medium /// contemporary

rana balca ülker

Portraits, painting, petals AND embroidery? Oh, so many of my favorite things (done beautifully) all in one spot! This is the gorgeous work of Istanbul based artist Rana Balca Ülker. I wasn’t able to find out very much about Rana, but I do know that I love her work.

{Thanks to artist Melanie Biehle for pointing me to Rana’s work.}

chelsea dean

Ooooh! So many elements, all living together in beautifully composed harmony. This is the work of Los Angeles based artist Chelsea Dean. Here’s just a tiny list of some of the bits in these three pieces alone – hand-cut photographs, wood veneer, decorative paper, foam core, washi tape, mat board, found objects from abandoned homesteads – and that’s just the beginning. Have a look at Chelsea’s artist statement:

“[My] work embodies systems that erode. I salvage history, suspending the architecture of Southern California in time with a process of carefully controlled chaos. By combining my photographs with experimental printmaking, drawing, and collage techniques, I elevate the conflict between order and entropy. My most recent body of work focuses around my fascination with abandoned Jackrabbit Homesteads in Wonder Valley where I continue to meditate upon the allure of beauty and decay. I gather and incorporate discarded elements from these spaces, assigning new meaning with the addition of gold elements and embellished patterns. I thoughtfully document and reconstruct these spaces by dimensionally layering information, offering the viewer a spatially rich experience that illuminates the original site.”

Okay, I have to say it again… ooooh!

yasmine diaz

Prince, Madonna, and misogyny … well, you know this is going to be interesting. This is the gorgeous mixed media collage work of LA based artist Yasmine Diaz, from a series titled “One Way Or Another”. It is beautiful and intense, and with that I’m going to hand it over to Yasmine to explain:

This series of collage and mixed media works on paper is inspired by the 3 months Diaz spent in Yemen when she was 15. Fragmented memories are reconstructed with imagery collected from magazines, books, personal archives, and online research.
Having only known the streets of Chicago, the experience of traveling to Yemen was a surreal contrast of the worlds she was still struggling to make sense of. As a teenager in the 90s, MTV was a daily priority. Artists like Salt-N-Pepa unapologetically affirmed that a woman’s sex life is “None of Your Business,” while Madonna boldly claimed her independence and sexuality. Their defiance left a mark on a teenage girl covertly rebelling against the misogyny of her family and community.
In the highlands of Yemen, everyone knows everyone’s business and then some. It was there that Diaz learned, via gossip, who she was arranged to be married to. It was also there that she resolved to eventually escape the fate of a forced arranged marriage and a life of oppressive misogyny and limited freedom.”

Unbelievable, but sadly, believable. Yasmine’s latest show, titled “Exit Strategies”, is currently up at LA’s Women’s Center for Creative Work … and this Thursday you can hear her talk about it at ‘Yasmine Diaz In Conversation With Samira Yamin’, Thursday, July 19, 7-9pm, FREE RSVP. Go!

kellie talbot

Oh, that seahorse. These exquisite paintings, paying homage to bits and pieces of old neon signs, are the work of Seattle based artist Kellie Talbot. Here are a few words from her website about her work:

“Talbot’s work revolves around the landscape of American artifacts, craftsmanship and history. Signs and typography, architecture, industry, cemeteries and other emblems of society are the inspiration for her oil paintings. The rust and decay in the work aren’t negatives. They are both an elegy and a hope.”

