Laura Collins utilizes nostalgic imagery and combines them with feminine themes to come up with provocative collages. It takes a moment for the playfully ironic message of her work to sink in, plus, the incongruity of her collages make viewers do a double-take. Laura was originally a painter but most of the accolades come from her collage work. She said: “I initially used the immediacy of collage as a relief between working on large paintings, and gradually began valuing the medium in its own right as part of my professional practice.” Laura lives and works in Chicago.
Miya Ando is an artist of Japanese and Russian-American descent and was raised in a Buddhist temple in Japan and in the coastal shores of Northern California. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout the world: London, New York, South Korea, and California. Last year, she went to Puerto Rico for her installation entitled “Obon” after the Japanese Buddhist festival honoring the spirits of one’s ancestors. She released a thousand non-toxic resin leaves into a small pond. The leaves were coated with a phosphorescent mixture which recharges during the day and gives off a ghostly blue glow at night. Miya has a Bachelor of Science degree in East Asian Studies from Berkely where she graduated with a Magna cum Laude.
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Philippe Pétremant is a French photographer who creates interesting collages using different kinds of paper bills from all over the world. He calls this fascinating series “Les Sept Mercenaires” (The Magnificent Seven). The series is equal parts origami, collage, and photography. He begins with paper currencies from different countries, folds them is such a way so that only the parts needed show, then assembles the whole thing together using paperclips. Philippe then takes detailed, close-up photos of his work.
Yago Partal Studied Fine Arts in Barcelona, Spain. Together with Manel Soto, he spent six years putting together projects for Chesterfield International, Filmax, and Sitges Film Festival. He also exhibited a number of personal work during this time. After a while, he put design and illustration aside to concentrate on video and photography. Yago joined the DDT SFX company (which won an Academy Award for Pan’s Labyrinth) as a conceptual designer. While there, he worked in several films like J. A. Bayona’s “The Impossible” as well as Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In”. “Zoo Portraits” is one of his more recent series which features anthropometric animals cleverly dressed-up as humans.
Hong Yi’s previous work was a portrait made up of socks hanging from bamboo poles as well as a coffee cup-stained canvas portrait. She calls her latest body of work ‘creativity with food’. According to her, the series has helped her push the limits of her creativity by forcing her to churn out new designs every day. It has taught her to not be too serious about what she does, but also to pay attention to detail and to work within the confines of a very small area. “I keep a sketchbook with me where I jot down every idea that comes to mind. I shoot all photos with natural lighting, around 4-5PM when the light’s really nice and soft…this means I need to have my idea ready by around 3PM, so I’m usually rushing up on work like a mad woman in the afternoon.” Hong Yi admitted.
Sonia Rentsch is an Australian designer and stylist. One of her more recent compositions feature a variety of handguns made entirely out of dried plants. The series was made for the latest January Biannual. Sonia has a degree in Industrial Design from MIT, Australia. Her clients include the Suddeutche Zeitung (Germany), L’oréal Melbourne, and Christian Dior (UK). She was also the editor-at-large of some popular design papers. Before Sonia transitioned from film to still-life set design, she worked for the creative house Moth Design n Melbourne.
Mahmoud Hassan lives and works in Nasr City, Egypt. One of his more recent projects is a series of images for Faber-Castell’s line of coloring pencils where various objects and animals are seamlessly fused with colored-pencil tips. All of the images are rather amusing but the one where the Dachshund’s rear end is transmorgified into a pencil tip is my favorite. The expression on the dog’s face is simply delightful. It’s as if he’s eagerly waiting for a chance to be rubbed onto a piece of paper.
Florent Tanet was hoping to give people a reprieve from the dreariness of winter with his series “A Colorful Winter”. His series features precision-cut fruits and vegetables cleverly arranged to give the viewer a startling contrast. What’s amazing and amusing about his work is the painstaking care he took to make sure that the pieces of fruit or vegetable fit together seamlessly. He had apples and onions cut and connected in such a way as to resemble caterpillars. A stalk of leek had pieces of carrot and cucumber grafted into its stalk. One of my favorites is a couple of halved green and red cabbages arranged to look like a single head of cabbage. This series was on display at the Le Bon Marché department store in Paris.
A hundred years ago in Italy, artists roamed the land. For a coin or two, they would scratch a quick chalk portrait of the Madonna for you. These artist were thus called Madonnaris. Francois Pelletier is a modern-day Madonnari of sorts. He does incredibly accurate sidewalk reproductions of famous Renaissance paintings using layers of soft chalk. He is a full-time artist who travels and draws his income entirely from the proceeds of his work. He said: “I’m a busker and my public is my money and my inspiration. I don’t go looking further than that right now. I’m happy with what I do. I’m not selling anything, I’m not running after anyone, trying to sell a product or grab a contract. I do it and people give me just enough to travel around and pay my rent.”
David Zinn describes himself as an avid whistler, a haphazard ukulele player, a shameless word nerd, and an inveterate doodler. He is a self-taught artist who has a B.A. in Creative Writing and English Language. David has also been known to dabble in theater now and then. He has used ink, pencil, chalk, charcoal, paint (water-, acrylic, oil, and house), dyed silk, small rocks, cake frosting, and outdated computers to utilize art as a problem-solving tool. The playful and imaginitive humor found in his art is what sets it aside from other street artists. He said: “My career reflects a love of drawing, a love of words, and a keen desire to understand when to use which to make a point.”