Michael John Hunter

Photographer Michael John Hunter utilizes large scale, hyper realistic sculptures and traditional camera optics to explore how imagery can manipulate how we view our world. His latest work, "As i grow, As i lose", is an ongoing series of images depicting a 20 foot doll sculpture installed in locations in and around London. Using height as a tool, Hunter creates a trompe l’oeil in the finished images that leaves viewers questioning their initial assumptions of the work.

How do you describe your work?

I guess in its simplest form its purely photography. The fact that the images include massive hyper real sculptures is secondary to the actual image making I think.

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What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?

I’m trained initially as a photographer. It’s an endlessly fascinating medium to explore the world and your ideas with. Photography enlarges our notions of what’s worth looking at.

I guess just trial and error really. Playing around with swings and tilts of old bellows cameras and seeing what came back when I developed the negatives. My degree show had similar work to what you see now but the sculptures were crude and very sloppy. This is why it’s taken me pretty much 10 years to get my work to this level. I knew I could take the images but I didn’t have anywhere near enough skill or resources to make these huge sculptures. Moving to London and working in the film industry helped me with this.


Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist? 

Scotland. And no, not really. My work really is ripped out of my imagination and doesn’t reflect much of my cultural upbringing.

What triggers your imagination?

I think being fascinated by scale is built into us from when we’re very small. Everything used to be so big and we were endlessly fascinated as children. We still love seeing big stuff as adults. Ever been to the Grand Canyon? It’s hard not to smile in wonder. 

I obviously love using scale in my work but I hope that people enjoy my twist on it by hiding it behind the image making process. This is what really makes it effective for me. It’s the fact that we take the images for granted. The doll is just a doll. There is no way it could be anything else than just a regular child’s doll. But when people understand the reality of the images they sometimes look at them with newer, fresher eyes. Like a kid would.


What are some instagram accounts or artists that you particularly enjoy / are inspired from?

I only jumped on insta 6 months ago. I never really realized how great it is for artists, it’s a perfect platform for learning about others’ work. It’s especially helpful for finding emerging artists that I otherwise wouldn’t know about because they’re not necessarily getting shown in galleries.

What was your dream growing up as a child?

To be a motorcycle racer.


What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in
your life?

Emmmm. To continue this venture and keep working very hard at it. I’m currently finishing off a new sculpture that I can start working with very soon.

Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

Definitely. Realizing that you have to work to live. And if you’re working 10 or 12 hour days for something you don’t believe in you have to be able to take this work ethic into your own personal work. Whenever I’m not on a job for someone else these days I’m trying to give equal effort to either sculpting or location research for my own work. 

Just now the works take a very long time to produce. I’m not a production. I’m a guy. I’m one guy with a rental van and a big sculpture. It’s a very lengthy process. I’m trying to make work that would normally involve a team of people with the ability to shut down streets and build towers for the shots. This just isn’t the case for me. I’m at the mercy of logistics and chance. In some ways I think it’s kinda cool doing it guerilla-style but its really frustrating. I need height to achieve the illusion but I also need access to the location below so I can set up the sculptures and then thirdly I need the setting to create a great image with the right scenery, colours and textures. 

Location scouting is a nightmare. Finding places with all 3 of these elements is pretty hard. Then to find it and then to rock up at 4am all ready to go only to discover a truck has parked in my spot and I cant make my planned image! If my work was ever to take off I would love to get some permission and do some locations more officially but for now its just me with the sculpture in a van. Rock on.


What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?

It’s my attempt at returning to a more childlike mindset. I’m trying to entertain myself too I guess. Trying to see how much I can get from the medium I have chosen to work in. It’s play. But serious too, with a lot of work. I take making these images super seriously.

What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

I Google “what is art?” all the time. I still have no idea. Ha.


Any new works or projects coming up?

I’m just finishing off a new sculpture and am about to start the process of testing it in the streets at night very soon. I’ll show you guys as soon as I can. I’m really excited. Maybe after this new series of images I’ll start approaching some galleries. That’s my end goal really, to hopefully start to exhibit my work with a good gallery at the scale it’s intended to be viewed, but for now I'm just going to keep making work.

