illustration

Illustration, Painting

Vignette: Lori Larusso


“I hope to provoke the viewer to consider the contradictions arising from our contemporary fixation with notions of health.“ – Lori Larusso


"Eating Animals (Broccoli Poodle)" by Lori Larusso, 19x10in, acrylic on shaped panel (2016), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Broccoli Poodle)" by Lori Larusso, 19x10in, acrylic on shaped panel (2016), price available on request

Vintage Poster by Unknown Artist

Vintage Poster by Unknown Artist

When you hear the term “political art”, what comes to mind? Campaign and propaganda posters from contentious times; “Buy Bonds” during World War II, “Join The Party” from Europe in the 1930’s - Iconic mileposts of social change. Yet, in the work of Lori Larusso we find social and political statements about food production and distribution in the U.S. that are as slick, clean and polished as the height of the form, but placed in a whimsical context that makes the message more approachable; couching the provocative in a comfortable mid-Twentieth Century aesthetic.

“Our unhealthy obsession with healthy food often masks the origins of its production,” explains Larusso. “It also fails to consider who has the financial means and access to consume foods defined as healthy. For those in need of assistance, state bureaucracy determines the affordability and accessibility of staple foods. WIC programs, for example, allow for the purchase of sugary breakfast cereals, while at the same time, refuse to allow for the purchase of organic dairy products and high quality all natural foods. These newest paintings are reflections on the disconnect between the disturbing realities of commercial food production and our often naive assumptions about the pastoral lifestyle of animals raised for consumption. Here, the presentation of the food images, (cagey, but carefully prepared and staged) calls to mind the desire to provide healthful foods for ourselves and families while evoking the contrasting reality, both the abusive treatment of animals in CAFOs and those unable to participate in the health market.”

Larusso's studio

Larusso's studio

The pieces are illustrative and narrative, but Larusso states that, “the tangible quality of finished pieces is tied more directly to a contemporary painting practice.” Digital images of the work don’t clarify that these pieces are acrylic painted on shaped panels, so, as is always the case, a proper reading of the work requires viewing it in person. Larusso’s work can be seen at this moment in three exhibits:

March 3 - April 29 -The Chamber of Golden Light & Eating Animals at James May Gallery: Algoma, WI

February 12 - March 18 - Art and Tart at KMAC Shop; Louisville, KY

January 19 - April 30 - Contemplation Consumed: Artworks by Johanna Goodman, Natsuko Hattori and Lori Larusso, Porter Contemporary; New York, NY

Hometown: Massillon, Ohio
Age: 36
Education: MFA, Interdisciplinary Studies- Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) BFA, Studio Art- University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning
Galley Representation: Skidmore Contemporary (Santa Monica, CA), Jordan Faye Contemporary (Baltimore, MD), Porter Contemporary (New York, NY)
Website: www.lorilarusso.com

"Eating Animals (Green Grapes Porcupine)" by Lori Larusso, 18.5x10.5in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Green Grapes Porcupine)" by Lori Larusso, 18.5x10.5in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Banana Dolphins)" by Lori Larusso, 24.5x12in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Banana Dolphins)" by Lori Larusso, 24.5x12in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Cucumber Shamu)" by Lori Larusso, 15x6in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Cucumber Shamu)" by Lori Larusso, 15x6in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Strawberry Mice)" by Lori Larusso, 16x7in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Strawberry Mice)" by Lori Larusso, 16x7in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Waffle Sea Turtle)" by Lori Larusso, 24.5x12in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

"Eating Animals (Waffle Sea Turtle)" by Lori Larusso, 24.5x12in, acrylic on shaped panel (2017), price available on request

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Drawing

Vignette: Helen Payne


“…Our identities and trajectories are shaped by tests and how testing is a reflection of power.” — Helen Payne


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Helen Payne’s ink wash drawings occupy a fluid space between representational and non-representational, ink washes built upon a solid draughtsmenship yet rendered with great immediacy. As if each one took only minutes to complete, the artist working nimbly with her brush with an economy of effort and heightened deliberation.

The drawings are part of a series that attempts to take a fresh perspective on questions if identity and the metrics of human existence. “I work in the studio creating objects and images that help me process and understand how the world works,” explains Payne. “These days, I am thinking about ways we measure and monetize our bodies and minds. My current work, The ABCs of the Weight of Measures, is an installation about how we measure and mismeasure ourselves and how what is the messiest and intensely private is often the focus of measurement. Each letter of the alphabet is the start of an acronym for a common test of human measurement, i.e. A is for APGAR; B is for BMI, and so on. The ABC of the Weight of Measures examines how our identities and trajectories are shaped by tests and how testing is a reflection of power.”

