Japanese American Gothic

For the past two years, we’ve been doing Secret Santa at our Meltmedia holiday party. I love giving personalized gifts so I decided I’d create custom artwork for whoever I pick. This year, I picked Naomi. He and another coworker, Ben, are great friends who love each other and bicker like an old married couple. I thought it’d be funny to put the two of them in Grant Wood’s famous American Gothic. I think he really liked it and it reminded me that I need to paint more just for fun.

Japanese American Gothic, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″

My Favorite Places: #7 The Sistine Chapel

Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by paintings. I loved looking at them, studying them, and especially trying to create them. Another fascination of mine has been Catholic tradition, architecture, and storytelling. Although I’m not Catholic, I’ve always appreciated the tremendous artwork that has been created from those beliefs and reverence. I can think of no other building that so beautifully and intricately embodies the strength of religious tradition and the utter brilliance of a master like Michelangelo. The walls and ceiling are magnificent, perfectly visualizing the doctrine at the heart of Christianity in stunning fresco. The space itself is enormous, adding to the awe and admiration I feel. I hope that everyone could see the Sistine Chapel sometime in their life, religious or not. The art, history, and architecture would be more than worth the trip.

Tilt-Shift Van Gogh

From mymodernmet.com:
After seeing how tilt-shift photography could make real world scenes appear like miniature models, Serena Malyon, a third-year art student, decided to simulate the effect on Van Gogh’s famous paintings. Using Photoshop, she manipulated the light and adjusted the focus to make us see these paintings in ways we could have never imagined.

All I have to say is UH-MAZING!

The Secret Andy Frey Project

Several months ago a friend of mine commissioned a painting. He wanted a fun composition that featured his favorite cartoon characters. He came up with the idea of placing them within the famous Dogs Playing Poker. I thought the idea was so fun and the project was a pleasure to complete. It took me a while to get motivated, but I think the final painting turned out great.

Cartoons Playing Poker – 36″ x 24″ – acrylic on canvas

Brent Adrian

Another amazing artist I crossed paths with while at ASU is Brent Adrian. He creates beautiful, up-close paintings of different varieties of animal flesh. The compositions are cropped so the larger forms are often unknown. We are left to examine the detailed textures: the softness of feathers, the slime of fat, and the wrinkles of skin. If you have an opportunity to see his paintings in person, I strongly encourage it. The delicately built-up layers are a joy to see.

View More of Brent Adrian’s Work

Derek Wilkinson

At PechaKucha Phoenix this past week, we all received a copy of the book Phoenix: 21st Century City. As I was flipping through it, I recognized several of the featured artists from my time at ASU. It reminded me of all the amazing artwork I was exposed to and the ridiculous talent I brushed elbows with. One that has really stuck in my mind is painter extraordinaire, Derek Wilkinson.

Derek was a bit of an idol of mine, making jaws drop every day with his beautifully detailed portraits. We would often credit his amazing talent to “better-than-regular-vision”. I remember visiting his studio while he was painting his award-winning self portrait for the Nathan Cummings exhibition. He showed me the broken shard of mirror he was using for reference and I couldn’t have been more impressed. And to top it all off, he’s hilarious and incredibly humble.

View more at Derek-Wilkinson.com

Francoise Nielly

I distinctly remember one afternoon in Paris when I noticed an amazingly captivating painting through a gallery window. The gallery was closed for a late lunch and I couldn’t see any names or hints as to who the artist was. I shot a photo of it and would go back to it again and again.

Finally, five years later, I discovered who the artist was. Her name is Francoise Nielly; she lives and paints out of Montmartre in Paris. She creates beautifully haunting portraits with swift strokes of her palette knife. I am simply in love with her style and am glad I could finally see the whole scope of her work.

View more at Francoise-Nielly.com