Bassmi Ibrahim has chosen a life in abstract painting to give access to a space beyond words. Rather than representing the outer shape of the world, these paintings express the fluid dynamism of all life. His work is a dance in between the artist and the medium allowing both intuitive fluidity and disciplined control.
In the studio the white canvas is contemplated in meditative silence, enabling Bassmi to enter into a special plateau of his inner being. The image shows itself like a light unfolding over the surface of the canvas. Each work is totally spontaneous and usually made in a single session of several hours and then revisited numerous times to add layers of depth and tonal value. He uses diluted oils and synthetic varnishes to create moving forms in translucent layers of color. The painting is totally alive during its creation, combining freedom of movement with an innate sense of aesthetic balance. The beauty and subtlety of what takes shape can only come from deeper layers of the inner self.
Bassmi's work is concerned with the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual self. All exposed with nothing held back. The viewers are invited to enter into a different area of their awareness, where the intellectual mind is silenced and the simplicity of the inner self is opened to lead them into the paintings.
As an Egyptian artist born in 1941 growing up in Alexandria, he got to know the Mediterranean of myth and legend. The sea, its ebb and flow and the waves themselves found as a constant in both, the life of the planet and in Bassmi's career. From the early phase of Bassmi's art career, he refused to paint in the traditional realistic style, and when he arrived in New York he was able to start working as an art restorer while allowing for adapting to the avant-garde art world of the 1960s. He started creating abstract paintings and after meeting with Mark Rothko whom he considers a spiritual and artistic mentor as a touchstone and constant inspiration. Bassmi certainly might share some of Rothko's darker moods but he doesn't show it, what he shares is the ability to make a striking and decisive composition.
Bassmi's stain painting is distinguished by its physical clarity filled up with air and light, with some water flow like sensations in every composition. Always inspired by nature, something apart from the self, and nature is Bassmi's constant source, he now lives on the gulf coast of Florida, which provides plenty of this watery sensations, resulting in a creation of beautiful pieces where you can appreciate and feel a fluid exuberance in Bassmi's art.
Gillie and Marc
‘The world depends on contemporary artists to challenge life as we know it. We, the contemporary artist pull apart the world, so it can be put back together as something different.’ As husband and wife, Gillie and Marc are Australian contemporary artists who collaborate to create art as one, applying the iconic imagery of the dog/human hybrid to celebrate the powerful spiritual relationship that exists between man and animal. Gillie and Marc reference their own remarkable love story in their works, perpetuating a pursuit of happiness and encouraging us to challenge the status quo and the perceived safety of societal convention. Gillie and Marc’s unparalleled love is the cornerstone of what they are and of what they create.
Gillie and Marc first met in Hong Kong. She was a nurse from England and he was a boy from the ‘burbs’ of Melbourne. Instantly they realised they’d found their soulmate, someone to start a journey encompassing their mutual love for art and adventure. Seven days later they were married in the foothills of Mount Everest. They not only share an unsurpassed dedication to their art but also love for their two children, whom Gillie describes as their ‘best friends’ — along with their fur baby Indie, of course.
With a 20 year history of collaboration, Gillie and Marc’s works (paintings and sculptures) have received acclaim worldwide and are held in collections both nationally and internationally. 'We are two people working as one, with a single vision — something no one else is doing in art’. Initially, Gillie and Marc painted and designed, but have now become very interested in sculpture, creating commissioned works for venues such as: Australia Zoo; Sydney Children’s Hospital; Australian Red Cross Blood Service; Hilton Hotel Singapore; McDonald’s Corporate Headquarters in Singapore; and the Ying Ren Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing. The artists produce sculptures in a variety of mediums including bronze, brass, steel, wood, fibreglass and polyresin. Awards and accolades are numerous for the Schattners. In 2006 they were Archibald Prize finalists. The painting 'He’ll never be famous but he doesn’t give a damn, he’s a musician,' earned them first prize at the 2009 Chianciano Biennale in Tuscany, Italy.
