glow in the dark mural by reskate arts & crafts

Reskate Arts & Crafts create Murals that Glow in the Dark

We have great admiration for street art, yet Maria Lopez and Havier de Riba have taken the game to new heights with their glow-in-the-dark artworks. Their murals use a phosphorescent paint, which glows up to 12 hours creating two different impressions between day and night. It’s hard to imagine how the technique works yet the duo going by the name Reskate Studio hide clever pictures inside the images they design.

The phosphorescent technique became popular quickly and it’s the kind they employed in perhaps one of their famous projects, Harreman Project, which featured 3 masterpieces along with two exhibitions. The name of this project came from the word Basque, meaning relationship. The painting was done in dark places where it’s possible to control lighting with a motion sensor because lights charge the photoluminescent paint so it glows once lights go out.

Take a look at the Rabbit shadow puppet mural in Timisoara Romania, for instance. On a clear day, you’ll see an image a rabbit. Wait till the sun goes down and street lights illuminate the mural then it shows two hands overlapping each other. They called this mural Asombrar which is Spanish word meaning “to amaze”. The word ‘sombra’ means “putting shadows to a clear idea you already had”.

Another piece in Zaragoza, Spain illustrates a loaf of bread in broad daylight then shows a bread knife when illuminated. This work was their contribution to the Action Against Hunger campaign in 2016 which calls us to imagine the power of participation to find actual solutions to hunger.

How about the Saturn-like planet mural still in Timisoara, which at night depicts an underwater helmet? Given the name “Unawareness”, the piece comments that scientific advances relating to deep-sea exploration slowed down because of the beginning of the space race between the USSR and the US.

Reskate Studio also exhibited their photo-luminescent paintings at the 10th anniversary of Festival Asalto held in Zaragoza in 2016. That came after they participated at the Harreman Exhibition in Vienna, 2015 where they showcased work that reflected on the aspects that establish the correlation between objects.

Meet the artists

Maria Lopez (1980) and Javier de Riba (1985), born in San Sebastian and Barcelona respectively, started painting indoor murals five years ago. Since then, they have developed to creating installations, illustrations, designs, and extensive outdoor murals. The duo began working together when they created an artist gallery called Reskateboarding, work that involved recycling old skateboards.

With their skills in graphic design, they picked artists to work with, arranged shows, and organized gallery openings through the Reskateboarding collective. This work was an avenue through which they met artists and illustrators whose work intrigued them. That was the driving force that led to their collaboration to a more illustrative approach in their personal work. It was also a crucial factor in the growth of their artistic careers and later their collaborative venture, Reskate Arts & Crafts.

Working as a team, they are keen on the materials they choose as to them every piece must reflect their expressive capabilities. They strongly believe that the materials and techniques used must never be unjustified and must convey the underlying message effortlessly. Driven by color and strong illustrations, they strive to make each project to be coherent with the surrounding environment.

Their inspiration comes from interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds and other artists from whom they can learn about various styles and media. With every new endeavor, their restlessness brings them to question their artistic style, and reinterpret it to best serve every project. Each piece challenges their aesthetic, pushing them to try new techniques and styles while balancing their existing abilities with the desire for growth and exploration. Their journey is a continuous fight against stagnancy and in favour of versatility and transformation.

Other works

Reskate Arts & Crafts have done several murals across Spain in a project they called “Reaction Project”. It intended to reflect on the use of public space as a social networking tool. To them, public space is a place to share common proverbs that encourage actions that call for reactions, and this is evident in all the murals featured in the Reaction Project. The murals include Gogoa den tokian/Donostia, Forta es la roca, A so de timbals, Qui sembra and A mes mar.

Reskate Arts & Crafts have plans to create more murals in the future even though they need special conditions that work for the photoluminescent murals. Their aim is to light the dark corners in different cities, both installing new lights and encouraging people to interact with the murals. Find out more about the artists on their website.

burst by jame bullough

James Bullough Bio

James Bullough is an American born artist who grew up in Washington DC and now lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

As a kid growing up in the exurb of Washington DC, Bullough was fascinated with the innovative graffiti art that he used to see around the DC subway. He began developing an interest in making his own art inspired by the edgy urban art, which came innately to him. He started studying the mastery of the Old Masters and illustrating extraordinary oil paintings of urban contemporary art.

