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Steve Bennett uses both traditional photography and digitally transformed images to create art that stirs the imagination. Enjoy his portfolio and visit his website to see more.

“Abandoned Dreams” Photograph on Metal, 18″ x 18″

I started taking photographs fifty years ago in the age of film photography. Today, I take and make digital images of the world as seen (traditional photographs) and the world as I have reimagined it (photo-based collages).

“Storm Traveler” Photograph on Archival Pigment Paper, 14″ x 14″

My traditional photographs include poignant moments on the street, urban compositions that reveal the extraordinary within the mundane, macro and closeup images that reveal astonishing hidden realms in the world about us, and awe-inspiring landscapes that remind us of the grand scale of nature and our place within it.

“Disk Full” Photo Collage on Metal, 24″ x 24″

My images of the world reimagined dissolve the boundaries between “what is” and “what if” between the actual and the possible. They create a tension between the predictable and unpredictable.

“The Platform” Photo Collage on Metal, 24″ x 24″

I use a combination of macro photography and digital transformation techniques such as blending and layering to create composite “microscapes” and abstracts that make small worlds large and large worlds small. The works are rendered on metal and canvas, and in multimedia formats.

“Harbor 1″ Photo Collage on Metal, 24″ x 24”

My work intentionally challenges viewers—can they spot the differences between what is and what might be?

“Last Stop” Photo Collage on Metal, 12″ x 12″

Can they lose themselves in the suspense and mystery of alternate realities?

“The Subversive” Photo Collage on Metal, 18″ x 18″

Are they willing to suspend their own take on the world and reimagine the world as my artwork suggests it could be?

“Moon Shot” Photograph on Metal, 24″ x 24″

Can they set aside their disbelief long enough to view things in a new way, through my lens?

“Mystery Mountains” Photograph on Archival Pigment Paper, 32″ x 20″

My work has been displayed in juried and member events sponsored by the Cambridge Art Association (Cambridge, MA), Gallery Twist (Lexington, MA), the Concord Center for Visual Arts (Concord, MA), and the Cambridge Arts Council (Cambridge, MA).

“Ubehebe Crater” Photograph on Metallic Paper, 24″ x 24″

One piece was exhibited as part of Cambridge Art’s juried National Prize Show in May, 2019. Four of my canvas and metallic paper microscapes (each 48” x 48”) were on display for a year in Google’s lobby in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. I have also had three solo exhibitions at local venues.

Artist Steve Bennett invites you to follow him on Facebook.

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by Carolyn Edlund

Painter Elisa Sheehan received major media attention for her art, and turned those opportunities into sales.

Elisa Sheehan is a painter from New York State with a body of work that includes nature-inspired abstracts in oil, and a striking collection of elegantly painted eggshells. Her work has garnered a lot of attention from international media, resulting in sold-out inventory on her website, special commissions, and a highly successful in-person show. We recently spoke about her work, how she sought publicity and the way this exposure affects her business planning going forward.

How did you get started painting eggshells?

I started painting eggshells due to a happy accident, when I spotted some on our kitchen counter that were meant for the compost bin. Something about the dried shells just looked so papery to me, and I felt compelled to draw in them. I huddled around my space heater each morning before I painted and doodled with black ink in the shells. Soon I had a collection on my worktable and I loved how they looked all together. I immediately wanted to do more, and began sourcing and experimenting with frames. I also started expanding into painting them instead of just drawing with black ink.

One day I dropped and broke a shell I’d been working on. Immediately, the Japanese art of Kintsugi came to mind. Kintsugi is the process of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver. The philosophy aims to treat that break and repair as a part of the object’s history, not as something to cover up or disguise. I decided to apply that concept to my eggshells, and began to add gold metal leaf to them to represent those “cracks” visually. The concept of Kintsugi is something we can all learn from, and I keep it constantly in mind as I’m working.

What happened that made this art take off and get lots of publicity?

While I sold these framed eggshells for a few years, my biggest boost came in February of this year. I contacted the incredible Danielle Krysa of  The Jealous Curator through the submission process on her website, and got interest there. She posted about my eggshell work on her blog and social media outlets. Danielle has such a large reach that I gained new followers, customers, and additional press, such as Martha Stewart Online and My Modern Met.

What type of response did you get and from whom?

As I mentioned above, I got an immediate and great response from folks who follow The Jealous Curator and Martha Stewart, but also from so many people all over the world. One article led to another and news stations near and far wanted to learn more about what I do. An Australian outlet even put together a video about my work! I also spoke with some really wonderful local reporters I hadn’t previously known. For me, making those connections in my own community is really special.

