Category: Art

The Art of Jana Brike

Latvian artist Jana Brike creates oil paintings that explore notions of innocence and coming-of-age narratives.

Her inspirations for work has been as diverse as: folklore fairytales, children book illustrations, imaginative soviet animation films and supernaturally realistic classical painting; the colorful forbidden rare secret imagery of the western pop culture surrounded by mystical, almost religious tone for the soviet children; the terrifying war and deportation stories that her grandparents, and their little brothers and sister witnessed as small children; pompous alienated eerie atmosphere of the catholic church ceremonies in the Latvian countryside, and the breathtakingly beautiful ballet performances in the opera house, where she was taken since the age of two, as well as others. – all the bitter-sweetness and irreality of the every day.

The main focus of Jana Brike’s art is  the internal space and state of a human soul – dreams, longing, love, pain, growing up and self-discovery.

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Sailor’s Wives

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Aphrodite with Kitten

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The End of the Last Unicorn

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Paradise of Shared Solitude

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Gardener and the Centre of the Universe

Mike Dargas

German artist Mike Dargas creates realism pieces with oil on canvas that show captured moments of intense intimacy and closeness.

In his portraits, Mike is not limited on certain types. He portrays young and old, beautiful and dark, fragile and strong people. They are lost in thoughts, show inner conflicts or transmit a unique or even holy calmness. The perfection of his technique seems to seek for the perfect image, like he was searching for the soul within each single one. With his works Mike Dargas challenges us to take a deeper look, to understand the nature of human being and to question our own emotional perception.

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Free Fallin

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Nothing Else Matters 

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Mutual Trust

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Blackened

The art of Frances Cannon

Frances Cannon is a 23-year-old artist and student from Melbourne, Australia, we chat to her about her body positive illustrations and what inspires her…

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Do you have a background in art? I have been drawing ever since I was a kid. It was fairly obvious to me from an early age that I wanted to study art and become an artist! I have just finished my Bachelor of Art (Fine Art) and I hope to study more and keep growing and expanding as an artist!

What inspires you pieces? I am inspired by humanity. Whether I draw about the body, emotions, relationships, life/death, dreams – everything revolves about what it is to be human. I am currently involved heavily in the body positive movement as well as empowerment of women and a lot of my art that I post online focusses on that subject.

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What message are you hoping to spread? I want people to see my art and feel connected. To feel warmth and happiness when they see it and to know they are not alone in their experiences.

Do you consider yourself a member of the body positive community? Absolutely! I had a lot of trouble loving my body when I was growing up, but over time I have learnt that hating myself takes way to much energy and that loving myself is so much easier and makes life SO much better! I definitely recommend.

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What medium do you use? What types of things do you draw? What medium I use depends on whether I am working from home or from my studio. My apartment is very cramped and doesn’t really have space for big works of art, so I usually do ink drawings or small watercolour paintings. When I have a studio I expand to doing big drawings in charcoal, or big watercolour or gouache paintings. I draw naked ladies a lot (though I do draw other things as well). The naked form is something I find truly beautiful and I find it empowering to draw bodies similar to my own.

Do you have any tattoos? What do you think of tattoos in general? Yes I have many! My current favourites are a tattoo of the character from The BFG, a book by Roald Dahl (my favourite childhood author). Another favourite is one of my own drawings of a girl hugging herself (a little reminder to love myself and my body). I love tattoos (especially black line-work tattoos) and I plan on getting lots more!

