I’m a sucker for digital art, especially the animated kind. Maybe it’s because my art taste still hovers around my childlike love of “shiny” things–things that dazzle the eye instead of the head. And sure, I can see how that might spur criticism from those who question how long our interest in innocuous tech (gifs, etc.) can hold up past the novelty stage in a medium that’s already constantly evolving. But one look at artist Sam Ballardini‘s work proves we don’t have to worry about that just yet.
Ballardini’s work is quintessential for Tumblr and exists in their trademark realm of fan art and high art. Her world celebrates the lightness of popular culture, whether it’s an homage to Terminator or FKA Twigs, while casting everything in a shadowy grey. It’s a world encompassed by ghostly heroines with daggers, black cats, and uncertainty. Her animated sketchbook style brings her work to life, making them feel tangible and real, as if they were living and breathing pieces that could be accessed through a dimensional Tumblr warp hole. It’s the type of work that, once seen, must be shared. Sure digital illustrators are a dime a dozen, but this new generation of artists is proving that “shiny” art can be just as innovative.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, July 28th, 2015||1 Comment »|
When you think of romantic art, art that speaks to our emotions, we think of paintings. Pieces that capture that sweet spot where romance combines with our habit of wanting to seek ourselves in art. 8-Bit Fiction has weirdly accomplished that without the use of conventions. Instead, they use pixel art and text to create pieces that cut right to the heart–whether it’s sadness, brute honesty, or humor–and package them in a medium that does not typically require such gravitas.
Don’t get us wrong, the project still very much reeks of Tumblr, echoing the “teenage sadness” personality of the site in most of its pieces. But that’s the true brilliance of 8-bit Fiction. There’s a tongue-in-cheek energy behind sentences like “True love, my most deplorable fetish” and “I adore you, even on the days you hate yourself” that makes us love it for being so unapologetically mushy. When retro art meets Tumblr, you know the results are going to be something special.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Representativid’arte is Portuguese for “representative art.” Started in 2014, this art project created by feminist artist divinalush shines a light on the various types of bodies that go unseen in the image-conscious media. Her tumblr is a compilation of drawings of real women, the ones who don’t have thigh gaps or been airbrushed to death. With a distinctive pointillism style, her drawings depict women with fat rolls, underarm hair and cellulite, showing the beauty of imperfections of various body types. And at only 8 months old, her project’s mission to change the perception of what’s considered beautiful has already resonated with thousands. Here’s hoping her project grows as more feminist artists get onboard. (Warning: NSFW)
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, May 5th, 2015||No Comments »|
You’ve probably seen or at least run into 1041uuu‘s work before, either through your Tumblr dashboard or in other portals of the Internet. Say what you want about pixel art, but, regardless of your taste level, it’s unequivocally accessible. There’s just something about nostalgia combined with adorable imagery that always finds a way to our hearts. And fortunately for Japanese pixel artist 1041uuu, she (or he) makes good use of our cute/retro weaknesses. Their pixel GIFs of everyday life, like people riding the subway, eating ramen alone, or walking home in the rain, reveal the tranquility of mundane moments. These slice-of-life portrayals are something you expect to see in a painting or a pretentious sketchbook, not in pixel art. But this weird juxtaposition is the allure of their work, and when you add all the pieces together, it’s obvious why people can’t help but reblog.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, April 23rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Lizzy Stewart is an illustrator living in London who publishes zines and comics. We first heard of her when we stumbled across these gorgeous illustrations of classic book covers she did a year ago. But aside from her illustration gigs, Stewart has an entire Tumblr devoted to illustrated diaries about her life as a penniless 20-something living in London. Lonely, introverted 20-somethings with Tumblrs isn’t exactly unique, but what makes Stewart special is how she doesn’t try to be any more than what she is. Instead of bending over backwards to look profound, Stewart’s comics are straight to the point. Sometimes they’re introspective and sometimes they’re not, but they’re always honest. It’s a shame she doesn’t updated it more frequently. However, you can always read more stuff from her via her zines that she sells in her shop.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, April 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
Illustrator and Tumblr user Pumpkin and Olive creates art that’s typical of most sketchbooks–candid, honest, and humorous. But her otherwise cutesy vision is offset by emotional rawness, whether it’s anger, sadness, or insecurity. Both her sketchbooks and her comics paint a world where love is fleeting, where friendships are temporary, and where emotional loneliness is never cured but simply fades. In its simplicity it finds a true awareness, an artistic reflection of the self that’s visually depicted in a medium not known for its deepness. It’s for that reason alone that her work is worth a look. She also sells prints if you want to support her work.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, December 18th, 2014||No Comments »|