News

Carlos Ramirez in The Huffington Post

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The New Image Art Gallery in West Hollywood just wrapped up a solo exhibition, Complejo de Cristo y Vampiros, by Carlos Ramirez. The narrative reflects a highly paranoid and fearful state – a symbol of ultra-violent times. According to Ramirez, it is an examination of the political climate, societal changes, and other such concerns today. He says, “Something’s happening, but you can’t quite grasp what it is, and you don’t know if you should be scared or not.” Ramirez doesn’t offer solutions, he just raises the questions and contributes to the overall national dialogue of fear. The piece that captures it the most is, Strangers in the Night, which highlights two characters that lurk in the darkness with weaponry in hands, one with a ski-mask, and another in slick-backed hair. Their eyes convey the alarm that hovers over them. They stand tall, but slanted, with tattooed bodies and a cross positioned in front of them like a shield for protection.

Like in other of Ramirez’ pieces, the central characters loom larger than life. It is a way to interrogate his surroundings, and it is a nod to his childhood, where people are over-exaggerated and disproportionate in size. Everything about the image looks right and familiar, but the boxy non-human like limbs or bodies communicate something darker than just night. They are big and small simultaneously – ugly and beautiful. They live in the gray and in-between space where his work rests and reaches for balance. This is symbolic of dark progressivism, to be directly informed by the somber landscape, yet turn it into something supernatural and abstract. This is where Ramirez shows true craftsmanship and intelligence, by manipulating time and space through direct observation that baffles the observer. His work is nuanced with such great layers of complexity. For example, if you see a monster-like character, it sometimes represents someone acting like a monster, like wearing a mask, because often people have to front in society. Ramirez also brings in real elements like bottle caps and ice cream sticks into his work that frequently dictate the outcome. By cross-examining the elements, they offer endless possibilities and scenarios, and they become part of the landscape to tell their own story.

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Carlos Ramirez’ work is mostly about healing and struggling. He composes with universal ideas that attach to the human condition. He documents the built environment and engages with social commentary, which is why his work is so relatable. If you observe closely you will find things like graffiti, candy wrappers, a juror badge, and any other component that continues the narrative. When an observer participates with his work, he/she connects to pop culture and imagery that is familiar, but must make sense of it on a more intimate level. Currently he is in a group show in New Jersey at the Jonathan Levine Gallery with other Southern California artists like Augustine Kofie, Cryptik, and Jeff Soto, and he is part of a boxed set limited edition print run, 24/7 365 at Modern Multiples with Johnny Rodriguez, David Flores, and a few others. You can also catch him on a panel discussion at the Museum of Latin American Art on 3/3 7-9 pm in Long Beach, which will look at the influence of Frank Romero’s iconic work, and the legacy of social justice and public art today. Follow Carlos Ramirez @c.ramirez2323 and for inquiries reach him at carlosramirezart@weebly.com

Jonathan LeVine Interviewed by The Star Ledger

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Bloom by Erik Jones

Art lovers were surprised by the success Jonathan Levine and his eponymous Chelsea gallery found over the last 12 years. He’s a blue-collar Jersey guy — then and now — with a few edges. The art he promotes was considered lowbrow, street art created by former graffiti taggers, aficionados of pop culture and comic book fans.

This month, Levine is moving his exhibition space in Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary, bringing his stable of artists that includes Shepard Fairey, EVOL, Hush and Beth Cavener. The inaugural show, “Welcome to New Jersey,” opening Feb. 18, features those artists as well as more than 30 others.

“Jersey City is what Chelsea was in 2005,” Levine said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. “I wanted to be in a place where I could feel the liveliness and rawness of how Chelsea was when I first moved there.”

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Ecstatic Grin by Ron English

The move to Mana Contemporary, an arts complex in the Journal Square neighborhood is in part an economic one, Levine said. Manhattan rental costs aren’t kind, and their continued rise has driven out many of the businesses that once surrounded Levine’s.

Chelsea, he said, “has lost its authenticity, if that’s the word. It feels very contrived, just for rich people. It’s too much about commerce. We obviously have to sell work, and that’s what we do, but that’s not all we do. That’s not exciting to me.

“It allows me to lower overhead and take more risks and do things in a new way.”

The high cost of living has also naturally culled the local arts community, he said.

“In order to be creatively vital, you have to have creative people who can afford to be there and who can afford to take risks,” he said. “I want to feel connected to my community. I want to do something that people are excited about.”

