Eye on Art / 21

Hello, hello!

Happy June, dear friends! Is your weekend going well? June is shaping up to be a busy month – theatre internships in full swing, a summer job at Brown well underway, a family trip to Paris (!) – that this quieter weekend to read and write has been a welcome pause. In addition to digging into my newest library finds, you can also catch me listening to “Wait for Me” over and over and cheering on my favorites tonight during the Tonys (the theatre love never stops).

Nor too does my love of good art. I haven’t shared an Eye on Art in ages, and so I figured it was about time for the feature to make a return; it’s an opportunity for me to showcase artists whose work I’ve been enjoying as of late. Take it as a creative escape for your weekend enjoyment, then feel free to share your own finds – my list of favorite artists grows forever long, and I’d love to add to it with your suggestions!

Nathaniel RussellTo start, I’ve been crushing on Nathaniel Russell’s artwork for quite some time, finding it first on my social media feeds before coming across it again in an old New York Times article. I love art infused with heavy doses of humor and optimism, and Russell never fails to deliver, matching his signature wit with bold use of color and text across a variety of mediums (silkscreens! woodwork! painting!).

While each of his works is a delight, his many renditions of fake fliers might top my list. They are wonderfully inventive, finding humor in the world around us, but too serve as calls for reflection in contemporary times. Browse them on his online portfolio, or see them for yourself in his published book. Options aplenty! {website}

Ashley Seil SmithWhen I first came across Ashley Seil Smith’s illustrations, I fell head over heels for the colors that span across her body of work, a palette of golden yellows, warm pinks, and complementary greens. The themes of her work have been described as “the strength, resilience, and grace of women,” and it’s easy to see why: Smith’s pieces are crafted with a gentle, yet confident, eye and readily invite you in the lives of the women they depict.

Needless to say, her extensive portfolio is work to be savored, whether her portraits grace an online article, find a home on your own house walls, or make up what might be the coolest picture book around. I fear I repeat myself, but I’ll sum it up by saying it’s just all so good. I’m excited to see what she creates next. {website}

Christine Sun KimFinally, consider me a fan: I can’t get enough of the visual and performance art of Christine Sun Kim, a Deaf artist who explores her personal connection – as well as the larger societal relationship to sound – through a myriad of forms. She came to Brown this past spring, and while I sadly missed her presentation, my interest in her “quirky, playful, and rule-bending work” was certainly piqued.

Kim began her career as a visual artist but has since made her mark in the world of sound art. That in mind, I’ll leave it to Kim to describe how she incorporated both sound and Deaf culture into her work: “It wasn’t until I started delving into the world of sound that I found my voice.” Needless to say, I think it’s pretty darn cool. {website}

Here’s to a terrific Sunday!

Eye on Art / 20

Hi friends!

How are you? How are things? I think we can both agree: it has been far too long since I last posted here. This semester has been a whirlwind of good things, but I’m grateful to be home, however briefly, for my spring break. Since Brown schedules the vacation so late, I’m keeping it quiet: a few days to plan out remaining assignments and applications, the chance to see friends who are home for Easter, and a day trip into New York to see Hamilton (!!!) for the weekend.

I’ll also be using this week to catch up on reading and blogging – my pile of library books and folder of post drafts seem to grow by the day! I’ve had this edition of Eye on Art in the works for a month now, so I’m delighted that I’m finally able to share it. These three artists work nothing short of magic with their chosen materials, be it paper, colored pencil, or paint, and seeing their portfolios has me itching to return to the studio. As I browse art class possibilities, let me ask: are there any artists you’ve been crushing on as of late?

Lorraine NamTo kick things off, I think it’s hard to look at the work of paper artist Lorraine Nam and not smile. While her well-picked color palettes are worthy of note alone, I can’t get over her deftness with scissors and paper, through which she creates entire worlds. I suppose it’s a testament to her eye for small details – the mini trailer! the bookshelf! the tattoos! – that I can look at her pieces and find something new to admire every time.

I first came across Lorraine’s art when it graced the cover of Country Living (see it here), but I continue to follow it through her Instagram; it’s such a colorful highlight of my feed, and I love the small glimpses into her artistic process. Her recent project for International Women’s Day ranks as my current favorite, but let’s be honest: if I could see any of these in person, I’d be a happy camper. {website}

Natalie FossCall it a habit: I love to take note of the artists whose work appears in the pages of a magazine. I do it with Country Living, but I also do it with Entertainment Weekly, where I fell in love with a piece from Norwegian illustrator Natalie Foss. It took only a brief look at her portfolio before I was calling myself a full-fledged fan. How could I not? Her work is outer-worldly, captivating, and, most impressively, drawn entirely in colored pencil.

