Flourishing Decay: Vincent Bakkum

30 Apr

As soon as we are born, we begin to die.  That may be a gloomy thought, but we begin the circle of life at birth and it seems, now more than ever, we fight as hard as we can against the inevitability of age and the ravages of time.  Helskinki artist Vincent Bakkuum’s paintings confront us with the transitory nature of our very being.

Teen Joy

Using images of vintage-y shoes, skulls and dead birds juxtaposed with beautifully blooming flowers, Bakkum reminds us that what once was young and vibrant eventually will be no more.

Black Shoes and Pink Flowers

Just as the bird that falls from the sky, so will we also cease to fly.  Our vanity compels us to continue to adorn what is already beautiful, our very bodies that give us life.

Dead Parakeets

Bakkum’s work reminds us of the inherent beauty to be found in flora and fruit, their beauty and bounty inspires and nourishes us.  They are created as we are created and will return to the dust just as we will.

Sheep Skull

Pink Shoes

To see more of Vincent Bakkum’s work, please visit his website.

Featured image is Biological Cream by Vincent Bakkum.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Steve Williams in Sustainotopia

27 Apr

I hope you guys have wandered over to the Artsy Forager Facebook page to check out this month’s Featured Artist, Steve Williams!  It’s been so much fun sharing Steve’s work with you over the month of April.  With the Month of Steve is coming to a close, I wanted to share with you a few new pieces from the irrepressible Mr. Williams.

Cap Tossing Over the Wall of Space

These latest works were created for the Sustainotopia conference, which happened in Miami this week.  Sustainotopia is “an impact conference that encourages people to really consider how social relationships between investing, finances, and environmental sustainability can become more collaborative, creating a global community that benefits economically from doing what is, essentially, the right thing.”

A Slender Acquaintance With the World

National Soil Destruction Leading to Self Implosion

You can read more about Sustainotopia on their website ( and make plans to attend next year! ) and read about Steve’s thoughts on living an impactful life on his blog, Making Cheddar.  And if you’re new here or haven’t already done it, be sure to check out Steve’s website!

Friday Faves: Circle Circle Dot Dot

27 Apr

Pretty sure I read in the latest InStyle Magazine ( we all have our guilty pleasures! ) that polka dots are big for spring.  Maybe it’s the influence of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings.  Here are some more artists marking the spot!

Small Spots by Georgia Gray, acrylic on canvas, 10x20cm

Patterns With Purpose O by Paul Ecke, mixed media on panel, 48x60

Cut 11-034 by Michelle Y. Williams, metal/plexiglas, 15x15

#562 by Tory Cowles, mixed media, 48x48

Georgia Gray  | Michelle Y. Williams | Paul EckeTory Cowles

Have a fantastic weekend!  If you spot some dots over the weekend, post a photo on the Artsy Forager Facebook page!

All images are via the artists’ websites, linked above.

LoveThisLandia: This Is Oregon

26 Apr

My husband and I love Oregon.  George lived for a while on the Northern Coast of Oregon and last year, we lived in Southern Oregon while he worked in Grants Pass.  The beauty and natural diversity there is just absolutely incredible.  So when Joe Stevens of Shwood Eyewear emailed me about This is Oregon, a photo project “to inspire others to get up, go out and start exploring”, I told him I was more than happy to share it with you!

This Is Oregon, photo by Julian Bialowas

Shwoood Eyewear teamed up with photographer Julian Bialowas to photograph 10 magificient locations, all within a 90 minute drive from downtown Portland, Oregon.  The project’s aim is to “showcase the awe-inspiring landscapes waiting to be explored.”

Columbia River Gorge by Julian Bialowas

There will be a This Is Oregon photo show and party at The Ace Hotel in Portland on May 3rd, admission is free and so is the beer! ( If only we were closer, we would be there for sure! )  Super cool prints of Julian’s This Is Oregon work can be purchased here.  I can’t decide which one I love best.  Each one is more beautiful than the next, just like the landscape in Oregon. ( I’m leaning toward the Columbia River Gorge piece above– it’s one of our favorite OR places! )

I hope you’ll check out the This Is Oregon website and see for yourself.  If you haven’t been to Oregon– plan a trip.  NOW.  You’ll never regret it.

And make sure you watch this video.  It’s almost like being there.  But you need to see it for yourself!

Serene Strength: Claire Sherman

26 Apr

There is a quiet power that abides in certain landscapes that compels us to humilty.  No cell phone reception, no internet, no traffic whizzing by.  Nothing to make us believe we are the center of the universe.  Just earth and rock and water and light.  It is in these places that the earth is welcoming, yet can be strong and unyielding.  The work of New York artist, Claire Sherman captures the essence of the quiet, raw power of our natural world.

Boulders, oil on canvas, 86x78

Sherman’s overall cool palette, tinged occasionally with warm tones conveys the earth’s reticent beauty.  It wants us to explore and appreciate its wildness, but fears the mark our hand often leaves.

Butte, oil on canvas, 72x84

Ravine II, oil on canvas, 84x96

This is still a dangerous place.  We often forget, wrapped safely in suburban cocoons, thinking we are master of all that we survey.  Yet still in many places, one wrong step and we may become prey to the earth’s power.  The artist’s linear, often jagged brushwork reminds us to tread carefully.  She is beautiful, yes, but we must never forget her untamed nature.  Try as we might to use her up, certain parts of the earth will always remain wild and inhospitable to man.

Holes, oil on canvas, 72x60

Trees III, oil on canvas, 78x84

These places are for her renewing and for moments ours, but they belong to her.  That we will do well to remember.  To see more of Claire Sherman’s work, please visit her website.  Her work can be seen in person at the Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago.

Featured image is Pile of Rocks, oil on canvas, 72×78.  All images are via the artist’s website.

All That He Surveys: Thomas D. Aaron

25 Apr

Living in places with so many wild areas, whenever we go out hiking, we’re still very aware of man’s impact on the landscape.  Salt Lake City artist Thomas D. Aaron brings attention to the natural landscape and the effect of man’s hand upon it.

20, mixed media, 48x48

Bend, mixed media,66x72

Aaron uses PLSS ( Public Land Survey System ) imagery as the jumping off point of his mixed media works.  Focusing on manmade grids imposed upon the landscape and the paradigms they create with the natural order of the terrain.

Two Canyons, mixed media, 24x24 each

The painterly textures mimic the natural terrain and in some, dominating brushwork overpowers the landscape, just our infrastructure has done the same to natural wild spaces.

New Blue New, mixed media, 68x60

Like the Sea, mixed media, 68x60

To see more of Thomas D. Aaron’s work, please visit his website.  To learn more about the motivation and ideology behind his work, check out his interview with Ellen Caldwell on the New American Paintings blog.

Artist found via New American Paintings.

Featured image is Lakeside Clouds, mixed media, 36×24.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Artsy on Escape Into Life: Mertxe Alarcon

24 Apr

I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to have talented artists contact me to be featured on the blog.  I’m planning to feature Barcelona artist Mertxe Alarcon’s work here at Artsy Forager soon, but I just couldn’t wait to share it with you.  So head over to Escape Into Life today for a little sneak peek!

Self Portrait by Mertxe Alarcon

Mertxe Alarcon on Escape Into Life