Wednesday, March 01, 2017

March Unicorn Of The Month: Nissa Kauppila

"A bird on the wing can be so ephemeral as to seem hallucinatory — no sooner has the brain received "rose-breasted grosbeak(?)" from the eye than the scarlet flash has dissolved into the trees. A hummingbird may not literally be quicker than the neural pathways that process it, but its passage is rapid enough to distort sight, to read as a streak in the sky rather than a fixed, fluttering point. 

Vermont-based artist Nissa Kauppila explores the transitory relationship between the bird, the brain, and the eye in her series in gouache. Feathered bodies distend in long, comet-like trails; vaporous wings and pointed feet bleed across the page like the lingering, smokey residue of a small explosion. Kauppila's paintings are faithful not to the anatomy of a great blue heron or a wood duck, but to what it's like to experience those species, briefly and gloriously. Her work isn't as literal as James Audubon's, but it's just as true." - Ben Goldfarb, Sage Magazine

Nissa Kauppila was born in Vermont, USA. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an M.Ed. from the University of Vermont. Her paintings are exhibited internationally, with current and future exhibitions in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States. 

Kauppila's immersion in Chinese painting has awakened a sense of fragility; her work explores the use of line and color as tendrils of tension while embodying a sense of wonderment for the natural and industrial worlds. She challenges the notion of context, forcing the viewer to confront the abrupt beauty of life and death through the explosive movements in color, line and depth.

More of Nissa's work can be viewed on her Website, Instagram and her Facebook Page.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

February Unicorn Of The Month: Laurelin Gilmore

My subject matter can be somewhat varied, but the human figure has always been my touchstone. For me, the body is an endless study of form and light and warmth and color. I am, like most artists, drawn to all kinds of art, but I am most deeply inspired by artists that celebrate the body. As an instrument, as a subject, as a statement, as a symbol. The human in my artwork is generally some version of myself, and some version of the viewer if I’m doing my job right.

My art looks at the place where separates meet, and explores through fantasy the experience of the would-be fence sitters as go-betweens, translators, and bridges between perspectives. I love the playful idea that these creatures would be perfect translators between humans and the rest of the species with whom we share our planet. But I hope the experience of the viewer isn’t limited to my viewpoint, my ideas, my perspective.

The blending of species in my art is also about my experience as a person of multiple ethnicities, that there is beauty and power in being a rare combination. I think this is a concept anyone can relate to. Examined closely, every person is a rare combination. Ultimately my aim is to engage the viewer in a conversation that I begin and they finish. 

The populous of my imagination come with a hinted mythology and evident symbolism so that I have fun when I make them, and people are engaged when they look at them. I am always excited to hear the story my painting tells for someone else.

More of Laurelin's work can be seen on her Website, Twitter and Facebook Page. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

January Unicorn Of The Month: Jared Konopitski

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are reading this and those who are not. This is for the folks in the first category.

I am Jared the Konopitski. I believe in making color look like it is loaded with sugar. Then Applying it to canvas with the intention of the viewer using their human eyes as a metaphorical straw. A straw that will will suck that "Sugar" straight into the brain and create an acrylic sugar rush leaving one craving more. 

So don't blink and enjoy the rush.

This cavity inducing eye candy, is filled with creatures and characters that exist in neon forests, under the rocks you walk by every day, in the splash farms of the sea or deep within your fever dreams. I believe in giving these worlds a voice. The worlds speak of a science beyond religion and a religion beyond science. A place where death is playful, ugly is beautiful and the weird is a delight ready to meet you.

These art doodles have hung in galleries, museums and boutiques around the world. They have been in such media as Heavy Metal Magazine, The New Yorker, Huffington Post, and possibly your living room. Take what you see, let it inspire you, create something and pass the weirdness on like it is a contagious smile.

More of Jared's work can be viewed on his Website, his Facebook Page, Instagram, and prints of his work can be purchased on Society 6.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

December Unicorn Of The Month: Scott Dietrich

Streets of Wealth and Treasure is the first book in a series of visual examinations of the built environment in Hong Kong. A reaction to living and working in North Kowloon, the series draws from the multilayered cultural, social, and physical nature of the city. The majority of the images used in the creation of this book and the others in the series were created in the Kowloon neighborhoods of Sham Shui Po, Yau Ma Tei, Tai Kok Tsui and Mong Kok; locations of high population density and rapid urban renewal.

The series represents an examination of the flood of visual stimuli the city creates. Each book is an interrelated and yet discrete visual statement about the city. Streets of Wealth and Treasure examines the layering that takes place thru the habits, patterns, and constructions found in the urban environment. Images repeat become layered and repeat again as the city is traversed through the routine of daily life. The resulting collections of images are printed, broken down, layered and repeated then reassembled and gathered into books; an expression of the multiplicity and intangible nature of the city.

Scott Dietrich received a B.F.A. from the University of Arizona in 1994 and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. He has worked in the higher education, museum, and commercial fields of photography for the past 20 years. Currently, he is a full-time professor at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) where he has taught photography and fine art for the past seven years at their Hong Kong and Savannah locations. To view more of his work, visit his Website.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

November Unicorn Of The Month: Jonathan Brooks

I grew up with The Twilight Zone and Creature Feature, The Photographs of Time Life and Vogue Magazines, LP Records and Mixed Tapes, and MTV Videos.
I love that we all have two sides, and explore Contrast & Juxtaposition, Light & Dark, Black & White, Life & Death, Beauty & Darkness, Past & Future.