Given your success, what is next for you?

I have so many ideas. These works originally started out as four eggshells framed. From there I experimented by going much larger, with some 24” and 30” framed pieces with the eggshells in a grid. I’ve also been playing with more organic compositions and paintings in the shells as well as new framing options like beautiful gold leaf frames and Lucite frames. I’ve worked on commissions for hospitals where the frame was 62” and contained nearly 200 eggshells. Working big appeals to me. There are many possibilities, so I really hope to do more projects like that one.

On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve created “minis” which are just a single framed eggshell painted with gold leaf. These have become really popular because of their price accessibility and because they are so giftable. They’re also fun to make!

Lastly, I’ve been experimenting with the idea of how to make these eggshells into an installation. I imagine them climbing a wall in a really large, impactful way. There are logistics and placement concerns since they are eggshells after all, but I love dreaming about that and taking small steps to test things out.

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Using digital photography, artist Jan Gierat creates compelling dreamlike images filled with mystery. View more of his intriguing portfolio by visiting his website.

“Daydream” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

My name is Jan Gierat and I am also known as Madink-art. I don’t like to talk about myself and I am hoping that my audience will know me better by my art than my history. I was born in Krakow, Poland, and moved to Paris, France, in the 1980s to avoid military service.

“Deep Forest Creature” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

I studied art history at the Ecole du Louvre, but withdrew from the school a year later. I then became a student of art in cinematography at the University of Paris 8. After graduation, I worked in the creative department of an advertising agency doing mainly television commercials. After the agency I worked for collapsed, I began working in political marketing.

“Babylon the Great” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

Although the money was good, it wasn’t a stable source of income. I moved again, this time to the United Kingdom in hope of finding a better life.

“Sleep” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

After a few years of really struggling and working night shifts in different factories, I decided to learn digital art.

“Animal Bond” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

I got my certificate from the Academy of Art in Keln, Germany, and started to produce digital photography. This art consists of finding and assembling different photographs together. I am not currently able to make a living from my art alone, so I am also working full-time helping disabled people and people with addictions find new purpose in life.

“Snakes of Fire” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

My art is an escape from reality, but I also create pictures based on the private photographs of my clients. I have recently even done book covers.

“Opium” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

Although digital art can be done very quickly, I take my time. I never rush. Composition, light and colours are crucial, and I spend a lot of time on working on fine details.

“The Beast” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

I am not an artist or craftsman of only one genre of art. The images I create are quite varied, reflecting different styles and looks.

“The Green Horse” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

I think that my art was born from the suffering we experience in life. Women, love, pain, beliefs, mysteries and dreams are my subjects.

“Belief” Digital Photography, Various Sizes

I am always looking to communicate mysticism, transgression and universality in my imagery. My art can be moody and sad or even Gothic and dark. I hope that at least some of those who see my work can identify with it and enjoy it.

Artist Jan Gierat invites you to follow him on Facebook and Deviant Art.

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Canadian artist Nadjejda Gilbert creates compelling and intimate portraits using paper collage and paint. Visit the artist’s website to see more of her portfolio.

“Origin” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 24” x 36” x 1.5”

As far back as I can remember, I always drew.

“On the Other Side” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 24” x 36” x 1.5”

A pencil in my hand, I drew in my school notebooks, in my reading books and those of my parents and even on the walls of the house. Everything presaged that my path would be traced in the arts world.

“A Giant Course” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 24” x 36” x 1.5”

I studied arts and literature in college before completing a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. My studies gave me the necessary tools to evolve as an artist and thus refine my techniques.

“At the Bottom of the Seas” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 40” x 30” x 1.5”

Throughout my career as a graphic designer—now well into its second decade—my passion for drawing and painting has never waned. You can take the lion out of the jungle, as they say, but you can’t take the jungle out of the lion.

“Introspection” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 18” x 24” x 1.5”

By dint of exploration and perseverance, the technique of paper collage with acrylic paint applied in transparency or opacity on canvas, is the avenue that appeared to me the most natural.

“Memory” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 30” x 40” x 1.5”

I paint and I glue alternately in an intuitive way until arriving at a result that suits me. The raw and textured effect that the superposition of paper and paint gives appeals to me. I call my style contemporary figurative.

