I’m loving these illustrations by Brendan Wenzel!
Creatures and beasties from another world is how you might describe Kristin Parsons‘ whimsical creations. Whether the creatures are fish-like, frog-like or totally unlike anything you’ve seen, kids seem to love these illustrations. Kristin worked as an inker at an animated cartoon studio in Barcelona in the mid 60’s and has continued to create work inspired by the little ones in her life over the last 60 years.
Over the years she’s had gallery shows, both group and solo, in the United States and Europe and has illustrated a couple of books. You could certainly imagine a picture book full of these critters. Each creature starts as hand drawings and then are scanned in and digitally manipulated to achieve the colorful finished product.
My favorite item from my Etsy shop is “Flower Inspection,” because it reminds me of my grandson, who’s four and always busy figuring out how things are put together.
An artist at heart, Kristin has been creating since she was 2 years old. While she has been selling her work offline for some time now, she’s just recently started selling online after discovering it as a way to share her work with potentially thousands of people every day.
A recent Florida transplant, she is currently only selling online. Kristin comes from a long line of artists – both her grandfathers and an aunt were artists, and, like them, she started drawing from a very early age. Growing up, she lived in three countries in Europe and stayed for art school.
She has one daughter with her husband, and a grandson who is a constant source of inspiration (and I gather from her conversation with me, pride). Her shop is truly Freshly Made, she’s only been listing for a few days and is working on adding more creative creatures. If you know of a kiddo who would love these funny fellows, make sure to check out her shop.
I first came upon Mike O’Brien’s work at the Fenton Street Market, where a poster of his caught my eye. It was all black and white and a bold sunset orange. As is typical for me, I was drawn to the colors long before I even noticed what the images were or what the text said.
Turns out it was a poster for a concert, and although I was unfamiliar with the band, the first thought that popped into my head (after “wow, what a gorgeous orange”) was: I haven’t been to the Black Cat in a really long time.
Not only was it obvious that Mike had a great eye for color, it was also clear he’s really into music. A lot of Mike’s artwork is for concerts, bands, and musicians, and his love for music is evident in the energy of his illustrations. He loves the DC music scene and is inspired by punk rock and its DIY mentality, and it really shows, to spectacular effect.
Mike is a graphic designer with a passion for screen printing. Although he studied journalism in college, he was secretly much more interested in drawing comics for the school paper than writing articles.
After figuring out his true calling was in illustration rather than in writing, Mike found himself intrigued by the process of screen printing. His natural DIY spirit led him to experiment on his own, with zero background knowledge on screen printing, which (as anyone with a DIY spirit is familiar with) led to mixed results.
Mike eventually began collaborating with a friend Kevin Gomes, a much more experienced screen printer, who was happy to show Mike the ropes and the finer points of the process. Mike fell completely in love with screen printing, so much so that he built his own equipment! And the rest, as they say, is history.
Technically, screen printing is still Mike’s hobby and graphic design his job, but the two are so closely related for him that the lines blur quite a bit. “Graphic design is the organizational aspect of illustration – ie figuring out where to put what,” he explains. “Illustration is the raw creative aspect of graphic design – developing the imagery that then gets organized.”
Whenever he is able, Mike is creating images and using his home screen printing studio to replicate them by hand, in what he calls “an exercise in patience and tactile precision.” Although both his illustrations and his graphic design work start out as sketches in a notepad, his illustration work keeps him “grounded in the analog world.”
Visit Mike’s website to purchase his artwork, and to find out where to find him at DC area art events.
Rania Hassan is a well known Washington DC artist who has mastered three art forms at once. She is a graphic designer and illustrator, a painter, and a knitter, and she has found a way to integrate all three of her skills into her artwork, under the label goshdarnknit.
Her whimsical illustrations of big-eyed, somber girls and tangled, beautiful botanicals are individually hand printed on Moleskin notebooks in various sizes. She also prints her images on neoprene lunch bags, also individually and by hand.
Her other skills come into play with what she calls her “knit paintings.” Unique collaborations between flat and three-dimensional mediums, her paintings depict two pairs of hands in the act of knitting. The two sets of hands share the knitted fabric, working on the same piece from both ends.
Like many new knitters, when Rania first learned to knit she became obsessed. Obsessed with yarn, with the process, with the seemingly endless patterns and designs to be made from just one stitch and just one length of yarn.
Unlike most new knitters, she translated that obsession into artwork that transcends the fiber and the process. She was intrigued by the community of knitters, and how the act of knitting connected individuals across physical and generational boundaries. Her knit paintings evoke those connections in a pretty, visual, and tactile way.
Originally from New York City, Rania has studied and traveled all over the world, and is now settled in Washington, DC. She has served as an art director for extremely esteemed institutions, including the Shakespeare Theatre, the United Nations, and the White House.
She’s also been awarded the prestigious Craft Award of Distinction for Fiber from the James Renwick Alliance, and an Artist Fellowship Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Not only has she mastered her mediums, people have noticed!
You can find Rania’s illustrated Moleskine notebooks and her paintings in her online shop, and at many DC-area fine art and craft shows. Visit her web site for news regarding exhibitions and installations of her paintings.