I read an article about mixing alcohol with acrylic paints a few months ago and was intrigued. It makes sense that the alcohol would cause the acrylic paint to separate and create interesting effects. Since my paintings are so textured, I've been experimenting to see what kind of results I could create. We usually have a few different beverages around the studio, so I started to mix a bit of vodka and whiskey into the paint to see what happens. Well sure enough, I was getting some pretty cool results and was able to enjoy a cocktail at the same time. (Don't drink the alcohol that's mixed with the paint, that is a bad a idea!)Read More
I sat down with Jonathan Logan and Claudia Rivera from the School of Visual Arts in NYC regarding the Art Squad and their upcoming exhibition at the CREATIVEBLOCH gallery.
Joe: Tell me about what it's like to be an art student these days. It's been a long while for me when I graduated back from RIT in the nineties.
Jon: "The path of an art-student is unique and personal. It usually starts with painting on the floor in your dorm room with some mediocre brand of paint because it was the cheapest in the store, to eventually blossoming into an artist who has an individualized process."Read More
I've been using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for many months now and am really enjoying it. It has definitely exceeded my expectations. I've spent my career going back and forth between traditional and digital media. My early commercial work was all traditional, airbrush, pen & ink, watercolor, gouache etc. I started using illustrator and photoshop in the early nineties for my medical illustration work. Around 2005, I started to paint again using acrylics for fine art purposes. Now, I do everything, depending on the project.Read More
Joe Bloch, the owner and resident artist at CREATIVEBLOCH, takes us through an artistic journey as he compiles art, sketches and photography into an inspiring book entitled "INDUSTRIAL IGNESCENT".
"I've had a lot of requests from fans visiting the studio to create a book showcasing some of my work along with techniques and insights I've had along the way. This was a big project, so I compiled some old pictures, sketches and paintings along with descriptions to create a book."
"Joe has created an interesting perspective of his work, showing fans a behind the scenes look at what inspires his art, and the steps to complete the work. His artwork is a mashup of street art, graphic design, impressionism and expressionism. It's like heavy metal on a canvas."
"This book shows the true Brooklyn Industry and history of NYC in its raw form. Joe has embellished the architecture of the area with his own creative spin. I found the book a great reference for my own work."
CREATIVEBLOCH is excited to have TRINA MERRY join our fall show ECLECTRICITY* for its encore on Nov 3. Trina's work has appeared in JUXTAPOZ, TIME, NY Times and many other publications. Her work is known for its exquisite detail and almost camouflage appearance. Come see her at the show https://www.facebook.com/events/448129688644493/
“Painting on the body creates a special connection to a person that other visual art forms have trouble accomplishing; it’s a distinctly human experience.”
Bodypaint is an ancient art form and the use of ochre on the skin dates back 425,000 years and has a deeper part in all of our cultures than people tend to realize. Painting on the body is a distinctly human experience; it creates a special connection to a person that other visual art forms have trouble accomplishing. This work has a heartbeat and a breath— it is dynamically alive. The ephemeral nature of bodypaint forces focus and reflects on the reality of existence, which is an incredible thought that I find myself reflecting on frequently while working. I also love the freedom of working in multiple mediums to express myself.
Learn more about Trina and her work at trinamerryartist.com
Creativebloch (www.creativebloch.com) is pleased to announce our first issue of CREATIVEBLOCH MAGAZINE! The magazine was released as part of our Fall Group Art Show, ECLECTRICITY. The first edition includes 17 amazing NYC artists, and is available to order exclusively though our website at creativebloch.com/publications/magazine
The artists are featured in our gallery show through November 6 in DUMBO. Come celebrate the show and the magazine!
Some of the artists involved are Alejandro Caiazza, Scott Teplin, David Platt, Tiziana Mazziotto, Robert Samartino, Julie Severino, Martha LeDuc, Jade Chan, Gary Schwartz, Chad Martin, Robert Arnow, Jenn Ruff, Cynthia Chatman, Chris Dacs, Kiley Ames, Joanne Borek, Myla Seabrook, Sofya Dudnik, Cleber Martins, Norbert Gonsalves, Alexis Duque, Rob Bebbington, Natchie, Angela EunSung Kim, Julien Zemor, Joe Bloch and Alejandra Wedding.