Andre Veloux

British artist Andre Veloux is widely known for his lego masterpieces featuring feminist icons and works that question the circumstances and expectations surrounding femininity and gender expression. Created with thousands of individual lego pieces, the works can literally be taken apart and rebuilt, playing on societies' ever-changing demands for women to present themselves in a specific way to garner acceptance.  Veloux shows works internationally and hangs in the homes of many private collectors. You can see his works on view at Kraus Gallery as part of their group show, 'Emerging to Established', opening January 6th. 

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How do you describe your work

A feminist, gender equality and women's rights project, which explores the way women are viewed and society's expectations of them.

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What's your preferred medium to express yourself and your work? How did you come to working that way?

I was first attracted to Lego because of its limited yet consistent colour palette as well as its physical properties. It is hard, durable and tactile, and can be taken apart and reconstructed as needed. The ability to build layers and structure into wall hanging works was the natural progression from working with Lego.

Where did you grow up, and do you think that's affected, at all, your vision as an artist?

I grew up in a small seaside town in England. The small town mentality combined with my formative years in a boys school certainly laid the foundation for my future counterpoint to that as a feminist artist.


What triggers your imagination?

Music, Film, People and Travel. Travel in particular is a very special privilege, taking yourself out of your usual environment and exploring different attitudes, people, scenes, cultures and traditions produces the most inspirational moments. I always come back from a journey with new ideas and thoughts scrawled across the pages of my notebook.

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What are some instagram accounts or artists you particularly enjoy / are inspired from?

Here is a list including Cindy Sherman as well as a selection of emerging women artists from my instagram feed.

Cindy Sherman @_cindysherman_
Lauren Rinaldi @laurinaldi
Suzy Floozy @suzy.floozy
Dantje Bons @daantjebons
Alison Brady @alisonbradyart
Kat Allisone @kat.allisone
KS Brewer @ks.brewer
Amelia Strong @amelia.strong
Bri Cirel @bri.cirel

What was your dream growing up as a child?

To play for Liverpool (football as in soccer) like every other boy at my school who wanted to play for Liverpool or Everton.

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What has become most important to you or your work at this moment of your life?

I recently had a long term installation at Princeton Public Library with a series of accompanying events, such as a residency, talk, workshop etc. This ability to connect with the public without commercial restrictions is very special, and I'm working on new ideas as well as other similar opportunities like this.

Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

One of my closest school friends was killed in a train crash when we were 21. Up until that point in my life I had no long term or even short term focus, but literally overnight from then on whatever was happening in my life I was always working on specific creative projects. There was no more time wasting and that mentality and desire has remained with me.

What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?

The art and the message comes first. My work is the means by which I convey the message, which is gender equality, feminism and basically any way we can put a stop to the systematic abuse of women.

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What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

Art is freedom of expression, which is more or less anyone's expression of themselves. Be it visual arts, music, cooking, fashion etc. I don't put a quality or a value on it, because it's personal to everyone. I don't find the art world itself to be a fair representation of the creativity out there.

Any projects coming up? 

The Affordable Art Fair, NYC in March followed by a full show at the Krause Gallery in NYC in June. I am currently talking to another public institution about an installation of my Mask of Femininity show. Finally, a longer term project is a student workshop series centered on the theme of consent which I hope to hold for the first time later in the year.

You can follow Andre on Instagram: @andreveloux
Visit his website: veloux.com

Ben Willis

Artist Ben Willis investigates patterns through his use of layering, texture, and his technicolor palette. The end results are geometric abstractions that create a feast for the eyes. His latest solo exhibition, 'Candy Man' is the artists latest attempt to "consistently evolve his practice by
re-inventing and expanding his visual language."

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What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?

All of the panels I work on are handmade. I start with a variety of primers from traditional gesso, spray paint, acrylic paint, resin and collage. From there, it’s more of a classic way of drawing or working general to specific. A loose pattern is sketched on top of the primer followed by resin often mixed with a combination of flakes and pearls (glitter and dry pigments). I build up layers but feel like there is a lot more intuition and freedom involved allowing the composition to evolve on its own. It’s rare for me not to use a variety of media on any piece and I have always worked in layers.

