Jose Mertz is an artist / image maker based in Miami. Equally comfortable working across traditional and digital media, Jose takes inspiration from past civilisations, science fiction and the supernatural. His works have a unique fluid quality, are beautifully detailed and full of character. I especially love his surreal landscape/creature scenes - I get lost in those drippy, almost Dali-esque contours! Read on to hear a little more of his background, and an ultra strange dream he once had.
Hometown: Miami, Fl. USA
Nickname: MERTZ, Leemer, Leemerooski, Mertzalini, Cool-man, Chilly Willy, I have a couple. :)
1. How did your career and life in art begin?
Graphics, paintings, drawings.. have always been embedded in my life. I was always interested in images and shapes and designs. From teeshirt graphics to video game illustrations and everything in between. In my home growing up we had tons of trinkets and altars in the house as well as indigenous art and decoration. I used to stare at this stuff and then wonder how it was made and what they meant.
The first time I actually got paid to do something artistic was when I was 14 years old and a older friend asked me to design a logo for a rap group he was starting. It was only $20 but it changed my perception of how I can do what I love and generate money from it. I was mainly cutting grass around the neighborhood for like $5. When I graduated from college in 2002, I left to New York and got my first official art jobs doing illustration for clothing companies and print.
2. Your work is pretty versatile in terms of style and medium - do you have a favourite?
I love drawing. It’s my favorite. It feels the most vulnerable and the most honest to me. I enjoy doing works on paper and building layers. I love doing digital as well but everything usually starts on paper first.
3. Many of your pieces have quite a surreal feel to them. Are any of them inspired by actual dreams you've had?
Some come from personal dreams and some come from blending different kinds of mythology and folklore. One that has a bit of all three is a piece called “Dust”. I had a dream of a elephant being sacrificed in order to give birth to his father in the form of a man. Visually it was all very fluid and similar to wet clay. The elephant seemed as if it was ready and confident. The body divided in half like sliced bread and this head emerged out of the insides. It was just looking around like a newborn baby. LOL! I woke up and was like WTF. It was so cool. So I thought about it and the elephant reminded me of the Hindu god Ganesh and his relationship to Shiva which is his father. But why would the child be giving birth to the father? I ended up drawing and trying to capture the dream and realized a lot from it personally but the best is what other people read into it.
I like the fact that the artwork can invite the viewer to think a bit outside the “norm”. I believe all of “reality” is surreal and extremely malleable and full of information. The cross referencing is always interesting but the immediate response from the viewer is for me the most gratifying.
4. What is your idea of a well spent day?
Eating a good breakfast with my son Bodhi, Finishing up some pieces, getting paid, going for a swim then maybe making a good meal and then watch a movie.
Thank You! Also, a huge "THANK YOU" to everyone who supports me and follows my work. My social networks are @josemertz / www.josemertz.com
'Down Time' is a group exhibition featuring the work of creative collective, Studio 615.
A follow up to last years successful Melbourne show, "Time Flies", artists Mike Danischewski, Silk Roy, Sam Octigan, Marcus Dixon and Doug Aldrich have come together once again, this time taking what they do to The Tate in Sydney for one night only. The show is another insight into how the artists work, both personally as individuals and as a collaborative group. This next installment features more works on canvas, paper, wood in a broad range of mediums, as well as a range of printed matter available on the night.
Wednesday the 5th of November, 6-9pm 123 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, Sydney. Drinks provided by Cricketer's Arms. One night only.
Opening Friday, October 24 at Level 1, 109 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, is 'Lumen' by Rone will include eleven large-scale portraits inside and outside of the gallery and a twelve metre high mural on the building’s adjoining ventilation tower. The space itself – an abandoned office building slated for demolition – has been transformed into a black (and blank) canvas for the artist to takeover. Internally, the artworks will be brought spectacularly to life by lighting designer, John McKissock.
Creatively and thematically, the impetus for Rone’s work (particularly on the street) is the friction point between beauty and decay. Lumen – or “light of the day” in Latin – as a body of work continues in this vein, reflecting on moments of revelation and clarity as we transition into adulthood.
“Lumen explores that pivotal moment in our lives when we realise that we need to believe in what we see [and know to be true] rather than what we’ve been told,” says Rone. “It’s that point in your life when it becomes time to think for yourself, formulate your own opinions and develop a sense of personal identity without consideration to the past or outside influences. That’s why I titled the show Lumen – thematically it’s a series of works about seeing or following the light.” - Rone
Just Another Artist Sirum One has recently finished painting of Baru - the salt water crocodile in Nhulumbuy far north-east Arnhem land. Who better to tell you all about it then Sirum himself, read all about it below...
"Having spent the last two months travelling via 4x4 with my partner Georgie Seccull and great friend Charlotte through Australia's Top End, we found ourselves taking a leap of faith and trekking deep into one of the worlds most remote patches of wilderness. After 3 days travel along the Arnhem Hwy we finally arrived in Nhulunbuy. Originally set up as a mining town, this place is now the central hub for supplies, medical and practical needs that filter out to all the surrounding homelands of the Yolngu people. Here we set up and organised our general permits that would allow us to go bush and discover some of the most amazing and relatively untouched places we have ever experienced. Beaches that would pan out into the distance with crystal clear waters as far as your eyes could see (that you can't swim in - they're full of crocodiles) and the 3 of us being the only people around for days on end..
I decided to bring my paints with me and see if I could find a space to produce another mural and given my chosen subject matter, an opportunity came about soon after. The main hotel / restaurant - bar in town named the Walkabout commissioned me to produce my painting across the front entrance wall of the building. Very quickly the word spread that a large saltwater croc was being painted in town and every morning I painted I had a number of spectators dropping past to keep an eye on the progress and I guess to make sure I was doing the image justice..(no pressure) You see the saltwater crocodile, particularly to the major clans of that part of NE Arnhem Land to them,is their absolute world. Being one of their major totems of the surrounding clans BARU is their Mother dreaming.