His work is about creating captivating contrasts and juxtapositions, which he achieves by integrating the momentum of one image and the technical of the other. In most of his works, Bullough leans heavily towards photorealism combined with 3D effects, producing paintings that strike a balance between realistic figurations and stylized intervention. He works with oil, latex, acrylic, spray paint among other materials.

Bullough’s transition has been like any other artist; from doing small pieces on walls of train tracks around his hometown to massive murals on the sides of tower blocks. He moved from the United States to Germany in 2010, after quitting his job as a middle-school teacher in Baltimore, the US. With the desire to focus on his artwork full-time, he’s never regretted the decision, acknowledging it’s the best decision he ever made in his life. It was best for the world; perhaps we couldn’t be seeing his stunning pieces of art that exist today.

While in Berlin, he found himself concentrating his efforts to the spray can as opposed to his initial paintbrush. His seamless transformation from painting photorealistic oil murals using a paintbrush to creating photorealistic spray-paint murals has attracted the attention of many art fanatics. In his first three years in Berlin, he worked with another American born and Berlin based artist Addison Karl under the name JBAK.

james bullough artwork of a woman in blue shirt

The pair gained popularity for their various works and wide-ranging murals across Germany and the US. One of their major artistic accomplishments in Berlin is his ‘Totem’ mural, done at Landsberger Alle 228B in 2014. This epic mural bursts with color and imagination, featuring three individuals all standing on each other’s backs – forming the totem. It looks more of an acrobatic art to a Layman’s eye and stands as tall as 11 stories. The duo had to employ a crane when they painted the mural and the job took over a month to complete.

Today, Bullough works as an independent artist, balancing his time between mural painting and studio work. A quick look at his work will show you he prefers to paint people in his trademark colourful style. He especially decorates women onto dull walls, crushing the blankness with the magnificence of beauty of the smooth delicate skin of women and long flowing hair. His Desi mural in Brooklyn, NYC is a perfect example.

James Bullough artwork of person jumping in the air

VantagePoint Radio

Bullough also has eyes for other ventures apart from art. In 2014, he introduced a new project to the world as co-creator and host of VantagePoint Radio. The interview show focuses on urban art and the graffiti/mural artists who occupy the genre. Each episode features an established artist or a group of artists in the contemporary art scene and Bullough sheds light on their lives and works.

Exhibitions

Since his departure from the US, James Bullough has returned to his mother country for several exhibitions. His last visit to Los Angeles in May 2016 saw him exhibit a series of works called ‘Breaking Point’ at the Thinkspace Gallery, which was nothing less than jaw-dropping.

Thinkspace Gallery – Breaking Point

In this series, Bullough captures fractured moments of existence; disruption and personal break through the expressive body motion, asking his models to channel individual memory and to remember encounters of “breaking” at the time of their capture.

Working with dancers from Berlin, he starts with the body movement, captured in an expanse of negative space, then disguises it further, grafting, striating, and dividing its surfaces and planes. The models remain mysterious and faceless all through, an exclusion planned to reaffirm the typical universality of the emotive physical motion.

This masterpiece shows how his style has evolved significantly over the years. Previous works featured graphic inclusions and interruptions, with areas of the subject clearly removed. His recent works are more dynamic as he shifts and activates the interrupted segments of the figures rather than delete them. Areas of the body are superimposed, shaking with transitional movement as opposed to being static.

Generally, Bullough has attended many exhibitions in Germany and the United States. He was also invited, among other international artists, to exhibit his works at the Stolenspace Gallery in London, the UK in December 2015.

His illustration of photorealistic imagery challenges the viewer’s perception of reality by shifting and breaking up the bodies he paints. Bullough is simply proving that tower blocks and city walls shouldn’t be a dull opaque white, but instead a playground for creativity.

Young Artist Uses 3D Lenses to Paint Double Portrait Murals

Born Stathis Tsavalis, Insane 51 is a young Greek mural artist that began as a graffiti writer in 2007. From his teenage years, he showed great enthusiasm for art and installations. He wandered around Athens discovering the beauty of the city’s walls. Insane51 did his first mural in 2006 and his works are based on images using experimental techniques and hues.

Insane51 is still a student in Athens School of Fine Arts and he has studied applied arts and graphic arts as well. Nowadays, he specializes in photorealism on massive walls. Perhaps his most recent style is using 3D painting in his murals and he creates unimaginable double-imaged pieces.

