Tag Archives: Paintings

The Aspernaut, Curron Kal El Gajadhar On Art & His Angels

Curron Kal El Gajadhar has always had a very anthropological perspective of life, often resonating with the identity of an astronaut, alien, landlocked surfer or a weary, reincarnated, old soul. Corinne Stevie sits down the artist to talk about art, inspiration and the search for god, meaning and relativity in our modern times.


Art Nouveau Magazine: Who are you?

Curron Kal El Gajadhar: Sonder-tripper, part time solipsist, full time creator, introvert trying to fight my own typecast. Trini. A not so human being with obstinate ambitions to be a renaissance man in every sense of the word. I’m learning how to take part in this thing called civilization but I am in fact a landlocked surfer.


AN: Where are you from?

CG: Trinidad and Tobago.


AN: Is Curron Kal El Gajadhar your real name?

CG: The ‘Kal El’ turns my head when people say it but it is not recognized by the government lol. I latched on to the Smallville series that came out in the early 2000’s. At that time in my life it mirrored a lot of the confusion I was feeling about my humanness. To think that such strength and ability could lie under all that angst the character had of his own identity spoke to me of my own potential yet to be seen and my priority to wrap my head around larger existential challenging thoughts that I had no mentor ship for. Several aspects of alienation that were present in his depiction was the only relevance that I found for myself in anything. Beyond family, religion, and friends I identified more with this comic book character, waiting to see my equal and learn from his struggle every Wednesday at 9pm. I took his original name in recent years to remind me of the proof; even in a fictional character I have a sympathizer.

AN: When did you know you were an artist?

CG: I drew and built things out of cardboard throughout my childhood but at that time I was keener towards a career in industrial design. It wasn’t until high school and a good push from a great teacher that I felt pulled towards a more traditional sense of art for art’s sake.


AN: What themes do you focus on in your work?

CG: Awe, allurement, glorification, and the relationship between man the beast yearning towards his transcendence.

In my work I focus on the relationship between the eponymous character the Aspernaut, and his angels. It’s a persona I coined to act out the part of me that is trying to make sense of his present incarnation, placement in time, and life journey. He’s trying to make sense of his urges of curiosity towards a sensation of familiarity with the paranormal that he doesn’t quite understand yet. Because his yearning hasn’t been met with the epitome of a confrontation or audience with god or actual spiritual beings, he creates works personifying the movements in his peripheral visions with deities that rise out of the content of the urban landscape, like a protrusion that takes a shape of a beautiful escort to the unknown. He does this repeatedly to invoke further interactions with who he doesn’t see but knows is in his presence.

Dramatizing my own story in this way leaves a doorstep to the experience and world that I am trying to build a relationship with. Our existences are somewhat of a performance that gives a grand drama to be followed by the origins. There is a distance between the main dichotomy of myself concept, and an almost enslaved version of myself that carries out his life, responds to stimuli, eats, defecates, has a job, looks for love, has preferences goals, friends, family, an idea of a mission, fears and a somewhat ridiculous notion of self preservation . On the other hand there is just an observer that sits in the space between his temples watching his life play out in a reactive fashion.

I’m trying to pull these intelligences together through mimicry and dramatizing the experiences of the viewer, (that is the higher mind or witness) by making physical artifacts for the lower mind to gain the ability to empathize with that version of self observation. This leads him to question the bottle necked nature of his existence and by default an urge in him to find his way out. It’s a joint effort of two points of perception to me. Returned to the base of existence I have been cast from as a proverbial scout. To encourage suspicion in my own existence provides the catalyst for a searching and yearning behavior that will eventually lead me back to this higher dimension if I obey it. It’s a hodgepodge of existentialism really. To put it simply I’m trying to prove to myself that I am in a fishbowl, not leave it necessarily. The truth of my life’s plot and what I can do from that stance to benefit everyone in this place is my goal.

The deities are other individuals that have already gone through this inquisitive process and have become self realized. Their alluring natures and sexuality are employed as a driving force to my search. Sexual energy is the strongest of the urges that we experience but when given the appropriate attention sourced from a learned maturity you realize that the allurement is a tool to draw people together for other purposes. That compilation is simply the most effective way to hold your attention. The viewer is drawn to some of my works for just that, the most basic of reasons; because these women are beautiful you look at them and you get a taste of how my ritual affects me. Since I began this process I have fallen deeper and deeper into a monk like approach of servitude to my process and my artworks. The allurement serves me as a encouraging factor in my consistency and I care less and less about anything that has no direct benefit to the process of me creating more and more of it in a rapid succession. These are love letters to my sonder.


