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With his work appearing everywhere from the walls of Silicon Valley headquarters to the sides of his signature series Vans footwear, Zio Ziegler sees the entire world as his canvas. Although widely known for his large-scale murals, Ziegler continues to share his art across any available surface at an arduous pace.

Photography: Courtesy of Zio Ziegler




MEXICO LEONID AFREMOV Afremov creates stunning masterpieces using only a knife and oils. Quite possibly some of the most beautiful and vibrant paintings ever seen.



KIEL JOHNSON Page 28 Artist and craftsman Kiel Johnson’s hand-built wooden printing press is complete with a 100-foot drawing woven through the rollers that is “essentially… everything I own” – depicting his clothes, his car, even his art tools.

Photography: Courtesy of Kiel Johnson




MEXICO JASON DECAIRES TAYLOR Jason deCaires Taylor aims to save sealife one sculpture at a time. His underwater masterpieces are crafted from marine-safe concrete and designed to promote coral growth. This “Museo Subacuàtico de Arte” sculpture garden sits beneath the undulating waves off the coast of Cancun, Mexico and has been named by Forbes as one of the most unique travel destinations in the world. It is made up of over 450 sculptures “based on numerous castings of the Riviera Maya community.”

Photography: Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor

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CREATIVITY MAT TERS global community






“When I cut paper, I feel as if I am peeling back the outer, superficial layer of our vision to reveal the secret space beneath.” – Maude White 14 14

Photography: Courtesy of Maude White


new york

“Paper is everywhere and it has been telling stories for centuries.” – Maude White



Photography: Carol Roullard

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CALIFORNIA CAROL ROULLARD Those aren’t brush strokes; that sea of blue is actually a blend of polarized light and microcrystals. Fulfilling a synergetic passion for art and science, innovator Carol Roullard photographs breathtaking masterpieces under the lens of a microscope. This piece, from her “Elements in Wine” collection, showcases the hidden beauty of crystallized potassium sorbate, a preservative used in wine to prevent spoilage. Mesmerized by the majestic patterns found in nature, Roullard captures ethereal images that often draw visual comparisons to scenes of flowers, landscapes, and even wildlife.


San Francisco

Photography: Vans / Amanda Rae Stephens


ZIO ZIEGLER Between the Lines Words: Justin Saint Jean

Rarely seen without headphones while working, artist and entrepreneur Zio Ziegler’s hardcore audiobook habit fuels his charmingly frenetic conversational style. Segueing seamlessly from insights on David Foster Wallace’s didacticism to how faithfully the prose of “Gravity’s Rainbow” mirrors Thomas Pynchon’s psyche, Ziegler showcases a literary pedigree earned largely via audiobook throughout the course of creating thousands of sketches and paintings. His portfolio is filled not only with passion projects but also with commissioned artwork for heavyweights like Google, Facebook, and Vans. Amid commercial success, he attempts to pin down his evolving definition of the role of the artist, invoking the classic archetypes of Melville’s “Moby Dick.” “There’s Queequeg, who is this sort of savage. There’s Ahab, who is a mad, driven captain seeking revenge, and there’s Ishmael, someone who’s lost and searching for meaning. I want to describe sort of the role of the painter to someone – the role of the creative – as a composite of all three. You have to be scorned from society and lost, you have to be driven to madness by something which you can never touch – you constantly chase – and you have to bring out the primitive, most savage aspects of yourself in order to know what to do with that,” explains Ziegler, who knows a bit about being each of the three. The Savage Ziegler remembers some of his earliest forays into art as purely utilitarian pursuits. “In fifth grade I was drawing girls’ names in graffiti letters because I liked them, and art became this sort of bridge between my awkward demeanor and talking to girls that I liked.” In addition to being a social catalyst, art also enabled Ziegler to pursue his hobby of BMXing because selling his pieces allowed him to purchase bike parts. Quickly realizing art provided him a means to many ends, Ziegler took advantage of any opportunity that presented itself. When early efforts to pursue his