His incredible talent has propelled him to take part in several art exhibitions and graffiti festivals in Greece and other countries across Europe. He’s exhibited works in street art exhibitions including Lobart Festival and Designwars Exhibition, art events including Live Paintings (Colour Our Day Festival, Athens Tattoo Convention, Athens Rockwave Festival, and Euro Tatoo Convention.

He’s taken part in graffiti festivals such as Thessaloniki Street Art Festival, HipHop Shop Graffiti Jams, Living Color Festival, Ram the Spot, Overline Festival and Roskilde Festival. Insane51 also painted a canvas for StreetArtToday, possibly the biggest street art museum in Europe. He’s a member of SakeTatooCrew channel on Youtube which also uploads several of his murals.

His mission is to travel around the world and leave his artworks wherever he goes. Here are three of his most recent incredible pieces;

‘Antithesis’ mural in Naousa

Insane51 did this ‘Antithesis’ mural at the Lobart festival held in Naousa, Greece in 2016. He painted a double-portrait of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton from the movie Fightclub. Insane used 3D glasses and LED light to create a double exposure 3D piece of the actors.

From a naked eye, it appears as one image from either angle you look at the mural from. Looking from the right, you see Edward Norton in turquoise shirt and black tie, his face dazzling with some wrinkles showing. He holds a cigar between his lips with the cigarette smoke blowing to the left. If you look from the left side, you’ll see Brad Pitt in a t-shirt and jacket and holding a cigar between his teeth. The word “Thesis” appears at the top side of the mural.

Once you put on your 3D glasses, you’ll the genius of Insane51; the images appear directly opposite to each other, flipped over each other hence the name ‘Antithesis’.

X-Ray Girl in Berlin

The X-ray girl is another collection of art pieces from Insane 51, that he did this inside a train station (raoul-wallenberg-straße) in Berlin. Using 3D this mural depicts a girl’s skull from an x-ray view and within a flash of a second the image changes to a beautiful ordinary lady.

The lady is seen to be staring to a window. The idea behind the drawing must have been motivated from Leonardo da Vinci. Notably about this art is that the mural assumes the real appearance of xray images on humans.May be Insane 51 might have dropped a radiology course before joining the art profession. Train travelers using this station must be amused at this piece of art.

Malcom McDowell Portrait

Insane 51 derived the art from the movie A clockwork Orange. The mural embraces blue/red 3D glass effect graffiti. The art was done for clock café bar which is based at Halandri, Anthens, Greece. This piece of art has attracted the attention of many art lovers and even those with little taste for art can’t hide their admiration for this mural.

Insane 51 must have put his heart on this art. With the LED lights shining you will be able to see the true beauty of this art. Well, still without the LED the portrait takes after Malcolm McDowell. The portrait is spot on and the café must have gotten value for their money.

masaaki hiroi holding one of his spinning tops

80-year-old Masaaki Hiroi Makes Spinning Toys for Fun

Nowadays, it’s uncommon to find craftsmen who have mastered their art through eras as well as really love what they do. 80-year-old Masaaki Hiroi is one of those jewels – a fourth generation wooden toymaker prominent for his Japanese Edo spinning tops.

Masaaki Hiroi started making the spinning tops in his 30s having learned the technique from his father. He has presently made more than 4,000 varieties. Edo spinning tops were popular during the Edo Period, around 1603-1867 but Hiroi still thrives on these toys. They have a distinctive component which adds an extraordinary movement to the toys and they are sometimes loaded with entertainment.

He says, “I want to make people who buy my toys laugh”, which he creates to be enjoyed by both young and old people.

In spite of the fact that his original works were based on tradition, they were not acknowledged in Japan and perhaps it was a big blow to his efforts. Yet, Hiroi continued his endeavor. In 1980, he was invited to Paris to exhibit his creations and was exceptionally appraised. While in the exhibition, he was convinced that to maintain the tradition, one needs to continue creating the tradition from the old.

At long last, the Japanese caught up with his innovation, uniqueness and his conviction. And since 1983, Hiroi began to be invited to the United States and other countries to have exhibitions and workshops. He has exhibited his works in over 50 countries to date.

The Japanese craftsman is also popular for his ability in creating conventional super spinner, kyoku-goma tops which are used by conventional spinning performers for their expert exhibitions.
The Kyoku-goma is extremely basic top yet which needs the highly skilled craftsman to make the best balance and spinning movement. You might need to take a spin but it’s difficult. This top is for those who try to reach the apex in spinning tops. But once you master the skill, you’ll have the capacity to get this magnificence to move along a tight string while spinning at the same time.

