Mikhail Vyrtsev, aka Reey Whaar, is a Russian watercolour artist. Born in 1988, Moscow, Vyrtsev studied cooking for a year then changed to graphic design. He worked as shipment handler for Danone before realising that he really wanted to be an illustrator.
His satirical and surreal watercolour paintings have been featured in magazines including Playboy, Men’s Health, PROsport, and Psychologies. Vyrtsev combines humour with the unsettling, positions objects uncomfortably close together, uses desaturated colors and faithful details to create poignant illustrations.
Born in Saitama, Japan. Miki studied BA Painting at Joshibi University of Art and Design. Joshibi has a rather interesting history. Founded in 1900, it is a Women’s art school and the oldest private art school in Japan. The two founders opened it as a reaction to other art schools whom were denying women membership.
After Miki graduated in 1996, she worked for two years before deciding to become a freelancer. She has kept busy working on mangas, children’s books and book covers, among other projects. She has also regularly exhibited at solo shows throughout Tokyo, Japan. Her work is largely influenced by the tradition-inspired Nihonga style. Artist such as Tsuchida Bakusen, Kiyokata Kaburagi, and Jakuchu Ito. Miki has also cited European artist Paul Delvaux and Alphonse Mucha also as major influences.
You can find more of Kato Miki’s paintings on her website.
Here at the Lounge, we often like to look to the past for our inspiration. Abandoned techniques, trends and limitations of a bygone age are often a necessary stimulus. With that said, I believe, today we are looking further than we ever have before. Over 2,400 years ago, to Classical Greece.
The Achilles Painter, is certainly not the birth name of the famous Athenian vase painter, but the one he is known by. Named for an amphora attributed to him with a painting of “Achilles and Briseis.” Between 200-300 vase paintings have been attributed to the Achilles Painter, on the basis of style of the “Achilles and Briseis” amphora.
He was a pupil of the Berlin Painter and decorated vases using the red-figure technique. Which was essentially the reverse of the dominant black-figure style, and went on to replace it. The new technique allowed for better internal details, as they were applied with a brush. Whereas the old technique, painters had to scratch in the details, which was far less accurate.
For much of the Achilles Painter’s red-figure pottery, he would illustrate the classical characters of Greek mythology. Clean lines and clear forms offset by a black background captured the drama. Among many others, he depicted the aforementioned Achilles and Briseis, Oedipus and the Sphinx of Thebes, the death of Orpheus, and Zeus, often pursuing a female figure.
He later moved on to using, and developing, the white-ground technique. Clay free from iron oxide burns white. This special clay was applied on top of the common reddish clay to give a white ground to paint on. Making it more similar to painting on panels and walls. This technique allowed the Achilles Painter to draft pure outline drawings and permitted the use of some colours. His white-ground pottery depicted contemporary events, often in the home. Notably “Youth Bidding Farewell to Wife”, “Warrior Arming”, and less commonly painted scene such as two women visiting a funerary monument.
As was very much the style of the time, he always represented faces in profile. However in contrast to many, his delicate paintwork portrayed figures in a pensive and almost melancholy way. No matter what the scene, there is a sense of calm between his figures. This is both true in the death of Orpheus, and Zeus’ pursuit of females. The Achilles Painter’s style was extremely influential. He took over the Berlin Painter’s workshop, and began to teach students of his own. Many of whom later became prominent painters themselves.
If you are interested in finding out more about ancient Greek art, I highly recommend watching Alastair Sooke’s Treasures of Ancient Greece. A couple episodes can be found on YouTube, but with any luck the BBC will put together a “Treasures of Ancient” DVD.
I will leave you with the words of art historian, Sir John Beazley, describing the Achilles Painter:
“He is the great master of the white lekythos. His red-figure vases nearly always have a sober beauty, but few of them–like the pointed amphora in the Cabinet des Médailles–reach the height of his best white lekythoi, which are among the masterpieces of ancient drawing.”
Today’s Manga Monday feature is Japanese artist Miho Hirano. A graduate from Tokyo Art School Musashino Art University. Living in Abiko, Chiba her mesmerising work has toured the walls of galleries across Japan. Recently, it seems she is contributing to group show every month, notably the highly praised Ephemeral ~ Territory of Girls exhibition at Jiro Miura Gallery.
Hirano’s oil paintings seem to me to be evoking the Pre-Raphaelites spirit. Whether intention or not, her images share much of the same ethos. The atmosphere plays a larger role than narrative, the female beauties express a euphoric states of consciousness, and of course, the attention to detail of the natural world.
With that said, Hirano’s paintings do have a stronger sense of surrealism. Her characters, and the nature that surrounds them, seem to merge into one. Hair, branches, flowers, and fish all float as if they are weightless. The use of heavily desaturated colours result in the image appearing as if you are looking at it through fog, or it is a hazed memory, or dream. All of these elements in the hands of Hirano beget undeniably dramatic work.
Don Shank is an Annie and Emmy awards winning animator. Pleasantly planted in California, he is currently working at Pixar Animation Studios. Shank studied animation at the renowned CalArts. Whose alumni include fellow Pixar patriots, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, and Pete Docter, to name but a few.
After university, Shank worked at a variety of studios including Nickelodeon Animation Studio, where he worked as a layout artist on the groundbreaking Ren & Stimpy Show, Cartoon Network Studios and later, Hanna-Barbera Productions where he worked as a storyboard artist on Genndy Tartakovsky’s Dexter’s Lab and Samurai Jack as well as Craig McCracken’s Powerpuff Girls. Shank also wrote for Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls and The Powerpuff Girls Movie.
Around 2004 Shank made the jump into feature films, joining Pixar, aiding them with the visual development of The Incredibles. He has since worked as an environment and production artist on two of the most stunning of all the Pixar movies, Ratatouille and Up. More recent projects include the runaway box-office success, Inside Out and the upcoming, Finding Dory.
Shank is an incredibly skilled draftsman and painter, as such, he enjoys experimenting with different styles, mediums and techniques. Shank’s personal work is very influenced by Cubism, especially the artist Pablo Picasso. A few years ago, about a year after the launch of the first iPad, Shank made the news for the beautiful paintings he was creating with the Brushes app. Which I assure you was a very novel concept at the time and had people perplexed by the implications.