Lovely. We could all use a little hope, am I right? Happy Monday.

sophie treppendahl

Well, I just found my new weekend wardrobe! These lovely oil paintings on paper are the work of American artist Sophie Treppendahl. They’re part of a series titled, “Clothes I Like Owned by People I Like”. I like them too! These jeans, shirts, and hats are hanging with a bunch of their stripy, patterned friends in Sophie’s solo show at Studio Allston Hotel in Boston, opening in August.

anthony zinonos

So, so, so smart! UK – now California based – artist Anthony Zinonos was one of the first collage artists I started following way back when. I was instantly grabbed by his sense of humor, ridiculously amazing use of colorful negative space, and his full-on ownership of ‘less being more’. Anthony was guest number TWO on my podcast, and it’s still one of my favorite episodes. May I suggest pulling a chair out into the sun and giving it a listen? We cover everything from UHU glue sticks to getting arrested. Seriously.

ps. I’m the keynote speaker at KolajFest in New Orleans TOMORROW NIGHT, and I feel like I owe my love of collage {and the way I’ve finally embraced my own collage work} to Anthony… because  hey, “If it buckles, it buckles.”

wanda comrie

Oh, those Australians and their crazy, colorful flora! These vibrant, and succulent {see what I did there}, oil paintings are the gorgeous work of Wanda Comrie. Here’s why she does what she does:

“Responding to shadow play in domestic scenes and locally found botanicals, she reflects on the beauty and complexity that everyday living can provide and how social media images can distort distinctions of time, place and identity.”

Yep. Lovely.

annique delphine

I can already feel this post being ‘flagged’, but that’s kind of the whole point. Why should breasts be flagged as upsetting or scandalous? Anywho, I digress. This is the work of Berlin based photographer Annique Delphine from her series titled, “Objectify Me”. I absolutely love this work, and the artist statement that goes along with it:

“As women we are conditioned from an early age that what’s most important about us is the way we look and the way our body feels in someone else’s hands. We are nothing if we aren’t aesthetically pleasing and act humble about it. 
Breasts are the most objectified and sexualized part of women’s bodies. You can literally buy breasts as objects in novelty stores, on amazon, in sex toy stores, etc..
 When I came across these rubber balls made to look and feel like the real thing (only perfected in an eery unattainable way) I knew I had to photograph them. It is a playful way for me to explore my own internalized sexism, and how it has shaped my relationship with my own body. Because even though I know all images of women’s bodies I see in the media have been tampered with I’m still trying to look like those images. I know they aren’t the real thing but that doesn’t stop me from hating my body for being “just“ that.
 Media constantly dismembers, packages and displays women’s bodies for the purpose of selling really anything: cars, burgers, beer, weapons, … body issues, self-hate, insecurity … 
We have been objectified to such an extent that we are no longer seen as human beings but as sexual gadgets. We have been separated from our whole. Turned into a commodity. Femininity has been so far removed from our nature that it has become alien to people. Something they are afraid of. Something that needs to be controlled, censored or concealed as if it were a looming threat. But I believe the real threat is the imbalance that has been cultivated from this patriarchal society.” 


{Found via ‘The Other Art Fair”... btw, deadline for “The Other Art Fair” coming up in both LA and Brooklyn, is July 30th!}

natalie baxter

“Baxter’s work playfully pushes controversial issues, creating an accessible entry point for unpacking matters of tension in today’s political and social landscape.”

Yep, things like money quilts and crazy golden flags, for example! Seriously, every time I swing by her site to see what’s new, Brooklyn based artist Natalie Baxter does not disappoint. Pretty and powerful … a fabulous combination that truly packs a punch.

miki lowe

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for collage … those palm trees? The greyscale swimming pools? Be still my cutting/pasting loving heart! This is the work of artist/illustrator Miki Lowe. She is an Anglo-Japanese artist, who was educated in France and is currently based in London… which explains a lot:

Formed as an illustrator, her portfolio demonstrates an interdisciplinary practice between the designer and the artist. Mixing techniques such as  printmaking, drawing, digital manipulations, she creates images playing with surreal elements or abstraction. This refusal to stick to a method, or to choose a single identity (a connection with her multiple nationalities) is a main characteristic of her work. 


ps. Speaking of collage, in one week from tonight, I’ll be at Kolaj Fest in New Orleans! I think there are still a few tickets left for my talk, so if you’d like to come, grab one now … hm, I hope I can talk with a mouth full of beignets.