"There is a wonderful, timeless quality to the photographic images by British photographer Richard Heeps. Despite being originally from East Anglia, he clearly has an abiding connection to the USA, both in terms of its visual iconography and its culture, imagery and identity.
Like many Brits growing up during the 1970s and 80s, American culture had a huge and dominating effect on shaping the identity of teenagers on this side of the pond. From music and movies to television, comics and books, the big, bold, often sometimes brash and always colourful world of the US of A got under the skin and into the DNA of its slightly more anaemic cultural cousins here in the UK.
Heeps draws on that rich cultural language with images taken from the classic subjects of Americana – big cars, wide-open plains, Vegas casinos, roadside motels and neon signs – to create highly contemporary images, but ones combined with a strong nostalgic sensibility. His composition, framing, use of saturated colour and often square format imagery all speak of classic Kodachrome film stock of the 1970s or the snapshot immediacy of the Polaroid.
Images such as ‘Leaving, Las Vegas’ of a large, vaguely familiar, neon-lit, roadside sign on the way out of town have a marvellous, elegiac quality and could have been shot anytime from the late 1940s to the present day. There are nods to the American greats of photography – Eggleston, Shore and Meyerowitz – exponents of colour as an expressive tool who liberated modern photography from the slightly strait-jacketed expectation of black & white only photography.
It’s not only the US that captures Heeps’ discerning eye. There are great images too from closer to home, computer dials in Bletchley Park, old 45 records in Stockton-on-Tees and the bright neon lights of Walthamstow’s famous dog track. Heeps’ travels take in Hong Kong, Beijing and Ho-Chi Min City, as well as a wonderful series shot in Milan. The colour palette is slightly more subdued, but the same warmth and eye for detail are turned onto trams, bookshops and kiosks all slightly out of step with the modern city they inhabit, but brought to our attention and brought to vivid life by Heeps’ enchanting images."
"My pick this month is the brilliant Kate Heiss and her exquisite, nature-inspired handmade prints. Developed in the style of textile designs, Kate’s compositions are brimming with botanicals, birds and butterflies and other insects, set against a backdrop of idyllic rolling English and Spanish landscapes. Combine this with geometric patterns and bold colours and you have Kate’s distinctive style, a true feast for the eyes. Kate works in a variety of printmaking techniques including Linocut, monoprint, Chine Collé, Collagraph and Screenprint, highlighting her dexterity and passion for the medium. Kate’s CV is just as impressive, having received an MA in Textile Design at the Royal College of Art and achieved a distinction from the Curwen Print Study Centre. Already a favourite with Artfinder collectors, Kate’s prints will make the perfect gift for all ages."
"As the Artfinder curators have been given December off for good behaviour, we’ve been asked to pick an artist whose work could count as giftable for the Christmas market. This, in itself, is a heady problem as what one would like and what one is given are two, very different, things. Be that as it may, this time last year I wrote about award-winning ceramicist Elya Yalonetski’s delightful ceramic figures, and this year I’m going to choose another ceramicist, Estonian-born Aare Freimann, who has created an entire world of quirky animal characters, real and imaginary.
Somewhere between outsider and folk art with a splash of naïveté and a big wallop of creative madness, Freimann’s beautifully-crafted figures remind me of the Martin Brothers, a group of highly-skilled art potters producing whimsical figurines of ‘Wally’ birds and other imagined creatures at the end of the 19th century. Like the Martin Brothers, Freimann caricatures his subjects, distorting their features and, in his earlier sculptures, using a similar subdued palette of brown, green, grey and blue glazes, which he has recently spruced up with a host of brighter, jazzier colours.
Here in his collection you’ll find oddly-named pigs, dogs, cats, elks, rabbits, hares, foxes, frogs, birds, rats, elephants, giraffes and strange hybrids each with their own character and sense of mischief. I particularly like his squat legged dachshunds and cherry-red foxes, while startled-eyed Maniwald the Moose and Ulf the Wolf are particularly well-rounded friends who would certainly find a happy home here this Christmas should any friends or relatives be reading this post (hint hint!).
Judging by Freimann’s enviable sales on Artfinder he’s obviously doing the right thing as his figurines have found a ready and willing market and tend be bagged almost immediately after they’ve been advertised. As they’re also incredibly affordable I’d put in my Christmas order early as there’s bound to be a rush for these crazy critters! Certainly worth a look… Keep well, keep safe and Happy Christmas!"
"This artist shows a variety of styles, from contemporary abstracts to city and seascapes. Her work captures the feeling of the moment using the different subject and time of day to convey mood and beauty. Look through her collection from smaller watercolours to larger acrylic paintings!"
"I love the moody landscapes produced by Dublin based printmaker, Aidan Flanagan. The subdued colours, grainy surfaces and beautiful views make for a compelling and evocative series of monoprints, offered at very reasonable prices."
"Dario from Jealous here with this November’s autumnal tonic from Artfinder.
And so without further ado please welcome the artist Jan Rippingham. The lovely thing Artfinder is that there are many ways to happily wander round and find the art that you love. (Stay with me…I know I sound as if I’m going off at a tangent as usual, but it’s relevant). You can search by medium, price range, subject matter and style, to name but a few. So this month I decided to look at the styles and decided to click on 'Naïve.'
And that is where my little ones I found Ms Rippingham. (great name by the way). These are beautiful, celebratory and in their own particular way explorative works. There is love in these flower paintings. There is knowledge of the artists that have gone before and perhaps they explore a desire through making the work to bring her closer to them. Painters that Rippingham has looked at, admired, thought about, contemplated and that dare I say artists that have moved her. And yet these are paintings that Rippingham has made her own and have been shaped to meet her own concerns, obsessions and loves.
Obviously that could be a bit of a reach but I don’t think I’m too far off. Matisse, Patrick Caulfield, Tom Wesselmann, Willian Scott, Raoul Dufy and let’s throw in the whole St.Ives gang whilst we’re at it. All are all there for us to see. But may I add that this initial familiarity is merely the platform which opens up to show us Rippingham herself, and shows us how timeless great art is. So many artists have explored themselves through referencing other artists. Be it Pettibon or Banksy engaging with Warhol, or Picasso recreating Les Meninas. All our choices however presented are in fact self-portraits.
These are deceivingly simple works which are honest and true and talk about painting itself. This is the kind of company you want to be with for the winter ahead."
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Cover image via Richard Heeps