dreams found him living with his college roommate in his parents’ basement with little more than a handful of startup business ideas and $27 between the two of them, an unexpected e-mail led to the sale of a huge 18-by-30 foot canvas. From there followed an invitation to Puerto Rico, where Ziegler’s work hung in a local contemporary art gallery, and he painted at a festival alongside his street art idols. Before leaving Puerto Rico, the organizers of the Life is Beautiful Festival in downtown Las Vegas contacted Ziegler, leading to his being flown out to paint a mural for the event. “I had six days to paint this gigantic wall,” he remembers. “I had never painted something that size before... I worked 20 hours a day for six days and totally exhausted myself, but the whole mindset around this point was, even if no one looks at my work, I’m gonna give every spare dollar I have to buy canvas materials. I don’t care if I have to live at home or, you know, be with my parents or whatever – this is something that has to be done.” The Captain Coupled with his undeniable artistic skill, Ziegler’s tenacity renders his meteoric rise to success somewhat of a foregone inevitability. However, there were certain periods when his dogged insistence on doing things his own way straddled the fine line between asset and liability. As an undergraduate, Ziegler admits to sneaking into his university’s printmaking department in order to borrow silkscreens used to print his own shirts. Unsatisfied with the typical “$20 boring bookstore T-shirt,” he focused on creating one-of-a-kind designs more in tune with the campus zeitgeist and selling them at a lower price point. Starting with their own school, Ziegler and his friends found a market hungry for their unique yet affordable designs and quickly expanded their operation to other local colleges. Riding high on his success, Ziegler enrolled in an entrepreneurship class and on the first day pitched his project: a pop-up store and gallery space based


Photography: Courtesy of Zio Ziegler


“I never wanted to be an artist. I just didn’t, because it was too vulnerable.” – Zio Ziegler 23 23

Photography: Vans / Amanda Rae Stephens

on his already-profitable business model. The professor, he recalls, was less than receptive: “The teacher said, ‘This is not acceptable.’ I said, ‘Why? I’m actually putting all of my savings [into it] – a lot of it generated from selling these shirts around campus. Like, I have this business plan. I wrote the whole thing out.’ She said, ’This is a hypothetical business class – this isn’t an actual business class,’ and I said, ‘What, I can’t actually start a business?’” Ziegler did open his hypothetical business, but he received a C- for his efforts. He considers his subsequent removal from the dean’s list a casualty of one of his earliest clashes against institutional pressure. Rather than admit defeat, however, Ziegler took the lesson to heart. “It was a matter of principle, right? I opened the store, got the report card, signed the report card, and put it on the wall. I sort of used that as the ethos behind the driving force of this institution... the catalyst for sort of inspiring the next generation to do something cooler with their creative


talents.” No matter how success in art happens to find Ziegler, he sees it as a smaller facet of a personality defined by pursuit and conquest. “A couple years ago, I wanted to be a professional cyclist and all I did was train. For eight months I rode bikes, and then a week after, all I wanted to do was build startups… the fact is I’m just gonna follow that [instinct] always, and I’m not gonna compromise.” The Philosopher “You know, I never wanted to be an artist. I just didn’t, because it was too vulnerable.” Ziegler’s reluctance to rely on the subjective nature of aesthetic appreciation left him wary of critical response – a mentality not exactly conducive to pursuing art as a profession. “My self-worth and my art are the same. My painting is bad, my life is over; that’s how it feels. And the stakes are that high, and that builds terrible relationships with people because it’s so polarizing.” In order to remain grounded, Ziegler

often looks beyond the company of his contemporaries for a measure of perspective. “I have some friends that just really don’t take art seriously at all, and it’s actually wonderful because I’m able to go mountain biking with them, and they’re like, ‘So what’d you do today, make a couple little paintings?’ ‘I guess. Whatever, right?’ It’s wonderful because it keeps you in check… [Like] when I go somewhere where I know nothing at all.” When sandwiched between references to Umberto Eco’s “Bandolino” and Maugham’s “On Human Bondage,” his claims of knowing “nothing at all” read as somewhat of a stretch. Nevertheless, Ziegler feels that his driving philosophy boils down to a familiar narrative he shares with the literary greats. “I think it’s a broken, authentic man in the American landscape, you know? This idea of what is authenticity – this true creativity – this true honesty and hope.”