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Everglades National Park with Containers by Mary Iverson

Levine is from Trenton and has a tattoo of the “Trenton Makes, the World Takes” bridge across his back. But his father’s family is from Jersey City and he’s already tapped into the local art scene. Partnering with Mana Contemporary will give him access to a new audience and new gallery locations around the country. (Mana has satellite locations in Chicago and Miami.)

“There aren’t a ton of galleries in New Jersey to begin with. We specialize in something specific and we’re high end,” he said. “I’m hoping to get new clients and find a new excitement.”

Levine thinks the Hudson River is a psychological as well as a physical barrier between New York and New Jersey. He expects Garden State residents who never attended events at his Chelsea space to visit him in Jersey City. And he wants the New Yorkers who are griping about the move to note his new location is a 25-minute train ride from Manhattan.

“My hope is other galleries follow,” he said. “If it becomes a destination, that will be a dream.”

Originally featured in The Star Ledger

Exhibition Preview: Welcome to New Jersey

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After twelve years of inhabiting the famous Chelsea art district in New York City, Jonathan LeVine Gallery is now relocating to Jersey City with a newfound focus on community and collaboration. The latest Jonathan LeVine group show will now open as their inaugural exhibition in Jersey City. Titled Welcome to New Jersey, the exhibition will feature works by Adam Wallacavage, AJ Fosik, Alessandro Gallo, Alex Diamond, Andy Kehoe, Ashley Wood, Augustine Kofie, Beth Cavener, Camille Rose Garcia, Carlos Ramirez, Chloe Early, Cryptik, Dan Witz, Diego Gravinese, Dylan Egon, Eloy Morales, Erik Jones, EVOL, Gary Taxali, Handiedan, Haroshi, Hush, Jeff Soto, Jim Houser, Joel Rea, John Jacobsmeyer, Josh Agle (Shag), Kazuki Takamatsu, Mab Graves, Martin Wittfooth, Mary Iverson, Matt Leines, Matthew Grabelsky, Miss Van, Nychos, Phil Hale, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson and Tristan Eaton.

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Precarious Position by Tara McPherson

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Golden Dawn by Cryptik

Contemporary Painting, Sculpture And Installation
With featuring over 40 artists, the exhibition will show a diverse selection that includes sculptures, paintings, and illustrations. While the American artist Adam Wallacavage is best known for his surreal and highly ornamented interior design details such as octopus chandeliers, Aj Fosik creates vividly colored and totem-inspired feral creations out of wood. On the other hand, sculptures by Alessandro Gallo, Haroshi and Beth Cavener are all inspired by the animal world. While painters Camille Rose Garcia, Mab Graves and Tara McPherson create work within the tradition of Pop Surrealism, the work of Joel Rea and Mary Iverson presents a contemporary take on landscape painting. On the other hand, Dan Witz, Diego Gravinese, Eloy Morales and Matthew Grabelsky all paint highly detailed photorealistic works. Jim Houser is best known for his works in installations, painting, sculpture and collage.

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The Gathering by Chloe Early

Street Art, Illustration and Assemblage
While the work of legends Ron English and Shepard Fairey comments on the issues facing contemporary society, Augustine Kofie is inspired by the basic building block of the geometric world and the work of Jeff Soto shows his affinity for fantastical narratives. While Cryptic explores the realm of spirituality and consciousness, EVOL is best-known for his urban installations and paintings made on used cardboard. Ashley Wood rotates around comic books, cover art, concept design and art direction with a painterly approach, while Josh Agle aka Shag works in the style based on a commercial illustration from the 1950s and 1960s. While Matt Leines creates drawings and paintings rich in color and detail that explore the kaleidoscope of memory and outer zones of imagination, Dylan Egon is best known for his assemblage art with an American pop culture imagery and motifs.

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Against Thee Wickedly by John Jacobsmeyer

Jonathan Levine Group Show
Committed to new and cutting edge art, Jonathan LeVine Gallery has nurtured careers of many celebrated artists. The gallery creates engaging programs and interesting partnerships beyond their gallery space, such as public murals and pop-up exhibitions. The newly opened place in Jersey City is named Jonathan LeVine Projects and it is located within Mana Contemporary, a leading arts organization dedicated to celebrating the creative process. The exhibition Welcome to New Jersey will be on view at the gallery from February 18th until March 18th, 2017. The opening reception will be held on February 18th from 6 to 8pm.