“Silence is Golden” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 24” x 36” x 1.5”

I am naturally drawn to the human as subject and remain fascinated by our duality, by our constant questioning of who we are and where we’re going, and by our perpetual search for the meaning of our lives.

“Trust” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 30” x 40” x 1.5”

For some, it’s love. For others, freedom. I use words and phrases in my portraits like so many stories etched onto the skin. The story of that never‑ending search.

“Beyond Dreams” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 30” x 36” x 1.5”

I like to say that there are two levels of reading in my works. From a distance, we clearly see faces. But the closer we get, the more we can read texts on the skin. It’s like someone you get to know little by little.

“The Awakening” Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 24” x 36” x 1.5”

In my book, being an artist isn’t simply a matter of being recognized by one’s peers. It’s an identity, a truth that one discovers on one’s own.

Artist Nadjejda Gilbert invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Subscribe to our twice-monthly Updates, and get a free e-book on Where to Sell Art Online right now!

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Cindy Grisdela’s colorful, textural quilts are designed spontaneously, with pieces cut and stitched freehand. See more of her fiber art by visiting her website.

“Fireworks” Fiber, 63″ x 62″

I describe my work as Contemporary Art Quilts for the Wall. My designs evolved out of the quiltmaking tradition, but speak to a more modern aesthetic.

“Blue Maze” Fiber, 27″ x 32″

Working in an improvisational style, I cut lines and shapes directly out of fabric freehand, without a pattern or template.

“Jumping for Joy” Fiber, 12″ x 24″

Usually I have an idea of what the final piece might look like, but as each decision about color and shape influences the next, many times I end up with something very different than my original plan. That doesn’t bother me. In fact it’s one of the reasons I’m excited to go into the studio every day. There’s always something new to explore—a new combination of colors, a new shape, an interesting texture.

“Confetti” Fiber, 45″ x 45″

As a child, I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged my love of art. I was exposed to painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture. When I was growing up, my mother made clothing for herself, my sister and me. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from hours spent at the fabric store, touching the fabric and drinking in its color and pattern.

“Fractured Time” Fiber, 53” x 52”

I fell in love with quilting as a young adult after seeing an article in a women’s magazine. I didn’t know what I was doing, and assumed that making a queen-sized quilt would be no problem since I already knew how to sew. A lot of mistakes were made, but working with fabric and thread spoke to me like no other art form I had tried.

“Happy Days” Fiber, 27″ x 27″

I made mostly traditional quilts for many years, but my essential artistic nature eventually asserted itself and I grew bored with following other people’s patterns. It became important to me to create art that was uniquely my own. I began by experimenting first with tweaking my old favorite patterns like Log Cabin and Drunkard’s Path, before finally evolving into a more contemporary, improvisational style that makes my heart sing.

Stitching Detail

Color is very important to me. Choosing the color recipe is usually where I start with a design. Texture also fascinates me, and I stitch all my lines freehand on my sewing machine, without a computer or marking ahead of time.

“Neon Fizz” Fiber, 32″ x 32″

One reason I am drawn to creating with fabric and thread, rather than some other medium, is the opportunity to enhance the composition with the lines I stitch into each piece. Sometimes simple vertical or horizontal lines are best, and sometimes I get to really play with different motifs to give life to the negative space in my design.

“New Day” Fiber, 12″ x 24″

Recently I’ve been exploring large scale designs that focus on freehand curves. I like to use fabric like a painter might use paint to create bold, graphic designs that encourage the viewer to take more than one look.

“Partly Sunny” Fiber, 32″ x 32″

I’m a full-time artist, teacher and author of Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks and Freemotion Quilting. I travel all over the country showing my work at fine art and fine craft fairs, as well as teaching and lecturing to quilt guilds and groups.

Artist Cindy Griselda invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Painter Jonathan Keeton shares an incredible portfolio of landscapes and nocturnal scenes that capture moments in time. Enjoy more of his artwork by visiting his website.

“Cataract Creek 02″ Watercolor on Paper, 57″ x 37”

My work is a meditation on what I am seeing. On a strong impulse to honor the natural world, I need to make sure that everything is just so. I am drawn to landscapes and nocturnes, as I feel that at night our influence wanes and the natural beauty and mystery of things takes over again.

“Late Afternoon – Diablo Canyon” Oil on Canvas, 72″ x 48″

We are more divorced from the natural world than at any time in our species’ history, and if the feeling that I have of awe comes through at all in my work, then I’m pretty happy.

