visual artists you need to know now, pt. 3: neotraditional 2D

alvaro tapia

There are a plethora of visual artists out there, and equally as many who do outstanding work. Why then are these few important? Because they exhibit real experimentation, a play between the traditions of fine art and contemporary culture,  and eye-catching detail. First, two portrait artists working in unusual media:

1. jamie vasta


Glitter is associated with pageants more than galleries, but Ms. Vasta has elevated it to something elegant. The level of detail achieved with such a messy and difficult medium is astounding. The final effect of so many shimmering particles is ethereal. It makes you wonder why someone didn’t think of it before.

2. daniel kornrumpf

Portraiture that focuses on the exquisite humanity of its subject will always be compelling. Daniel Kornrumpf excels in capturing this individuality and character. The embroidered portraits, stitched onto linen, are just unbelievable. He also does some really rad paintings.


3. alvaro tapia hidalgo

It’s hard to resist big, bold graphics, and Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo’s are really wild.


Many of them feel, to me, like demented iterations of magazine illustrations and travel ads from the early 1900s, and that’s just fantastic.


4. tao lin

Tao Lin is mostly famous as a writer who also dabbles in cartoons on Microsoft Paint. He’s a nut and his work is vibrant and lover-ly. It’s up to the viewer to find what they seek in his work, but for me, it’s just charismatic and a little tragic.


5. matthew cusick

One of the most striking artists I’ve seen, Matthew Cusick originally caught my eye with what he calls “defacements.” Taking textbook pages and sanding/scratching away at the words, he leaves just an image and a few sparse words. They’ve got a beautiful balance and a nostalgic feel:


He also works in painting and collage, and his skill is even more evident there. One of his collections, called “Map Works,” is just stunning. The details, the layers, the craftsmanship all combine in remarkable ways. He also works with book pages, with magazines, with all kinds of beautiful paper:



Did you know the word inspire comes from the latin verb “spiro,” meaning “to breathe”?

laissez les bon temps rouler,

the girl


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