Although many children these days forego toys and rather choose to keep their minds buried in their pervasive iPads and iPhones, far less would ever opt to play with an antiquated wooden toy instead of their cutting-edge plastic partners. Yet, this hasn’t discouraged the 80-year-old craftsman from spending his days making carefully assembled wooden artworks to amuse an increasingly smaller group of youngsters.

“Cutting-edge technology is fun, but it’s a pity if children become absorbed only in those toys. There are traditional toys and traditional ways to play in Japan, one of them is spinning top. I am sad to see so many old toys become obsolete around the world. I can only wish that children continue to play with both new and old toy. I want to make people who buy my toys to laugh and make toys that anyone, old and young, men and women can enjoy. We are given such little time”, says Hiroi.

Today, Masaaki Hiroi is highly perceived an expert craftsman of Edo Tops and his mission for inventiveness still continue.

Yulia Brodskaya paper art of her name

Yulia Brodskaya, Crafting Artwork With Paper

Quilling is a form of art that includes the use of strips of paper that are rolled, molded, and stuck together to make decorative designs. This technique is what paper artist and illustrator Yulia Brodskaya employs to create lush, vibrant, three-dimensional pieces of art.

Come to think of it, the style was used heavily in the 19th century by women of relaxation who quilled their time away between tea and gin. Today, Brodskaya’s post-Baroque hued curls are attracting major clients including The Guardian, Nokia, New Scientist, just to mention a few in her portfolio.

Yulia Brodskaya paper art closeup of face with beautiful colours

Not many represent the credibility of a handmade technique of image making like Brodskaya. She claims that digital pictures are not as fascinating to her as handmade ones. Of course, she admits that there are those digital artworks that she appreciates but they don’t arouse such enthusiasm like handmade artworks do.

Furthermore, Brodskaya gets her inspiration from a sheet of paper. Sounds awesomely ridiculous, yet that’s the origin of her magnificent artworks, ‘’If I manage to find some new unusual paper or card, I immediately begin to imagine the new ways of using it in my work’’, she proclaims. Her love of the paper is the reason she enjoys paper crafting.

She also admits that it took her some time to realize her own way of working with the material. Actually, Brodskaya had no idea that the technique she uses is called quilling. Despite everything, she’s keen on it and not prepared to shift on to anything else. Of course, he has tried both origami and collages but the quilling technique turned out to be her favorite.

Yulia Brodskaya paper artwork of face profile

Brodskaya is not only unique in her style of art; her monetizing strategy turns out to be different too. She doesn’t sell her original artworks, she creates the works for specific projects and her clients use the images of the paper works for their own purposes such as magazines and advertising campaigns. And she has won over world-famous companies including The New York Times Magazine, Starbucks, Hermes, Sephora and Godiva.

So where do her original works go? They are well kept in the good hands of Oprah Winfrey, Country Music Association, Ferrero, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other private collectors.

Brodskaya’s services are undoubtedly on demand but making paper-based images for clients has its challenges too. For instance, once the paper has been stuck together, there’s no undo option, so she always cautions her clients about this issue in advance. Nonetheless, she gets enough time to think and consider the alternatives as the working process is quite slow.

Yulia Brodskaya paper artwork of a tray for advertising campaign

One of her initial tasks was to create seven type-based pictures for the G2 section of the Guardian newspaper. She had only three and a half days to finish a series of texts primarily for Christmas season. She barely slept while undertaking this project as the quilling process is so time-consuming and she was on a tight deadline. But, the dividends were huge.

Brodskaya has also worked with Havas Group and terms the project as one of her favorites. On this one, she enjoyed the image-centered areas of her creativity, as much of the time she was creating designs to present themes in the organization’s 2008 annual report. It was a report with a distinction as it was printed with Brodkaya’s images on one side and the company’s information on the other. With quilling technique, she rendered a picture of a human brain and a lady with streaming hair – decorative work that represented her creativity.

Bio

Yulia Brodskaya was born in Moscow, Russia then moved to the United Kingdom in 2004. Before moving to the UK, she was interested in creative art practices including Origami, Collage, Textile Painting and Fine Art practices. She continued her education in art at the University of Hertfordshire and graduated with an MA in Graphics Communication degree in 2006.