Their life-like fibreglass sculptural piece, Bondi Coffee Dog, appeared in the Florence Biennale in the same year. Stretching controversy further is their work, If Jesus was alive today he would be a skateboarder, which featured in the inaugural 2009 Blake Prize Director’s Cut, an online exhibition. Gillie and Marc has also featured work in the 2012, 2015 and 2016 Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi Beach where they won the People’s Choice and Kids Choice Awards in 2016, for Shandu, Buried Rhino. With over 20 years of collaboration, Gillie and Marc’s works have received acclaim worldwide and are held in collections both nationally and internationally.
Kim Jae Il
Kim Jae Il was born in 1969 in Seoul, Korea. Kim Jae Il's process of expression is hiding and burrowing to make the image and appearance visible. His forms differ with every work displaying themselves by perspective and sculpturesque convention. He believes in expressing the objects and ideas farther dynamically, assuring the works cannot be plane figures; existing somewhere between cubic and plane concepts by containing flat structures. Creating 3-dimension sculptural expressions and 2-dimension pictorial expressions, in one screen, is how Kim Jae Il's work is best described. Forming a unique process of intaglio, materializing several traces of our surroundings. It is his own language to engrave his vestige, unwilling to lose this in his works.
Kim Jae Il earned his B.F.A and M.F.A at Hong Ik University in Seoul Korea. He has had numerous solo and Group Exhibitions through out Europe, Asia, and the US including, Korea, Hong Kong, New York, and Miami. His works have been a part of many important collections through out the world and he has received Awards from the Seoul Museum of Art, the National Museum of Contemporary art in Korea, and a Contemporary Sculpture award in Seoul Gallery. He is a member of Hongik Sculptor's Association, the Korean Sculptor's Association and the Korean Fine Arts Association.
Gee Gee Collins
Gee Gee Collins was born 1973 and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She studied painting under Michael Phillips at the College of Charleston and received a bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the University of Georgia. She also traveled and studied at Lamar Dodd School of Art in Cortona, Italy. From the start of her career, she has been captivated by bright colors and the essence of minimalism. Her bold brush strokes and colorful palette combine to create layers of paint that give each piece a history and an ethereal quality. She approaches the canvas with ease and spontaneity, resulting in paintings filled with energy and movement.
Exploring unique pallets with line and texture, Gee Gee has blossomed her style into an array of extravagant design. She follows forms which evoke organic lines and whimsy, triggering a sense of fun and elegance within each work. Playing with the theme of femininity, Gee Gee creates pieces which exhibit a strong sense of lust and beauty, while effortlessly depicting her subjects with the use of shape and color. Her pattern creates abstract paintings that explore an environment ever changing, shaped by pigmentation and a balance struck between beauty and chaos.
Looking at the works of Roh Jae-soon, we can feel many stories being told through just one simple element: the mouth. Roh refuses to let daily life slide by, incorporating elements of sympathy into his paintings. If the sentence inscribed in the wall becomes a sentence, the lips on the canvas will tell stories as if they had become a reporter. We can hear the cry of the times through Roh Jae-soon’s canvases, embracing the stories of the world. The lips drawn on the canvas are about to tell a story. Roh's drawing's are not simply the lips, but the ‘expression’ of the lips.
Roh Jae-soon began to draw from the early days. Sometimes he drew the whole body, but mostly focused on eyes and faces. This collection of the lip work has its significance in telling the story of the world. The moment the artist commits the photographed lips to the canvas, the atmosphere and message of the art work are determined. For instance, tight lips express the absence of communication, and open lips the carpe-diem kind of gaiety. Depending on the expression of the lips, some lips suggest hope for the future, and only the lips are highlighted. Roh expresses the lips in various ways.
Born in New York 1980 and raised in Ireland, Derick Smith initially began a career in design before moving on to chemical photography which resulted in his first solo exhibition in New York, 2006. Later, he began to experiment with sculpture and painting after graduating from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin 2012, and has since exhibited nationally and internationally.
Within his practice materials are tools with a view to honoring their integral essence and of not losing sight of their primitive nature. The paint is treated primarily as paint; it is employed as a means towards exploring the possibility of the existence of 'pure vision'. Through the interaction of the paint with itself and, in so far as possible, the least intervention, one can bear witness to the unfolding of what may appear to be microcosms. The dripping and shifting textures, like water in nature, seeks the paths of least resistance and the lowest points of rest. Gravity is the primary inescapable force which touches everything and these snapshots seem stolen from the timeline of an otherwise downward demise.