AN: Throughout art history the female figure has always been the muse to the painter. What else inspires you?

CG: I practice parkour seasonally, typically during the warmer months. Learning how to control my body’s movements throughout the urban landscape allows me to pulse along over and through most structures barriers and lines of demarcation of any urban areas grid like blueprint of physical organization. I can be organic within the grey finding my way around where it is proposed that most do not have the physical competence to tread. In this way I am free. The ability to roam this way gives me a perspective of the city that makes the whole piece conceptualization into a full on ritual that includes mp3’s and Ardens garden fuel walkabouts. I can scout new clashings of intersections, road paint markings, old signs and pathways to bring elements of it into my mind, back to the studio and thrust it in my work. I subconsciously think of myself as a reincarnated hunter gatherer that goes about his business throughout the day hunting (Kroger and fast food) gathering (taking pictures) running half mile sprints in-between that cut across streets into parking decks down into ramps behind bushy knots and so on back home. And at night I paint what I have seen through the day my wilderness/city, and what has sustained me, my angels. I understand that my relationship with these imaginary figures is very much a placebo, but they sustain me. I create art about my little cult and I don’t harm anyone else. I figure I’m doing a lot better than most that have picked up more damning habits.


DSC_0080AN: If you could pick the brain of any artist or musician dead or alive who would it be?

CG: No one really stands out, artist wise; I don’t think any of the safe greats that most people choose knows that much more than the other. I think what really gave most prolific artists their renown is their stubborn consistency, the self determinism, and the realization that they are very much a vessel and you have to let “it” all just come through. I’d have to go with Tesla.


AN: When I chatted with you on Facebook you mentioned dropping out of art school. In what ways did dropping out of art school affect your art and life?

CG: I finally had time to make art! It was a blessing in disguise. I dropped out for financial reasons against my will at the time so it curdled in my soul for a good year, pining over the fact had to leave prematurely. That’s what happens when you’ve had it pushed into yourself concept from every angle that life’s track can only succeed through one mandatory assembly line. People are the biggest spokespersons for this thing called culture. Their ideas, priorities, and totems of fulfillment have been taught to them and we continue to pass it on through generations or between associates. Leaving school was a way for me to fall out of that “grand design”. I had time to stop schooling and start learning. I said to myself “hey I make art, I’m a dropout, I have a job and I’m pursuing a goal that there is no designated, insured, and guaranteed 10 year projection for. What do you know? There is life to be had here too”.

I realized in the middle of my anthropology class that in many subtle ways the structure of school does not benefit the advancement of the individual. By advancement I mean your own uncultured aims; goals that you would foster for yourself that has nothing to do or relevance the functions of your current culture. A lot of what we do we do is because we have to or it has been taught to us that this thing or another has to be held at a certain priority and level of importance ‘or else’. We comply to what a lot of people speak of as “just the way things are” because there is 3rd party reward system that is connected to our physical survival and the ability to trade our compliance for a skill or our skills for money all of which allow us the ability to collect objects and experiences that we desire. You still get an education you are still exposed to resources. The education that you receive is only self fulfilling as a secondary effect. Outside of what will prove to be relevant for society or version of executing our creativity and intelligence that are waiting to be filled. Don’t get me wrong because this perspective is usually summarized as “down with the system!” when brought up in conversation. Education has value and so do the institutions that provide it, but I’m sure we can all agree its format is long overdue for an upgrade. The world finds a way. For example the crash of 08’ brought on a wave of new entrepreneurs and a generation under my own that is learning the value of understanding your personal brand and its value. Lectures migrated online for free, sites and services like skillshare, thumbtack, skillpages and incentive systems like adsense from Google started popping up to support the new crowd sourced infrastructure that is on the rise. Now those that understand this new cultural dynamic are the most sought after. I see all this change all this flux…and I take notes.


AN: How has social media helped or harmed you as an artist?

CG: I don’t get around as much as I’d like to, to all the events mixers; functions etc, so social media helps supplement a lot of that in-between. Even if I’m not there but my work is seen in a space there’s been this trickledown effect in conversation of my very specific aesthetic. I started an [Instagram] last year and it’s been doing pretty well. In a strange way its limitations make it a better module to express my personality. I want people to see that I don’t just make things to sell and I am very much human and my work is very close to my heart. You get to see my workflow; muses, fitness, and experimentation with other forms of expression that my friends are very kind to me about (singing) even my laziness at times. I like it, it has helped a lot. It’s nice to walk around at an event feeling sheepish because you know no one and hear “Aspernaut?”