She kept on experimenting and exploring ways of uniting each of the things she likes most; paper, typography, and profoundly definite hand-made specialty objects. She has quickly earned a global recognition for her imaginative paper illustrations and continues to create paper designs for clients around the world.

Many of her beautifully crafted paper works are on her website https://www.artyulia.co.uk/.

 

mural artwork by Shamsia Hassani

Shamsia Hassani – voice of the Afghan woman

One of Afganistan’s first well-known female graffiti artists, Shamsia Hassani creates vibrant murals and paintings portraying women as strong, autonomous beings. In all her work, Hassani usually paints women in Burqas and endeavors to reveal the woman under the burqa. She often draws women in symbolic shapes and adds symbols of the atmosphere that flows around her plus her life experiences.

Most of her murals often show women carrying and/or playing musical instruments which give them a voice for self-expression. Coming from a background where women are usually overlooked, Hassani believes painting women in public can encourage other people to look at women differently.

She uses blue in many of her paintings not only because it’s her favorite color but also because blue is associated with freedom. And for Hassani, freedom is not the removal of the burqa, freedom is to have peace.

Hassani also uses her own art to help convey positive changes to people and particularly to wash away the bad memories of a long long-time war that had occurred in her country.  Even today the place is not entirely safe as Hassani has had to leave some of her street art unfinished in the past to run for her safety.

And these days is not necessarily war, it is political unrest in her country that makes the streets unsafe. And some other times it’s simply because she’s a woman painting in the public space that puts her at risk. She’s reported herself that on several occasions’ people have verbally abused her and even tried to stop her from working.

But she has the will and the heart of a lion, she dreams and executes. Sometime back her family discouraged her from tagging a specific area on the grounds that a bomb had exploded nearby. Of course, it wasn’t safe for her to wait there. She took a photo of the wall, printed a massive image of it and used the picture as a canvas – how smart!

Her concept of working her graffiti out as paintings applied onto prints of pictures taken from various places created a collection she called ‘’Dreaming Graffiti’’. Works from this gallery are easy to transport because they do not adorn street walls. These images have made to exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, India, Vietnam, and the United States among others.

During her three-month residency at the Hammer Museum in the Los Angeles, Hassani met with local artists and her stay is appreciated by her mural at 4900 W. Adams Boulevard. She also exhibited her work at the Seyhoun Gallery, West Hollywood.

Her story was an inspiration to many and her connection to the Hammer community continues to develop. To the Afghan women, Shamsia Hassani continues to push for their recognition through art while giving them strength to overcome social oppression.

Biography

Born in 1988 in Tehran, Iran, Shamsia Hassani grew up in Afghanistan. She started graffiti in December 2010 when graffiti artist CHU made a visit from the United Kingdom in a workshop organized by Combat Communications in Kabul. Out of the 8 local artists that attended the work, Hassani has been the most outstanding out of her exemplary work and what she stands for. In 2009, she was once shortlisted for the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Arts in 2010 and a master’s degree in Visual Arts in 2014 from Kabul University. She co-founded Berang Art Organization with the aim of promoting contemporary art and culture in Afghanistan through workshops, seminars, programs and exhibitions.

mathieu tremblin and colleague finish up a work of art

The Artist who Makes the Illegible Legible: Meet Mathieu Tremblin

Graffiti is one area of street art that appears to divide feeling the most. The issue of whether it’s art or not is one which we’ve all been involved in.

Yet when it comes to tagging, the vast majority would likely concur that it’s the most repulsive sort of street art. And, what’s significantly more irritating is that it’s quite often illegible. But there’s one man who takes the ugly pieces and transforms them into beautiful, legible artwork.

The name is Mathieu Tremblin. Based out of two diverse French urban cities, Rennes and Arles, Tremblin has an inconspicuous method of making people think somewhat harder.

Style

Tremblin’s work concentrates on issues of ordinary city life, branding and graffiti society. He believes that these pressing issues are best communicated through urban interventions. His pieces figure out how to emerge in Europe’s swarmed graffiti scene, with his greatest works featuring a minimalist look at first impression, just to uncover testing, however, energetic goes up against city culture.