Within any piece one may be drawn into certain microcosmic 'universes', the echoes of happenings, which invite closer inspection. While stepping back a more distant view allows for an overall comprehension of the macrocosm. Aesthetically and technically, a balance is sought between this overall view and the density and depth of the echoes within. Somewhere between these viewing planes a form or image may be distinguished which pulls away from the paint.
It can absorb the attention for a moment before the illusion fades and the awareness of the physicality of the paint as an object takes over. It is this dialogue, this toggling back and forth between form and object, the momentary suspension or interruption which is most readily pursued in Derick's pieces.
Campbell La Pun
Originating from Melbourne, Tokyo based Campbell La Pun's paintings wallow in a mash up of popular culture from iconic film characters to retro video games and Japanese anime cartoons to comic text. His pictures takes us on a dizzying trip through the aesthetics of urban stencil art and a crazy world of Japanese Kawaii cuteness and Kimochi sensations.
Using everything from stencils to aerosol and acrylic paint on wood and canvas, La Pun invites us to journey through a modern world; his paintings reflect the dizzying range of motifs, colours and forms that manifest themselves in pop culture iconography and advertising images of the global marketplace. Thus attacking our senses every moment of everyday. Each picture is a juxtaposition of East and West, America and Japan. A neon world of candy coloured madness that perpetually blinks in the artificial brightness of Times Square in New York and the Shibuya district in Tokyo.
Lesley was born in Yorkshire, England, where she grew up in a small Northern fishing town, and currently resides in Orange County, California. She received a B.A. Honors First Class degree in Illustration and Design from the University of Lincoln. Early in her career, she worked as graphic designer and later began to produce children’s books and licensed artwork. For the last several years her main focus and passion has been abstract painting.
Seeking to create an abstract visual language that cannot be expressed otherwise is Lesley Grainger's main objective. She works intuitively and thoughtfully while discovering new and interesting color and compositions. Painting is a reflection of experience and what Lesley has found is that each painting is translated to the next, like an ongoing story. Color is a boundless part of her process, seeking to explore color combinations that intrigue the senses and reveal something unexpected. Discovery is key in Lesley's expression, as she works with the canvas, adding and removing elements. This pushes her to new levels and what brings a sense of how art can change the way we think, the way we feel and the way we connect with the world.
Lee Kwan Woo
Lee Kwan Woo was born in 1969 in Gwacheon, South Korea. Having grown up near the city center of Seoul, Lee Kwan Woo has lived near a cultural intersection of the world. While studying art at Kwandong University, the artist majored in Western Painting and subsequently had several shows. Each mixed media painting commemorates a lost technology; in this case the hand stamp, and therefore leaves the authentic, rustic nature of these found objects intact. His work has been featured internationally, in art fairs around the world, in cities such as Seoul, Peking, New York and Paris. Lilac Gallery is one of the first galleries in the United States to be representing his work. By bringing the many into one, yet never losing the shining clarity of each individual, artist Kwan Woo makes a statement that goes beyond art and speaks directly to his view of life. Lee is a talented Korean artist who combines ancient tools and contemporary vision to create complex works of art that carry many layers of meaning.
His Korean heritage is stamped on each work, yet the most fundamental message of his art is universal. Kwan Woo Lee creates paintings that are not made of paint. His two dimensional surfaces are actually not flat at all. Each stamp carries a word or a pictograph or just a design of the artist's concept. The stamps are placed in an uneven, undulating layer, across a flat surface. Some just out, some receded. They create fields and waves when seen at a distance. As a forest is composed of trees, and an ocean of infinite drops of water, so Lee's constructions achieve completion by the accumulation of many.