Photography: Courtesy of Zio Ziegler



GERMANY CHRIS BENNETT “I wanted to create an image of Romulus and Remus that incorporated many of the elements from the story,� digital illustrator Chris Bennett recalls. Integrating modern twists on familiar details, the illustrator alludes to a dichotic balance in the relationship of individuality versus competition. Inspired by the harmony of yin and yang, Bennett breathes new life into an old legend. 26

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KIEL JOHNSON The Johnny Appleseed of

“I feel that no good idea really comes without working on a bad idea.” – Kiel Johnson Words: Rosalind Fournier & Paige Zeigler Photography: Courtesy of Kiel Johnson

Don’t even try to put artist Kiel Johnson into a cardboard box. He just won’t fit. Originally from Kansas City, Johnson today sounds more like a California surfer, without a trace of the stereotypical Midwestern practicality. Moving from one unlikely idea to another, he has managed to shed the inhibitions that hold so many people back. “I feel that no good idea really comes without working on a bad idea,” he explains. “Don’t censor yourself too much. There was a time when I thought, ‘That’s not good enough,’ or ‘I don’t think I should spend time on that,’ or ‘No, that’s stupid.’ But then I just started thinking, ‘That’s great. Let’s do it. That will lead to something else, which will lead to something else...’” Conversations with Johnson move at flight-of-idea speed; like in his work, one topic always leads to something else, as he meanders effortlessly through discussions about his prolific catalog of art. A craftsman seemingly adept with any material across every medium, Johnson is hard to define and can’t be painted into one corner. “If I just had a gun put to my head and [they] said, ‘What do you do?’ I would always just say that I draw, because I feel like my medium is probably the pencil,” Johnson revealed in an interview during his showing at the Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City, California. “In order to build the things that I draw, I have become very interested in materials that are paper-related – from wood, to the thinnest of papers, chipboard, and cardboard… largely because I’m able to do things with them that enable my sculptures to look like my drawings.” His art ranges from making the seemingly mundane something beautiful – a drawing of all of his friends’ favorite chairs; portraits of the lives of bees; sketches of every yoga pose he could find – to constructing 3-D


miniature cityscapes, such as the one of Wichita, Kansas he was recently commissioned to build, replete with some 200 buildings, a river, highways, tiny cars, and more. He’s also taken the mini city concept into high-profile, group-source settings such as TEDActive 2012, where attendees were invited to participate in his “Everyone’s An Architect” installation and contribute models of any cityscape feature to build a crowdsourced metropolis. At Adobe MAX 2013, an event created to connect the most creative minds in the world, Johnson installed a crowdsourced project of a different kind. “At Adobe there are all kinds of type designers and typographers,” he explains, “so I knew the attendees would be very much in tune with fonts and lettering and what makes a beautiful R or a beautiful S, or how to make an S look angry, or sad, or whatever. So I had this workshop where I taught everybody how to make a 3-D version of letters.” Later they took the letters and wrote out captivating quotes from the likes of Maya Angelou, Picasso, and Gandhi. Johnson designs his workshops to inspire creativity. He builds “salad bars” stocked with craft materials to make it as easy as possible for participants to join in the fun. “If you sit people down in front of cardboard, markers, a hot glue gun, a couple of sharp blades, most people love that. They’ll make something, you know? People will just make stuff. We’re just makers.” He continues, “I really enjoy workshops where I can just show up for three days and be a high-energy super teacher… and then just disappear.” When he disappears, he’s most likely to be found working solo in his Los Angeles studio listening to music, watching Netflix, and “making drawings, making weird stuff out of materials that I can find.” He completed a 100-foot drawing, woven through the rollers of a hand-built wooden printing press,

