Words: James Watkins
 

Art is not a competition. Each artist's art is as valid (to themselves at least) as the next. That said, you will never see the work of a better artist than Jeff Soto. Obviously there is no accounting for subjective taste, but the fact remains, he is as good as it gets. There are numerous other artists with similar, savant-like abillities - all of whom are on some metaphysical artistic par with Jeff Soto, but none are better.

His combination of surreal, playful ideas (eg. faceless-alien-hairy-humanoid-with-deer-horns-painting-a-star-filled-sky-with-a-roller-and-paint... anybody?) with flawless, painstaking painting technique, allows for a truly amazing portfolio of work. A portfolio of work that keeps on giving despite countless viewings.

Soto was born and raised in Southern California, where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters. He has exhibited in galleries and museums around the world with his distinct color palette, subject matter and technique bridging the gap between Pop Surrealism and graffiti.

The effects of his early exposure to a combination of cartoons, science fiction and bad horror films still visually resonate through his works today. Other influences of his early development was the mid 80's skateboarding scene, where he became involved with the skateboard graphics and design. From skating there was a natural progression into graffitti, which provided the catalyst for his career into the visual arts. Developing as a graffiti artist in his teens, after high school he attended Riverside Community College and worked in the fields of comics, illustration, mural painting and graphic design before transferring to Art Center College of Design in 1999. In 2002, after graduating with Distinction from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, he continues to work as an illustrator but is now focused on his fine art career.

Heavily character driven, many of his mind's concoctions are suspended in mid-air and either hairy, jeweled, horned, feathered, spiked or a managerie of all of the above. Instantly accessible, his work is a treat even to those who make little effort to enjoy them, let alone anyone who takes the time to study the genius (because this is what art of this calibre essentially is) on display. Those in the latter category will enjoy the sensory wealth with gold buillions of visual satisfaction.

www.jeffsoto.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dave Kinsey is a vastly accomplished Californian creative who has spread his artistic talents amongst three major creative endeavours: his career as a fine-artist, his role as the head of his own creative design studio BLK/MRKT and as founder of the Kinsey/Desforges art gallery.

After a nomadic childhood upon being thrust into our unforgiving world in 1971, he finally settled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and subsequently the Art Institute of Atlanta. He then (much like a bird avoiding a harsh winter) migrated to his preferred warmer climates of California in 1994 to pursue a career as a designer and fine artist.

The success of his design company (he created the NERD ‘brain’ logo, the Black Eyed Peas ‘Elephunk’ icon, DC Shoes and Epitaph logos, and conceptualised the branding of the 2005 iPod campaign amongst scores of others) has allowed him the freedom to further explore his own personal artworks.

His work utilises a range of mediums, composed of wood, canvas, chipboard, oil and acrylic paints with found materials, paper, and pen to create multi-layered, textured works that reflect the convolution of our existence. His fine art has been shown in galleries and museums around the world and has been featured in numerous local and international print and online publications including The New York Times and Washington Post to The Citrus Report. He has also been invited to speak at institutions such as the Pasadena Art Center, UCLA, Montserrat College of Art and the Semi-Permanent conference in Sydney, Australia.

Of his work style he says "I like to work fast, unconsciously and spontaneously. I concentrate on good brushes and paint, pulling materials from my immediate environment and preparing my surfaces. I like to work on 5 pieces at a time and watch them develop in unison. I have been pushing the level of integrity in my work a lot though lately, looking deeper into color and mood to better capture and translate the human experience. I’m not sure I’d say my purpose is to capture anything in particular, but the concept of a universal human condition is something that I find complex and intriguing, essentially what it means to be human".

Titles of his work such as: "The Audacity of Hopelessness", "Unintended Consequence" and "Capital Punishment" aptly illustrate the inescable thread of humanity and the ever-present element of social commentary delivered in his work. It's always pertinent to remember that even artists of the calibre of Dave Kinsey are still just human beings, living, breathing and reacting to the contemporary world we all share with their art.