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Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist? Does your current environment affect your work?

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and I am sure in some ways it has affected my vision as an artist. Once I started to get serious about my practice it became obvious that I need to move on and explore other cities. Living in Arizona, specifically Phoenix where its sunny and warm about 95% of the time has certainly brightened and enhanced the colors I am using. Materials like resin and paint also dry extremely fast here which has really forced me to work a lot faster.  

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What was your dream growing up as a child?

I was really into sports as a kid and wanted to play in the NBA. 

What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?

I want to create a visual experience that is both fun and satisfying yet leaves you hungry for more.  With all the fucked-up things going on in our world at this moment I believe there is some healing power behind this work that translates through my use of color, pattern, abstraction and materials. It’s important for me to make people think. 

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Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

As far back as I can remember, my mother has always made quilts as well as crocheted various blankets and garments for the entire family. My father is very much a handy man and for all intents and purposes a wood worker. I hadn’t considered it much before, but would certainly be steering you in the wrong direction if I said my parents and up bringing haven’t played a role in my creativity. I think what really tipped the scale was my first college Math class. For a while there I wasn’t sure if I could make it as an artist but realized quickly that I wasn’t going to be something I hated. 

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Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think they/it have influenced your work?

Meeting other artists and creators. Especially when I really form a connection with them or their work. It kind of gives me hope in a way. I have a tendency to be somewhat of a shut in and these connections really give me all the feels and validation for what I am doing.

What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?

My work has always been what I consider to be portraiture. It was quite obvious when I was only painting people but I would say my current work portraying a specific group of people or experience. It’s what keeps me going and I don’t ever see a point where I stop. 

What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

Art is power.

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Betsy Enzensberger

Sculptural artist Betsy Enzensberger's has become know for her realistic resin sculptures of frozen treats. Her Dripping and Melting Pop series play on a childlike lure that artificially instills instant desire. 


What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?

I was trained as an abstract painter, however resin is my preferred medium. I found my way to resin through years of painting and searching to find meaning within myself and my art.  I saw a print mounted on 1” of plexi and admired the thickness and shine of the print. I wanted to bring that edge and rich depth to my paintings and the answer was resin. The resin learning curve  was lengthy as my paintings naturally evolved from flat to sculptural - each time I would try to scale back to a 2 dimensional surface, the depth would slowly increase again. There was no way to fight the evolution to 3D works

As I began to embrace the sculptural quality of resin I felt like a kid in a candy shop, literally creating bright works of art. While my early work wasn’t centered around sweet treats the candy colored resin chips and scraps left behind inspired me to first create melting ice cream cones and then melting popsicles. 

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Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist? Does your current environment affect your work?

I’m currently located in Los Angeles, but grew up in the other coast. Born and raised in NY, I was your typical kid; loved being around animals, played outside with the neighborhood kids, ran after the ice cream man every time I heard that magical song.

I was obsessed with Bob Ross and literally painted with him every day. There were a stack of VHS tapes with recorded episodes so I could rework paintings. Once I returned home from a day at the beach and foundI had mistakenly recorded The Price Is Right. Still upset about that.


What was your dream growing up as a child?

To be a dog mom. Mission accomplished. Never in my life did I think I would be making Popsicles for a living. (Making Mama proud)

What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?

The most important element of my work is JOY. I enjoy making the popsicles and love to hear people excited about collecting a piece of art that makes them smile and brings some whimsy to their collections. 

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Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you
definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

I wouldn’t say anything really pushed me towards the arts. I’ve always identified as an artist and its something I’ve done and continue to do despite it being an unconventional living…. There has always been a fire inside me that kept me driven toward the goal, even if it “would never make any money” or “isn’t a real job.” What drives me now is the work itself. Resin is complicated and extremely physically demanding. I love the hard work because it results in super cool sculptures. Not everyone is cut out for it.

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Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think
they/it have influenced your work?

Biggest inspiration is the resin itself. The material begins as a warm, sexy, viscous soup. With some sweat and skill, it can be transformed into the most amazingly delicious things. 

What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

Art is what keeps me from going out at night, it’s that energy that makes my heart race until I create whatever it is I’m dreaming of. I believe that is what art is for every artist. 