Originally featured on Widewalls

John Jacobsmeyer on Hi-Fructose

John Jacobsmeyer’s Paintings Ring of Nostalgia, Imagined Worlds

By Andy Smith

John Jacobsmeyer’s oil paintings on aluminum recall nostalgic and imaginative experience, using wooden backdrops and technology-inspired shapes. These works at once feel aged and modern, and while humor runs throughout his recent works, several ring of sincerity and vulnerability. And a few others have skeleton warriors. Jacobsmeyer has cited Gene Roddenberry, Nietzsche, David Lynch, and Mary Shelley as influences.

The artist has commented on his continued use of wooden textures, which runs through several pieces past and present: “Clubhouse construction offers the greatest possibilities for world creation,” Jacobsmeyer said, in a past statement. “The wood grain’s wild figuring appears to be constantly changing, invoking alien creatures and landscapes. These possibilities are why my paintings represent wooden interiors. I imagine places from popular culture, history and virtual reality as elaborate clubhouses, as though a pack of 12 year olds had the where-with-all to build their most extravagant fantasies.”

The Ann Arbor-born painter has had solo shows across the world. His schooling includes a BFA from University of New Hampshire an MFA at Yale. Recent solo shows include Gallery Poulsen in Denmark, New Center for Book Arts in New York City, and Seattle’s Davidson Galleries.

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Originally featured on Hi-Fructose

Jonathan LeVine Gallery Moving to Jersey City

JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY MOVING TO JERSEY CITY

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After twelve years of inhabiting the famous Chelsea art district in New York City, Jonathan LeVine Gallery is now relocating to Jersey City, the roots of its owner, following a partnership established with the famous Mana Contemporary. With the new location comes a new name as well – Jonathan LeVine Projects, which will continue the dedicated promotion of the arts, through a newfound focus on community and collaboration. There is no doubt that the new/old initiative will become an integral part of Jersey City and essential to the cultivation of its arts, artists and events. What will await us at the new venue in the exciting upcoming period?

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Jonathan LeVine Relocates to Jersey

The new venture that is Jonathan LeVine Projects will be located at Mana Contemporary, which is already familiar to contemporary art lovers as a leading destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process. Founded in 2011, the organization continues to unite artist studios, exhibition spaces and ancillary services in a single, vast location in New Jersey. Jonathan LeVine has already had a fruitful collaboration with the venue, through murals by Shepard Fairey, How & Noms and Nychos, and the two also presented The Juxtapoz Clubhouse at Mana Wynwood during Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2016.

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A New Era for JLG

The ongoing partnership between the two entities promises even more unique programing, as well as further development of engaging events, such as pop-up shows and museum-quality exhibitions. There is the possibility that these shows travel to satellite Mana locations in Chicago and Miami as well! About the move, Jonathan LeVine elaborates: “Moving out to Mana in Jersey City is like moving to Chelsea in the mid-90s’. My aim is to pioneer new territory, rethink the changing nature of the brick and mortar gallery and collaborate with artists on new ideas. A partnership with Mana comes with multiple resources, endless space and the possibility of reinvention in new and exciting ways.”

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The Upcoming Show

The very first show at Jonathan LeVine Projects in Jersey City is symbolically named Welcome to New Jersey. Opening on February 18th, 2017, the exhibition will feature only the greatest names we were used to seeing at the gallery in New York, such as Adam Wallacavage, AJ Fosik, Alessandro Gallo, Alexis Diaz, Andy Kehoe, Ashley Wood, Augustine Kofie, Beth Cavener, Camille Rose Garcia, Carlos Ramirez, Chloe Early, Cryptik, Dan Witz, Diego Gravinese, Eloy Morales, Erik Jones, EVOL, Gary Taxali, Haroshi, Hush, Jeff Soto, Jim Houser, Joel Rea, John Jacobsmeyer, Jorg Heikhaus/Alex Diamond, Josh Agle (Shag), Kazuki Takamatsu, Mab Graves, Martin Wittfooth, Mary Iverson, Matt Leines, Matthew Grabelsky, Michael Reeder, Miss Van, Nick Walker, Nychos, Phil Hale, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson and Tristan Eaton. Make sure you visit the show at the new location, at Newark Ave., on view until March 18th, 2017!

Originally featured on Widewalls

Fulvio di Piazza on ARTINFO

Fulvio di Piazza’s ‘Entangled’ at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York

“Entangled,” an exhibition featuring the works of Italian-artist Fulvio di Piazza (b. 1969) will run from January 7 through January 28, 2017 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York.

