Kate MccGwire [fresh art]


Brilliant artists who uses unorthodox methods to achieve the unbelievable. Kate MccGwire the British artist who uses feathers to sculpt her work did the following interview with Juxtapoz online magazine explaining her astonishing work.

Katie Zuppann: Your latest work often utilizes bird feathers. Why feathers? What meaning do they hold for you?

Kate MccGwire: I deliberately choose materials that possess a beauty and power when used in abundance and in a context beyond which they can popularly lay claim. The common pigeon is considered a pest, dirty and feral. The dove however, is the symbol of purity, peace and hope. Cherished, they are given their own dovecotes to live in yet they are exactly the same type of bird as the pigeon just with white feathers. Pigeon-fanciers would indeed disagree with the opinion pigeons are “rats with wings”, and that dual perspective adds another ‘layer’ to the feathers meaning.

I find it compelling to work with feathers that connotations are ‘loaded’ and find it fascinating that each bird has its own mythology and presence. The magpie is regarded as the bearer of bad omens (one for sorrow, two for joy etc), the thief and collector of the bird world. Similarly the crow too has certain associations, seen as a symbol of witchcraft particularly when feathers are found vertical, pointing quill down into the ground.

Where do you get your feathers?

I started to pick up molted pigeon feathers in the park around 2007 within a couple of months I had a collection of about 400. I realized quickly their potential for a larger scale piece where I would need thousands.

I contacted pigeon racing clubs and racing enthusiasts throughout the UK, asking them to send me their molted feathers that would normally be discarded as rubbish – now three years later, I have approximately 200 individuals who regularly send me envelopes full of pigeon feathers. I frequently keep them updated with images of my work and have been delighted with the incredible support they have given. This collaborative aspect of collecting to acquire materials has become an integral part of the process of making my work.

Approximately how long does it take you to complete an average sculpture?

This depends hugely on the types of feathers I am using and how I am collecting them. All feathers have to be cleaned and sorted into types and only when I have enough of a particular type can I consider making a piece with them. I started collecting magpie feathers years ago and only have enough this year to make a piece of work using them.

As described in the answer above, the process of collecting pigeon feathers also takes time; added to this, the birds only moult in spring and autumn so I receive a large quantity during those periods. Different feathers behave differently so their method and speed of application can affect timescales as too does the size and nature of the final piece. In short, it is hard to measure with so many variables and it never feels like there is enough time!

Your work, particularly between 2004-2007, utilized many irregular materials like chicken bone and noodles. What draws you to these materials and why did you move towards using feathers so often?

Again, these objects have such an innate identity, a personality and a history that makes working with them so intriguing. My choice of materials is also in response to the world around me, noticing feathers, starting collections and relishing seeing them in such large quantities again heightens their meanings.


Memories of the Future: The Thomas Olbricht Collection 
Maison Rouge, Paris

Eleventh Plateau 
Archaeological Association of Athens, Greece

House of Beasts 
Attingham Park, National Trust, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Now & Then 
Harris Lindsay, London


ThinkUp – The pulling core

Think What

So, to be put plain and simple, ThinkUp is a force field that is pulling all the extraordinary creative minds out there into one single core of collaboration. We came across this zealous project while cruising our stale Twitter timeline. It was announced by the one and only Saleh Al Braik or as he’s known among his followers by @FearlessinDubai, or as I know him as the ”kid who tweets happy things”.

Saleh Al Braik

Saleh came up with the initiative and announced the construction of ThinkUp.ae shortly, but the action started earlier. I’ve got to tell you, this kid is smart and got some authentic marketing flair. Utilizing his relatively massive followers’ base, the initiative spread like cholera (or something more pleasant, you catch my drift). Big names clutched the heavy shovels  of originality and started showcasing their muscles in whatever creative field they were born in, and they were simply declared kings and queens of the young novelty scene in the UAE and the GCC. Or as I like to call them, my fellow lunatics who are needed back in the asylum

Who’s in it

Now kids, let’s jump to the big names we came across while drying our eyes from the tears of joy. One of my all times favorite local directors, Abdulla Al Kaabi, Khaled Al Maskari who wrote one of the simplest and most effective books in Business writing that I liked, Leila Al Marashi who has this hilarious art-show where she basically sticks traditional things on well-known art figures and celebrities, the legendary Nayla Al Khaja, and many others (don’t be slothful, hit Thinkup.ae for the entire list and interviews).

The whole human thing

The initiative is not just about big names and talented people, no sir. It’s about big ideas and aid. Yes you read that right. One of the big pluses for this baby-initiative is it’s humanitarian dimension. That’s how we like things cooked ladies and gentlemen, sizzling artistically with a hint of humanity. From the environment to Somalia to breast cancer, ThinkUp is doing the whole nine yards.

Is it going on the right path

With the energy of Saleh Al Braik and the everlasting hunger of creative minds to showcase their artwork and contribute to the society, ThinkUp is going big and wide. It’s already showing the classic symptoms of inflammation and in no time it will be featured in important news outlets and blogs (mush like my extremely super important blog right here).

What we are hoping for is that the initiative is working on a team-bases scenario and is not a one man show. It needs effort and some serious maintenance to keep the fire going. Big creative names are hard to find specially if we take in consideration that some of the big talents out there aren’t big fans of showcasing their art-work online. And oh Lord, some artists, filmmakers, writers are really protective when it comes to featuring their artwork and it’s hard like hell to hunt them down and write about them.