"I never wanted a normal job or to live a normal life. I never aspired to work for anyone other than myself. Repetition bores me. Traffic aggravates me. Stampedes scare me. I started doing stuff on the streets as a way to reach a wider demographic of people with my “unlearn” message; the positive reaction kept me going. Self-expression in a public environment, to me, is for the most part based on truth and not motivated by commerce… and that had a strong appeal to me as well. I like to channel ideas, thoughts or messages into my work that I wish to convey that I otherwise might never express. I also have a personal goal to expose as many people to art as possible and to honour the power art has when it’s created and accepted."

www.kinseyvisual.com

 
The Audacity of Hopelessness
 
 
Unrested
 
 
Unintended Consequence
 
 
Pendulum
 
 
A Rose Is A Rose, Is A Rose
 
 
Continuum II
 
 
Captial Punishment
 
 
The Scream
 
 
Straight No Chaser
 
 
Mizaru, Kikazaru, Iwazaru
 
 
Terminal Velocity
 
 
Musical Chair
 
 
Woman in Repose
 
 
Beast of Burden
 
 
Weeping Man
 
 
Black Diamonds
 
 
Subsistence
 
 
 
 
 
Words: James Watkins
 

Ryohei Hase is a freelance illustrator and artist based in Tokyo, Japan. His macarbe works express "the darkness of mind which is sad and gloomy but at the same time beautiful and strong".

Tapping the healthy water-levels of his inspiration well, Ryohei sources his ideas from his dreams, nightmares, peers, fears and his pet dog Kotaro. His character-driven paintings and digital renderings are full of animal-human cross-pollinations and feature the "people I love, people I am scared of or gremlins and fantasies from the dark corners of my mind".

The often misguided and melancholic search for scraps of meaning in the modern world is a recurring theme and idea in his imagery. With the titles of his works including: "Drown in the empty dried up room", "His only wish was to touch" and the "Meaningless scramble for more room", Ryohei is giving us an unapologeticly dark and cathartic glimpse into his world.

Citing H.R.Giger as a major influence, and using both traditional and digital mediums, Ryohei uses the skills he developed whilst working in the CG team and Namco games to render the characters and ideas he conjurs in his imagination with flawless, haunting and surreal artistry.

ryoheihase.com

 
 
 
 
Drown in the empty dried up room.
 
 
Battle
 
 
Not knowing why can't see and can't breathe
 
 
His only wish was to touch.
 
 
The last thing we do.
 
 
Meaningless scramble for more room.
 
 
Uninterrupted Chain
 
 
 
 
Go forward and forward
 
 
 
 
 
Words: James Watkins
 

Imagine you are tiny, smaller than your little finger, and your creator has not blessed you with the power of movement. A giant beast has just laid eyes on you and is making its way towards you at a synthetic-hair-raising pace (if only you were the size of a normal human, you would just be looking down at a fucking annoying poodle). Fear is in your tiny, plastic eyes. You can do nothing as the woollen juggernaut opens its cavernous jaws and easily, and without thinking, slurps you into the bowels of his warm, saliva-slathered mouth.

These are but one of the inherent dangers of enlisting to become one of London based artist Slinkachus miniature bastions of satirical resistance to the monotony, loneliness and banality of modern day city life. His loyal subjects, often sent on kamikaze missions, for the greater artistic good have now been installed all around Europe, in London, Manchester, Stavanger (Norway), Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Athens, Marrakech and Grottaglie in Italy.

"My 'Little People Project' started in 2006. It involves the remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters, which I then place and leave on the street. It is both a street art installation project and a photography project. The street-based side of my work plays with the notion of surprise and I aim to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings. The scenes I set up, more evident through the photography, and the titles I give these scenes aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. I want people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in my works."

www.slinkachu.com

 
They're Not Pets
 
 
The Last Resort
 
 
 
 
Relics
 
 
 
School Trip
 
 
 
 
The Sights
 
 
 
 
Wet 'n' Wild
 
 
 
 
Background Noise
 
 
Blaze of Glory
 
 
Chicken Tikka Distasta
 
 
Dynamic Duo
 
 
 
 
The Feast
 
 
Glory
 
 
 
High Expectations
 
 
 
Maz and Joe
 
 
 
Spilt Milk
 
 
 
