Benoit Paille loves to experiment a lot of different and creative ways of capturing light, color, and detail. He said: “I am above all else constantly experimenting with my immediate environment, both social and natural. To put it more accurately, my work focuses on questioning the limits imposed by humanity.” In his portraits, Benoit captures the raw emotions of his subjects. It is for this reason that a lot of artists use his work to practice drawing or painting. Curiously, Benoit is a self-taught photographer. He spent three years studying medical biology before shifting to Fine Arts. To date, he has had exhibitions in Paris, Moscow, Japan, Barcelona, and Los Angeles. He currently lives and works in Montreal, Canada.
Gottfried Helnwein grew up in post-war Vienna. As a young boy, he was surrounded by somber people haunted by a very recent past they refuse to speak of. The young artist took solace in the fictional universe of cartoons where, according to him was “…a decent world where one could get ﬂattened by steam-rollers and perforated by bullets without serious harm. A world in which the people still looked proper, with yellow beaks or black knobs instead of noses.” Most of his work is considered controversial since he focuses primarily on political topics, historical issues, as well as psychological and sociological anxiety.
Candice Sedighan is a young, up-and-coming photographer from Los Angeles, California. Thus far, her portfolio is basically a dog lovers’ dream. It’s mainly adorable snapshots of her dog Champ with an occassional portrait of her sister’s dog Pugsly thrown in. She said: “I really like to capture the true essence with dogs, which is that they’re always so happy. The time Champ and I spend together, he’s just always beaming with happiness and you can really see that through my photos.” Champ got her started in photography when she was thirteen. To date, she has taken more than 20,000 pictures of her canine buddy. She has also won around $5,000 in photography contests. Her photos have also been featured in at least three Hallmark cards.
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.
Alessandro Venier grew up in Pordenone, Italy. This 26-year old photographer has extensive experience in digital post-production, photojournalism, and still-lifes. He has recently started collecting images for a book. The idea is to capture the fast vanishing traditional crafts and the people who still engage in them. Those ‘women and men, witnesses and architects of a world that, despite the difficulties, and the modernization continue to exist.’ Alessandro want to look forward into the future, without forgetting the past.
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.”
Maskull Lasserre is a is a singularly talented wood carver currently based in Montreal. He was born in Canada in 1978 and spent a bit of his childhood in South Africa. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Art and Philosophy as well as a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture. His latest series “Fable” feature macabre carvings of animals, skeletons, and even a hangman’s noose cleverly incorporated right into everyday wooden furniture. He said: “When the remnants of life are imposed on an object, and that’s true especially with the carving work that I do, it infers a past history or a previous life that had been lived, so again where people see my work as macabre, I often see it as hopeful, as the remnants of a life. Despite the fact that the life has ended, at least that life had a beginning and middle as well, so often by imparting these bodily elements to inanimate objects it reclaims or reanimates them in a virtual way.”
Mu Boyan was born in the Shangdong province of China. In 1997, he graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts with a degree in Fine Arts. He obtained her Master’s degree in 1995 from the same university. His work has extensively been exhibited throughout the world. One of his more recent work tackles the touchy subject of obesity by featuring an adorable, but undeniably fat Sumo wrestler. Fat is fat, but there are two ways of looking at it. While an excess of adipose tissue may be unattractive to Westerners, in the East, it’s a sign of decadent wealth. After all, only people who can afford to be fat are those who can afford to eat more food than they absolutely have to.
David Olenick’s art combines clever wordplay with cute imagery to create entertaining illustrations a lot of people would want to wear. David finds the funny side of everything from lame excuses, bad decisions, to basic human behavior. You can almost forgive his nasty puns (An adorable hornet saying “Me So Hornet”) when he combines it with a quirky cast of characters. The drawings and lettering themselves are quite simple, but it is the combination of both that brings a genuine smile, or maybe even a laugh or two.
Walls, tunnels, and mounds of trash are all fair game for Davi De Melo Santos. This Brazilian street has peppered the streets with comic murals. Far from the common perception of street art as hateful vandalism. His subjects are most often a bit monstrous in origin, yet Davi manages to portray in them in an amusing way. David turns potential eyesores into a thing of beauty. In the art circles, he is known by his initials DMS. He currently lives and works in Brazil.