Yannick Hamon was born and raised in Toulouse, France. From a young age, Hamon had a keen sense of creativity that was against the norm of the typical paint and canvas. Making experimentation one of the most important facets of his artistic practice. Hamon loves using female imagery, incorporating his own graphic design, and calligraphy background to develop paintings with acrylic, spray paint, and resins. Using bold, neon palettes of colors, highlighting a black and white composition of a beautiful female face, his paintings take on the appearance of a newspaper, media headline or pop-culture imagery, which aligns us with the quickly-moving and a rapidly changing world.
Hamon's education in multi-media art at the Scriptorium de Toulouse, a school that specializes in typography and calligraphy, helped him reach a greater success with his individualized style of art expression. His desire to create on a universal level has helped him grow his business within fashion and customization work for skateboards, interior designers, furniture, and snowboards.
What is inspiring and allows Hamon to create pieces, is the basic human emotion of everything we see around us daily. He is not political in art expression at all. Instead, Hamon prefers to exhibit what is beautiful around us using vibrant, erotic and feminine imagery.
Anabel Leiner is a contemporary artist from Hamburg Germany. Her process deals with constantly experimenting with mixed media and colors to find her abstractions. Her experimentation process is one that motivates her and drives her to find new media. Her artwork highlights the catalytic role of materiality and technique in the contemporary quest of abstraction. The result is refreshing with long lines contrasted with soft colors, balancing these features delicately and skillfully. Her use of color evokes elegance as her lines create an innovative touch.
The feeling of Anabel's work comforts the viewer with rich color juxtaposed with aggressive darker tones. In a whirlwind of elements we can feel specks of dust, drops of rain, rays of sunshine; taking you to a landscape bursting with sensations, emotions and most of all, the feeling of a thousand things happening in an instant.
Cindy Shaoul was born in 1987 in New York. Shaoul is a visual listed American artist with a Hungarian-Persian background that comes from a lineage of artists. She is the granddaughter and pupil of late world-renowned Hungarian artist Albert Sz. Nemethy, whose paintings can be found in the White House, the Kremlin in Russia, and Museums in the U.S. and Hungary. Shaoul completed her professional education at Emerson College, later moving to Israel and Hungary to study culture and science. In Budapest she attended the Budai Art Institute from 07' to 09'. Cindy returned to New York City to continue her artistic education at the Art Students League, where she worked under the tutelage of Joseph Peller, Gregg Kreutz, and Tom Torak. In 2010 she began collaborating with LA II (Angel Ortiz) who previously worked with Keith Haring in the late 1980’s. Shaoul and LA II worked on a collection of pieces that have been exhibited in Europe.
Having built a diverse body of work since her early career ranging from portraits to colorful abstract paintings, Cindy is constantly reinventing her style working on a range of collections from Pop Culture to City Street Scenes. Her colorful "Dripping Dots" series is focused on the simplicity of beauty in the moment, creating a translucent but very colorful pallet evoking a result which is clean, fresh and modern. Her whimsicality is precious, leaving much room for nostalgia in her works. For more than a decade her pieces have been a part of several important Exhibitions throughout New York City. Her works are part of private collections including ‘Dr. Issac Shohar’ and ‘Zion Yakabov’ in Tel Aviv, Israel, and ‘Alex Acevedo’ on Madison Ave., New York.
René Alvarez Mäkelä
René Alvarez Mäkelä is a spanish artist that lives and works in Palma de Mallorca, in his Santa Catalina studio. His creative universe is involved in Pop icons and his inspiration feeds through common places, fashion, street scenes, books, movies, television or the musical world to create each one of his pieces and convert them in a unique piece of Pop and Street Art.
In his large format canvas he uses oil paint, acrylics and different textures that creates a big impact. His Pop icon series was a succes reaching critics and the public highlighting the succes of the fluor colors in his portraits. His work has been exposed in galleries of L.A (California) Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Madrid and Barcelona.
His satiric world; mix of hyperrealism and street art, cartoons, and other art expressions has been recognized in many publications and galleries.
René has a degree in Advertising and he has worked as a screenwriter in the most important enterntainment shows in spanish tv. Contact with the mass media and popular culture has influenced his work and led him to create high impact works, fusing his realistic vision with todays pop culture.