AN: What do you like to listen to when you’re in your art studio?

CG: SOULECTION. I wanted it give them this space by themselves but there are far too many local acts that have become my soundtrack to my late nights. There’s a producer named Ethereal that makes this sound that makes me feel like I’m speeding throughout the different connecting highways in Atlanta on a jet powered long board; because there are such things in whatever dimension he gets his inspiration from. If you listen to the releases from beginning to end it creates a setting, and atmosphere. Red lights from his collab with Merian Meeraba makes me evaporate and I can’t help but play it on repeat. It sucks because I might be sick of it after a month of doing so, but I’m the type to get high off of a song. I have to put myself in a inspired trance like fertile atmosphere, otherwise I’m just pushing paint. If I’m not feeling it I have to walk away, so music is an essential part of my creative process.


AN: Motto you live by.

CG: There is a way there is always a way.


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AN: What’s next for you?

CG: I’m under new management so having someone to take care of everything else that is not the hand to canvas part of my work. With this room and help I can get my work farther further and more frequent from my studio and that will create opportunities for me to do the same. I really want to travel to a larger metropolis and work there for a while letting that urban landscape seep into me to create something based on that city. Eventually I want to make the release of certain collections into a suite; an experience that carries the same anticipation of an album release. I won’t go into the details, don’t want to give away any of my secrets but you’ll know it when you see it. Once I have the art machine well oiled I’ll start moving on to sharpen my other interests and talents. This rain dance had to come first.

To stay connected with Curron Kal EL Gajadhar  check out the links below

 IG: Aspernaut


Pinkdisguise Is A “Clean Mess” With No Boundaries

Pinkdisguise is a digital artwork project featuring some amazing illustrations, paintings and drawings. The idea is simple. To create art based on models, artists, famous brands and whatever artificial objects pushed into the world of mass production and marketing. The project is in constant change, influenced by other artists. The late Andy Warhol is obviously among those. Other inputs are commercial objects like subway stations, tattoos, fastfood and nudity. Pinkdisguise is a “clean mess” with no boundaries. The cliché is that all object must have a touch of pink.

Vaskeen On The Myth Of Perfection

While music has played the driving force in his business career

Otha “Vakseen” Davis IIIʼs passion for the arts has served as his key to sanity in the fast paced entertainment industry. Drawing inspiration from women, emotions, and popular culture, his paintings deal with the theme of female identity and evolve around society’s idolization of beauty, the enhancements women endure to obtain this level of “perfection” and the impact this has on the female species.

Vakseen has been selected for over 35 solo and group exhibitions in various galleries and venues throughout Los Angeles. His paintings have also been selected and featured in over 40 art and literary magazines and been sold to collectors and art enthusiasts throughout Los Angeles and the Southeast region of the U.S. To view more of Vakseenʼs work, visit Vakseen.com

Glenn Barr’s Post-Apocalyptic Urban Dreamscape

Glenn Barr‘s surreal creatures, specters and tragic characters live in a seedy universe, drenched in the grit and haze of a post-apocalyptic urban dreamscape.

His Detroit work has been labeled Pop Surrealism, Pop Pluralism, Lowbrow, Underground, Regional, Outsider, Ashcan or as he coins the phrase “B Culturalism.” Barr finds inspiration in the city streets as well as from pop and counter cultures that infuse a familiarity in his many parallel realities. With a nod to old master painting, pulp art, comics and animation, Barr’s paintings are mesmerizing in their narrative complexities and technical depth.

Glenn was raised in the Midwest, USA. This working class environment engrained in him a strong work ethic and an affection for B movies, local music and trash culture. Born in Detroit, Michigan, and living throughout its metropolitan area, he graduated from the College for Creative Studies and went on to establish himself firmly in the art world.

Take a closer look at some of our favorite works from Glenn below. And let us know what you think in the comments.

NANCY copy IMG_6795 Gloves EAT sm Alien Bride IMG_6798 glenn-barr

T of Urania-lips copy


DAAS Finks U Freeky

DAAS is a Japan based American contemporary artist, widely known for his bold, colorful, geometric paintings and murals. Drawing inspiration from the interplay between chaos and control, he synthesizes line, geometric shapes, rich textures and vivid colors to produce work that uses both representational and abstract elements to create recognizable forms such as humans, animals and insects.

I fink u freeky, a geometric mashup of Yo-Landi Vi$$er by DAAS



“The Pinks” by Scott Scheidly

Florida based artist Scott Scheidly explores the cultural and social implications of color and how the predefined notions that accompany these perceptions can alter one’s identity and subsequent world view. By incorporating either hyper-masculinized or historically infamous figures, Scott further drives the point home, making a mockery of his subjects though biting socio/sexual satire.

