"Fran studied fine art drawing at Camberwell College of Art, where she graduated in 2010. Her ornithology-inspired works are a unique and contemporary twist on the intricate natural history illustrations that she has long been captivated by. Working with watercolour, ink, gouache and graphite pencil directly onto her personal Moleskine diaries, Fran depicts birds from across the world, instilling them with poise and character. What I really love about Fran’s works is that they demonstrate her genuine passion and dedication to her subject matter. She has amassed an incredible body of work as she continually researches new species of birds. Fran has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, and has been shortlisted for many leading art prizes including the Threadneedle Art Prize, BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year and the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year. Fran brilliantly balances vivid colour with exquisite detailing within her drawings. These are works to be enjoyed up close, but also give real impact in any space, especially if you hang several works together or if you opt for one of her larger pieces with several species."
"Vahe Yeremyan is an accomplished painter who has developed a unique technique. Building up layers of colour that feel both free and geometric at the same time, he paints landscape scenes with colour palettes that are unique and effortlessly cool."
"There’s something about Scottish-born Rory Mitchell’s paintings that I find utterly compelling. Although he could be loosely termed a figurative painter, his softly painted figures are expressionist creations which verge towards caricature and grotesquerie and, more often than not, look plaintively, even perhaps expressionlessly out of the picture plane. Behind each figure, vast, open landscapes with Rousseau-esque flora, and skies full of deliciously ripe, billowing clouds; or odd, claustrophobic, densely decorated interiors, merely add to the surreal intensity of each painting. Add to this the most beautifully considered emotive range of colours and each painting ripples with its own unique narrative. Of course these pictures won’t be for everyone, but I’m a great fan of Mitchell’s fellow Scottish painters, Peter Howson and John Byrne, as well as the German Expressionist artists George Grosz, Otto Dix and Max Beckmann. Rory Mitchell, it seems to me, is an artist who works in a similar, disquieting vein and is an obvious heir to these hugely talented artistic giants."
"We were attracted to the graphic shapes and the colours in Noah’s work. He uses mixed media, clay, glaze, acrylic and wood, reminding us of a 3D Patrick Cauldfield painting. However, on closer reading, we were struck by how personal his works are to his own narrative and emotions. All of Noah's work stems from loneliness in the modern age, social media and the desire to belong. The images he uses in his work are recognisable but used in a new context, like a collage, mixing colour and line, re-telling a new personal narrative that raises questions from us, the viewer."
"Dasha's photography is immediately striking, not only for its use of subjects, but also for the bold and emphatic use of colours. Blending the line between fashion and fine art photography, she carefully invites us to participate in a conversation about the delicacy of human nature and the importance of a meaningful emotional connection to oneself. There are strong elements of mystery and fantasy in Dasha's work that evoke the talented and provocative French photographer Guy Bourdin, whose dramatic use of bold colours and delightful injections of surrealism have made his images instantly recognisable. Dasha’s use of clean, minimalist spaces allows the focus to be drawn to the human element within, whose emotional struggles are quietly hovering below the surface for all to interpret as they understand. But within the drama and surrealism of these unusual photographs, there's also a fragility. The soft, porcelain skin tones contrast with unrelenting concrete floors and sharp paper edges. This fragility is enhanced by the dreamlike compositions she creates, and the emotions she puts forth for us to acknowledge. In her Life of Folds series, origami represents the confusing influx of emotions that we might deal with, even battle against. From harsh, black planes they emerge light and free as small white birds, illustrating the power of the mind to overcome emotional struggle and the possibility that lies beyond despair. There is nothing off-limits in Dasha's exploration of human nature; she examines relationships, self-discovery and redefining oneself all within these highly organised compositions that gently invite us to go deeper in order to understand truth of our own humanity. But, amidst all the invocations to acknowledge our emotions, however distressing they may be, there is also a peace and serenity to Dasha's work which reassures us that we have the power within ourselves to create. As she says, "our own reality". Dasha's work speaks quietly on an emotional level but that's not to say that it can't be heard."
"Salty De Soufflé… What is there not to like? Original, playful, intelligent, deranged and with the best name ever. The perfect post-Christmas, January pick-me-up. Enjoy."
"Yorkshire-based Kelsey Emblow has a keen naturalist’s eye and a particular skill in bird portraiture, either tightly stippled in ink or more loosely rendered in watercolour. She accepts commissions as well, which would doubtless offer excellent value."
"Embrace the Afro-Carribean music and feel the rhythm with Alicia Pearl-Cato's vibrant and nostalgic pieces. Inspired by music and contemporary media, the work seems to respond to contemporary black culture, its origins, its roots and its celebration. Vibrant patterns, inspired by textiles, are a backdrop to touching portraits."
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Cover image via Salty De Soufflé