Robert Gregory Phillips
Robert Gregory Phillips was born in 1955 and is a contemporary American artist. He works in a broad range of media including painting, photography, drawing, collage, video and code art. His paintings are in corporate and private collections in the USA, Korea and China. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Painting from Troy University, Alabama. Abstraction, realism, impressionism, minimalism and color field are among the influences of his art.
Robert's work considers the dualities which encompasses an authentic life inspired by the spirit. Deeply connected to poetry and the tranquil essence of nature, Robert discovers unique patterns and colors to reveal his inspiration drawn from people, history and underlying simple, everyday moments. His paintings explore a unique color pallet which is at times soft and vulnerable and at others frivolous and chaotic. Both drawing upon the pureness of the moment which evokes a raw, elegant and modern feel.
As an artist, he states that when he does art, he prays and waits, he waits for something to come, not so much a direction, but a feeling or maybe better, a knowing. As he explains that it is not an “all-at-once thing”, he usually needs to make a mark, or choose a color before he can know the next thing to do. Then, for him, one mark leads to the next, one color to the next. He would only consider his art as complete until a certain aesthetic is reached, and he never knows how long is going to take.
Sometimes he will stop after a few minutes and re-start it again on the next day. Some other times he will work in this process of 'art aesthetic' for months or even years until the piece is finished. Film, music, poetry, philosophy, theology, nature, science and technology have certainly a deep influence on his artwork, but the dominant element is relationships. Relationships with friends and family but also, as he defines, with the ever-present influence from the author of creation, always having a deep yearning of his soul. Phillips lives near Austin, Texas with his wife and family.
Daniel Fiorda was born in 1963 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Of Italian ancestry, his lineage includes a grandfather highly respected as a wood craftsman, also is father was a craftsman in addition to being a musician and poet. Because a privileged life was not his, there was no university for Fiorda. In the Old World tradition of passing on knowledge from parent to child, he learned about machinery form his father, who recognized his son's talent and encouraged it. With some private tutoring he began sculpting in high school using found objects.
The press reviews of his first exhibit, at age 20, stated that Fiorda had a definite “poetic feeling”. With this encouragement, he continued to pursue his art. After leaving Argentina, he arrived in Miami Beach via a circuitous route and set up his studio in the South Florida Art Center. He has exhibited widely throughout the US including the OK Harris Gallery, Allan Stone Gallery in New York as well as the Heriard Cimino Gallery in New Orleans, Lélia Mordoch Gallery in Paris France and Lilac Gallery in New York City. Daniel was one of the winners in the 7th Annual Sculptures Competition (2003) held at Washburn University in Topeka , Kansas.
Selected on the inaugural 2006 Palm Beach International Sculpture Biennale, and exhibited for a 3rd time in Sculpture Key West. He is an alumni Artist of ArtCenter/South Florida. Two Pieces from his “Convertible Couch projects” were selected by Art in Public Places in Orlando (2002-2003) and was on display for one year in the entrance to the Orlando Science center. The Highlands Museum of the Arts in Sebring Florida, has acquired for their permanent collection the “Red Hunter”, one of the heavy toys “Series 2008” sculpture, which has been installed in front of the Museum's Garden. The MOLAA, Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles, has incorporated one of Fiorda's “Square Series 2008” in their permanent collection, and was the recipient of “Auction 08: Contemporary ,Honorary Award”.
Fiorda links past and present, old and new, with a subtle irony and criticism. The works become a critical mirror for our post-Industrial society and its polluting daily activity. Fiorda’s works have found a key place in the great currents of Contemporary sculpture. Daniel Fiorda’s sculpture breaks up the logic of representation characterized by traditional Western-Art sculptures. His works are made with discarded metals assembled in a complex and busy structure that recalls a Neo-Baroque approach to art. The sculpture's material becomes a morphological generator of its figurative shape. As an archeologist, Fiorda captures the “presence” and the elusive meaning of each work of art, most lately with discarded remnants of the industrial world. Fiorda currently lives and works in Miami Florida.
