Gary Aagaard

"My work is the product of my environment over the last three decades. Generally, I've had a positive experience yet tend to be irked by frequent political and religious hypocrisy, general apathy and dogma of any stripe that leads to social and spiritual tunnel vision."

FOX Muse - Oil on canvas 18 x 24 x 1.5 in.

“As a fledgling illustrator in Brooklyn during the 1980s, I took on any project thrown my way. I refer to that time as my “snack or famine days”. Eventually, I zeroed in on editorial work and soon scored assignments at publications like The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Village Voice (primarily covers). Since the early 2000’s, I’ve concentrated on gallery work with an editorial, satirical slant; essentially larger oil paintings with conceptual content reminiscent of my illustration years.

Lampooning politicians, pundits or spiritual leaders who specialize in alternative facts, manufactured outrage, false equivalents, convoluted conspiracy theories and tunnel-visioned tribalism (whew!) is my form of protest and provides a satisfying outlet (i.e., it minimizes shouting at the TV, reduces those pesky nightmares and eliminates my quest to prove Jeff Sessions is actually an interloper from The Shire). Of course, visually addressing the daily insanity of politics, punditry or social upheaval requires an occasional break, which is when I paint relatively non-confrontational pieces.”

Being Jare (w/apologies to Chauncey Gardiner) - Oil on canvas 20 x 16 x 1.5 in.
Ma Nature Revisited - Oil on canvas 30.5 x 22 in.
She's A Concept, More or Less  - Oil on canvas 36 x 24 x 1.5 in.
Blinded by Delight Redux - Oil on canvas 30 x 20 in.

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Fuminori Ohashi

"Warmhearted, story-telling paintings; my current theme is 'A Moveable Feast.' I like to paint warmhearted stories with colorful tunes from my fragments of memories in the old days in Paris."

Fete Mobilie 3 - Oil on canvas P25

Fuminori Ohashi was born 1976 in Kanumacity Tochigi, Japan and has exhibited in the 2001 Academie de Port Royal Paris 11e Salon, 2007Salon National des Beaux Arts, France, 2008 - 2019 Salon de Dessin et de la Peinture a l’Eau, Grand Palais, France, 2010-18 Salon d’Automne, France, 2012 Salon d’Automne Chine, 2012 and 2014 Salon d’Automne, Israel, 2015-7 Salon d’Automne, Brasil and 2010 and 2011 Art Expo NY among other shows.

EDO Banana - Oil on canvas F80
Bon Voyage - Oil on canvas F12
Fete Mobilie - Oil on canvas F12
EDO Banana So No2 - Oil on canvas F80

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Angela Keller

“My painting is about passion and the freedom of experiment, in search of the poetic, surreal and ironic essence where nothing is impossible.”

A New Planet - Oil on linen 90 x 90 cm

Angela Keller grew up in Switzerland and followed an eclectic career as paleontologist, psychotherapist, and painter. She took lessons in drawing and painting at the School of Arts at the University in Bern. From 1999 to the present day, Angela has exhibited her works in numerous international art shows.

Angela creates experimental, playful artwork with hints of dreams, fantasy, and charm. Her paintings fluctuate between surrealism and symbolism; they are dreamy, otherworldly, and lyrical in their balance between fantasy and reality. Angela’s paintings depict imaginative imagery while also incorporating certain realistic elements, such as the hills of Kabul, the coast of Portugal or the villages in Calabria, in Southern Italy, where Angela currently lives and wor

Rocking Horse in Transit - Oil on linen 90 x 90 cm
Metamorphosis - Oil on linen 60 x 83 cm
First Coffee in the Morning - Oil on linen 90 x 90 cm
Heading to the Fiesta - Oil on linen 60 x 83 cm

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Annamarie Dzendrowskyj

Born in: 1967, UK

Lives in: London, UK

Media: Painting, Photography, Drawing

Describe your work in 3 words: Atmospheric - Dissolving - Ethereal

See More Work:   www.annamariedzendrowskyj.com - IG@annamarie_dzendrowskyj

Twilight - Murano VII - Oil on Linen 48 x 80 cm

“If the world were clear, art would not exist.”

- Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

What themes does your work involve?
My work seeks to examine the indeterminate nature of 'ways of seeing' and 'ways of being', that ambiguous ‘grey area’ between presence and absence, exploring fleeting moments of a world in constant flux. Moments in time that suggest a space, rather than define a space, existing between what is seen and unseen, a zone of indiscernibility.
Describe your creative process.

I work in series from lived experiences, photos, sketches, memory and imagination. Employing a process of creation and erasure and multiple layers of delicate thin glazes of oil paint to let the image slowly reveal itself, like a photograph developing in a darkroom. As James McNeill Whistler has been quoted ‘paint should not be applied thick. It should be like breathe on the surface of a pane of glass'. I see my work as a journey that is never-ending, always moving onward, seeking, searching.

What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Indiscernible zones and spaces exist at the heart of my life experiences from my previous career as a Scuba Instructor, acting as a catalyst for my work. What is seen underwater is affected by interference, movement, light, weather, nothing appears clearly defined. This is reflected in my work, presenting the emergence and dissolution of forms and settings in ethereal imagery. Offering the viewer a visual space for contemplation and challenging their perception of time, place and space.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

Impossible questions to answer, this is so subjective! I can offer a quote which reflects on why I see that art is so important in our lives - whether the work is viewed is good or great, can only be in the eye of the beholder.

"In a world addicted to consumption and power, art celebrates emptiness and surrender. In a world accelerating to greater and greater speed, art reminds us of the timeless."
(J.L. Adams, Winter Music) - The Philosophy of Emptiness

What is the role of the artist today?
I studied art after an accident forced me to re-think my life, seeking an alternative way of seeing the world. Artists in their own unique and individual approach consider ideas, notions of what the world was, is, and how it might be framed. They play an important role in constructing ideologies and interpreting cultural identities. Offering a distant gaze, highlighting ambiguous spaces where notions of fact and fiction can fuse from past to present, which in turn set the ground for the future.


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Ruthie Marchand

Born in: 1993, United States

Lives in: Tucson, AZ, United States

Media: Painting

Describe your work in 3 words: Psychological, feminine, narrative

See More Work:  www.ruthiemarchand.com

Spiraling - Oil on canvas 48 x 36 in.

"I am interested in the role of the figure and portrait in conveying a psychology with which the viewer can empathize. My subjects are immersed in introspection and situated in an environment reflective of their psyche."

What themes does your work involve?
My work revolves around the psychology of the female or feminine experience, with an emphasis on emotion, private spaces, daydreams, and sensuality.
Describe your creative process.
I photograph my references for larger studio paintings. Sometimes the photos are spontaneous, and other times I arrange formal photoshoots with people I know. I often collaborate with the model in considering the significance of their interaction with the environment or a prop. I read books to brainstorm how I can link the personal with the universal. Lately, I have been interested in how the interactions of multiple works in a series can depict concepts related to sequences or simultaneity.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Poetry, music, and literature influence my work when I am thinking about storytelling. Visually, I am also inspired by nature, the effects of lighting, and how an expression of a person's face can be infused with their personality. I make art because I derive satisfaction from creative problem-solving, the process of which is ever-changing. I also relish the painting medium and its full-bodied consistency and color, and how these qualities amplify the empirical experience of 2-D artwork.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
To me, good art is pleasing to the senses and demonstrates good craftsmanship. Great art can effectively manipulate (or break) the rules in order to convey the artist's unique perspective in a way that incites awe, inspiration, thought, or deep feeling.
What is the role of the artist today?
Art's role can be a purely sensual experience, which is a valuable end in itself. It can also spark discourse, and keep viewers in touch with their individual perspective and sense of taste when they are initially, and then retroactively, reacting to a work. (I am thinking of Clement Greenberg's writings.) This introspection will always be a human need. To me, art truly becomes art when it is put in the public eye for others to experience.