Works and Ideologies

Most of his art can be seen in his two French hometowns. There, he collaborates with his accomplice in the art scene “Ripoulain” and with photography collective “BIP”. His work can also be found in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Project Tag Clouds was born out of Tremblin’s understanding as a street artist. He used to be a tagger and felt the name composing graffiti and particularly tagging, is the ground premise of self-expression in an urban space.

project tag clouds showcasing graffiti repurposed

The artist discovers graffiti tags on buildings, highway underpasses in French towns and garage doors. He lists them, erases them and re-paints them in clear, digital-style typeface – Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica or Georgia. Tag Clouds is about uncovering that tagging on the chance that you follow and read it; it’s an approach to go through the city in a new perspective.

By using digital typeface, Tremblin doesn’t just make the words neat-regardless of the possibility that they don’t appear to bode well-but additionally makes likenesses to ‘word clouds’ found online, considering on the contrast amongst advanced and physical tags.

mathieu tremblin project tag clouds graffiti turned street art

Tremblin’s interventions are a celebration of graffiti tags rather than a critique. Random graffiti writing used to be viewed as the ugly art in the city but Tag Clouds is out to make a tribute to random writing so that individuals accepts its visual presence by reading it.

Mathieu believes street art tagging is a reaction to an undeniably ‘consumerist space’ in urban areas, brimming with advertising on every surface. And that according to him diminishes the individual articulation of residents to a matter of decision between brands.

project tag clouds by mathieu tremblin

Tremblin’s art continues to inspire many cities, appearing as analysis on a particular point as examined in his work. His work makes a city more energetic, poetic and open to appointment. He’s still open to the idea that can notice and destroy his work since vandalism is in itself an approach to make destructive conversation. Hope you’ll love and appreciate his work, though.

Dito Von Tease: “Thumbtastic” Fingerprints

When one thinks about their own personal identity, the things that make them unique, they may think about a great number of things. It could be their personality or their history. It could be their life’s work, their career. For some artists, they become known for their major, most famous contributions. Shepard Fairey, for example, will now forever be known as the OBEY artist and, of course, the artist of Obama’s HOPE image.

While there are many things every person can point to and say “that makes me unique,” we also have individual parts that make us unique, and one no more recognizable than our fingerprints. And for Dito Von Tease, the artist behind “Ditology,” the finger holds a special place: it’s where he makes his art.

Ditology is a personal project of an unknown Italian artist, Dito Von Tease, which comments on how our fingers and fingerprints are helping us stay anonymous in this digital age. The project sees Dito painting up his fingers as famous celebrities, be it historical figures or more recent celebrities, turning his individualized fingers, with their fingerprints, into renditions of familiar and famous people.

artwork by dito von tease

“In Italian someone could say I wanted to ‘hide myself behind my finger’ (nascondermi dietro un dito): it’s a popular metaphor to indicate a not-very-effective hiding place,” Von Tease explained in a piece for Bored Panda. “In the “digital age”, our fingers are the “tools” we use to keep in touch with the world through touch-screens, mouse pads and keyboards. In a sense, we are all “hiding behind a finger” while surfing the internet… Probably, even in the real life we hide ourselves behind an image of us: a mask we create to protect the uniqueness of our finger-print. This is true especially for celebrities, who live [behind] their masks.”

ditions artwork by dito von tease

To date, Von Tease has created thousands of these fingerprint portraits, with subjects ranging from famous paintings like “The Mona Lisa” to beloved TV characters of days gone by, like “The Addams Family.” The series “Thubtastic,” according to Von Tease, references Facebook’s famous thumbs up symbol, which is a powerful commentary on the contemporary digital experience.

the addams fingers artwork by dito von tease

Anonymity on the internet has been a major issue almost since its inception. Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, which allow people to create accounts without any connection to their “real world” identities, have only compounded this issue. Musician Jack White famously called the internet a “sea of cowards,” which ties directly to the ways people can harass without real consequences. But for Dito Von Tease, anonymity is a chance to provide some perspective, and some commentary, on our contemporary digital experience. By remaining anonymous themselves, Von Tease offers people a blank slate in which to enjoy his artwork.

Dito Von Tease’s artwork and finger portraits can be viewed on his website, which houses his many portraits as well as his numerous other artistic endeavours.

sucklord

Artist Profile: The Sucklord

Of the many types of artists that roam the streets of New York, there is one that stands separate from the rest. His name is The Sucklord and he has built a mini-empire based on his strange, unique vision of what an action figure can be, and where strange art fits into the art scene.