Los Angeles


that is “essentially… everything I own,” depicting his clothes, his car, even his art tools. In a speech at TEDxChristchurch, Johnson explained how he considers that drawing the perfect expression for the age of social media in which “all of us are just pushing all of our personal information out into the world constantly... oversharing and oversharing.” Piece by piece, the art world has taken notice: Johnson’s work has been featured in gallery showings from coast to coast, including at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, and the Irvine Art Center in Irvine, California, among other venues. His creations are also held by such prestigious private


collectors as Creative Artists Agency and the Steve Martin Collection. Meanwhile, Johnson also takes on occasional commercial endeavors, having created a costume used in a Toshiba advertisement, props for the History Channel, and “all kinds of weird stuff for Budweiser.” “You know, stuff like that where you get paid for something weird for a commercial, that’s creative life, too,” he says. “A lot of times it’s not seen as creative or as ‘free’ because you’re working for the man or something, but I pretty much only take projects where they search me out.” In between, Johnson continues to cultivate his life as a traveling artist - so

much so that he purchased his own 1975 Airstream Travel Trailer. “It’s the same age as me… we’re both 40,” he notes. Over the past few years, he’s completely disassembled it and is now rebuilding it into a customized mobile mission lab. “The idea is... I’ll be able to take a little bit of my studio with me and stay on the road longer,” he explains. He has an audacious five-year goal of traveling every spring and summer until he’s worked with communities in each of the 50 states. “It’s just another thing I’m going to embark on: making art with other people, seeing other neighborhoods, or cities, or states. Kind of treating it like Johnny Appleseed of big cities and turning people on to making stuff.”

“Get busy. Don’t censor yourself too much.” – Kiel Johnson



FRANCE ROGAN BROWN With a surgeon’s precision, artist Rogan Brown meticulously crafted his sculpture “Cut Microbe” over the course of four months by handcutting layered watercolor paper with a scalpel. Spanning nearly four feet, the piece is roughly half a billion times the size of an actual bacterium, putting into perspective not only the unbelievably complex nature of the microorganisms that comprise the world around us, but also the artistry needed to express it.


Photography: Courtesy of Rogan Brown


ASYA KUCHEREVSKAYA Painting the Color of the Mind Words: Molly Corso & Paige Zeigler Photography: Courtesy of Asya Kucherevskaya

Ukrainian artist Asya Kucherevskaya loves to lose herself in art stores. “I can spend an infinite amount of time just admiring the variety of colors and brushes.” Her love of color should not come as a surprise for fans of her work. One of her more famous pieces, “Colored Mind,” uses strong brushstrokes of vivid hues to illustrate the “many explosive, colorful things ready to break out.” The genesis of “Colored Mind” occurred on an adventurous trip to Europe when she recalls being “full of so many impressions that I had no strength to keep them to myself.” P e rh a p s the spirit of Kucherevskaya’s work is driven by the emotions she wants to “dress in color.” She notes being “inspired by people, their experiences – human inner turmoil

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and, most importantly, my own. I can feel anger, happiness, joy, excitement; all this is something that spirits me up.” The unrest in Ukraine has also been a muse. Reflecting on her vision of “the aggravation of the situation in Kiev last winter,” Kucherevskaya created her piece “Ukraine, Stand Up!” to tell the story of what was happening around her. “Burning tires in the city center, sooty [skin], inverted flag of Ukraine on the face, and the inner strength of our people.” With the continuing conflict in Ukraine, Kucherevskaya has been grateful to have her mother living near her in Kiev for several months. “There is war now on our homeland and to put it mildly, to live in such conditions is inadmissible and totally impossible for human beings. If not [for my mother], I

do not know how I would have coped. And I am very glad that she and my sister are now near, and not under fire shots. And I have people with whom we share a spiritual affinity and who share their worlds with me.” Kucherevskaya plans to extend the reach of her work outside Ukraine this year, and she is expanding her art to a clothing line inspired by children’s artwork. “Is it not the greatest happiness to wear the creation of your child on yourself?” she muses. When asked what she hopes to accomplish most in her life, Kucherevskaya replied, “I could answer globally: I want peace in the whole world. But to be a realist, I want peace within me.”

