrating his efforts on gallery shows.
The visual style of his work is mostly influenced by the lighting and atmosphere of German Expressionist and Film Noir motion pictures from the Silent Era to the late 1950’s. Films from directors like F W Murnau, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Robert Siodmak, Robert Aldrich, Jacque Tourneur, and cinematographer, Greg Toland, had a great effect on the way he wanted his paintings to look.
To achieve the dramatic “mood” in his paintings, they are produced primarily in black and white or limited color. He uses acrylic paints over tight graphite drawings on smooth grounds, like “plate” finish illustration board or finely sanded, primed wood panels. When he is not painting, his time is spent writing in his notebooks and journals. Many little drawings and sketches are made from those writings, most of which are less than 10 centimeters square.
The influences for his work are many; the genre films, his fascination with human oddities, circus sideshows, old Vaudeville magic acts, Victorian portraits, and things otherworldly, are all blended together to enable him to bring life to the characters and stories he writes in his journals.
California-based artist Liz Huston makes gorgeous art inspired by philosophy, spirituality and mythology. She owns an art and curiosity shop where you can buy her work in LA (or online through the link below!) What follows is her latest work, her artist statement, and finally excepts from an interview with her. Leave a comment below and be sure to follow her on facebook!
I am fascinated with the way memory influences
how stories change and evolve over time.
This happens not because the facts change,
but because the inner orientation of the storyteller has.
Their perspective grows; expanding and contracting with experience.
The storyteller journeys us deep
into the timeless aspects of the human experience;
the kingdoms of love and loss, through grief, resolve, growth
and into the balance of purpose.
The human form, quite often a female form, is the storyteller within my art.
She comes to us in the nude, like a baby, with nothing to hide:
her full power and breadth still intact.
We see her as metaphor, as paradox embodied.
She has the power of flight, yet chooses to walk.
She has the ability to swim in great depths,
yet allows herself to be captured and tamed.
She teaches us, she moves through us,
and yet, she does not belong to us.
She is composed of images from the past and the present,
and thus inhabits multiple worlds at once.
This time traveler, this storyteller, unites the treads of time–
leading us home, bringing us back into ourselves.
Excerpts From LIZ HUSTON with Sue Molenda
Read the entire interview here: http://dwarfandgiant.com/books-of-blood-by-clive-barker-the-art-of-liz-huston/
Ms. Huston is part of the Spring Arts Collective, with a studio/gallery looking down into The Last Bookstore.
When Liz Huston greeted me in her shop above The Last Bookstore, I connected with electrifying joy. Her energy, her aura, is pure joy. Liz’s entire being is a work of art, and her skin a radiant “canvas” of tattoos. I could not resist buying a limited edition print, once she began quoting the poem that inspired it. “My Sweet, Crushed Angel” evoked thoughts of those I love whose dreams are dashed or out of reach. Liz and I shared a brief, delightful conversation and promised to complete our interview via email, as art admirers crowded into her Belle de Lune Gallery. Below is that interview.
Sue Molenda – Since you posted the 2010 video about how you create art, how has your process changed?
Liz Huston – I have learned to paint with acrylics, watercolors as well as learned digital painting, all of which I use in tandem with digital compositing. Switching between digital and tactile techniques makes the process much lengthier, but the results are so much richer!
SM – What influenced you to become a full time artist?
LH – I had a wonderful day job in the music industry, and was a photographer on the side, with a passion for traveling to New Orleans several times a year. In those travels I took hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of New Orleans cemeteries with film, usually infrared film.
It was June 2005 when a friend told me people were using this new website (Lulu.com) to publish their own photo books. I suddenly knew I had to make a book of my New Orleans cemetery photographs, and it HAD to be on the shelves by Halloween of 2005. I worked furiously on the book. We even traveled to New Orleans in hot hot hot July, to get some last shots. I was driven by something I could not quantify. I felt something greater than myself pulling the book into existence at the same time I was pushing it.
As fate would have it, I uploaded that book to the printer the night before Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. After seeing the awful devastation, I rewrote the introduction, vowing to use the book as a fundraiser, benefiting Habitat for Humanity and New Orleans-based Save Our Cemeteries. That book changed my life. I started doing events with my photography and book, a couple times a month. I started making jewelry and curiosities, and my traveling curiosity shop was born. Seven months after the book came out, I quit the job I loved in the music industry to do my traveling curiosity shop full time. From there I just kept following the path. That path led me to photomontage and eventually to where I am now!
SM – What resources did you use to learn about art and about the digital skills you use in creating art?
LH – I am a self taught artist. I’ve assisted photographic workshops, but was only a student in one weekend fashion lighting course. I learned photography through a passion for the medium, my local library, a homemade darkroom, and lots of artist & musician friends willing to experiment.
I learned entirely by doing. My first creation was a wedding portrait. I had eloped to New Orleans, and had no proper portraits. So, I made one, which I still sometimes exhibit, entitled “The Lovers”. After that, I wanted to create my own Tarot deck. The cards had taught me about symbolism. I subscribed to Photoshop magazine to learn new techniques, since in 2007-08, there weren’t many YouTube tutorials. It was an arduous process of trial and error, but in 16 months I had created 68 of the 72 cards. Unfortunately, my computer crashed, had to be rebuilt and I lost it all. The only piece I managed to recreate (because it was also on a disc) was “The Lovers”.
That loss, which destroyed me at the time, was a blessing in disguise. Those early pieces were my teachers. The work was rough, but the process taught me everything I needed to know to make the work I make now!
SM – Have you ever found, in your art, a catharsis for emotions that might not otherwise have found expression?
LH – I never would have survived the deep loss of my divorce without making art. Art lifted the pain out of me so I could view it in all its facets and eventually move forward. Art was my lifeboat and lifeline. It rescued me, and as the years have gone by, the art has taken me to brighter, calmer shores.
SM – Is your art the legacy you hope to leave, or have other aspirations tugged as mightily at your soul?
LH – Art is absolutely the legacy I wish to leave the world. I want to leave this place more beautiful than I found it, and I do that through my art.
SM – Is there anything else you would like to say — any nugget of wisdom you’d like to share?
LH – Please listen to the yearnings in your soul. Don’t follow another’s path, follow yours. The path may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Even if you have to do it in secret – follow your own breadcrumb trail. Making art is always challenging, and not always fun. But for me, it’s always right. Find your path, and follow it.
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.
Ryden’s vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliché and disturbing archetype. Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul. A subtle disquiet inhabits his paintings; the work is achingly beautiful as it hints at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch. In Ryden’s world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures. Ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes.
Mark Ryden received a BFA in 1987 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including a retrospective “Wondertoonel” at the Frye Museum of Art in Seattle and Pasadena Museum of California Art, and in the exhibition “The Artist’s Museum” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Beautiful art by L. Bustamante. Her paintings conjure the magic of symbolist and art neavou art from the last century.