“Highway 100, Vermont” Watercolor on Paper, 30″ x 22″

I spent much of my adolescence taking and developing photographs, and picked it up again later when I realized that I wasn’t able to work en plein air for weeks at a time without the light changing. I am trying to paint a moment, and everything in the scene changes when the light changes. My paintings take a long time to create, and I want to capture a moment—as opposed to an average of what the scene looks like over several hours.

“Fall Aspens” Acrylic on Board, 24″ x 18″

I take photographs while out on extended rambles, and decide later which images should remain as photographs and which might perhaps work as paintings.

“Felton Empire Road” Watercolor on Paper, 41″ x 29″

I am attracted to landscapes that give me a certain feeling, and although I might not be able to describe or predict what I might find, there is a strong recognition when I see it in front of me.

“The Boarding House, Madrid” Watercolor on Paper, 54″ x 34″

There is almost a science fiction sense of newness in certain landscapes and night scenes for me, as if they are being seen with fresh eyes, or for the first time.

“Laguna Pacific Avenue” Acrylic on Panel, 18″ x 12″

In my paintings, what I am most intrigued by is the sense of being in the landscape, as opposed to viewing it from a distance.

“HIghway One at Waddell Creek” Acrylic on Panel, 77″ x 36″

I have always liked the delicacy and perhaps the demanding nature of watercolor, although I’ve recently begin working in oils and acrylic as well and appreciate the forgiving nature of those media. I have come to have fewer prejudices against particular mediums, and ultimately see painting images as the goal.

“Rio en Medio” Watercolor on Paper, 30″ x 22″

After working as a school teacher and an actor (and a waiter and picture framer), I stumbled into the beginning of computer graphics in California and ended up pursuing a career in visual effects for thirty years. It was nice to actually be paid to do something like art, and I felt a strong need to prove that I could succeed in the “real world.”

“Morning, Steep Ravine” Acrylic on Board, 18″ x 12″

I’m lucky to be able to return, many years later, to my first love, although I am keenly aware of where my art might be had I been working as a full-time artist all those years, and am mindfully anxious to make up for lost time now.

Artist Jonathan Keeton invites you to follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Artsy Shark is seeking visual artists to feature in upcoming portfolio articles. We are currently accepting submissions. Deadline is June 20, 2019.

Artist credit clockwise from top: Andie Freeman, Vivian Saich, Shawn Marie Hardy, Elaine Florimonte, Vasco Kirov, Jacki Cohen, Dalya Sayed

Interested in having your art seen and promoted in the form of a gorgeous online portfolio article? Artsy Shark specializes in showcasing the talents of artists from all over the world. The opportunity to become a featured artist happens only a few times each year, and this is your chance to apply! Deadline is June 20, 2019.

We need 48 artists to feature and promote during the coming months. 2D and 3D artists in all mediums are encouraged to apply, including: painting, drawing, sculpture, digital art, collage, photography, mixed media, clay, fiber, glass, wood, printmaking, metal and others.

As a featured artist, you tell your artist story, share your inspiration, and describe your technique in your own words. Select your best portfolio images for a compelling visual display that draws attention and interest in your work. A link to your own website in the feature drives online traffic and increases the opportunity for you to make sales, capture email addresses of interested visitors, and gain social media followers.

We promote every featured artist heavily through social media and email to our wide audience. Every article is permanent, and always shareable; see previously featured artists by visiting our Featured Artist Gallery. Since 2010, Artsy Shark has promoted more than 1,300 amazing artists and their portfolios to the world.

Artists apply in a competitive jury process, with a fee of $25. Not all artists will be selected. Our jury process includes reviewing each applicant’s website or other online presence. We notify all applicants within three weeks of the deadline with results.

In addition to publication and promotion, featured artists receive a customized “magazine style” version of their feature in PDF format to use as marketing collateral.  See a sample PDF here

Artsy Shark receives no fees or commissions whatsoever for any sales or contracts that result from being featured.

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Subscribe to our twice-monthly Updates, and get a free e-book on Where to Sell Art Online right now!

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Using various camera parts made of metal and glass, artist Sharon Deveaux creates intriguing jewelry, assemblage art and fun figures she refers to as “The Camera Crew.” See more by visiting her website.

“f.63 Pendant” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 2” x 2”

My discovery of the parts found in vintage film cameras was a total accident. One day, someone gave me a camera that had taken a plunge into the Atlantic Ocean and was ruined. I always wanted to take apart a camera—now I could without guilt. I discovered, that even in that cheap consumer camera, there were many interesting parts that captivated my imagination. This fueled a desire to take apart more cameras.