"The magazine is another way for us to let the world know about great emerging and established artists around NYC. It's kind of like a Juxtapoz for local artists."
Artist Rob Bebbington from the UK produces amazing caricatures using both spray paint and markers. Rob's work made its way into some wonderful events and festivals all over the UK as large murals. His fan page, DOODLESnDRIPS, on Facebook shows a lot of his process and sketches as well as final art.
Rob is recently expanding his work into prints and t-shirts, a great avenue to display his fun characters. Get on board by supporting his Kickstarter project. Rob is determined to produce his goods as a fair trade company, assuring the production is safe and producers receive fair pay, giving back to the community.
Gilles BOENISCH is a PhD in Information Sciences & Communication, an artist, designer, and digital manufacturing expert. He lives and works in Europe (France).
What is the inspiration behind your work?
As children, we examine many objects at length. We wanted to know and learn by having role models that give the impression of knowing everything. Generally they evaded our questions, that it was too complex to understand. We finally took the initiative, and took everything apart, everything we had on hand, all that was around, without the assurance of being able to restore. This required time and attention. Then it was only a representation and fantasy that took shape. After long moments of deconstruction, we finally arrived at the desired object: the main mechanism. Then we quickly forgot, and we moved to the next object to seize passionately about these bits of knowledge.
Tell us about the technique you use and why it represents what you do.
My « Undo » technique, is a way to "rediscover the inside" by "anatomical" investigation. This dissection incorporates the idea of "demolishing, amputating , slicing, dismembering, disarticulating, reverse engineering, and scrutinizing." It is a taboo dissection that is prohibited because it reveals an "emptiness of the inside," a profanation of the device. This secret offers an interior that is not easily discovered by many. So we dismantle the whole, we move from one to the other, we redispatch in a new way. In doing so, defeat is just an opportunity to create an opportunity for dialogue.
Tell us your plans for the future.
I plan to keep searching the imagination of the public by making them laugh or smile. A break such a shock, too, which provokes laughter: the expected and sometimes unexpected detonation. The rise and fall. So this is a good game, "a playful strategy from an 'I' to an "Other" to produce an effect of collusion between its author and to whom it is directed, to suspend the moment of the game, the anxiety of fate of the world. Specifically, my work focuses on collaboration to transmit my knowledge and approach, but also a message against the current stereotypes.
To review more of the work visit http://digitaldefeat.fr
This February Seyhoun Gallery near Beverly Hills had a landmark exhibition: Alexey Klokov’s Los Angeles debut. Klokov has exhibited all over the world from Moscow to London, from Tokyo to Washington. While not his first time showing in the United States, it is his first exhibit on the West Coast.
This was uncharted or at least less frequently travelled waters for the gallery as well. Seyhoun Gallery boasts the largest number of self-identified artists from abroad and patrons of any gallery in the city. Though they do branch out and draw in artists from all walks of life, to exhibit an artist of Klokov’s international renown is a great addition to Seyhoun’s roster.
Within the open, white walls of the Seyhoun Gallery, patrons and art lovers drifted from piece to piece. Their conversations filled the space with the delightful buzz of an exhibition that inspires discussion. An artist like Klokov inspires conversation in every space his work fills, which perhaps shows in his effort to use recognizable subjects in his works, which have been subtlety or unsubtlety abstracted to bring the artist’s audience into discussion with the piece.
The exhibit featured 10 works by Klokov drawn together from all around the world. There was something for everyone from lovers of the representational to devotees to abstraction. Featured prominently was Autobiography, a delightful splash of Roman and Cyrillic characters across a red field that inspires the viewer’s own contemplation of the meaning of the Self, and each of our own life stories. Delicate linework atop a creamy, rich background of red and blacks draws the indecipherable writing into sharp focus.