The selection of works on display depicts solitary faces and levitating animals in the centre of the canvas. At first glance, it may look that the subject matter is abstract in nature but on closer inspection, we realize that they are delicate environments comprising mountains, lakes, forests, stars and debris that ultimately gives rise to an entire form. Di Piazza’s meticulous attention to details in his paintings represents contemporary models of communication where the background noise becomes the message, which can be difficult to discern due to sensory overload. This is his second solo exhibition with the gallery.

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Originally featured on ARTINFO

Dan Witz x Dior Homme

Brooklyn-based artist Dan Witz recently collaborated with Dior Homme for their Winter 2017 line, which made its debut during Paris Fashion Week on January 21st, 2017. Featuring dramatic outerwear pieces printed with the artists iconic mosh-pit imagery, Dior describes the collection as follows:

A ‘Dior’ attitude that is pure and raw.
A ‘hardcore’ energy reminiscent of the « mosh pits » captured by artist Dan Witz :
The birth of a HarDior style.

A new vision for tailoring with a double-edged silhouette:
When « sartorial » meets « street ».
A renewed, youthful interpretation of luxury.

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Rapper and producer A$AP Rocky

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Dan Witz

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Dan Witz with his wife, Tiffaney McCannon, and son, Mack

 

Sam Gibbons featured on Hi-Fructose

Sam Gibbons Offers New Vibrant, Symmetrical Cartoons

by Andy Smith
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Sam Gibbons, an Ohio native currently based in Baltimore, paints vibrant cartoons that take strange, often dark turns. These works are often crafted on wood or MDF panels, with edges specifically cut for his creations. Gibbons was the cover artists for Hi-Fructose Vol. 9, and he is also part of the exhibit “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose,” a collaboration between the magazine and Virginia MOCA. Here, his recent work shows the artist’s evolution in developing his engrossing, humorous displays.

Gibbons was recently involved with two exhibitions at Jonathan Levine Gallery. August 2016’s “Cluster: A Group Show of Groupings” featured a massive work from the artist that involved several individual components. Each of these parts, on MDF, is worthy of inspection. In the upcoming “The Shape of Things to Come,” the gallery’s annual winter invitational, Gibbons offers some of his latest, symmetrically minded work. This is the last group show for the space before it moves from New York City to Jersey City in February.

In a 2011 studio visit with Hi-Fructose, Gibbons elaborated on the darker aspects of his work: “When I first started working with cartoons I was interested in the idea of subverting their inherent innocence,” he said. “By incorporating them in scenes with overt themes of violence or sexuality this innocence becomes compromised. I think the juxtaposition of the two gives a feel of uneasiness to the work. The darker aspects undermine the colorful cartooniness.I think aspects of our culture as well as personal experience influence this darker side of the work”

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Cluster: A Group Show of Groupings at Jonathan LeVine Gallery (2016)
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Originally featured on Hi-Fructose

JLG Relocating to Jersey City

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Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce its forthcoming relocation to Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey.

After twelve years of operating in the Chelsea art district of New York City, gallerist Jonathan LeVine will return to his Jersey roots, bringing his cutting edge aesthetic and ethos along with him. With a newfound focus on community and collaboration, the newly named Jonathan LeVine Projects will be an essential venue within the up and coming arts community of Jersey City and an integral part of its cultivation towards becoming a thriving creative center.

Jonathan LeVine Projects will be located at Mana Contemporary, a leading arts destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process. Founded in 2011, the organization unites artist studios, exhibition spaces and ancillary services in a single location. Jonathan LeVine Gallery began working with the Mana Urban Arts Project in 2014 and have since collaborated on an array of public art initiatives, including murals by Shepard Fairey, How & Nosm and Nychos, as well as The Juxtapoz Clubhouse presented at Mana Wynwood during Art Basel Miami 2016.

This dynamic partnership with Mana Contemporary will continue to allow Jonathan LeVine Projects the ability to further develop engaging and unique programming, such as pop-up shows and museum quality exhibitions with the possibility of travelling to satellite Mana locations in Chicago and Miami.

LeVine elaborates, “Moving out to Mana in Jersey City is like moving to Chelsea in the mid-90s’. My aim is to pioneer new territory, rethink the changing nature of the brick and mortar gallery and collaborate with artists on new ideas. A partnership with Mana comes with multiple resources, endless space and the possibility of reinvention in new and exciting ways.”

