Almost 2 weeks ago I attended the opening of the Rojo Rojo exhibition at Miscelanea Gallery in Barcelona. The gallery was jam packed, with some fantastic artworks on show. I was thrilled to see works by Joao Ruas and a beautiful painting by Paula Bonet. The exhibition was a wonderful example of artists working together, as each pair created a conversation of works using the colour red, the size of the artwork and the medium of paper as common threads. The exhibition is up until the 23rd of December with the works for sale as well as an edition of prints available. Artists include Mariana Santos, Chamo San, Anjo Bolarda, Berto Martinez, Charmaine Olivia, Conrad Roset, Guim Tió Zarraluki, João Ruas, Paula Bonet, Ricardo Cavolo.
Kent Williams is an American artist painting in an incredibly expressive style. His works evoke shards and scenarios as if from some not quite remembered dream. The colour palette emphasising the soft focus, where figures emerge, blend and join in folds of paint. The artist has worked as a graphic novel illustrator, creating a number of covers for Hellblazer, and his paintings have been exhibited across North America, in various gallery shows.
This is the work of Phil Hale. Mostly working in figurative art, his work received recognition through the National Portrait Gallery where he has been awarded various prizes. Initially working soley as an illustrator, he created work for a variety of publications in America, and apprenticed to Rick Berry. Isolated figures are often the subject of his paintings, with stark backgrounds, surreal landscapes, his figures sometimes oddly contorted. He was commissioned to paint the portrait of Tony Blair which hangs in Westminster. His work graces the covers of a mountain of books, including Penguin Classics, where he worked on covers for six Joseph Conrad stories including Heart of Darkness. Hale currently lives and works in London. His artwork has been compiled into 2 publications, including most recently – Goad.
Joao Ruas is probably one of my favourite artists. I have been following his work ever since I picked up my first copy of the graphic novel Fables a couple of years ago, with one of his illustrations on the cover, his artworks never fail to disappoint. Hailing from Sao Paulo, he’s just one of those artists whose work makes me wish I could emulate easily. For now however I shall have to stay content just being jealous and staring at his amazing paintings and drawings for hours. Those muted tones just speak to me!
The way his characters appear and emerge from the painted canvas or paper, draw your eye into details, that you may have missed upon first glance. Ruas is also known as Feral Kid online, and hosts a great tumblr filled with interesting, alluring, if somewhat dark images, which you can clearly see inspire his fantastic works. Check it out!
Another post from the history books, here is the work of Robert McGinnis. Fantastically curvy women, often semi nude, recline, seduce, or blast you with giant lazer guns. McGinnis female characters graced movie posters and paperback books, and you have probably come across at least one of his illustrations, in the shelves of a library or on a vintage poster in a hip cafe, his pin ups certainly catch your eye, and transport you back to the 60’s, Barbarella, or Bond offering a you Martini. Shaken not stirred. What really captures my attention, is is use of colour, swathes of blue or red, white backgrounds, the space draws you right in, focused on the characters, where, his often tongue in cheek subjects, delight and entice.
He is still painting to this day, and his artworks grace the covers of Hard Case Crime novels.
Joseph Christian Leyendecker, an American artist and illustrator working in the early 20th century, is most well known for his posters and magazine work for the The Saturday Evening Post. Influenced by Alfonso Mucha, and Toulouse, he lived in Chicago and then New York, where his paintings propelled him to the forefront of American advertising illustration. His popular paintings for the Arrow brand, based on Charles Beach, his partner and assumed lover, became synonymous with the ideal man during the Roaring Twenties. Chiselled jaws and broad shoulders with deft, sharp brush strokes, he was able to project the perfect fashionable American man.
Indeed his drawings influenced design and his work for various brands set the standard for many aspects of popular culture during the time. Leyendecker was good friends with Norman Rockwell, whose own early work often drew inspiration from J.C’s. Parties hosted with Beach, at his home in New York make me think of “The Great Gatsby”. I love how his paintings use the placement of paint not only to depict his subjects, but also as a design element that complements the work as a whole.
“Due to his fame as an illustrator, Leyendecker was able to indulge in a very luxurious lifestyle which in many ways embodied the decadence of the Roaring Twenties. However, when commissions began to wane in the 1930s, he was forced to curtail spending considerably. By the time of his death, Leyendecker had let all of the household staff at his New Rochelle estate go, with he and Beach attempting to maintain the extensive estate themselves. Leyendecker left a tidy estate equally split between his sister and Beach. Leyendecker is buried alongside parents and brother Frank at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. Charles Beach died a few months after Leyendecker, and his burial location is unknown.”source wikipedia