Among the other works exhibited were Inevitable, Urban Romance, and Spring Solo, each from wildly different series. The show itself was an exploration of the artist’s entire oeuvre. By gathering the diasporic artworks together, Seyhoun Gallery transported the viewer into Klokov’s studio, in a way. For nowhere else would you be able to walk such a short distance but be transported into a completely different world.
Though the show is now over, Klokov’s work may be viewed online at http://alexklokov.com or at an upcoming exhibition in Canada. Seyhoun Gallery is located at 9007 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood.
I usually try to incorporate some type of signage or typography into my work. My interest in type goes way back to when I was a kid. I used to paint logos on my bedroom walls, and create mix tapes on my Atari 800 computer. That was pre real fonts and desktop publishing. I remember hacking into early computers to create my own fonts before people called them fonts. Also remember ordering type from type houses and doing real cut and paste-up. Kids today will never understand the complexity of layout using old-school tools and being high on rubber cement thinner all day.
When I created the CREATIVEBLOCH brand, I wanted something that would represent a bit of an edgy look, not formal, with a bit of heavy metal thrown in. After researching countless fonts, I settled on DekapotMasss. A great grungy, umlaut based, teutonic styled face. Its imperfection was perfect for the look I was going for. Things like kerning, leading, baselines, were thrown out the window for a more artful look.
I also wanted a font that I could recreate with paint for signage, posters and merchandise. I started this painting with a sketch, roughly following the look and feel of the original digital face, with a more painterly casual appeal. I use alot of skulls in my work, for the graphic quality and anatomy. I was trained as a medical artist and spent hundreds of hours drawing skulls.
As usual, I begin to block out dark areas with black paint, gradually building up layers. At this point I carefully balance the amount of contrast and "boldness", as this stage sets the tone for the entire piece.
For this image I decided to keep it mostly black, white and silver with limited use of color. I usually try to incorporate silver into my work, as this adds a nice "fine art" feature, that only those who see the original can appreciate.
Next I try to balance out the cool with warms shades of gold, yellow ochre and naples yellow. This also adds additional contrast to the piece. Textures are built up layer by layer over a period of weeks.
I added a few more accent colors, and added some more texture using various tools and layering techniques. Hope you enjoyed this article, and try to incorporate some typography into your art in the future! To learn more, download our ebook today!
We recently interviewed Artist Abe Cano about his amazing portraits and their creation. Abe is colorblind, but that doesn't stop him from creating colorful paintings.
"I can see about 3 to 4 basic colors, so I am not completely colorblind"
He was almost disqualified from joining the Army in 2001, because there were no available jobs for colorblind recruits. After some time, a position opened up in Radio communications- a job that most with this disability are able to apply for.
"I've had a lot of people look at my artwork and say; WOW I can't believe you're colorblind- and they always test me to see what colors I can and cannot see"
Despite this setback he has created hundreds of pieces- all of them rich with colors and a unique perspective on the world the way he sees it.
"I can show people my art and say this is really how I see the world- some call it impressionism, it's just how I see colors- luckily people seem to like it. I try to fit as much into one portrait as I can- about a person and their personal story."
Ultimately what led him to start painting people was that he liked the ability of being able to describe someone in colors, symbols and words.
"One of my teachers once told me you can't put words on art- and then I went to a huge modern art exhibit and everywhere I turned there were words on the art."
In the future Abe really wants to see his work lean towards more murals and large installations.
For more information about Abe and his work visit:
Artist Norbert Gonsalves’s work reflects a distinctly diasporic consciousness. Having moved to North America at age 29, his vivid, large-scale, mixed media works on canvas are still very much anchored to his Indian homeland and tribe. The rich, cross-cultural philosophy that shines through in his work is layered and ridden with moral and philosophical tensions. East and West, tradition and modernity, the material and the spiritual straddle twin poles in his dynamic compositions.