Gieler was born in 1982 in the Netherlands. In the late 90’s he began experimenting with graffiti in Amsterdam. For years, he remained active with spraying letters on walls and as he got older, graffiti evolved in street-art and he also started to experiment on canvas. The street influences can still be recognized and by using hand torn collected street posters, he is able to compose unique images on canvas captivating the viewer with the voice of the people and his own. Blending urban elements in a highly intricate way, he creates beautiful compositions that differentiate him from his counterparts. Since 2014 he has been diligently creating this body of work by replicating the captivating beauty of pop icons with his own style. As an emerging artist from The Netherlands, his collage works are always being provided with posters he collects from walls out of the streets; he has developed a technique of ”Sustainable art" which gives a living and edgy character to his paintings. He also uses other old materials, like damaged brushes, blunt stanleyknives or other older and sometimes broken tools. Since by working with these tools and materials the result is always more surprising and exciting.
With a passion for art and an eye for beauty, Alexo Wandael studied photography and architecture at the University of Ferrara, Italy. After practicing both in Berlin and Los Angeles , he moved to New York where he now resides.
Throughout his career Alexo has worked with publications such as: Vogue Italia, Uomo Vogue, Russian Vogue, Russian Elle, The Telegraph, The Observer and many others. His fine art photography was shown in exhibitions through Europe and the U.S.
Recently his work was added to the permanent collection of the FIT museum in NY.
Clients: Bulgari, Hermes, Loro Piana, Chopard, Vivienne Westwood, Nike and Allegri. Celebrities : Katy Perry, Oleg Cassini, Paco Rabanne, Nicola Bulgari, Jennifer Missoni Patch Adams and Roberto Bolle.
Suki Maguire (Kim Jong Sook) was born in Seoul, Korea in 1949. She grew up in Seoul, and always displayed a propensity for the arts. As largely self-taught, her style reflects a strength and a passion that grew out of these struggles, as the Korean War broke out on 1950. However, after finishing school, the demands of work and family all precluded her from becoming seriously involved in her beloved art. Over a quarter of a century of teaching at the Seoul British School, has allowed her some outlet for her creative impulses through instructing the children or setting up seasonal displays at the school. Later, she felt it was time to get serious about doing her own work, and she enrolled at Hong-ik University's Adult Education Art Program. There she had the precious opportunity of studying under some of Korea's most illustrious artists. Suki has always retained her own unique personal approach to painting. An illustration of this was her methodology in painting nudes, her first major area of focus in her re-discovered art career. She would go into a Korean public bathhouse for women, without brush or camera, where she would employ her hands and arms to sketch invisibly, her chosen subject in her artistic minds eye. Later this creation of her very fecund imagination was to be rendered on canvas.
Unorthodox; yet effective, Suki treats us to a series of works that tantalizes the imagination with bold strokes of dark and light, hinting at shapes both human and ethereal and pulling us through the two-dimensional surface of the canvas into the mysterious depths of a multidimensional world. Her works resonate with strong, masculine strokes, vibrant colors, and passionate themes. There is a great potential for discovery in Maguire's world of symbols, but a passing glance will not do, you have to allow your gaze to linger on this part and that of each painting so that your subconscious will have the opportunity to retrieve the elusive forms that seem to be hiding within the more obvious shapes. This holds true even in those works that incorporate letters of the Korean or Latin alphabet, which serve as glyphs bearing some symbolic meaning that goes beyond the mere representation of sound. She has exhibited internationally in Seoul, Nantucket, New York and Italy. Her styles and materials have ranged from realism to abstract, from water and oil colors to acrylics and coffee grounds. The common factor is that when looking at her pieces you can spend some time letting your mind play within each painting and you'll come away with a much richer understanding of what Suki Maguire's art has to show at a simple glance.
- Artist’s Biography -
Richard Shaoul was born in 1985 in New York City. He is a self-taught American artist. His mostly fictional works contain both natural and supernatural dream-like elements inspired from his own deep imagination. Richard defines what it means to be an artist without limits or guidelines. His paintings exhibit that endless possibilities are indeed fathomable. His extreme precision and attention to detail distinguishes him from his counterparts.
His works, typically in charcoal, portray surreal scenes with rich textures and depth, intense contrasts and eccentric exaggerations; regardless of the subject. His works, both magnificent and endearing, provide a glimpse into his ever-so abstract mind.