As the Yolngu people "come from the Earth" they identify themselves being one with their surroundings and so to these amazing people the saltwater crocodile is respected and loved equally to that of anyone from family circles. The Yolngu people's connectivity to nature is something that we in modern society have lacked for far to long now leading us to constantly be fixated on the future instead of living for the now. In short, I felt the importance of producing a great piece for these people as I quickly realised how much bigger this painting was then just me tackling another crazy art project!
The Yolngu people still to this day live their traditional ways, continuing their dreaming through songlines via ceremonies and living off the land. Their culture is still as strong as it ever was way, way back then. The oldest civilisation on Earth to us thats some 40 - 60,000 years old, and these amazing people were more then happy to share their stories and culture with us for the 35 days we lived in their country and on their land.
See you next time, Arnhem Land, Thank You!"
After the success of Shaun Thatcher and Ross Vaughan’s exhibition 'You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine' at No Vacancy last year, Shaun is exhibiting in the Federation Square space with a solo body of work before moving to Europe in December. Taking a step away from the pixellated imagery of YAWIAM, 'Phrenology' is a collection of cranial specimens painstakingly archived in oil paint from across the zoological spectrum, some local, some less so. Get to know your anatomy from 6pm on opening night, Thursday the 23rd of October. Exhibition runs until November 8th.
Dangerfork Print Co and Simplesime have come together for another year to present the third annual Ink Dots Black Spots. This year we have chosen the theme Mother Nature and asked 50+ different artists to contribute artworks specifically for the event. All giclée prints are to be time released for two weeks and will be available to purchase for $60 each on the opening night or through our web store.
Opening Night Friday 17th October at 1000 Pound Bend - 361 Lt Lonsdale St
Meet Jenny Liz Rome, an illustrator working out of Southern Ontario.
Jenny's work is inspired by fashion, wildlife and the female form. She likens the process of creating her girls as 'coming together like the bride of Frankenstein, with a mix of collage, traditional and digital illustration. What delights me about her work is the dark, almost magical vibe in her work that still manages to be painfully pretty! She is ultra talented, a sweetheart, (see below) and brings something new to the pretty-girl-drawing norm that female illustrators often subscribe to.
1. How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Fashion obsessed, cozily dressed busy body, powered by coffee and an urge to do too much at once.
2. What gets you up in the morning?
Work. I'm so excited to work. My 18 year old self would never believe me! Food, caffeine and my cats are also responsible for spurring on early mornings.
3. What's been your favourite project to date?
"The Peggy Project" for sure! Before my husband and I went traveling for a few months, I made a paper doll. She traveled with us in a protective case to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, and Texas. I took her out hiking, partying, beaching, eating, kayaking, etc. Every time I took her out, I made her a new outfit, and photographed her. It was just a fun little project, aimed at keeping myself busy on the slower days. I ended up becoming obsessed and she took over a lot of afternoons. We ended up talking about her like she was a real person. It got weird.
4. Your illustration work is really strong in terms of colour and composition - yet each piece has a sense of spontaneity. How much planning goes into each piece?
It depends. Sometimes I start without so much as an idea of where it might go. Sometimes I have something very specific in mind. A piece can also change drastically from the time I start it , to when it's finished. That's the beauty of working partially digitally. I can easily move the composition, change colours, try adding different details, without the fear of ruining it. I play with an image for a really long time before it's finished.
5. What is your idea of a perfect day?
Ummm... Sleep in a bit. Have a big coffee outside with the cats. Work for a few hours. Maybe go to the beach and have a little bike ride around the neighbourhood or a canoe ride. I would eat treats and maybe watch a movie. A big glass of red wine at the end of the day would make for a lovely finish.
100 European artists featuring Just Another Artist Does. Yep you read right! One hundred extraordinary artists representing many European cities, each with its own and often uniquely inspiring graffiti scene, including London, Amsterdam, Paris, and more. This dense, sprawling portfolio is the product of “modern day documenter” Steam 156s undisputed knowledge of European graffiti, and includes artist profiles, most written by the artists themselves, crew affiliations, locations, the year they started, details about style, influences, and characteristic strokes, contours, and angles, with hundreds of photos in all. A medium of powerful, youthful, artistic expression, graffiti spread rampantly across Europe in the early 1980s–and has never ceased. Cities across the continent are now hosts to halls of fame, abandoned spaces, and streets full of incredible work by artists, featured in this book, who are carrying the art form boldly into the future and expanding its influence even further.
Grab yourself a copy here!
I got an email a wee while back from BMD, introducing himself and since then I haven't been able to get the talented street artist out of my head. Tackling walls across New Zealand like a warrior, his walls, whether indoors or outdoors complexly speaks for itself! Check out his work below and head on over to his site to see LOADS more!
I see a lot of exhibitions. In fact a lot is a bit of an understatement, so for me to get super excited about a show (that isn't a Just Another show) is few and far between, however “Honey, I Shrunk The Streets!” has got me excited! Big things come in small packages and our next exhibit “Honey, I Shrunk the Streets” proves just that. In this one-of-a-kind exhibition, our 1AM community of artists will paint miniature versions of billboards, brick walls, trucks, and dumpsters provided by TYO toys. You can see Just Another Artist Does' submission below, I'm sure you'll be just as blown away as I am! Opening on Thursday, October 16th, from 6:30-9:30pm and will be exhibiting until Friday, October 31st. Check out our artist list on the flyer below and save the date! For inquiries or to request a catalog click this link!