Indian aesthetic sensibility – its rich heritage spanning folk and classical art – lingers in his painterly rhythm. His work offers a conflation of painting and drawing, realism and abstraction, with found objects such as fabric incorporated for texture and density. Determined to meander in and out of two culture systems of variably conflicting values, in his work Gonsalves applies a visual language to the disparate perspectives latent in his practice and process.
Keen to make sense of the violence against women, the sheer brutality occurring in his homeland that he now must witness from a virtual distance, his works often play with motifs one can liken to creation and destruction. Shifting with ease between abstract and representational registers, his works throw fire and slip across borderlands. Scorching flames, smoke, tears, spills and splashes crowd his canvases like psychological scars. Images are forced into grids, chopped and cut, trimmed and yanked as if the artist were enacting a type of symbolic violence with his subject matter.
Meanwhile, longing and tender nostalgia for his home operate at a deeper level. The homesickness, horror and hope the artist faces each day bleeds through like a shining jewel of truth. In the his latest series, Dowry Dreams, Gonsalves goes to the heart of a disconcerting practice in India to expose the underlying threads of abuse against women it entails.
“Dowry Deaths,” is a common practice in India whereby young brides are set aflame and killed with kerosene in order to extract additional dowry money from the bride’s family. In this gripping series, Gonsalves literally scorches and burns women’s traditional sarees, bangles and chains to fashion misshapen forms that allude to the legacy of these victims of male patriarchal violence. Layered with his critique of this dark social phenomenon is the artist’s exposition of global cultural materialism. Gonsalves terms an over-valuation of the material “a sacrifice of love.” His passionate work addresses doubly the sexism, greed and quest for status that motivates these and other crimes against humanity.
Norbert Gonsalves has a background in Graphic Design and studied at the JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai India. He has been making art since a very young age under the influence of his artist father J W Gonsalves.
For more information about Norbert and his work please visit www.norbertg.com
We had the opportunity to interview Sydney based artist, Shereen Yap, about her work. Her art is beautiful and playful yet intense and powerful. She is both an artist and writer.
What inspires you to create?
It can be anything! Conversations, observations! I often incorporate a recurring theme of beauty within the midst of chaos. One of my favorite subjects are bears. When I was a child, I used to visit the zoo and Grizzly bears all the time. I found it interesting to watch them in their environment, often with their backs to the viewer. This comes through in a lot of my work. Their emotions are often concealed in their face.
What techniques do you use to create your work?
I prefer not to be bound by any technique. I incorporate mixed media such as acrylics, ink, collage into my works. I also paint, sculpt, collage and write poems that incorporate my artwork.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm finishing up my first book of poems soon to be released called "C H A R L I E". I'm also continuing to explore new mediums and colors and finding new ways to express myself.
After hearing of Lemmy’s death, I felt what better way to show a tribute then paint a portrait of this rock icon. There are few authentic characters these days, and if there was one rocker that lived the “Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll” mantra, it was Lemmy. He and his band stayed true to what they wanted to create, never selling out to the record companies. His disdain for bullshit and politics, made him brutally honest. I can’t think of a man that defined Rock and Roll more than Lemmy.
I started listening to Motörhead in the 80’s along with other NWBHM bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon. I still listen to these same bands today, never really settling on anything except classic metal.
I started out with a sketch on canvas using a sharpie marker. This allowed me to focus on the bold lines that I wanted to get across. For this portrait I wanted to capture the attitude, charisma and rawness of Lemmy’s personality. I decided to integrate a wider color palette than usual. I added some metallics gold, silver and copper to add more “metal” to it.
I built up the layers over several days, increasing the colors and textures. I went back and reworked his face about 10 times, referencing photos from earlier days up through the present. I decided to put a bold, typographic treatment with his name, LEMMY, using an umlaut over the E as a nod to the teutonic origin for power as many metal bands have done. As Lemmy once said, "I only put it in there to look mean."
Brady Boyd is a self taught abstract expressionist based in Hattiesburg, MS. He has a two year old son named Myles that he credits for all of the positivity that you see in his art. It’s because of him that he is able to perceive the world with new eyes.