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Kashawelski

Born in: 1969, Macedonia

Lives in: Kumanovi, Macedonia

Media: Painting

Describe your work in 3 words: Art with soul

See More Work:  https://www.kashawelski.co/

VITA NUOVA - Oil on canvas 162 x 114 cm

"Art is a language that is understood universally. To create, it means that you’ve to transcend into other realms. It’s wonderful to get onto these magical journeys that guide you deep into your soul, causing the invisible impulses to be transformed into something that people recognize as a good art."

What themes does your work involve?
The themes vary by the phase that I am into at a particular point of time. They kind of evolve one into another. In earlier stages, I was mixing traditional themes, giving them a surrealistic connotation, trying to get the best out of the two somehow different worlds. In the later stages, my art has been elevated to a level where the whole process looks like a rebus. The rebus elements are represented in a form of symbols, waiting to be subsequently decoded by the public eye.
Describe your creative process.
My creativity is almost without any exception linked to a meditation process which takes me to some unknown mystical journeys. It is a wonderful feeling to see how your thoughts are getting transformed into ideas. By some providence, one of them will form the initial embryo, the carrier that will narrate the story that at the end will be absorbed by the sensors of the audience. One finished piece could sometimes lead into another, forming a chain of similar, but still different themes.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
There’s some invisible connection between me and the woman’s genesis that carries the hidden messages in my art. The wisdom of medieval literature and the state in which our today’s world is are also very inspirational. All of these elements are really provoking my imagination, transpiring my inner world onto the canvas. I make art because through it I can convey my way of reasoning to the audiences around the world, trying to leave a legacy that professes goodness, beauty and harmony.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
The invisible hand that guides me through the artistic labyrinths is always telling me to narrate a story. There are stories of various genres, but in most cases, the beauty is in their simplicity, emanating goodness and harmony. I’m trying to portrait onto my paintings a fluent narration that is acceptable to the people that are in harmony with themselves and the world that they live into. If this resonates with the individual, I know that this piece of art is destined for greatness.
What is the role of the artist today?
We live in very interesting times, and the artists today need more than ever to spread the gospel that, we as people, should live in peace and harmony if we’d like to withstand the temptations of the new technological era. We’re all part of a universal consciousness, and in this respect, our artistic expressions and messages should touch the hearts and the souls of every living being around the globe.


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Katie Wild

Born in: 1989, New London, Connecticut USA

Lives in: Newton, Massachusetts USA

Media: Painting, Illustration, Installation, Mixed media, Collage, Drawing

Describe your work in 3 words: Narrative identity politics

See More Work:  https://www.katiewild.com

Going Green - Oil and acrylic on insulation foam board App. 36 x 75 in.

"We all put on facades and are pushed to conform to ideals of the society around us. My work focuses on series of narrative figures in oil or acrylic, usually with mixed media, on various surfaces. My series, 'Color Buy Number' uses color theory and symbolism in life-sized self-portrait installations."

What themes does your work involve?
Each series is different. In 'Color Buy Number', I have envisioned myself as the heroine or victim of constrained and perplexing narratives. These color-driven alter egos directly and un-apologetically impact the viewer’s space due to the lifesize scale of their cutout installations. Mimetic oil paint renderings combined with found or constructed three-dimensional elements demand viewers to look more closely at the details of these self-portraits to decipher the truth of the artifice.
Describe your creative process.
My process is concept-driven and often begins through experimentation that occurs during an artist residency. I typically have two or three ideas floating around in my head for series that I would like to expand upon. It is during these artist residencies once a year that I have had the studio time to explore different materials and methods for executing a concept in order to settle on something that works. In order for me to fully express an idea, I work through 5-10 pieces per series.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
My artwork evolves and changes according to my influences and life experiences. I look to a variety of other artists; Cindy Sherman, Kehinde Wiley, and Alexa Meade just to name a few, for inspiration. I also reflect on pressing political, economic, and environmental issues and use my artwork to represent and express some of my frustrations as a way of drawing awareness. I make art because it is an impulse, a passion, and sometimes it is the only voice I can use to share and make viewers think.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art should be appreciated by both artists and non-artists. Good art engages viewers with its originality, forces them to pause and consider it, and also speaks to some universal truths. There are many established artists whose work is worth a great deal, but in becoming a commodity, has exhausted all original thought. Famous artists are not necessarily making great art. I believe the struggling artist whose work is not so well known often has the greatest potential to make a difference.
What is the role of the artist today?
I believe artists should use the power of engagement to start conversations and catalyze change. Art is necessary as an outlet and as a provocation. It is difficult and rare to be a successful artist, so most artists are also well-rounded people who use other means to make ends meet. This allows for cross-pollination with other fields and a broader global perspective. I am an artist and educator, which allows me to nurture future artists in addition to using my own artwork to inspire.


