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Monsters, Demons, Devils, and Donald Trump: The art of Dave Lebow
12.14.2017
11:56 am
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Satan’s Muses
 
Don’t know much about art history. Don’t know much about graphology. Don’t know much about comic books. Don’t know much about the way things look. But what I do know is what I like and what I currently like are these big, colorful, classical, fantasy, pulp fiction-type canvases by artist Dave Lebow.

Lebow’s paintings mix pop culture with fairy tales and horror fiction. His byline sez he’s “old school” with “a wickedly contemporary retro style that recalls the pulp magazines of long ago.” That’s probably why his work hits the spot and fits snugly like a blue suede shoe on my size ten feet.

You may have seen his specially commissioned paintings (giant biblical canvases) on the cult TV series Dexter or maybe his paintings on ABC’s October Road or the History Channel’s Strange Rituals. His artworks look like gorgeous illustrations from old classic storybooks by the Brothers Grimm, H. P. Lovecraft, or even Stephen King. They impart a scene from a dream-like narrative which you the viewer are invited to make up as you go along, as Lebow has said:

I want my images to grab you and drag you, if not willingly, then kicking and screaming into my picture. I’m inspired and interested in imaginative storytelling pictures that evoke an emotional response.

Originally from Oklahoma, Lebow graduated in Painting from Boston University and has an MFA in Experimental Animation from Cal Arts. Now based in California, he creates his pictures by first sketching out his idea before blocking out a version in oils then painting the full image in all its fabulous technicolor glory.

More recently, Lebow’s paintings have included some pointedly political/satirical portraits of President Trump—one as a member of the KKK another as a Nazi—which don’t seem out of place beside his more fantastical work of demons and devils and two-headed monsters. In fact, he looks right at home.

Lebow certainly gets my vote and you can see more of his work here or maybe buy a print here.
 
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‘All That Glitters.’
 
Many more of Lebow’s wondrous artworks, after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.14.2017
11:56 am
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The Peopled Wound: The dark dreams, visions, and fantasies of Alessandro Sicioldr
12.05.2017
10:40 am
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The artist draws and paints pictures inspired by “visions.” These are fleeting visions, “images floating in the stream of consciousnesses,” the kind that everybody experiences. The only difference is this artist fixes his visions on paper and canvas. Maybe not the only difference…

We’re not in Kansas, anymore, but somewhere deep in the imagination of Italian artist Alessandro Sicioldr.

Initially they are just quick impressions and I sketch them in one of my sketchbooks. This is the moment where the image has the greatest power in me. The painting or the drawing is a sacralisation of an idea, but the real idea lies in the sketchbook. I am very jealous of them, they are like a diary of inner exploration.

Sicioldr was born in Tarquinia, he now lives and works in Perugia. Art was not his first choice. He graduated in computer science before taking up a paintbrush. He is self-taught, though his father, also a painter, gave him “some basis” in the craft which influenced his liking for Renaissance artists like Piero Della Francesca. But Sicioldr has never been to an art class in his life. Instead, he taught himself by copying paintings. He’s lucky. He lives in a country that filled with great art.

He has a liking for the Baroque, citing painters like Cagnacci, Cavallino, Stanzione, Ribera, as well a taste for Mannerism and for medieval art. Old art is better.

The quality of colours, the beauty of the composition, the technical capabilities, the concepts and the symbology was way greater in the past. I’m not a nostalgist, I just want to study from the best sources, taking inspiration from the entire history.

Once Sicioldr has sketched his visions on paper, he begins the process of “craftsmanship and improvisation.”

I have no rules for references, often I paint from imagination because it is hard to find models like a giant bird chariot with a strange head inside moving on roots with heads inside and pulled by sacerdotes wearing red capes in an icy landscape.

He has claimed he finds it difficult to talk about his pictures, their meaning, and imagery, “since they speak through a visual language which is ambiguous, sibylline.” Coming from a scientific background, Sicioldr is “careful when talking about mind, spirituality, symbolism and topics involving facts that are impossible to prove with rational means.” He just feels some images have an important meaning and so he paints them.

Rules and boundaries are useless when dealing with metaphysics, so I just let my inner world speak without asking questions. These images are important for me and when I think about them I get a particular feeling. They need to be represented and they follow their strange irrational rules. Why do I put an element there, or use that particular color? It is because it should go there, these are the rules of the painting. I don’t think about symbolism because deliberate and intellectual reasoning can spoil the purity of a composition and the result can easily be fake. I recently discovered that a lot, maybe all of my paintings are composed within the rules of the golden section without knowing, I find this incredible but this is how human minds work.

See more of Alessandro Sicioldr’s here.
 
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More strange visions, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.05.2017
10:40 am
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Extraordinary drawings in ballpoint and gold leaf
08.22.2017
10:00 am
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‘Funeral.’
 
With just an ordinary ballpoint pen, the kind we’ve all used to scribble down classroom notes or phone numbers for possible Friday night dates, Toronto-based artist Rebecca Yanovskaya creates exquisite, magical worlds filled with mythical beings and characters out of creepy old folktales (Bluebeard) which she then blings up with a lot of 22 karat gold leaf.

Yanovskaya has been drawing with a ballpoint pen since middle school and she finds it easier to use when bringing her imagination to life on the page. She usually starts off by sketching out her picture with a Bic Crystal on Moleskine paper. Then she fills out the background before working her way forward to the heart of the action. This allows her time to get a feel for how much light and shade the finished image will contain.

What I love about pen is that I can always jump back and forth to any area of the piece that I want to work on and not worry about smudging or messing up dark/light layers.

As for influences, Yanovskaya takes her lead from painters like the Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, the English Neo-Classicist John William Godward, and more obviously because of his use of gold leaf, her own personal favorite the Symbolist Gustav Klimt. She also pulls in ideas from her interest in horror, fantasy, and mythology—of which Yanokovskaya has said:

Mythology to me has always been about bigger than life struggles, and a world which is better than life, more idealized. The personalities are strong, exaggerated, passionate, heroic, beautiful. These are all qualities I want to capture through my art.

Once the picture is all drawn out, Yanovskaya adds the gold leaf to create the final image—which is exquisite and utterly enchanting.

Some of Yanovskaya’s artworks are available on a selection of clothing and she has also produced illustrations for the Netflix series Shadowhunters as well as a commerative coin design for the Canadian Mint. See more of Rebecca Yanovskaya’s work here.
 
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‘Paso Doble.’
 
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‘Bluebeard’s Bride—Chapter One.’
 
See more of Rebecca Yanovskaya’s amazing art, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.22.2017
10:00 am
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