There’s no doubt that her portraits, with their soulful expressions, are amazing, but what I’m drawn to most is actually the star-dusted hands, shown above. As my studio class has proven to me this semester, hands can be harder to draw than they look, but Natalie makes it look effortless. That in mind, can I have a print of my own? {website}

Anna HoyleFinally, if you like art that makes you chuckle, look no further than Anna Hoyle’s portfolio of paintings. Based in Melbourne, Anna showcases a punchy sense of humor and a bright use of color in her series, aptly titled “Books.” Though they remind me of a retro age, the paintings are a response to the intersections between books and modern media. As she says, “A lot of the books I paint are the kind of ridiculous or absurd things that you might want to look up on the internet. They are kind of follies.”

If you weren’t already in love, Anna isn’t limited to book paintings, as she also boasts a wide collection of ink drawings and other illustrations. Nevertheless, my heart remains with her silly, satirical illustrations. I want them to line my (admittedly, imaginary) home library walls. {website}

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Eye on Art / 19


Eye on ArtHappy Tuesday! How is your week coming along? For fellow students, how is your school year so far? On my end, after this month of midterms, production schedules, and the continued transition into college, I’m looking forward to the break Thanksgiving will provide. Brown is starting to feel like a home away from home, but I’ll admit: I’ve been counting down the days until I can see my friends in person and have my favorite Turkey Day dishes (homemade cranberry sauce, anyone?).

This morning, I still have a few readings to attend to, news to catch up on, and a Secret Santa present to plan (!!), but I first wanted to share another edition of Eye on Art. I keep a running list of people I’d like to feature in this series — some of which I add after seeing only one piece of theirs — but the three below are artists I’ve long admired. Whether it’s in the form of books, illustrations, or portraits, they make me want to create all day long! What art have you been crushing on as of late?

Jennifer GriffithsTo start, it’s not often that I see book covers treated as works of art outside of the bookish community. It’s a shame, because I’ve found many a gem in the portfolios of cover designers and art directors. One of my most recent favorites is the work of Penguin Random House designer Jennifer Griffiths, a small sample of which is shown above. Though the genres of the books she designs differ, they are consistent in their display of a strong understanding of type, image, and the ways in which they can intertwine.

I’d say I’d like to have copies of all of the books she designed for my shelves, but to do that would leave the covers unseen. I’ll settle instead for admiring from afar — particularly the cover and interior design of The Dead Husband Project. Isn’t it stunning? (Psst: If you want more thoughts on all things cover design, I suggest The Casual Optimist. The archives are a fun afternoon read!). {website}

Oana BefortI hate to use the term “hygge,” for I fear it’s wrongly being overused, but I can’t think of a better word to describe the artwork of Romanian illustrator Oana Befort. Clearly adept in her use of gouache, watercolor, and a number of other mediums, Befort captures, for me at least, coziness and nostalgia, not to mention the simplistic beauty of the outdoors.

With such a distinct illustrative design, it’s easy to see why Befort is in such high demand as a freelancer; in addition to her editorial and client work, she also has an Etsy shop where her prints are available for purchase. I myself want to buy a few of her pieces for my dorm room gallery wall — I happen to think the bunny or the deer paintings would provide much-needed warmth in the second semester. {website}

Rikki NiehausFinally, I’m never one to turn down a trip to IKEA — even if it’s only through paintings! As the humorous title suggests, the Swedish Landscapes series by artist Rikki Niehaus showcases the interior of the furniture superstore. It’s among her most acclaimed work, and for good reason: it’s a creative commentary on classic portraits and the all-encompassing quality of IKEA stores.

Niehaus’ portfolio, however, is not limited to showcasing suited men in patterned chairs. Her other paintings, which range from a smiling ballerina to a stony-faced and sitting duo, all illustrate her expertise in portraiture; as she writes, Niehaus uses the style to “confront and engage the viewer directly.” If I haven’t made this clear already, choosing a favorite would be a near impossible task — I like them all. {website}

Have the most wonderful Tuesday!