Richard produced his best pieces following extended reclusive periods in hiding, out of reach from the public. The gallery is pleased to be representing a private collection of his most recent works.
LA II (Angel Ortiz)
LA II (Angel Ortiz) was born in 1967 in the Lower East Side of New York, New York. Also known for the artistic names of LA II, LA2 or LA Rock which stands for “Little Angel” are often seen as tags in his artwork. LA II began his career when he met Keith Haring in 1980 at the age of 13. Being one of the most recognizable Graffiti artists from the Lower East Side in the 1980’s Ortiz collaborated side by side with Keith Haring for a number of projects. Having dropped out of High School in Manhattan, New York in 1983, he traveled around the world working with Keith Haring until 1985.
LA II is for Haring what Jean-Michel Basquiat was for Andy Warhol. Today LA II is considered an iconic graffiti artist, being unearthed from the massive power of Keith Haring’s body of work. LA II’s role role in Haring’s artistic development is clearly delineated by the unique and original look of their co-produced works. Fortunately, LA II is still alive, and his career is in its prime. LA II has a very collaborative nature. He seeks out to work with other artists giving characterization of his unique calligraphic patterns and lines to each piece. He has worked with dozens of artists in the art market today. Some of these names include Richard Hamilton, a number of street artists from the LES, Delta 2, Ero, and Cindy Shaoul. LA II's Urban Art style and graffiti heavily influenced Keith Haring’s work. If it is to be found the LA II, LA2 or LA Rock tag within a Haring artwork, then the piece was produced in collaboration effort between Keith Haring and LA II.
LA II complimented Haring’s “empty space” drawings, Angel Ortiz helped fill out Haring’s drawings. Haring said, “All the work [Angel and I did] was about surface and usually covers or transforms the object it is applied to”. Haring and LA II combined their styles to create an overall surface of intermingling lines. They worked on Day-Glo painted plaster sculptures, real objects, or room-sized installations with graffiti writing that mixed with contemporary and ancient symbols that Keith loved so much. They worked on hundreds of works until Keith Haring’s death in 1990. LA II and Haring were constant creative partners for almost six years out of Haring’s decade-long career. Their collaboration produced hundreds of admired, sought-after and valuable pieces, which are exhibited in galleries worldwide, from New York to Tokyo to Europe. This partnership mirrored that of Braque and Picasso, except unlike LA II, Braque was given due recognition for his work. It is also to be noted that in Keith’s own writing, LA II was always mentioned as a part of Keith’s history. It would seem that critics, business people and even art historians have “overlooked”, or perhaps omitted, the crucial role of LA II in the history, development, and impact to Keith Haring’s body of work.
The influence that LA II garnered over Keith Haring by meshing their creativity produced some of the most iconic works of art that exist in the art market today. Among some selected exhibitions on which LA II has participated are: Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York City, with Keith Haring in 1982, in 1983 alongside with Keith Haring at the Fun Gallery, New York City, at the Galerie Watari, Tokyo, Japan, at the Robert Fraser Gallery, London, United Kingdom, at the Special Projects Paint Fiorucci, Milan, Italy, in 1990 Future Primeval Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows and Corona Park, New York with Keith Haring, Follin Gallery, New York City in 2001, Clayton Patterson Outlaw Museum, New York City in 2002, LA II & Keith Haring, Due amici a New York in 2003, Scope Art Fair, Los Angeles, California in 2004, and Galleria Leonardo Galerie, Bolzano, Italy in 2005. After his work with Haring ended, LA II continued to make his own artwork fighting to make his past and current work more well-known. In 2008 he was famously caught tagging his name in a restored Haring outdoor mural without permission and in 2011 he went to jail for one month due to graffiti around Manhattan. LA II lives in New York, New York and works to continue creating graffiti art.
Steve Smythe is currently a lecturer of visual communications and a freelance graphic and web designer, Steve has a degree in Product Design and a teaching degree from Cambridge University. A self-taught artist, he began creating his work in early 2013. For Steve art gives him the freedom to work without boundaries, to do whatever he wants, no constraints, no brief, no amendments, no clients believing they know better. It's a freedom to work and explore in a manor not possible within the life design. Steve creates work solely from layers of paint, mixed media, spray paint and screenprint. Inspired by decollage from his own torn paste-ups and artists such as Jacques Villeglé and Raymond Hains.