Kiev, ukraine


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CALIFORNIA ESTER ROI Mesmerized by the interaction of color and water from an early age, Ester Roi explores the intricate balance of water-immersed objects in nature through her art, made with wax and oil pastels. Roi is also the inventor of the Icarus Drawing Board™, a portable electric drawing board for wax-based media.


AFSHIN NAGHOUNI Painting the Question to Everything

Words: Paige Zeigler Photography: Courtesy of Afshin Naghouni

“First of all, does my hair look okay? Is everything in place? Good? Does my bum look big in this wheelchair?” So asks Afshin Naghouni with a laugh while setting up for a scene in the documentary “Out of Focus,” a biographical short film immortalizing the life of the illustrious painter while eloquently capturing the ever-present warmth of his spirit – and his quick wit. Meeting Naghouni is as enlivening as it is unforgettable. But Naghouni’s sense of humor and lightheartedness sometimes appear to be in contrast to the critically-acclaimed themes of his art, including explorations of the concepts of war – something he experienced in his youth as a civilian in 1980s Iran. Pursuing audacious motifs with expressionistic strokes, some of Naghouni’s works have been received with controversy. The true composition of Naghouni’s famous “The Abstraction of Reality” could perhaps be easily overlooked upon first glance. Remembering the moment he first saw the photograph that


inspired the colorful piece, Naghouni says, “When I saw the image of this Iraqi boy on the internet, his face was completely burnt in war. But the colors on his face were so vibrant. So beautiful. Purples and blues and pinks. Red. “Image affects the way we see things and the way we look at things, and I thought how such a horrific thing or incident could be so beautiful in an image, so I had to do something there.” Naghouni started painting the photograph many times, pasting the picture repeatedly over the canvas, and then painting the face of the boy over and over again in an extreme close up that ultimately used the burnt flesh tones to create a vibrantly polychromatic piece. Choosing to controversially show the painting in a group exhibition proved to be a turning point that enabled Naghouni to continue pursuing bold subjects in his compositions. “We usually don’t show that sort of subject matter [in group exhibitions], and I thought, ‘I know it’s sad, I know

you might not like my work,’ but I just showed something that I liked, and that’s how the whole exhibition started, and that’s the moment that everything changed.” The piece sold immediately, and the common thread in Naghouni’s artwork challenging viewers to question ‘What is real?’ quietly emerged. “Universal Soldier,” a mixed-media piece composed of oils, acrylics, and photography cut-outs puts the pixelated face of a soldier center stage in earthy colors as a neutral-toned invitation for viewers to examine what they’re seeing. Without the visual cues of a flag, ornate details of a uniform, or even the generality of a defined skin tone to indicate nationality, is the soldier a hero – or is the soldier a tool in the hands of power? “The overall and most important idea I’m trying to communicate through my paintings,” says Naghouni, “is that nobody is going to give us anything on a plate. And if you accept anything given to you on a plate without investigation, then the version of your understanding