What do we wish them

All the luck, and an endless lasting fire of inspiration and enthusiasm. We are proud of all of those working on this lovely innovative initiative (cue the violins, and pass the tissues please). Saleh if you are reading this, I want to personally thank you for this delicious cake of creativity. Keep it up kids.

I want more

here’s Saleh’s twitter account and click here to jump to ThinkUp.ae for more action and information or to make your life easier [ you lazy muffin] jump to Thinkup’s about page and youtube channel

Jason Seiler the great [CG]

Self Portrait

Computer generated art might be least-favored, or sometimes trivially-appreciated in our community as opposed to conventional physical art. However, it’s a stand-alone new form of art that is appreciated by mainstream techno-freaks enthusiast around the world.

We can’t – partially that is –  consider computer generated art as art at all, because to us a piece of art must be physically felt, and must spend sometime between the hands of the artist. And who’s kidding who, on a computer you can change a color with a push of a button, while one stroke out of the artistic-context on a canvas requires some real effort to rectify.

But by all means, we appreciate the ideas embedded in computer generated art, since it mostly targets mainstream audience and big corporations – who represent a future employer to some artists- which means better computer games, cartoon shows, films, printed media  and all the things we  like.

Nonetheless, without a prober real artistic background, no one can put a stylus on a tablet. So there is actually a real artist behind that screen.

[ the above is a pointless introduction, read from here about the artist] 

Jason Seiler is one of those computer generated artists who took an oath to represent celebrities in the most outstanding artistic way possible. Not only does this big brain acquired the talent, but he’s also a funny soul that knows the valleys of wit and the mountains of cold satire.

Seiler began his professional career in a rather unorthodox way. After getting in trouble for drawing parodies of his history teacher in high school, Jason’s quick-thinking principle hired him to draw caricatures of different faculty members. A professional artist was born. Jason went on to study fine art illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago for two years before beginning his professional work in earnest. Jason’s humorous illustrations have been featured as covers and interior pieces for TIME, Business Week, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, MAD magazine, GOLF magazine, KING magazine, Revolver, Guitar Player, The Village Voice, Penguin Group, Disney, The New York Observer, D Magazine, The Bloomberg Market, New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures, Aardman Animation, and Sony Image, among others. Jason also worked as a character designer on Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, helping to create such characters as the Red Queen, the Tweedles, the Bandersnatch and more.

To start my diner painting “3324 North California”, I created several thumbnail sketches.  Doing thumbnails is a simple and quick way for me to find an interesting composition and explore character shape and proportion.

Often times I prefer sketching on a toned background rather than a white background. This helps me to lay down my line work, and quickly establish lights and darks giving my sketch depth and a life of it’s own in only a short amount of time. A strong drawing and composition must come first.

I love to draw, and I feel it is the foundation for the art that I create.

What a handsome man the guy above this sentence.

his Client-List includes
Rollingstone, New York Times, MAD Magazine, TIME, The UTNE Reader, The New York Observer, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Village Voice, GOLF Magazine, KING Magazine, Penguin Group, Dallas Ceo, Las Vegas Weekly, Miami New Times, Revolver, Guitar Player, Cracked Magazine, The Wittenburg Door, Kansas City Pitch, Cleveland Scene, Kraft Foods, Sony Image Works, Disney, D-Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Chicago Magazine, Bloomberg Market, Reform Judaism, Dallas Observer, Wine & Spirits, Business Week, Muscle Magazine,Aardman Animation, Nathanlove Animation, Universal Pictures, Anheuser Busch, New Line Cinema

Emirati culture stripped to the bones [art]

Skulls, skeletons, fleshless faces and bodies with the national costume splashed all over the bony figures. No, its not a horror movie, but a fresh dazzling look at the UAE’s cultural configuration through the scorching sarcastic visualization of  Maisoon Al Saleh.

Maisoon is by far the most popular mainstream artist we came across over the social networking realm. Emirati young ones sometimes might not realize who is the great artist behind that satirical picture of the Emirati skeleton girl using a Blackberry in black and white, but they’re surely enjoying the unconventional work and sharing it via social media on daily bases.

When we first laid eyes on one of AL Saleh’s work we were amused by its peculiarity. We’ve reviewed a lot of global art, ancient and modern and came across a lot of outlandish artists who we found joy in their work, and by all means this young Emirati  artist easily joins the global artistic herd.

Locally, she leads the way in the unconventional modern pop art. Modern art virtually doesn’t even exist in our nation, and this heavyweight newcomer gives a loud voice to the turf and makes it harder for others to top her level of artistic sophistication.

Not only does her flesh-stripping ideas strike you with their individuality, but her technique brings a fresh look to the standard black and white art terrain. Hard contrast, brutal strokes, and extreme attention to details and texture all give her work a new dimension.

Maisoon Al Saleh in short is an Emirati newcomer to be put under the spotlight of future drastic changes in the outdated Emarati art scene.

For more about the artist jump to her website or follow her on her twitter account or her facebook page

All pictures listed in this post are courtesy of the artist and are extracted from her public website and public facebook page. Those pictures weren’t modified, enhanced or altered by any means.

The many faces of Jeff Huntington [art]

This dark twist in art by Jeff Huntington, shows the multi-faces of humanity, which we like in art. The smooth yet quick brush storks give the work its arty feeling, nonetheless keeps it in a weak corner in terms of technique as per our liking. What we liked also was the ability to paint the different angels of the same face seemingly correctly with the same depth.

What’s common between all of the paintings we are posting here, the theme of a tormented child, and the hidden remarks of lost childhoods. We are not dazzled by the work of this artists, but we like the hidden meanings of suffering and anguish. 



Snip and Tuck

Convergent Sequence