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Gypsy East Desert Erotica Photo Shoot

In the depths of the Rajasthani desert, the Gypsies created magic… 

Check out the Gypsy East ASOS for your own magical treasure that the gypsies discovered on their travels 

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Art direction & styling – The Gypsy East Collective
Model – Emily-Louise McGuinness
Photographer – Alexandre Fantie-James
Shoot assistant – Harry Newbould

 

Interview with Myra Brodsky

Editor Alice Snape recently got tattooed by Berlin-based Myra Brodsky, 27, aka spinsterette on Instagram, while she was guesting at Seven Doors in east London. Alice couldn’t resist asking Myra some questions while under the needle… 

Tattoo artist Myra Brodsky and editor Alice Snape at Seven Doors in east London Tattoo artist Myra Brodsky and editor Alice Snape at Seven Doors in east London

 

“Myra’s work is heavily influenced by art nouveau and the Victorian age – the periods of art that I am drawn to… so I couldn’t resist getting a tattoo by her while she was over in London. I picked a moon and hand from her flash, and conducted this interview while I was getting tattooed… just imaging the buzz of the needle as you read.”

Alice: “How long have been a tattoo artist for?”
Myra:
“I started tattooing in late 2008, after studying visual communications at university. My parents were always very anti me going into tattooing, but my father has now passed away and my mother has moved to Spain, so they are not part of my life anymore and are not aware of what I do. My parents were very religious and this is probably where their attitude came from. I was born and raised in a very conservative, jewish family.”

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Alice: “What do you think drew you to tattoos then?”
Myra:
“It was really actually by accident that I came into tattooing. I never planned it, I never had the wish to become a tattoo artist. My best friend started to tattoo, and I thought that seemed kinda fun. So she immersed me into the tattoo world, she had all the gear at home, and I started tattooing too. At first, just for fun – it was never big business or starting something serious. I did shitty little tattoos on my own body, but never thought it was something I could make a living from… I thought my parents would hate me and turn against me.”

“What did you do for a job at this time?”
“I worked for an ad agency. I found it really boring.”

“When did you start tattooing properly, as a job?”
“I actually started tattooing when I was still at university too, I used to have to do 12-hour days. I was still working at that agency and attending university and I was already tattooing. It was a lot to do. I found it easy as I didn’t have the wish to meet up with friends in my spare time. I was dedicated to my work, being productive was great.  Now I need tattooing for my living.”

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“Do you think that is something that is hard being a tattoo artist? Would you want to change it or be something else?”
“Yeah. I mean being self employed is hard in general. I hate that. I hate doing my taxes, I am really bad at counting, I cannot count at all! If I had the choice I would be a magician. My father comes from the casino business and when my sister and I were still young we used to go to Las Vegas pretty often. My sister and I grew up watching shows like David Copperfield. I admire those magic shows, even if it is an illusion, I love it. I wish I could do that.”

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“Do you think that has a big impact on your work?”
“Totally. I love all that imagery surrounding all those magic things. I also believe in magic powers. Whenever I have a problem I call my fortune teller instead of going to the doctor. They tell me different things, I can ask her anything. When I was planning my tour through Europe I asked her which shops would accept me. In London, she said there would be a chance that only one shop would accept me and now I am here at Seven Doors.”

“Do you plan to live in New York?”
“I want to move there and work Red Rocket tattoo in Midtown.”

“Do you think that is part of the beauty of being a tattoo artist being able to travel around?”
“I think it is a good thing. I know a lot of people who aren’t into travelling, but I am because I don’t really feel comfortable in just one place. I get bored so easily. I think it is a fun game  to have to challenge yourself to act like a local in so many cities. I like that kind of game.”

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“What is your favourite city you have been to so far?”
“New York. I like London too. You cannot really describe New York in words. It is just perfect.”

“How would you describe your style as a tattooist?”
“I would say I  don’t really want to put a name on that. I can only say what inspires me and what I use as reference. These are actually images from all of the great eras from the past, in art history. I know a lot about art history. Most of the things I take are from art nouveau and the Victorian age and Edwardian age. Art Deco is also nice but it is too geometric for my kind of thing. I rather like organic decoration elements, because you can always take them and change them for every part of the body.”

“Do  you like doing bigger pieces as well?”
“I prefer doing bigger pieces. But I don’t get to do many of them, I think because I’m not in one place all the time.”