Looking beyond the initial shock value, Scheidly further raises questions regarding power and those who wield it. By incorporating notorious individuals such as Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Kim Jong Il, alongside religious leaders such as Pope John Paul II and Ayatollah Khomeini, one can’t help but wonder about the personal insecurities that power must bring on in these subjects and such insecurities are manifested. Scott’s upcoming solo exhibition “The Pinks” opens August 1, 2013 at Spoke Art in San Francisco. Take a closer look at some of Scott’s work below.







Imagination is in constant evolution… and other revelations by Wendell McShine

“Imagination is in constant evolution”

#ICYMI Internationally renowned artist and animator Wendell McShine’s latest exhibition The Storytellers, at Betti Ono gallery in Oakland, CA is closing this weekend. Don’t miss out on your chance to see this arresting new body of work.


In The Storytellers re-purposed materials all collide into a world of politics, metaphysics and sinister
plots attempting to convey an allegorical ideology for a cast of characters within a fantasy realm. A
combination of installation, drawing, painting and animation, The Storytellers is an exhibit, which
transports the viewer into a tale drawing on West African folklore and themes of transition,
motivation and consequence. As the artist says, ҬIt is where I can extend my questioning to the
world within and around me, filtering fragments of my art back into the pure cycle of contemplation
and creativity.¨ 



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Love in the FAME of God

Jonny Burt creates mixed media pieces on paper and canvas, predominantly using charcoals, pastels, acrylics, oils and collage. According to Jonny, we now live in a schizophrenic society with a serious identity crisis and his work focuses on the toxic, dehumanizing effects of a culture defined by reality shows and the gross sexualisation of our youth. As an actor, he is both disgusted and fascinated by the concept of fame and the crippling delusional aspects of ‘celebrity’ that seem to be increasingly aligned with human mortality in modern society. Take a closer look at some of Jonny’s work below.



Regressive Zero



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full better tone lo-res

Where Violence and Style Intersect, You’ll Find Ian Francis’ Worldview

Working in mixed media on canvas, Ian Francis combines abstraction, figuration, and elements of both painting and drawing to create distinctly contemporary works. He draws his inspiration from cinema, pornography, street culture, and images sampled at random from the Internet, synthesizing these sources into a quasi-literal vision of the “mediated landscape.” Amid high-color washes and jagged brushwork, Francis depicts semi-clad figures who loll and mix in casual groupings—some scenes are intimate, others hedonistic. These figures are recognizable, the young and beautiful denizens of a particular media fantasy fueled by sex, death, and celebrity. Abstraction and figuration mutually support the artist’s suggestion of a worldview where violence and style intersect.


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Kiseok Kim and the Plastics

Korean artist Kiseok Kim‘s work begins with a search for some sort of human condition in contemporary culture, expressed as symbols, colors, or realistic descriptions, but with no negative or positive perspective. After moving to New York in 2006, Kim continued his formal training at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he earned his MFA. Kiseok’s latest body of work is a continuation of his signature Plastics series, and will be supplemented by his large scale, air brushed self-portrait (2009) that is equally impressive in both scale and detail.

When observing a portrait it is commonplace to discover an emotional passage unfolding, stemming either from the artist’s process or the subject depicted within. Kim’s portraits are, in a sense, the exception that proves the rule. In each picture the artist attempts to remove traditional emotion and context from the equation, presenting instead a pretty, polished and absolutely perfect face floating in virtual space. And in each space we discover patterned, vibrant backgrounds containing items like uniform flowers, polka dots, and emoticons.

The subtlest of expressions can be found in Kim’s depiction of these contemporary, fictional characters. A glimmer of surprise or a touch of boredom can be deemed present on the surface but it never overwhelms the work. Instead, the expression is a substitution for the real thing – a flesh-and-bone emoticon.

In Kim’s 2009 self-portrait, being exhibited for the very first time, the artist conceals his face with overlapped hands, leaving the viewer to inspect the bony intricacies of his hands and fingers, and each wrinkle and contour that define the mask. This presents a far different form of substitution, and the chord it is likely to strike in viewers’ minds will offer a peculiar juxtaposition with his more recent Plastic works. Substitution, his latest exhibition opens Thursday, May 9 at Hionas Gallery’s LES location at 124 Forsyth Street. Take a closer look at some of our favorite Kiseok pieces below.