The inaugural exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Projects,  Welcome to New Jersey, will open on February 18th and feature the following artists: Adam Wallacavage, AJ Fosik, Alessandro Gallo, Alexis Diaz, Andy Kehoe, Ashley Wood, Augustine Kofie, Beth Cavener, Camille Rose Garcia, Carlos Ramirez, Chloe Early, Cryptik, Dan Witz, Diego Gravinese, Eloy Morales, Erik Jones, EVOL, Gary Taxali, Haroshi, Hush, Jeff Soto, Jim Houser, Joel Rea, John Jacobsmeyer, Jorg Heikhaus/Alex Diamond, Josh Agle (Shag), Kazuki Takamatsu, Mab Graves, Martin Wittfooth, Mary Iverson, Matt Leines, Matthew Grabelsky, Michael Reeder, Miss Van, Nick Walker, Nychos, Phil Hale, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson and Tristan Eaton.

Jason deCaires Taylor’s Underwater Museum Inauguration

Europe’s first underwater museum opens off Lanzarote

Almost three years in the making, Museo Atlántico, off the south coast of Lanzarote, in the Bahía de Las Coloradas, officially ‘opens’ on 10 January. The project consists of 12 installations and more than 300 life-size human figures, created by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, 12 to 14 metres under water. This work, called Portal, forms part of an underwater botanical garden. The mirror reflects the moving surface of the ocean and is elevated on a series of supports which contain small compartments and “living stations” designed to attract octopus, sea urchins and juvenile fish.

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The collection of sculptures is designed to provoke environmental awareness and social change, with each piece creating an artificial reef that will promote marine life, and can be ‘toured’ by scuba divers, with a start and an end. It can be accessed by scuba divers (€12pp) and snorkellers (€8pp) with departures from the Marina Rubicón port located in the south of the island. See cactlanzarote.com for details

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The new installations include 35 figures walking towards a gateway in a 30-metre-long, 100-tonne wall. The work, called Crossing the Rubicon, is ‘intended to be a monument to absurdity, a dysfunctional barrier in the middle of a vast fluid, three-dimensional space, which can be bypassed in any direction,’ says deCaires Taylor. The work “aims to mark 2017 as a pivotal moment, a line in the sand and reminder that our world’s oceans and climate are changing and we need to take urgent action before its too late.”

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Particularly poignant in the current political climate the artist says the wall sculpture emphasises that ‘notions of ownership and territories are irrelevant to the natural world. In times of increasing patriotism and protectionism the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions. We forget we are all an integral part of a living system at our peril.’

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A local fisherman was cast to create the figure in this work, the Immortal Pyre, which depicts a funeral pyre. While the sculpture represents the departure of life, the concrete sticks that make up the firewood have been designed as a habitat for marine life.

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Creating the underwater artworks was a monumental task, involving a team of scuba divers. Local residents and visitors were also involved in its creation, by modelling for life casts.

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Deregulated is a work that features a children’s playground being enjoyed by men in suits. The see-saw references an oil pump, a commentary on the arrogance of the corporate world in relation to the natural one. A swing and play dolphin are part of the work.

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Designed to create a large-scale artificial reef, the first works installed in February 2016 have already seen an increase of over 200% in marine biomass and are now frequented by rare angel sharks, schools of barracudas and sardines, octopus, marine sponges and the occasional butterfly ray. It is hoped that the project will be a boost for the local economy, creating revenue for diving and boat operators.

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The Human Gyre is the final installation in the tour, a vast circle of over 200 life-size figurative works consisting of various models of all ages and from all walks of life.

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Originally featured on The Guardian

 

Anton Vill on Hi-Fructose

Anton Vill’s Surreal, Baby-Infested Drawings

By Andy Smith

Anton Vill, an Estonia-based artist, crafts intricate, surreal drawings of wild scenes and characters. Though Vill’s background was in concept art, working in pre-production in films like “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Vill pivoted toward illustration in recent years. The result is a world overrun by hordes of babies and unsettling creatures. Vill was last featured on HiFructose.com here.

As described by Jonathan Levine Gallery: “In his intricate, grotesque works, we discover the anatomy of the mind, full of haunting experiences and curious emotions,” the gallery says. “Characters are sectioned, decomposed or distorted, always seeming helpless in their bizarre condition with a hypnotic and empty gaze.”

Though you’ll find his work within the pages of sketchbooks, Vill’s talent for detail and immersive texturing extend beyond the page. Recent works feature vibrant colors integrated into Vill’s psychedelic world. Rendered in colored pencil, these works maintain the hyper-detailed linework for which Vill has become known.

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Originally featured on Hi-Fructose