[and] the world around you is based on the interview that comes to you through someone else. And they’re not always sincere. They’re not always neutral. They usually have an agenda. And if you really want to have better comprehension of our surroundings and the world around us, we really need to be more investigative of things and question everything.” Naghouni’s skepticism of reality was cultivated in a childhood spent growing up in Iran. “I always wanted to paint. For me, painting was having fun, playing. I never thought about it. It was all about enjoying myself and what I loved doing and I had a lot of fun painting as a child.” Considered a child prodigy, Naghouni won multiple regional and national painting competitions between the ages of 9 and 12. After passing the exams required to enter the ultra-competitive Tehran School of Arts, Naghouni recalls, “At the time, we had something that was kind of a religious interview [with] clerics sitting there... asking you questions in connection to religion and other things related to evaluate your personality, if you’re a good enough person to go to the university, and basically, I failed that interview.” And it was religiously-rooted politics that ultimately led to Naghouni’s spinal cord injury and resulting tetraplegia in 1993. At age 24, shortly after his arrival

at a mixed-gender gathering – an illegal activity in Iran to this day – the police arrived. In the ensuing chaos, Naghouni fell into a dark abyss from a sixthfloor balcony. The haunting details are shared in “Out of Focus,” through emotional accounts from his friends who witnessed it, and also summarized in the third verse of the poetically lyrical “Afshin’s Song” by London’s famed hiphop lyricist Antix. The accident forced Naghouni to temporarily stop painting. “I had to stop,” he remembers, “Because I couldn’t move my arms for a while, and I got movement back after a series of physical therapy work. I still have difficulty using my hands and my fingers.” In “Out of Focus,” Naghouni is seen powering himself to a local pharmacy to pick up packages of Ace bandage-like wraps. Later in the film, when a new painting assistant attempts to secure the bandaged paint brushes to Naghouni’s hands with the metal clips, he feigns pain before quickly revealing a large grin. The new assistant’s exasperated look gives way to a shared moment of laughter, and Naghouni thoughtfully shifts his attention back to the canvas in front of him. Acknowledging the adaptations he’s adopted in the evolution of his painting, Naghouni notes, “It has its own difficulties... a lot of practice to get used to the new situation, but once you have


it, you have it. You never lose it, and it evolves, and you can get it out of you [in] different ways.” Having to start from scratch as a painter after his injury and subsequent arrival in London in 1997 with only £350, Naghouni struggled to establish himself and make a living. Wheelchairbound in a nursing home for two years while waiting for his political asylum application to be processed, Naghouni bought children’s paints from a corner shop with what little money he had at the time and started selling them for £10-15 on the street. He recalls receiving little encouragement at the time and began thinking, “Maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was.” But Naghouni kept on and eventually found support through The Prince’s Trust, a UK-based charity founded by the Prince of Wales, dedicated to supporting at-risk youth aged 13 to 30 struggling with school, unemployment, or exclusion through grants and a variety of programs. Naghouni also found a mentor in John Ritchie and worked for five years to establish himself while completing post-graduate studies at London Metropolitan University. Naghouni now averages 8 to 11 hours per day in his London studio most days of the week. Describing his latest collection “Satire,” featured in a

“I think life is too short not to do things you enjoy doing, so if you do something: make sure you damn well enjoy it.” - Afshin Naghouni



month-long solo exhibition at London’s esteemed Hay Hill Gallery, Naghouni explains, “Media has long been a rival to religion as the opriate for the masses, and media images play a huge role in that. Images are everything. They affect our comprehension of the world and its events. The problem is they portray a version of reality which, at best is through someone else’s eyes, and at worst are lined up before our eyes with an agenda.” In his mesmerizing mixed-media compositions of women, Naghouni often incorporates images and photography from magazines to juxtapose what NUIT Magazine writer Dena Tahmasebi described as “painting beautiful layers on very ugly or hard truths.” Art critic Estelle Lovatt noted in the magazine “Art of England” how, through Naghouni’s neo-figurative style, he “captures the appeal of intimate moments in a woman’s life” and “considers the controversialists’ view of whether it is that Muslim women are oppressed and

exploited while western women are liberated, or vice versa.” The woman who’s never the subject of question in Naghouni’s life, however, is his wife Tracey. When asked about the catalysts for his work, Naghouni lovingly acknowledges her careful attention to his process. “I’m basically painting all the time,” he explains, noting the ubiquity of his inspiration. “Painting in my head, even when I’m not in the studio. Sometimes I’m sitting there – and you might think I’m daydreaming – and my wife is talking to me and I’m miles away, and she says, ‘Oh, you’re painting again, aren’t you?’” Decidedly private, Tracey didn’t want to appear in “Out of Focus,” though her presence is tactile throughout the film. She co-designed a motorized office-table-turned-easel that enables Naghouni to reach the top of large canvases. Until recently, Naghouni was also particularly private about his accident and revealing that he was in a wheelchair. “I have never wanted people

to feel sorry for me. But now that things are finally moving in the right direction for me, I feel comfortable enough to talk about my tragedies which have led me to triumphs.” Together nearly 20 years now, Tracey’s influence on Naghouni’s life is enduring. “When you’re a disabled person in a wheelchair, people treat you differently. Everybody treats you differently. People speak to you very loud, like you’re deaf. I think, ‘I’m not deaf, I’m in a wheelchair.’ I’ve learned being with Tracey [that] you can have a normal life. That was the biggest impact meeting Tracey had on my life: life can be normal, life can be good.” And with his trademark warmth – complete with the melodic cadence of his criss-cross British accent – Naghouni sums up his philosophy on life and work simply: “I think life is too short not to do things you enjoy doing, so if you do something: make sure you damn well enjoy it.”


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CALIFORNIA JEREMY MANN Oil-on-panel painter Jeremy Mann recalls, “It was one of those San Francisco nights, wandering around downtown, when a sudden and torrential downpour cloaked every inch of street, building, and person.” Aiming to depict the “clarity of light and a confusion of space that fills the air in moments like that,” Mann created “Evening Storm on Market Street,” just one of his many breathtakingly realistic cityscapes that illustrate the dichotomy of depth and illumination.



EMMA TAYLOR From Within a Book

Book sculptor Emma Taylor chisels the pages of antiquarian books to take on stories all their own. Accentuating even the tiniest of details, Taylor’s masterpieces literally emerge “from within a book.”

Photography: Neville Taylor


“The fate of the book is becoming more and more critical as digital replacements ingrain themselves deeper into our society.” – Emma Taylor


Photography: Courtesy of Charles Leval



PARIS CHARLES LEVAL Muralist Charles Leval paints with the street, not against it, borrowing the city’s everyday features to make art; his muses range from stop signs, pipes on a wall, and patches of grass growing between tiles of cement. In this painting entitled “15 Minutes of Fame,” a soda can is the main event, perhaps challenging the focus of the media’s attention. Fleeting as its title, the piece originally inhabited a cinema wall in the second district of Paris, but today no longer exists. 47

Photography: Courtesy of Valerio D’Ospina

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NEW YORK VALERIO D’OSPINA Rather than taking refuge in his subject material, Italian painter Valerio D’Ospina bravely opts to confront his fear of heights in a dizzying depiction of the Manhattan skyline. “I chose my subject matter not only out of aesthetic pleasure but also to put myself in a sort of discomfort, trying not to play it safe,” he explains. “It is almost as if I am in constant competition with my abilities, trying to reach new levels with each painting and to never settle on satisfactory.” 49

Photography: Courtesy of Andres Amador

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DOSE OF AMAZING SAN FRANCISCO ANDRES AMADOR Andres Amador spends hours creating geometric and organic masterpieces in the sand during low tide, only to have his etchings swept away by the sea in just minutes. Spanning as large as 90,000 square feet, Amador’s beach murals are his attempt to declare one’s existence in the “seemingly indifferent ocean of reality.” 51





SENIOR EDITOR Jessica Cyrell

CREATIV CO-FOUNDERS Blake Brinker & Brad Thomas PUBLISHING ADVISOR Alex Cyrell COPY ADVISORS Chase Hall Susan Michelson COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of Asya Kucherevskaya COVER DESIGN magfirst

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SETTING ART APART. It’s like free admission to the best museum. It’s what’s inside (this issue) that counts: + Make the entire world your ca...