"B is for BMI, Yr width to yr girth" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $150 |  BUY NOW

"B is for BMI, Yr width to yr girth" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $150 | BUY NOW

Although Payne does not specifically frame the work as self-portrait or autobiography, introspection feels at the root of her observations, although the academic motif enables her to expand the idea to a universal context to which anyone might be able to relate. There is neat balance of the intellectual and populism in the belief that we are only able to understand ourselves through such often arbitrary and artificial constructs. The commentary Payne seems to offering is not necessarily comforting, but it is a healthy challenge to our programmed notions of self.

Hometown: Jamestown, Rhode Island
Education: MFA Candidate at University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 2019;
BA, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, 2000;
With additional studies at: The Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD, The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, UK. Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa Institute, Boulder, CO
Website: http://www.helenpayne.us

"E is for EQ, I love you" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $15 |  BUY NOW

"E is for EQ, I love you" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $15 | BUY NOW

"Title F is for FICO, but I can't pay the rent" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $15 |  BUY NOW

"Title F is for FICO, but I can't pay the rent" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $15 | BUY NOW

"A is for APGAR, You were bluish at birth" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $150 |  BUY NOW

"A is for APGAR, You were bluish at birth" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $150 | BUY NOW

"W is WAIS, Wr melting, we two" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $15|  BUY NOW

"W is WAIS, Wr melting, we two" by Helen Payne, 11x14in, ink on paper (2016) $15| BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Illustration

Q&A: Jeff Dehut

Jeff Dehut is a freelance Illustrator working in Louisville, KY specializing in tabletop game design and portraits using traditional mediums such as pen and ink, and watercolor. He is the creator of Pocket Dungeon Quest, a simplified, casual rogue-like tabletop adventure for 2-4 players.

When did you first think you would be an artist?

It was when I was just a small boy. I would sit at home after school and draw comics all afternoon. I knew I wanted to get into art somehow. At that time my thoughts were either as a comic book artist, or concept work for movies and games.

Who or what inspires you now?

I absolutely love Wesley Burt’s style; I could look at his sketches all day. I also love looking at concept art books of any kind.

If you could do anything else but make art, what would it be?

I would probably have to say making coffee. I just love everything about the coffee-making process.

"Homes" by Jeff Dehut, 8x8in, micron pen (2016)

"Homes" by Jeff Dehut, 8x8in, micron pen (2016)

What frightens you the most?

Getting stuck at a job that drains me creatively.

"Enjoy the Little Things" by Jeff Dehut, 8x8in, digital (2017)

"Enjoy the Little Things" by Jeff Dehut, 8x8in, digital (2017)

What is your favorite music to listen to when making art?

Typically I listen to documentaries about various things, or audiobooks of all kinds. When I listen to actual music, it’s usually soundtracks or instrumental so I can focus on other things at the same time.

Vinyl or CD?

Neither. Digital.

Favorite movie?

Star Wars, IV, V & VI.

What are you reading right now?

Ha. I just finished the Magnolia Story, it was a super cute book.

What advice would you give a young artist just out of college?

Don’t wait for jobs to come to you. Go get a job - of any kind. Go make your own creative projects while you wait for something creative to turn up. Be proactive. Make the kind of work on your own while you’re not getting paid for it so that when a company is willing to pay someone for it you can be first in line with experience. Go! Do!

"Illustration Samples" by Jeff Dehut, 3.5x2.5in, ink & marker (2017)

"Illustration Samples" by Jeff Dehut, 3.5x2.5in, ink & marker (2017)

Tell us about an important moment of transition for you as an artist?

The moment I lost my first salary job. It forced me into freelance for a while which forced me to learn many valuable skills I would not have otherwise acquired.

"Watercolor Thumb People" by Jeff Dehut, 3.5x2.5in, watercolor & micron pen (2017)

"Watercolor Thumb People" by Jeff Dehut, 3.5x2.5in, watercolor & micron pen (2017)

If you were given a $100,000 what would do with it?

Get a studio of some kind so I could finally unpack all of my art supplies and make bigger work.

What does art mean to you?

This is a huge question... Art is something you create - for me it is usually, to some extent, emotionally charged, and I hope my art makes other people feel that way. Usually I want people to feel happy to see my work.

What do you feel is your greatest flaw?

I typically bite off more than I can chew. I’m getting better at it…kinda.

If you could have a talent that you currently don't already have what would it be and why?

I want to learn about more art mediums or techniques because I always want to learn more about my craft.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would like to get a photo with Enrico Colantoni because I loved him in Galaxy Quest and I think we look very similar. It would be funny!

Does art have a purpose? If so, what is it?

Oh boy. I think it does. The purpose of my art is to make others feel encouraged to be better people.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 36
Education: Associates in Graphic Design with a specialty in Photography
Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/explosivelimes/

"Watercolor Faces" by Jeff Dehut, 8.5x11in, watercolor & micron pen (2016)

"Watercolor Faces" by Jeff Dehut, 8.5x11in, watercolor & micron pen (2016)

Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

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Illustration, Drawing

Vignette: Darrenn Canton

"Guardian of the Ramparts" by Darrenn Canton, 14x24in, watercolor, colored pencil, gouache (2016)

"Guardian of the Ramparts" by Darrenn Canton, 14x24in, watercolor, colored pencil, gouache (2016)

Fantasy art is often viewed pejoratively by the ‘fine art’ world, yet it is often highly inspirational to young, aspiring artists. Darrenn Canton was such a young artist, and his ambition drew him towards the worlds of commercial illustration and a desire to illustrate children’s books.