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“What would be your favourite thing to tattoo? If you could do anything on someone’s back what would you do?”
“I think it would be a scene out of a classic novel or play. Maybe a play by Shakespeare or a novel by Kafka. Anything that is already existing, that I could adapt. That is what I like, because I think it is timeless.”

“How would you like your style to progress in the future?”
“I am planning on starting more big pieces with more detail, more history behind them. More details and meaning in general.”

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To view more of Myra’s work and to see where she will be working next, follow her on Instagram @spinsterette

 

Interview with Céline

We first interviewed Céline in 2014 (read the post here) since then she has had many more tattoos and is currently working on a body suit with Guy Le Tatooer. We caught up with Céline to find out more about her tattoo journey and what inspires the project… 


What inspired you to work so closely with one tattooist to create your body suit? I’ve had different approaches since I started my journey. For a long time I collected tattoos from a lot of different artists: Jondix, Gotch, Cokney, Sway, Burton, Mikael de Poissy, Rodrigo Souto, to name a few. But I don’t see the point anymore. I think meeting Guy le Tatooer certainly changed my whole perspective on tattoos and on how I wanted to be tattooed. I never thought I would get that much work from Guy but after spending time with him my vision evolved and in the end it just made sense to give him full freedom with my body suit.

How did you decide to create such a huge project with Guy? Who approached who? Well, it just happened. Things were not supposed to be that way,  I approached him in the first place to get a full back done. I guess he saw the potential of what we could do together and I think he pretty much knew right from the start the kind of direction he would take. But the project is in constant evolution. Every time we meet we discuss new ideas and ways of developing the project. We went from creating one piece to a full body project. Guy is now reorganising most of my existing work to create a cohesive look. It’s a neverending concept.

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Do you let him have creative freedom or do you both generate ideas? We both generate ideas and discuss everything. We don’t need to talk that much though, we are on the same page. And he obviously has all the creative freedom he wants.

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Do you worry that when it is complete you will lose a part of your life, that the journey will be over? Or will you be satisfied and feel a sense of achievement? There is no way I could get tattooed as much as I do on a permanent basis. It has to be temporary. Getting tattooed is not a hobby. And even though it should remain fun, it’s definitely not an insignificant process. Getting a body suit is a huge transformation for the body and mind.

I absolutely love the journey, I think it’s an incredible experience but I can’t wait for it to be over! I enjoy every minute of it but the more I do it, the more difficult it becomes. The pain is harder to take and I think harsher. Over all it’s mentally exhausting.

It’s a long process to see my final idea come to life. So I think I will definitely feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction the day I consider it’s finally over.

How did you make the decision to cover/change your existing front piece? I think the idea came up after Guy redesigned my chest piece. Like I said Guy is reworking every area of my body in order to create a cohesive look, which involves covering and/or blasting some old tattoos. We are basically creating a new look together. That’s the main idea. We don’t see tattoos as a permanent thing, even a tattoo can evolve. I think my chest piece is a great example. Phase two of my project with Guy is a full leg sleeves concept.

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Do you worry about offending artist’s work that you are covering? A journey is a series of destinations. Nothing is final. So, no I don’t worry about offending anyone at all.

How often are you getting tattooed, how long is each session? I started getting tattooed seven years ago but the last three years have been the most intense. I get tattooed once or twice every month. To give you an example I had a total of 16 sessions in 2015.

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What are your future tattoo plans? I suggest you follow my Instagram account to see what’s next…

Interview with Morg Armeni

Our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti chatted to Morg Armeni a travelling  tattooist and artist, about how Morg puts her soul into everything she does and how her passion for life is felt by all… 

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Your style is very traditional but you have put your own stamp on the genre, did you choose to tattoo in this way or did it choose you? It’s nice to think that ‘he’ chose me, and it can be true, in some ways. I love to put my own sort on magic into the tattoos I do. I actually use symbols that are familiar to me, coming from art, my musical background, and everything I like. Then I recreate an image that conceptually can be interpreted in various ways.
I like to imagine an idea, but also its opposite, both in colours and shapes. The contrasts are what make the difference.