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Simon Dray

Born in: Reading, Berkshire, UK

Lives in: Weybridge, Surrey, UK

Media: Painting, Illustration, Mixed media, Drawing, Glass Art

Describe your work in 3 words: An acquired taste

See More Work:  surreyopenstudios.org.uk/Simon Dray

ESCOLORES PINTURAS - Oil on canvas 120 x 120 cm

"My paintings are influenced by the torn and weathered advertising hoardings frequently seen in the urban environment. Many of these have been further enhanced with elements of graffiti. Due to their layering, and partly revealed words and images, they create a paradoxical yet vibrant image."

What themes does your work involve?
Although I am interested in traditional landscape painting, the majority of my work is based on advertising hoardings as seen in the urban landscape, albeit for very different reasons. The weathering, layering and graffiti applied to the hoardings, combined with the resulting contradictions of original intention, are for me, metaphors for a disturbing world of climate change, chaos and conflict caused by misinformation and alternative truths.
Describe your creative process.

In contrast to my work based on advertising hoardings, I also have a particular interest in landscape painting. In order to create the moods and atmosphere of a landscape, I prefer to use oil paint with a reduced palette, often on an unprimed stretched canvas. The paint is applied to the canvas using a variety of methods which include palette knives, brushes and cloth. Finally, a grade of abrasive paper is often used prior to a coat of varnish.

What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

Good art is almost entirely subjective, it is related to an individual's emotional response to a piece of work. For me, the study of drawing and design as disciplines have always been crucial aspects of the process of creating a work of art.


To look in order to see, to see in order to understand.


Whatever media you choose to express your ideas, whether in performance, ceramics, digital, painting, sculpture or film, an underlying ability to draw will enhance your oeuvre and creative vision.


This page was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


Gary Aagaard

Born in: 1949, Seattle, WA, USA

Lives in: Tucson, AZ, United States

Media: Painting, Illustration

Describe your work in 3 words: Socio-political commentary

See More Work:  https://aagaardart.com

Blinded by Delight Redux - Oil on canvas 30 x 20 in.

"My work is the product of my environment over the last three decades. Generally, I've had a positive experience, yet tend to be irked by frequent political and religious hypocrisy, general apathy and dogma of any stripe that leads to social and spiritual tunnel vision."

What themes does your work involve?
Political lampoons & social comment.
Describe your creative process.
I always do a series of roughs in pencil on a tracing pad. Once I zero in on an image, I draw it onto a toned canvas. Then I paint the image in oil, adding elements as I go (i.e. I'm not locked into the final rough). Generally, I glaze in areas of greater importance, although sometimes I glaze throughout the composition when time is not an issue.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Presently, U.S. politics (don't get me started) and universal social issues (relating to war, the environment, fact-challenged pundits, etc.). I find these subjects both inspirational and ofttimes of great concern, I make art because I feel obligated to address many of the aforementioned issues, plus I continue to enjoy painting, drawing and designing the space.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
What I respond to is a piece that makes me think, draws me into the composition and consider what the artist is trying to convey. Personally, I love clever conceptual and editorial art with the painting or drawing technique being secondary. A great piece of art succeeds in both arenas.
What is the role of the artist today?
Obviously, that depends on the artist. In my case, I hope to inform, entertain and in many cases sound an alarm, visually-speaking.


This page was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist