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Billie Mae is a freelance artist from New York City, where she was raised around with lots of educational support and types of art. She often spent a lot of time visiting museums and galleries and was encouraged to create her own works of art. Billie’s grandfather always ensured that she received decent art history education with deep understanding of art movements, concepts, eras and influential figures by accompanying her to different types of museums since her childhood which has brought Billie to where she is today, who now carries a dream to curate her own gallery one day.

Billie likes to portray surrealism and entertain abstract ideas and forms with adding a layer of irony or humour, which can be seen in both of her collages and illustrations. Some of these elements and forms contain human body/anatomy, teeth, eyes, religious symbols and many more.

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“The Belch”  5×7 inches, Pen and Ink on Paper, 2017 ©Billie

Billie chose “The Belch” as her “mono”. She shares “I was 18, and it is still hard for me to look back at this time as I was going through a psychotic episode in my life where all I knew was “hurt”. It was the time during my pre-medication, before I was properly diagnosed as an autistic and at the early stage of alcoholism. I sometimes wish I knew who I was, but a part of me is scared to look too deep into it; that stage of my life is long gone and I don’t think I would benefit from knowing the exact circumstances. It’s too hard, not to wonder, however, it is what people say; “curiosity killed the cat”.

“On the lighter note, I submitted this very work to my local community college student’s gallery without thinking much about getting acknowledged. But I was surprised to receive some wonderful feedbacks and appraisals from fellow artists, securing a display spot at the very front of the gallery.  Thinking back to that day, I don’t think I’d ever submit a work which is this personal and heavy to a gallery where my friends, peers and professors dwelled. But, I am glad I decided to show off my talents, which has a stronger meaning and holds a lot more emotions when it was first created in the fall of 2017. I often find myself looking at this piece, sometimes misty-eyed, and mostly grateful for how far I have come. I am now eight-months sober, I also have tools that help me work through most mental strife and control my reactions to various distressing situations in a healthy manner.”

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Lidia Mikhaylova was born and raised in Russia and Siberia where she spent most of her life working in a corporate world as a lawyer. After carrying this successful career in Moscow for fifteen years, Lidia decided to move to Riga, Latvia in search of new ways to fulfil her dreams, which is when she was introduced and mesmerised with colours surrounding her making her fall in love with painting. Creating wonderful works of art is her main occupation and passion presently. After pursuing educational and professional knowledge on art, Lidia finds many ways today to expand her skills by taking private lessons and master classes all over the world.

She enjoys expressing the world around her through her paintings by portraying everyday reality on canvas using colours and forms. The sole purpose that Lidia holds is to create works of art to inspire viewers see and appreciate hidden beauty in things around us and not just to easily sell.

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“Dandelions”  40×30 cm, Oil on Canvas, 2017 ©Lidia

Lidia chose “Dandelions” as her “mono”. “The metaphor for human life is that of a Dandelion. They bloom, ripe, lose their seeds which the winds of time then carry them away to a far distant place. And, no matter how hard life is on them, they still find beautiful ways to survive”, outlines Lidia a beautiful meaning that holds the painting strong.

“Dandelions” was painted in 2017, with a photograph reference captured by her friend who was practicing the art of photography. Lidia shares, “As a person of Siberian roots, I immediately fell in love with this photograph, and instantly the concept of metaphor thought was born inside me. At that time, I was dealing with difficulties in my life, and painting dandelions captured my energies in the process which helped my mental health resulting in emotional healing. Later, when my family and friends viewed the completed work, they highlighted its individuality and the special energy that emanated from the painting and nourished every individual who came into contact with it. The painting travelled to several exhibitions and was highly praised. A year ago, it found a new home, but even today this painting remains very significant and unique (“mono”) for me.”

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Seth Guy lives and works in the London, UK. He appropriates, configures, juxtapose materials to create playful performative works which explore the discourse between ear and eye. Influenced by his interests in experimental fiction, art, and music, he is interested in the intersections of shared language, memory, and imagination in which the acts of listening and visualising are investigated. Often collaborating and devising projects of a participatory and experiential nature, he makes both sonic and visual art; work which is often humorous, and occasionally disquieting.