The Sucklord was born in the West Village, New York City in 1969, the perfect time to see the rise of the action figure in popular culture. When he was eight years old, Star Wars was released in theatres and, along with the film’s box office, a flood of toys entered the marketplace. The Sucklord, then more commonly known as Morgan Phillips, became a lifelong fan of the franchise and was inspired to create his own line of action figures. “I’ve been inclined to make toys my entire life, since I was a kid, since the first Star Wars figures came out,” he said in an interview with The Atlantic. “It became sort of hard-wired into the way I experience the world.”

worlds-most-famous-couple

The Sucklord’s work is perhaps best described as remixing. He will often take discarded and abandoned materials and rework them into something new, something unique. He calls the result “bootleg action figures,” a term he coined when he first started producing his unique figures in earnest in 2005. “Bootleg figures are a lot like sampling in the world of hip-hop, where you take little bits and pieces of different songs, different figures, and recombine them into something new,” he explains. “Hopefully there’s something transformational going on.”

homotrooper

The Sucklord’s work has a hard time being placed in the modern art world but has slowly been gaining notoriety in unconventional places. The Sucklord himself admits that he has a hard time “know[ing] where this stuff belongs.” It’s too “low-brow” for the modern art gallery, with its preconceptions and precarious pretensions, but his figures are a bit too esoteric and adult to find themselves in traditional toy stores. The Sucklord, however, has found two avenues that are bringing his work to the masses: the internet and reality television.

right-on

You can find much of The Sucklord’s work on his site, Suckdelic, where he sells his work, blogs, and profiles many other artistic endeavours. He has also made several appearances on reality TV shows, including Gallery Girls. The show’s stars, who own a store in New York called End of Century, stocked his wares and profiled him on the show. He has also appeared on a number f other shows, all of which feature his eclectic work.

One of the things that make The Sucklord’s work so interesting is its placement. Rather than avoiding commercialism, like how Banksy tries to sidestep capitalism and art, The Sucklord has embraced a modern approach, one that circumvents the normal, established avenues in favour of something more suited to his particular work. By making his own path, he can control his art’s distribution without compromising his vision.

david a smith sign writer rendering gold leaf on glass reverse sign of his name

Artist Profile: David A. Smith

Sign painting is one of the oldest forms of art we have, one that has seen rises and falls in popularity, style, and prevalence. One thing the genre has never lacked is talent, and perhaps the most well-known sign painter in the world has dedicated his life to creating beautiful signs and teaching other artists about the craft and the industry. His name is David A. Smith, and he may just be the most popular sign painter in the world.

Smith got his start in the 1980s when he left school to become an apprentice sign painter with Gordon Farr and two of his associates. He spent the next five years learning the skills of the trade. His teacher, Farr, was a unique teacher, one who “had an almost uncanny ability to paint letters, accurately laid out, without even a preliminary sketch,” according to Smith’s website. It was during this time Smith learned about drafting, letter painting, and how to draw beautiful pictorials.

a book cover rendered by david a smith

By 1992, Smith had opened his own sign painter shop in his hometown of Torquay and specialized in everything from “vehicle graphics to 3D installations.” But it wasn’t until a fateful trip to New Zealand that Smith met Rick Glawson, one of the world’s best-regarded sign painters and a member of the world-famous Fine Gold Sign Company. Glawson was “universally regarded by his peers as the godfather of gilding, with a reputation for sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of glass decoration with eager students of the craft,” and Smith soon became his close friend. Smith learned many new and important lessons about sign painting from his new mentor.

hand made font image rendered with pencil by david a smith

Smith eventually sold his painting shop and now focuses more on Victorian-style glass painting, creating beautiful and intricate works that are sold and showcased around the world. He also teaches and educates artists in the many skills he’s learned from those before him, including Gordon Farr and Rick Glawson. Smith views his educational work as paying the debt forward and “shares the fruits of his study with his many friends, old & new, in the sign trade, through courses, step by step instruction and one-to-one chats on the phone or internet.”

glass emblem gold leaf design rendered by signwriter david a smith

If you are a sign painter or a fan of sign painting, you have probably heard of David A. Smith. His work has become the standard by which glass window signs are judged, not only for their ingenuity and craftsmanship but for their distinctive design. Smith continues to create beautiful pieces of art in the world of sign painting, but also dedicated much of his time to teaching the next generation of sign painters. While sign painting has dwindled in prevalence since Smith began his career, his talent and passion for education ensures that the art will be with us now and into the future.