“Gears Pendant” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 1.25” x 1.75”

As a photographer trained with film, I am very familiar with film cameras. I zealously protected my personal cameras that I used for photographic work and would never do anything to damage or compromise them in any way—certainly not take them apart! I studied photography at a technical school, and I was also an art/photography major in college. I now do abstract art photography with digital cameras that I don’t take apart.

“Mirrored Assemblage” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 4” x 6.5”

I should have kept a record of ALL the film cameras whose parts I have used over the years for my art. Included were Autographics, Argus C3s, Polaroids, Kodak Hawkeyes, SLR Canons, Minoltas and Nikons as well as a few light meters and flash attachments—never anything rare. The parts are made of metal and glass, nothing electronic or plastic. I have accumulated hundreds of them, which requires a good organizing system.

“Spiral Assemblage” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 2” x 2”

One of the most intriguing things about these parts is that in their first life they were strictly functional, utilitarian, practical, working and hidden from view. Their only purpose was moving film through the camera and exposing it to light.

“Silver Earrings” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, .5” x 1.5”

But now they have a second life, with a totally different identity as abstract, artistic, interesting, compelling and fascinating objects, singularly or together. They can now be seen and appreciated for these attributes, having been transformed into something entirely different, unique and new.

“Wind Assemblage” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 2.25” x 2.25”

My decision to use only camera parts means that there are limitations and challenges when designing the pieces. It starts with a large part, then adding others to it and seeing what works or not. It can be a lengthy process. I never really know what the finished piece will look like until it looks right to me. Some are obviously photographic with ASA’s, f-stops and photo names. Others have no reference to cameras or photography at all.

“Curved Necklace” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 4” x .5”

They are all one-of-a-kind.

“Red Nose Camera Crew” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 2.25” x 6.25”

Currently, I make pendants/earrings, assemblage art and the soon to be famous “The Camera Crew” (though they think they’re already famous). The pendants and the assemblage art are my main work, and The Camera Crew is done for fun (don’t tell them I said that). I thoroughly enjoy making all three.

“22/16 Assemblage” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 2.75” x 2.75”

As far as future work, there are so many different types of cameras waiting to be taken apart and added to my newest collection. I hope to do more metal work, some different applications and make larger pieces.

“Exee Pendant” Mixed Media with Camera Parts, 1.25” x 1.25”

Click.

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The post Featured Artist Sharon Deveaux appeared first on Artsy Shark.

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Linda Dumont’s expressive paintings and pastels flow with color, joy and movement. View her website to learn more about this artist and her work.

“Crane Trio” Pastel, 40″ x 30″

I see color and shape in the world around me. My daily life is fed by the environment—light, atmosphere, a figure, a smile, a laugh or something as simple as an olive or a pear. These inspirations give energy and substance to my work. My work wants to be made and I am grateful it wants to be made through me.

“Fashion & Tea” Oil, 12″ x 16″

Painting has always been integral to who I am. My great uncle was Joseph Margulies. My great aunt was married to Marc Rothko. Discussions at our extended family gatherings seamlessly blended art into topics from politics to the anticipation of the birth of a new baby.

“February Bloom” Oil, 36″ x 24″

My youth was filled with movement and sport. Sitting still was tortuous; I wanted to run on the beach, dance in fields, skate across ponds. So, when I first went to Uncle Joseph’s New York City studio, overwhelmed by the beauty of his work, I tried to imitate his style.

“Dancing Angel” Oil, 46″ x 52″

Despite my best effort to see and paint as he did, it just wasn’t me. I need to move as I share the color and shape of what I see.

“San Sebastien Flavor” Oil, 36″ x 24″

While at SMFA at Tufts, I studied the classics and realism. The rigor of that study gave me the bones I needed to produce my work, but I knew there had to be something more. I wanted to grab an energy that was lacking in realism for me. I found this in the work of Helen Frankenthaler. Her art spoke to me in a way none had before.

“Figure Landscape” Oil, 96″ x 48″

To this day, my paintings have to have bones, a skeleton of sorts, before I can move to expression. My paintings and sculptures aren’t impulsive. I embrace something before I go into the fantasy of expression. That expression is like a silent conversation with the canvas, me grabbing color and the canvas responding. We have a one-on-one relationship until I’m done. If I overthink it, I destroy the looseness.

