Wrocław-based tattoo artist Joanna Swirska, aka Dżo (previously), produces nature-based tattoos through her own psychedelic lens. In one work a crystal-studded snail inches across ombre leaves, while in another, a ginkgo tree sprouts from the palm of a poised hand. Human forms are often overlaid with plants or animal motifs, such as her Frida Kahlo tattoo above which features the detail of a deep red bird mask inked across the painter’s face.
Dżo initially studied painting, and made her switch from canvas to skin about five years ago. You can follow more of her recent work on Instagram, and buy prints and other merchandise based on her tattoo designs from her online shop. (via Cross Connect Magazine)
New work from Lisa Ericson (previously) continues the Portland-based artist’s hyperrealistic compositions of animals. Set on deep black backgrounds, her paintings showcase unusual combinations of peacefully co-existing fauna. Pelicans support rabbits, snakes, and ocelots, while tree frogs and songbirds find homes on the shells of turtles. Her most recent paintings are on view through May 25 at Antler Gallery in Portland, in a show titled Invisible Promise, alongside work from Scottish artist Lindsey Carr. You can see more from Ericson on Instagram.
A new body of work from artist Josie Morway (previously featured here). Offering a mix of hyper-realistic detail and chemically bright colours, Morway’s wildlife portraits convey both beauty and brutality. While initially striking — enticing viewers to take a closer look — the images also carrying a distinct unnaturalness, as well as slightly darker undertones that hint toward human encroachment and intrusion. As Moray explains:
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what we humans demand of – and project onto – the wild. Not only in the obvious sense of callous disrespect, the way we continue to relentlessly trample and deplete nature. Even those of us with the most reverence for nature demand so much from it… we expect it to inspire us, calm us, to symbolize us, to purify us and even to cure us. It’s a lot to ask.”
No matter how bold or finely detailed Moray’s paintings may feel, her hope is that we are left more unsettled than satisfied. Moray ultimately leans more toward the surreal than the real in an effort to displace our traditionally comfortable positions as viewers and creators of art: “I want to leave nature a bit impenetrable in order to remind us (myself included) that it’s not all about us.”
See more of Moray’s humbling work below.
Polish artist and graphic designer Dawid Planeta summons large beasts in his series of mystical grayscale illustrations set deep in the jungle. The series, Mini People in the Jungle, presents animals in profile, with glistening eyes that illuminate the darkness surrounds them. A small child is also present in each work, bravely facing the towering creatures with a torch or outstretched arms.
Planeta works his own experiences into the mysterious work, channeling his history with depression into a source for creative energy. “Depression – it’s not easy to deal with, but when you try, you can stop thinking about it as a weakness and turn it into something brilliant,” said Planeta. “That’s what I aim to accomplish with my art. [The] things I’m trying to depict are dark, mysterious and frightening, but if you look closely, you will find excitement, passion and joy.”
UK-based paper artist Lisa Lloyd builds dazzling birds, floral arrangements, and feasts from multi-colored layers of precisely cut paper. Her three-dimensional works are most often inspired by naturally occurring colors and patterns, which is apparent in the geometric shapes and layered textures found in her works’ feathers, scales, and wings. Recently two of her creations were featured at Milan Design Week as a part of a Wunderkammer curated by CASAfacile magazine. You can see more of Lloyd’s paper sculptures and design work for brands such as Asahi, Elle Decor Italia, Grolsch, Disney, and the BBC on her website and Instagram. (via Lustik)
American designer and illustrator Jenna Barton combines watercolor and digital processing to create mysterious anthropomorphic scenes of dogs, foxes, deer, and other four-legged beings. These eerily rendered creatures often have blank glowing eyes which suggest the animal is possessed or hiding a deep inner world.
Barton is based in Utah, which translates into her work through broad sweeping pastures and farmland illuminated by twilight. These settings add to the heightened tension presented in the animals’ demeanor, while providing a fitting background for her editorial illustrations, album art, game artwork and custom tattoos. You can buy select prints through her online store, and view more of her animal-based illustrations on Instagram and Tumblr.
German artist Hans Op de Beeck creates life-size figural sculptures and immersive environments from materials such as coated wood, polyester, and pigmented plaster. These chosen materials turn his constructed figures and installations into a uniform shade of matte gray, which makes the viewer feel as if the world around them has been zapped of color.
In his 2016 work The Collector’s House, Op de Beeck produced a 2,600-square-foot monochrome space in which visitors served as the only element of color. The museum-like installation contained several life-size sculpted figures in addition to a library, grand piano, furniture, scattered still lifes, and a lily pool positioned squarely at the work’s center. This work, like many in his practice aimed to stimulate the viewer’s senses and to “create a form of visual fiction that delivers a moment of wonder, silence and introspection,” he explained in an artist statement.
Op de Beeck currently works in both Brussels and Gooik, Belgium. Over the last decade, Op de Beeck has mounted institution-based solo exhibitions at museums across the US and Europe, including the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2010), MOCA Cleveland (2014), and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2017). You can view more of his lifelike figures and installations on his website.
Using only black ink, Malaysian illustrator Kamwei Fong has created a menagerie of playful black cats. Despite their contextual isolation and uniform style, each of Fong’s cats display unique personalities: some are fluffed and puffed into self-contained balls; others look with curiosity or wariness at fish that dangle or waves that crash from the animals’ own tails. The artist builds each feline form using innumerable short thin lines, varying the density of the marks to create volume as well as a palpable sense of furriness.
Fong has been working as an illustrator since 2010, under the moniker Bo & Friends, and in addition to his cat character, which he calls The Furry Thing, he dreams up similarly charming monkeys, goldfish, puppies, and other animals in his line-driven black ink drawings. Fong sells signed print editions of his animal illustrations in his Etsy shop, and also partners with Galerie Club Sensible in Paris. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Facebook.