Thursday, June 01, 2017

June Unicorn Of The Month: Marianne Bland

Locus: 24" x 24" oil on canvas

I consider myself a modern realist with influences ranging from Hopper to Thiebaud. Everyday moments are beautiful and special, but no one notices because we’re too busy not paying attention to the present- including me. I’m both fascinated and repelled by the dichotomies of humanity, and American society in particular. My hero is the American blue-collar, middle-class dreamer. But I vacillate between seeing that archetype, and the dark side of it all- the fool, the disconnected, the self-disempowered and easily manipulated amongst us. I’m part documentarian of the inevitable fall of the American empire, part industrial romanticist.

Parallel: 40" x 30" oil on canvas
Shelf Life: 36" x 24" oil on canvas

What I love about urban landscapes is that these settings are shared spaces imbued by a collective history, layered with memories of lived experiences. I often wonder what impact a painting can have in a world flooded with images, but my hope is that my work will inspire empathy by reminding us that we impact one another constantly, in ways we don’t even realize.

Underdog: 20" x 16" acrylic on canvas
Vultures, Bootleggers: 16" x 12" acrylic on canvas

A fundamental lack of empathy is at the root of the terrifying madness gripping humanity today…..soooo I’m going to fix it with paint? 

Hooray! ;)

Stardust: 36" x 24" acrylic on canvas

For more of Mariannes' work, check out her Website, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

May Unicorn Of The Month: Debra Swack

Animal Patterning Project Still

Debra Swack is digital artist with degrees in art and computer science, affiliated with MIT, and mentioned in Art and Innovation at Xerox Parc (MIT Press, 1999). Her interactive and immersive work explores the intersection between the arts, sciences, technology and culture, including their historical foundations and societal and ethical underpinnings.

Animal Patterning Project Still
Animal Patterning Project Still

She has received two Fulbright Specialist grants in Information Systems/Computer Arts and three co-production grants from Banff Centre that helped her realize ambitious projects, most recently 95 Chimes (relating music to string theory inspired by Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe, originally presented at the Museum of Natural History, as part of the ASCI-SCI-Art Symposium in 2002) at the Staller Center, adapted for 16 channel sound installation and Bessie nominated Animal Patterning Project dance performance, commissioned by the West Harlem Art Fund and Pratt Institute (Art Daily).

Animal 4, Animation Still.
Animal 6, Animation Still.

" I collaborate with scientists, software/hardware developers (wearable tech; Tobii eyetracking, Microsoft HoloLens), other creative disciplines such as dance and institutions /students. I work with 3D modeling, photometry, mixed VR, animation, video, photography, 3D printing and binaural sound."

Some of my current projects include The Emotions after Charles Darwin (universality of emotions on a biological level in collaboration with the Brain Mind Institute to help them with autism research, MIT Press) that has presented internationally.

Other projects include:
  • Cloud Mapping Project (all manifestations of the cloud from arts to technology including surveillance, MIT Press) that was presented at the Pera Museum in Istanbul while a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.
  • 95 Chimes (relating string theory to music a.k.a Brain Greene's The Elegant Universe) that was adapted for 16 channel sound installation for Resonant Structures (continuation of MOMA Soundings Exhibit) at the Staller Center (SUNY Stony Brook) in 2016 and originally at the Museum of Natural History in 2002 (in conjunction with the ASCI SCI-art Symposium)
  • Bloom (bio-acoustic communication between plants in collaboration with evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano, MIT Press)
  • Bessie nominated Animal Patterning Project (synthetic bio, software generated piece about displaced animals in the urban environment and their reintroduction by projecting their likeness onto the environment they once inhabited, Random House/Thames and Hudson) that I recently adapted for interactive dance in collaboration with the West Harlem Arts Fund and Pratt Institute.

More of Debras' work can be viewed on her Website, her Linkedin Profile, and be sure to click on the links below for more information.

Animal Patterning Project

Cloud Mapping

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