Tavin Davis

Tavin Davis is an emerging subversive artist living in Bozeman Montana with works exhibiting internationally, in both galleries and museums. Davis's controversial and subversive works explore and critique social issues in contemporary U.S. culture. With a wide range of subject matter, he attempts to confront his viewers in order to provoke thought and discussion on the topics and issues that motivate him as an artist.

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1. What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and your work? How did you come into working that way?

Often I have thought my medium to be concept. Concept is the very first medium in which my work is expressed through and then the most fitting physical medium can be applied. As of lately, I have been using a lot of acrylic, aerosol acrylic, sculpture, found object, and performance to make my works but I would never like to say I use one specific medium over any other because I really use any vehicle that best delivers my concept. 

2. Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist?

Does your current environment affect your work? I grew up in a small city called Billings Montana. I was born and raised there until I was 11 years old and after that my family started to move around a lot. I wouldn’t say that WHERE I grew up really has had any affect on my work but rather HOW I grew up has. After I started moving around a lot, it was hard to find any solid ground or make any solid friendships because I was always the new kid in school or in the area. This was tough but as a result I really found myself becoming reclusive for a long time and being interested in drawing and later, in philosophy. Though, on second thought, I would say growing up in a blue collar state may have fueled my current work. Funny to think about that now. 

3. What was your dream growing up as a child? 

Well I guess growing up, I went through 2 huge stages. Until I was 8, I wanted to be an archaeologist. I loved Egypt and trying to figure out what the hieroglyphs meant. I thought it was kind of mystical or mysterious and I guess a little creepy too. Then, my dad’s friend gave me a BMX video for my 8th birthday and after that I wanted to be a professional freestyle BMX rider. I wanted to be in the X Games and ride with the best in the world (which never happened haha). I have been involved with the BMX scene for about 15 years now and it has been a blast but due to an unfortunate accident last summer, I have slowed down in that department and now focused most if not all of my energy on my work. Which has been great to do. 

4. What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life? 

As of now, the most important thing in my life has become my work, and the most important thing in my work has become life. What I mean by that is, over the past 6 months or so, I have been really attempting to represent reality as honestly and as realistically as possible. Not in the traditional ways that renaissance painters did, nor realism painters/sculptors, nor in any sense an illusionistic way. What I mean by representing reality is, exploring and asking questions about reality past the facades. Past the smoke and mirrors put up by society and social norms. This often comes in the form of asking questions about the current status of our humanity as a culture or our relationships to one another and to the objects around us. Maybe calling out for accountability and honesty or simply reaching into and observing the social fabric of contemporary U.S. culture as a whole. 

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5. Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions? 

Absolutely! I remember when I went to college, I really wanted to be a philosopher. I loved the idea of being able to think and to maybe challenge why we perceive how we do. I quickly realized that writing was not exactly what I wanted and that I wanted to make things that did this. I wanted to make things that made us think and challenged peoples perceptions and constructs. I found out that art had this ability and after bouncing around a little in college I finally found myself in the art program and because of that, I have really found my place in the world I think. 

6. Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think they/it have influenced your work?

 I think the largest influence on me has been Marcel Duchamp. He was the first artist I learned about that used concept and philosophy as art work. He was everything to me for a long time and I learned a lot from exploring the ideas I thought he was exploring in his time. Transporting to now though I find a lot of inspiration from a lot of different artists. Artists such as Banksy, Mark Bradford, Martin Creed, John Baldessari, Andre Serrano, Basquiat, Ai WeiWei, Lawrence Weiner...... honestly... this could go on for a while. 

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7. What does your work mean to you? If anything at all? 

I think my work is my mode of communication. It is my philosophies, my questions, and thoughts all bundled up into some sort of experience and with each work I am hoping to simply have these thoughts read. 

8. What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

I believe first and for most that art must have concept and thought past the surface of the work. I believe art is powerful in the ways it is able to challenge and even change a viewers perceptions, ideals, and constructs and that everything that holds the title of “art” should do something of that nature. To make you see differently or at least question why we as people think, see, or feel in such a way. To really provide an experience. To beg questions about the larger questions of life and to project those questions outwardly in a way that can be experienced by someone other than the artist. I think this is the ultimate responsibility of art and that work that falls short of these attempts, is not better nor worse but something different. Holding a separate purpose from that of art.