Santiago Fuentes Bo
Santiago Fuente Bo was born in 1975 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was taught art in Centro Polivalente de Arte de San Isidro and Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte, Bachelor in Fine Arts, and graphic design at University of Buenos Aires. Since the early years, he worked as an independent artist, a graphic designer and illustrator. In 1998 he got an Art Professor Diploma at IUNA, Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Fuentas Bo has a unique style in that he marries photorealism with surrealism. His work speaks about memories. Santiago connects personal memories with collective images. He takes from his dream world, and ties his story in each piece, bringing memories alive with pop imagery in surreal conceptions. He tells stories with timeless effortlessness; something that may seem mundane but becomes conscious in his dream like world.
Fuentes Bo displays a graphic style as he starts creating with enamel, pencils and pens on wood or PVC, connecting the world of street art and graphic design that he comes from, and creating fantastic and delirious images with an urbane and contemporary sense of humor. His hallucinatingly refined depictions of animals remind us of Frans Snyders’ portraits; that’s how we have a Dutch still life in the midst of chaotic graffiti, randomly annotated supermarket receipts, slogans, pixels, and coffee spots. The result is paintings with object-like feeling. Pieces of something that could have a previous life. Half stories with no ending. A celebration of everyday life through everyday elements.
After years working as illustrator and in the advertising industry, in 2011 he moved to Nicosia, Cyprus and set up his studio where he produces his artwork and teaches art. His work is part of private collections in Buenos Aires, Nicosia and Larnaca.
Sona Mirzaei is a contemporary artist from Los Angeles, California. She is a self-taught artist, ambitious and talented, building a well-regarded art practice that has blossomed into a wonderful world of its own. Her sole mission is to follow interests in life and capture anything that evokes cognitive activity, emotion, creativity and inspiration for her audience and inevitably herself. Sona's approach to art is culturally rich, bold, daring, while evoking a gentleness. She achieves great depth and contrast with use of aggressive motion in her brush work, creating paintings with great layers and texture, manifesting dimensions, liveliness and joy. She is currently working in abstract expressionism, pop art, sculpture, street art, mixed media, conceptual, 3dimensional, and public art.
Sona's interests extend to public art as she believes that people should be able to experience art anywhere and place. This notion of working outdoors opened a great opportunity for her to have experienced a Sotheby's auction with her elephant Triumph of Unity in Singapore which was sponsored by Air France in 2012. The last several years have brought more awareness to Sona's career in the form of public art, exhibitions and these experiences have also allowed for her first museum exhibition at the Asian Civilization of Art Museum, following the Milton Museum in Massachusetts.
Sona has become a vibrant force in the International art community and has exhibited her works in London, Singapore, Copenhagen, Chicago, Las Vegas, Toronto, Paris, Miami, Hong Kong, New York City, Dubai, San Francisco, and numerous venues and galleries all over Southern California. She has a genuine artistic goal of continuing to evolve and create magic thorough the lens of the visual medium which she believes has the power to transform and transcend virtually any space.
Tara's work draws upon the simplicity that is shared with in a moment. Her brushwork is soft and raw leaving the viewer with implements of her imagination dashing across the canvas with colors that are plush and inviting. Her work varies from subtle, calming and tranquil to at times more vivacious and energized. Depending on her mood, an array of universes are created. With great attention to light and shadow and as her lines elegantly swerve and move, her work is an enchanting journey with many stories to be told.
With roots in Bucks County Pennsylvania, and Queens, NY, Tara Bergey studied at California State University and received her BA degree in Fine Art. As a child, Tara took a multitude of art classes at the Redlands Art Association. While attending class at CSUSB, her work was included in several group and solo shows at the Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum. Returning to her family roots, Tara moved to New York City in 2012 to further pursue her career in art. Tara was featured in New York magazine, Harvests of New Millennium 2012 edition and The NYC Mind Blog.