Boys Own Adventures
 
 
 
 
 

it’s just me

my art is me

i love rain

i love rain

i love rain

i’m moderately and reasonably difficult

that’s me and i’ll always be me

i paint

i draw

i think out loud

but you’re so wrong if you think you know what i’m thinking

i’m rather quiet

but i know i have your attention

i sing off key

i drink coffee sweet bitter and creamy

poseidon will be my other lover once i learn to swim

and my tiger’s name’s hobbes too


www.mimiyoon.viewbook.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Words: James Watkins
 

A collection of some old and new work by Conrad Bizjak. Viewing the combination is much like watching the old and new series of Star Wars, except Conrads old work is not a crap, commercial cash-in with terrible characters like the big eared annoying thing whose name I can't even be bothered Googling.

Conrad decided to repaint my bedroom walls and we decided a massive black and white portrait of Jim Morisson would be the go. It came out pretty sweet so he decided to paint another two portraits, of one of his main artistic influences, Dali (who later we have all agreed looks freakishly like Conrad). To get some idea of how difficult it is to paint giant portraits with spray cans, pick up a pencil and try and draw a small likeness of someones face, then times that by a million and your somewhere in the vacinity.

His illustrative work below is akin to a Noah's ark of animals, ideas, naked woman and a industrial amount of hallucinogenics smashing onto the rocks of a deserted island, with the survivors then pulling together in artistic harmony, before degenerating into a crossbreed of Lord of the flies meets twisted Korean horror movie Batte Royal....

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

More than a decade ago Matt ‘ADNATE’ first picked up a spray can, sparking a flow of creativity that has never been blocked.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Matt ‘ADNATE’, bore witness to one of the most avant-garde street art capitals of the world. He has contributed to the scene through scores of graffiti murals. In recent years his street works can be seen in New York, Paris, Berlin and more. His art has also been landing in galleries, including a Spanish Council sponsored exhibition in Barcelona.

In January, 2010, Matt ‘ADNATE’ drew a 500+ crowd at his first solo exhibition ‘Demand Attention’ at No Vacancy Gallery in Melbourne. ‘Demand Attention’ explored elements of life, beauty, the environment and urban decay. The standout piece of which was a thought provoking, two-meter tall wild-style wooden crucifix.

One year on, his next solo show ‘Signs of Life’ is located in the heart of Melbourne’s Federation Square at the No Vacancy Gallery Project Space. This time round Matt ‘ADNATE’ has pushed himself further by focusing on portraiture, fusing raw street textures with classic illustration techniques and mediums. This has taken his clash between graffiti and fine art to the next level.

“I obsess over clashing graffiti, one of the most hated and loved art forms in the world, with fine art,” says Matt ‘ADNATE’. “Most people would never expect to see ‘tags’, the rawest element of graffiti, fused with fine art style portraits.”

Growing up as a graffiti artist, Matt ‘ADNATE’ has always seen art on the street from a different point of view. To him, all forms of graffiti, including ancient works, are all 'signs of life'.

“People have told stories by making marks on walls for thousands of years. It lets people know they are alive and in turn has helped ancient cultures survive. If graffiti/street art didn’t happen, we would never know these people even exist.”

2011 is guaranteed to be a big year for Matt ‘ADNATE’, with his next exhibition locked in for Berlin, Germany. Be sure to stay tuned as he takes on the world’s contemporary art scene armed with brushes, spray cans, hacksaws and a bachelor in graffiti art.

www.demandattention.com.au

 
 
 
 
Words by James Watkins
 
 

Perhaps the most striking element of Nathan Trapnell's work, is the character. His work has character. Whilst you view the work, you can't but help imagine what he was thinking whilst he was conjurring up the personalities who populate his imagery.

The viewer shouldn't let the fun, playful and cartoonish feel of the art works trick them into thinking they are simple, or of a lesser calibre than other, seemingly more complicated works. Nathan's illustration work is of the highest calibre. Clean, well-thought-through and, most importantly, flawelessly executed. His line work is immaculate and his use of black negative space is effective in creating the bold, graphic feel his images possess.

www.thesouthpaw.com.au