Joseph Ursulo

Surrealist sculptural artist Joseph Ursulo creates balance and harmony in his work by forging natural bonds between two seemingly incompatible objects. Creating unison where one might not expect, Ursulo's sculptures aren't just for aesthetics - each work is deeply rooted in social context. 

"A sculpture made from objects which don't appear compatible is a physical, visual declaration that people - in spite of how incompatible they may appear - also can be united. It’s just a matter of finding the connection point. For me that’s what art is all about, finding the connection point. I see myself as a matchmaker rather than a creator in my work as an artist."

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You say “I see myself as a matchmaker, rather than a creator in my work as an artist”. What is it about sculptures and creating sculptures that allow you to feel so connected to your work?

a. When I call myself a matchmaker, I mean that I make art by cleanly fusing images that do not appear related.. The technique was founded by the Surrealists, by artists like Man Ray and Salvador Dalí, and continues today with Instagram superstars like @smcmennamy and @tonyfutura. My own contribution to the genre is that whereas most of these artists work in two dimensions, I work in three. Although this may put a limit on the objects I can combine (I can’t manipulate physical things with Photoshop) it also keeps my work grounded in the material, three-dimensional world - which is the world I occupy too. In that sense I feel closer to my sculptures than I think I would if they were digital images or photographs, because the sculptures are stuck in this crazy world same as I am.

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 What is your view on ‘aesthetic’ and its role in creating something that can connect with your audience? Should aesthetic ever be valued over concept or substance?

a. ‘Art for art’s sake’ is the idea that an artwork should be judged only on its aesthetic qualities, and not for any underlying concept in the work. The irony of course is that ‘art for art’s sake’ is a concept in itself, and so any artist who tries to distance their work from concepts by focusing on pure aesthetics is inadvertently applying a concept to their art. As for myself, all of my works begin with an image, not an idea. The image has to be attractive, otherwise I won’t pursue the sculpture, no matter how interesting the idea is. And I know that this is true of my audience too. Connecting with art is like connecting with a potential lover: even if somebody is interesting to talk to, you’ll never discover this if the person isn’t attractive enough to make you want to start a conversation.

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Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an Artist?

a. I grew up during the mid-90s in the suburbs of New Jersey. I was raised by television and spent my adolescence at the mall. My brain was flooded not only with objects - which now serve as my artistic materials - but also, perhaps even more importantly, advertisements. Advertisements are clean, direct, straight-to-the-point, uncluttered, and yet subliminal at the same time - all qualities which I strive to emulate in my sculptures today.

What was your dream growing up as a child?

a. To compete in an Olympic footrace around the rings of Saturn and win a bronze medal.

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What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?

a. It’s important to me that my art connect with folks who know little or nothing about art.  I am an art librarian by profession, and I can’t tell you how often patrons complain to me about how difficult going to MoMA is. The art there doesn’t make sense to them, they tell me, and they are too intimidated by the art to ask for help from museum staff. Basically contemporary art has become the Latin Bible of the Middle Ages: nobody but the priests can understand it. Personally I don’t want to make art like that, I want my sculptures to be accessible, engaging, and enlightening for everybody. Now if only I could get the pieces into MoMA...

Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

a. It wasn’t a moment or a memory that pushed me into the arts, it was my mom: she literally pushed me in my baby carriage around the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was a toddler. I’m told that Picasso’s paintings used to make me cry, but whether I was crying out of awe or confusion, my mother could never guess.

 Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think they/ it have influenced your work?

a. I’ve already talked about the influence of Surrealism on my hybrid sculptures, and I think my use of common, everyday objects makes my debt to Pop art evident. Less obvious though might be the importance of words in my work. I take inspiration from fused, portmanteau words like bromance, Spanglish, Pastafarian, and sheeple, and words also influence the meanings of my sculptures in the form of their titles. Titles are a very important part of my art, and in some cases I can’t even show a sculpture without its title because the piece will be grossly misread. I invite you to visit my website and guess which sculpture I’m talking about.