While you are enveloped in sleep, JoKa is toiling into the night stippling acrylic paint to blank facades

While you are enveloped in sleep, JoKa is toiling into the night stippling acrylic paint to blank facades, using images of styles and faces of yore. Having a penchant for meticulous and detailed work led JoKa to his method of hyperpointillism, wherein he uses only toothpicks to apply his tiny dots of color. Although his images may be skewed from direct interpretation, the meanings behind his work are usually dark in tone and leaning more towards a devious nature. Currently residing in Philadelphia, he has exhibited from coast to coast as well as lands afar.

This weekend, JoKa will be apart of a four person show entitled Disassemble Required opening March 9, at C.A.V.E. Gallery. The show features Young Chun, Craww, and Muneera Gerald. Sometimes things must be taken apart and scrutinized to understand their full meaning. Human interactions are subjective to the aspect of each individual viewer, and therefore, one can only assume the understanding of the other partaker. If miscomprehension occurs or the lines of communication get fuzzy, without detailed blueprints it is sometimes hard to put the pieces back together.

JoKa will be releasing a limited print of his piece “Some dont sleep and know our secrets” at the opening. Take a closer look at some of his vibrant new work and if you’re in the Venice area check out the opening of Disassemble Required.

Without you the night will tear me in two

Forever Speak is Eternal

Running from a spinning world only leads to headaches

Prey before Slumber

Every Direction is Interchangeable

whisper a song of death and fear will blossom in your dreams

Listen to the art of Yann Couedor

When it comes to the work of Yann Couedor  it’s all about Music on Canvas. He’s been driven by two very lively passions since 1990. As an artist and a painter, he’s in total awe of the Afro-American history and music of the 70’s up through more  contemporary sounds… Listen to his art.

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Flying Planes and Talking Paint With David Molesky

I met David Molesky on a flight headed out of San Francisco to Atlanta. Somewhere between ascendance and landing, the two of us got to talking. Although naturally subject to the gloss of travel-laden body heat and far too cramped quarters of the airplane, I managed to acquaint myself with the D.C. native turned San Franciscan that sat next to me. He told me of his years as a painter, sharing anecdotes of the artistic journey and where he found himself situated today. Only when the wheels at last touched the Georgia turf did we cease the conversation. Days later, I found the words exchanged still on my mind. I felt compelled to share their resonance, the personality behind, and the accompanying, captivating body of work he called his own.

Before even seeing his paintings, it was quiet obvious that Molesky was a credible artist. As far as I am concerned, the character of the artist is just as valuable as the art; in his case, neither team seemed to be lacking. He painted as much a verbal picture as he did with that on the canvas. So, when the iPhone was finally pulled out and the paintings themselves were at hand, the enthralling visuals fell not short of my expectations. Matching the actual depiction with his prior descriptions – the raging waters, engulfing fires, busied cities, lone owls, or mystical horses that he had spoken of – all translated with a graceful ease and bountiful brush to the canvas.


Telling of long days and mad nights painting in his San Francisco studio, Molesky’s passion feels more like a forever rampant force. With years of painting and traveling behind him, a Berkeley education in Fine Arts and Molecular Cell Biology to boast, and a mass of work that has touched continents and art aficionados worldwide, the breadth of the artist resides as enchanting as the art itself.


The rest, I leave to the artist himself to share. Read below as I talk with David Molesky about his art today, his inspiration, and the craft that he can’t seem to contain.

Art Nouveau: How did David Molesky the artist come about? When and where did you plant your artistic roots?

David Molesky: I was a serious but goofy kid.  I sometimes wore a tie and blazer to elementary school.  I cleared out my parent’s coat closet and converted it to my private studio, after squeezing in my toddler-sized desk.

I got into painting in high school.  Me and my friends would hang out and paint together.  The learning curve was the quickest then and I still pretty much paint the same, only I have more tricks up my sleeve.

I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad to give my passions for art and science and equal chance.  Painting won as it always does.  Later I moved up and down the west coast following loves and art and landing in different scenarios by magical chance with one great practitioner of painting after another.


AN: What was a particularly defining moment for you?

DM: When I was living on the Big Sur coastline, I fell in love with painting water and this is where I had my first taste of real commercial success.


AN: From where do you draw inspiration? 

DM: I draw inspiration from the act of painting and drawing mostly.  Reading also introduces new ideas that I might not have otherwise.  And now the internet, even just my Facebook news stream from my many artist friends packs a punch of interesting ideas.  But I never feel more inspired than when I am in my studio, laying out a new palette, starting a new painting, with music going, good lighting, some warm espresso or matte.  That’s really the best.

