April 2023 Contest Submissions: Royal Flush & The Court of Fools

Written by UP Mag Staff

Bree Chapin

Artist: Bree
IG @breemakesart
Bree – Visual artist, contemporary painter based in Manhattan
Royal Flush
Digital painting • 2023
“Queenie E making the Royal cut.”

Marie-Chloé Duval

My artistic approach is based on an analysis and interpretation of society, building on my academic background studying humans and social issues. I feel the need to speak up to bring these observations to light and incite people to act.

Our minds are spinning. The flow of thoughts, mass information, stimuli and questions are fast and omnipotent: never has society faced such high rates of anxiety and depression. As I paint to discover myself as an artist, a woman, and a citizen, I project on canvas my vision of our modern society, a society run by organizations that fight to control people’s minds with marketing and mass data. I paint with a specific purpose of education and awareness. I put visuals on the canvas to open this dialogue about our current state of alienation and the urgent need to open our eyes and break free. The visuals I create are situated between figuration and abstraction, stillness and movement, using painting, words, and photography. In this era of globalization, we are constantly labeled and categorized. We experience analysis paralysis, where excessive reflection is hindering our ability to act. Our habits and routines can sometimes lead us down a path that becomes increasingly challenging to break away from. With empathy, I create a diagnosis of who we are together.

In my visual explorations of our contemporary society, I bring to the surface the unconscious endeavors that are often ignored. As a child of the 90’s who once studied the impact of society on individuals as a criminologist, I make art about the issues of our age. By deliberately obstructing some elements, and choosing to remove others, I leave space for interpretation, suggesting the confusion of the perceptual state we live in, inviting my spectators to question their role in the world. Through my art, I challenge the belief that our senses allow us to understand reality as it appears, by revealing the illusions that lie behind appearances.



Bongjin Jeon 

I’m a South Korean-born artist who specializes in blackwork tattoos. My vision is to use my preferred medium, the skin, to create statement pieces and conversation starters. My tattoos present a blend of contrasting forms that are both edgy, yet delicate.

My adornments are inspired by my fascination with the odd or unusual, juxtaposed with the visuals of everyday life. A fairy on a cow-print moon, A scorpion whose stinger is a miniature scorpion.

My favorite thing to do when given the opportunity is incorporate an element of with into a piece. Although I love to do the handling of bold outlines and solid planes of crisp, all-black ink, I believe that part of the fun in life is not taking oneself too seriously!

My instagram handle is @telephonepole2

Marti Flicker

I am a street artist based in Austin, Texas. I combine wheatpasting and recycled materials to create self-portraits. I think of my work like tiny diary entries I leave for people to find–it feels like I am confiding in everyone and no one all at once.

I believe these three self-portraits fit perfectly into your theme. They exude the out-of-touch confidence of Royalty, and in that, foolish ignorance. The scale of these works play into the theme as well; the audacity to be small and loudly stupid!

You can see more of my street art on instagram: @marti_flicker

Sofia Ciniglio

Sofia Mochon-Ciniglio (b. 1989 in NYC) uses the practice of abstract movements and brushstrokes to illustrate the sensory input that enters the human psyche on a daily basis and works against the reasonable/rational mind within our brains. She is very much a proponent of promoting the neurodivergent mind in the creative world, and is currently employed as an arts program assistant working with individuals who manifest a variety of disabilities or impairments.

The concept of fooling of “playing with one’s mind” is a complex one and it comes up most often using the metaphor of games and gambling. The roulette wheel is often a symbol of gambling and chance, and when we enter the psychological state of “fooling ourselves” we are both literally and figuratively taking a chance with our own mind and we therefore “play the fool” to ourselves. Combining both abstract and concrete ideas to illustrate this mentality or state of being, I created this piece on a whim, which some say is a form of taking a gamble with oneself.

This 11”x15” piece, “Self-Induced Gamble” is one that represents the dysmorphia that arises and develops when we often mistake our dreams for reality, and the circular shapes are meant to portray the never-ending dilemma we face when willing ourselves to exit a dream, that is, if it does not work in our favor and yet is not a truth or reality.

Sasha Silberman-Hanks


Photo by @sshanksc – Art by Sam Sure @samsuremusic and Ante @ante_ltd (2019)