We asked Brady what inspires his work:
"I draw inspiration from the visual experience our beautiful world provides and heavily implement natural forces such as gravity and wind in my work. I attempt to convey my interpretation of the energies I experience all around me onto the canvas for you to experience. Vivid color, depth and the use of three dimensional objects and scenes are presented on a traditionally two dimensional workspace. Mood and music are also a heavy influence in what I paint and show in my pieces. I have never experienced anything as beautiful and fulfilling as creating art. Showing my other side, ALL sides, to the world has been an incredible journey for me. I hope that while viewing my art you’re able to see that vulnerability, depth and beauty that live and lie in our world and in every one of us."
We wanted to know how Brady suggests beginners get started:
"My best advice for anyone reading this would be to try your hand at creating art of ANY sort, even if you do not think of yourself as a creative or artistic person. I have never been able to draw very well at all, and because of this, I assumed I would be terrible at anything similar. This is one of my biggest regrets, as art has become an integral part of my life. Creating has become my passion and has been the catalyst for much of my spiritual/emotional growth. For you NEVER know what you are capable of until you try."
Not many people know that Vincent Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese artists and had an appreciation for the aesthetic. He wrote his brother Theo, "I envy the Japanese artists for the incredible neat clarity which all their works have. It is never boring and you never get the impression that they work in a hurry. It is as simple as breathing; they draw a figure with a couple of strokes with such an unfailing easiness as if it were as easy as buttoning one's waist-coat."
When living in Paris, he copied Japanese wood block prints and developed his own style. He was known to have many Japanese prints in his studio.
For this painting, I decided to combine my interest in Japan, especially Kyoto, and Van Gogh's impressionistic texture with a modern twist incorporating my own style.
I started with a white pencil sketch on a black canvas.
I gradually built up "chunks" of color, at this point the painting reminded me of some kind of "fruit cake" on a canvas.
Referencing Van Gogh's interesting use of perspective in such paintings as "The Night Cafe", and the "Bedroom in Arles," I tried to capture a more dramatic vanishing point based on my memories and photos of Kyoto during my trip to Japan in 2014.
My style tends to a bit bolder and more graphic so I added some additional drama and contrast to make it my own.
The final piece contains many layers of acrylic that were built up over a period of weeks.
I spent the week working on a painting I should have completed back in 2008, when I was living in Bushwick. It was far from a trendy area back then, with very little street art or murals. I lived close to the El Pollo Mas Bueno shop right on the edge of Brooklyn and Queens. I decided to recreate the painting based on the original appearance mixed with some new signage. It always impressed me that one could buy live chickens in Brooklyn. The shop has this great bold look, and artists have continued to embellish its appearance over the years.
I started with a white charcoal pencil sketch on a black canvas to capture the basic shapes and typography.
I built up the layers and textures with silver, yellow and red. Started to block out the type.
After a few more days of adding paint with sticks, palette knives and other random objects, I decided to add more accent colors. Just hints of green, purple and orange on top of the primary palette I had started with. Some additional metallics such as gold and silver were applied. Learn more, download our ebook today!
Just adding some finishing touches to this painting. This was inspired by a visit to St. Lucia a few months ago. The inspiring Petit Piton overlooking the Caribbean was such a beautiful and jaw dropping view, I had to pay it homage in a transformative way.
Was there a way to incorporate the beauty of a natural scene compromised by industrialization and urbanization? Could the two live together? Did a symbol of a skull need to be inherently toxic or could it symbolize a greater entity keeping an eye on the landscape?
This painting has many layers carefully built up over a period of weeks. Paint was added and scraped off. Tools dabbed paint on, and sticks scratched it off. Yellows, Blues and Metallics were layered to enhance the appearance in different lighting conditions. Bold, graphic black lines hold the major forms together and add contrast.
To learn more, download our ebook today!
Our show, Urban Ubiquity, features over 15 artists and photographers portraying their vision of NYC.