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What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?

a. There is this general feeling that an artist is the most qualified person to interpret her work. That whatever she says about the work is completely true and the final word on what the work means. This is why artists are afraid to interpret their own work. If they do, people will take what they say for gospel, and the conversation will be over. But this is baloney. Once an artwork is out in the world, the artist has no more authority on what the work means than a gardener. So rather than look to me to tell you what my work means, I invite you to show some of my sculptures to a gardener and get his opinion.

What is your definition of ’art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

a. Art isn’t about how you paint a canvas, but how you frame a canvas. And by frame I don’t just mean the wood you lay around the canvas’ edges, I’m talking about the building in which the canvas is hung, the other paintings that hang beside the canvas, the people that stand in front of the canvas, and the conversations that those people have about the canvas. Art, in a word, is context. But of course another word for context is bullshit.

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Matteo Mauro

Matteo Mauro, London based artist and designer, was born in Sicily. Having lived, travelled, and been creatively working around the world in many different countries, he observes and explores the world with the eyes of an artist, seeking new and fresh solutions, as well as the old, in this infinite mediation between reality and dreams which we call art. His drawing and creative techniques mix analogical and digital tools to generate artworks of a distinct contemporary sensibility. Using digital inscription technologies, Matteo is able to take an updated approach with a distinct perspective to tackle and deconstruct traditional styles of expression.

What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?

As a progressive artist, I do not feel attached to a specific medium or technology. I always begin my creative process knowing that artistic potentials are omnipresent. In my latest series, I have been finding very valuable to combine historical studies with contemporary painting techniques. My artistic interest, analogic and digital, aroused during my architectural studies in England. Early experiments were related to digital handmade sculpting and fabrication, which I then transformed in to three-dimensional paintings and abstract sculptures. In more recent works, those techniques have been combined with computational painting methods. Thus, my works are a combination of physical and digital experiments, which result on contemporary creations lying in between handmade abstraction and computed mathematical perfection.

Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist?

Born in Sicily, I grew up surrounded by dusty and crumbling Baroque architectures made of white Mediterranean limestone or black lavic rocks rising from volcano Etna. However, amongst the Sicilian beauty, the glorious past does not meet a care for modernity, but rather meets decadence. In this context, unconventional dreams unlikely become real. So, I moved to the UK, determined to detach myself from the Italian artistic and architectural establishment; surely great, but, as I mentioned, not fertile. The purpose was to discover a new creative ground where to experience progressive and avant-garde international cultural movements. In this journey, a city such as London surely exceeded my expectations. Here, I have met the respect and admiration for the freedom of expression, transgressive creativity, and yet, the respect and magnification for the history of Arts and Architecture. My works are traversed by these seas.

What was your dream growing up as a child?

Before I fell in love with the obsession of designing spaces and objects, I always wanted to be a thinker. Growing up, I realized I could both at the same time.

What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?

Currently in my life I dream about making spaces, which are protectors of our senses, sculptural objects, which are extensions of our corporeal life experience, paintings, which are pleasure for our eyes. I currently don’t dream about making commercial art, or housing schemes, or developing cities uncritically. This does not mean I am not interested in being informed about those practices. Indeed, my own practice is a reaction to those. I offer to the world what comes natural to me, and, as it emerged, those objectives, goes against my nature.

Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?

My drive towards arts, happened parallel to a realization that my profession was moving away from creativity, and becoming a commercialization of it. Which I didn’t embrace. My reaction was to re-explore the fantasy world of the historical arts, and the world of architectural ornamentation, in which I found deeper values, far from the consumerism practices, mass-production and minimalizing of artistic virtuosity.

Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think they/it have influenced your work?

I’ve experienced infinite sources of inspirations. The difference between being open to them (being a passive or active creative) is only in the ability to overcome the fear of crossing the line which separates the known from the unexperienced. Thus, the artist is who let himself be carried by the flows of surrounding inputs without opposing resistance to them. It happened I found inspiration in the history of Art, but also in human obsessions and fears, in contemporary practices and tools. It happened I found inspiration by observing nature, movement, materials. Creativity is about being curious, to store, to ponder, and then to execute. To be mused is simply to live, just need to unlock our feelings. This process leads to distress, but also to joy…. and maybe that is why it captures me. If I have to name some contemporary artists which, during my studies and profession, have crossed my life in London and really inspired my creations I would remark Isaie Bloch, Quayola and Ron Arad.