“Martinis and Olives” Oil, 22″ x 16″

I may start at one place and end up someplace else entirely, but the initial structure gives meaning to the conversation itself. And the process is full of joy and vigor. I paint with the canvas against a wall rather than on an easel because the strength and energy of the process needs bracing to sustain it.

“Pelican’s Cocktail Hour” Oil, 12″ x 16″

I stretch my own canvases. This process of sponging and gluing the canvas means I become part of the materials themselves and don’t want to waste them. It also creates a drum-like quality to the canvas such that the paint can be felt and seen better than any other method I’ve found.

“Figure Landscape Emotes” Oil on Wood, 30″ x 16″

I also like to work on sculptured maple which I prime to get the slick, hard feeling of ice. The sculptured wood allows me to move painting into a third dimension.

“Santa Monica Pier” Oil, 96″ x 42″

My vision keeps expanding. Sometimes there is more form; sometimes there is less. But always my vision runs contrary to life dictated by endless rules, conformity and allowing information to overtake imagination. I hope that my art will open those who view it to the mystery, joy, fantasy and love that is here. In the process, may we all find the beauty of letting go of outcome.

Artist Linda Dumont invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Subscribe to our twice-monthly Updates, and get a free e-book on Where to Sell Art Online right now!

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The post Featured Artist Linda Dumont appeared first on Artsy Shark.

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Artist Shawn Marie Hardy creates surrealistic collages that evoke dreams, fantasy and alternate realities. Visit her website to learn more about her work.

“Like Two Ships Passing in the Night” Analog Collage, 10″ x 11″

From the moment I could finger paint, art was my calling. An unconventional, challenging childhood led me to art as a way to escape an often unhappy reality. Maybe that’s why surrealism fascinated me so much.

“Just Like When We Were Kids” Analog Collage, 12″ x 14″

Between film, television and music, as a child of the 1960s and 70s, there was a lot of fodder for creativity. As a kid, The Wizard of Oz impressed me with the juxtaposition of a vivid technicolor Oz and the drab shades of gray that depicted Kansas. It made me strive to create art with crayons that was as colorful and vibrant as possible. My first set of Guitar oil pastels took creativity to a new level, with colors far more saturated than their waxy counterparts.

“Plight of the Drop Dead Gorgeous” Analog Collage, 11″ x 14″

Tertiary education wasn’t encouraged in our blue collar household. After high school, my creative endeavors were on hold while I job-hopped and took business management classes. That finally changed when I enrolled in art school in 1993 at age thirty-two, and discovered what had been missing.

“The Lobbyist” Analog Collage, 12″ x 9″

Nourishing the soul was a great self discovery. It helped me to shed a lot of the damage that happened when I was young. Nurturing the artist within invited healing, self-confidence and peace.

“A Slice of Winter Blue” Analog Collage, 14″ x 19″

Since those early days, I have experimented with painting and creating three-dimensional assemblages. Lately, though, collage is the focus. Images are hand cut from vintage books and magazines and reassembled like puzzles.

“A Change of Scenery” Analog Collage, 12″ x 14″

While images that don’t rightfully belong together are often aligned in the same realm, they are made to look natural by focusing on the interplay of light and shadow. Mystery and fantasy unite and worlds where possibilities are endless present themselves. Each collage is a story waiting to be told. The interpretation is up to the viewer.

“The Girl Most Likely to Succeed” Analog Collage, 12″ x 14″

My influences haven’t changed much since I was little. My attraction to surrealism, from music with a theatrical edge to visual and film arts, has been constant. So has nature—thunderstorms, flowers, stars, insects. I’m enticed by all of them. Throw in some music for added measure, or a film with vivid imagery.

“Singing the Body Electric” Analog Collage, 12″ x 14″

The band Genesis comes to mind, with Peter Gabriel in full costume belting out fantastic story-songs about Pythagoras, carpet crawlers and Old King Cole. Or television shows like The Prisoner and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Films with sets that inspire me include Brazil, various non-animated versions of Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Pan’s Labyrinth.

“Gardening at Night” Analog Collage, 11″ x 14″

Best of all, my shelves are laden with art books on surrealism. I’m especially drawn to women in the movement, like Dorothea Tanning, Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini.

“Twilight Time” Analog Collage, 11″ x 12″

I have a wealth of material to keep the left side of my brain sharp. I’d better get busy!

Artist Shawn Marie Hardy invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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