We can’t get enough of the fun and colourful pop art that Mexican photographer and graphic designer Paul Fuentes creates. In this post we share some of our favourite pastel-coloured animal-filled pieces of art…
We can’t get enough of the fun and colourful pop art that Mexican photographer and graphic designer Paul Fuentes creates. In this post we share some of our favourite pastel-coloured animal-filled pieces of art…
Chinese raised New York based artist and designer Tina Yu creates incrediblely colourful and detailed sculptures. Here we share a few of our favourites…
Here, 25-year-old embroidery artist and warehouse production worker Jessica So Ren Tang, from San Francisco, tells us all about her beautiful hand-stitched pieces and the inspiration behind them…
“As a child I knew I wanted a career in the arts. Throughout school I learned and experimented with various mediums, I started embroidering and playing with fabric and thread in my senior year of college in preparation for my senior exhibition. I graduated with a BA in Studio Art at Mills College in Oakland, CA.”
“I had semester-long assignment which involved playing with different materials and. for one of the experiments. I made a cup noodle container. I quickly found that styrofoam was a poor sewing material, so I began to replicate a cup noodle container with fabric instead. I enjoyed the softness and texture of embroidery in my sculpture pieces and I continued looking for other objects to replicate. I was more interested in sculpture but disliked the bulk clay and similar mediums had.
“I continued to embroider because I loved the flexibility it gave me, as well as its rich history of being women’s work. In the future I want to explore more fibre art and sculpture and keep pushing my skills in fabric and thread.
“I draw inspiration from memories of my childhood and my experiences of being an Asian American woman. For my object series, I look for items that I have bought or used that have Asian/American significance and use. Specifically, I look for Asian snacks and containers that I have used or seen in my childhood. Replicating objects in fibre is my way of exploring my Asian American identity – it is a way for me to replicate the duality of being too Chinese to be American and too western to be really Chinese.
“Initially, it was not my intention for my pieces to have connections with tattoo art. Replacing the skin of suggestively posed Asian women was intended to obscure the girl’s identity, in an attempt to address this Asian American dual identity experience. the girls’ facial markers are removed but replaced with an Asian pattern, still retaining an Asian identity but non-specific to her ethnicity. But the style of pattern on the girl has specific origins to an Asian culture. I look for a variety of Asian patterns but so far they are mainly of Japanese and Chinese origins. Although I am looking to expand to different Asian patterns in my future pieces.
“My girl series was inspired by Ikenaga Yasunari’s paintings of women and textile patterned clothing. The female forms help to emphasise the feminine medium that is embroidery, but it is also a familiar image that I express myself through. I create a little piece of myself through each girl, in the hopes of creating a tangible object that encompasses my Asian American experiences.
“The colours in the patterns help to highlight a figure but to pull back and flatten – sort of like a silent wallflower girl. The facelessness of the women is to suggest a general Asian identity without pinpointing a specific nationality. Extending the pattern to the entire body was more aesthetically cohesive and balanced. Having the pattern on just the face drew too much attention to the head when I wanted the entire figure to be emphasised.
“My object series, depending on the size and complexity, range from a week to a little over a month to be finished. Each mini girl takes about 50 hours of stitching and 100 hours for the larger girl pieces, as everything is stitched by hand.
“My works are currently not for sale for a variety of reasons. I still have a small body of work due to how long it takes me to complete one piece and exhibiting would be difficult if I started selling, I’m still attached to my pieces and I’m hard pressed to let them go, and I don’t have much free time outside of my day job and selling would take me away from working on my art. Of course, many of these reasons will eventually be solved and I do plan on selling my work.”
View more of Jessica’s work on Instagram: @jessicasorentang
By combining sacred geometry, erotica, and ethereal psychedelic visions, artist Jak Nola reveals a world as unique and capturing as her own appearance portrays. Swathed in layers of tattoo, her tongue bifurcation, tattooed eyes, and scarification render her own body an art work in progress.
While visiting Australia, she catches up with Fareed to talk about her art, tattoos, and how to go about attaining a free mind.
*this article contains a graphic image of a tongue bifurcation.
Hey, Jak. So, tell us about your life in New Zealand.
I was born in Napier, but I’ve lived all over the south and north island. Out of all the countries I’ve travelled to, New Zealand is by far the most beautiful; the lands here are powerful.
I’m a vegan that’s been creating art since I can remember. I have played guitar for about 16 years, so music is a huge part of my life. I only play for enjoyment though. I love building things, such as tables out of drift wood, anything out of old instruments, usually guitars. And I’ve also found a passion for creating jewellery.
So, my life is generally me doing all the above while traveling. I can never keep still, I love exploring new environments as much as I can, because I’ve found that new information stimulates my creative ideas profoundly.