What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?

I am currently moved by an instinct to create with respect beauty and sensitivity. Beauty intended as the art of living in aesthetic virtuosity. Sensitivity intended as an intellectually meaningful creative force.

My aim is to let our sensorial perceptions enjoying the attractive balance of complexity and order, of carefully arranged straight lines and curves, and scattering colours. To explain this, I will give a short expose’ on two diverse of my past painting series: Micromegalic Inscriptions, and Excessive Portraits.

‘Micromegalic Inscription’ are a series digital engravings conceived after a deep research in the history of ornamentation, as if my experimentation was a continuation of a long journey, which keeps evolving, and transforming through the use of contemporary tools, in developing societies. In this, I was guided by Oliver Domesein, an enlightened architect and art historian. In these dynamic artworks there is a factor of novelty, nevertheless because they hold Rococo’s metamorphic dynamism, rules of curvature, and traditional techniques of inscription, abstraction still refers to the point of departure.

‘Excessive Portraits’ is a series which speculates around the meaning and tradition of the art of ‘portraiture’. I began by wondering if portraiture is a technical representation and measurable performance of copying facial forms and expressions, or rather a process of absorption and reinterpretation of visual feelings in to formless abstraction. Hence, the process behind the painting of these portraits is based on the dissolution of the image, rather than the glorification of formal beauty. By doing so, I wanted to send a strong message and attack to the traditional significance of the term portrait, but also a shake to our dependency to excessive manifestations of formal human beauty.

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What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?

I consider art a mediation between reality and dreams, and standing in between these two worlds is my place.

Any upcoming collaborations / projects we should know about?

"En-Plein Air" which follows on ‘Micromegalic Inscriptions’, is a new series of paintings which enhance, through innovation, well-known Impressionist masterpieces. The first set of artworks focus on the rejuvenation of Claude Monet's 'Water Lilies' (a series of 250 paintings created between 1840–1926) and on Henri Edmond Cross’ treed landscape paintings. I am also planning to expand ‘Excessive Portraits’ with new collaborations with photographers and models soon to be announced.

Popovy Sisters

Twin sisters Ekaterina and Elena Popovy have been causing a furor in the fashion doll scene since 2004. Using only hand sketches and their creative ambition, the duo utilizes and impressive range of talents to bring their visions to life in each unique project and collection they put out. From fashion design to hair and makeup - from photography to the printing process, the Popovy Sisters are among a shrinking group artists who can quite literally do it all. 

Gearing up to collaborate with internationally known brands and artists such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Retna, the Popovy sisters are entering a new and exciting phase of their career. Pushing their fine art photography, The TAX Collection was lucky enough to be able team up with the extraordinary duo to spotlight their recent work, as well as releasing eleven prints exclusive to The TAX Collection. You can read our interview with them below and shop their newest available prints. 

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Out of all your many talents, what’s your preferred (or favorite) medium to express yourself and you work? How did you come into working that way?  

Our main talent is our creative intuition. We feel relevance and fashion trends. Our intuition is closely related to observation, it's been with us since our birth, we have been like this since childhood. Perhaps this is the main talent, to be able to see and choose the idea that’ll strike the most.

What comes to you more naturally, photography or the craftsmanship that goes into creating the dolls? Which came first?  

For us, photography is an integral part of the process of creating our doll collections. The photo allows us to reveal and emphasize the idea - expressively show the doll. But to take pictures, of course we must first make the doll. So we can not say what's more important, just these two processes are natural and inextricably linked, and the process of creating a doll simply goes first.

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While there are many aspects to your work that make it so extraordinary, there’s a definitely a feeling of grace attributed to the dolls and the way you present them in portraits - it’s very human. How does that process work? - of taking a rough concept and transforming it into something that’s something that’s incredibly emotional and can even tell a story?  

The process of doll creation is so natural, with one stage smoothly flowing into another. Each doll requires a certain amount of time and attention.