AN: How do you formulate and expand on the content of your collections? 

DM: As I am working on a series of paintings, I begin to hone into certain aspects and qualities more than others.  For me, a sun nap on the roof after lunch is often the best time to have dream up a new idea.


AN: What are you working on at the moment? 

DM: Finishing the painting Girl with a Dead Raven.  Its going into a show in less than a week.  After that, I’ve got to make some new paintings for a show at the Long Beach Art Museum that will provide a transition to a new body of work with an apocalyptic theme.


AN: Who or what is your muse? 

DM: Nature

NEGUS in Paris, for real

Excuse my French…But Fahamu Pecou is back in France. And this NEGUS is for real. #Imjustsaying. The Atlanta based artist’s latest exhibition entitled NEGUS in Paris is set to open this Thursday, at Backslash Gallery in Paris, France. In these latest paintings and drawings, Fahamu addresses the representations of black men in modern society, engaging in particular with the idea of Négritude as famously symbolized by Aimé Césaire and Léopold Sédar Senghor.

Black Americans can cite numerous anecdotes about the various uses of the word ‘black’, one striking example being actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s description of hip-hop superstars Jay-Z and Kanye West’s West Watch the Throne Tour. Paltrow posted a photo of the pair on her Twitter account, accompanied by the message “Niggas in Paris, for real”. Her use of the word “nigger” created a storm on her Twitter account although she was simply repeating the word “niggas” used by Jay-Z and Kanye West as part of the title for a song off their eponymous album. Often heard within black American society, the word when written down by a white person raises questions of legitimacy, and the matter was very widely debated. Is it possible for a white person to use the word “nigger” in the light of history’s heavy burden of racism and slavery?

The NEGUS in Paris exhibition, inspired by Jay-Z and Kanye West’s song ” Niggas in Paris”, constitutes an acerbic analysis that challenges a certain conformism, particularly that displayed by Black American culture, which can distort the image of Négritude within the public debate. With his characteristic wit and feel for satire, Fahamu Pecou offers timely observations on the various conflicts relating to black iconisation as triggered by this debate and their influence on popular culture….Pecou replaces the terms “niggas” with “Negus”, an Amharic word used to describe Ethiopian royalty in general, and Haile Selassie in particular. He uses this wordplay to subvert the endless hate-filled insinuations that surround use of the word “nigger”. The works in the exhibition feature a series of black Americans famous for their contributions to the history of Parisian art and culture, exploring their influence and distinction.

NEGUS in Paris
runs through January. Take a closer look at some of the works from the show below. And if you’re susceptible to the Persian Persuasion make sure to stop by the opening this Thursday. Click here for more information.




Derek Gores stays afloat in a sea of images

In a sea of images, Derek Gores is making unique pictures that stand completely on their own.  Their blend of abstraction with such interestingly familiar portraits and stills create a dichotomy that really works.  Derek took a minute to sit down with us to talk about his process while getting ready for Miami this year.  If you are out here be sure and stop by to check out the amazing details in his work!

Art Nouveau: You are in Florida right?  Do your surroundings play much of a roll in the images you create?

Derek Gores: I’m sure somehow… I’m in the unique spot on the planet where humans reached out to the moon and could also go to the beach. There’s a combo of problem solving and patient daydreaming around all the time that gives me new fuel.

AN: I have heard you say like to see how far you can deconstruct your subject.  Can you talk about your process some?  Do you sketch your work out or work spontaneously?

DG: I do some wet drawing work that starts from abstraction and sometimes becomes an object, often figurative or spacial. However In the collage work I work it backwards, from a photo reference in a space I breathed, and then I do start with a simple sketch with a sharpie marker usually and then layer in the abstraction of the pieces of paper. I am after the essence of a real figure, often hinting at elapsed time perhaps, but I build the figure out of opposites. I like using linear, sharp, man-made elements you wouldn’t think of as art, like a schematic or a map for example, so that the life and the space you find is that much more surprising when it hits.

AN: Have you always worked loosely or is this a theme in your work?

DG: I was super tight as an 18 year old, but once I saw the end of that particular path I’ve loved anything that can distract or get in the way of that kind of accuracy. Water, using two hands, all sorts of outside influences, collaborations with the subjects, etc.



AN: It seems like this push towards abstraction is what allows your viewers to insert there own interpretation?

DG: True, I love ambiguous spaces and all kids of references in the recycled elements, so that viewers can use their own memories as they interact. The spacial play I would say comes especially from Franz Kline’s abstractions, and the Klimt/Schiele play with flattening spaces as a way to make their figures pulse out at you.