We had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing some of the artists to gain their perspective and enthusiasm towards creating art in New York.
We spoke with Danny Maloney about his elaborate water color paintings:
"Im my crowd paintings, I observe and report large masses of people with a common focal point. The crowd, as a whole, displays patterns and abstractions. The watercolor medium creates fluidity and transparency." Danny has a fascination for crowds in subway stations as well and observes people coming and going on the platforms. His art is a composite of these varied moments coming together.
Deepika Ross, mentioned, "I've lived in some interesting places and draw from those experiences, from monasteries in Tibet, to cities in Europe, to my present life in Brooklyn." Capturing the world in pen and ink creates a narrative that expresses each unique moment and location. Her exquisite line work captures the character of each scene, not overly labored or too loose. Both structured and gestural, these black and white illustrations are remarkable.
At an interview with Chad Martin, he gave us insight into his creations. "The M1 Armored Bugaboo takes instant safety, defense and offense to a whole other level. Raising a child in the city is war." His "Binky Grenade" employs both an ironic and humorous tone. One product can both pacify and protect. The piece is bold, graphic, and whimsical.
Chris Dacs mentioned, his piece is inspired by the diverse lifestyle of Bushwick, a place where the art community thrives, and creativity is everywhere. Some of the best street art resides by the Jefferson L stop. Chris finds inspiration everywhere, in this case from a gourmet food truck. Where else could you get a creation like Venison Tacos?
Check back here soon, we will be featuring additional artists from our show. Stop by 145 Front Street #17 to have a look at this diverse volume of work.
The show will run from Nov 1 - Dec 5 at the Creativebloch Gallery.
Brooklyn-based artist Joe Bloch (www.creativebloch.com) creates vivid, highly-textured acrylic paintings that capture the raw psychoses of contemporary urban life on canvas. Although the work has an impressive artistic legacy from the Impressionist and Expressionist Eras, Bloch updates Van Gogh’s methods for the 21st century. His work depicts a jumble of slices of contemporary urban life through a somewhat macabre lens. In this way, Bloch addresses some of the same social concerns of the Expressionists, primarily the effect of industrialization and urbanization. In many of his works, huge towers spew noxious fumes into the air, corrupting skies that should have been blue. The specter of death becomes much more prominent as skulls infiltrate the industrial landscape of all of his works to contribute to the fatalistic and perhaps nihilistic tone of the pieces.
The paintings are highly textured, with prominent brush strokes reminiscent of the works of Monet and the Impressionists in terms of methods. However, the powerful lines and colors of the paintings also channel certain elements of the Expressionists of the 20th century. The urban landscapes depicted in the paintings are vaguely surrealist. The thick outlining and use of vivid colors creates heightened versions of familiar places and things, making them to be unfamiliar, caricatures of themselves. In this way, Bloch channels the Expressionists in creating a very specific emotional and psychological response rather than depicting the physical reality of Brooklyn. The work encourages you to confront uncomfortable feelings that would otherwise be swept under the rug; these works have no obligation or intention of being “pretty” or “pleasing”. Furthermore, the exclusion of identifiable figures allows the works transcend ethnicities and genders to create a purely visceral psychological response, much in the same way that Munch’s work does.
Ultimately though, the critique of machines, technology and the city may be rooted in the 21st century ideology of Post-Modernism. The blimps, factories and tanks are certainly not the protagonists in these stories. While there is no visual mention of a possible solution to this urban condition, the critique itself intrinsically opposes the Modernist movement that predominated the decades following the World Wars.
Bloch’s work is gritty and emotional, depicting Brooklyn as the modern industrial dystopia. Bloch creates the haunting narrative of the city with many machines but no people. Although not literal representation of New York, the images are powerful, raw and thought-provoking. But just because the images do not coincide with the literal reality of the city, that does not make them inherently misleading-in fact, they may be more honest than we know.
Tiffany K. Chan, Harvard University
To learn more, download the ebook today!