Have you met Geoffroy Mottart? He's a florist and artist in Brussels who uses his floral materials to beautify—temporarily—the often-overlooked statuary around town.
I love this kind of guerrilla art, because it's ephemeral, respectful (mostly) of what's already there, and very well executed. Go to his website to see even more. (And, if you're in Brussels and can speak French, take a floral-arrangement class with him!)
Have you met Sarah Neuburger? She is the artist behind The Small Object. I first encountered her work at a Renegade Craft Fair in NYC, years ago. She was mostly showing examples of her incredible custom wedding toppers and her stamp sets. She's since expanded her line to include high-quality prints of her illustration work, including this kids-room-perfect "The United States of Dogs" poster. (Some states have an official state dog, but for those that don't, Sarah chose for them!)
I appreciate the simplicity of this inspirational print, below. Way better than a "hang in there" kitten poster.
Have you met Zenji Funabashi? He's a Japanese artist, graphic designer, and illustrator. One of his projects is making colorful wooden sculptures made of scroll-sawn pieces that fit snugly together. They remind me of MC Escher patterns, and of similarly half-art-object, half-baby-toy "puzzles" you can find in your crunchier kids' toy stores. Click on an image to go to Zenji's portfolio on Behance. You can find an even more comprehensive portfolio at the Tokyo Illustrators Society.
The one above is called "The Big Dipper."
It's a fun creative puzzle to draw a simple outline of an object, and then try to make something fit that negative space—either surrounding the first outline, or budding off of it. Try it!
Have you met Daniel Ranalli? He's a photographer, image maker, and art creator, and one of his long-running projects is to photograph sea snails in wet sand. He sets them up in a pattern or shape, and then watches as the snails make the art their own.
He's taking environmental art (ala Andy Goldsworthy, or for a more common example, the practice of stacking rocks into cairns) to the next level. In his words, "I tend to think of the snail pieces as a metaphor for the order we establish in our lives, and how the element of chance enters in to shape the result — regardless of how much we attempt to structure it."
A lot of his work — not just these oceanic snail collaborations — is Cape Cod-inspired and -based, which is near to my heart. Please go to his portfolio site and explore!
Have you met Stephen McMennamy? He makes two-part photo collages — called "combophotos — using only photographs he's taken himself, matching colors/sizing/lighting to create odd (and often funny) images.
I like that he takes his own photos, and that he gets his family involved (that's his daughter acting as a road-raging driver, above). If you go to his Tumbler, he explains how each combophoto came to be, and there are many more combophotos to explore. Use Stephen's work as a starting-off point for a creative activity: Use a stack of old magazines, or (for the more ambitious/less magazine-hoarding) a smart phone/digital camera, to come up with odd combos of your own.
Rohan Sharad Dahotre
Have you met Rohan Sharad Dahotre? He's an artist and illustrator in Pune, India. One of his many projects is adding line illustrations over photos of animals.
As always, click on the image to be taken to the artist's website, where you can find more of his work.
This is an idea you can definitely try with the kids (or by your own grown-up self), whenever a sudden attack of "I'm bored" sets in. All you need is an animal-ish magazine (old National Geographics, or Ranger Ricks) and some paint pens. Prompt them/yourself with "what should this animal wear?" or "design the perfect outfit for this particular animal" or "draw a place for this animal to relax/live/eat dinner" and watch the creative magic happen.
Have you met Malin Koort? She's an artist and illustrator in Sweden. She creates detailed, cut-paper scenes and characters in her distinct style. She has a series of paper people that are utterly charming and detailed. I love the ashes falling on the reading woman's knee, and the slippers of the overwhelmed papa.
Have you met JooHee Yoon? She's an artist and illustrator whose work you may have seen in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Lucky Peach, and many other places. She's also published a few books, including this favorite of mine:
She illustrated 16 poems using just 3 colors. All of those secondary colors are created by overlapping the original 3.
That woodblock/linoleum print look she's getting? It's from actually carving and printing wood and linoleum blocks.
She's also a master at drawing.
Besides being a professional illustrator, JooHee teaches at RISD. If anyone wants to sponsor me to go take classes from her, that would be swell. For now, I will take inspiration from her modern use of traditional printmaking techniques and other analog materials and tools.
Have you met Kate Kato? She crafts insects, flowers, and fungi out of paper, fabric, and other bits.
It looks like she sometimes uses the color of the found paper as part of the design, instead of painting over it. I like it.
Go see more work from Kate on her site!
Have you met APAK? They are a husband and wife duo, Aaron and Ayumi Piland, who make wonderful paintings about exploration and nature and animals and humans and crystals. And the vastness of space, or maybe microscopic life. Heck, just look at some of their work. (Click on an image to go to its originating page):
The creatures APAk depicts remind me of the prince and his cousins from Katamari Damacy, and also of another husband and wife art team, the locally-based Opertura. All of these characters seem part of the same universe, maybe even the same galaxy. Neighboring planets. I think they'd all get along.
APAK has prints of their work available on etsy, and you can go to their tumblr to see even more of their work, including non-print stuff like these adorable felted buddies.
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.