Friday, March 14, 2008

Six Amazing Artists You Should Know

Today, I would like to take the time to spotlight some very hard working artists. These artists deserve your time and attention. They deserve your business, your gallery representation, and your blog comments. They deserve your MySpace messages, and your Etsy reviews. Some of them, I am lucky know locally, and some of them I know only from the Internet, but we are good friends just the same. These six artists blow me away with their skill, determination, and style not to mention the honesty and passion they bring to their work.

First, from Fayetteville, Arkansas, painter Basil Seymour-Davies. His paintings seem impossibly accurate yet loose enough to be abstract in spots and almost surrealist in nature. Upon viewing Basil’s paintings, I am immediately drawn into the psychology of the person who appears caught so elegantly being their true self. Basil’s paintings are always intimate, and they serve as a window into the subjects inner workings. However there is still enough space around the subject to allow our own psychology into the mix. These paintings create an edgy narrative without being overbearing. Basil’s skill in painting portraiture is tremendous and luckily for those of us in the region he will be having a solo exhibition at the Art Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, Arkansas in June 2008. Please Visit Basil Seymour- Davies' MySpace page and his Website for more information about his work and process.

Also from Fayetteville, the incredible work of artist Ben Strawn. For those of you who know me, you know I am a champion of this artist’s work. Seeing Ben’s work was love at first sight! I am not the kind of person who sees something on the web and says “I must have that now,” but I did with Ben’s work. I own a piece from a different series than he is currently working on, but I love everything this artist does. He is an amazing illustrator and painter working with meticulous detail to create this beautiful and strange world filled with insects, animals, and figures co-mingling in odd habitats and homes. He works with paint on layers of Plexiglas which then gives his work a multidimensional feeling. As Ben builds up his inventory of paintings ( he practically sells out every time he shows) he has gotten in the habit of posting a Friday painting on his My Space blog. Please check out his MySpace page and his website for more information about Ben and his exciting and innovative work. On his website you will find a link to prints he has for sale.

Third, Cuckoo Bags by Prairie Grove artist Sarah Nunn. Sarah is an amazing abstract painter in her own right, but she has now turned a corner and created her own wonderfully stylish brand of bags and purses. She has sold her impressive line of "Cuckoo Bags" at local boutiques, and galleries in Fayetteville and Tulsa, and now she has turned to Etsy to market her chic recycled fabric bags. This woman has mad style and a quirky take on fashion. So, if you like being earth friendly and chic, these are the bags that you must carry. I always have one on my arm, and each is unique. For more information about Sarah Nunn’s Cuckoo bags, please visit Terra Tots in Fayetteville or buy online at Sarah's Etsy store.

Alright, moving out of Arkansas now, the amazingly sweet and sometimes nostalgic mixed media paintings, of Michele Maule. Michele is currently a Michigan artist and her whimsical and well designed paintings are flying out of Etsy and out of galleries as fast as she can paint them practically. It has been exciting to learn of her work and how things have taken off for her lately. I feel so lucky to own the piece of hers that I do (the one of the water tower pictured here). Local readers of my blog first got acquainted with her work when she participated in the small works show this December at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. She uses collage, paint, and encaustic on a wood support for her paintings. They tell shy little stories of her longing to get back home to Portland, sooner rather than later. Her work is fresh and clean yet never sterile. I can always relate to the concept of "waiting" that seems to pop up in her paintings. Michele was just mentioned in d├ęcor8, a popular design blog as well as in Real Simple. This artist is very deserving of all the attention she has recently received. So, give her some more and check out her paintings at her Etsy shop as well as her musings about life as an artist, student, and dog lover on her blog. Also check out her lovely new website and her MySpace page.

Now, onto my international friends (thanks to MySpace).

The work of German artist Isabel Reitemeyer. I was immediately drawn to these stark and lovely collage pieces. Isabel’s work struck a chord with me that I couldn’t shake, eventually with the help (if you can call it that) of an online translator I tried to communicate that I was in love with this piece (pictured here) and the rest of her work as well. I attempted to ask her about them and where she showed her work. The translation was a wreck of course and we quickly moved on from there. She said that she is just getting started with these collage pieces and is trying to get together a show, and at some point she may create prints. I love going to her MySpace page, which is currently the only place I know of to view her work. She also has a cryptic website, with her contact information, but that is it. I would love to one day see her work in person. I think her sense of composition, line and humor is spot on. Spare but engaging, I absolutely love this artist’s work. She is one of my favorites. I think she may be a children’s book illustrator as well, but I can’t be certain. Please view her work on her MySpace page. She seems quite prolific, and her page is a joy to visit.

Last but certainly not least, is the work of English painter Steven Heaton, he is also known as “The Factory Supervisor.” Readers of my blog may recognize the factory supervisor as someone who leaves thoughtful comments that seem to come from experience. Steven is an abstract painter that creates brilliantly colored atmospheric worlds made up of paint, metals, strings, and whatever caustic chemicals he can combine to create a beautiful patina. Sometimes Steven turns to his “garden” to take care of any missteps in his process, as he lets the weather and earth do their thing to enhance his stubborn paintings. This artist amazes me in his sheer dedication to his art. He works what seems like beyond a full time job, with hours that reach long into the day and night, and yet he keeps painting regularly; entering and getting accepted into exhibitions, not to mention selling his work. I have included a detail of his work, which shows the lovely metallic patina that adorns his vermilion streak of "sky." This artist also writes a blog that I frequent, and I highly recommend it. The tone of his blog, as he maneuvers us through his life as an artist, is more honest and vulnerable than many I have read. He isn’t selling anything here; he is simply sharing his artistic world and musings with us. This includes all the questions, problems, and inspirations that may pop up in this messy life and take form in his art. I take considerable comfort in his words, and I think you might as well. Go to his Blog, his carbonmade portfolio , and find even more of his work at the ok studios website.

Here are just six of the many amazing artists I know. Again, please give them your time and attention. These artists make me work harder, they fill me with wonder, and they make my world a more beautiful and inspired place.

I hope they will do the same for you.


  1. Hi Megan - I thought this was a really interesting post. I particularly like Isabel Reitemeyer's work. I'll have to have a look at her MySpace page.

  2. Yep, hearting all of 'em. And I own work by two of the six. 1/3 ain't that bad. Now, I just have to save some pennies (many) to collect some or the others. Good post boss.

  3. thank you for introducing me to some great new artist!!!

  4. Excellent post, thank you for introducing me to some great artists. Michelle Maule is one of my favorites on Etsy (I just bought one of her little ACEO's and crave more). Her work has so many layers (and not just the collage, paint, beeswax!), she is definitely going places.

  5. I enjoyed exploring these artists - they make me hunger for a more streamlined body of work of my own. Inspiring.
    Thanks Megan for sharing these people with us.

  6. megan we have not formally met , hello I am linda . I am a friend of Steven's and have often stopped and read your page. You have a great way with words. This tribute to your esteemed fellow artist is great thank you. Linda

  7. Hi - You've got a nice blog going here. Love your six artist selection. I found you through Etsy and hopping around....

  8. Your blog is real creative. I enjoy reading your blog. You are a great artist. I love your paintings. :)

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