What is the motivation behind your body modifications?
The motivation behind my body modifications… the human body in my eyes, in a sense, is a walking canvas, so I’d feel a fool to live this life without expressing my own in a way I find visually appealing.
Because of your striking tattoos you’re subject to a lot of positive and negative appraisal through social media. What is that like?
It appears people who tend to write negative comments, are either just bored, dealing with their own issues, or heavily indoctrinated…it’s easy to attack people behind a screen, but most wouldn’t do it in person… so I don’t take any of it personally. As for the positive comments, I appreciate them immensely and take them gladly to heart.
Okay, so, let’s break this down, can we can safely say you’re currently in a third permutation of a body suit?
Yup roughly third one, some areas less, some more. I started with traditional Celtic/tribal, all except one a design of my own, all terrible though! But that’s all part of it, I learnt, as with everything. Then eventually I gained a body suit and modifications rather fast, still not how I wanted to express myself. So now I’m in the process of covering everything, with a full body concept of blacks, whites and scars. A process that will take a lot of time and endurance but it’s a true vision of my body, for myself.
One thing that will stay will be my full back piece, from the top of my neck down to my ankle it says “Maybe Logic”, which is from my most influential author, Robert Anton Wilson. His words have inspired this idea of reality being perceived more in an ambiguous sense, which for me is far more fun and confusing. I think to be subjected to one ideal obviously limits the mind’s exploration of its experiences.
In saying that, I do enjoy the idea of there being a “truth” to this whole experience, but I’d imagine it to be something we couldn’t conjure up with the instrument we have for processing (human brain). Maybe. Plus, being stuck in a linguistic construct doesn’t help that exploration anyway. Many writings as such, along with psychedelics, have heavily influenced my creations.
In what way?
Pure psychedelics have widened my perceptions, given new ideas, understandings and depths to my creative expressions. I take them with respect, they are not something I would abuse. Through psychedelics I learn, love, laugh and just enjoy life as I usually do but in new ways.
And while we’re on that topic, you create art on many mediums, such as painting, jewellery and tattoos, could you tell me about each?
I’ve drawn since I was very young, along with playing music. I’m self-taught in almost everything I do. My art has transformed immensely over the years due to life experiences and psychedelics. Generally, it’s a combination of geometry and sacred symbols, or sex… as I have a passionate love/hate for it. I’m aware of the immense positive and negative aspects to it.
I started teaching myself tattooing around the age of 15, but over the years I have learnt different techniques with different artists around the world which I am grateful for. Most of my art is done on a thick paper because its best for me to travel with. I’ve been trying to do art on a canvas over the last few years but it’s much more difficult for me, it’s always worth it once I’ve finished though.
I’ve been making jewellery for a few years now, usually when I’m traveling I’ll find precious gems or pendants and make something with them. It’s very therapeutic.
With my tattoos, I like to somewhat connect with the person, and I only do tattoos that I enjoy doing. In my mind, it’s an art form, not work. I love doing mandalas and geometric designs with dots. Although I’m always keen to learn new ways of tattooing, so I have no idea where that path will take me
Written on one of your paintings is ‘At the peak of every orgasm is a truly free mind.’ Could you elaborate on this?
I’ve written this in a lot of my art, it’s one of the truest statements in my mind. When you reach the peak of an orgasm, there’s no stress, no frantic thoughts, no worries, it’s just you and that peak of bliss. A free mind from all of life’s daily, cluttered thoughts.
instagram : jak_nola
facebook : facebook.com/jak.art.nz
online store : www.etsy.com/shop.jaknola
24-year-old 3D artist Filip Hodas based in Prague, creates mesmerising beautiful and surreal art. Digitally crafted, Hodas transforms the earth’s landscapes with bursts of pastel colours, billowing smoke and dreamy textures, his textural collages feature enchanting crystals and animal skulls – we just can’t get enough!
24-year-old Sonia Kolner is an illustrator and retail worker based in Oakland California. We chatted to Sonia about her dark illustrations, what inspires her and her tattoo collection…
Inspired by Things&Ink Sonia created this illustration just for us…
What medium do you use? How do you create each piece? I use mainly crowquill for my pen and ink work. I also work on printmaking from time to time, mostly consisting of lithography. I create each piece digitally and traditionally. The end result is always fully traditional, however I like to collage digitally beforehand. It makes planning a lot quicker and I can scan/scale elements easily. I am committed to the idea of being a pro at Photoshop slowly but surely.
What do you like to draw? I love drawing anything anatomy related, eyes, patterns, distorted or conjoined things. I also find comfort in drawing nature such as flowers, and of course snakes and bats.
What inspires you? Really, really good music. I would say a lot of creative people whether it’s other artists, musicians, skaters, writers, etc. Also, any other unique beings who have their own style, tastes and opinions that I find to be inspiring and good to converse with. A few of my close friendships inspire me, as I find myself getting into unexpected deep conversations with them about life, death, trust, and everything in between. Often what inspires me as well is other people’s stories. I always treasure when someone trusts me enough to open up about their suffering and or other personal things. Because it’s an extreme challenge, those small moments inspire me and I hold them dearly. Other than that I would say last but not least, nature, animals, and old school Japanese art. The list could go on!
How would you describe your style? Organized chaos. Visually and emotionally.
Are there any other artists that you admire, do they influence your work? Of course. My current favorites are Suehiro Maruo and Junji Ito. I love both artists work because of not only their talent, but also the psychological twists to their pieces and stories. I enjoy art that’s intriguing and leaves me wondering. I never liked comics, but Junji Ito’s Uzumaki series is gory, emotionally haunting and nothing short of brilliant. Besides them, about two years ago I used to have a long list of artists, but now I find I get most of my inspiration from old books, music, and certain conversations.
Can you tell us about your own tattoos? I have quite a few so I’ll just talk about my two most recent ones that I drew and designed that mean the most to me. I got conjoined Japanese Noh Masks in June, done by Arielle Coupe. In September I got a chrysanthemum done by Michael Deschenes. The tattoos are on the same forearm, one in the front and the other in the back, close to the elbow. Both of them are super talented and translated my drawings onto skin seamlessly. I’m planning to get a snake that sort of intertwines itself among these two current tattoos.
What drives you to create work that draws upon the motifs and the style of tattooing? Pen and ink stippling/hatching style is my driving force. I like how much dedication and patience it takes. I never used to think that my work drew upon tattoo motifs, until anyone who saw my work would asked me if I either a) Would design them a tattoo, or b) If I would consider being a tattoo artist. That’s when I started to notice a pattern and blackwork translates quite easily into a tattoo these days.
Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your work? Absolutely. You can contact me through my website and we can chat. www.soniakolnerillustration.co. You can purchase my work on Society6 https://society6.com/soniakolnerillustration
Laura Makabresku is a Polish visual artist and photographer who creates beautiful fairytale-esque images. Her photographs overflow with a dream-like quality inspired by the delicacy of nature and the fragility of the human condition…
Kelsey Beckett is an freelance artist from Michigan, USA who creates beautiful acrylic and oil paintings featuring floating florals and pretty girls. We especially love her cotton candy colour palette and her women dressed in draping fabrics…
19-year-old Lea Katz is a resident artist based in Melbourne, Australia, soon to be living in Bavaria, Germany. We chatted to Lea about the beautiful women she draws and how tattoos make her feel about her body…
Inspired by Things&Ink Lea created this illustration just for us…
What medium do you use? How do you create each piece? I work digitally and traditionally. For my digital paintings, I use a graphic tablet and Photoshop. When I work traditionally, I usually rely on pencils, ink and sometimes watercolour. I also love mixing my drawings with other elements to create a collage-like look. I have some gold paper for example, that I combine with my drawings, sometimes I use photos from magazines for that and on other days, I just take whatever I can find and glue it to my sketches.
When I get to work, my usual process is to start out with a very messy sketch that I refine until I’m happy with it. Once that’s done, I begin to work on details to achieve a semi-realist look on certain parts of the artwork (like the face, when I draw a portrait), when I’m finished with that, I start bringing in flat shapes and lines and in the end, I combine it with different scans (in digital paintings), older drawings and photos.
What kinds of things do you draw? I love drawing portraits, but I also enjoy drawing flowers, nature and birds. Every now and then I also do some typography, but I really need
What is it about women that makes you want to draw them? I guess it’s something that I do since I’m a kid, so it’s almost like a habit now. I love women, I love being a woman (most of the time, at least) and women get so much shit so often, that I just want to celebrate women and femininity in my paintings. I draw them as queens, strong, proud and independent, cover them in gold and all things fabulous.
What inspires you? Huge inspirations for me are art history and music. I’ve always been a little art nerd and a huge fan of art nouveau and surrealism, which are two big influences on my work. Music is a big part of my life, I always listen to music, I love singing (even if I’m a horrible singer. Doesn’t stop me though) and there are always songs that just make me want to catch the vibe of it and put it in a painting.
How would you describe your style? I’d say my style is a mixture of semi-realism, art nouveau, graphic design and sometimes surrealism. It’s basically a huge collage of styles that I love and try to combine into one piece of work.
Do you admire any other artists, do they influence your work? Definitely! Frida Kahlo, Alfons Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Cindy Sherman, Man Ray and Hannah Höch are people that never stop inspiring me. I love Frida’s self-portraits, Mucha’s girls and Klimt’s golden paintings. Cindy Sherman’s photography is simply fascinating to see, as well as Man Ray’s and Hannah Höch’s dadaist collages.
Can you tell us about your tattoos? I just got my first tattoo in March this year when I visited Amsterdam so I don’t have too many yet. My first tattoo was a beautiful little heart by Angelique Houtkamp, as a souvenir that reminds me of one of my favourite cities. Next, I got a flower on my wrist and after that Frida Kahlo from her “Wounded Deer” painting, which is a piece of art that has a lot of personal meaning to me. And since this Frida was tattooed in a more traditional style, I decided to get another one. This time, full on classic Frida as we know her. It was also my first tattoo in Australia, done by the amazing Marian Machismo.
How do tattoos make you feel? Have they made you feel differently about your body? Tattoos make me feel great, they make me feel like a badass and I’m happy that they give me the ability to carry things that I love with me wherever I go. They definitely changed a lot about how I view myself and my body. I, like probably every person who had to go through puberty, have a lot of insecurities, I’m unhappy with that part of my body, this could be thinner, this patch of skin has too many freckles, blah blah blah. You probably know what I mean. Covering myself in art that I love changed the way I look at myself. I don’t look at my arm and worry about it being too fat or too whatever anymore, I look at it and see my beautiful tattoos and feel incredible. In fact, I’m happy for every inch of skin that I have because it’s potential tattoo-space.
Do you have any future tattoo plans? Definitely. My next appointment is in September, with Clare Hampshire from Hot Copper Studio here in Melbourne. And I have a lot of Australian artists on my list that I need to get a tattoo from before I move back to Germany in January.
Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your art? I do! I love doing commissions. I sell prints, shirts and a ton of products with my drawings on it via redbubble and I’m always open to sell my original, traditional drawings.
Everyone of the chosen artists had the task of recreating a holy picture on paper. They were all completely free from any obligation or limitations, Rossana simply choose the theme and the medium.
As you may already know, ex-voto is an offering given in order to fulfil a vow, normally the offerings are given to saints or divinities in gratitude or devotion (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, “from the vow made”).
Rossana played with this ancient term to show a way that we can exit or enter the holiness that can be found in the everyday, and a way to explore other’s affinities with the divine.
When did the idea of this ambitious project come to you, how did it evolve to become what it is now exposed in the Roman gallery?
The theme of the representation of holiness has interested me for a long time. In 2011 I curated the exhibition Carpe Viam in Elsa Morante multi-functional complex of Rome, in that case the idea was to understand the artistic representation of holiness along the way. In that project were artists who have also been involved in EXIT VOTO, Marianna Pisanu and Pelin Santilli. Following Virgil’s admonition, carpe viam, I embarked on this journey and last year I decided to work with a hundred artists that could reinvent the holy pictures that I saw in the drawers of my grandmother’s home.
Have you commissioned a representation of each saint, giving total control to the artist or have you given them some guidelines? The only instructions I give when curating an exhibition is the theme, format, and in this case the medium- paper. What interests me and what I think is gripping is the development of each project, I love to see how each artist evolves the theme with different techniques and perspectives.
When did you decide to include tattooists and not just artists or painters? I do not make a distinction between the arts: cartoonists, illustrators, painters and tattoo artists for me are always just artists. I work without categorising the expression and choices of any artist.
What is your personal relationship with the faith?
I need to believe in something greater than me, I need to do this because I need a warning and above all hope.
And with the art of tattooing?
I was interested in the tattoo world when I was younger. I’m always very curious to see the pictures and study the ties they have with the people. Tattooing represents the evolution of symbols on the skin. Understanding the choices and the need to have a mark on the skin means you understand a lot about the individual and also of the group.
I personally think that tattooing is an act of faith, about trusting yourself. Deciding to change your body, to explore a feeling or taking control of your body, is an important gesture. What do you think about it? Do you have any tattoos? I got a tattoo of a lily when I was 18, and I never liked the result. The ink exploded transforming the design into something poorly defined. It took me years to trust a tattoo artist again. Well, I chose Nicoz Balboa to cover the tattoo on my shoulder with another lily, that should have been there in the first place.
What is the Exit Voto that represents you the most? The holy picture that struck me the most is the ‘Maddalena Penitente (Penitent Magdalene)’ by Zoe Lacchei. As I said before I do not give guidance on the realisation of the work, but Zoe Lacchei heard what I was trying to produce with the title. But there are also works that I have enjoyed and that can eliminate the heaviness of my spirit, including the ‘Saint Honoré’ painting by Riccardo Bucchioni.