ART CRUSH: DENNIS JOHNSON

I've always lived in the suburbs. Sure, the suburbs have their (questionable) perks - it's quiet, the Ikea is really close, there are neighborhood game nights - but sometimes I long for big city livin. I'd love to walk out my front door and down the street to a corner coffee shop. Driving to the nearest Starbucks just doesn't have the same appeal. Sorry, 'burbs.

I love the way Dennis Johnson captures the essence of the city in his work. By not including any people, he exposes the beautiful geometry of the urban landscape. Johnson's cities are so quiet and calm...

Johnson says, "I have focused almost exclusively on urban space and the textures, layers and materials used in larger metropolitan areas. I define this "urban space" as the spaces in between; immense structures to small details and textures that make up the urban environment and create unique space only found in the city."

Hmm maybe getting one of these awesome paintings would make me feel like I live in a big city... worth a try, eh?

P.S. Cureeo really has the best information on their artists. Apparently Johnson used to live in a geodesic dome... not making this up. Read more here.

 

Images: California Platform 1 | Coming Down 1 | Coming Down 2 | Cityblocks-blue 1 | Cityblocks-blue 2

This post is sponsored by Cureeo – find artwork as unique as you. All opinions are my own.

ART CRUSH: JESSICA SLADEK

Chicago-based photographer Jessica Sladek's work? Yep. You guessed it, totally crush-worthy. Her conceptual and narrative-based portraiture explores the connection we have with our environment.... in a super-stylized-rad-storytelling kind of way.

Sladek's Roads series "emerged during the deep, hot summer months, when Jessica ditched the city for the great open roads of America... The landscapes paired with each portrait were created in the area that each subject was discovered."

One can't look at her photos without mentally filling in the blanks... She presents us with a title and a scene - like a still taken from a movie - as our only clues to the narrative. It's up to the viewer to complete the story.

I love learning not only about the artwork, but also about the artists themselves. Cureeo curator Stephanie Coate wrote such an intriguing description of Sladek, I knew immediately I wanted to learn more about Sladek's work... and I kind of wish we could be bffs.

Stephanie says:

  1. Jessica and I met while in a biker gang called "The Queen Bees". We ventured to different neighborhoods in Chicago on our Schwinns, spoke naughty in French and had destinations mostly focused around dive bars
  2. She is just shy of 5ft tall and prefers to roller-skate around her apartment
  3. She rides a leRun - a cross between a skateboard and unicycle

Umm awesome. Can I be a Queen Bee? Je parle français...

See more from Jessica Sladek on Cureeo.

 

Images: Janine, Roads | Alana, Roads | Herman, Roads

This post is sponsored by Cureeo – find artwork as unique as you. All opinions are my own.

ART CRUSH + CIW

Hi there, friendies. Have you heard of Chicago Ideas Week? A couple weeks ago, "CIW transformed Chicago into the global hub for new ideas, an ecosystem of innovation and a playground of intellectual recreation." Okay A) how awesome does that sound? and B) Denver really needs to get themselves an ideas week. The IN-credible and diverse list of speakers alone is reason enough to go. Dudes. Deepak Chopra? Matt Nathanson? Brad Goreski? Jason Salavon? That's it, I'm going next year. Who's with me? And I'm definitely spending the day listening to some (all) of these videos.

Artists, musicians, CEOs, professors, fashion stylists, authors - everyone comes together for a week of inspiration, conversation, and, well, IDEAS. It's about making BIG things happen and taking action to make the world a better, more positive place.

Where my artists at, yo? That's what art is all about, right? Designers, photographers, painters, weavers, movers and shakers - we all create in hopes of connecting, inspiring change, and making the future brighter or at the very least more beautiful and interesting. P.S. - I really wish I could've heard this talk at CIW about how art moves us...

I think art's ability to move us is what I love most about it. Just looking at art can spark inspiration, strong emotion, the urge to make a change - or a purchase for your living room. Either way. I think it's so important to surround ourselves with the things that inspire us... Live with the art you love, cuz how often do you make it to a museum or a gallery or a week-long conference dedicated entirely to inspiration? Live with the things that encourage you to reach higher.

A Denver art collector once told me to buy my furniture at the thrift store and invest in art. I think she's onto something... Speaking of, Chicago artist Xavier Nuez is one artist I may need to invest in asap.

Nuez goes into bleak urban settings and finds inspiration, peace, and refuge in these unlikely places.

Definitely an art crush... See more from Xavier Nuez on Cureeo.

 

Images: Alleys & Ruins no. 135, Hard Rock (Cleveland, OH, 10pm)| Alleys & Ruins no. 100, Ghost Story (Kansas City, MO, 1:30am) | Alleys & Ruins no. 97, NOW (Los Angeles, CA, 1:30am) | Alleys & Ruins no. 141, Cotton Belt (St Louis, MO, 10:30pm)

This post is sponsored by Cureeo – find artwork as unique as you. All opinions are my own.

ART CRUSH: COLE PIERCE

Chicago-based artist Cole Pierce experiments with comprehension and how we create meaning. Oh this is definitely my jam. I love an artist who makes me think.

Pierce says he's "interested in creating a visceral experience that momentarily disrupts your spatial intelligence." Well disrupt away, my friend... and that's exactly what his Op Art series does. Op Art is short for Optical Art, i.e. optical illusions. Remember those optical illusions you used to look at as a kid? Yup. Op Art is kinda like that, only grown-up, high quality, and much more awesome.

Op Art creates the illusion of movement. Somehow from a series of triangles, our minds create depth, motion, and a whole slew of associations. Pretty rad, huh?

Pierce's text based work is also meant to challenge us. The same way we comprehend movement from a series of shapes, our minds interpret meaning from numbers and letters - which are essentially just shapes too, right? Did I just blow your mind? This, my friends, is what us art folks refer to as semiotics...

Cole Pierce incorporates semiotics into his work like a boss. Semiotics is basically the science and study of signs and symbols. Language is the most universal system of signs. So, if an artwork incorporates text, then it can be subjected to the very sexy investigation known as semiotic analysis... ohhhh yeah. P.S. if you're ever on a date with someone who loves art and you can work semiotics into the convo? MAJOR POINTS.

By the way, I think his painting 4EVA may have been custom made for me... I mean, it wasn't, but it does incorporate three of my favorite things: art, text, and slang. I consult Urban Dictionary on the reg. Not surprised? Well ok.

Crush-worthy, right? Learn more about Cole Pierce over on Cureeo.

 

Images: Triangle is the Strongest Shape, #5 & #6 dyptich | Triangle is the Strongest Shape, #5 & #6 dyptich (detail) | Triangle is the Strongest Shape, #10 | Zillions | 4EVA

This post is sponsored by Cureeo - find artwork as unique as you.