AN: What have you been pursuing in your most recent work?

DG: Two things especially. Lately I’ve been playing with transparency in the pieces, where shadows see through to another space. Also, this year I have played with a more involved narrative, even if it isn’t clear what’s happening. I’d say my subject has become the study of ‘fierceness’- the admiration of a strong individual woman whose beauty is the result of her choices and actions and lifestyle. The first several I’d say showed a weight in her eyes, and my most recent show the fun of living.

AN: I know you aren’t crazy about the word ‘collage’, what else have you been calling it lately?

DG: Cleverness, Advanced Scrapbooking, and it gets a little cooler with some European influence, see look: ‘cøllage’

AN: I know you have been really busy lately, what shows or projects do you have coming up?

DG: Select Fair at Art Basel Miami! Huge! and next big awesomeness is a show in the Spring at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles. And another in Barcelona. Details on the way…

AN: That will be awesome, are there any artists or galleries you are looking forward to seeing at Art Basel?
DG: I must locate Hush. My other favorites: Christopher Maslow, David Burton, Jeff Filipski. Check ‘m out!

Every Hour, Every Breath has Come to This
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas
Cleverness du Chat
48″ x 48″ collage on canvas

Mellow like a cello

Michael James Bell also known as BAEL is a melancholy type of artist. Mellow like a cello, his work is dark, almost brooding, sensual, and slightly hopeful all at once. Born 1983 in East Yorkshire UK where he’s currently based, the self taught artist from East Yorkshire in the UK, has show in various group shows and solo exhibitions across England and currently exhibits his work with Signal Gallery in London. He plans to show there again in 2013. Take a closer look at some of my favorite paintings from BAEL  below.

Darling Niki Sabet

As a woman who grew up in an artistic household, Niki Sabet‘s medium has organically evolved throughout the years. Growing up, Niki’s mother was also an artist, who shed light into the world of different types of creativity for Niki. As an artist, she is hypersensitive and in-tune with her emotions, which illuminates into her work. Sabet’s artistic process, which she describes as “animalistic,” comes from the core of who she is.

“Art is being creative and honest; it records personal experiences, fantasies, and what is going on in the society.”

Through her paintings, sculptures, videos, and photography, such as her series entitled Death of an Artist, the raw emotion through the eyes of Sabet is illuminated. She is also known to trust her subconscious when working, sometimes leaving a project for months until the right emotion returns, thus creating a piece that is 100% truthful and not forced.

In addition to being a skilled artist, Sabet has also been modeling since her teens. At the age of 16, she signed with Ford, where she started her career. Niki’s work and dedication can be found at La Foundrie in Los Angeles, along with her studio in SoHo. Take a closer look at some of our favorite pieces from Niki.


Ras Terms, a self thought artist

A self taught Artist.
A self thought Artist
A self thoth Artist
A self Tehuti Artist.

Meet Ras Terms aka TEROCKATRON, a visual artist that reaches ancestrial realms with work that exhibits a deep understanding of the power of symbols. The Miami born artist’s work can be found way up in Ethipoian churches and The Simthsoninan all the way down to some of your young and old graffiti writer’s books. Ras Terms is a past, present and future artist of all exisiting aesthetic polarities with poetic visual language that opens up thoughts and minds to create new realities. But still he insists he’s nothing but a tool of the unvierse who works through him.

Fish Tacos and Tranquillity in Chaos: an interview with N.Y. artist Zofia Bogusz

There’s a good chance that as you read this Zofia Bogusz is in the sweet reverie of her artistic mental zone, six hours deep into today’s meticulous process of painting beautiful woman, raging seas, cute bunnies, and macabre fish bones onto a single canvass of hand-cut natural wood. No ordinary canvass, mind you. Zofia doesn’t use ordinary canvasses; they’re too boring. The tenacious chaos of New York City growls away outside her window, but she’s unfazed, not distracted by anything except maybe the call of some fish tacos. Or maybe she’s surfing.



Art Nouveau: How do you like living in New York, coming from Poland. What was the transition like?
Zofia Bogusz: I came here when I was ten. I thought I lived in a city when I was in Poland, and I find know it was more like a provincial town. New York is like no other city, I feel like it should be its own country sometimes. It’s very different. It’s wild and busy, and there’s a lot of energy here. It can get to you, because there’s so much stimulation, but I think that anybody can find themselves [sic] here.

AN: The art scene in New York is diverse, to say the least. Where you do you fit in?
ZF: There’s a lot of artists here—and a lot of different artists—so you have to find where you belong. I don’t know yet where I belong. A lot of my work is so West Coast in theme.

AN: You’ve done a couple shows on the West Coast…
ZF: I’ve done two shows in California, one in San Francisco recently.

AN: Visual artists more than almost any others experiment—inevitably to perfection—with different mediums. Why did you choose wood?
ZF: I experimented with a lot of different surfaces, but chose wood ultimately because I started off as a draftsman, I love to draw, and I was very technical and meticulous. Drawing on wood is like drawing on paper, except it’s a harder surface; the texture of the canvas doesn’t allow for a very meticulous drawing. I also like the color. White is just so sterile-looking and the wood grain adds a natural abstraction to the pieces, something free-flowing; it’s a nice contrast to what I do, which is really controlled.

I can only imagine that painting on wood, for all it’s benefits, has it’s setbacks, like not being able to reproduce copies of your art without clear cutting a small forest. Can you reproduce your stuff? Oh, yeah! I do what I call minis: I make a print of the painting, and then take a composite on wood that’s also hand cut. For example, I have the fish board (“Surf”) series that has a very unique shape… it made no sense to have a print on paper, so I have prints that are nine inches long, the same shape as the original, cut out and put on top [of the cut composite]. You literally have a miniature of the painting.


“the adventures of salt water taffy”


AN: What’s it like being a surfer in New York, and an artist, as well.
ZF: You really have to work hard at both. New York is such a competitive city in general; there are so many people and everyone’s here for the purpose to make it in something. With surfing, too, you have to want it…but it’s fun. Surfing provides a little bit of peace in this crazy city; it’s very tranquil and definitely calms me down. Art is the same way for me: very peaceful and meditative, and it gives me all-around good vibes.

AN: Can you describe what a productive few hours of painting is like for you? What happens when you’re in your studio doing your thing?
ZF: A productive day for me is when I just sit and paint for ten hours straight—or more, if I can. Sometimes, usually during the middle of a painting, I hate it, because it’s neither the beginning nor the finished product, and it’s not where I want it to be and I’m cursing at it… but I’ve learned to trust myself to figure it out.

AN: Many of your subjects resemble the models from all the magazines—the Vogues, the Victoria Secrets, the Sports Illustrated. But you bring in these jarring, frightful, even morbid backgrounds to juxtapose them. Can you tell me about that?
ZF: A lot of the faces are fashion models, actually. I like their faces because of their facial structure. I did a lot of study work in college with anatomy, so I’m really into shapes and the shadows that their faces make under certain lighting, they’re very dramatic, I feel. [The subjects] are a mush of heads and bodies; sometimes I’ll use parts of my own body. So, it’s not necessarily one model, but a collage.

And then the other imagery is symbolic; some have more meaning than others. Picis… there was not much deep thought behind that one, more imagery that I had in mind that I wanted to express in a painting: very bold and very graphic. I’ve used this skeleton motif a lot.


“The Republic”


AN: Do you create stories for your subjects? Do you create characters and beings and personalities for some of them?
ZF: I think the girls take on their own personalities once they’re painted. Before I start painting one, I kind of have a feel for how I want her to look and maybe how I want people to feel when they look at her… maybe they’re kind of confident, maybe a little lost. It’s open to interpretation.

AN: And what about the rabbits! Do these other motifs come naturally to you or are they things that play on your mind for a while until you decide to incorporate them?
ZF: They come naturally. Usually it’s something from my personal life that has meaning. I try not to force any of my work, because then it has no love behind it.

AN: I love your play with food. [School of Fish Tacos] is certainly one of my favorites.
ZF: I love fish tacos.

And so do I. And Zofia loves The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so do I. And surfing and cassette mix tapes of 90’s music, and so do I. It turns out a we share a few common bonds, so our conversation (for, indeed any chance of this being an interview was lost right off the bat) shies further from formality as we naturally digress into personal opinions of pop culture, front short-lived surfer parlance while discussing waves and wipe-outs and favorite surfers (hers is Jeremy Flores because “well, you know… he’s pretty good-looking.”), and discuss the contrasting presence of a Fabio Cannavaro’s portrait amongst the mélanges of various supermodels (“He’s cute.”). I start to see a trend developing in the area of sports and have to tease her about it lightheartedly.

It’s a relief to find and artist—not just art—that you can relate to in this world of artistic pretensions. If you’re in New York City sometime before November, be sure to swing by the Chelsea Eye Art Gallery to check out Zofia Bogusz’s solo exhibition.


“by land and sea”

“Rabbit Stew”