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Boys and girls come out to play: The strange, surreal, and phantasmagorical world of Jaco Putker
09.08.2017
09:08 am
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‘The Boy and The Hat.’
 
For Jaco Putker, the great thing about being an artist is waking up each morning and not knowing what he’s going do that day. It’s this great sense of freedom that really matters rather than being known by the appellation “artist.” Putker has said he doesn’t know what it means to be an artist. Mostly, he feels like “a regular guy who loves to create.”

Jaco Putker is an artist and printmaker from the Hague, Netherlands. He uses digital and traditional methods of printmaking to create his pictures but prefers to work with photopolymer, or solar plate, etching. This allows him to produce highly photo-realistic depictions as can be seen by the selection of etchings shown here. Putker’s artwork is described as strange, surreal, and phantasmagorical, sometimes amusing, often sinister. He offers no interpretation of what his pictures might mean—even the titles offer no clue but are merely simple descriptive statements like The Girl and The Berries or The Boy and The Masks. His intention is for the viewer to bring their own interpretation to each picture—thinking of each image as say, an illustration to a series of imaginary fables which are only given meaning in the viewer’s mind.

Putker has won several awards for his highly distinctive artworks which have been exhibited across the world from Tokyo to Chicago, China to Britain. He claims he has no one influence on his work but cites an abiding interest in “Nature and in how nature works, in its perfection and self-reliance and its power of rejuvenation and destruction. In how it has a profound effect on not just me, but on virtually every human being.”

I’m interested in the Hermetic Principles of Correspondence (formulated in the axiom ‘As Above, So Below’; the correlation between macro and micro cosmos) and of Vibration (which states that all is in constant motion. Both in a visually perceivable manner as on a (sub)atomic level. Every part of nature is connected to any other part of nature. These seem to be the parameters within which my work takes place. But within these parameters,  I try not to think too much about my work. Defining it sort of kills it for me. In hindsight, I see a development and recurring themes and elements. And it strikes me that I seem to be saying the same thing over and over, regardless of style, medium or technique.

A selection of Jaco Putker’s prints are available to buy here and more of his work can be found here.
 
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‘The Girl and The Berries.’
 
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‘Interior No.48 .’
 
More dreamland etchings, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.08.2017
09:08 am
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Uncanny worlds and bad dreams: The strange, surreal, and macabre paintings of Jolene Lai
07.19.2017
10:12 am
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Jolene Lai was working as a designer for an advertising company when a conversation with an artist friend made her realize her true vocation:

I had a moment of ‘epiphany’. I realized I missed the feel of a paintbrush, the smell of oils and turps, and the excitement of creating short stories through them. But trying to take a detour at 30 seemed more challenging, even in my own perspective. I had to work on building enough courage and confidence to convince not just myself, but the people around me that a career as an artist is really what I am meant for.

Lots of significant events happened from then that would shape the route to where I am today. But the root of it all was that conversation with my friend that changed my pathway and helped me discover what I really wanted to do in life.

Finding what we really want to do with our lives and then doing it, is one of the great blessings of existence. Most of us never get that far. Jolene Lai has worked damned hard to ensure she makes a success of her chosen career. She keeps to an intensive schedule that sees her clock-on early morning, and clock-off late every night. Jolene’s discipline and hard work have paid off. She has produced a sizeable catalog of quite awesome artworks which have been exhibited in LA and in Singapore to considerable acclaim.

Lai paints beautifully detailed canvases in oil and watercolor of strange, unsettling, and often grotesque scenes culled from childhood memory, Chinese myth, and lots of imagination. Sometimes she ties-in her latest topics of interest—anime, Edward Hopper, interior design, or maybe food. The results are like beautifully composed stills from some strange dream movie from which we can recognize certain details as true but are left unsure as to their meaning. The beauty and intricacy of the paintings often belie their bizarre and disquieting content, which ultimately serves to compel the viewer to look again.

See more work here, or follow Jolene Lai on Instagram and Facebook.
 
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More of Jolene Lai’s strange and beautiful paintings, after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.19.2017
10:12 am
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Dreamcatcher: Self-taught artist paints the Surreal World of the Subconscious
06.13.2016
09:50 am
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‘The Lost Narrative’ (2015).
 
I write down what I remember of my dreams each day—trying to capture them before they disappear like dew on a summer morning. Though it’s a good aide—memoire words don’t always capture the fleeting sensation such visions inspire as perfectly as an artist can with a painting.

Mike Worrall is an almost entirely self-taught artist who has been painting large, beautiful, surreal and mysterious pictures inspired by dreams and the subconscious since the early 1960s. As a child he was greatly intrigued by paintings that contained a dream-like narrative of “some sought of mystery element.” His own work followed in a similar direction where he keeps the viewer “guessing and wondering what it’s about”.

Worrall may sometimes be unsure as to what exactly his paintings are about. He might not quite fully understand them but says he is “a firm believer that I should not have to attempt to explain the enigma to people and that the picture should retain some mystery for a lasting interest.”

I’m interested in Dreams and Subconscious thoughts and the weirdness of how we go from one thought to another in an almost drifting process. Dreams are a great source of material for me. Not that I wake up and paint the dream that I may have had, even if I could remember it, I’d then have to most likely make up the details. My paintings are more deliberate and constructed with the element of change.

Worrall has also worked as an “Ideas Artist” in films. One of his paintings inspired Roman Polanski to make a film of William Shakespeare’s play MacBeth. More recently, he designed concept art for the Xenomorph in Alien3.

Born in Derbyshire, England in 1942, Worrall moved to Australia in 1988, where he currently resides. His paintings have been exhibited across the world. Many of his paintings are in collections owned by Polanski, Nicholas Roeg and musician Alan Price.

A whole gallery of Mike Worrall’s work can be seen here.
 
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‘Escape from the Garden of Different Meanings’ (2015).
 
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‘Disparnumerophobia meaning the fear of odd numbers’ (2015).
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.13.2016
09:50 am
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