“Recycles 1.1 – 4.4”  168×120 cm, Ink and Collage on Paper, 2009-11 ©Seth

Seth chose “Recycles” as his “mono”. He shares, “the Recycles follow from ideas explored in my previous major drawing work “Time Spent Listening” (2006-8), and are a continuation of my desire to visually capture and represent fleeting utterances of sound, this time focussing on noise within our chaotic built environments. Transferring similar techniques from recording and playing with sound directly, such as improvisation, sampling, chance operations etc., these cyclic drawings of monotone geometric structures contain, conflict and optically interact with fragments of collage plundered from previous works. Both horizontally and vertically cyclic, meaning that the position of the rows and columns may be altered, the Recycles can therefore be displayed in a multitude of variations.”

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“When the Recycles were created it was a particularly difficult period in my life. A lot had changed just prior to this following the termination of two highly productive and exciting collaborations which had occupied a lot of my time and inspired a great deal of creative energy. My future in many ways seemed very uncertain. I felt very isolated and frustrated, and I spent a lot of time walking and thinking. I explored London on foot - most weeks I walked about 30 miles. And while I walked I listened, and I committed sights, sounds and forms to memory. It was also a period of great reflection; looking back at what things had interested me while involved in these collaborations, such as improvisation and performing, I then began to experiment with how I might develop a body of solo work that explored these ideas, making a collaborator or participant of the audience. From doing so I returned to abstract drawing once again, but this time with the addition of collage which remains my most consistent medium. It is therefore 'the one' for me, in this time and in these ideas, this work gave me a way to move forward where it had initially seemed at an end, but it also signifies the point in my life where I regained confidence as a solo artist, in experimenting alone, in just being one.”

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Emily Shih is an artist based in Taiwan. She works with acrylic and watercolour medium. Emily fell in love with creating art at an early age which never stopped. For her, art is about falling in love with something, it’s about feelings that conjure inside you. Her works are inspired by nature’s beauty. She enjoys using rich and vivid colours by pilin up different shapes of hue blocks transforming realistic world into a bright and splendid world of her own. By utilizing the bright and saturated colours, she arranges the irregular shapes and various chroma of color blocks alternatively, and simplify the details of the scenery. She enhances to display the spatial extensity, rhythm and the impressionism with colours and hopes to construct new imagery and resonance visually. Most of her works are display natural landscapes, such as sunsets, mountains and rivers, reflections of water, places she has travelled and places she wants to go. In addition, she loves the themes of positive, optimistic and joyful. She wishes people to look at her artworks and feel the same emotions that she does- peaceful, happiness, joy and always believing in something good.

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“Sunset Afterglow”  57.5×65 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2013 ©Emily

Emily chose “Sunset Afterglow” as her “mono”. She shares, “This painting depicts Taipei City under the setting sun. The beautiful colourful clouds covered in the sky. It is evening, the city's neon lights and colourful sunset interweave a beautiful scene, which is intoxicating! As the sun descends below the horizon, creating romantic shades of red and orange across the sky, the world has a chance to breathe in and rejuvenate. While sunsets are a literal end to a day, they've also become symbols of peace, harmony, and the promise of renewal. Sunsets are a great reminder to rest and reset our hearts and minds at the end of each and every day. Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.”

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Olena is an Ukrainian artist who has been working since past five years in Tbilisi, Georgia. Olena was taught as a costume designer and make-up artist in the entertainment industry. Her style of work drastically changed while living in Tbilisi, from picturesque portraits to free and conceptual abstract, from oil and watercolour to mixed media. She has skilfully expanded her practice to watercolour, acrylic, ink, and many more that can be implemented on a hard paper. She also experiments and creates works of art in digital graphic designs and illustrations with enhanced style of work.

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“Motherland”  Triptych 40/50, Mixed Media on Hard Paper, 2021 ©Olena

Olena chose “Motherland” as her “mono”. She shares, “I started to feel people in different way. Not through their appearances, but through their inner dynamics, their movements, colors that they create around them. And I began to explore their worlds through meditation and travel. Suddenly they started pouring onto canvases, creating beautiful works of art. But this work is very special for me, as it is about my feeling of home, which I have been searching for so many years. About a sense of roots and reflections on belonging to a particular nation.