When did you fall in love with art and tattoos? Since I was very small, even in kindergarten, my grandfather used to take me to Staglieno (a monumental cemetery in Genova). I could stay there for hours, I was fascinated by those beautiful statues and bas-reliefs.
I started drawing when I was 12-years-old, and I went to see my first exhibition, well the first I chose to see, which was Dalí After that I fell even more in love with art. At art school, in addition to learning the techniques of drawing, I studied the history of art and I loved ancient and medieval art. My love for tattoos was born from a fascination with the mystery and the underground scene in the 80s. All my musical idols were tattooed, and it was also thanks to them that I wanted to be tattooed.

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It seems like you have a sixth sense when you are about to create something for your clients, you always find the best way to draw any subject. What  are your methods for researching and creating a tattoo? I try to get to know the client first and understand how I can translate their idea into a tattoo.  I prepare a first drawing and then I simplify it, sometimes I also use photographs as references to edit my subjects. Often people are attracted to my imagination, and I think I accurately transform what a clients wants into a drawing.I like it when they trust my interpretation and my style of art.

Do tattoos leave a mark on your life, as much as on the client’s ?
Yes, of course! I put a lot of love into the creation of the subjects I tattoo. Often my customers and I reach a sort of harmony during the tattooing process and ritual which creates very positive vibrations that resurface when I happen to see them again.

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There are many differences between your paintings and your tattoos. Can you tell us the main ones? The main differences are the canvas and the techniques. I have to consider that the skin changes and ages, and that my customers will have my tattoos forever on their skin. With regard to the tattoo, I try to make sure that the subject represents and fits the wearer. I play with the customer’s ideas until the concept becomes a workable tattoo. That’s why I love sharp lines and contrasts.

In painting, I am definitely more surreal and visionary. For instance, I love micro realistic details for my paintings, but you won’t see many of them in my tattoos. I am in constant evolution in both fields, and both have my dedication.

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You have some really amazing pieces (by Rob Admiraal and Rudy Fritsch, just to name a few). Who else have you been tattooed by? Who do you plan to get tattooed by in the future?
I’m very proud of my tattoos and they make me happy, and these two guys you mentioned have been among the greatest inspiration I have had.
I also have pieces by Amanda Toy, Monga, Angelique Houtkamp and many others! I have a lot of talented friends from whom I would like to be tattooed by.
The list never ends!

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I am still so in love with the artwork you created that was exhibited at Somerset House. Can you tell us more about the whole process? I was excited when I got asked to contribute to this great event! I gave it my all to create something worthy of a museum like Somerset House.

It took me a month to decide what to paint, but it came to me in a dream and I created Flora’s clock. It really exists and is composed of different species of flowers, from all around the world, that open or close at a given time, so the flowers can be used like a clock to tell the time. The painting represents time, seasons, beauty, inner growth and realization of what we are, in the here and in the now.
Now I am also focused on some new paintings that will be exhibited in March at my solo show in Rome.

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Can you tell us why you decided to close your own studio in Genova? I let go a part of my life, yes. I closed my studio because I wanted to change, taking off a bit of bureaucracy, only dedicating myself to art and creation.
I will surely do some guest spots in London and in Milan, (Milano City Ink and Oink Farm) and now I’m living in Rome and guesting in some great studios.

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And finally do you have any personal advice for our readers?
I highly recommend to people, and also to myself, to spread positive feelings, as much as possible! So that we can change and affect more and more the reality around us and to improve the world in which we all live. It’s hard work but we can do it!

Lisa Smirnova Embroidery

Russian Lisa Smirnova creates beautiful hand embroidered pieces inspired by nature, tattoos and inspirational artists, including Frida Kahlo. Her embroideries look like they have been sketched rather than stitched and the muted and pastel tones add a dream like quality to her work.

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Follow Lisa on Instagram for more art