"Krampusnacht" by Darrenn Canton, 9x12in, watercolor & colored pencil (2016)

"Krampusnacht" by Darrenn Canton, 9x12in, watercolor & colored pencil (2016)

“I'm a weirdo who likes to draw and paint monsters. I specialize in cartooning, children’s book art, and fantasy illustration. My work emphasizes character and wit, and tries not to take itself too seriously.”

There is a long tradition of escapism and the fantastic throughout art history. Religious imagery embraces the sacred and profane, and Canton’s gargoyle, perched upon a battlement, recalls such classical antecedents as much as comic culture, as does his depiction of a voracious-yet-still-jolly Krampus; a resurgent holiday figure drawn from the same European traditions that gave us Saint Nicholas. The light tone that Canton brings to bear does not obscure that connection.

Canton is still relatively new to Louisville, though he has fallen in love with the city's art scene and hopes to be more active in the future, while he continues to move forward in his goals of, “…writing stories and telling tales to stoke the fires of the imagination.” Canton is a frequent visitor to comic conventions around the Ohio Valley region, including Derby City Comic Con in June, and his work will be on display at the Fantasy and Science Fiction convention ConGlomeration April 7-9 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Louisville.

Hometown: Washington, DC
Age: 30
Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Illustration Academy, Richmond, VA
Website: http://www.dcantonart.com

"Gone Fishin'" by Darrenn Canton, 10x14in, ink, watercolor & gouache (2013), $200 |  BUY NOW

"Gone Fishin'" by Darrenn Canton, 10x14in, ink, watercolor & gouache (2013), $200 | BUY NOW

"Breakfast'" by Darrenn Canton, 9x12in, ink, watercolor & gouache (2013), $150 |  BUY NOW

"Breakfast'" by Darrenn Canton, 9x12in, ink, watercolor & gouache (2013), $150 | BUY NOW

"Blue-Haired Meanie'" by Darrenn Canton, 9x12in, ink, watercolor & colored pencil (2017)

"Blue-Haired Meanie'" by Darrenn Canton, 9x12in, ink, watercolor & colored pencil (2017)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Digital, Illustration

Vignette: Jessica Booker

"Braid Boy #3" by Jessica Booker, 1920x1080px, digital illustration (2016)

"Braid Boy #3" by Jessica Booker, 1920x1080px, digital illustration (2016)

One can see the influence of contemporary illustration and animation in the work of Jessica Booker; that there is a good measure of manga seems obvious, but is there not a also a bit of Margaret Keane, whose “Big Eye” paintings were the source of controversy and an important progenitor of the mass market merchandising of art almost a century ago? 

"Braid Boy #2" by Jessica Booker, 1920x1080px, digital illustration (2016)

"Braid Boy #2" by Jessica Booker, 1920x1080px, digital illustration (2016)

Such a thought is what makes the work of so young an artist interesting. Would Ms. Booker even know Keane, whose court case to claim authorship of her work is now seen as a feminist victory for a female artist so subservient to her husband’s will as to feel it appropriate to bury her creative identity? If time is a river, perhaps artists are unknowingly being caught up in themes and influences like eddies and currents along the way, forever being swept downstream.

"Braid Boy 2.5" by Jessica Booker, 1080x1920px, digital illustration (2016)

"Braid Boy 2.5" by Jessica Booker, 1080x1920px, digital illustration (2016)

Booker works mostly from her imagination, but is inspired by people in her life, a blending of source and sensibility that asks questions about identity in an overly homogenized, culture saturated by digital media. 

She finds the approach somewhat liberating, “…not worrying about getting an exact likeness to someone makes creating more open. They are like idealized caricatures of different persona and personalities I encounter every day. Each face is different in the moment, but similarities start to show and imaginary bonds between these total strangers start to emerge.  

Playing with color, composition, shapes of features - even what they wear, tells what they might be like. Experimenting, for me, is important. Much like actual people, there are similarities and differences. I like to play with the details to make each person unique.”

In high school, Booker received a Scholastic Gold Key Award for Art and Writing. Last year she helped paint a mural on a Spalding University building for SoBro in Louisville.

Age: 21
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA candidate, Painting and Drawing, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky

"Braid Boy #1" by Jessica Booker, 1920x1080px, digital illustration (2016)

"Braid Boy #1" by Jessica Booker, 1920x1080px, digital illustration (2016)

"Braid Boy..Wait!" by Jessica Booker, 1080x1920px, digital illustration (2016)

"Braid Boy..Wait!" by Jessica Booker, 1080x1920px, digital illustration (2016)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

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