How valuable and meaningful it is in our time? How the situation in the world has influenced my understanding of the word "Motherland"? I want everyone looking to ask a question: Do you have roots? And what do they mean to you?”

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Tessa Teixeira

Tessa Teixeira was born in South Africa. She completed her Bachelor’s in Primary Education, majoring in Art in 1991 at the University of the Witwatersrand where her self-portrait was collected by the Department of Art. In her twenties and thirties, she was extensively involved in projects addressing access for housing in lower Income sectors, she started an NGO and raised the money to build two primary schools for children who were receiving tuition under trees, and worked for The Mineworkers Development Agency, the development wing of The National Union of Mineworkers, addressing rural development, economic needs in South Africa. She has throughout her working career, responded to issues and challenges of inequality and social justice.

In 2006 she started actively focusing on her Art – practice and embarked on various short Art development programmes in Art Institutions in San Francisco in the USA and in London in 2010 and 2011. She returned to Johannesburg at the end of 2011 and has been developing her practice focusing on Existential Philosophical ideas which has been influenced her interests.

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Lifeline 2”  50×39 cm, Lithograph on Fabriano Paper, 2017 ©Tessa

Tessa chose “Lifeline 2” as her “mono”. She notes, “My art practice has always been focused around ‘consciousness’ and what it means to be a ‘sentient’ being from a philosophical point of view, exploring ideas and thoughts around ‘the self-identity’, ‘ life and death’ by addressing ‘collective consciousness’ and, focusing on climate changes and their effects. “Lifeline” is the one work that speaks to me directly, why? It develops a visual memory and voice of the Anthropocene age, where humans are dominating and destroying natural resources at an accelerated pace, leading to no longer balance and harmony among all the living beings on our planet.”

“This work was created from my personal emotional reflection and responses to water shortages that we were experiencing in the Southern African region because of extended drought, where at the same time the media images that I was exposed to on how hundreds of Syrian refugees were landing on Mediterranean beaches while trying to escape to a safer place during the Syrian civil war in 2015. ‘Lifeline’ a Photo Lithography Edition, responded directly to these events and my thoughts that linked to our own local access too water challenges, and after I saw an image of a child lying on a beach that didn’t make the journey, trying to get to safety on an overcrowded, rubber dingy.”

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Nguyen Duc Hung was born and raised in Thanh Hao City, Vietnam, presently living in Hanoi, Vietnam. He graduated from the University of Fine Arts and Vietnam University of Fine Arts. He is currently a lecturer in Fine Arts at the Hanoi University of Architecture, Vietnam. The folk carving and traditional decorations from the Vietnamese culture captivated him when he was able to see the expression of ideas, feelings and aesthetics of community and nation. To treasure ancient Vietnamese art, he uses decorative motifs with many meanings and symbols to integrate images of modern life into his works of art. The compositions of elements and forms represents the real and virtual worlds, from the past and present. He often attempts to portray a description of emotional vibrations, thoughts on environment and the mystery of the spiritual world. The mediums he uses include, pen and ink, surfaces like paper and wood with meticulous drawing techniques by creating rough lines resulting in light and dark shades.  

“Eyes”  120×84 cm, Ink on Paper, 2013 ©Nguyen

Nguyen chose “Eye” as his “mono”. He shares, “About ten years ago, I researched and experimented with many materials and approached the world of contemporary art. I became a part of many exhibitions with a desire to learn and assert myself, where I wanted my work to be unique. But all of that failed because I realised everything I drew, it was not me, it did not reflect me as a person or capture my personality.”

“The work “Eye” is a step forward into  my creative career. I have seen life around war, economy, technology, glory and the epidemic that is happening at the moment. I see that everyone is pursuing materialistic values and desires. During this time of the year, I was in a difficult phase of my life, I wanted to find a value for the world in my soul. I wanted to free myself from always thinking about finding the balance in life and ecological environment. There are always two opposites in my mind, the two latent states of reality and fiction, the existence of my outlook on life and the worldview of my life. From those concerns, I also found a direction in art, using art to reflect my thoughts and views, finding ways to create iconic and aesthetic images with a desire that viewers feel the message through my works.”

So much art & So little time!


© 2021 by, Aishwarya Kulkarni

All rights reserved.

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