We are constantly looking for new images and ideas, in an attempt to express our concept of beauty. Our protagonist is a female child with her own not-so perfect traits with a childlike sincerity who does not try to hide or fake her emotions.

We try to bring our thoughts and ideas to the viewer through the image in the doll. For us the doll and the costume are something integral - one emotion, one character. We don’t treat clothing as a separate thing. For us, it’s like the second skin for the doll - the shell. We are looking for complex expressive solutions, often we transfer the beauty of animals and objects to the female image.

All work on the doll is performed exclusively by us two manually - no one is helping or assisting us. This is a long and very complicated process. We hand sculpt doll prototypes, using special tools and materials. NO computer or 3d technology is involved. We use airbrush and hand painting with acrylic paints for makeup. We create wigs and costumes ourselves after our own designs and sketches. We use top end limited edition and rare antique materials, so all outfits are limited edition. We develop our own techniques for wig and outfit creation, and we keep them in secret. No one else can do what we do. We always sketch. collage and work on new ideas and collections

The most difficult part is to embody the idea from the sketch into life, so that everything turned out as planned. Sew, braid or invent the texture in full accordance with the sketch. Photography is an important final stage of the work, it’s very exciting and intriguing, it is always very interesting for us to shoot the dolls. Each doll requires a certain filing in the frame, sometimes it seems that the doll itself prompts ideas and compositions, because it is all strongly connected. When we review the photos, we see how good we managed to bring our ideas to life and that is sometimes.

 We can easily turn a photo shoot into a kind of fashion story, and the dolls into the object of desire.

When the doll is ready, photographed and already standing in her booth, we want to sometimes approach her and look at her, she is drawing our attention, it's strange, because during the whole working process we have enough time to look at her and play with. 


Could either of you see yourselves working in the fashion industry, creating and photographing your own design? What most attracts you to the micro scale of working with dolls and doll fashion? 

We make dolls to wear them, make them wigs, makeup and all the accompanying attributes. We can’t stop and deal only with the creation of a doll as a sculpture or the stylization of the human body. And vice versa, we like to create clothes for the specific image, the presence of the image is necessary, it is always associated with clothing.

Yes, we could work in the fashion industry, we think we would easily fit in. Sometimes we even imagine doing some work for a fashion house someday. 

Do you think fans of you work will ever be able to see your designs on full-sized models? 

We think that this will happen in the near future. We want to release a clothing line, or individual items -  our "Bestellers" made in human size for people. Now we are developing jewelry line for a new dolls collection, maybe in the future we’ll make it for people. 

As artists, what makes you excited about your work? 

The embodiment of new and new ideas, the creation of new images.

Do you think where grew up has affected, at all, your visions as artists?  

Undoubtedly influenced. The place where we grew up and the time is very important. We grew up at an amazing time and with amazing people, in a wonderful family, during certain events in the world. All this has been very influential for us.

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Growing up, what were your dreams as children?  

Lot of things, but one of the biggest dreams - to be together and work together, to do our favorite thing together, so that no circumstances or events could separate us.

What has become most important to you at this moment in your life?  

When we made our first author's collection "Fashion MOON", it made a real furor and finally determined us the style and our niche in the art of dolls. We realized then that we had found our identity and style.

Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?  

As children, we used to draw dolls for ourselves – it was girls with fox heads. We were very fond of them playing and drawing a lot of clothes and images for them.

When we graduated the high school, we were very much taken by the hobby of riding, so much that we even thought to go to the masters of equestrian sport. But then we got carried away by interesting personalities, actors, musicians and began to do a lot of sketching of people with different interesting charismatic facial expressions- we think at that moment our passion to art overcome everything else, and we entered the academy for fashion designers.

Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration(s) and how do you think they / it have influenced your works?  

Our greatest inspiration is the life that passes through us, our emotional experience. We see, hear, feel, experience different emotions every day. We are inspired by everything - fashion, art, history, painting, photography, music and, of course, people. We look at this world with eyes wide open. Our dolls are our vision of the world, our emotions and ideas are screwed into shape.

What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit? 

Art is the expression of an idea. Therefore, shit can also carry a certain idea, although the idea can be complete shit.