tasha kusama

First of all … a Monchichi!? Oh my word, so many 1980s childhood flashbacks. Okay, let’s talk about these beautifully bizarre portraits by Los Angeles based painter Tasha Kusama, shall we? That perfectly painted hair, those dreamy sky-scapes, not to mention titles like “sometimes ima baby, sometimes ima tiger”… GOLD! Tasha’s work is part of a group show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in LA, titled CANNED HEAT, that opens on July 5th {8-11pm} and runs until July 28th, 2019.

dano wall

Art that directly responds to issues … yes, yes, a thousand times, YES. After being enraged that the plan to put Harriet Tubman – a hero of the underground railroad – on the American $20 bill was basically ditched by the current administration, Dano Wall took it upon himself to give Harriet her place on that bill. A stamp! Now, I know what you’re thinking… can you deface {pun totally intended} currency? Well, “Though anti-counterfeiting laws prohibit the willful destruction of, and stamping of advertisements upon, paper money, pursuant to I.I.18 U.S.C. § 333 of the United States Code, stamped currency is fit for circulation so long as its denomination remains legible.” Boom! Here is Dano’s statement about this project:

“On April 20, 2016, then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced plans to add Tubman to the front of the twenty-dollar bill, moving President Andrew Jackson to the rear of the bill. Lew instructed the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to expedite the redesign process, and the new bill was expected 

I was equal parts saddened and enraged when I learned that the Trump administration had officially scuttled the plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20. The ubiquity of currency makes it a powerful vector through which the mentality of white supremacy can continue to permeate our culture. This is why it was such a pivotal moment when it was announced that Harriet Tubman would appear on the new $20 bill. This would constitute a monumental symbolic change, disrupting the pattern of white men who appear on our money, and by putting her on the most popular note in circulation, indicate exactly what kind of a life we choose to hold up; what values we most hope to emulate.

The impact that seeing the face of Harriet Tubman staring back at you from a $20 bill cannot be underestimated. Who we choose to honor as a society affects the moral attitudes that are baked into us as we grow up, and this sort of representation can subtly but deeply effect someone’s conception of themselves and their place within society. This is not a trivial issue to be forgotten, it remains profoundly significant, and worthy of continually pushing back into the spotlight.

I would like to see Tubman $20s entering circulation is sufficient numbers to make it impossible to avoid the conversation about the proposed, now abandoned, plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20, and hopefully, ultimately, exert pressure on those with the power to make that change.” 

Inspiring, clever, and oh so proactive. The stamp can be found through Dano’s online shop, “Tubman Stamp” – however, it’s pretty much out of stock constantly! Keep checking though, because he restocks the site weekly.

andrea torres balaguer

Are these paintings or photographs? Yep. “The Unknown” is a surreal, ongoing series by Barcelona based photographer Andrea Torres Balaguer. Given that I’m a huge fan of juicy brushstrokes, polkadots, and mysterious portraits of women … well, this is perfection. Here is part of her translated artist statement:

“My work is made about dreams, surrealism, mystery and the idea of break-up story. I’m interested in every image that tells something, that lets you the possibility of imagine, that generates stories and opinions.”

Happy Monday.

lia tajcnar

How do you make crazy, whimsical, totally unique sculptures even more beautiful? Stick flowers in ’em! Yes, all of these organic-inspired artworks actually double as flower vases. What? Yep. This is the fun and fabulous work of Australian artist Lia Tajcnar, aka Curiosity Smith. That’s Lia above, surrounded by the gorgeous ceramic jungle she’s creating piece by piece. Happy Friday.

jae yong kim

Ahhhhh, the glazed donuts of Korean born, New York based artist Jae Yong Kim… it’s ceramic glaze but still, oh, so yummy! Some of his work is currently showing at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York as part of a show, titled “FIRE AND WATER” {Michael Boroniec, Jae Yong Kim, Dylan Martinez : June 4 ~ July 6, 2019}. Go if you can… and try not to lick the art.

ps. Note the “Homage to Kusama” up there. Love, love, love!

thenjiwe niki nkosi

What is a hero? Who should be called a hero? These are just a couple of the questions behind this series titled, yes, “Heroes”. This powerful portrait series is the work of New York born, South Africa based artist Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi. It’s a huge series of gorgeous portraits, but I was able to control myself and just picked a handful of my favorites. The people she has selected range from Thenjiwe’s own grandmother, poets and artists, to refugees and civil rights leaders. Powerful, moving, and beautifully painted.

olivia erlanger

Can you imagine walking into a Los Angeles laundromat and seeing a couple of iridescent mermaid tails hanging out of the rinse cycle? That’s where this beautiful and bizarre work by LA based artist Olivia Erlanger started out in 2016.  Last month, however, her fabulous tails/washers were at Frieze New York {with And Now Gallery}. Obviously they were a crowd favorite, because mermaids!

*Final, fabulous image above was found on Instagram via @imastudio

susanna bauer

I always find myself holding my breath when I look at the work of  Cornwall based artist Susanna Bauer… you know, just in case. Delicate, crocheted, lace-like adornments connecting, surrounding, and transforming fallen leaves into fine art. Susanna’s work is currently showing at VOLTA Art Basel in Switzerland June 10th – 15th. Look for Swiss gallery Le Salon Vert (Stand C13), and you’ll find these lovely masterpieces.

*photos by art-photographers.co.uk

ps. Susanna’s work – and story – is featured in my book, A BIG IMPORTANT ART BOOK – Now with Women!

mathilde tinturier

Gasp! As a person who loves forgotten bits and pieces, my garden, and vibrant color… well, these pieces are everything. This is the work of Swiss artist Mathilde Tinturier. I could go on and on, but the description on her site does a lovely job. Here is just a portion translated into English:

There are thousands of them, lost materials, trash, abandoned twigs, umbellifers, scotches, confetti, dandelions, Christmas balls, thrown at random into a world that is no longer theirs. What unites them? Nothing. What are they whispering to us? Nothing. What do they tell us about the world? Few things … What unites them? Chance and necessity, a secret order that Mathilde for each work reinvents and gives all these forgotten objects a place, a voice, a presence. 


matt shlian

Sooooo, apparently this is paper. What? Yes. These meticulous pieces are the work of American artist / paper engineer Matt Shlian. I wrote about him way back in 2010… he was good then, but now? Whoa. Here is part of Matt’s artist statement:

“As a paper engineer, my work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in drawing and three dimensional forms … He begins with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over. Guided by wonder, his work is made because he cannot visualize its final realization; in this way he comes to understanding through curiosity.” 

His latest show, titled “Relief”, opens this SATURDAY JUNE 8th {2pm} at Duran Mashaal Gallery in Montreal.