My main form of artistic expression is photography and I express myself through abstracts, landscape, still life, and portraiture. I am deeply influenced by my film and photography idols (Alfred Hitchcock & Herb Ritts), as well as my advertising background. 

My heritage and growing up in South Florida are very prominent in my work. The tropical cultural and physical histories of our region serve as endless inspiration in my creative endeavors.

Last year, my Skull series was showcased on the CW Network's The Vampire Diaries, and my image Skull & Roses was displayed at the Louvre. My image Dreams is available at William Sonoma's West Elm and

Recently, my image Passion was used as decor in the new 20th Century Fox's summer film starring Anna Kendrick and Zac Efron Mike and Dave Need wedding Dates, and included in a 50th Anniversary video highlighting the impact of National Endowment for the Arts.

More of Jonathan's work can be seen on his Website, his Facebook Page, Instagram, and Twitter

Saturday, October 01, 2016

October Unicorn Of The Month: Raul Mejia

Before understanding any of my art I feel you should know my reason, I was born in Mexico, Mexico City to be exact, I was brought here in my mother's arms across the border as an immigrant, “illegally”, whatever that means... Anyhow I have always lived in two worlds America and Mexico at home it was all Mexican as soon as I stepped out into the streets it was all American the contrast is pretty big so no wonder most my life I was confused and conflicted. My art comes from my roots in Mexico my branches in America both strive for the kind of freedom that America offers. My art is reflections of Mexico and America like my little girl Isla whom it seems I do it all for these days.

I'm an American citizen these days since the amnesty act in the 80’s introduced by Ronald Reagan, that has not changed my ideals or even my feelings towards people from other countries. I still believe that we're all people and we all want the same thing on that note I feel that there was a large gap between American and Mexican culture and art and so in my life I felt like they were always missing pieces to the big puzzle of feeling represented, Mexican hero’s were not represented in any textbook I read growing up.

As a Mexican American, I've always looked for artists musicians even actors to somehow represent me or somehow look up to as a role model, I didn't see many so I decided that I would be that missing piece that I would create the artwork that I feel would bridge that gap and I don't know if I am or am not successful but the process gives me peace of mind. I feel as though in someway it helps I think; maybe somewhere out there there's a kid that feels like I once did and now can look upon my work and see that there is a middle and we the underrepresented are beautiful, strong,empowered. 

I use line work because I am self taught with no formal training, just practice drawing and for whatever reason illustration’s are innate in me. I use wood panels with acrylic paint, I use panels because it’s lighter on the wallet and I want everyone to be able to afford my art. 

Lastly I am having a Dia De Los Muertos celebration October 22 at the Latino Cultural Center 2700 Front Street in Sacramento CA. 95818 from 7pm to 1am along with a Dia De Los Muertos coloring book release on Oct 1st!

More of Raul's work can be seen on his website, and his instagram account.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Beware Of Art Scammers!

I hate the promotion part of art making, as I suspect many artists do. Even if you have financial backing, like an agent or a gallery, being an artist is tough. It's also disheartening when people try to scam you out of your blood sweat and tears. 

I'm sure many of my fellow artists out there have been hit with something similar to this scam, but in case you haven't, here is it. It has the same feel as the mysterious Nigerian Lawyer who contacts me from time to time about my unknown "billionaire uncle/aunt/cousin that made a killing in the construction business, but died suddenly, and with no living heirs, I am somehow the recipient of this said unknown uncle's fortune." 

Here is how it unfolded.

Starts of innocent enough. But immediately my BS meter is starting to twitch. First the name, Rob Smith. I know it's a legit name for millions of men, but still, it's TOO generic. Second, every piece on my website is listed as either "Private Collection" or "Price Available Upon Request." But maybe he just skimmed over the paintings and didn't really look. It happens. So my reply was this:

To which he replied:

Now the BS meter is in the yellow/orange border. Either this motherfucker can't read or, it's a scam. Why must I do extra leg work for you Rob? My website is user friendly and VERY easy to understand, just give it a look, take some notes on which ones you like, see if they are available, then inquire about the price. 

How difficult is that? 
But still, I gave Rob the benefit of the doubt:

His reply:

Now I know it's scam.

I could have unleashed a flurry of hate and fucks and such, but I kept it classy. And guess what "Rob's" response was? Silence. Nada. If this person was legit, they would understand my position and make proper arrangements if they REALLY wanted a painting.

This next one, isn't really a scam, but it's definitely shady.

Sounds interesting, but why would I pay Artblend money to work with them?  Artblend "sincerely welcomes the opportunity to work with you" but I would have to pay YOU money in order to do so?

Y'all contacted me!!!!

A day or so later, they followed up with this:

So what, I'm just "Dear Artist" now? 
No more "Hi Jeff?" I thought I meant something to you guys!
Again, why do I have to pay money to sell work with you?

And what are their "prices and discount plans?"

Are you fucking kidding me? 

Again, this isn't exactly a scam, but it does raise some major red flags with me. And yet, there are over 50 represented artists on the Artblend website. Which means Artblend is doing quite well. Maybe their artists are doing well, but I don't recognize any names, and the work, in all honesty, is really just "Meh." But good luck to them.

Anyhow, be on the lookout for scammers kiddies, and if you have any experiences with art scammers, let me know in the comments below.